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!

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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!


 

 

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!