I didn’t quit my job to travel, I quit to be happy. 

So you may have noticed my posts have been silent for a little while – that’s because my life became majorly stressful with work. I was employed as a project manager three days a week, and for the last few months even stepping through the door blew my anxiety through the roof. 
So, I quit. 
Not to travel, just to be happy. And that is ABSOLUTELY FINE. 

With 16 million hits for the phrase “i quit my job to travel the world” on google last night, it’s a super common theme in the recent trend towards digital workspaces. 
This is awesome. I’m not gonna say that I’d stay put if I had the opportunity/means/online business – no way, I’d be on the next plane to the nearest place I haven’t been yet. But it just isn’t viable (right now). 

Maybe you’re miserable in your job. Maybe you hate your boss. Maybe the only relief you get in a day is scrolling through the people on your feeds that travel year round. Maybe quitting to travel is the goal? But maybe, you just need to quit. 
I don’t mean throw your access fob at the feet of your snarky manager and make a triumphant speech about the human need for freedom (though if you do, video it and link me). I mean, find a job that doesn’t make you miserable, find one where you at least enjoy parts of it – before you quit. 
If you are saving up for the human freedom speech and unlimited travel end game (go you) then at least find a grunt job that doesn’t destroy your soul, or maybe one that destroys it a little less and is a change of scenery.* 

The moral of this story is, you gotta take care of you.** I had a decent job, but being there was terrible for my mental health. I got a second job, and handed in my notice. I’m off on a nifty two weeks of amazing trip that I have been looking forward to for MONTHS, and when I get back, I’m gonna get back on that hustle and work towards the dream. 
Travel safe, travel far, and travel happy ❤❤❤

*a grunt job is a job that when someone asks you if you like it you grunt “…eh…suppose. Pays the bills” 
** I know not everyone is in a position to find other work and quit their jobs, job markets are unpredictable and changeable from suburb to suburb let alone world wide. But the moral is the same, if you’re miserable – do the thing that helps, because you being happy and healthy is so SO worth it. 
Sometimes a change in scenery or job is exactly what you need – sometimes it isn’t. Seek out people who can help ❤

Www.sane.org.uk 

Www.helplines.org

Great (Wanderlust) Expectations

A few weeks ago I was reading a lovely blog post at kaveyeats.com and it really struck a nerve in me.

The quote being discussed was by Vladimir Nabokov in in Mary, 1926.

Nostalgia in reverse, the longing for yet another strange land, grew especially strong in spring.

The author talks about that odd sensation you get when you know about a place from films, books, or traveller tales yet you don’t actually know the place at all. The ideas that build up around a destination are often inaccurate or out dated. This started me thinking.

Egypt.

In 1999 a movie came out called The Mummy. I was 8 years old and I fell in love. Absolutely everything about this film, I wanted. I wanted to be Evey, wanted her intelligence, her skills, wanted to be able to read hieroglyphs, wanted to go on an adventure with a rugged outsider. This film developed 90% of my attitude towards history and travel – it doesn’t matter if you’re a quiet bespectacled woman you can go to Egypt and be a kick arse scholar!  It’s also set in 1926 (my favourite era) and she ends up happy, wealthy, and respected by her peers.

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Thus, my idea of Egypt was formed. I want it to be romantic, and grand, and picturesque. I want sweeping sands, and star filled skies, enigmatic old Arabic men with sparkling eyes and draped women swishing past me in the bazaars.

I know that Cairo is modern, I know that it wont be like in the movies. I know that you can sit in a Pizza Hut and look at the Pyramids of Giza. If I could travel back in time to the late 1880’s and live out the next fifty years through the wars and development of the Egyptian state I would go through with it in an instant. But it isn’t Egypt’s purpose to be what I want it to be, I’m a world traveller not some kind of culture dictator. It’s my purpose to experience everything I can.

Well, I started thinking about this on KaveyEats, and that night I got really upset with myself. I say I’m an historian, I say I’m a traveller. But I have all these preconceived notions about what a country is or isn’t – and I haven’t even been there! I then got even more upset – what if I never get to visit Egypt? What if something happens and it becomes unsafe, or an earthquake swallows up Abu Simbel and it is just gone? What if I just keep saying ‘one day’ and never actually get off my fat, lazy, arse and go?

I was almost in tears.

So I made a decision. I am going to Egypt – this year. Within 48 hours I had booked myself on to a 22 day journey though Jordan and Egypt. I am going to my dream destination, a place I have been thinking about for nearly 20 years. So, I guess I’ll find out how the Egypt in my head matches up against the Egypt that is out there – and I cannot wait!

Check out the wonderful blog post that has sent me to Egypt! ❤ https://www.kaveyeats.com/2017/04/travel-quote-tuesday-vladimir-nabokov.html#comment-556772

Please Feel Free To Pin, Flip, or Tweet This Article!

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Sunshine Blogger Award!

So… I am very excited to say that I have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award! By the wonderful TravelPlansForMissFancyPants!!

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The Questions that TravelPlansForMissFancyPants gave me are:

What songs/type of music do you listen to whilst travelling or that which inspires you to travel?

This is such a hard question. I listen to a lot of music, I rarely don’t have headphones in. I have a super eclectic taste in music – literally anything from classical to EDM to metal. There a a few songs though, that have always elicited the same feeling travel does – the spark of motivation to get up and do something – and these are two of them:

Si Tou Vois Ma Mere
Instrumental, and the intro to Midnight in Paris which is one of my favourite films, it always makes me want to live – in the moment but without losing the awe and wonder of beautiful things. Also it makes me want to go to Paris, obviously.

Frank Turner: Get Better
It’s a little bit angry, but determined and hopeful.

They threw me a whirlwind
And I spat back the sea
I took a battering but I’ve got thicker skin and the best people I know looking out for me
So I’m taking the high road
My engines running high and fine
May I always see the road rising up to meet me and my enemies defeated in the mirror behind

 

 

What inspired you to start blogging? What are your “blogging goals”?

Hahah – well anyone who knows me knows that I can talk. Like, a lot. There are certain topics that set me off, like travel. I was spending so much time on travel forums talking and giving advice about travel I finally thought – I should just do this myself. I want a blog filled with useful and to the point articles.  I hope to become – at least moderately – successful in the blogging world. I’d LOVE to be able to work remotely.
Have you visited some place you then didn’t like/enjoy at all?

Rome. I KNOW! Rome is amazing it has beautiful food, and architecture, and history! Im a classicist for flips sake. I just…didn’t like it. Something about the amusement park atmosphere, and the flocks of people, and how RUDE people are (people in general, not one specific group). I have given the city several chances: 3 days in 2012, 4 days and 3 days in 2015. I have travelled quite a bit in Italy and absolutely loved it, just not Rome.
Do you prefer traveling solo, with a partner or in a group? Why?

This used to be an easy answer SOLO SOLO SOLO! But, I’ve had a few experiences in the last few years – I met some amazing people and did little bits of travelling with them, travelled as a group around turkey, and through France with my best friend. It. Was. Awesome. I had so much fun and now it’s hard to choose – so I would have to be boring and say a healthy mix or hybrid!  there are pros and cons to all of them, infact ive written about it here, and here.
Have you had any life-changing experiences while travelling?

I think that’s inevitable…isn’t it? I certainly did and I got my first one in early, being forced by off season cancellations and inexperience I had to grab Greece by the horns and do it all solo. Bit of a surprise for my first trip ever.
A young girl would like to travel and see the world, but is a bit scared of doing so. How would you encourage her? What advice would you give her? 

The whole world is scary and dangerous. Including home. Including away. If everything is on sale – nothing is on sale. Be careful, of course, but still go! There are levels of support – if you’re terrified you can choose tours, if you’re nervous you can be a planaholic, if you’re a bit worried then make sure you check in with home and research before you go. Anything is possible.
Name something you CAN’T travel without

Ugh this is so millennial but my phone. Unlocked, I can have contacts within the country. Camera, without having to have a camera bag. Internet, I can stay in touch with home. Maps, self explanatory. I hate to be a stereotype, but hands down my answer is phone.
Have you ever lived abroad? Where and for how long? 

Technically twice, I lived (or just stayed) for three months on Santorini. I worked, I lived in a hostel, and made some forever friends. Also, right now. I am writing this from Exeter in the UK, my home town is Adelaide South Australia – I have been living here for nearly two years.
Have you ever had a crush on someone while travelling?

Oh my, well yes. A Greek, a gorgeous Greek. We stayed in touch and saw each other a few times, but it was never more than a crush.

 

My Nominations:

The Wandering Darlings

Michigan Gaijin

The Zeina Diary

Wondering & Wandering

Girljin In Japan

My Dot On The Map

The Iridescent Wings

 

My Questions:

  1. Why do you travel? To learn, to experience, just to get away or…?
  2. What’s the most memorable moment during your travels?
  3. Go to book/film/tv series that makes you want to jump on the next plane?
  4. Best tip for first time traveller?
  5. Does having a blog change the way you travel?
  6. What was the moment you decided you were meant to travel?
  7. Do you have a pre-travel ritual? If so what?
  8. Travelling with a romantic partner – yay or nay?
  9. Where are you going next?

 

Once nominated, if you choose to accept, write a post where you:

-Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog
-Answer the questions set by the person who nominated you
-Nominate other blogs and give them questions to answer
-Notify your nominees through social media or commenting on their blog
-List the “rules” and display a Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post

So get on it everyone! Live Happy and Travel!

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3 Reasons Why You Should Travel With Friends – At Least Once

So Part 2 of my ‘At Least Once’ series is about travelling with your mates. A lot of people in my experience only travel one way, alone/on tours/with SO. But a format which seems to be oddly neglected post-university/collage years is the friends trip.

Actually completing the friends trip that is. Every group of friends has had The Plan. It goes something like this:

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However, grab three or four of your most awesome friends and actually GO on the trip, because….

1. While I will generally travel solo to any destination heading to Turkey a few years ago I had a few concerns. However, Turkey fitted in nicely with the plans I had to go visit my Swedish friends and four of us decided on a two week Turkish adventure. Having been to Turkey I would not hesitate to go back solo, and this experience is still one of the best I have had. Travelling with a group of friends is probably the best way to explore a destination you aren’t quite confident enough to venture to on your own. It’s kinda like an organised tour but with people you already like!

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2. It’s a totally different experience. Walking around bazars on your own is awesome, you find amazing things and spend as long as you like there. With a group though you go looking for things that you wouldn’t have yourself. When it comes to food there’s no shame in eating alone, but with a group you can eat family style aka the best style– and eat a small amount of all of the things. You can travel by taxi, depending on the size of your group, for an affordable amount rather than having to take out a personal loan. And you can go out without the half-thought of ‘what if I end up the weirdo loner at the bar’ because you got your crew.

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3. Travelling with your friends can actually be REALLY fun. Everyone had heard horror stories of ‘that time a girl I know had a fight with all the people she was travelling with and ended up stranded in Thailand’ or ‘he was the only one who didn’t want to spend every night in bars popping MDMA and had a terrible time’. Lesson here is – choose the friends you go away with. When you pick right, you are in an awesome destination with some of your favourite people.

3* Bonus point – you can get photos of yourself travelling that aren’t selfies for once!

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The pros of group travel, when done right, are immense. So make the effort, make The Plan work, and go somewhere awesome with you nearest and dearest.

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! 

“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