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The closest town was Cooktown, an hour drive north, around 15 years out of date, a basic town with only approx 2,000 as their population.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

14657334_10153828392477751_5634010492338402655_n4 hour trip to Cairns/ Australia

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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8 easy ways of saving money while traveling

Cash.

It seems to be the ultimatum between traveling or not.

‘I can’t afford it.’

Most people I know can afford to travel. The real truth is, it’s all about priorities.

For those who are going for it..

I decided to write up some of my tips on saving money while traveling.IMG_0033

1. Every penny counts

This was just something I knew I had to realise the second I started traveling. If I was at home and something cost an extra 20p, I would pay it. If I knew I was probably being slightly overcharged for a cab, I would still pay it. If someone needed to borrow afew $. I wouldn’t bother asking for it back.

This all has to change.

I dont mean turn into a stingy b*tch. Backpacking Asia really taught me the true meaning of value. I was paying $1 for my dinner. This doesn’t mean everywhere will be cheap and of course, make exceptions but keep track on how much things should cost.

Try to watch every penny you spend. It all adds up. The only reason I only managed to travel as long as I did was because I so careful with my money. I wasn’t spending my cash on things I didn’t need too.

I was walking to save myself on $2. I was always going for the cheapest accomadation and argued with taxi drivers over 20p.

I never had a daily budget or allowance, I just spent my money wisely, most of the time.

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2. Walk/ Hitch hike

I first tried hitchhiking in Malaysia, and it was worryingly easy. I would suggest doing it with someone and keeping your wits about you however so many people are happy to give you a lift, they are going that way anyway.

It’s as easy as standing there, putting your arm out and thumb up. On the first few times I was a little unsure but once I spoke to the drivers, it was the first time for them also. Some we had great conversation, others we just sat and they dropped me right off where I needed.

It’s a very easy way to save money.

Walking. Most of us have legs. Use them. Taxi fee’s can add up. If it’s possible, walk. You never know what you will see!

3. Things are free

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Unfortunately great experiences cost a lot of money however, you can find many free options that you can’t beat. Great company is priceless, beaches are free and you can never go wrong with a game of cards.

I love photography and sunsets and it doesn’t cost me a penny to find a lovely spot with my camera and watch the world.

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4. Couch surf/hammock/tent/Car

There are lots of other options other than hotels & hostels.

Lots of places offer tents and some camping zones. I meet loads of people camping out or even just hanging up a hammock for the night. All around Australia people live from their cars or camping equiptment.

Couch surfing is free and a great way to meet people but always watch out for dodgy accounts and make sure it’s safe & genuine.

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A dalmation, iced coffee and a hammock.

5. Dont go buying

Seriously. Don’t go looking for things you don’t need. Every country I went, every little town or island, they had some sort of beautiful markets or awesome traditional shops. I wanted things. I wanted to buy. Shop. Purchase. I couldn’t.

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I didn’t need any of those things. I occasionally needing to rebuy toiletries, and found a few beautiful wall hangings I had to pick up.

During the 6 months in Asia, I definatley picked up a few bits. A passport holder from Chiang Mai, a dress from Pai, some sandles from Hoi An were just a few things however all in all, I was never going out to shop.

I was limited for space in my rucksack and the more money I spent on stuff, the less I could travel and have all these experiances. Most importantly, I needed the money for food & accomadation.

6. Cheapest option

There are normally lots of different options other then the first one shown. The more you travel, the more travel hacks you will pick up.

You will know the cheaper airlines and sites. Make sure to compare flights, look at trains and over night bus’ instead of planes. Find deals on accomadation and share transport are just a few ways to keep things cheaper.

I still have a lot to learn, let me know yours and comment below.

7. Cut the booze

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A cold chang in Blue Lagoon // Koh Phi Phi

So a lot of you may hate me for this.

I cut out booze. Not completely, but I rarely drink.

Without going into it, I prefer Bob Marley to David Guetta.

The amount of money I found people spending on going out getting pissed, which there is nothing wrong with, never the less, if you are looking to cut down on the extra spending and start budgeting. You’ll skip the booze.

For two bottles of Chang beer in Thailand, I could afford a hostel room for the night. Doesnt take a genuis to work it out.

I am all for having fun and these are some of the best years of your life, crack open that beer on the beach however keep an eye on how much spending it may amount too.dsc_0235-2

Saigon at a rooftop bar // Ho Chi Minh

8. Cook with others

You’re staying in hostels? Homestays?  Sharing kitchen space? Cook together. We all have to eat, dining out in South East Asia is very cheap however if youre traveling for a long term or even just enjoy cooking your own food. A massive bag of pasta, sauce can cost 20p if there a few of you eating.

Everyone is always after saving some pennies so mention it to people and I am sure other people will also be keen. Cook in large portions if you’re on the road. If you’re driving through a country, store cheap food options if accesible to a kitchen.

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Bbq’s in Australia

These are just a few ways to save money!  Let me know yours below!

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Visiting the abandoned casino @ Bokor City // Kampot, Cambodia

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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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14 things you may want to know before visiting Thailand

Thailand is somewhere for everyone.

Whether it’s for diving on Koh Tao,

Learning to dive in tropical paradise. #Thailand #dive #morning #ocean #kotao

visiting the white sandy beaches on Phi Phi.

Boxing Day
It could be for sipping cocktails at crazy sky bars

Drinks over the entire capital #bangkok #skybar #cocktails

and checking out the temples in Bangkok


even searching the sex scene in Pattaya.

Whether you want to relax on Koh Lanta

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chase hot springs in Pai

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

or climb to reggae bars up in the jungle

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Maybe you want to trek through the jungle in Chiang Mai,

Rented a moped and drove up to the waterfalls up in the mountains #chiangmai #backpacker
there is something for everyone here.

Whether you’re a couple, in a group or traveling solo. Thailand is such an awesome country filed with traditions, culture, mad weather and of course, jungles, beaches, tropical paradise and mountains.

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There are a few things you should know before hand.

1. There is always a back up.

You can get away without booking anything. I’ve booked flights the same morning, turned up at hostels, missed ferries and been let on the next. There always seems to be another option and the best thing is, it can all be done last minute. Thailand can suck you in, If you love somewhere and want to stay, stay. If you have a return ticket out of somewhere it’ll cause you to feel rushed and put a limit on some things you do. Just enjoy everything and go with it.

Extending your visa is easy and there are many travel agents dotted around to help with the information you need to know. Don’t worry, everything seems to have a way of working out over here and there is so much to do.

2. Stick to flip flops.

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Unless your hiking up a mountain or trekking through jungles, you’ll end up taking your shoes off almost everywhere.

Most shops, local business and cafes will request you to be shoeless. It can be a nightmare undoing your shoes and putting them on every 10 minutes. I’ve stayed in hostels where you leave your shoes outside the front door and the temples, of course. Ive sat in coffee shops, tattoo parlours and restaurants where everyone is bare foot. You never know so keep it simple and wear some decent, light and convinient flip flops.

There’s always people walking around bare foot. I lost my flip flops on the beach on Christmas Day and stayed bare foot for the next few days. Bangkok isn’t as fussy about this rule but it’s too humid to wear any other shoes.

P.S You can buy flip flops and shoes all over Thailand for a good price!

3. The police might not be the same back here then back at home.

On the islands they all work closely with business’. This can be good and bad depending on the situation for us tourists. They can easily be payed off to let things go and they can also work closely with locals trying to catch people out for drug use etc. I’ve found the police in Thailand quite helpful and friendly compared to other countries. Most of them speak English but even down south, the police don’t always have the same role as mainland. Be respectful and they will help. Even if you have to tip them a little extra cash.

4. Your passport is your life.

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You should never really have to give this to anyone. Lots of hostels like to have a copy which is fine. Some chains and known hostels may want to hold your passport during your stay but always see if they will accept something else. You should never give them to bike shops. They know how valuable and important our passports are and will try and charge you for damage and maybe extras to get your passport back. There can be other forms of ID they’ll accept so if you can avoid giving your passport over, do so. It’s not so much a deposit but more of a scam. Be wary who actually needs your passport.

5. Haggle haggle haggle.

It becomes second nature in Thailand. Make sure you’re wary of when something is a set price. There may might be a sign or you just need to ask for it cheaper but when it comes too public transport, stalls, small business you can always lower the price. Even if it’s 30p or less then a dollar. It all adds up. Places like travel agents can’t change the price of a boat or ferry. You can’t always haggle rooms and bars will stick to a price. Markets, taxis, tuk tuks, small clothes shops and souvenir shops will lower the price. Chiang Mai are crazy for your business however Pai don’t budge the price as much. Ask other travelers and get the feeling of where it’s possible. Don’t always settle for the first offer.

6. We have left the stone ages.

It’s 2016, the world is slowly but starting to be taken over by technology. Thailand is nowhere near up to date with places like America, England and China but there are cash machines everywhere! They take all types of card and almost every hotel, hostel and trip can be booked with a card. I try not to carry too much cash but having a travel card and credit card helps so you don’t have to pay the transaction fee every time! Use your common sense on where may be harder to access cash but things can be so cheap, you don’t need to carry around a big wod of notes.

7. Respect the King.

They value the King of Thailand and you are not to speak about him badly. Yeah I’ve asked a few questions out of curiosity and it’s been fine but I’ve got the know the local I’m talking too and show them it’s a genuine interest I want to be able to understand. You’ll see photos and shrines to him everywhere but always stay polite when mentioning him. He’s looked at almost like a god for doing so much Thailand. He’s dedicated his life to the country and his hugely respected for it.

imagePS. His favourite drink is Strawberry Fanta. You’ll see open bottles everywhere with straws in. Keep an eye out!

8. Buddha.

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It is against the Buddhism religion to have tattoos, souvenirs and jewellery of Buddha. They find it disrespectful. Some places will still sell souvenirs and it’s such a beautiful symbol but if they do tattoo, it’ll only be above the waistline. The jewellery will always be a necklace, you can’t wear lower on the body and Buddha heads are never to be placed on the floor. I recommend covering up any tattoos of Buddha when entering the country and also when visiting holy places.

9. Sawadee Ka.

The greetings. Thailand is a very respectable country and everywhere you go, most Thai people will greet you with a warm welcome. For a man. Sawadee kup. For a female, sawadee Kah. It’s respectful to say hello, thank you. image Read more