Posts

, ,

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.

, ,

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!

, ,

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.

lakeland

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.

img_2640

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.

13774721_1796336227269576_1404888157_n

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

DCIM114GOPRO

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

DCIM114GOPRO

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!

DCIM114GOPRO

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.

DCIM114GOPRO

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.

DCIM114GOPRO

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.

img_1531

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

 

 


 

, ,

Traveling the world solo. Year 1

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

DCIM105GOPRO

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.

dsc_0017-6

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.

DCIM101GOPRO

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.

image

 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.

DCIM107GOPRO

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’.

aaeb8a13b9948d2230a7bd203fb0eba9

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.

dsc_0238

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

img_0098

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

img_3389

Found the most magical places and secluded & secret destinations.

img_4509

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

DCIM102GOPRO

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

DCIM102GOPRO

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.

DCIM113GOPRO

I’ve seen wonders of the world,

dsc_2444

cruised down the Mekong delta,

dsc_0088

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

DCIM110GOPRO

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

img_6469

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.

DCIM100GOPRO

First motobike taxi, Bangkok.

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

DCIM105GOPRO

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.

travel-to-escape-quote-3242015-16520_original

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.

DCIM105GOPRO

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

9cd5b9b540cfeab6a80cca460c596205

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.

a4367b189620df57d427ce38251b1539

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.

img_0123

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.

dsc_0105

 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.

IMG_0575

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!

tumblr_nbaqc8zjmy1rxwrzxo1_500

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.

dsc_1779

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.

img_0191

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.

10622853_10152254528047751_9176759893672786800_n

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.

DCIM106GOPRO
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

,

Traveling with Scoliosis

Scoliosis – a lateral curvature of the spine.

14625504_10153796975912751_2044980600_n

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.

fig-1-luhman-ais-pre-op-ap-x-ray scoliosis-x-ray

Just to get an idea of the curvature.

b4a04e3afafe11dc00f375a84684cc58

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.

14658202_10153796975932751_1786622720_n

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.

14608172_10153796975862751_529449472_n

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

Surgery

spinal-fusion-1

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.

00287-master-4

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.

0462a925f085cd6d12938694d9242935

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.

DCIM100GOPRO

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.

426399_10151290596227751_1157822851_n

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.

DCIM113GOPRO

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

dsc_2867

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

983784_10152235367972751_4997880544796872101_n

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.

DCIM106GOPRO

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.

tumblr_nbaqc8zjmy1rxwrzxo1_500

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

I am determined to travel.

DCIM107GOPRO

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.

medical_cannabis_packaging

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?

img_1755

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.

img_1339

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.

DCIM115GOPRO

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.

scoliosis-help

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.

4ce68ba2057673d5762aefdb196f3e15

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

img_0097

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.

tumblr_nvnurmsdlk1rn7id3o1_500

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!

DCIM108GOPRO

, ,

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.

9765587a074c05b060b32fa956133910

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

Here are my 7 steps to getting that trip sorted.

DSC_1248

My first week in Bangkok

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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.

political-world-map-big

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.

LOGO 22

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

uk-passport

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.

, ,

Vietnam & it’s coffee

DSC_0134

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

DSC_0243

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.

DSC_0186Vietnemese iced coffee @  Halong Bay

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.

DSC_0001 (5)

With French colonial architecture.

DSC_0042 (2)

Japenese lanternsDSC_0062

Vietnam locals DSC_0134

Asian ways DSC_0036

Amsterdam vibesDSC_0053 (2)

and a generally crazy country,

DSC_0017

Vietnam is utterly insane.DSC_0087

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.

DSC_0242

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.

DSC_0255 (2)

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,”

DSC_0044 (4)

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

DSC_0251

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

DSC_0026 (3)

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

DSC_0269

 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)

DSC_0006 (3)

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

DSC_0017 (2)

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

DSC_0040 (3)

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.

DSC_0001 (2)

Where to drink it!

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

My top choice

Hoi An RoasteryDSC_0243

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

DSC_0067

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.

DSC_0016

 

,

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.

DSC_2989

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

DCIM106GOPRO

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.

DCIM104GOPRO

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.

DCIM101GOPRO

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.

IMG_1702

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

DCIM101GOPRO

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.

img_1962

Bbq’s in Australia

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

DCIM106GOPRO

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

, ,

The reality of long term travel. Dear home, I miss you.

There are countless reasons to travel. There’s no right or wrong way but if you’re like me, you’re in for the long hall.

DCIM103GOPRO

No shortcuts, no hidden help or quick flights back home.c9e2a84ae0026bf72a3940f2256a43f3

In an ideal world, I could travel indefinitely. If only I could visit home whenever I wanted. Long plane journeys don’t bother me and my friends & family will always be more important than any destination.

What about when you’ve been gone for a while. Don’t know when you’ll be home? What if you’re desperate to get away but not sure when you’ll be back or even have a fear of going home?il_340x270.634250082_8szm

I want to chat a little more about the reality of long term travel.

I miss home.

Home may not have the tropical climate of Asia, it may not have perfect white sandy beaches and I may not be able to eat the delicious local foods I’ve found all over Asia. England definitely doesn’t have the places I’ve come to fall in love with all over the world.

Ko Tai. 13/01/16England may not have the adventures that Australia can offer, the streets of Paris or the laws (or lack of) of Amsterdam, nor does it have the traditions, cultures and experiances travellers crave all around the world but home will always be home.

BLOG-Home-is-where-the-anchor-drops1

There’s a reason I’ve hardly been in England since I was 18.

I have a constant urge to explore, a passion to travel, a heart full of wunderlust and I know this is what I have to do.

Comfort. I miss you.IMG_8125Despite how priveliged I am in being abe to travel, I do miss my creature comforts. I miss my overly large and cosy bed, my wardrobe full of clothes and dressing table with my perfume and luxury make up. I miss clean running water and instant hot showers, having mobile data and signal everywhere to message my friends. I even miss going into Sainsburys knowing that everything is clean, fresh and hygeinic.

IMG_1420Days just laying infront of the TV with my favourite little doggy.

Life lessons
After six months in South East Asia, I’ve finally truly realised the importance of experiences and relationships rather then belongings and possessions. That unforgettable memories are priceless compared with unnecessary shit we feel we have to buy. Even though I often miss what is familiar, easy and comfortable, I do not need my material possessions from back home.

Thinking of all my beautiful friends and loving family. I may be the other side of the world but you're in my heart. Merry Christmas to friends, other backpackers, my perfect family and everyone wherever you are in the world. #christmas #thailand

No Christmas presents under my tree. No christmas dinner served and living in a basic jungle hut but i’m happy as I can be.

I miss my family. My lifelong best friend. My gorgeous Cockapoo doggy Darcy. All my bartending friends, my dancer friends. Childhood mates and all people I’ve known to love and care about.

Their birthdays, engagement parties and leaving do’s. When they need someone to cry too or have boy trouble and need advice, I’m not an easy phone call away. It is these relationships that I need and could not live without.IMG_0206

I’m here online, I have facebook, Skype, FaceTime etc. I’ve told everyone numerous times that I’m still here and contactable if they need me. But I’m not quite there.
Plus the time difference is a bitch sometimes!13231067_10153466435312751_932283755_n

I speak to my Dad almost everyday but we are no longer doing things together. We aren’t out walking the dog or going to a random movie splashing out on sweets & popcorn. Im not celebrating with friends on special occasions or popping round to visit my grandparents. I’m not going for wine and pizza with my mum (well I was in Vietnam as the fabulous Mrs Cole came to visit). But you get the jist..IMG_2298

My gorgeous younger cousins are growing up fast and my fantastic grandparents are luckily both alive, but when will I see them next? In another 6 months I’ll be gone a year, and who knows what’ll happen.

I’m thankful everyday for the wonderful friends and family I have and all the support I get from everyone but I can’t help but think..

Am I selfish? Am I ignorant? Jetting off all on my own, leaving everyone behind to have this fantastic life filled with adventures spending endless days doing whatever I want in beautiful destinations.

DCIM108GOPRO

No. I’m living my life but it sure does come with some reality checks.

DSC_2267

My friends and family may see the photos and hear my stories however they’re not there at the countless experiences I’ve craved them to be at. My friend Aiden would love the Reggae bars, my friend Lana would love all the beautiful resorts and pools. My beautiful city Ruby would love all the sunsets and tropical jungles and I my friend Alice would love to explore the gorgeous hidden cafes, the individual coffee shops and cute cocktail bars not to mention Saskia and our shared love for animals, finding new places and raving at festivals.11902454_10152986649632751_102517351787863013_n

I’m learning and growing everyday and I hope my nearest and dearest can see this.

DCIM107GOPRO

I’m not rushing to move back. I have an endless list of countries, cities, towns, villages, islands and places to visit.
I won’t put a price on coming home, even for 48 hours. I’ve told my family that.

For now, this is my life. I am doing more in 6 months than people do in their lives. I’m free, alive and learning everyday.

Traveling has its ups and downs and in the end, makes us a better person but we always need to remember that we are exactly that – people. Human beings. Missing home reminds us of that and makes the time we have away even more special in the long run.

images xxxxxxxxx

,

What I want you to know about Travel Photography

The more I travel, the more I build a passion for photography and the more I look at things differently.

“A camera is a save-button for the mind’s eye.%

, ,

Backpacking isn’t always magic and adventures.

Travelling the world, not a care in sight, meeting fascinating people, visit wonderful places and living your dream.

Found a slice of heaven. Up in the jungle lays a fancy Moroccan styled chill out bar with one sensational view of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. Paradise.

What’s not to love?

Let me tell you, it’s full of adventures, magical moments, unforgettable experiences but it’s not all sunshine and daisies.

Backpacking – budgeting.

You have to keep things on a relatively low cost. Some people more than others but for the majority, cheap is cheerful. It’ll have to do.

This means big dorm rooms, slow ferries, long night buses, no aircon, basic accommodation and cheap meals.

image

It’s difficult to complain while travelling as you realise how lucky you are. I feel unbelievably privileged for my home life. My health and support, my upbringing and love from friends and family. I want to elaborate I’m not complaining but we all know backpacking and long term travel comes with its negative moments.

Sh*t wifi. Dirty un-ironed clothes. Minimal belongings, dirty smelly bathrooms, stiff wooden hard beds, crazy temperatures and awful insects are just some of the things we don’t all shout about.

Bedtime.
Most of the time we don’t know who we are sleeping in a room with. We don’t know the country, city or town, the currency, the people. We just turn up with our bag, a smile, an open mind and time to explore. There’s no better feeling of finding a new destination and venturing out, making friends, discovering new places never the less there are tons of things we have to overcome.

Walking into a dorm of 15 other people, not knowing who they are, where they’re from, what language they speak and leaving your stuff. The bed you get given is your space. The one single bunk bed you will share is your new home for the night.

image

Hostels can be the funnest or most relaxed places with the best environment to meet people, I’ve stayed in such awesome hostels all over Europe and Asia but if you’re one for personal space and privacy, you might struggle a little.

Traveling throws all sorts of challenges at us and it’s pretty fun embracing all the craziness but it’s not all luxury. We take the cheapest option and it’s not always the most comfy or cleanest.
We have one rucksack with minimal belongings, no wardrobes of clean ironed clothes, no big double bed, no quick 4G to message our friends.

Still smiling…image

We get tired.

Yes we hang out on beaches, drink beers watching the sunsets in the jungle. We explore fascinating temples and discover busy cities.
Why would we get tired?

We don’t know the city, we don’t know the language, not always sure of the currency. Sometimes we don’t know where we are sleeping that night and always stay aware of what’s going on.

Traveling as a young solo female I have to keep my wits.
I can let my guard down, don’t worry about that and I know how to be silly but always having an idea of where your stuff is, knowing where your hostel is, who’s around you not to mention some of the crazy temperatures is constant. Backpackers know how to have a good time and how to chill out however we always need to have an idea of where we are and who’s around.

Slightly cloudy but spent the day having fun on the beach with new friends, eating French toast and drinking beer! #travel #thailand #gopro #ocean #beach

We take so much in, constantly exploring and discovering. Keeping your wits of your valuables, your health, your safety, your company, your space.

image

No we don’t sit in an office all day and trust me, rather the backpacking life any day but we always have to be thinking of all these things.

For friends back at home they see all the photos of the stunning golden sunsets, the hippy reggae bars I find where I get to chill and watch the world go by, not to mention seeing all my new friends and exciting new experiences. I always like to try and remain positive and always want to portray my life and journey the best it can be as it is however there are sides we don’t all like to boast about.

It’s not a constant stress, I feel relaxed 99% of the time despite the odd random situation so it’s no big deal.

Managed to grab a beer on a hammock looking over the rice fields. Breathtaking views of fields of gold and green! #gopro #travel #ricefields

We don’t have days that we just relax in our own space, shove on the TV and watch pointless programmes. We don’t have our pets to cuddle when we are feeling a little low or tired.image

I did find this guy on Koh Samui however …

We have to be adapting almost every minute of every hour, every single day. I want to be 100% all the time but traveling all the time is mentally and physically pretty tiring.
Carrying our rucksacks, keeping hydrated and aware.

We are around cities who barely speak English.

Tokyo / Japan

Where I am now I’m always having to keep things cheap, the weathers humid and sun is hot, wifi connection is poor and it’s not the safest of areas. I don’t feel unsafe or bothered but it’s learning to adapt on your own.

I don’t mind it and I kind of love the challenge but it’s not always easy peasy.
We have love hate relationships with wifi, depending on the connection, which in most developing countries is pretty useless, not too mention small islands. We try desperately to find somewhere with a strong connection just to speak to friends and family or book any accommodation.

When I feel a tad homesick it can take 20 minutes just to find somewhere to get some kind of connection to have a brief chat.
Despite the stresses there tends to be wifi in most places in south east Asia where I am now. Not that it always works but there’s always some kind of resort or Internet cafe with something slightly quicker.

Backpacking and traveling is fun, can be done cheap and there are thousands of us around the world doing it, it comes with challenges, struggles, down days, unpleasant experiences and crazy memories.

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.

Last night I left Siem Reap for the 11 hour night bus down to Sihanoukville, Cambodia. I got on the squashed bus, rucksack chucked in the boot and was greeted to a lovely Indian man on my bed. I payed 3 dollars extra to be able to lay down rather than slightly recline with space and a plug socket.

This is your bed and patted the space next to him.
So why an earth are you on it? I thought.

It’s mine too, look b6 & b7.

I could have easily flown in less than an hour with space, convenience, saving time and a shit nights sleep however that’s not how us backpackers work unfortunately. Cheap long ass night bus will have to do.

I awkwardly giggled and sat down slightly unsure where to put myself. We both sat and chatted and he was a lovely young fella who was working in Berlin, Germany from India.

Luckily I managed to somehow grab one spare bed just above the floor below two French girls so that was me.

Being 5’1 it was small enough to maybe fit another child, let alone two grown adults. I barely could sit up and my feet touched the end. I had a random blanket, a broken light above my head and slept right next to the driver and his assistant playing the radio all night, bear in mind this is an Asian station so no clue to what is being said or sung.
Sleeping wrapped in a hoodie, thick walking socks, attempting to block out the music, ignoring the wobbly roads, clutching my teddy and sleeping next to my camera and rucksack I got there in the end.
It all pays off when I arrive, repeatedly saying no the the shouting tuk tuk men, I made a friend, grabbed an iced caramel latte, found a cheap hostel and we headed down the beach where I’m writing this. It’s all part of the experience I keep telling myself. We can’t complain.

These things shouldn’t put you off but remember, it’s not all as exciting and luxury. Backpackers have struggles and challenges, seeing the world isn’t always easy, but it sure is an experience.

, ,

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.