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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The closest town was Cooktown, an hour drive north, around 15 years out of date, a basic town with only approx 2,000 as their population.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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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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My 8 biggest travel tips..

There aren’t really any secrets. No myths or hidden meanings. Taking these things traveling simply entitled me to the best travel..

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1.Give yourself as much time as possible.

I had no end date,  little at home that I had to go back for, other then friends and family of course. I detached myself from most things meaning I had all the time in the world. Literally.

So many travellers do 2/3 months which is sweet but the opportunities you’ll miss out on is crazy.
The less time you have, the more you’ll feel you want to plan. Wanting to fit everything in leads to not letting go as much. My favourite thing is turning up somewhere and staying for however long I feel. I understand we have to make the most with the time we have but try to just go with the flow.

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2. – Don’t plan anything.

Maybe a train ticket or a busy hostel but most things you really don’t have to plan.
It’s great to have some idea of things, especially if your on my own however planning less leaves less room for an adventure of the unknown.

I turn up in cities with no idea where I’m sleeping, I don’t plan most activities and like to get myself ‘lost’. Things and people are popping up in all places, new adventures and random memories will happen if you just go with the flow. Trust me. It works.

3.Don’t expect anything.

I mean nothing. Easier said than done sometimes. I get it, if you’re paying 20 dollars for your own room, you will have expectations of value. It’s a difficult one to grasp, rather then have little expectations, have none.

Let things surprise you, let it blow your mind more then you thought it could.

I feel I grasped this and my satisfaction and experiences have hugely improved. I’m not feeling let down, I’m not wishing it was something else.

I know when something isn’t substantial, I’m not saying settle for something you shouldn’t but in regards to travel, it could be a beach, a hostel, a meal, a tour, an adventure, expect nothing.

4.Stay open minded.

It’s easier said then done.
Try not to close off options or even have too much of an opinion. Stay strong to your beliefs and keep your passions strong but don’t restrict yourself. Embrace the cultures, the traditions, the odd foods and different ways of living. Immerse in different experiences and talk to people from all different backgrounds and countries. It’s part of the fun.

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5.Speak to people.

Okay, Everyone speaks but really go out your way, speak to people from all around the world. Chat to the locals, get to know the staff in your accommodation and of course, all the other backpackers.DSC_3296Made friends with these two little ones in Kampot, Cambodia.

Backpackers are your biggest help while traveling, they offer advice, support and most importantly, tips on where to go and what to do. I never looked at lonely planet. That’s a secret I guess?

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You’ll find most backpackers are chatty, friendly and also want company. Sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know. Hostels are the best places to meet people so get out your comfort zone and just say hello.

6.Don’t ever say what if.

Well, maybe if you’re about to launch yourself of a building.. Not literally, but 90% of the things we do when we travel has some element of risk. Everything we do has risks but travel is here to take us out of our comfort zones.

If I said what if, I’d still be sat in my bedroom in England rather then be in the middle of South East Asia having the time of my life. I’m alive and free and loving every single second.

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– which leads me onto my next one.

7.Enjoy the bad times. You’re having the trip of a lifetime.
I’m doing more things in South East Asia over 6 months then people do in their entire lives, let alone the seasons abroad and other travels however everything doesn’t go perfect. Despite the happy travel photos and wonderful check ins, we do have down days and things arent all sunshine and daisies.

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£3.00 a night for a shared hut on the beach, with no fan but I was living in paradise.

It’s about memories and experiences we make building us passionate personalities.
Even the random long journeys or the stuffy accommodation.

Life isn’t perfect, backpacking isn’t about luxuries. We have to embrace and just enjoy every second. Live in the present. Even when things don’t go to plan or something may not work out, one day you’ll be thinking back to that time and wishing you were back.

Don’t take anything for granted.

8. Life isn’t too short. It’s what you do with it that makes it short.
I’ve just reached my 6 month point and it feels like yesterday I left my home in England and boarded that plane to Bangkok. Time flies when you’re having fun but that’s the thing, for every second you have, you won’t get it back. There are 6o seconds in a minute. 60 minutes in an hour. 24 hours a day. That’s 1440 minutes in 24 hours. Enough with the bullshit. Don’t waste your time away.

8. Say yes as much as possible.

Hold up. Don’t go buying meth from the dodgy Tuk Tuk man or purchasing bloody everything on Khao San. It’s easy to hold back due to finances or avoided situations but sometimes you should try saying yes even when you really don’t feel like it. You never know where it could lead you, who you’ll meet and new oppurtunities.

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A very emotional day volunteering at the KohPhangan Stray Animal Care.

Your travels are the best time of your life.

Enjoy it & embrace it! IMG_9997

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Am I in love already?

Am I in love already?

Yes yes and one big fat yes.
Wait? With a guy? Pffft. Don’t be silly.

Despite meeting a couple of awesome guys where there has been a connection. Unfortunately, no love there.

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North of Thailand, 3 hours up from Chiang Mai, up in the mountains lies Pai.

Backpackers paradise. Stoners dream. Food lovers heaven. Nature freaks second home. Hippy central and perfection.

It was love at first sight.

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I don’t really plan my travels. I just go with the flow and see what happens. I have a route in mind, however, I go off recommendations, what’s going on, who’s going where and simply wherever the hell I feel like going. My choice is limitless and it feels awesome.

‘You have to go to Pai Leah.’          

‘You heard of Pai? It’s ideal ‘              

‘Still up in Pai, I can’t leave’

So, after 5 nights in Chiang Mai, I book the crazy bus drive up the twisted mountain roads, 762 curves, around 91 miles on route 1095 and it was one heck of a journey. Not that I felt I was in a great amount of danger, but it is one mad bus ride. Don’t think you’ll get away with it as every drive is as ridiculous as the next. I was prepared from hearing stories, however, I was taken away by the insane views. Driving up to the bright blue sky staring out the window to see unbelievable views of the countless green mountains. Getting closer and closer to the clouds it felt pretty surreal. Luckily I traveled with three Hawaiian dudes I had previously met who I sat with and we kept each other company.

 

So where/what/who? Pai.
North Thailand. South East Asia.

Pai-1.8

 

Pai (ปาย) is a small town near the Myanmar border, about 146 km northwest of Chiang Mai on the northern route to Mae Hong Son. It lies on the Pai River. The town has thesaban tambon status and covers parts of the tambon Wiang Tai of Pai district. With a population of 2,284. slowly becoming one of Thailand hippy, backpacker destination.

What makes one tiny town so good?

I couldn’t imagine I would find such a perfect place.
A vibrant, quirky, relaxed, unique and fabulous town, Pai is different.

I found a hostel, unpacked and called my friend Luke who I met in Bangkok who also arrived in Pai the same day. We ventured out to the night market and it was love at first sight.

The market was filled with cheap local food. Unlimited stalls of noodles, pad-tai, pancakes, fried rice, fresh fruit and more. What I also liked was they provided western food. I don’t mean greasy pizza and burgers. But real fresh local wraps, sushi, cakes, crepes, salads, homemade beef burgers, endless fruits and smoothies. For less than £2.00 I indulged in fresh sushi, a scrumptious strawberry smoothie and Luke and I fell in love with a bakery where I paid 50 baht (around 95p) for a huge piece of chocolate and banana cake. Oops.

 

Surrounded by the lush green mountains filled with waterfalls and jungles this small town was becoming more and more ideal. A stunning stream of water flows down near the bottom of the town with unbelievably beautiful bungalow guesthouses surrounding the fresh fields.

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Due to the high demand of buisnesses a lot of the owners are also English and Pai is only growing with tourism which may lead to it getting a lot busier. You go because of recomendations however not everyone knows much about this surreal Thai village and most people find out about this surreal little town until you get out and start traveling and it’s always mentioned somewhere.

It’s the right balance.
Being on a tight budget I was worried this place would rinse me. So much to do, to see, to try, to explore. I was wrong. Again, it’s about getting the balance.

Dollar.imageWell, Thai Baht really..

I stayed at two different hostels over 6 nights. Costing around 180 baht (£3.45) (less then 7 australian dollars) for a 14 bed mixed dorm. Both hostels had wifi, a pool, one hostel had a puppy pit with new born bulldogs. A bar serving cocktails and food, a treehouse with cushions, hammocks and mattress, yoga classes, circus classes, warm showers, and help from staff for all sorts.

I’m spending less then £10 a day on my hostel, smoothies, iced coffee, fruit, some type of street food for dinner and sometimes petrol for my moped. Depending on which city and what else I want to do I may be spending more on certain activities but there is so much to do for free. So many stunning drives, waterfalls, mountains to climb and temples and large buddhas to see. The hot springs cost me £3, my weed cost £10, my ped was £2 a day and any thing else I was extra careful with budgeting.
Huge bottles of cold water from the small supermarket 7/11 is 14 baht (8p) and if you need to buy toiletries, toilet paper etc it’s also very cheap. A large bottle of Chang beer is around 60 baht in most places which is just more then £1. Yoga classes and mediation groups can be found for 100 baht which is just less then £2. Talented tattoo parlours offering traditional bamboo and regular guns can be anywhere and will be cheaper then back at home.

Most places I’ve visited in Thailand have similar prices however for such a marvellous town where I could easily see myself staying, it’s nothing campered to home.

Feeling comfortable travelling solo, despite making so many new wonderful friends, there were people about. Wondering around in baggy vests, oversized travelling pants, dreadlogs, riding around Motorbikes and scooters. Everyone was getting on with there adventures. I felt as though I could fit right in.

Who needs adults #hotsprings #thailand #pai #water #swim #nature

Who needs adults #hotsprings #thailand #pai #water #swim #nature

The air was mild but the humidity from the daylight sun was slightly warming. Currently it’s mid December and it can get quite chilly at night. Especially if you’re coming from Cambodia and Loas and places like Bangkok. Fortunately they sell second hand jackets and hats which is actual quite funny to drive buy and see everyone buying warm coats to drive around in at night.

From there is history….

During my stay:

I wake up everyday with no idea what I’m doing. Do I want to drive up through the secret twisty roads and take in breathtaking views, do I want to go lie by the pool and soak up the sun or shall I wonder around the town and treat myself to a fabulous Thai massage for £3.
How about meet up with friends for lunch for less then a £1 and chill together watching the sunset.

Do I head to a reggae bar and roll a joint or 4.

Sunset bar with these fellas. Loving life in Pai way too much!

Wonder around cafes and care for puppies and meet the locals.

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Sit sipping sweet coffee and treat myself to the huge variety or cakes and pastries at the local bakery or shall I just disappear someone quite and blog like I’ve chosen to do today.

One of my favourite things is to put my headphones in, roll a joint and lie in the hammock and meet friendly and interesting people from all over the world.

#travelgirl #goprothailand #goprolife #goprotravel #hammock #pai #thailand #world #asia

When you’re travelling you can do these types of things all the time.
Never the less, there’s something about Pai. The people, the atmosphere, the vibes and lifestyle is so mellow and positive. So convinent and easy it’s hard not to just settle here.

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Feeling so close to nature, yet managing to find hot showers, warm double bed bungalows, large cheap dorms. Having cheap but amazing foods or splashing out on fresh fish and cocktails it’s the perfect balance.

Meet fascinating people. Chill the heck out. Lay in the sun. Trek through the jungle. Swim in the waterfalls. Bathe in the hot springs, ride through the mountains. Indulge at night. Wonder down the stunning stream or just drink smoothies and lie in a hammock. Anything is possible and it’s bloody incredible.

Yes, due to tourists they have restaurants, bars, guest houses and souvenir shops. If you are looking for somewhere low on tourists this may not be the place for you however the people visiting are pretty low budgeting, backpacking, beer drinking, weed smoking peace lovers. I never felt like it was too busy and the places I hung out was just the right amount of people.

Climbed the waterfalls, smoked a J, drank a beer, slided down the waterfalls with the locals.

I have to continue my trip to my next destination and continue my journey but I will be returning. Whether it’s for a day or a month or a year. I shall be back.

Looking to travel to Pai?
My top places to go :

Sunset bar. •Night market • Mo pang waterfall •Earth tone • Hot springs national park • Edible jazz •

 

Been to Pai?
Comment below and let me know your recommendations on where to go.

Traveling to Bangkok? Make sure to check out my top tricks and tips for traveling Bangkok by clicking here!

 

Pai Canyon

Pai Canyon

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The truth about solo travel

Solo travel?

Impossible.

We live in a world with billions of people.

8/10 people are travelling completely alone. Exactly the same as me. One rucksack and a passion to explore. Some for less then a month, and some for as long as they can.

Travelling isn’t something you do. It’s a lifestyle.

When you’re at home preparing for the day you leave, sitting on that plane travelling to the other side of the world with no one but yourself. Reality sinks in, oh shit.

Am I really doing this?

There is a difference between feeling lonely and being alone.

Despite travelling ‘alone’ I’ve not once felt lonely the entire time. If anything, I feel like I’ve made so many brilliant friends and I’m constantly surrounded by outgoing and positive people.

I’ve travelled to different cities with guys I’ve met in my room that morning. I’ve gone trekking through the jungle with someone I met in a coffee shop. I went out with 17 people in Bangkok also solo in my hostel and it felt like we all knew each other for years. I am always with people and if im not, it’s out of choice.

Lady boy cabaret night with the family. #chiangmai #cabaret #hostelliving

There is something about the nature and social side of backpackers, either solo or in a group that is pretty magical. You just start a conversation and everyone is so friendly and open. I’ve met such incredible and interesting people who I get on with so well and the best thing is, i’ll end up seeing them again. Whether it’s some random street in a different city or even in the same dorm in my hostel in a different country. It’s so easy to bump into people in the most random
places.

Traveling isn’t for everyone, especially backpacking. Like I said before, it’s a lifestyle. A way of living. It takes you out of your comfort zone and devolves certain skills you can only gain from doing such trips. Living your life, with all your belongings out of one bag.

The mindset to travel is a different game altogether. You have to overcome the fear of being too shy to say hello. You have to get over the fact you’ll sometimes eat lunch or dinner by yourself. Learn that sleeping in a dorm with 15 other people that may not speak English isn’t too bad. Or where I’m currently writing this blog, on a tiny mini van heading from Pai to Chiang Mai, North Thailand, down a mental twisted and very bumpy 3.5 hour journey squashed in the back with a girl asleep on you isn’t all that bad. So I keep trying to tell myself.

A big one for me is that you learn not to judge. Travelling solo leaves you making new friends with everyone and anyone. It’s quite strange how such an natural feeling for any human being, quite a negative quality 99% of us have, somewhat disappears. Some of us more then others but we all automatically judge. What they wear, their style, the way they walk and talk. It’s natural, we all do it. We try not too and it might not be much of an assumption but part of using are eyes and brains together is ‘judging’ someone else.

Climbed the waterfalls, smoked a J, drank a beer, slided down the waterfalls with the locals.

For me and I can see many others, while travelling solo, let this go. We don’t have time to assume or create an idea of who might be in the bed above or who’s sitting next to you on your train through Vietnam, you’re more interested in their stories, their experiences. Where have they travelled and where to next. You meet them as them, for who they are without all the excess baggage home life can string along.

Some people love being solo and others hate it but one of the best things about travelling on your own is the fact you can do whatever the hell you want. No waiting around, no taking into consideration what everyone else wants to do. As selfish as it sounds, you only have to worry about yourself and when there’s so much to do in such incredible cities it can get pretty frustrating having to wait around and miss out certain things you want to do.

There are downsides to travelling solo however situations people expressed concern about, have not been an issue. Everyone is so friendly that anytime I’ve ever needed help or wanted some kind of advice or answers, someone’s always been there. Don’t get me wrong, I realize it won’t always be like this and I won’t always find helpful people. The disadvantages can sometimes suck, even just asking someone to take a photo or keep an eye on your stuff when you go to the toilet. You just want someone’s second opinion or need some advice from someone you know never the less they are such minor things.

45p to take me to Khao San from the river taxi

Most people travelling are here to have a good time, a fun time, a positive time and a real time.

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GoPro Hero review

After thinking what I could get, without blowing too much cash, to capture photos & videos a little better than an Iphone, I came across the magnificent world of GoPro.

The last couple of years GoPro has now found it’s way into most travellers backpacks. Known for being a small, easy, wide lense, fast paced action camera, we are all loving it.

With some great promotions and a wide fan based around the world it’s hard to miss the updates in the GoPro world.

I wanted one.

I felt as though I needed one, however, which? I was pretty new to the whole lense crap and megapixles and footage editing malarky.

After research online, which ended up confusing me more,

I ended up going for the GoPro Hero 3+ silver. Price: £230-£270

The Hero 3 is now split into three different colours — starting with the White Edition,the Silver Edition, and with the black edition at the top of the range.

goprohero3plusI felt this was suitable for me. I wasn’t exactly planning on depending my career on these photos and videos. I wasn’t even 100% sure what I was going to be using it for exactly but I knew if I wanted to capture some great footage while travelling. I had to get my hands on one.

This particular model was pretty up to date, the new wifi feature (without remote) and improved lense sitting between the entry-level White and top-of-the-range Black Editions.

So far, I love it! I have been unfortuantley let down by certain feautures however pleasently suprised by others.

So, a little bit about the GoPro Hero 3+ silver..

Details:

  • Pro-Sumer grade low light performance
  • 1080p Video Resolution
  • 11MP Camera
  • Wifi

Click here to shop GoPro Cameras.

What I love about it..

The wide lense is just incredible. It managers to capture everything! If you want a close up of something, you literally have to take the photo directly infront and right up close to the person/object.

Without the waterproof casing the camera is little and light and perfect just to pop in your pocket or bag. The waterproof case adds a little bit of size but still remains pretty small and light for such a camera.

70mph over the Mediterranean ⚓️

70mph over the Mediterranean ⚓️

 

Example Live

Example Live

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The biggest thing I want to highlight for those who don’t know, for this camera and the hero 2 + 3, you cannot see through the lens. Everyone is used to being able to see what photos you’re taking. You don’t really need to know with the GoPro. It will more then likely capture what you need, if anything you need to be even closer to what you think. You just need to play around to know what types of angles to take things as the tiniest change in slant can make a difference in the photo. If you connect the camera to the GoPro app you can see what the camera is taking through the app.

My biggest let down is the battery life and ease of managing memory. battery life photo

The battery is relativley decent but considering this is an action camera with most buyers needing lots of footage at events, day outs and backpacking, I find the battery life was not as good as I expected. Battery can die pretty quickly considering the price and quality of camera. Especially if your wifi button is on and your camera is constantly in use I would say you have about 2.5/3 hours of use.

 

The battery (the same one used for the Hero3) is accessed through the back panel, which is also where you’ll find an input for use with GoPro’s LCD Touch BacPac or Battery BacPac. GoProHero3BlackEditionThe camera’s left side has Micro-HDMI and Mini-USB ports and a microSDXC card slot that supports capacities up to 64GB. There is no 3.5mm audio-in for an external mic, but a Mini-USB-to-3.5mm-audio-in cable is available.

There is no charger included for the camera, just a Mini-USB cable for charging via computer or USB wall adapter if you have one. GoPro offers a two-battery external charger, but again, you’ll need a USB wall adapter or a computer to supply the power. Otherwise, since you’re charging in-camera, you’ll need to plan ahead if you want to carry additional batteries. You’ll also need a microSD card up to 64GB for storage.

 

Managing the memory is a little more difficult then I hoped. You can only delete the last photo or video taken or all of them. Luckily this GoPro has the wifi device, which means I can connect my phone to the camera which is fucking awesome. I can manage a lot more on my phone and see the lense, including deleting whatever I want. The wifi is simple to use, all you need to do is download the GoPro app. I can even manage the camera while the camera is out of my hands. Never the less, this isn’t always possible while jet skiing over the mediterian sea or jumping out of a plane at 5,000 feet.

I get numerous comments on the quality of the camera. I actually do change the colour and contrast before I upload them, sometimes on my phone or instagram just to intensify the colour and shadows.

I don’t know how people travel without them. Beautiful wide lense camera managing to capture the moment perfectly. They are small and easy to use and has some great equipment to buy extra helping you capture the photos and videos suitable for you. The biggest decision is deciding how much money you want to spend on the camera as it can vary on price as they go from £100-£500.

I recommend doing plenty of research and getting one before you travel. Even if you don’t travel these cameras are a great piece of equipment to have!

Mumford and sons. Insane. #leedsfestival #randl2015

Diving-Scuba-Mask-with-GoPro-Hero-3-Mount-0

 

There is so much equiptment you can buy for them, some sillier then others. Some just damn right clever. Click here to view extra equipment you can buy!

I am looking to purchase the wrist strap and selfie stick before I go away. Let me know what you have or what you recommend and comment at the bottom of the page!

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The camera comes in a waterproof housing that goes to depths of 131 feet (40 meters); the Hero3’s dive housing was good to 197 feet (60 meters). If you don’t need the camera to be dust- or waterproof and would like a bit more audio to reach the built-in mono mic, you can swap out the standard backdoor for the skeleton backdoor case.

 

 

I actually think that the camera takes better photos underwater!

GoPro hero 3+. I love you. #water #GoPro #greece

GoPro hero 3+. I love you. #water #GoPro #greece

 

Some of my favourite photos taken by this fabulous little camera

Instagram: leahcolex

I have the best job in the world. @maliaboozecruise

⚓️⛵️ #greece #travel

Venturing into the sea with my GoPro at sunset.

My friend Jordan and I venturing to a quite beach for a swim during sunset.

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Perfect evening in the sun drinking beer, listening to Alt-J live. Loving life #leedsfestival

Like this? Make sure to check out ‘My top 8 travel tips’

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Am I scared?

Are you not scared? You must be brave! What if?images

 

I thought about writing this blog for a while, what encouraged me was when people started to question about how I felt. Friends, family, strangers who I would speak to seemed to express modest concern to the trip.

You know it can dangerous, what if, what if, what if…. blah blah blah. Primarily, are you not scared? My answer… YES.

Of course I’m bloody scared. I don’t know the languages, I don’t know what I will end up doing, who i’ll meet or what’s going to happen. I’m travelling to a foreign third world continent, alone, with one backpack and no plan.

I’m excited, anxious, eager and tremendously nervous.  Am I still doing the right thing? Yes.

It’s a pretty terrifying trip not knowing what I will be doing or where I might find myself but this is the fun of it.

What’s the worst that could happen ey?

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We do things everyday in our lives, the comfort of our own home that have risks and dangers. I can’t think of every negative or problem that could happen other wise i’ll never do the trip. Most people have worries and concerns of things that they occasionally see or hear in the news. Life throws all unexpected situations at us and asking yourself ”what if” is just an unnescary anxiety. It’s not needed. I am staying realistic, positive and hopeful for my trip away.

 

Travelling to third world countries with a different language, currency, culture has its risks. I am needing lots of vaccinations and tablets. In Asia things are not as clean and the hsyringeealth services are next to nothing compared to Europe. I am currently getting all my vaccinations I can. Click here to see what I am having to travel to South East Asia. I will be taking lots of safety precautions and making sure I am as healthy as I can be before the trip.

Click here to find out what you’ll need for your trip. A helpful site I use a lot!

I know some of the risks and dangers with these countries, I won’t always be in the safest parts of the world around the nicest of people. I will sometimes be vunerable especially as I’m technically going solo and a young female. I have already thought about these however a lot of danger can be prevented with common sense.

 

Leaving home for a long period time, not knowing when I will be home is a strange feeling. This is all part of the trip I guess and is a big one for us all.

Leaving our home comforts, close friends and loved ones. I have such awesome friends and family and leaving them will be hard for me. I know people may not be 10885007_10152448279887751_1502479316437182355_nhear when i’m back and I have thought this all through. I am currently trying to spend time with everyone who means something to me. Part of the reason I flew home early from my time in Greece this year was so i gave myself enough time to see my friends and family and enjoy England.

 

Knowing that all I will be taking is a backpack for however long actually makes me feel pretty sick. I want my straighteners and laptop, I want to bring my gorgeous dog and my big amazing double bed and all my friends and family.

As mentioned in other blogs it’s the sense of not carrying un-needed excess baggage, literally.

Think of the freedom.

Here in the UK most of us are spoiled with expensive electronics, luxury gifts we receive and fancy cars and houses we work for.

As much as I love the flash lifestyle and nice things it’s not needed. I’m going to leave all this behind and take with me only what I need. This will be hard for me but it’s going to be an experience and its part of the backpacking and travelling lifestyle. When I travelled Europe with just a backpack and then came home to see all these belongings I felt quite saddening. What made me feel as though I needed so much?

Way too much doggy love

What’s important to me;

I want my friends and family to trust and support me, I need some money in my bank account, a good mindset and i’ll be sweet.

To me, my top priority is my health and finances and i can imagine yours would be too. I just want to know I can safely travel and see and experience as much as possible.

I want to go on a journey of different cultures, engaging in all different kinds of people, trying interesting foods and experimenting on local traditions all around the world. I feel as though it will make me the person I want to be as I grow older. I feel that when I do eventually settle down for a family and career that I know what’s out there. I know who I am, I’ve experienced phenomenal once in a life time experiences and can work in a career that I know is right and destined for me.

 

travelling
ˈtravəlɪŋ/
adjective
  1. (of a device) sufficiently compact for use on a journey.
    “a travelling clock”
    portablemobiletransportablemovabletransferable, easily carried, easy to carry, conveyable, travellightweightcompacthandyconvenientmanageable;
    rareportative
    “a little travelling clock”

Travelling ‘alone’ isn’t for everyone and for me, I have doubts and worries about being solo. I know deep down I will hardly be alone. We live on a planet with billions of people, how can I be alone?

Travelling Europe I managed to meet such awesome people! All it takes is to say Hey, simply ask a question or introduce yourself. We are all human, what’s the worst that can happen?

Heres some of the characters I met around Europe.. hehe.

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Well thats a tad embarrassing. Wearing the same outfit in Italy and Prague. Life of a backpacker ey..

So yeah, to conclude this. I am worried, I am scared and I do know the risks. There will be risks with everything you do in life and along as I’m wise, use my common sense, stay out of trouble, keep fit and healthy and keep positive the trip will run as smoothly as possible. I will get homesick, I will have off days and want to leave. I may get ill or have some trouble but it’s all a learning kirb and part of life I suppose. Im excited and ready to see the world.

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-Little Travel Bird

If you like this, you might also like ‘Backpacking alone’. Click here to read.

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All you need to know on Interrailing Europe

Inter railing Europe is a fun, convenient and interesting way to travel Europe.

I wanted to do the trip for a while but when planning, everyone I spoke to told me not to plan and this was not helping. What do you mean don’t plan? I just fly somewhere and take it from there?

The answer is yes.

It felt like the pass was almost like paying for freedom. Depending on what type of ticket you get depends on how often you can travel, in which countries and how long its valid for. Prices go from around £50 to £600 and you have to activate it within 3 months of purchasing.

Some tickets depend on the type of trains you can get on. (Regional trains or High speed and first class or economy class). Some tickets are limited to one country, or a section of Europe or a Global Pass which entitles you to go anywhere. I opted for Global. This gets you 10 days travel within 22 days and cost around £250. Travelling pretty much anywhere but just on regional trains in economy class.

Your pass is vital. DO NOT LOOSE IT!

If you do I am afraid there is nothing you can do. Keeping it with your passport and other important documents is a good idea. It will have your details on and this is your life! It is a big paper ticket.

What I adore about inter railing in my opinion, is the fact you travel everywhere by train. No traffic or expensive flights, you hop on the train that suits your needs and go to your desired destination.

The scenic side of things when travelling is a trip in itself. Train journeys can also be long yes, but transport around Europe is not the same as England, it is more comfortable and spacious. The one night train I got from Venice to Vienna felt like something from Harry Potter.. just without all the magic. This is your chance to meet a lot of other travellers. Especially for those wanting to go solo.

Being 5’1 with a very large rucksack was not easy. Walking was the hardest task of the day with my bag on, however I got used to this. I felt as though I had packed light, after the trip, I realised I had not. Packing for a month in one bag with no idea to what your going to be doing is pretty stressful but please make sure you get the correct rucksack for you and pack things you really need!IMG_4437

A piece of advice I heard is that take half of what you think. Gives me chills having to admit it, but this is true. Harder for the lovely ladies but pack sensibly. I cannot stress how little clothes and products you actually need. Later I will tell you what I took and what I felt was not needed. Majority of hostels have laundry rooms to do washing. Your rucksack is on your back a lot and you have to be able to carry it. Those who like to shop, make sure you leave room in your bag for presents or souvenirs. I am just grateful Camden Market in London was my last stop!!

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Hostel living is not something I had really experienced before and I was pretty nervous on what to expect. Sleeping on bunk beds in a room with up to 12 other strangers does not sound the most appealing. Those who think this, your wrong! It’s your chance to meet other people on a similar journey to you.

I met many English travellers but there are people from all over the world! Most hostels have lockers and safes. I was pretty relaxed about having my things out, luckily nothing of mine got taken but I did hear many unfortunate stories so please make sure you are very careful with your belongings. Some might say I’m naive, I am just a bit too trustworthy, finding most people I was staying with were in the same boat as me, travelling alone wanting to explore and to meet people.

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Money. Sure some of you are thinking, hold on a minute, how much does all this cost!? Dining out every night, visiting museums, renting bicycles, numerous pub crawl and day tours, keeping up with laundry, sleeping in hostels every night, endulging on cocktails, hopping on more transport within the city centres. Shopping and accomplishing plenty of tourist attractions. The honest truth is I was just careful. I made sure I knew how much I had to spend, and realising how steady I had to stay with my money.

I personally had just short of £1,000. This included everything I did including days after my inter rail pass- so Amsterdam, transport to London and then London to Leeds. All my food and drink the entire trip. laundry, accommodation, spending money etc. Not my inter rail pass and insurance(That was 20th birthday present while working in Greece) This is what I spent.. not what to take yourself! 

This is all the money I had in my account that I had saved in Malia. I could have spent half and could have spent double. Having no choice but to hold back on certain things was sometimes fustrating as I wanted to go everywhere and do everything but if you take the time out to search for certain student tickets/ Inter rail discounts/ cheap restaurant deals you can save a few euros here and there.

I did not miss out on much but budgeting is part of the trip. Backpacking is not supposed to be luxury. Managing to do almost everything I wanted was something I made sure of.

Walking everywhere became a normal thing to do, cutting out on fizzy drinks at dinner was something I had to do. Just aim for the slightly cheaper places to eat. If you are a little bit like me..naughty and sly there are ways to save money and not pay for transport. Shhhh!

 Hostels in Europe are pretty cheap, certain cities like Paris are more expensive so be aware of the type of city your visiting. Hostels I stayed in ranged from 6 euros to 45 per night. Booking hostels is easy, I would not suggest getting a travel agency to do it for you as they charge you extra.

Here is a video of my journey.