Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Long way home

Written 6th March 2023
Soundtrack: Alt-j -Matilda

The date has arrived: March 6th. It's crazy how much your life can change in a day, to go from baking in the hot Melbourne sun, to arriving in white skyed London... 4°. Going home is so much more than just getting on a plane and seeing family again, it's the smell of England that once went unnoticed, the blue road signs, the familiar accents, the quaint pubs ( we do pubs best), the cups of tea and toast with lurpack, and adjusting to life without your trusty backpack. I'm excited about the simplest of things, like cardigan shopping, cuddling up with my cat, hugging mum, and being greeted by the neighbours. As you may tell I'm feeling quite nostalgic at the moment, with 14 hours thinking time before my next flight, to dwell on the amazing 5 months I just had, and how I may never be back to this country. But leaving somewhere is always difficult, and makes you think about your life and how, really, you can take it and live it anywhere in the world you wish. 

Highlights of Australia

Fraser Island, our 4 wheel drive family, card games at the campsite, white sands and blue waters. 
Magnums night club, Airlie beach
Whitsundays snorkelling, discovering a new world under sea level
Skydiving mission beach
End of the world party fun with Damien, Kelly and Pappinbarra locals
Christmas Eve BBQ and Christmas Day, sooo much cheeeeese!
Sydney- New Year's Eve all day in the park
Body boarding at Byron Bay
Australia Day, and stumbling into an Elvis gig
Melbourne city exploring; buskers, markets, street art and salsa
Climbing Kings Canyon, and Uluru
Sunset and sunrise in the Outback, with beer and champagne and new friends
Exploring the underground world of Cooper Pedi
Les Miserables at the moonlight cinema, Melbourne Botanical Gardens. 

Now I'm ready to go home, I just wish Clare, Laura, Hannah and Ray were coming with me!

“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang 

Goodbye Australia. You did me proud

Friday, 15 March 2013

Off Outback

Febuary 9th- 15th
Soundtrack: Awake My Soul- Mumford & Sons

Miles of empty land,  vast red grounds  sprouting brittle yellow bush, and towering orange rocks claim most of Australia's central land, a space bigger than Europe. I said goodbye to  Edward and Clare, and it was time to discover it for myself, by myself!

I was picked up from Alice Springs at 6.45 where I met tour Guide Julian and the first of my tour group Kim from Germany. Followed by Manon (Dutch), Alex (English), Facu ( Argentinian), Keimo (French), Liz ( French) and Jean from Canada. A lovely little collection of people and new friends to share the trip with! 

At times I felt like I was discovering a new planet; a day trip to Mars, ( only.. with a lot more life!) Camels roamed around freely, wild horses dashed off at the sight of our vehicle, there were eagles, kangaroos, wallabies, spiders and brown snakes; the most poisonousness in Australia. And despite all these dangers we still came across 2 female hitch-hikers alone on a 10 hour stretch of road. It blows my mind how 'care-free' they were, when realistically  the danger of them dehydrating was very real. Plus, any old crazy person could have picked them up! Luckily, we passed at the right time. That night we drove all drove to a camp-site near to Kings Canyon, shared Spaghetti Bolognaise and a crate of beers.
4 of the 5 nights, we slept in swags; a canvas sleeping bag on the ground, without cover or shelter from any of the creepy crawlies. The first night Facu climbed into his swag, and out crawled a hand sized centipede, 'aaah so many legsss!!'  

The 4a.m starts were quite a struggle, and by day 4 I was ready to sleep for a week, but instead we just had pizza and got very drunk! On day 3 I woke in the middle of the night to find 4 dingoes circling our camping area, and somehow managed to tell my self to ignore it and go back to sleep. I seem to be a bit braver than I imagined!

Kings canyon, Uluru and Cooper Pedi were a highlight. Cooper Pedi is an Opal mining village, where a large portion of the residents live underground, to avoid heat and sand storms, it was like Hobbiton, but without the greenery!

Heat robs you of energy, and flies attack from all angles, so why do we actually pay to go there? This is why- 

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Markets, Shop Windows and Buskers

Rudimental- Feel the love feat. John Newman

Discovery Melbourne. When we told people this is the hostel we're moving to they looked concerned, shared their negative stories and wished us luck. But I think they're mental; I love it. 

 To me, a factory of backpackers spells FUN! It's like Halls of Residence for travellers with its own bar and competitions, and me Clare and Becky have made so many friends! Scouser Jonny, Blind Date Dave, Chris, Liam, Dec, Jay and Isla to name a few. I will have fond memories of this hostel, and this 16 bed dorm, I know it. 

Yesterday me and Clare ventured out into the city with no actual aim, other than to explore aimlessly. What a day! We may not have a penny to spend but we have all the time in the world, and so, we strolled into every alluring shop, prodded things, imagined what we would use them for, looked at every food menu, 'fell' into a toy shop, watched a busker for 45 minutes, watched an outdoor salsa class, took photos with statues, 'fell' into a pic'n'mix sweet shop, took photos swinging from trees, and admired every pleasing view. I think it was my most perfect day. 

On Thursday we went to the hostel bar for free wine and cheese night, as soon as I saw they were hosting a competition to win free accommodation I marched over and signed my name up. (Even if it was Blind Date!) so me Clare and Bex went into the side room with our host and enjoyed (downed) a complimentary bottle of champagne and several free shots whilst planning our answers. If you were a film what would you be? ' Titanic, because if you let me down tonight I'll have that sinking feeling!' God it was embarrassing, but it seems i'll do anything for a freebie at the moment! We ended up with friends in a casino until 6 in the morning, and woke up around 6pm the next day. We partied until 6a.m the day after, then on the 4 th We enjoyed some goon on the top floor of Becky's hotel, sky top views of Melbourne whilst in a hot tub, then a free comedy night! Hello world!

Salsa in the streets
Tonight we went to mingle amongst the crowds of Brunswick Street, and the Night  Market,  and tomorrow we have a free Salsa class. I have a feeling there will be more women than men and I'll be left dancing with a possum or something. It was another lovely day, apart from when a homeless man told me I smell like shit. 

Living on this tiny amount of money is both challenging and rewarding (i can afford shower gel!) We spend $15 for 1 weeks food between us, we use Macdonald 'monopoly' vouchers for free burgers, free breakfast, and we never buy a single drink when we are out. ( I need to stop eating McDonald's before I actually die). We spend our days saying ''ah if only, ah it smells so good, oh I want that skirt, can we afford to share half a beer tonight, can I last until dinner time without eating?'  I officially now hate every item of clothes i packed in october, and only want to eat what i can't have. But I'd say its all character building, and I know when I do have money again, I will appreciate every last sausage! 

Happy birthday BeckyBecky Smart!

'You know I said it's true, I can feel that love, can you feel it too? 
I can feel it Ahhh aaah! '

La la la

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Happy Australia Day!

Written 29th Jan

Same love- Macklemoore and Ryan Lewis 

There's something about listening to this song that makes me all appreciative about life, it makes me all reflective and, well just completely happy. 

I'm excited about life. Excited that some of the best days of my life haven't happened yet, although one of them was lived yesterday. Clare, Becky, wine, botanical garden, picnic blanket, music; what an appealing little concoction and a recipe for a memorable Australia Day. The genius who brought a sound system along to the park in a shopping trolley needs to be knighted. Triple j's radio station played the top 100 tracks of the year as voted by the Australian public, what a relief that all the trashy chart songs were filtered out, leaving us with tasty selection. Happy ears=happy me.

Getting lost added to the experience, how else could we have stumbled across an open door with music and cheering spilling out of it. We popped our heads round and next thing we know Elvis Presley takes us by the hand and we are dancing with locals at an Elvis impersonator gig. Getting lost and being nosey really benefit as a traveller, it allows 
for spontaneity and a string of extra friends. Australia Day we partied, drank and socialised for over 12 hours, and didn't spend a single penny. A new habit, and I like it. 

Our week in St Arnauds, Melboirne has been most lovely, full of home comforts, a dog sized cat and 2 cat sized dogs- Sooty, Scruffy, and Princess. We had a chocolate powder fight, multiple backgammon games, read Green Mile in the park, sunbathed in Botanical Gardens, chased off a giant swan, ate Brumby bargains, had lots of film nights(the Hills have Eyes!), and sat on the balcony of our 6 bed dorm. 

Melbourne is my favourite city in Australia!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Cheer Up, Slow Down, Chill Out

Friday 18th January 

Sountrack: Sun - Two Door Cinema Club

The road sign upon entering Byron Bay was the first of a hundred things I love about this place.  The 2nd thing I liked was the sign on the doorway of our hostel 'This Is Not A Public Walkway To The Beach'. 
3rd- The first glimpse of a pool, picnic benches, hammocks and volley ball pitch
4th- The wonderful lady on reception when my Visa card didn't work; 'No Drama's Darl! :)
5th- The fact our 9 person dorm had enough floor space to rehearse a dance routine
6th- Everyone that passed us smiled and said Hello
7th- The retired and overgrown railway track on route down to the beach. 
...Don't worry I'm not going to list 100, although I could. 

Day one 
We claimed our beds within the room, and instantly made friends. Coincidentally it housed a girl from Wiltshire who also shared our room in our 14 bed dorm in Surfers Paradise. We spent the day at the beach and turned into children, we made 4 sand castles and a moat! We finished off the day by the pool before playing drinking games with our 5 litre box of wine, and partied the night away at Cheeky Monkeys. 

Day 2 
What better way to get rid of a hangover than spending the day on the beach Body Boarding. Ah the thrill when you catch a wave! The first time I tried it I winded myself, it bloody hurt. Later we turned into prunes in the pool, Clare carried me around like a baby. 

Today there were many instances where I looked around and thought, wow, life couldn't actually be any better. 

Laura becomes an Auntie

16th January

Soundtrack: Go Shoppin' (feat. Eek- A- Mouse)- Bran Van 3000
...a fabulous driving song, as introduced by my Dad!

The day Laura finally got the phone call! Welcome to the world Anneke Jane Miller!
Congratulations Clare and Greg!

We rented a car, and made our long trip up to Coffs Harbour and Surfers Paradise, whilst Hannah remains in Sydney with her new bar job. I like it here at Surfers Paradise, a lovely Majorcan style beach front, but framed by skyscrapers and a crazy night life! Today we spent the day by the pool, it's nice to have some sun again. The last week or 2 I haven't had a spot of sunshine due to laziness, being ill/ extremely dehydrated, and the pure hideous heat wave! 43 degrees makes breathing hard, never mind sunbathing.

In the evening we went down to the waters edge for a beverage or 3, and turned my Pub Quiz App into a drinking game. Then a few metres from us on the lake front some men turned up for band practise with a trumpet, guitars and bongos... I love moments like that. Coincidentally they were they live entertainment at the club we went to that evening!


On the drive up the coast we belted out music, had a sing along, and stopped off for a picnic. Tomorrow we drive to Byron Bay, a place I have only heard people rave about. Lets hope it doesn't disappoint!


Soundtrack: Ho hey- Lumineers

6th Jan

YES this place suits me. A street, tailored to fit me like a nice little dress. Glebe point road hosts a perfect combination of Parisian-style flats with balconies, book shops with wine courtyards at the back, markets and restaurants with front gardens. 
 We spent a good amount of time at Glebe Market on the Saturday morning, although the sun was too intense to be walking around in for too long...especially since loosing my hat on New Years Eve! Fried Brain! The rest of the day was spent walking through the botanical gardens, all 6 of us, and exploring the Sydney Opera house and Harbour Bridge. What a ' feel good' afternoon it was. The sky was deep blue without a cloud, there were live bands lining the streets, and the whole river embankment was bustling! Outdoor bars serving up ice buckets of champagne and Corona, a cruise ship ready to set sail, 
people in mexican hats; it was like London's South Bank on a Bank Holiday weekend and the hottest day of the year all at once. I love it when days just let off electric vibes.

It's been a lovely 4 days, despite being poorly for some off it ( most of it). MUST DRINK MORE WATER!

Next stop: Maze Hostel, Sydney Centre

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Pie Face, Pie Face, Pie Face

Soundtrack: Florence and the Machine- Spectrum ( Calvin Harris Remix)
Sountrack: Joshua Radin- Paperweight

Boxing Day we checked into 'Wake Up' hostel, a very clean, trendy, city hostel with its own bouncers. A really nice hostel, but a hostel where condoms are given out along side our room key just puts me off a little. We dragged our post christmas sleepy selves down to the bar for a glass of their promoted 'free champagne' with a live band. It turns out it was unlimited free champagne.  7 champagnes later and the bar turned into a club and Hannah joined the live band as vocalist! Brilliant night, it's always the spontaneous ones that end up the best.

The next morning was far from brilliant, 5 hung over girls, 5 backpacks and another 7 bags,  and a couple of completely full buses... if the light at the end of the tunnel hadn't been Bondi Beach I would have sacked it all off! They say it's all about location, and I say the are completely right. Our week on Bondi beach has been fabulous, Me, Laura, Clare, Ray, Hannah and Becky Smart! Of course with 6 peoples luggage, not much of the interior of the house could be seen at any one point. I love Bondi, a busy town full of bars, shops and markets cradling a beach that improves your day simply by standing and looking at it. What a little treasure. 

Quote of the week- Becky  went to the shop and was also grabbing some biscuits and snacks for Hannah so rang her when she got there. Becky calls Hannah and simply says 'I'm infront of the biscuits!' Only to realise it was instead another Hannah she barely knows. God knows what she though, but she hung up probably thinking it was some dodgy dealings. 

New Years was a memorable day. 14 hours in a park reserving our view of the harbour bridge was spent trying to avoid the I tense sun, playing cards, drinking goon. The fireworks were amazing. I wish the were more events like New Year in Sydney that bring 5000 people and 1000 blankets together in one park for a day of carefree silliness. This blog seems to have involved a lot of pointless statistics. 8 in fact. 

The change in year doesn't mean anything much to me, as long as it stays as happy, healthy and carefree as the rest of them. 

Cheeeers to you all! Xxx