Adventures as a Dropbear (Part One)

As a treat to myself for finishing work at Noosa Flashpackers, I booked myself on to the number one tour on K’gari (Fraser Island) with Dropbear Adventures. Having sold their tours to scores of fellow backpackers over the previous four months and hearing incredible stories from everyone on their return, I decided that I needed in on the fun.

After an early start and pick up from the hostel we were whisked away to the Dropbear HQ where we met our tour guide, the rest of the group and I finally introduced myself to Mumma Bear who I had spoken to on the phone and via email many times! Right away our group seemed to be fun, easy to chat to and we all clubbed together – always a good start right? The tides were not in our favour so after watching the safety video and having some much needed coffee we hopped in our cars to start the drive to rainbow beach along the rather bumpy inland road.

Our first glimpse of the island came as we approached the ferry which would take us across to the island, already we had seen a pod of dolphins, our own little welcome party. I opted for the three day camping tour and on arrival to what would be our home for the next two nights, I knew this was a great decision! The tents were already set up and we had a delicious lunch waiting for us on arrival – now that’s what I call service. That day we visited lake Wabby, a beautiful perched dune lake surrounded by tea trees, home to many species of fish, birds, and full of important historical and cultural significance to the native Butchulla people (all the girls had to do an acknowledgment ceremony before entering in order to respect the tradition of the land). Day one ended with a great BBQ cooked by the camp manager Dan and volunteer Nick who were super friendly and happy to answer lots of questions about life on the island (and staying as a volunteer). Dave told us some stories, with the direct permission of the Butchulla people, and even taught us how to play the Didgeridoo – complete with ‘guess the animal noise’. After a few drinks and getting to know the group we headed to our tents ready for a sunrise start.

The sunrise over the island was breathtaking and some of us made the decision to be up for first light on the recommendation of Dave. It was beyond worth it and genuinely became quite an emotional experience for some of us. Our only full day on the island was jam packed with a visit to the crystal clear Eli Creek, the ‘gift’ of the Maheno Shipwreck on her island home, Champagne pools and the incredibly significant Indian Head. The absolute beauty of the tour with Dropbear is not only seeing the sights, often getting there before all the others descended, but truly learning about the history and culture of the island. Our guide was exceptionally knowledgeable and captured us all with the beliefs and traditions of the Butchulla people as well as the unimaginable struggles they have faced on their own land they were put there to protect. That evening we sat truly captivated, after another excellent feed (becoming the first group ever to finish the massive amount of food), by more stories from Dave followed by a star gazing session on the beach. I could hardly bear to think about leaving this place… and again spoke to the volunteers about what they did.

During breakfast the next morning, I was approached by Dan who asked me to speak to Vicky, the eco retreat manager when we visited the next morning. Whilst at Flashpackers I had enquired about volunteering work but timing had not made it possible, or so I thought. To my utter amazement, I found out they desperately needed someone to work with them on the island and I agreed instantly to return two days after my tour ended! My final day on tour was full of excitement, not only at seeing the famed Lake Makenzie and central station but being safe in the knowledge that I would soon be back! We were lucky enough to be on the island during the peak of the whale migration and spotted dozens in our time on the island. Thinking our luck had been fully maxed out we were more than priviledged to spot two dingos as we were heading back towards the ferry, they really were the most beautiful creatures and it made for some great photo opportunities! 

Hardly believing my luck I said a goodbye to the brilliant tour group as we left dropbear HQ after a beautiful drive back along Rainbow and Teewah beaches to Noosa. We had truly shared a unique insight to the worlds largest sand island and I could see why everyone has raved about this experience so much. I could not recommend the company any more highly and the absolute passion of the owners, tour guides, managers and volunteers was something that already overwhelmed me… Little did I know how much of an impression they would end up leaving on me by the time I left the island for the last time! Dropbear, all I can say for now is a huge thank you.

Part two is coming…

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Noo(sa) beginnings 

On the brink of exhausting my money, options, and willpower, something happened that ended up  completely shaping my next few months in Australia. I was offered a job at one of the best hostels on the whole East coast of Australia (and that’s not just me being biased… the multitude of awards and reviews say it all). I could barely believe my luck when I got the phone call from the owner of Noosa Flashpackers, Jo. She talked me through what the job involved – mostly driving their shuttle bus, some work on the reception desk and other cleaning and odd jobs around the hostel. It sounded absolutely ideal and I jumped at the chance to return to what was a favourite spot of mine on my previous trip down the coast. 

Next thing I knew my bags were once again packed and my flight ticket was booked! I was so overwhelmed with my luck when I most needed it that I was doubting that this job was real, envisioning myself turning up to the hostel to be told they weren’t expecting me at all. Luckily my fears were totally unfounded and I arrived to what would be my new home and place of work for the next four months. To say I fell on my feet is a understatement of the highest proportion. The owners of Flashpackers Jo and Warick are two of the kindest, big-hearted, most passionate and hardworking people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I instantly felt welcomed in to their business, and even more so the flashy-family. Their manager Janine instantly became a source of inspiration , laughter, and friendship in a place so far from home and I quite literally owe her my life after rushing me to hospital on the verge of a life-threatening complication from a infection (still a flashy record!). 

Over my months working as the “shuttle bus queen” I met some incredible people, made some hilarious memories and truly fell in love with Noosa and the sunshine coast! From the breathtaking views on the famed coastal walk, to the heights of Mount Coolum, beautiful seaside towns and the inspiring Eumundi markets it was safe to say I was never stuck for something to do. I made the most of ‘hostel perks’ and found myself on my very first surf lesson (a sprained ankle to show for it), a behind the scenes tour of the Australia Zoo and many other truly unforgettable experiences. The four months spent working here are a true highlight of my time in this country and something I am sure I will look back on with fondness for many years to come. 

To everyone I met whilst being part of the flashy family, thank you for making my experience that little bit better, the sun shine that little more enjoyable and the free goon a little more palatable! 

Laura x

Dislocations and Relocations

It’s January 2017, I’m working in a bar in Perth, having settled in with a group of incredible people as a long-term guest at City Perth Backpackers. We’ve had beautiful beach days, camping trips, days out and nights to be remembered (though I’m sure forgotten by some!). I was getting extremely comfortable exactly where I was, which as a traveller started to send warning signs running through me… After all this was still my first location this time in Australia and I knew I couldn’t stay living out this perfect little cruisy existence forever. 
So I booked a flight to pastures new… The backpacker haven of Melbourne with the promise of excellent coffee, vibrant street art and a culture to match. I was sad knowing I was leaving some incredible friends behind but was full of excited anticipation of what was to come. Until disaster struck! One rainy day, a group of friends and I decided to visit the local indoor climbing wall. All was going well until I somehow managed to dislocate my shoudler! The pain was unlike anything I had experienced before and after some nausea and stress headed to the nearest hospital. In a stroke of luck I had applied for my Medicare card a mere three days prior to the incident *a note to others, please make sure you apply sooner, the panic is not worth it*. The staff were incredible and once they had supplied me with strong painkillers, reattached my momentarily estranged limb and stuck me in a sling, I was free to go.

Now aside from losing my job, having very real problems with the simplest of tasks (thanks to my hostel family for looking after me) and a rather worried mum back home, I had to face the reality that my flight in 10 days time was never going to happen. I somehow did the seemingly impossible and persuaded Tigerair to let me reschedule my ticket for a time when I would be able to once again carry my life on my back. 

Over the next month I saw the true generosity, kindness and selflessness of people I had known a matter of weeks and the concern and well wishes of many near-strangers. Being in a foreign land and so vulnerable is a scary experience and I can honestly say I am beyond grateful to everyone who gave me a place to stay, cooked me meals, and generally brightened my spirts. I’ll never forget it and later in my journey had the very real chance to pay that kindness forward (but that’s a story for another time). 

Otherwise missed opportunities also arose due to my extra unplanned time on the West coast including reuniting with a friend who had gone home to Europe for a month, meeting more great people and a pretty exceptional day out. I hopped on a to the Pinnacles desert via a trip to an animal sanctuary where I got up close with koalas, kangaroos, and a little too close for my liking to an emu! It was the perfect way to round off this part of my journey. 

On an even one hundred days in WA I managed to fly to Melbourne after some very emotional goodbyes to my  CP family and the best uber drive I ever had! Let’s just say loud music, party blowers, and a free trolley for my luggage were involved. I watched the beautiful west coast disappear from sight out of the plane window and the realisation of a new start hit me hard, with a promise to myself to return to Western Australia , the state that stole my heart. 

My first few days in Melbourne were spent with a friend I made only two days previously in Perth who was going to be studying there for the next few months. We took in the sights, visited markets, were harrassed by birds and ate our way through the city. The time came for him to move to his new flat and after buying some more homely touches for his place, I decided to move on to another hostel. Now I know everyone says the world is a small place when you’re travelling but I was little prepared for running in to no less than 5 people I had shared a hostel with in Perth in as many days. It was truly amazing to have some great reunions over some beers in a new city, because how else do you celebrate that?! I was also lucky enough to be in the city for the famous ‘White Night’ where one night a year a stunning array of moving video projections are displayed on buildings throughout the city. The colours, images and sheer skill involved and the emotions they invoked upon everyone witnessing the event were truly spectacular. I really did feel like a child at Christmas joining in with the simultaneous oohs and aahs of the large crowds.

Due to the inevitable loss of earnings thanks to my shoulder, I had to get on the job hunt… The timing however was attrocious! Every man and his dog seemed to have descended upon Melbourne and with the influx of university students, I found myself just out of luck every time. So the spontaneous Laura came out and hopped on Gumtree with a mental note to accept the first job I was offered that seemed decent and to let the journey take me where it may. Wow, did that turn out to be one of the best decisions I had made! 

I was soon off to Noosa with a voice in the back of my head “everything happens for a reason”… 

Laura x 

Blueberries and Back

Like most visitors to Australia on a working holiday visa, I was keen to do some farm work in the hopes of gaining the elusive second year visa. I had some contacts before I left home and off I set to farm near Bunbury in WA. I promised at the start of this blogging venture to talk honestly about my experiences, the good and the bad (because, news flash, not every day is spent on the beach) so here goes… 

On arrival at the farm all was great, the family were lovely and made me feel extremely welcome, I met my first kangaroos including a Joey. I started work the next day so it was up early to start work at 7:30am which suited me fine! The accomodation was very basic in a metal shed that had been put up to house the workers; it was extremely cold but it helped with the early start the next morning, so I could cope with that. As it was a Sunday I was told we would only work a half day – hoorah, a chance to ease myself in to the next 3 months. Or so I thought. I was given a bucket and set to work picking blueberries. Fill the bucket, empty it in to a tray until that’s also full, not too soft, too small, or too pink – simple enough I thought. I started picking the berries and it seemed to be going ok, the contractors around me were all experienced so were picking fast and only speaking to each other.  

After a few hours the heat was building up, I was hot, thirsty and dusty. The effort I was taking picking the fruit seemed pointless as the trays took forever to fill. The one interaction someone made with me was to tell me about a poisonous snake that was some three metres away from me! I could barely wait for the day to end and time was standing still, the sun grew hotter, and I more miserable. My knees and back were starting to ache and my hands were starting to stain blueish purple from the berries. By the time they said we were finished for the day it was 3pm – if that was only a half day I didn’t want to think what a full day would be classed as. We trundled back to the accommodation and I was ready to sleep, I don’t think I have ever felt so alone or homesick on my travels. I needed to get back to the city as bad as I felt for leaving so soon after arriving. 

Unfortunately, my very short time spent on the farm was not for me but it was an experience all the same. It’s made for some great stories to tell my fellow travellers and that’s always a bonus. So for me it is back to Perth and on to the job hunt! I’m enjoying being around so many like minded people again and I’m excited to see what the next part of my journey has in store. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and although I’ve taken a couple of steps backwards I’m remaining optimistic for what is get to come! I’d love to hear more stories of farm work if you have any – the good and the bad – maybe I’ll try again at some point! 

Laura x

My Top 5 Perth Experiences (So Far!)

I’m fortunate enough to have visited the beautiful Perth, Western Australia twice and it’s safe to say it’s a place that has a piece of my heart. For me, it is far too under travelled as a general rule and I can’t wait to see more of what Western Australia has to offer (but that’s to be continued). As I’m due to leave the surrounds of Perth in the next few days, I thought this would be a good opportunity to share some of my favourite experiences here so far from my two trips! 

So in no particular order (because it’s too hard to choose my favourite!)… 

Kings Park and Botanic Garden 

Kings Park, one of the largest inner city parks in the world is an absolute must for any visitor to Perth. It’s completely free to enter and is only a short walk from the CBD – granted its up a rather steep hill but the views are more than worth it! For those who don’t fancy the walk, it has great transport links including the free cat busses that run within the city limits. More than the spectacular views over the Swan and Canning rivers and the city skyline, the park is well known as a conservation and cultural centre. The beautiful botanic gardens house plants from all over Australia as well as native plants and bushland over the 400 hectare park. They offer free walking tours, or head out to wander freely, the state war memorial and treetop walkway are not to be missed! 

Fremantle

Freo to the locals, is a port city around 20km outside of Perth city centre and has a lot to offer. From the markets, to the prison, and fishing harbour, it really could have it’s own top 10! It’s a great place to head for a chilled day with a visit to the famous cappuccino strip – so named because of the abundance of baristas and cafe’s – and a wander around the markets for some great local food and a chance of catching some talented buskers. A personal favourite is the Little Creatures Brewery; set on the waterfront, they brew a variety of beers on site, enjoy the beer garden and tuck in to some great food. Fremantle really does have something for everyone and keeps tempting me back for more. 


Rottnest Island 

Only a short ferry ride from Fremantle is Rottnest Island,  a true paradise that’s popular with tourists and locals alike. The crystal blue waters and white sands make for some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. Hire a bike to explore the island or take one of the many tours that’s on offer. The island is a conservation reserve and protected by law, for good reason… Perhaps the islands most famous inhabitants are the small marsupials called Quokkas, found all over the island, they are classed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Be sure to snap a photo or two but don’t disturb them, the population on Rottnest Island is the most viable in the world! Whether walking, cycling, snorkelling of swimming there are many ways of discovering this amazing island and I’m sure it will be an experience to remember for a lifetime! 


Perth CBD

The city centre itself has a lot to offer with views over the Swan river, an abundance of shops, and the newly developed Elizabeth Quay. While a city, Perth has all the charm of a much smaller place and the location by the water gives you the feeling of being somewhere far less metropolitan. Well worth the while is a trip on the river on one of the cruises,  look out for millionaires row and the many yacht clubs dotted along the banks! With shops, restauants, and bars aplenty as you would expect in a city it’s worth a day to find your feet. Take a trip down to Elizabeth Quay to see the Bell Tower and watch the boats to escape some of the hustle and bustle but let’s be honest, it’s some of the charm. 

Beaches 

Perth and the surrounding areas are blessed with some beautiful beaches and stunningly clear waters. I was extremely fortunate during my stays to be only a 2km walk away from Coogee beach, a real favourite! There’s nothing better than a chilled day at the beach and with kilometres of uninterrupted coastline you won’t be disappointed here. Much of the coast is scattered with cafe’s and cycle/ walking paths which make it ideal to make a day of it. Be warned of the wildlife around and be wary of sharks, jellyfish and snakes (this is Australia after all). With views over the Indian ocean and nineteen beaches to chose from I’m sure everyone will find something to please them. 

So there’s my top five Perth experiences… As you can see it truly is a place with a whole lot to offer and more besides. Would you have included anything else on the list? Let me know in the comments section, maybe there’s something I’m missing out on! Until next time 

Laura x

Twenty-five 

Some nearly 9000 miles from home, I find myself on the eve of my twenty-fifth year thinking over the last twelve months of my life. This time last year, I was getting ready to start a new job, the first step on to the career ladder; I was in (what I thought was) a stable relationship and we were excitedly awaiting the arrival of my nephew.

Fast forward twelve months and I’m no longer in that relationship, nor at the career starting job, and have had my beautiful nephew in my life for over ten months. This past year has been filled with some of the most rollercoaster emotions yet, as those who know me will be aware. In around July I decided that I needed a change. I longed to get back out there on the road, to have my next adventure and see where it might take me. The answer was Australia and before I knew it, the tickets were booked. 

I’m sat here now spending my birthday in what can best be described as paradise, missing those at home but knowing the distance does not change a thing. The next part of my adventure will hopefully be heading down to rural Western Australia to do some work on a farm, picking fruit. As usual I am coasting on through without much of a plan but I have a feeling I can’t go too far wrong. I’m extremely grateful to be where I am today and every day I’m thankful for those little moments that remind me just how lucky I am. 

Here’s to the next 25 years and whatever they may bring! 

Laura x

One week in

So it has now been a week since I left the comforts of home and began my adventure in Australia. Here’s a quick update on my travels so far… The journey itself was relatively free of drama (once the goodbyes had taken place)! I was extremely lucky to have a free seat next to me on both of my flights on the way over – I don’t know how I managed it either!! Etihad as a whole has plenty of good points but The vegetarian meals left something to be desired, with the same meal served twice on the second flight. Nevertheless with this particular journey, it was most definitely the destination that was important.

The first few days saw a fair amount of jetlag but considering the journey length I was happy enough to accept it! The first trip back to the beach made me realise exactly what I had been missing and I was so happy to be back. It’s been lovely catching up with some old friends who have kindly put me up and settling in to the swing of things has, as expected, not taken long at all. 


I apologise for the slight delay in any update but I will endeavour to write more frequently… I am journaling every day so I am sure not to forget anything. It seems as though I chose the perfect time to come over here; weather back home has turned awful and we’re not in to the heat of summer here for a while yet. Good time to adjust to some sunshine and man am I enjoying it! Most days I have either been in to the city or taken a trip down to the beach… 

Getting reacquainted with the country I will call my home for the next few months of my life has so far been lovely. I have to say, although it’s early days, I’m having a ball and can’t wait to see what the rest of the adventure has in store! I’ll be back soon with another little something for you all, thanks for the well wishes so far, I love hearing what the rest of you are up to! 

Laura x

A Letter to Home

As I’m about to set off on my journey to Australia with no return ticket, there’s some things I want to say to those back home. For those that know me, I’m not so great at the goodbyes so I’ve saved them for this. I’m making no apologies for the sentiments made (but be prepared for some serious mush, you’ve been fairly warned) Here goes…

First and foremost to my biggest fan, greatest support, best friend and so much more. Mum, you’ve always encouraged me to follow my dreams and have given me faith in myself to pursue them. I am so thankful that you put up with my incessant need for adventure and travel and am incredibly grateful that we have had our own little escapes this past year. I know its not easy for you and Dad to watch me go but I will always come back and with more stories, photos, experiences, and knowledge than before! Our jokes and silliness will continue every day but shopping trips, long lunches and rants over a glass of wine may have to wait! Dad, if Chelsea start messing around again I’m going to have to leave it to you to sort them out for me… I’ll have a beer or two for you when I land! I’m going to miss you both loads!

To my sister and nephew. I don’t even know where to start saying how hard it is going to be, leaving you monkeys behind! I don’t want to miss those first steps, next words, new teeth, and every other thing besides. Just remember I’m only ever a Skype away and I will be in touch often.

My wonderful dancers. You had to get a mention because Wednesday nights won’t be the same without you! Just keep on being you because you’re all brilliant… Good luck remembering all the choreography and if in doubt I suppose I wouldn’t mind the odd 1am wake up call to put you through your paces!

To the rest of my family and friends near and far, thank you to everyone who has supported me in making the leap! I genuinely couldn’t have done it without you. For all the good luck cards, words of encouragement, and well wishes I am extremely grateful and I will try my upmost to keep you up to date on my adventures.

To whoever said the hardest part of travelling was packing, you’re wrong, I’m sorry to say. It is definitely the goodbyes but luckily for me, this is just a ‘see you soon’!

See you all on the other side!

Laura x

An Underwater Paris

Back in June this year my mum and I headed to Paris for a few days of culture, sightseeing, wine and to tick a few items off the bucket list. Paris was always a draw for me, I have always loved European cities and soaking up new environments on the continent. From the museums, food, art galleries, and architecture, it has always been a dream trip for me.

The opportunity arose for our long awaited trip and our to-do list grew ever longer so as not to miss out on anything the city had to offer us… Or so we thought. Our Paris adventure was somewhat out of the ordinary as we arrived to the Seine at its highest level for over 30 years. We were determined to not let this dampen our spirits and managed to head up the Eiffel Tower on day 1. This was a feat in itself for me, having a pretty serious fear of lifts but the views at the top were more than worth it. We feasted on typical Parisian food and drink, made use of our limited French, and enjoyed watching the preparations for the upcoming Euro 2016 tournament. A personal highlight for us both was a visit to Montmartre, the weather was beautiful and we were far away enough from the floods to enjoy everything being open!

Walking around the city had an eerie sense of times gone by with boats stood still, roads closed, and restaurants all but empty. Our dreams of visiting The Louvre, Orsay, and Notre Dame were sinking faster than the river rose but we certainly had an experience to remember. From watching paintings being lifted via cranes out of top story windows, to standing amongst the crowds at the famous Zouave statue at the Pont d’Alma disappearing deeper in to the Seine, we were set apart from the usual tourists.

Looking back I think it made for a more memorable experience and has certainly made for a lot of fresh anecdotes to add to the travel repertoire! Would I change it? No! Like every travel experience, I learnt a lot, enjoyed new cultures, and certainly felt the burn of a metro-less Paris on the legs… Of course I would like to go back some day and finish off the bucket list but it was truly a great trip!

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Paris, we love you 

 

Laura x

Why travel solo?

Over the past few years of my life, travel has genuinely become my greatest passion and biggest obsession. I spend my time reading up on new destinations, opportunities, cultures, and experiences. Travel is a beautiful thing to share with people for sure, but for me hitting the open road alone is something quite unique and I would urge anyone to do it.

First and foremost, travelling alone means you can do everything you want to do and importantly, nothing you don’t want to do. Solo travel epitomises the ability to be completely selfish in doing exactly what you want. You want to go out for dinner at that restaurant you probably can’t afford? Go! That sky dive you’ve been itching to do? Do it! The best thing about it? There’s no one else to please but you, indulge a little… who knows, you might even enjoy it.

Alone time is highly underrated. Long haul flights, bus journeys, a beautiful sunset on the beach are all perfect times to enjoy a little bit of silence with your own thoughts. Plan ways to tick things off that all important bucket list, get stuck in to that book you’ve been dying to read, or simply sit back an enjoy some ‘you time’.

There are many advantages you perhaps may not think of… Imagine a theme park, queueing up for rides and wanting to sit with your friends. Ever jealous of the single riders line? Travelling alone makes things heaps easier in terms of finding good times to travel, flights, hostels, every time you only have to think of booking for one. In my experience, you can get some pretty good treatment from travelling alone too, from free drinks to room upgrades (thanks Thailand!)

Chances are, the majority of people you meet when you’re travelling will also be on their own. I firmly believe that travelling on your own makes you more eager to speak to locals, fellow backpackers, and break outside of your normal boundaries! Heading out with friends is great but you’re much more likely to stick with them and stay firmly within your comfort zone. Each and every opportunity is there to be grabbed with both hands when you travel, its a lot easier to do without someone holding one of them.

At the end of the day, if you never try you’ll never know if its for you but I would without doubt tell everyone to give it a go, even just the once. Personally, I’ll never look back! The experiences I’ve had, friends I’ve made, and things I’ve learnt when travelling alone have been some of the best of my life so far and every trip makes me more grateful for giving it a try.

Laura x

 

7 Things To Make The Most Of Your Backpack

Packing is one of the things I dread the most about travelling but with some forward planning and smart decisions you can make the most of it. Here are some of my tips to love your backpack again:

  1. Lay out everything you think you need to pack… then halve it! Especially important for first time travellers. I know from my first trip I packed WAY too much and I thought I was being quite conservative, how wrong a girl can be. There are some great packing lists available online if in doubt. Just remember you will be carrying the weight of this, make it bearable!
  2. Never underestimate the importance of a decent backpack! Particularly on long trips, your backpack becomes your life, so its vital to make a wise purchase. Do your research and decide what is important to you. Personally, I would recommend a suitcase style opening rather than a top loader as it stops you having to take everything out! Also you will be grateful at least once for making sure your backpack is waterproof – no one wants a bag full of wet clothes especially with the somewhat limited laundry facilities in hostels…
  3. Two words: packing cubes! I really wish I had these for my last big trip and I can’t wait to make use of them this time (the ones I have are pictured below). You can pick them up for very reasonable prices online, they save space and help organise your clothes. Make packing clothes even easier by rolling rather than folding and using zip-lock bags to add an extra waterproof layer.91cbscao41l-_sl1500_
  4. Those little essentials. Smart packing is not only reducing the amount of weight you bring but remembering some very handy extras. A notebook – writing down phone numbers/ addresses/ diary entries/ simply entertaining yourself on long journeys! Plug adaptors – as logical as it may sound, it was crazy when I was travelling the number of people that forgot them. Ear plugs – not an essential per se but you will be glad you bought them. Hostels are not renowned for being the quietest of places at night and you don’t want to be messing up a great day of adventure from being grouchy through lack of sleep!
  5. Travel towels really are a travellers dream. They dry super quickly, are much lighter and space-friendly than normal towels and can be picked up for a steal if you look in the right places. Make sure you bring a spare as they need washing fairly regularly! 716zajvrxhl-_sl1024_
  6. The boring stuff. Ok, so we have to talk about the important stuff – your itinerary (if you have one), flight schedules, bank details, copies of your passport/ visa. Of course a lot of this will depend on where you are travelling and for how long. Its always an idea to make sure someone back at home has a copy of all your important information including bank details – you never know when it might come in very handy.
  7. Be smart with your hand luggage. At the airport and on flights, you want everything you need in easy reach. Invest in a travel wallet (like this one) to keep your passport, tickets, transfer information and any hotel/ hostel details in one place – preferably in the order you will be needing them! In a busy airport you won’t want to be rifling through masses of paper to find your connecting flight details. disaster-nutshell-travel-wallet-460x344

So these are some of my top tips for making your trip that little bit easier and leaving you more time and energy to enjoy the important things! Do you have any great advice or thoughts on my list? Please feel free to leave them in the comments section.

Happy packing!

Laura x

Diving in

Picture the scene.

It’s July 2014, I’ve just graduated from university with a great degree and don’t really know where to turn next. I apply for a masters, get accepted but have to pass the long stretch between graduation and February when I start back at university. What do I do? Apply for some temporary work – waitressing and bar work. It’s good, tips are great and I work with some great people but I’m not setting the world on fire here. I need more!

I started looking at my friends, those I admired, was secretly jealous of, those I deemed successful but most importantly happy! I asked myself what made me view them in this way? Was there a link? The vast majority of these friends had one major thing in common… TRAVEL.

It started with some casual browsing online at destinations, round the world trips, flights, on websites and blogs galore. I was obsessed. Night after night I would trowel the internet with no real goal in mind, simply searching for that great wide somewhere that could bring me something I wasn’t sure I needed.

Before I knew it, one afternoon after speaking to a travel expert at STA my trip solidified before my eyes. Plastic in hand, shaking, it was done before I could quite believe it myself. I, Laura, had booked to go travelling. 3 months, 4 countries, just me, my backpack, and the open road.

I’d never thought I would be a person to venture off to distant lands, let alone do it on my own and I can honestly say I wouldn’t change it for anything. The experiences I have had to date (some of which I will get to share with you) have truly taken my breathe away, made me look at the world in an entirely new way and taken my life on a course I didn’t even know was possible. I know that my adventures are just starting and there is a whole load more out there to see. I can’t wait to dive in again!

Laura x