Sunshine Blogger Award!

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

sunshine

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!

unch Party Plans for

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“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 ❤

 

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!