Wednesday, 16 March 2011

A very varied first month in Australia

I hate that it's been so long since I last wrote, but a lot has happened over the past four weeks and I haven't felt ready to explain them all to anyone, let alone to publicize it all on my blog until now.

Although I didn't have any set plans when I got to Australia,I definitely didn't plan for what happened when I arrived here. After just seven days I had gone from being reunited with my boyfriend, visiting a blues festival, meeting awesome musicians and forming some great friendships, to being single, completely alone and wondering what on earth to do next in Melbourne!

A few horrible days and weeks followed, but thanks to good friends and a lot of positive thinking, I'm now doing my best to get right back into travelling solo mode, living for the moment and embracing everything that's being thrown my way.

I've since spent a week Wwoofing with a lovely family in the bush an our outside of Melbourne, living with a very kind (and generous!) new friend in the city, road tripping in a huge camper-van from Melbourne to Adelaide via the Great Ocean Road and tomorrow I'm off to earn my first Australian pay check!

As of tomorrow I'll be feeding, cleaning and riding horses in a town about half an hour out of Adelaide. I'm pretty excited/ nervous about it but I wanted something different and to learn new skills whilst distracting myself away from all things rubbish, so I reckon this will do the trick!
Here's hoping the farm will have some internet access (likely?!) so I can get back on the blogging scene :)

Love and sunshine from Adelaide! xx
P.S Pictures to follow of the Great Ocean Road and Melbourne once I find a stronger WiFi connection!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A tourist in my own country

I read somewhere that 'A wise traveller never despises his own country'.

If this is the case then I was a terrible traveller went I went on my round the world trip. Living in the outskirts of London all my life and working in Piccadilly Circus, an area renowned for being one of the busiest in Central London, I felt truly fed up and frustrated with where I was living.

My frustrations progressed and turned almost to hate. I was sick of the weather, the people, the life style, the attitude, everything! Naturally I carried this negativity with me when I was travelling, slagging off England, wishing I wasn't English and desperately searching for a new place to call home.

Looking back now I feel almost ashamed of how I acted towards a place which has seen me through nearly 23 good years of my life. I came home two months ago and finally made peace with my town, my city and my country. Instead of approaching things reluctantly and complaining about the aspects of London I didn't like, I embraced it and appreciated it for all its good points, much the same as I did when I was travelling. It sounds so simple doesn't it, but I'm not sure why I never did this before!

I've tried to cram in as much sight seeing and general touristy things that I can before I head off to Australia (5 days to go!) Sadly I haven't had my camera for much of the time, but here's a few of my favourite pictures from the past 8 weeks...
Snow in my deserted road

Ice skating with my friends at London's Winter Wonderland!

Obligatory cocktails in Camden

Showing my Midland 'bab's around London

Rekindling my love for street entertainers

Sure I'm always going to love travelling, exploring and living in new places, but now I won't be ashamed of where I'm from and I've had a really great time making the most of it knowing I'll be back one day. Once I've fulfilled all my many travelling ambitions first, of course!

For now.... Australia! And PACKING!!!

Friday, 21 January 2011

Can you guess what it is yet?

Yep, less than two months of being at home and I'm already booked and ready to leave again.
The thing is, I wasn't ready to come home. I wanted to see friends, spend Christmas with the family etc but I knew already after my second month of travelling what my next move was going to be.

So with very few funds, no long term commitments and a serious craving for some sun, I did what all perfectly reasonable people do... and booked a one way ticket to Australia!

Ironically enough, if you read this post then you'll remember that originally I didn't love it so much. But, after a week or so I could really see myself living and working out there especially in places like Melbourne, Tasmania and a few select places in Queensland.

After speaking to a few people I discovered how easy it is to just pack up and buy a cheap flight to the other side of the world with little more than a working visa, spending money for the first month or so, and patience to pick apples for a living (or something to that effect).

My reasons to leave so soon were both personal and practical, with the prospect of being made homeless in a few months, my lack of any real satisfying job, and the fact that I was missing friends and loved ones out there immensely.

Naturally I'm also rushing because I want to catch their last bit of Summer! So I'll be leaving the UK on February 13th and having a few more weeks of sun hopefully until Autumn sets in.

Lots of this please!

This is as far as my plans go:
- Arrive in Melbourne. Be reunited with 'other half'
- Live in Hobart, Tasmania for as long as The Colemans can stand me
- Work to get enough monies to survive/have fun/eat lots of chocolate
- Have fun
- Return to Thailand to escape cold Tassie winter
- Find somewhere to live and work in Aus until I a) Deside to move on again b) Run out my visa c) Get too homesick. Hmm which one will it be folks, place your bets!

End of plans! Clearly this is very well thought out... But hey, I'm excited. Life is for living not just existing.

WOW that was way too cheesy. Sorry.

Friday, 14 January 2011

The 5 People You Meet in Hostels

Ever read the book The 5 People You Meet in Heaven?

Well, if not I suggest you read it. Right now.

If you have, then you’ll know where I cunningly took my inspiration from for this post.

One of the best and most exciting things about travelling is all the interesting (and sometimes not so interesting) people you’ll meet along the way. And, after comparing notes with a few of my fellow travel savvy chums, we’ve noticed quite a few themes emerging around the certain types of people we’ve met.

Of course, there’s bound to be a few more than just these guys, but guaranteed you have or will meet one of these, the 5 people you meet in hostels...

1.) The know it all’s

When they’re not amusing themselves in museums, galleries and libraries, know it all’s are often found in hostel kitchens hovering over some poor unsuspecting person trying to cook their pasta and sauce.
Typical conversations are as follows:
“Oooh that looks nice. What are you having with that? Just pasta? Oh no you can’t do that. Have you tried adding spinach? Oh yes spinach is great. Did you know spinach is a great source of vitamins? Because, you know you need to look after yourself when you’re travelling don’t you? Have you tried these?”
….Victim boils head

2.) The Gap Yahs. Let’s all have some BANTER!

There are a lot of these guys. We’re almost all a bit guilty of it it has to be said. We’re all looking for that uhmazing experience. Especially when we’re out on the lash… withdrawing lash from the lash machine…chundering everywhaar. Etc.

3.) The cling ons.

Sod’s law isn’t it. The people you can’t wait to get rid of always happen to be the ones you never escape from.
Common traits include: Constant question asking, inability to do anything on their own and utter stupidity.
Get out when you notice you’re losing friends rapidly.

4.) The crazies

Unfortunately for me I happen to attract these people. Sometimes it can be interesting hearing about how they escaped prison by running away to Borneo, or how their mum is actually their dad, and how they’re now suffering from an identity crisis. Sure, indulge them, it’s all fun. Then again, if you wake up and find them standing over you looking shifty and breathing heavily… run.

5) The people that will change you

Ah a light at the end of the tunnel. Finally, someone truly fascinating that you meet and you know upon meeting them you'll always feel slightly different after having that conversation. Usually at 3am. Often drunk. Still, those people will stay with you for ever and make the whole experience even more worthwhile.
I was lucky enough to meet four of these great people.

Hopefully I'll tell you about them all sometime :)

What do you think? Have you met any other types of people we've missed out?

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Wonderfully average advice for first time travellers. A 'must read'

Now that I’ve popped my first time traveller cherry, I thought I’d share a few pearls of wisdom that I picked up in my transmission from ‘totally clueless’ to ‘slightly more knowing’ traveller.
Obviously I’ve only done the one ‘RTW trip’ and haven’t travelled the whole globe (yet) so I’m by no means an expert. But, if you’re a normal(ish) person, and you’re looking for advice about going away then this should* be of some use to you.

Before you go...

I recommend an electronic RTW ticket if you know where you want to go and roughly what times. Dates (and even locations) are flexible if you pay a small fee. Have a browse on STA RTW for inspiration on routes and The Flight Centre for slightly cheaper prices
If you’re more spontaneous of course there’s always the one way ticket, adding on places and flights as you go along. Be careful with this as some countries require you to have a ticket to fly out of their country before letting you in.

Branson letting us all know that if only we had as much money as him we too could probably just about fly round the world with Virgin.

Don’t be tempted to skimp out on insurance because no doubt at some point you will need it (Doctors appointment for your travellers tum, ladyboy stole your wallet etc).
Most policies are all pretty similar, just make sure they have good cover for flight cancellations, theft and medical problems. I went for this one which proved very popular amongst my fellow gap yah's!

You'll need them. They make your passport look tres cool (and shiny). Check with your chosen country's embassy at least a month prior to leaving. Visas are compulsory for places like Vietman, Cambodia, Laos, Australia etc. Always check in advacne as not all can be obtained easily.

Guide books-
I’m quite anti-guidebooks. Hear me out. I don’t mind a little browse through a Lonely Planet
Get lost in the middle of nowhere, speak to the locals who barely speak English and walk around with your eyes open, not stuck in a book!
Rant over.

while I’m planning a trip, making some notes, but really, people that stuff their backpacks full of LP ‘bibles’ and rarely make a decision without consulting them drive me crazy!

WH Smiths before I burnt down their Lonely Planet isle...

Over planning-
Don’t limit yourself by being too organised. Sort out the basics but don’t book all your excursions/tours and accommodation for everywhere you go. Try booking your first nights accommodation in each place (Hostel World is always handy for finding somewhere not too horrific ) then see how you feel once you’re there. If you’ve been bitten to death by bed bugs and you’ve not met a soul, it’s time to move on.

Also, most hostels and guest houses offer their own excursion and travel options so you will be able to sort all this while your out there, instead of handing over thousands of pounds to an overly nice travel advisor then finding out that everything is cheaper abroad. NOT THAT I’M BITTER. Ehem.

Will I be a loner?
No. Not unless you're exceptionally annoying. Although, even those guys still manage to find friends. You don’t always need to take someone with you to hold your hand. You will meet so many people you’ll be spoilt for choice as to who will become your new travelling BFF. And that’s a promise.
Ho and Fook (or something.) We had some really great, meaningful discussions on that train journey. Them: 'You married?' Me: 'No' Them: 'You want marry my son? He very rich and pretty'. And so on.

If you’re really freaking out about being on your own, it’s worth looking into pre booking some tours so you know you’ll definitely be with other people. Some people choose all inclusive tours for the whole time they are away, but I would always recommend breaking it up a bit so you have some tours and some chance to try meeting people on your own. Plus your tour group might really suck.
Good tour providers include: Gap Adventures, Gap Year Escape, Awesome Adventures, Oz Experience, Kiwi Experience, Top Deck Travel.

So I hope some of that helps! There's more to come but that's enough already I think. If you have any questions you want me to Google for you because I probably won't know the answer, then feel free to leave a comment or send me an email and I'll be happy to ignore them get back to you :)

*Little Lost offers no guarantee that any of this will be remotely useful and/or entertaining to you at all. But hey, I tried.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

New Year, New Ventures

Happy New Year! I hope everybody has enjoyed the nice long Christmas break. I had a lovely time reuniting with all friends and family I hadn't seen in a while. I really wanted to write a post sooner but I've been bogged down with lots of the usual 'back to reality tasks' ( getting a job, sorting my car, remembering I still have a family... ) And, naturally, suffering from post-travelling come down which is not very pleasant! With the new year looming I decided to set myself some (probably ridiculously high) goals for 2011 because, let's face it, it's going to be a hard task to beat 2010 after such a great trip! So here they are. I wrote them about two weeks ago and I'm already well on my way (ish!)
2011 Goals
  • Get a temporary job. Something flexible that still gives me time to have a bit of a social life! <--Done!
  • Improve on my French. Still my ultimate dream is to speak fluent French and live in a beautiful apartment in France. Basically be Amelie. *cough* LOSER!
  • Live and work abroad <-- Working on it! News on that in the next post...
  • Chase the sun. Ideally in Bali, Thailand, Australia, anywhere hot (Because winter sucks, basically)
  • Remain happily loved up
  • Perform live
  • Write and actually finish more than one song
  • Get back into running
  • Fix my stupid stomach and be healthy :)
You may be thinking to yourself, aren't these just new years resolutions cunningly disguised as goals? Well... yes. And no! Resolutions are things you make for a week then never keep. These are things I want to work towards for the year. Fingers crossed!

What are your goals for this year?