Preparing for South America. How I really feel.

4.04.18

I am getting ready to leave again. Time to endure another world adventure.

A one-way ticket into Rio De Janeiro with only my camera, rucksack and whatever I’ve managed to save the last 6 months.

Working full time living back at home settling in temporarily, I’ve gained new friendships, appreciated my time at home, made more memories, had relationships and loved resting from the rest of the world.

But, it’s time to go, again.

I’m on my remaining couple of weeks and I know things are changing.
I wanted to tell you how I am really feeling. What’s really going on.

Well, in some way not much. I don’t want to rush the time away, I can’t afford to waste moments in my comfort, around loved ones and those who know me.
I am working crazy hours at work to gain those final travel funds and getting ready to leave.

I have moulded back into the social norm a little more then I thought, I am comfortable and happy.
I am privileged and pretty content with most things.

I am starting to say goodbye.

I need to see what else is out there, I promised myself I would travel, properly, passionately, freely and right now, completely independently while I am young, able and well.

I’ve spent the last five years backpacking solo, traveling extensively through three continents and working seasons abroad as well as other travel breaks.

I am 23 right now and feeling pretty satisfied with how much I’ve seen and done. Experiences and foreign places excite me and I crave to feel alive. I know it’s not going to be forever but I have to travel now.

So, how do I really feel?

Let’s get straight to the point, I am scared.
Who are you kidding? Who wouldn’t feel a little on edge about flying into the middle of one of the worlds craziest, most dangerous, busy and intriguing destinations. I am a young female going on my own with absolutely no plans, I am aware, this is risky, epic and even a little crazy.

I have to trust myself, my gut, open my mind to different beliefs, cultures, lifestyles, food, traditions and people. I have to find comfort in foreign places and trust people who don’t speak my language.

I have the chance to discover places I can only dream of and  right now, I have nothing stopping me.

Responses aren’t helping.

Well, I am having a little trouble with many responses to this trip and let me tell you, it is affecting my mindset and excitement. Constant reminders of how much danger I will be in. How unsafe is it, people telling me all the bad things that could happen to me.

I am being told what to do if someone mugs me, what to do if I get attacked, ways to prevent some pretty nasty things. It’s been overwhelming with the amount of people wishing me all the best, looking out for me and supporting me, I appreciate it all however it can be difficult to hear terrible things about a country you know you’re about to go to.
Everywhere in the world is filled with dangerous people, untrustworthy individuals.
There are incidents every day all over the world and there is so much risk to be taken from even being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This can’t stop you living.

I have seriously spoken to myself about how aware I will need to be. How I can’t rely on the only language I know to get me buy.
I’m aware I am putting myself into different scenarios of danger and I can be vulnerable, anyone can be. I am thinking hard about my safety and what I will need to be aware of.

I have always been a bit rebellious and maybe this is just me rebelling against any routine, structure or plans, and I kind of like it.
On a more positive note….

I’m f*cking excited. I am heading back into the big wide world and I can’t wait to meet so many fascinating, different and real people from locals to backpackers.

I am going to see landscapes of perfection, nature at it’s finest and meet those who live a completely opposite life to me.
I can’t wait to be back in the jungle with countless landscapes of tropical rainforest. I crave to be watching the sunsets under palm trees sipping fresh coconuts. I’m ready to learn more, see more, grow more and live more.

GOING ALONE.

I know this is the best way to meet people and trust others. I have to go into survival mode and I know it’s not all magic and adventures.
There will be moments when I am lonely, tired, confused, maybe even homesick but I never said this was going to be easy. I’m setting myself a challenge, taking risks and leaving a lot behind.

Rio is going to be feel intense at times, I need to step up my game in every sense. I am taking things a little more seriously this time and preparing myself for changes.

What am I gaining?

I have been thinking about what am I really getting from this?

It’s not for everyone but from experience, it’s one of the most exhilarating things you can do. I believe in traveling to grow and learn about not only the world, but yourself.
Discover your own beliefs, passions and interests.

I genuinely feel travel has made me a more confident, happy, truthful, and simply a better person.

I will be making friends from every country and living with everyone and anyone who is after the same thing as me, to explore.

I want to learn Spanish, push my work and get out of my comfort zone.

But, I have to say goodbye?

I am leaving everything behind.

Friends, family, my precious dog, a good job and all things I know. Home comforts, clothes, valuables, belongings.
Safety, convenience, familiarity and all comfort.

15kg of stuff and that’ll be my life for however long I am away. I have to think wisely about what I really need to take, research what I will need and won’t. I feel all my previous traveling has helped me prepare for this.

And so?

Times like this, makes you think about A LOT. What matters to you, how do you feel saying goodbye. I have been spending a lot of time deeply reflecting on many things.

I still have a lot to do before I leave. This week, I have my friend getting married one day and going to my grandmas funeral the next. I still have to work crazy shifts and give myself time to prep, and chill.

Which leads me to preparation.
What do I need to do?

Ideally, all vaccinations should have been had, purchased. Travel Insurance needs to be sorted. Photocopy information and documents to take with and leave at home.

Know the country arrival requirements or any visas that you may need. Make sure you have a good rucksack, the essentials.

It’s a good idea to research the country beforehand for weather conditions, currency, laws and transportation.
Get some currency changed and check your passport, insurance and limit yourself to any direct debits or contracts. Chat to people out there or who have been. Make contacts and interact with other backpackers out there.

This is it.

I’m starting to slowly say goodbye.

I’m having waves of different feelings and emotions. It’s all part of the experience and trip. I am about to endure in a once in a lifetime adventure. I have no plans, nothing waiting for me. I am about to head back into the big wide world and I can’t wait.

I have everywhere to go but nowhere to be.

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My ultimate to do list – Melbourne

Melbourne

The worlds most liveable city.

Located in Victoria, second most popular city in Australia with a busy CBD, quirky yet stylish suburbs and of course, located on the coast. Melbourne became home for a large part of my time in Australia.

Oozing character, filled with personality and something always going on, it’s more then the shops and public transport. It’s a friendly, active city with a really easy going vibe.

Of course I fell in love.

Melbourne was always impressing me, with lonely planet naming it the sport and cultural capital of Australia.

I was always busy going somewhere and doing something. Everyday was an adventure.

Entering during Winter and coming from Asia, it was a shock to the system.

Feeling westernised, sanitizsed and busy, I wasn’t sure how to feet at first.

After a few months away from Melbourne, I was back to fall in love all over again, in Summer.

I can safely say, I could quite happily settle in Melbourne one day and see myself living there again.

Whether you’re after coastal runs by the beach, outdoor rooftop cinemas, impressive coffee shops and night markets filled with glorias food trucks.  Food festivals and worldwide hospitality, laneways covered with impressive street art, quirky cafes, sport central and beach’s to catch the sunset.

Melbourne is bloody brilliant.

Yes, it’s a major city which isn’t for everyone however I was surprised at how relaxed and actually pretty quite it was. Able to escape to quite parks, lonely libraries and tons of day trips out of the city, Melbourne has a lot to offer.

Unlike Sydney, there are no cut off times and curfews. If anything, Melbourne was the place you could party from Friday straight through to Monday with events on every night of the week.

So you’re going to see what all the fuss is about!?

Good for you.

I’m letting you in on my favorite places to hang out and things to do.

Here is my ultimate to do list. Melbourne.

All images are my own.

Alberts Park

A public and picturesque park, which transformes into the Grand Prix race track, is a large, relaxing place to hang out, excersise, get your bbq on and see some awesome views of the city. A lake with a flat path around the outside covered in palm tree’s and lushious greenery, I love coming here.

Albert’s Park offers a great path to walk, run or cycle with the circuit being 5km and bikes can be hired at this location.

AFL game

AFL is a somewhat culture to Melbourne. If you want to experience the local lifestyle, make sure to get yourself to a match. Tickets are affordable and easy to grab on the door from $25. (£15)

I managed to catch Geelong Cats and Hawthorn Hawkers. I would highly recommend going to see a game, especially on an evening.  It’s an easy walk along southwarf to reach the MCG stadium. It turned out to be another fabulous evening in Melbourne with a great atmosphere.

Prahan Pool

Photo taken from google.

Prahan pool is a 50m Olympic pool open to the public. For any outdoor lover, sports freak or someone who loves being in the water, Prahan pool is a great place to hang out. They offer outdoor seating, a sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and a toddler pool. It’s awesome to hang with friends and sunbathe on the greenery or escape on your own to get some lengths done. They also offer healthy food and drinks so you could spend hours here.

Botanical gardens

This is one of those escapes I was talking about. Located close to the CBD, it’s a great place to wander around the green grass, read a book or just take a walk. Especially on a hot day, I love it here.

94 acres of beautifully kept and contained gardens, Melbourne respects their city. A great hang out for nature lovers with unique and rare plants.

  • Weekdays 9.00am – 5.00pm
  • Weekends 9.30am – 5.00pm

Transport: The Gardens are a 15-minute walk or 5-minute tram ride from Flinders Station to the Domain Road Interchange.

Brighton Beach

Despite being a huge tourist spot, it’s a favourable spot to check out the colorful beach huts. Escape the city for one of Melbourne’s most iconic spots.

Tip: Rent a bike and cycle along the coastal path.

One of my favorite places to watch the sunset during summer is Riva located in Saint Kilda at the start of the coastal path.

Chapel Street

A quirky, local street running from Balaclava to Richmond stretching over 4.13 km. It’s covered in charity shops, vintage stores, local business, health stores, fashionable boutiques, café’s, restaurants, hairdresser, barbers, clubs and bars and so much more. The personality of the place is never a let down whatever the weather. Some of the best clubs, bars and food spots are on Chapel street.

Some of my favorite brunch spots are Amicii, Oscar Cooper & Hannah.

Fitzroy

Hippy, arty and just cool, it’s always a treat heading over to Brunswick/ Fitzroy. Filled with talented street art hidden down all the roads, fashionable vintage stores, second-hand book stores, awesome café’s and some seriously chilled vibes, I was happy just to wander and find a glorious coffee spot.

See if you can find the full graffiti car park and the colorful little abandoned open van.

My favorite coffee spot: Black Cat 

Federation square

Located in the CBD by Flinders station, it’s a busy spot for everyone. I love grabbing a $1 7/11 coffee and just watching the city go by. They offer free wifi which any backpacker will find useful. There is always something going on and the view of Flinders station is quality!

Victoria Night market

Almost all year round on a Wednesday night, the night market’s are busy and bursting with the tastiest food trucks, unique stalls and a brilliant atmosphere. There is always live music going on and offers great views of the city.

Southbank

Southbank is definitely one of my favorite places. A trendy suburb located right next to the CBD, the promenade following the South Yarra river, filled with restaurants, bars and a few of Melbourne’s boat clubs, it provides a stunning view of the city and a perfect dinner spot.

With Melbourne’s Southgate shopping center, theater’s, art museums, access to the Eureka sky tower and the gigantic crown casino, there’s tons to do around Southbank.

Brunch

Get brunch anywhere. Melbourne has world class hospitality, with everywhere serving the finest all day brunch, it’s easy to spend all your money enjoying the food.

My favorite brunch spots are Oscar Cooper, Hannah & Fitzrovia.

Saint Kilda beach

By far, somewhere I could spend endless amounts of time. Especially in good weather, the beach and surrounding areas are beaming with good vibes. The atmosphere is sweet, there is a grass area, plenty of space, tons of cafes, restaurants, bar’s, ice cream parlors, fish & chips stalls and funky spots to grab a coffee by the beach. It’s an active and outgoing area.

During the week in summer, they hold volley ball competitions on the evening, give them a go. It’s so much fun and a great way to meet people.

Looking at moving to Melbourne? Check out my top tricks & tips on Moving to Melbourne by clicking here!!

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The honest truth on how I afford to travel

‘But, how do you afford it?’

A question I get at the start of every conversation regarding my travels.

I’ve been on the road for a while. I’m 22 and spent the last three years traveling extensively through Europe, Asia and Australia.

I’ve done and seen A LOT.

Vietnam

*10 minute read

Forever on the move, exploring new destinations, living a fulfilling and exciting life.

Guess what, I’m not stopping anytime soon.

Tokyo

There are many assumptions about my lifestyle. We all assume.

This has to cost right? Of course, it does.

I will start with one thing.

I do not have any secret travel funds. I do not get paid to travel. I have no unique qualifications, no hidden help. I’ve not won any money, nor have I received an amount of money or any other financial help for whatever reason.

I finance my trips myself.

Despite the odd birthday or Christmas, I may receive £100 from my parents which I put towards my travels.

I want to travel. I want it badly, so… I make it happen.

If you are so determined to do something, 9 times out of 10. You can.

I have a lot less money than you think. A lot less.

There is a difference between happiness and having money. Some of the happiest people I have ever met have the lowest amount of money yet the ones with hundreds and thousands of pounds sitting in their bank, are the loneliest and miserable.

Traveling made me realise it’s not about how many fancy drinks I can have sitting on the beach, or how nice of a hotel I can find. Nor is it about finding the best restaurant in all of Indonesia and shopping whenever I want. That isn’t what travel is about.

It’s about finding the happiness in simple things, feeling grateful for the life we have. To create enjoyment from meeting people, seeing new things. I find experiences I love without breaking the bank.

I’m happy and surviving on sometimes the bare minimal. I have to make choices on what will enable me to travel. To create a life that right now, I am satisfied with.

Me: Food, Accommodation, Transport, Experiences.

People at home: Bills. Rent. Petrol. Tax. Transport. Insurance. Phone contracts. Memberships. Food. Shopping. Going out. Clothes.

Imagine if I turned it back around…

‘How do you afford to get your nails done every week, that must cost heaps’

‘How are you affording those new trainers, did your parents help?’

‘You must be loaded going out for drinks every weekend’

‘Where do you get all the money for all those new clothes every week?’

‘Having the latest iPhone will have cost a bomb’

‘You got a new car, but how an earth can you pay for that’

Once you escape paying for things you don’t actually need, you realise how much it amounts up too.

Even paying for parking for the day can cost £10. That’s 3 nights in a hostel in Thailand.

No one questions things like buying clothes, going out for drinks, getting your hair done and simply paying for big phone contracts.

Money

I left home with £4,000 ( $7000 AUS) on 26th November 2015. Getting on a flight from Manchester to Bangkok on my own. I had worked hard. Prioritized saving and worked three jobs.

Bangkok 2015

I had a flight into Australia for whenever I was ready and that was it.

It’s now 3rd July 2017 and I’m still going.

Osaka 2017

I’m writing this while sitting in Osaka, Japan in a funky coffee shop feeling grateful for my experiences.  Going through the ridiculous amounts of photos I’ve been taking over the last couple of weeks experiencing the crazy Japanese lifestyle and exploring one of the most unique destinations I have ever been too. I’m happy, healthy and completely satisfied with my life.

Indonesia

Read more on my first year traveling the world solo by clicking HERE

I have not been in the same place for longer than 3 months since I was 18. I have a constant desire to explore.

The honest truth

If you really want to travel, you’ll make it work.

Let’s quit any bullsh*t.

I hear never-ending excuses to why people don’t travel.

People have secure jobs, mortgages and rent to pay. Commitments they feel obliged to follow.

I knew for a while I needed to travel the world, so from early on, I made the decisions to not overly involve myself within things that would stop me leaving – From jobs to relationships, contracts to commitments. I was careful with what I got overly involved in.

It’s not possible for everyone and I do understand commitments need to be made, however, I am talking about how I afford to travel. If you are looking to head off on a long term adventure, have a think about what you can break away from. I’m writing a post on easy hacks for long term travel here.

Working

Like everyone else, I work for my money. Working at certain points of my time in Australia, where the hourly rate is double as to what I was earning in England. I had to save my money I earned on the farm in Queensland and when I popped home for Christmas, I was working some crazy hours back at the cocktail bar.

Again, it’s getting the balance. I have never had a life where it’s only been focused on work and saving money. Work to live, don’t live to work.

Living basically

Despite a rich life with the experiences I have, the people I meet and the things I do. I live basically.

This was my home while I was living in Pai for a few weeks. £2 a night. This was luxury living as I was used to large shared dorms.

and this was my view….

When I travel, I often get little privacy, choose the cheapest accommodation which depending on where I am in the world, it could be anywhere between £1-£20.

I RARELY shop. I make use of what I have.

I’ve had the same pair of shoes for years and when I eventually really needed to buy some, I got fake converse from a Bangkok market and I love them.

God knows how many times I have worn the same outfit.

I almost never get taxi’s. Don’t have uber, use public transport everywhere or simply walk.

I barely drink alcohol.

I don’t overspend on things I don’t need.

Use my toiletries carefully, barely wear makeup so don’t need to repurchase anything.

I have no phone contract and had the same old mobile device for years.

If I do buy any clothes, for example when I arrived in Melbourne during winter, I went to the charity shop and spent $20 on jumpers.

It’s getting the balance.

£3.3o for a delicious iced mocha and vegetable toastie in the middle of Pai, North Thailand.

I spend my money on experiences.

On things I need to survive and get me to new destinations, and I am happy with that.

15,000 Indonesian rupiah for my boat over to Lombok

That’s less then £1 / $2 AUS (The same price as a packet of Oreos)

It’s not always easy or convenient, but that’s what traveling is really about. Making it work.

Finding the cheap & cheerful.

I spend time exploring new cities and towns with my camera. I spend quality time with people simply hanging out on the beach or playing cards. Things that don’t cost just to ‘do’.

Convenience.

People pay for convenience. Taxi’s to save the hassle.

Eating out instead of cooking. Paying for someone to take us places, show us things instead of finding out for yourself.

People pay for things we want, rather than what we need.

I have definitely spent my money on some really stupid sh*t in the past.

We pay for a life we feel we deserve filled with unnessacary and over priced things.

We pay for ease.

I sacrifice certain things to enable me to travel.

Walked an hour with my rucksack to save on a few pounds, slept in rooms with no air con and no fans in horrible humidity as it’s the cheapest option.

I normally eat street food, avoid any type of tour our travel agency as it’s always things I can do myself, for a lot less money. I’ve slept in dorms with over 20 people, people I dont know. Use a bathroom that the entire hostel uses’.

Like mentioned, I get little privacy, but as it’s the cheapest option, I can’t complain.

I’ve couch surfed, volunteered and hitchhiked just to save a little bit of money. All this saving adds up, and it’s all part of the travel fun.

Flights

Flying is the most expensive part of our travels. Once I am over in a country or continent, I can easily get around by cheap buses, night buses or affordable domestic flights.

I find the cheapest flights and transport, even if it takes double as long.

People want a flight that works around them and if you’re short on time then this limits the options. Some have a limited time to travel however I will take a longer route and take minimal baggage in order to save money.

Sometimes, I don’t overly have a destintion in mind, just look for the cheapest flights on Skyscanner on the cheapest dates.

There are perks of having no plans. I can work around prices.

I still need things to be convenient occasionally. I have booked my own room, payed too much for a cab just to get me somewhere and paid for the internet when I could have gone without.

Again, it’s getting the balance.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

I treated myself to a Christmas starbucks and a tuk-tuk to the airport when I headed home for Christmas. I had payed for my flight home and back to Australia with the money I had made from working on the banana farm in Queensland. I deffo deserved this coffee.

Taking risks:

I booked my flight to Japan while I had $700AUS / £500 in my account during my East Coast trip in Australia. I was waiting for my tax rebait to come through and just had to hope I would get it back in time.

I made it to Japan.

I booked my flight leaving Australia into Indonesia with less then $300 / £200 in my bank.

I made it to Indonesia.

I left Asia and entered Australia to start my working holiday with $200AUS/ £120 to my name.

Byron Bay, Australia

I completed my full first year in Australia.

I got on a flight to Singapore with less than $400AUS / £250.

I had a blast in Singapore on my last few days in Asia

Some people could say I was stupid, I don’t have any major back up’s or savings.

I’m lucky to have friends & family to bail me incase of a serious emergency or get me home if I really needed too. I am lucky to have a family to head back to for when I get home. For that, I am grateful as many people don’t.

I had to trust it all worked out. I had to make it work.

Costs

This meal I shared on the idylic beach on Gili Air, Indonesia cost 150,000 rupiah. That’s £8.

This private beach bungalow directly on the beach cost 300,000 rupiah, which I shared with a friend. 150,000 each is £8.00 (Which was our treat for our last few days together)

My bike rental in Kampot, Cambodia for 24 hours cost £2.50 (Insurance included)

This yummy latte in a coffee shop cost £1 in Cambodia

This scuba dive on the paradise island in Malaysia cost £20

This incredible day cost me nothing

This meal in St. Kilda, Melbourne cost £2.50 / £1.70

My cat cafe experience in Bangkok cost me £4. That’s with coffee and cake included.

My motorbike taxi over over to Khao San Road across the capital city cost me 50p. Less than $1AUS

So many things are cheaper than people think.

Things are free. Yes, free.

Sunsets on the beach with my new furry friend – FREE

Wondering Brisbane – FREE

Checking out the street out in Penang, Malaysia – FREE

Meeting the wild wallabies on Magnetic Island – FREE

Checking out the views over Tokyo – FREE

Exploring Melbourne – FREE

Discovering abandoned Bokor City up in Cambodia – FREE

Meeting the locals and exploring the rice fields in Hoi An, Vietnam – FREE

Blog work

I received a few tours while I was in Australia in return for some blog work. This included a $500 AUS skydive over Mission Beach, Australia.. for free.

A Whitsundays tour on an amazing catamaran boat sailing over two nights which would have cost me $400AUS, a few surf classes and other bits and bobs. I guess hard work does pay off.

Whitsundays, Australia 

 I’m happy with fewer things. Less convenience, basic living. Experiences over belongings.

It enables me to travel and that is the richest I can feel.

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Being the girl that never stays.

Some might say I am brave, some may even say selfish. Maybe a little crazy or, simply intrigued at the world.

 

(3 minute read)

I could call myself a somewhat gypsy yet in reality, I just crave adventures and new experiences.

There’s an urge in me to meet people all over the planet and see for myself what the world has to offer.

I crave to witness all the different ways people live from all different ways of lives.

 

After life lessons you can’t teach by textbook, to learn things about myself in the most random and unexpected ways. I want to simply enjoy life.

 

 

Moving every three months since I was 18, I’m almost 23 and still going. Writing this on a one way flight up Australia’s East Coast with absolutely no plans and nothing booked when I land.

I’ve said my goodbyes, and I am off again.

 

For those at home, I‘m one of the few. When I’m backpacking different continents, I know I am among thousands of backpackers all over the world just after the feeling of freedom with a serious case of the travel bug.

I don’t need to follow the footsteps of modern world society or what my friends think is normal.

Go to uni, get a job, get a house, have my group of friends and just get on life. I need something different.

We are privileged.

I am able to have many choices in my life. I have a British passport. English is my first language. I have a home in England where family supports my choices. I have an education, a chance to act. Countless people, just don’t.

I realised I won’t be doing this for the rest of my life. I don’t want to.

Travel will always be involved with me whatever age. Whatever happens but I will want to settle one day. Have a base with a partner and they’ll be times where I will have to be at home, but for now, living out of a rucksack with an ever changing mobile number, address and new passport stamps becoming monthly, I’m satisfied.

 

I‘m on the go a lot and there is no stopping soon.

So, it’s really hit me recently how much I actually, never stay around.

Over Christmas, I let out a ‘Oh I need to get myself a boyfriend’ Truth is, I guess I would like one.

My friend replied.. ‘Maybe if you actually stay, you’ll find someone’

I’ve been thinking…

I’ve become so used to goodbyes, not getting too comfortable with people.

It’s becoming easy letting go of relationships and putting friendships virtually on hold.

Constantly packing minimal stuff and missing out important events at home. Not seeing people for months on end and this seems to have become the norm.

I’m getting used to not seeing friends and family and sometimes hardly being able to communicate.

I’m so used to saying goodbye and not having a clue when it’ll be until I see them again, which is now most people I ever meet.

I’m constantly packing my bags and hugging someone goodbye.

I’m seeing loved ones through a screen and sometimes struggle to crack the time zone sh*t.

I’m messaging people so I know what they‘re doing but i’ts turning emotions and experiences with people through a video camera.

I’ve become the one that never sticks around, forever on the move.

Knowing that saying goodbye to people, is never really going to get easier.

It becomes manageable. It becomes the norm to know I ain’t going to be able to around for long.

Even if I wish to be. I don’t always want to be on my own and had my fair share of experiences I crave having friends from home.

I want someone to come on adventures with me, I need to be around people who understand.

I’ve made a promise, and a lifestyle, something I am passionate about. It’s not all adventures and fun. It’s making memories with people you’ll never meet again. Knowing the relationships worth holding on to and seeing who still wants contact.

It’s being able to sometimes simply let go, know things aren’t going to be forever.

Never the less, it’s an adventure of the unknown, keeping an open mind and deep memories with the people that mean the most, it’s all pretty exciting, just not always easy.

The girl that never stays.

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5 ways to think if you really want to travel

Traveling is done in all sorts of ways. Short term, long term. Group, couple or solo travel. You could trek, fly, sail, catch trains or just drive across to different destinations. Anyone can travel.

If you’re really seeking adventures, you’ve caught the travel bug, you need to explore or just crave traveling the world, like me, I wanted to let you know in the ways I think, hopefully they may help.

 

 

I’m not trying to change your thought process, nor am I telling you what’s right and how you should think. I simply strongly advise a few things on the mindset of travel.

If you are serious about pursuing long term travel, or even just fancy backpacking some new destinations this year, here is what I think.

You need determination, an open mind, accepting a challenge, knowing its not all going to be easy peasy.

Have drive in yourself.

It’s designed to test and teach you, to open your mind to the rest of the world. No bullsh*t.

 Enjoy everything

Sometimes you just have to take things for what they are. See the good in everything and just enjoy yourself. There is no point finding fault. Keep your mind open and positive.

No, unfortunately this isn’t possible all the time, if only however try and keep a strong mind from the get go. Focus your attention on the good stuff that’s happening. Take in the moment.

While traveling you will see a variety of different things and feel many emotions.  Enjoy even the bad times, one day, they won’t seem all that bad. Let your life just work itself out and go with it. Trust me, it makes it all a lot easier.

 

Listen to your gut

Everyone should listen to their gut however when you travel, especially on your own, you have to listen and trust yourself.

It’s important to value your own thoughts and opinions as well as others. Try and feel a vibe from someone and be honest with yourself about situations.

As much as i’m really not trying to sound like some life guru, or even just your mother, seriously.. learn to listen to yourself. You have to be able to make decisions, make choices and be active on your own.

 

Do what you enjoy and do it with passion

I’ve always been quite strong in regards to what I want to do and why.

I’ve always been able to pursue what it is I love doing through massive amounts of support and self determination. I’ve had no hidden help or secret funds, just passion.

Traveling, dancing, photography, having new experiences, learning, blogging, bartending, exercising, socialising and simply going out for brunch are some of the simple things I love doing.

Guess what, I live my life doing that.

Whatever it is you enjoy, go and do it.

 

Get your priorities right

This really got me when I started working abroad at 18 in Crete.

I really learnt was was important to me. My family & friends who sustained their love and time. The people that genuinely wanted to support me in all sorts of ways.

I needed to decide what I wanted to spend my money on and what I didn’t.

I had to decide what I wanted for myself. I didn’t want to spend my time and money on booze or belongings. I wanted experiences and flights, adventures and new friends.

When you travel, you learn what your priorities are. You see the world at such a large scale you really how insignificant you are to the whole world.

Try and focus on what it is you really want for yourself.

If you really want to travel, you’ll make it work.

 

Be active

Monday morning dive • Malaysia

There is so much to do going on in the world. We all need to be able to chill, relax and rest, I’m all for that never the less go out and do things.

Legit, just get up and go explore. The fulfilment of experiences over belonging is unexplainable.

Spend your money on experiences and make memories. Not everything has to cost a lot.

 

So there we are. My 5 ways to think if you really want to travel. These are just my thoughts and opinions and any feedback is welcome!

Like this read? Make sure to check out my 18 helpful tips to traveling alone by clicking here!

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19 things you should know before traveling Australia

Australia was never on the top of my list for places to live and travel.

Seeking magical adventures and trying to get out my comfort zone, I felt more inclined to Asia & countries that were contrasting to what I was used too.

After an unbelievable and magical 6 month trip around South East Asia, I headed over to find some kind of base and of course a new experience and explore a new country.

 I was not let down.

Saint Kilda / Melbourne

Australia is one massive country filled with a diverse variety of things to do and places to go.

Every Tom, Dick and Harry seems to be hopping on a flight to the other side of the world seeking the Aussie experience.

I don’t like telling people too much about where to go and what to do but I’ve come up with my top tips for traveling Australia. These are just a few things I thought you should know.

With the second-highest human development index globally, the country ranks highly in quality of life, health, education, economic freedom, and civil liberties and political rights.

1. It’s a continent.

Australia is massive!

It’s bigger than Europe and the world’s sixth-largest country by total area.

2. There are countless things to do.

Australia offers loads of things to get up too. From some of the best camping spots and of course the best places to surf.

Camping, on a jeep. Friday night set up.

It offers nature, rainforests and jungles, the outback, mountains and major cities. There’s places to ski, places to shop, places to explore and so much more.

3. Make the most of brunch.

Chapel Street / Melbourne

Brunch in Australia is a thing, something they do very well. All over the country on every menu they ‘do’ brunch. The best thing is, it’s normally all day. Well done Australia.

4. Most of Australia is just land

Australia is actually a lot of land. With the size of the country being ginormous and a population of 24, 520, 898. It’s mostly land.

Only 2% of the population of Australia live in the yellow area.

5.  You can’t buy booze from the supermarket

They have bottle shops, and sometimes small stores attached to supermarkets, however, Australia doesn’t sell booze in supermarkets. They seem quite strict with selling, buying and even public drinking over in Aus. There are normally plenty of 24/7 hour bottle shops about.

6.  81% of the worlds deadliest animals come from Australia

I thought this was an interesting fact I found out a while ago while on a tour in Queensland’s rainforest.

After completing my farm work, living out in the Australian bush, I did see a lot of amazing wildlife and insects! Yes there are snakes, spiders, toads etc.. but its really not that bad. Trust me.

It’s worth knowing some more on the deadly animals in case you do come across any.

Warning – Scary spider

7. Best hospitality in the world

Make use of the hospitality over in Australia. A very westernized, sanitized country and pretty expensive but you can find the best places to eat in the drink. A massive coffee culture with some of the most phenomenal places to eat out. Everything is accessible in the major cities.

Rooftop bars, quirky cafes, local markets, fine dining and tasty street trucks are all over.

8.  Wear suncream

The sun is stronger then you think. With a lot of Australia not covered by the ozone layer, the sun is powerful. Even those who don’t normally wear sun cream, it’s worth having some with you.

No one wants sun spots and wrinkles when they’re older.

9. You can’t enter without a visa

The visa restrictions are pretty strict. Despite the entry being easy every time I’ve flown into and across Australia, you need to make sure you have the right documents. There are all sorts of visa types including tourist, residential, working holiday. There are different requirements for each and may vary depending age and where you are from.

10.  There is a difference between Wallabies and Kangaroos. FYI.

After living in the outback I sure have seen some pretty awesome animals. Tropical Queensland is nature at it’s finest.

Running along side wallabies during my weekly runs, it was pretty surreal. However, there is a big difference between the two animals.

They’re both marsupials, meaning mothers carry their young around in built-in pouches. And scientists have even grouped them into the same order, family and subfamily.

The kangaroo’s legs are built for speed on open terrain. The wallaby’s more compact legs are built for agility in forested areas.

11. It’s westernized.

Okay, so coming from Asia this was a real shock. Don’t expect a massive culture shock, everyone speaks English, you drive on the left and it’s simply very westernized.

12. David Attenborough favourite Jungle is in Queensland

Not that he would need any introduction, Sir David Attenborough is a British writer, presenter, narrator, broadcaster and naturalist who has had an awe-inspiring 70-year long career.

Daintree Cape Tribulation Rainforests, North tropical Queensland is his favourite place in the world.

Very close to where I did my farm work!

 

13. There is a time zone across the country.

The time difference in Australia is crazy. I’m 11 hours ahead from home, UK. Even across the country they have a time difference.

14. Aboriginals

Aborigines are Australia’s indigenous people. Recent government statistics counted approximately 400,000 aboriginal people, or about 2% of Australia’s total population. Australian Aborigines migrated from somewhere in Asia at least 30,000 years ago.

The history is pretty interesting and you will normally see aboriginals especially out the major cities.

15. Free BBQ’s everywhere

One of my favourite things about Australia is that they cater so much for outdoors. Everyone is active,  enjoying life. There are bbq’s everywhere. Keep an eye out and make use of them!

16. Surfing is a culture

Australia offers some of the best surf spots, surf training and just the all round culture of the activity.

Top places are Gold coast, Torquey, Surfers paradise, Bryon bay, Bondi beach, Central coast, Anglesea, rainbow beach and loads more.

Surfers at Maroubra Beach.

17. Don’t hesitate to come on your own

This is something a lot of people have expressed to me. They made a decision to come on there own for the first time, and it’s all worked out. Solo travel is my favourite way to travel, if you’re thinking about it. Give it a go!

Click here to read my top 18 tips on traveling alone..

18. Try have contacts within the country

It’s always good to know someone in the same city as you, let alone the same country however can’t always be the case.

I’ve been tons of places and known absolutely no one. Keep in contact with backpackers, friends, friends of friends who are somewhere in Aus. It’s all about who you know. Luckily I have some great friends who were already over here!

19. Embrace the lifestyle.

All over Australia the lifestyle is active, outdoors, positive and fun. Embrace the beach lifestyle, camping trips, random styles and everything Australia has to offer.

You may jump out a plane, trek through the rainforest and jungles, go out vintage searching in Melbourne, sail past the Sydney opera house,

 

 

Embrace it. Chase it. Enjoy it. Australia is a cool place with awesome things to do and tons of places to go.

Make sure to check out my top tricks & tips if heading to Melbourne by clicking here!

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The reality of Australian second year visa farm work

The reality of Australian Second year visa work

Sure most of us have heard about second year visa work.

13 consistence weeks on the same farm or 88 days of some kind of agriculture work to gain a second year visa in Australia.

Sydney #operahouse #sydneyharbour #travelsydney #wanderlust #nikon

Hearing numerous things regarding farm work, I had a good idea how it all worked, however I don’t think anything can prepare you for the real thing.

Almost everyone says, do it for the experience and boy is it one!

Still smiling despite reaching 43 degree dry heat. Considering I'm English and its November, I can't complain too much. ☀️

Still smiling despite reaching 43 degree dry heat. Considering I’m English and its November, I can’t complain too much. ☀️

 

In this blog,
I can only go off my experiences and knowledge, working on a banana farm as apposed to others all over Australia, never the less, I sure had a real Australian, backpacker, bush living, full time farm work experience and I’m writing this to help understand, inform and share this experience for me and many others!

New job role: Driving the tractor // 7am out in the banana paddys with the lads ☀️

Where?

North Tropical Queensland

4 hours North of Cairns, Lakeland.

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Four farms, one accomadation and 50-80 backpackers.

Family dinner // Farmlife

Sitauted far from much sense of normality, the closest city was Cairns, over a 4 hour drive.

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Home

The closest town was Cooktown, an hour drive north, around 15 years out of date, a basic town with only approx 2,000 as their population.

As mentioned in other blogs, travel tip, don’t have expectations. It’s hard not too especially when you already have loads of information however I never expected something quite like this.

Bush living #Australia #NorthtropicalQueensland

Bush living

Getting the job

After 6 months traveling solo around Asia, and just under three months living in Melbourne, I decided farm work was a favourable option.

Making calls to hostels and farms around Innisfail and others around Cairns, I wasn’t getting much luck. I had booked a flight up to Cairns as I wanted to be in Queensland.

Helpful places offering work; Gumtree. Facebook. Travel agents

Farm work is a pretty last minute thing. Jobs come and go and staff are normally needed asap.

On the Monday of leaving to Cairns, I called round more working hostels as last minute seemed to be the best option.

‘The job is yours if you are here by tomorrow’

Arriving past midnight, a few hours sleep at Gilligans and a 7am pick up I was off the next morning.

Here we go again. My rucksack & I can't stay in the same place for longer then 3 months. Melbourne, you have not let me down. The friends and memories I have from such an awesome city, but I have to continue my worldwide adventures. Heading to the outback. Melbourne, I'll see you soon. #travel #solobackpacker

Farm work tends to happen very quickly, there are so many people looking for work they normally want immediate starts, hence why last minute seems to be the best option.

When looking for farm work, try give yourself the flexibility to just get straight to the job.

Sometimes it’s a matter of constantly checking or work and just calling up and hoping there are places.

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Be aware

There are, like always, a few dodgy farms and people get messed around so it’s worth doing a little research on where you are heading or speaking to people in the area.

I’ve heard stories of travelers completing their time however not being signed off.

Unfortunatley, on most farms, no job is secure. Everyone is so easily replaced so incase of the worst, try not to leave farm work too last minute.

If you do leave or get sacked, however still want to continue farm work. You will have to complete 88 days to be signed off, which can work out a lot longer.

Bush life

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The nature and scenery looked like something from David Attenborough, legit.

(Fun fact: His favourite rainforest is in Queensland)

The farm and accomadation surroundings where just sensational. Miles of nothing but land. Wild wallabies, crazy insects, surreal surroundings and sensational sunsets, it was hard not to enjoy the lifestyle.

Friday's off. 35degrees.

Friday’s off. 35degrees.

Farm life is normally tough graft, easy living.

Long days, short weeks we all used to say on the farm.

Other then attending work and getting on with it, life wasn’t too stressful.

It’s a strange living condition as you live and work with the same people as there is no one else around. We felt like we were in the TV show, Big Brother.

Saturdays. Farm life.

Saturdays. Farm life.


Work

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13 weeks.

6.30am pickup.
Every morning 4/5 days a week.

Depending on which farm you worked on, was dependant on what bus you got and off you went for the day. Water, lunch, coffee, sun cream, hat, phone, go.

Checking out all the farms from up high in a tiny little plane! #Queensland #Australia #farmwork #fly

Checking out all the farms from up high in a tiny little plane!

Let me tell you, the fun of it all can ware off as the work gets tough.
It was go from day one and that was going to be it for the next 13 weeks. I kind of had absolutely no other option other then to get the heck on with it.

Pay was hourly, which I highly reccomend.

Comission work isn’t always great pay and there is no garuntee there is always enough fruit.

Rules

Girls in the shed. Guys in the paddocks.

There were particular about male and female roles despite being one of the only females to do a males job and I luckily got to work in the paddocks!

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There are jobs for guys in the shed, who will be named ‘shed bitches’.

There are a number of reasons for girls and guys having certain jobs.

A. Sexism. This is outback Australia we are talking about.

B. The heat is so intense, the guys are more reliable for work in the hot weather.

C. The cutting & humping are so physical, the height on the banana trees, and weight of some of the banana bunches do make it a ‘mans job’. End of.

Jobs:

Female – Sorting, Hanging, Stacking, Packing, Cutting and Weighing.

Sounds like some kind of joke. It’s not.

Male – Stacking, Humping, Hanging, De-hanging, Driving.

Shed life: No talking. No music. Nothing but machinery. We occasionally made small talk and had a little giggle. Almost got sacked my first few days for talking. I guess some things never change.

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Routine

You eventually get the hang of things. It takes a few days and thankfully help from the others, you get to know what to wear, what to take to work, how the days pan out etc.
You work out what time to get up at and how much sleep you really need.

After a few weeks you really get into a routine. As a backpacker always on the move, it felt wierd being back in my own little room and working long days.

Make the most of the routine. I used my time to loose some weight, get my fitness back, chill out, earn some money and still travel parts of North Queensland.

Escaped the farm for the day.

Escaped the farm for the day.

Girls. Forget the nice hair and make up. Think banana gunk, dirt, water, sweat and occasionally tears, you get used to it. Your clothes will get ruined, your shoes will have to stay at work and hats or normally requested or just needed.

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Lads. Think sweat, dirt and pure banana sap.

Either way. It’s thought graft.

It’s a pretty easy life in a way. As long you as you’re ready for the bus, get on it and get on with the farm work, there’s not too much to worry about. It’s an experience like no other and isnt supposed to be straightfoward.

It’s more of a challenge, mentally.

Long, tedious, repepative work. Treated pretty shit at times. Crazy tempretures and basic living.

At my farm, we had the same job everyday. If you sorted bananas, that’s what you did all day every day. I know a lot of farms mix it up however it can feel endless.

The lads and eventually me when I was put onto as the tractor driver, had to spend hours in the tropical scorching sun where it reached up to 45 degrees. I give it to the lads physically working out while cutting and humping the bananas, it’s fucking hot.

As much as farm work was challenging, I'm going to miss the crazy days, scorching sun, silly banter and unbelievable nature. #Bananafarm #Queensland #Farming

The job is a valuble spot and can very easily be suspended. I almost lost my job the last week of my farmwork purely as they had to cut down staff. I had backpackers on my farm getting sacked and sometimes there isn’t always full time work.

Each job is so easily replacable so it’s important to work hard. It’s easy to want to quit, have days where you feel it’s not worth it.

It helped spending time in Australia beforehand. Despite only living in Melbourne for a couple of months, it was enough for me to genuinly want another year in Australia at some point.

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It’s an experience like nothing else, full of lessons, memories, learning new skills, banter, nature and a different Australian experience.

 

 


 

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Traveling the world solo. Year 1

Here I am. 12 months later after traveling the world solo, non-stop, for a year.

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Traveling thoroughly through Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Bali, Singapore, Laos and Australia, it’s been the most unbelievable year.

Every single day has been an adventure. Some kind of lesson, a new experience, a new friend, another story. It’s been constant.

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I left 21 years old, on the 26th November 2015 with nothing but my rucksack and a camera.

Little strings attached to pretty much anything, leaving behind great friends, a loving family, and a great job and lifestyle. I was settled and had no reason to leave.

Since turning 18 I’ve hardly been in the same place for longer then three months.

I’ve got the travel bug.

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Despite interrailing Europe, seasons abroad and various other trips, I seem to be in it for the real deal now.
I have no intentions to stop traveling the world anytime soon.

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 A year. Well.
Where do I start?

Beforehand

I was nervous to leave. Of course I was, however, it wasn’t about what was going to happen to me. I didn’t feel unsafe or scared. It was more of, I don’t know when I’ll be back, I don’t know when I’ll see people again. Unsure when I’ll next be home, when I’ll run out of money or even where I’m going to be heading, however, the excitement was overwhelming.

I had five nights booked in Bangkok, and the rest, well, I can only describe as the most fulfilling, busy, eye-opening, genuine and phenomenal year of my life.

Today James and I woke up late, ventured into the centre for coffee & pasty and headed to the floating markets. 40 minutes out of Siem Reap we drove past remote villages, streets of poverty and run down communities. Instead, we decided to not pay $20 each for the markets, go back into the villages and took the families fruit, sweets, water and balloons. We played with the children, met the families & cared for the puppies. Cambodia is such a fascinating, beautiful but remote and poor country. The fact people can live happy like this, shows how much we don't need possessions. Family, friends, hope, love and strength was what I witnessed today. No profit organisations, no tourist attraction. Just a basic community.

I promised myself I would let the world take me on one big ride and just go with it. No plans and open to all sorts of wonderful ideas.

I had already booked a flight to Australia but had no set date. Whenever I was ready, so I knew that was my plan once I was done in Asia.

I talk a lot about mindset and determination.

Click here to read my post on the mindset of travel!

When you start a trip to this extent, you have to stay positive.

You have to genuinely want this for yourself.

I wanted freedom, adventure, independencey.

I needed to explore.

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I didn’t have anywhere near enough money as I wanted, I left with almost half the amount I originally planned.  I was unsure how long my money may last and knew it was going to be a highly budgeted trip.

Finances were tough but this is where survival mode, value, priorities, and general money management skills kicked in.

I wanted it that bad, I had to do it.

Click here to read ‘you really want to know how much’.

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I worked hard to save and committed to my priorities. Cut down booze almost completely, expensive meals and much sense of luxury were a no go. It was cheap and cheerful.

Still managed a few treats of course.

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What have I really been up to the last 12 months?

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During this year I’ve swum with sharks, turtles, sting rays and experienced the world under water learning to scuba dive.

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Found the most magical places and secluded & secret destinations.

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Bokor City / Kampot

Trekked with elephants, img_0097

worked on a banana farm in the tropical bush of North Queensland,

New job role: Driving the tractor // 7am out in the banana paddys with the lads ☀️

New job role: Driving the tractor // 7am out in the banana paddys with the lads ☀️

trekked through the Malaysian mountains, volunteered at animals shelters, img_0545

trekked through rainforests and tried all sorts of weird and wonderful foods.

Spent my Sunday chasing waterfalls. Even managed to get to the famous 'herbal essences' and 'Mysterious girl' waterfall / Millaa Millaa

Spent my Sunday chasing waterfalls. Even managed to get to the famous ‘herbal essences’ and ‘Mysterious girl’ waterfall / Millaa Millaa

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Ive been stranded in open water on a kayak, spent Christmas on the beach.

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I’ve dated a Kiwi, lived with an aussie in Cambodia, had a little fling with an hawain firefighter, hooked up with a Danish and even had my heart broken a little.

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I’ve seen wonders of the world,

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cruised down the Mekong delta,

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been running through the outback next to wild wallabies, ridden motorbikes through tropical jungles and hired motobikes all over Asia.

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Attended the worlds biggest three day water fight for Thai new year in Chiang Mai, Songkran.

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I’ve sailed around a yacht through Sydneys harbours,

Sydney has been unreal so far! Had a day of luxery being driven around in our own private yacht! #TravelAustralia #Sydney #sydneybridge

tried all different modes of transport and stayed in alsorts of accomadation.

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First motobike taxi, Bangkok.

I’ve seen the most intense thunder storms, acres and acres of forest fires and sunsets from all over.

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These are just some of the things I’ve managed to do, properly, all within a tight budget.

Spending time talking to people has helped me with all different experiences and had alsorts of weird and wonderful ways of oppurtunties, help and support. A lot of what I get up too seems to be the ‘It’s who you know, not what you know’ and a matter of asking.

Managed to blag my way on the farm owners plane. What a way to watch the sunset in the middle of the tropical outback!

Managed to blag my way on the farm owners plane. What a way to watch the sunset in the middle of the tropical outback!

I’ve laughed, cried, gained weight, lost weight, taken risks, made mistakes, learnt things about myself I don’t like and learnt things about myself that I do.

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I’m defiantley not perfect, I’ve had days I’ve felt homesick and a little lonely, days where I felt unsure and lost and plenty of financial worries.

Backpacking isn’t supposed to be easy, I have had some crazy journeys on my own, long flights and crazy bus rides. I’ve met some of the strangest people and witnessed a variety of events. Risks have been taken and of course, made some silly mistakes.

I have put my trust into complete strangers, shared experiences with randomers also on their own and made life long friends.

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Unfortunately lost friends and drifted apart from others, but I’ve accepted this is part of traveling.

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It’s not always easy to keep in contact and I’ve had days of feeling let down by friends and people I really cared for.

I’ve stayed genuine, positive, outgoing and friendly, majority of the trip, and it really helped me get to where I wanted to be.

It’s all part of the experience.

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All in all. My trip has gone pretty bloody smoothly and I’ve stayed aware and focused on my goals.

A little on Asia

Asia was my main priority. I had been backpacking with my family when I was younger but I had some serious exploring to do, this time as an adult, on my own.

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Koh Phi Phi / 2004

Asia is a magical place. Filled with craziness and culture. I took a ride on an Asian adventure and I was not let down.img_1149

Every single country in Asia is different in it’s own way. All different currency, languages and traditions. The beauty within the continent was almost overwhelming. dsc_0047

I found places I could only call paradise and felt welcomed. Despite all the serious scams, busy capital cities and some of the poorest communities, I fell in love. Everything about each country was interesting and was always being suprised at each destination.

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 A little on Australia

Australia was a safe option for me. It allowed me to continue traveling, however it put in a position I needed to be in, employed.

It was a western country I could settle in. A ginormous country with tons of things to do, I knew there was a lot of Australia to travel!

Sunday beach day. #Australia #Queensland #travel #paradise

Archer Point / North Tropical Queensland

I arrived into Australia with $300 AU. I luckily had a close friend I crashed with in St. Kilda and got myself back in the cocktail scene, bartending on Chapel Street, Melbourne.

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It was a culture shock at first, and bloody freezing. Confusing almost and it all felt so fucking expensive however I adapted and had a couple of months in Melbourne in a flat share. I eventually decided to do my farm work visa, flying up to Cairns I headed to a farm the next day.

I worked on a banana farm for the next 13 weeks living right at the top of Queensland. In the middle of nowhere with around 50 other backpackers in a shared accomadation I went to save some money, make some more unforgettable memories and get my second year visa!

Farm life // bush life // banana life #Australia #Travel #Farming

A challenging experience but with an easy, hot and different lifestlye, there was so much to love.

Friday's off. 35degrees.

Friday’s off. 35degrees.

I find Australia an easier place to backpack but with so much to do and a diverse range of experiences on offer, it’s a great place to explore. I can’t wait to head back and travel the east & west coast.

And now?

I’m coming home for Christmas! Over a year away from good old England and I’m flying back in December, stopping in Thailand for two weeks inbetween, of course!

Home is just for a few weeks and it’s back to Australia to do it all over again. Another year traveling solo around the world heading to Indonesia, Japan and South America in 2017!

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It feels like I’ve been gone years, just with the amount of things I’ve done and how I see things differently.

People change all the time, that’s part of growing up, and I’m not going to come back some brand new person, but boy do I feel different.

The more I travel the more I do feel as though England isn’t the place for me. England has always been home and my friends and family are so important to me. The way certain parts of the world lives has really given me an insight on the kind of lifestlye I want for myself, which makes me unsure if England is the best place, but who knows!

I seem to have friends all over the world and I’m still bumping into people I’ve met in random hostels in cities I’ve only just turned up in. There are so many more places to see and things to do. I couldn’t do it without the love and support from my family which means the world to me, quite literally.

I have developed a passion, a curiosity to only see more of the world we live in.

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I’m overwhelmed with excitement. To see my family and friends and of course my dog! Just to have a lovely hot bath, put my pyjamas on and get into my own bed, in my own room!
I’ve missed the little thing things in life. Basic home comforts, being around people who really know and love me. Having home cooked dinners and complete privacy is something I havn’t had much of.

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It’s going to be strange seeing everyone, things will be different but very little would have fundamentally changed.

I’m most nervous for the cold weather as I’ve been living in 45 degree heat.

I have an entire bucket list of things to do, places to go, things to try and experiences I don’t even know of yet and there is no stopping anytime soon.

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Traveling isn’t supposed to be easy, it’s risk, leaving your comfort zone, trying new things. Like everyone, I have my own problems, money worries etc. It’s totally normal for things not to always go so smoothly, in a way, enjoy the bad times. Learn from them.

You don’t learn to travel, you travel to learn.

If I can do it, so can you.

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Traveling with Scoliosis

Scoliosis – a lateral curvature of the spine.

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Traveling and scoliosis are two very important things in my life and with very little on the internet about the emotional and personal side to scoliosis, I decided to write about it.

Chilled Saturday morning in Cairns publishing blogs! Not a bad spot to be doing 'work' ✌️

I have a double curvature like an S shape around 58degrees & 63 degrees.

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Just to get an idea of the curvature.

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Everyone with Scoliosis has a different curvature, at different stages in the their life with different personal stories. The pain can vary from person to person and I can only write from my experiences and story.

A little on the beginning.

I was 14 when my ex boyfriend noticed my back wasn’t quite even. I spent hours in the mirror that evening doing all sorts of moves and positions. He was right, my back wasn’t quite straight.

After research, scans and appointments at the hospital, I soon got diagnosed and signed to a surgeon to talk about the future possibilties.

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I was petrified.

I’d never even broken a bone, never rushed to the hospital or suffered any major problems and I was being told I need life changing surgery for a major condition.

I had two major curves classed as serious however they are not life threatening and won’t cause any internal damage.

Options were limited.

A brace wasn’t an option as the curvature was already too severe and I didn’t have too much growing left.

The first X-ray my parents and I had seen, well, none of us could believe it was even possible that was me.

My dad couldn’t believe his daughter’s spine could be so, curved.

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As I was training for dance school surgery wasn’t an option.

Surgery

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A very long, intense procedure screwing rods into each vertebra down my spine and attaching metal rods and screws to hold my ‘new’ straight back in place.

There are several approaches to scoliosis surgery, but all use modern instrumentation systems in which hooks and screws are applied to the spine to anchor long rods. The rods are then used to reduce and hold the spine while bone that is added fuses together with existing bone.

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After many chats and discussions, tears and concerns, my family and I were slightly against the process and decided to just focus on my dance and healthy future.

It was one heck of a recovery process which would have included full-time constant care and a very intense year of getting back to normal life. I would then have many restrictions on my back movement and miss out on certain things in life.

Exploring the ruins of the Angkor Wat Jungle temple. Siem Reap, Cambodia

Exploring the ruins of the Angkor Wat Jungle temple. Siem Reap, Cambodia

As years went on and turning into an adult, it’s been a world wind of feelings towards going ahead with the surgery and scoliosis in general.

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When I finished my dance training the truth of my scoliosis was more of a reality.

I knew I wanted to travel the world once I did my first season abroad in Malia.

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I had things I wanted to do, experiences to have and future plans for myself, I didn’t seem to have the time to take a year out of life for surgery.

I only have a certain amount of time before surgery will almost be pointless. As my back tightens and stiffens once I’m fully grown, it’ll take longer to recover and have less impact on the movement of my spine.

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I started traveling the world when I was 18. We had family trips to destinations including India, Canada, Thailand backpacking with the parents and my younger sister, I’ve had the travel bug ever since.

Travel involves long flights, random places to sleep including the airport floor.

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Uncomfortable coaches, sharing cabs and tuk-tuks and quashing into packed buses.

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Heavy rucksacks and all different kinds of exercises including long walks with my rucksack.

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This can’t be good for my back?

.. but how can I go ahead with the procedure?

However. I’m then left with this crazy curved spine. A condition that no professional dance company will take too seriously. A condition that will give me all different kinds of problems throughout my life.

964ce8f4e9b55df759ecf5b08a14e84eI’m now 22 and currently traveling around the world, solo.

I’m incredibly happy and free.

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Catch up with my last year traveling the world solo by clicking here!

My surgeon told me before I left to start a world trip, to concentrate on the certainty. Travel.

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I am having unforgettable experiences, unteachable lessons, a new friend everyday.

I am determined to travel.

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Wait, I need to carry my life on my back.

Lots of walking, hard wooden beds, heavy luggage. Long journeys and little comfort.

I’m now even stacking boxes and bananas for my second year visa work.

16kg boxes of bananas being moved onto pallets for 8 hours each day. Packing up to 5,000 boxes a week on my own.

Straining back? Hell yes.

Wouldn’t anyone have a sore back?

What helps me travel with Scoliosis?

 I travel with a teddy, however, any small pillow or head rest is great to take the pressure off your back. Sometimes even resting a piece of clothing in the middle of your back takes away pressure on long journeys. My teddy, ‘Grumpy’ is a great neck rest and of course, a great comfort to me.

Asking for an extra pillow at hostels, hotels or an planes can help for extra comfort and support.

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Due to scoliosis, I do suffer pain and discomfort. I do get back ache and my back looks uneven and unbalanced all the time. Having a few tablets of Anadin or other pain relief can help take the ease out of the real discomfort however I very rarely take any form of tablets or pain relief. I have found personal ways to reduce discomfort which works for me.

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If you suffer from discomfort after sitting for too long during flights, let the airline know and they may offer you some extra space or somewhere to stretch out. It’s important to be able to stretch your back out as it easily stiffens, I find discomfort gets worse if I am sat for too long.

If you are on long journeys, make sure to move and stretch around or if walking for long periods, remember it’s okay and rest. It’s always time to stop for a coffee right?

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Clothes. So of course, clothes can look uneven on my upper half and certain tops & bras just don’t sit right. There are clothes I feel extremely uncomfortable wearing, but doesn’t everyone? I try and buy clothes that don’t draw too much area to bumps and curves.

I find when traveling there are loads of cheap, beautiful baggy and loose clothes that are easy to pack and look great wondering hippy towns and idyllic beaches. As the weather is pretty humid in so many parts of the world, light and baggy clothing is always great to have and sold almost everywhere.

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40degrees checking out Penang’s street art // Malaysia

When those bikinis come out, I have no choice but to reveal my back.
There is nothing I can do about the way my back looks. Some people say they really can’t notice it, to me, it runs through my head constantly.

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As scoliosis affects your entire skeleton, posture is important. Avoid sitting crouching over yourself. Yoga is a great way to help stretch out your back and engage good posture throughout out your life.

I find the more you know about the balance of muscles around the spine and the way your body will move differently to others, will help understand how to help the discomfort. I know lots of people who take part in physio to understand the way the body will move differently and work on certain muscles as they will be uneven.

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The older I get and the more I travel, the less I concentrate on my scoliosis. The less I actually overly care about the way I look, and in some way, what anyone thinks about me.

Spent my Friday volunteering on a friends farm. Getting to ride around on a quad through the outback was pretty awesome!

I have found personal ways of my own to keep my back comfortable however, I have never needed much special treatment or extra care. My dance training has helped with my posture, I keep fit and healthy to protect my bone strength, cut out the booze and don’t smoke cigarettes.

I can still do everything I want to do.
I’m not sure for how long, maybe until I’m 30,50,70. I do suffer from discomfort no one else understands.

Understanding that with or without surgery it will always be a big part of my life. I may look at things differently over time.

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It can’t stop you doing anything, epecially if you are determind.

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There are lots of different ways of improving life with scoliosis, lots of groups and worldwide meetings on dealing with Scoliosis. Don’t be afraid to talk about it, it makes you unique. It’s good to open up about it and get the support you need.

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There are hundreds of people undergoing surgery, starting there first few weeks in a brace and also, like me, just getting on with life with the condition.

Let me know your story and your tips!

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7 steps to starting your travels

Starting a trip can be pretty daunting. Not sure where to start, where to look first, what to book.

I get tons of questions from first time travelers or even just people unsure on where to start when booking the next big trip.

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I am going to make it short, sweet and simple.

Here are my 7 steps to getting that trip sorted.

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My first week in Bangkok

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Research & decide.

Where is it you want to go? What do you really want to see and do? Looking to work or just explore?

There are so many fabulous destinations and I know the feeling of wanting to go to them all, nevertheless, find out the places that fit your personal criteria and make a decision on where you will be going.

Maybe it’s exploring the wildlife in Africa, Interrailing around Europe or backpacking India. Driving around Vietnam, Camping in Australia or even skiing in Canada, the decision is yours.

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Find out if you need to apply for a visa or need to apply/pay for any entry requirments. Depending on where you are from and how long you want to stay in a country, there may be various costs. Take into consideration the time of year and weather seasons and conditions and current affairs around the world.

Book a flight

The first big step you should take is getting that first flight booked. This will really trigger the excitment and reality of you pursuing the trip.

Flights can be pretty pricey but once this is out the way, just focus on living costs/ spending money for the trip. I normally only book a flight and leave the rest for once I arrive.

Get saving

This is where you need to be strict. Start cutting down on unnecessary spending, think about the amount of money you are going to need. I never sacrificed too much to travel, I still wanted to live my life and do certain things however I barely drink, don’t buy myself new clothes and shoes and despite a rich life in the places I go and the people I meet, my outgoings are minimal. It’s all priorities, you just need to decide on yours.

If you know you are leaving to travel, you don’t need to be buying new shoes and clothes. Cut down the booze and put the money towards your trip.

I normally try and set a goal each month of how much I try and put away depending on my income. Work hard, play harder type thing..

Groups. Blogs. Pages.

If you are wanting to find out more about the places you are going too, If you’re traveling solo and want to chat to a few people, even if you want to read other peoples journeys, join the facebook groups and pages, read peoples blogs, just like you’re doing now! They are here to help.

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Vaccinations/Injections

Depending on the countries you’ll be visiting, you may need vaccinations. It can get pricey but check what you can get any on your local healthcare. For Asia I needed a Hep A booster, Rabies jab, Enchafilatus and Malaria tablets (Which I never even took). This did unfortunatley take a chunk out my travel funds including basic first aid bits.

Detatch yourself

If you really want that sense of freedom, you really want to get lost in the that real travel vibe, detach yourself from a lot of things. Slower the better but get rid of that phone contract, don’t have constant outgoings with the bank. Don’t attatch yourself to un-needed contracts, or even relationships. Be prepared to not have too many contracts or unnecesary bits. Certain friendships will fade and certain feelings may fizzle out, this is totally normal.

I ended my phone contract as soon as I could and stopped any direct debits for whatever I had.

Final preparations

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This is it. We are getting close now. Checked your healthcare, got any prescriptions, any visas needed beforehand? Got any copies of passports, important information? Got your camera sorted, currency changed? Any perticular equiptment you may need?

Think about the last people you need to catch up with, the last places you want to eat out and don’t hesitate to do everything you know you will miss.

Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

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Vietnam & it’s coffee

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Coffee lover or not, Vietnam know what they are doing when it comes to coffee.

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They’ve hit the nail on the head with coffee and the best places to enjoy it.

With cafe’s dotted on every corner, secret coffee houses on every other balcony and some of the best drink choices, it’s hard not to spend endless amounts of time and money trying them.

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I have just spent 6 weeks traveling Vietnam while backpacking Asia solo. Getting stuck in Hanoi doing very little other than drinking coffee, smoking too much weed, blagging hostel living, eating street food and most definitely finding new coffee shops.

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With French colonial architecture.

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and a generally crazy country,

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Coffee is like a tradition. Coffee production has been a major source of income for Vietnam since the early 20th century. First introduced by the French in 1857, the Vietnamese coffee industry developed through the plantation system, becoming a major economic force in the country.

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One of the most popular coffee beverages is the typical iced vietnamese coffee.

Servied either on its own, with condensed milk or fresh milk, everyones drinking it. Normally drank after a meal served with either water or hot tea.

Typically the coffee is prepared in single servings in single-cup filter/brewers known as phin. Generally, the coffee is served tableside while it is still brewing. The use of sweetened condensed milk rather than fresh milk was first due to its availability and easier storage in a tropical climate. The condensed milk serves to sweeten the coffee as well. Long practice has led to this being the taste preference in the Vietnamese community.

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The coffee may be brewed onto ice for cafe da, or when had with condensed milk cafe sua da.

There is a lot more to coffee, though, than caffeine.

“Complex flavour chemistry works to make up the flavours inherent in coffee,”

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Ive tried coffee all over from Ho Chi Minh – Hoi An – Hanoi and more. Egg coffee, Coconut coffee, frappes, hot and cold.

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I’ve drank at some of the most beautifully decorated coffee houses, my favourites in Hoi An, of course!

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Some of the best places are filled with people sat out on the street,

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 I’ve found one of the best places in Hanoi, tucked up hidding behind a back alley through a local stall selling the most delicilous popular egg coffee for 15,000 dong. (40p)

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I have drunk at some of the fanciest little coffee boutiques houses sipping espresso

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and of course found my favourite vietnemese starbuck styled chain. Cong.

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I even found a Harry Potter themed coffee shop in Hanoi!

So what makes it different?

Vietnam take their coffee seriously. I have found coffee great all over Asia however lots of places do cheat. Not using real espresso or coffee beans. South East Asia

What should you have?

The main one. Hot or cold? This is a big one and there are so many different kinds. Depending on my mood and the weather and the option of choices, I try to vary.

How sweet do you like it? Condensed milk is a sweetner and I love it! You can get hold or cold fresh milk. I reccomend going french press.

If you are a coffee lover you will really be able to taste the difference in the traditional coffee. I find it a strong but sweet and a little bitter.

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Where to drink it!

Well. I may aswell give you my favourites if you’re in Vietnam!

My top choice

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The best hot mocha ive had in Asia. Hot, sweet, milky with a gorgeous smooth coffee taste! I added caramel of course.

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Good old Cong Caphe. I fell in love with this little chain. A beautifully decorated, communist themed, coffee shop was always perfect. Situated all over Hanoi, serving a wide selection of hot and cold coffees, teas, a few smoothies and a few other little beverages and snacks.

They are a quality-focused artisan coffee shop is a great place to drink/eat/work in a homey, unique Hanoian atmosphere. Cộng Càphê (which means Viet Cong in Vietnamese)  recalls the socialist era with humour and parody with its bare brick walls, dark wood handmade tables, propaganda posters and slight militaristic hint.

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