Two Years of Travel

Two years ago today I boarded a flight to Spain. What was initially “three or so months in Europe and then a year in Australia” got slightly out of hand.

When the question of “what do you want to be when you grow up?” came up at school, I’m curious as to what the response to the answer of “living out of a backpack in hostels, at one stage weeding farmers fields/packing and planting melons, being known to quit my job to travel and deciding which country to go to the day before” would be. It’s a pretty awesome path if you ask me.

It was such a change going from travelling through Europe to living in Australia, where I found it difficult to settle as in Europe you can travel not even two hours and experience a whole new culture. Here you can travel for ten hours and the culture is more or less the same. It’s coming up to halfway through my second year Working Holiday Visa now and I’m pretty happy with where I am and what I’ve done in the country, then at the end of July onwards I’ll be a full-time traveller again.

My attitude for the future is that if I can’t do something in a pair of flip flops or if it doesn’t require me to put on some hiking boots (or in my case, my Nikes as I’m not made of luggage space) I’m probably not going to want to do it.

At the moment I’m probably around the halfway mark of what has turned into my round the world trip. Throughout the next year I’m going to be travelling through Asia, then back to Europe. After that I’m hoping to arrive in New Zealand, most likely on a Working Holiday Visa and after that I have to figure out how to do South America. From leaving Australia, I want to do all of this just with hand luggage.

My highlights? Spending over two weeks in Budapest, it’s my favourite place and I can’t wait to return. Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef. Getting stuck in a cyclone shelter in Ayr and getting featured in a few online articles, as well as having my parents watch me on BBC News in Spain. Some of the job opportunities I’ve had in Australia – a two week stint in Cradle Mountain and the Melbourne Races. My farm work, it’s hard to describe – the best worst time I’ve ever had. Attempting to jump into the bush on a roundabout after several beers, faceplanting, injured myself and still had the beer in my hand (also caught on video). Watching Barcelona play at Camp Nou. Hostel piss-ups. Exploring Berlin. Going to Japan because I felt like it. Driving the Great Ocean Road. Not having to put up with peoples’ bullshit. Going to see the Australian Open two years running – and seeing both women’s and men’s champions in 2018 play. That’s just a few of my highlights, anyway.

The past two years have been fantastic and I cannot wait for the next couple of years to unfold.

East-Coast Australia: My Final Thoughts

Today is my last day of travelling the East Coast. Whilst it has been nice not being employed, compared to Europe it has been underwhelming. Parts of it I really enjoyed (Great Barrier Reef, Magnetic Island, Noosa), parts were a bit meh (Sydney, Brisbane) and some bits went so badly that I have a good story to tell (Whitsundays aka the Alright Barrier Reef).

I think one of the parts that let me down were the hostels; in Europe there’s a lot more getting to know each other, whereas over here I feel that it’s a lot more getting to know people by competitively drinking something that vaguely resembles boxed wine, also known as goon – something that I do not do.

With all of that said, I can now plan for my travels in Australia during my second year accordingly. There will be three trips abroad this year, one of them being next week. I can have fun for the next couple of weeks, then I need to sort out my second year visa. This might include a 30+ hour travel day.

Overall, I am glad that I went with it and have completed this trip but I’m glad to be going back to Melbourne in the morning.

2016: A Round-Up

Almost eleven months ago, I boarded a one way flight from England to Malaga. Without a doubt, those five months turned into the best experience I’ve ever had.

I started off with the best country: Spain. I ate some food that stands out as some of the  best that I have ever eaten, I loved most places that I visited and I learnt a fair bit of the language that I’ve probably forgotten by now. Las Fallas Festival was well worth seeing, though I could quite happily not deal with the chaos for a while! I can see myself, once I’m finished with long-term trips, staying in Spain for a bit and trying to learn the language.

Italy was also a good one for the most part; whilst Rome wasn’t to my liking and Pompeii was alright, Venice and Florence I liked, and I definitely can’t forget Milan. I pressed the wrong button and ended up with a flight there instead of Venice, though I can’t moan after eating the best pizza I think I’m ever going to eat.

A few other places are worth a mention – Budapest, my favourite city in the world (so far). Liked it so much I went twice, loved the thermal baths, food, hostel and general feel of the city. I stayed in a great hostel in Prague, enjoyed re-visiting Berlin and exploring Porto. I’m pretty sure I’m still burning off the calories of the Franceschina that I ate. Oh, and I also saw Beyoncé.

I could go on for days about my trip to Europe. Next came Singapore, which gave me my first feel for Asia, and has left me wanting to see more. I did perhaps the most dangerous tour of a city that I could ever do, ate so much good food that it warranted two lunches and/or two dinners some days as well as seeing a culture that wasn’t too familiar to me.

What I was looking forward to the most about this year was Australia, and it’s been alright; besides the friends that I made,  nothing has really stood out compared to my other trips. The East Coast is almost over, then after a week long trip, I’ll be back in Australia working on a farm for my second year visa. I have a good feeling that after this week, the trip will pick up a bit and I’ll be very, very busy.

What will I be up to in 2017?  Firstly, I’ll be at the Australian Open in Melbourne, before going to Hong Kong for Chinese New Year… I’ve only mentioned it a few times! I’ll then be doing my farm work, and when it’s over I will put my feet up for a couple of weeks. Then, I’ll be back at work for up to six months, saving  up my money again for some more trips. Japan is definitely on the cards, and I may go somewhere else. I honestly don’t see myself finishing the two years in Australia, though my visa will expire in July 2018, so I’m expecting to spend the whole of 2017 down under.

I have a couple of goals for the next year: firstly, I’d like to find my own place to live rather than a hostel, although there is more chance of me becoming the next pope than trying to balance work, life and living in and hostel ever again. I’d also like to learn something that isn’t work-related, take another cookery class abroad (Japan, I’m looking at you), and eat something that most English people wouldn’t consider eating.

If you click the read more button, you’ll see some of my favourite pictures. I tried to narrow it down to 10, but that quite obviously wasn’t going to work out.

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