Wednesdays are Hard  – 3 tiny ways to make it easier 

Sitting at the desk of my day job it is all I can do not to be staring out the window at the clouds. They aren’t even nice clouds. The sky is just blotted out with monochrome grey. I work 9-5 three days a week and Wednesdays are always the hardest for me. 

So I thought I would put together a quick post, some photos and some strategies to push through this midweek “meh”. 

1. Listen, and travel vicariously. 

I am lucky enough to have an office job where I am permitted to wear my headphones as I work. More often than not I am listening to a travelogue or podcast. It’s not travel, but it elicits the ghost of that anticipation, that excitement, and all those little frustrations we secretly love  💙

This one is my favourite – look out for a review soon 💙


2. Plan plan plan 

This can be in your head or sneakily on your lunch break. You don’t have to be hopping countries or continents to travel. I recently discovered a gorgeous bit of sand about an hours ride from me, you can all guess what I will be doing next sunny day 

Sarcastic Australian will always appear somewhere


3. Have a chat 

Start a conversation with someone, a friend you travelled with or a friend you *made* while travelling. There’s something magic about travel, people with lives so different from our own are often not encountered – but travel levels you. I’ve shared dorm rooms with a chemical engineer from Ethiopia, a taxi with a multi millionaire marketing guru from Seattle, and a sunbed umbrella with a professional stoner (her description not mine). If you don’t keep in contact with your travel friends, get on a forum, join a FB group, there are so many travel nuts willing to talk night and day about that thing we all chase 

So, these things might not cure your wanderlust; but they might just make your Wednesday Wanderlust more bearable. Happy travels! 

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4 Reasons to Take Off Solo – At Least Once

So, the thought of travelling on your own somewhere could easily fill you with dread. I’m here to tell you why that’s kinda the reason you should go….

1. Solo Exclusive Experiences

Travel is not just ticking off all the things to do in a place. It’s the experience of being there. And honestly there are some experiences that you just don’t get when you’re in a group. It is very easy to do all the things AS a group; you go to the bar together, dinner together, dancing together and suddenly you realise it’s been two weeks and you haven’t spoken to anyone other than your group and waiters. Travelling by yourself you sit in bars alone – for about ten minutes. I made more flash friends in the three months when I lived in a hostel in Greece than I have in my life total. I have partied on the beach with South Africans, gone dancing with groups of local girls, learnt the rudest words in Spanish, Swedish, Greek, Russian – all because I was on my own and started talking to people around me.


2.Friendships

Because I was on my own on Santorini I had to talk to people. I made friends with the barmaid. Because I made friends with the bar maid, I travelled to Naples with her. Because we went to Naples together and I met her (now) boyfriend. Because we all got along so well we travelled together through Sweden, Turkey, and Greece for over 6 weeks. I consider these two people some of my closest friends, while revisiting Greece together last year we met a solo traveller at our hostel and she became one of our best friends –there hasn’t been a day since where our group chat hasn’t been active. Honestly if an amazing friendship is the only thing (it won’t be) that you get out of travelling solo – isn’t that worth it?


3. Other people’s problems, aren’t your problems

 There are very few times in life where acting in a selfish way isn’t selfish. When you travel in a group, everyone gets a vote on what you do. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you find yourself going into the twelfth designer store and for the twelfth time – you don’t care. You put up with it – and so you should, it’s not just your trip. However, when you’re on your own, your priorities are the only priorities. If you want to go to the tenth museum in ten days – go. If you want to eat four meals a day and sit in parks drinking coffee – you can. If you find a once in a lifetime opportunity – like 20 Euro flight somewhere random – you can take it and the only person you need to convince is yourself. You’re also restricted in your choice when you have to factor in other people’s proclivities. I have a friend who won’t stay in a hostel with less than a 95% rating online, in a no more than 4-person dorm, and only within a 20-minute walk from her favourite attraction – this meant her cheapest acceptable option for Paris was over 60 Euros a night (we did not end up going to Paris together, thankfully for my bank account). Times when your decisions are yours alone are incredibly rare in life, grab them where you can.


4. Self-Reliance

So many people don’t want to start travelling solo because ‘what if… I get lost’ or ‘what if there’s a problem and they don’t speak English’. These were my concerns when I started travelling. These things happen, you do get lost you do hit language barriers, but learning to deal with these things on my own is the single most empowering thing I’ve experienced. Yes. The earthshattering realisation that I could write what I want to say in Google Translate and show my grumpy, elderly, Greek receptionist what I meant was a massive victory for me in 2012. Booking hotel rooms on the go thanks to a particularly slow off season, massive victory. Putting feet on the ground for the first time in a new country and taking the metro instead of a taxi, massive victory. These relatively tiny achievements added up over time and now equates to an unwavering self-reliance and confidence. I can manage, I may not excel in every situation, but I can manage.
That fear you feel when you think about travelling by yourself, that is the reason to give it a go. You don’t have to go somewhere extreme for your first trip; pop to a country that speaks your language, take a weekend in another province, or jump in feet first and book a trip to your dream destination. The point is – do it, go, be on your own and find your own feet. Travelling with groups is in NO way inferior to solo travel and I will talk about why you should travel with a group (at least once) next week- Happy Travels!


 

 

“Travel is Fatal To Prejudice” – Mark Twain

As a teenager I had to choose between visiting China or Nepal, as an unfit 14 year old I chose the option with the least trekking. However I knew I had to visit Nepal, and in 2014 – still unfit – I booked. Arriving in Kathmandu I was met by our guide. He showed me the best way to and from the hotel and set me on my way to somewhere good for lunch.

I did not pay enough attention and was soon lost. After walking down the same narrow alleyway three times a Nepalese man, maybe 40 years old, who had been smoking a cigarette on the corner walked over ‘are you lost? You look lost’. I was a little suspicious, I had heard stories of scammers approaching westerners and showing them things then demanding payment for guide services. But I was lost and if it cost me a few AUD to get back on track I would be fine with that. I told him where I was going (trying to go) and laughing again he tells me it is only a few minutes – and on his way to work. Ah there it was, he would shuttle me into whatever store we showed up at and overcharge me for whatever wares they were selling. But I’m a tough cookie and an even tougher sell – if I don’t want to buy something then I won’t.

Risk assumed, I followed him down the walkways. We walked through a temple area and he showed me his favourite, a shine for teeth because he has excellent teeth and he was thankful for his dentist. I was regaled with stories of his children, why certain temples were more popular than others, and what to be careful of in the tourist centre. We arrived at the lunch spot I was looking for and I was bid farewell. Wait, where was the hook? As we said goodbye he smiled and said, I work in a mandala gallery, by the blue sign and up the stairs – if you want to see some mandalas while you’re here come and see me! He told me to be safe and enjoy Nepal, and left me to my lunch. There was no hook. He didn’t even ask me for a tip.

Later in the day I found my way back to that road, and decided to look at some mandalas. I was rewarded. The small dark room was full, every surface displayed beautiful and intricately drawn mandalas. I found mine tucked behind a large green parchment propped in the corner. Hand drawn, gold on black card, I fell in love with a 1:1 square mandala. I paid a grand total of 20 AUD for it and it sits proudly, framed, on my desk in Australia. Every time I work there I am reminded of my experience, my assumptions challenged, and the kindness of a stranger with whom I did not even share names.

Do I now blindly follow any man offering help? No I do not, but i do not let the scary stories and assumptions dictate my travel. Assess the risks, be safe, but don’t be so safe you never get on the plane ❤

 

The Reality of Long Term Travel

This is a hard post to write, especially since I have just had a few of the happiest weeks ever – I booked my next trip, bought my dream bike, and made more plans to move to London in a few months. Then I got a message from my mum, no hello, no nothing just ‘you there?’. When she sees me start to type she fires through ‘I’ll call you’ and I know something is wrong. Late at night for me, early morning for her, I find myself sobbing into my bed sheets because our gorgeous, beautiful, gentle Rottweiler, Belle, has had to be out to sleep. She was nine years old, she has been one of my best friends since I was 13. This wasn’t a surprise, she was diagnosed with bone cancer in her back leg last October and we were told 100 days, max. After amputating the leg and several rounds of chemo we had some hope she would kick the cancer and we could have a few more years. After her last round of chemo she just didn’t bounce back and over the weekend she started having trouble breathing – the cancer was in her lungs. She had made it six months, twice the time she was given.

I debated on whether or not to write about this – it’s my dog not something travel related. But the reality of long term travel or living overseas is that when something like this happens, you cant do anything and that hurts. If I was home I would hug our other dog, have a cup of tea with my parents, and be sad. But here all I could do was be sad. When she was diagnosed in October I was in a position to visit Australia and I am not ashamed to say that I flew half way around the world to visit my puppy before she died. Having a family member, yes a family member, suddenly limited to a few month hit me – I hadn’t seen my family or my Australian friends for 18 months. I don’t really suffer from home sickness – I talk almost constantly with them and I adapt incredibly quickly – but suddenly I needed to be in Australia. Spending half my savings and spending only two weeks in Australia was the best decision I could have made. Unfortunately this is the reality of long term travel – stuff happens at home and you can’t do anything about it. I am lucky enough to have a support network here, but if I didn’t I would be lost. I guess the message here is you can never – ever – take too many photographs and anyone who makes fun of that can fuck right off, if you want to go home there is no shame in that, and lastly talk to people – if it’s getting too much engage with people around you, people online, or people there to help. And hug your dogs.

 

Mental Health while travelling is a serious thing, so don’t be afraid or ashamed to talk to someone – google that shit, there are so many avenues for support

United Kingdom Crisis Line
Samaritans: 24 hours, http://www.samaritans.org
116 123

Australia Crisis Help Line
LifeLine: 24 hours, http://www.lifeline.org.au
13 11 14 or chat online

https://www.continuumcollective.org/blog/2017/3/7/5-self-care-strategies-that-arent-fucking-mani-pedis

Solo Female Travel

So, in honour of International Women’s Day, I wanted to write something short on being a solo female traveller. As I write, and rewrite, this piece I am acutely aware that my experience is MY experience.  I am a loud, confident, white, reasonably privileged (in the sense that I am a) able to travel b) white middlish class. Not that I am ridiculously well off flouncing about the streets throwing money around or naive). My experience is so different to that of Women of Colour, those differently abled, or living with serious mental illness. I can’t – nor do I intend to try to – speak for these women.

I have been fortunate enough to travel quite broadly, the experiences I have had have by and large been positive. But there have been negative experiences – getting groped by a restaurateur in Venice while trying to pay, getting followed for blocks by a street vendor asking if he could ‘show me his favourite hotel’.

I have also experienced genuine, freely offered, and exceptional kindness from strangers in every country I have visited.

This is not an advisory piece about how to stay safe, or top tips for travelling ladies – there are lots out there (and I probably will write one at some point). This is merely a celebration of those kick ass ladies who decide that they want to see the world so damn it they will do so!

Travelling alone is a unique and and incredible experience and I urge any woman thinking about taking the plunge to go do it! It comes with unique experiences and opportunities you just don’t get travelling with another person – it was the best decision of my life!

 

Travel safe, good luck, and happy International Women’s Day!

Santorini Gallery

The work week is almost done, and armchair travelling is almost as good as the real thing. So here are some blue, white, and wanderlust filled pictures to rev that travel engine and maybe entice you to see more than just the sunset at Oia!

 

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The Road from Aigos Nikolaos


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One Canadian, One Aegean 


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The Caldera, ft. Red Hair


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How Much Blue Do You Even Need


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Red Beach


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Fish Taverna near Akotiri

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My Ugly Ass Feet at Amoudi Bay


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Because a Boat


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The LightHouse


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Ok Maybe ONE Sunset Shot ;-P