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Relieving a quarter life crisis with travel

Relieving a quarter life crisis with travel

2016 is the year that I turn 25 years old. Now, to anyone over the age of 25, this is a great age. You’re still young enough to go out every weekend and make a fool out of yourself without it being too socially unacceptable, but you’re old enough (or at least, getting there…) to be taken seriously in aspects of your life that you’ve never been taken seriously before. Yaaay. However, with the quarter of a century landmark ominously looming in the not-too-distant future, the aforementioned positivity in regards to getting older is not really how I’m feeling about it. I mean, fuck. It’s scary. 25 seems like the age that I have to stop pretending I’m still a child and, like, do something notable with my life. Stop frivolously spending my money in Urban Outfitters and on travel and books and food, and  start saving for something scary. Like a house. Or at least pay off my credit card from my unconscious spending in South America. Go to bed early on weeknights, get up early to actually eat and be presentable before I leave the house. Find a decent boy, get married, have kids, drink nice wine out of nice wine glasses to get me through the mid-week slump of monotony that has become my life… (clearly, adulthood is a scary thing to me. BUT WE ALL FEEL LIKE THIS, RIGHT?!). Realistically though, I know that I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to sacrifice travel and having fun with my friends just because the omnipresence of social media means that I find myself constantly comparing where I am in my life to other people. And so, on to the positives of turning 25. Yeah, I have a real job. Obviously working 9-5 means that your life is very different than what it was when you were a carefree adolescent, but I’m lucky in the fact that I really enjoy my job (I’m a journalist of superyachts. No, really. LOLZ). And, with a real job comes real money. And with a decent adult wage, it also means that I can afford to go on some nice trips. I’m no longer limited to budget backpacking, which is pretty much how I’ve exclusively chosen to travel since I turned 18 years old. Trips, holidays, vacations – by my definition – are completely different to backpacking, or the stereotypical idea of what ‘travelling’ is. Holidays are for a shorter period of time and, most importantly they often have a very nice budget. Okay, not necessarily big, but a budget that 9/10 times surpasses the meagre budget of backpacking. I cannot count the amount of times whilst travelling where I’ve been depressingly hungry, with no silver lining on the dark, dark cloud of temporary (and annoyingly self-imposed) poverty, knowing that you simply cannot drop another cent on food and so resorting to a diet consisting of the free, stale bread in your hostel… So, in the spirit of growing up and having a real job and a real adult life, I’ve decided to stop being scared of getting older, and start travelling in ways that I haven’t previously been able to. I’m taking trips, holidays, vacations – not just sabbaticals from life – throughout this whole year, which excites me beyond belief. Though this dramatic turnaround in travel style is a consequence of the aforementioned job and adult life (ha, I imagine my parents and basically anybody that knows me is laughing their head off at my incessant branding of myself as an adult. I got ID’d for being – and I quote – ‘so small’ the other day. I’M AN ADULT, OKAY?!), it doesn’t mean that it’s as scary as my freaking out at the beginning of the post implies. As a travel blogger, people often ask me when I’m going to pack it all in and go travelling again. How can I find things to write about when I have some kind of anchor weighing me down to one location? I’m not buying into this ideology that serious travel is something reserved for people ‘brave’ enough to throw down the shackles of normality, or for those that are waiting to serve their time in the system or, indeed, have gallantly already served their time. Nope, not for me. This year, I’ll be going to Japan, Albania and New Zealand – as well as plenty of weekend trips back to my motherland (I’m discovering that I’m actually way more in love with England than I thought when I left the country almost three years ago to live in Holland). How do I manage to do this? The anchor that is apparently weighing me down can be just as easily lifted, even if just for a few weeks. I’m going to discover some amazing places with amazing people, and not give a damn about time passing. Travel isn’t just for those of us who want to sacrifice those expected things in life. It’s for everyone. I enjoy spreading myself over as much social media as possible. Follow meeeeee on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You’re welcome. #Money #Inspiration #Budget #Happiness #Backpacking #Reality #Career #Experience #Life #Adulthood #Adventure #Travel

Ancient trees and burning knees: trekking in Huaraz

Ancient trees and burning knees: trekking in Huaraz

This photo was taken at the very base of a VERY BIG trek up to the top of a Peruvian mountain in Huaraz to see a natural lagoon: Lake 69. As I wrote about at the time, we were totally unprepared for a high altitude trek, and it was inconceivably hard work. It took around 4 hours to get up there – not because the distance was craaaazy long, but because for most people in the group, every three steps required at least a 10 second pause to catch our breath. Needless to say I was a broken version of myself afterward. I think I actually crawled up the last 5 metre incline back to the van. This was my first experience of actually trying to exert myself in high altitudes, and although I struggled more than I care to admit, everything we saw was just out-of-this-world beautiful. At the peak of our trek at 4,600 metres, after passing imposing ancient trees, cascading waterfalls and a helluva lot of llamas, the glacial lagoon was something out of a fairytale. An icy, altitude-sickness emphatic fairytale, but a fairytale nonetheless. Even though it nearly killed me, I’d (a little reluctantly) do it all again. I enjoy spreading myself over as much social media as possible. Follow meeeeee on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You’re welcome. #Nature #Love #Huaraz #Tree #Peru #Photography #SouthAmerica #Life #Light #Mountains #Travel

Taking a break from life: is it worth it?

Taking a break from life: is it worth it?

When I decided to go travelling last summer, I was unsure of what the consequences would be upon my return to Amsterdam three months later. It’s easy to say just do it. Just go. Travel is what makes the world go round! YOLO, Carpe Diem and all that other cliche shit… but travelling for longer than your assigned holidays from work comes with an inevitable risk. The risk for me involved pretty big REAL L-I-F-E things. Things like the possibility of losing my beautiful (and disgustingly cheap!) Amsterdam apartment. The effect the travels may or may not have on my relationship. The fact that I may not have a job when I came back. And, of course, the inescapable issue of money: was I going to have anything when I came back? Will I even have enough to support myself for three months travelling?! AM I GOING TO DIE OF STARVATION WHEN I COME BACK? The pros of taking this trip, in my opinion, drastically outweighed the risk. But, really, I didn’t seriously take these risks into account. I live the philosophy that everything works itself out in the end. Of course you have to work to make it work, but in the end, everything is alright (and if it’s not alright, then it’s not the end… right?). When I came back from travelling, my life in Amsterdam was nothing like it was before. I broke up with my boyfriend a few weeks into the trip. I had to move out of aforementioned beautiful apartment in which I shared with him, and live on a friend’s sofa for a month while I frantically tried to find a new place in the increasingly sparse and unaffordable housing market of Amsterdam. My job – thankfully – was still waiting for me, but everything was different. My boss had left, and two new guys started. We had a new office, and my whole role seemed very different to what I was used to. I lost friends because of the disintegration of the relationship (as always happens, I guess…), and… well. Everything was just totally different. Reflecting upon the changes in my life since my return, a friend asked me, “So, you still think that travelling was worth it?” Without even thinking, I answered: but of course it was! Nonetheless, it’s a question that has played on my mind since it was asked. I mean, really, it hadn’t even crossed my mind for a second that it wasn’t worth it. The changes were changes that I could definitely deal with, if not a little overwhelming for a while. But it got me thinking: how would my life be right now if I’d decided that I was happy to just continue in my happy little Amsterdam bubble? Well, in all honestly, it would probably be much the same as it was before. I’d still be in the same job, I’d probably still be in the same house, with the same boy, doing the same things, with the same friends. I would have stagnated. Change brings about reflection, and upon reflection, I was losing myself in that life. That steady, happy, Amsterdam life I was leading. It was great for a while, but I was due for a shake up. This realisation reaffirmed my passion for travel. It’s the thing that makes my world go round. It’s where my mind wanders when it’s not occupied, it’s the thing that makes my heart beat faster, that makes me unequivocally happy, that has given me so much more than I could ever in a million years have expected it to. This sounds like a rose-tinted, sugar coated, banal view on travelling but, honestly, there’s no other way to describe it. I live and breathe for my next big – or small trip. The lead up, the aftermath, and the trip itself, it makes me feel alive. So, the answer to my friend’s question? After a couple of months of mulling it over and taking into consideration the possibly detrimental consequences of skipping out on life for three months and backpacking around South America – it was still worth it. Even if my credit card is still attempting recovery from my endeavours, even if I miss living in my gorgeous little apartment, even if I sometimes miss the relationship I’d given my heart and soul to. It was worth it. Absolutely, positively, 100% worth it. As the age-old quote from Robin Sharma says, don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life. Whether that’s travel or something else that makes you happy. Life isn’t for working your arse off 9-5, praying the weekend will hurry up. It’s not for slouching around, letting your mind slowly rot away (thanks Netflix…). And it’s definitely not for waking up one day and realising that you’re old and bored and unsatisfied, and that you should have just gone and taken that bloody risk. So my advice? Just take the risk, goddammit. I enjoy spreading myself over as much social media as possible. Follow meeeeee on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You’re welcome. #Amsterdam #Happiness #Change #SouthAmerica #Life #Positive #Philosophy #Travel #Risk

Win the World: November travel competition round up

Win the World: November travel competition round up

Welcome to  my weekly travel competition round up! One of the major reasons I’m where I am today is because I won a travel competition three years ago. Granted, the competition in question wasn’t your run of the mill ‘Click HERE and you could win!’’ kind of competitions, and I did have to work hard through three different stages to be victorious, but victorious I was. I won a 4 month trip around the world as a Travel Reporter for the international company, SPAR. 4 months, all expenses paid. Boom. (Read about the experience here. Spoiler: It was as awesome as it sounds.) Here’s a picture of me doing my obligatory SPAR poses in Rome. Worldwide Entry: Photography assignment for World Nomads in Nepal. Deadline 25th November. Enter here. A once-in-a-lifetime trip of your choice. Deadline 15th November. Enter here. A trip to Komodo. Deadline 26th November. Enter here. Win a $15,000 holiday! (Aus only) Deadline 20th December. Enter here. $500 top prize travel writing contest. Deadline 26th November. Enter here. Photo publication + $100 voucher. Deadline 30th November. Enter here. Win a week in the Maldives for two. Deadline 13th November. Enter here. €2,500 travel voucher. (Writing contest) Deadline 31st December. Enter here. A New Zealand and Australia adventure. (U.S. only) Deadline 30th November. Enter here. A trip to Mongolia, a Canon Camera & Helicopter ride. Deadline 8th November. Enter here. Win a vacation in Whistler worth $10,000. Deadline 30th March. Enter here. Win a holiday to Mauritius for 4. (Aus only) Deadline 30th November. Enter here. A three week U.S.A. road trip! Deadline 28th November. Enter here. A trip to Antarctica for two. (Aus only) Deadline 15th November. Enter here. Family holiday to Mauritius. (Aus only) Deadline 30th November. Enter here. An 11 day all expenses paid trip to Taiwan. (Worldwide entry, flights from U.K.) Enter here. A Moroccan adventure. (Worldwide entry, flights from U.K.) Deadline 15th November. Enter here. 80 day Philippines writing & and ambassador experience. Deadline 15th November. Enter here. Win a stay for two at Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi. Deadline 5th December (Worldwide entry, flights from U.K.) Enter here. Published article and £50 Amazon vouchers. (Blogger competition) Deadline 21st December. Enter here. UK Entry: Win a stay in a luxury treehouse cabin! Deadline 4th December. Enter here A luxury stay in Bordeaux. Deadline 15th December. Enter here. A four night luxury stay in the Lake District. Deadline 30th November. Enter here. A luxury break in Scotland with Lonely Planet. Deadline 15th November. Enter here. A camera worth £500. Deadline: week by week. Enter here. A holiday in Marrakech worth £5,000. Deadline 5th January. Enter here. £2,500 of travel vouchers. Deadline 16th November. Enter here. Win a brand new Canon Camera. Deadline 30th November. Enter here. Wanderlust book bundle. Deadline 15th November. Enter here. An adventure trip to China with Wanderlust Travel Magazine. Deadline 25th November. Enter here. I enjoy spreading myself over as much social media as possible. Follow meeeeee on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You’re welcome. #Luxury #Free #Photography #Travelcontest #Bespoke #Experience #Competition #TravelWriter #Adventure #Win #Travel #Blogger #Contest

Win the World: November travel competition round-up

Win the World: November travel competition round-up

Welcome to  my weekly travel competition round up! One of the major reasons I’m where I am today is because I won a travel competition three years ago. Granted, the competition in question wasn’t your run of the mill ‘Click HERE and you could win!’’ kind of competitions, and I did have to work hard through three different stages to be victorious, but victorious I was. I won a 4 month trip around the world as a Travel Reporter for the international company, SPAR. 4 months, all expenses paid. Boom. (Read about the experience here. Spoiler: It was as awesome as it sounds.) Here’s a picture of me doing my obligatory SPAR poses in Rome. Worldwide Entry: Photography assignment for World Nomads in Nepal. Deadline 25th November. Enter here. A once-in-a-lifetime trip of your choice. Deadline 15th November. Enter here. Win a $15,000 holiday! (Aus only) Deadline 20th December. Enter here. $500 top prize travel writing contest. Deadline 26th November. Enter here. Win a week in the Maldives for two. Deadline 13th November. Enter here. €2,500 travel voucher. (Writing contest) Deadline 31st December. Enter here. Business class tickets to Britain. Deadline 6th November. Enter here. A New Zealand and Australia adventure. (U.S. only) Deadline 30th November. Enter here. A 7 day trip to London from Ontario, Canada. Deadline 9th November. Enter here. A trip to Mongolia, a Canon Camera & Helicopter ride. Deadline 8th November. Enter here. Win a vacation in Whistler worth $10,000. Deadline 30th March. Enter here. Win a holiday to Mauritius for 4. (Aus only) Deadline 30th November. Enter here. A three week U.S.A. road trip! Deadline 28th November. Enter here. A trip to Antarctica for two. (Aus only) Deadline 15th November. Enter here. Family holiday to Mauritius. (Aus only) Deadline 30th November. Enter here. An 11 day all expenses paid trip to Taiwan. (Worldwide entry, flights from U.K.) Enter here. Win a stay for two at Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi. Deadline 5th December (Worldwide entry, flights from U.K.) Enter here. Published article and £50 Amazon vouchers. (Blogger competition) Deadline 21st December. Enter here. A trip to two to Yellowstone National Park with Toyota. (U.S. only) Deadline 8th November. Enter here. A Moroccan adventure. (Worldwide entry, flights from U.K.) Deadline 15th November. Enter here. 80 day Philippines writing & and ambassador experience. Deadline 15th November. Enter here. UK Entry: Win a £2000 bespoke trip to Ireland. Deadline 31st October. Enter here. Win a stay in a luxury treehouse cabin! Deadline 4th December. Enter here A four night luxury stay in the Lake District. Deadline 30th November. Enter here. A luxury break in Scotland with Lonely Planet. Deadline 15th November. Enter here. A camera worth £500. Deadline: week by week. Enter here. £2,500 of travel vouchers. Deadline 16th November. Enter here. Win three Marco Polo travel guides. Deadline 10th November. Enter here. Win a brand new Canon Camera. Deadline 30th November. Enter here. Wanderlust book bundle. Deadline 15th November. Enter here. An adventure trip to China with Wanderlust Travel Magazine. Deadline 25th November. Enter here. I enjoy spreading myself over as much social media as possible. Follow meeeeee on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You’re welcome. #Money #Budget #Free #work #Lucky #Competition #Giveaway #Happy #Adventure #Win #Travel #World #TravelCompetition #Writing #Contest

Win the World: October travel competition round-up

Win the World: October travel competition round-up

Welcome to  my weekly travel competition round up! One of the major reasons I’m where I am today is because I won a travel competition three years ago. Granted, the competition in question wasn’t your run of the mill ‘Click HERE and you could win!’’ kind of competitions, and I did have to work hard through three different stages to be victorious, but victorious I was. I won a 4 month trip around the world as a Travel Reporter for the international company, SPAR. 4 months, all expenses paid. Boom. (Read about the experience here. Spoiler: It was as awesome as it sounds.) Here’s a picture of me doing my obligatory SPAR poses in Rome. Worldwide Entry: Photography assignment for World Nomads in Nepal. Deadline 25th November. Enter here. A once-in-a-lifetime trip of your choice. Deadline 15th November. Enter here. Win a $15,000 holiday! (Aus only) Deadline 20th December. Enter here. $500 top prize travel writing contest. Deadline 26th November. Enter here. Win a week in the Maldives for two. Deadline 13th November. Enter here. €2,500 travel voucher. (Writing contest) Deadline 31st December. Enter here. Business class tickets to Britain. Deadline 6th November. Enter here. A New Zealand and Australia adventure. (U.S. only) Deadline 30th November. Enter here. A 7 day trip to London from Ontario, Canada. Deadline 9th November. Enter here. Win a vacation in Whistler worth $10,000. Deadline 30th March. Enter here. A trip to Antarctica for two. (Aus only) Deadline 15th November. Enter here. Family holiday to Mauritius. (Aus only). Deadline 30th November. Enter here. An 11 day all expenses paid trip to Taiwan. (Worldwide entry, flights from U.K.) Deadline 10th December. Enter here. Luxury wellness trip. Deadline 4th November. Enter here. Win a stay for two at Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi. Deadline 5th December (Worldwide entry, flights from U.K.) Enter here. Published article and £50 Amazon vouchers. (Blogger competition) Deadline 21st December. Enter here. A trip to two to Yellowstone National Park with Toyota. (U.S. only) Deadline 8th November. Enter here. A Moroccan adventure. (Worldwide entry, flights from U.K.) Deadline 15th November. Enter here. 80 day Philippines writing & and ambassador experience. Deadline 15th November. Enter here. UK Entry: Win a £2000 bespoke trip to Ireland. Deadline 31st October. Enter here. Win a stay in a luxury treehouse cabin! Deadline 4th December. Enter here A four night luxury stay in the Lake District. Deadline 30th November. Enter here. A luxury break in Scotland with Lonely Planet. Deadline 15th November. Enter here. A camera worth £500. Deadline: week by week. Enter here. Win a brand new Canon Camera. Deadline 30th November. Enter here. Wanderlust book bundle. Deadline 15th November. Enter here. An adventure trip to China with Wanderlust Travel Magazine. Deadline 25th November. Enter here. I enjoy spreading myself over as much social media as possible. Follow meeeeee on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You’re welcome. #Budget #Free #Luck #Positivity #Creativity #Competition #WintheWorld #Win #World #TravelCompetition #Writing #Blogger #Contest

Beating the travel blues… or not

Beating the travel blues… or not

A few years ago, I wrote about beating the travel blues. I was 20 years old, fresh from my first solo trip in Honduras and Costa Rica, had just survived a week in the English trash-mecca of Zante as broke as I’d ever been, and I was excited to start my final year of university. The reason I wrote it? I simply missed being on the road after delving into – and out of – the biggest adventure of my life to date. Fair enough, right? Riiiiiiiiight. I mean… it’s justified to feel a little down after you finish a big trip, but my whining about no longer travelling when all I had ahead of me was another year of uni madness and, of course, more travel, was insanity. I gave some lame tips like, “Talk about your trip with everyone you know!” and “Plan your next trip!” and “Realise you had a great trip! TRIP, TRIP, TRIP!” Thankfully my writing skills have improved since then. Gah. It sickens me. (You’ll get that I’m feeling pretty negative throughout this post. Whatever.) So why am I now turning on my younger, optimistic self and my words of wisdom naiviety? Because, four years later and very much in the flow of what most would call ‘real’ life, I now know exactly what travel blues are. My previous advice was pretty vanilla, you know, you could definitely take it, but it lacked any real depth. I didn’t understand the dreaded travel blues in all their horrifying wallowing-in-pits-of-despair glory. But now, I definitely, 1,000% do. I’m not saying that in the extra four years I’ve lived on this planet that I have become infinitely wiser than 20 year old me but… wait. Actually, no. I am saying that. Over the past four years I’ve studied my arse off and graduated from university. I’ve won an international competition to travel the world for four months. I travelled the world for four months! I made real friends. I survived getting fired in the middle of the Alps, and managed to finish my ski season. I moved to Amsterdam. I fell in love. I got a real job. Lost real friends. I travelled for three months. Fell out of love. Dealt with evil landlords and the crazy Amsterdam housing market. And generally survived – ALL BY MYSELF. So yeah, infinitely wiser. Due to my now apparently infinite wisdom, I’m ready to rip apart my previous ‘How to beat the travel blues’ post. With a ton of sarcasm and bitterness. Talk about your trip with everyone you know
Boring. Everyone you know is going to be bored at everything you say. No one wants to hear that OH-MY-GOD-SO-FUNNY story about the time you were intoxicated in Koh Samui/Bolivia/Sydney/Berlin. No one. Wants. To. Hear that. By talking about your trip to everyone you know without them even expressing an interest is just setting yourself up for a fall. Right onto your face. A face that will probably still be telling stories to the floor. Boring your friends = no cure for travel blues. Plan your next trip
In fairness… this is quite a good one. You should plan your next trip! It takes your mind off being sad and makes you excited to go away again. But then, of course, you realise that you spent all the money you had on the last trip, and you’re now too broke to afford rent and can’t afford a new place and are crashing on a friends sofa ‘temporarily’ but it’s been a month already… Yeah. I mean, you can always dream of planning the next trip. That might help. Before you break down and wallow in the realities of first world poverty. Realise you had a great trip
Where do I even start. OF COURSE YOU HAD A GREAT TRIP, YOU WERE TRAVELLING THE WORLD. And that is why you want to go back. Duh, duh, duh. Returning from South America a couple of weeks ago and delving straight back into work and trying to deal with lots of big girl shit like houses and money and ex-boyfriends is not fun. I genuinely feel as though I would give at least one body part up to be carefree and living life on the road again, nothing but my backpack and good vibes and the next adventure ahead. Sure, there were parts of the trip which sucked (Bolivia in general, breaking up with aforementioned boy, leaving…), but travelling is the thing that makes me feel complete and happy. And I wanna go ba-a-ah-ah-ck (to be read in a sobbing, hysterical woman voice). S I wanna win the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2015! Gimme a vote on this page. It’s easy-peasy. THANKS! <3 #Amsterdam #TravelBlues #advice #GrowingUp #SouthAmerica #Life #Pessimistic #Adulthood #Maturity #Expat #Wanderlust #Travel

Win the World: May Travel Competition Round-Up

Win the World: May Travel Competition Round-Up

Welcome to  my weekly travel competition round up! One of the major reasons I’m where I am today with my blog and maybe even in life (and no, I’m not being melodramatic for once!) is because I won a travel competition two and a half years ago. Granted, the competition in question wasn’t your run of the mill ‘Click HERE and you could win!’’ kind of competitions, and I did have to work hard through three different stages to be victorious, but victorious I was. I won a 4 month trip around the world as a Travel Reporter for the international company, SPAR. 4 months, all expenses paid. Boom. (Read about the experience here. Spoiler: It was as awesome as it sounds.) Here’s a picture of me doing my obligatory SPAR poses in Rome. Worldwide Entry: A year of FREE accommodation with LoveHomeSwap! Deadline 30th May. Enter here. Win a summer of European festivals and a GoPro. Deadline 4th June. Enter here. Win a wearable sleeping bad. Deadline May 31st. Enter here. A 4 day luxury stay in Hong Kong. Deadline 31st May. Enter here. Win a weekend in Zanzibar. (Kenya only) Deadline 29th May. Enter here. A $150 Amazon giftcard for your travel story. Deadline July 31st. Enter here. €22 off your first booking with Airbnb! Deadline ongoing. Enter here. Win a $2000 travel getaway voucher! (Aus only) Deadline 24th October. Enter here. $900 worth of Lonely Planet & Kathmandu merch. (Aus only) Deadline 15th June. Enter here. Win a Hedgren Formula one suitcase & book bundle (Aus only). Deadline 27th September. Enter here. Photography competition. Deadline month by month. Enter here. Win £500 of travel vouchers! Deadline 31st May. Enter here. Win a trip to two to the Maldives. Deadline 17th July. Enter here. UK Entry: Win a 7 night Grecian cruise. Deadline 31st May. Enter here. Photography comp: Published work + 4 day Lapland expedition. Deadline monthly. Enter here. A trip to Tobago! Deadline 31st May. Enter here. Win a Leica-Vlux camera. Deadline 15th August. Enter here. A luxury trip to Crete for two. Deadline 21st June. Enter here. Young travel writers competition (up to age 17). Deadline 30th June. Enter here. Travel Writing experience in New Zealand. (Students only) Deadline 15th June. Enter here. Win a trip for two to Tobago. Deadline 31st May. Enter here. Win a trip to the Caribbean! Deadline 3rd June. Enter here. Win a £500 voucher for your next family adventure. Deadline 15th September. Enter here. A weekend with Ray Mears in Ontario. Deadline 31st May. Enter here. A holiday to Iceland and published work. Deadline 30th June. Enter here. Win a £2000 bespoke trip to Ireland. Deadline 31st October. Enter here. Check out my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more travel stories, pictures and updates! #Money #Nature #Britain #Budget #Free #Tourist #Experience #Competition #Giveaway #Happy #Summer #Win #Travel

Win the World: May Travel Competition Round-Up

Win the World: May Travel Competition Round-Up

Welcome to  my weekly travel competition round up! One of the major reasons I’m where I am today with my blog and maybe even in life (and no, I’m not being melodramatic for once!) is because I won a travel competition two and a half years ago. Granted, the competition in question wasn’t your run of the mill ‘Click HERE and you could win!’’ kind of competitions, and I did have to work hard through three different stages to be victorious, but victorious I was. I won a 4 month trip around the world as a Travel Reporter for the international company, SPAR. 4 months, all expenses paid. Boom. (Read about the experience here. Spoiler: It was as awesome as it sounds.) Here’s a picture of me doing my obligatory SPAR poses in Rome. Worldwide Entry: Win a summer of European festivals and a GoPro. Deadline 4th June. Enter here. An American road trip and Writing workshop. Deadline 27th May. Enter here. Win a wearable sleeping bad. Deadline May 31st. Enter here. A 4 day luxury stay in Hong Kong. Deadline 31st May. Enter here. Win a weekend in Zanzibar. (Kenya only) Deadline 29th May. Enter here. A $150 Amazon giftcard for your travel story. Deadline July 31st. Enter here. €22 off your first booking with Airbnb! Deadline ongoing. Enter here. Win a $2000 travel getaway voucher! (Aus only) Deadline 24th October. Enter here. $900 worth of Lonely Planet & Kathmandu merch. (Aus only) Deadline 15th June. Enter here. Win a Hedgren Formula one suitcase & book bundle (Aus only). Deadline 27th September. Enter here. Photography competition. Deadline month by month. Enter here. Win £500 of travel vouchers! Deadline 31st May. Enter here. Win a trip to two to the Maldives. Deadline 17th July. Enter here. A 5 day trip to the Maldives. (Aus only) Deadline 22nd May. Enter here. UK Entry: Win a 7 night Grecian cruise. Deadline 31st May. Enter here. Photography comp: Published work + 4 day Lapland expedition. Deadline monthly. Enter here. A trip to Tobago! Deadline 31st May. Enter here. Win eight nights of Thailand island hopping. Deadline 21st May. Enter here. Win a Leica-Vlux camera. Deadline 15th August. Enter here. A luxury trip to Crete for two. Deadline 21st June. Enter here. Young travel writers competition (up to age 17). Deadline 30th June. Enter here. Travel Writing experience in New Zealand. (Students only) Deadline 15th June. Enter here. Win a trip for two to Tobago. Deadline 31st May. Enter here. Win a trip to the Caribbean! Deadline 3rd June. Enter here. Win a £500 voucher for your next family adventure. Deadline 15th September. Enter here. A weekend with Ray Mears in Ontario. Deadline 31st May. Enter here. A holiday to Iceland and published work. Deadline 30th June. Enter here. Win a £2000 bespoke trip to Ireland. Deadline 31st October. Enter here. Check out my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more travel stories, pictures and updates! #Budget #Free #Backpacking #work #Tourist #Competition #Giveaway #Happy #Summer #Adventure #Win #Travel

Win the World: May Travel Competition Round Up

Win the World: May Travel Competition Round Up

Welcome to  my weekly travel competition round up! One of the major reasons I’m where I am today with my blog and maybe even in life (and no, I’m not being melodramatic for once!) is because I won a travel competition two and a half years ago. Granted, the competition in question wasn’t your run of the mill ‘Click HERE and you could win!’’ kind of competitions, and I did have to work hard through three different stages to be victorious, but victorious I was. I won a 4 month trip around the world as a Travel Reporter for the international company, SPAR. 4 months, all expenses paid. Boom. (Read about the experience here. Spoiler: It was as awesome as it sounds.) Here’s a picture of me doing my obligatory SPAR poses in Rome. Worldwide Entry: Win a summer of European festivals and a GoPro. Deadline 4th June. Enter here. Win a Breeze phone and payment plan. (Canada only) Deadline 14th May. Enter here. An American road trip and Writing workshop. Deadline 27th May. Enter here. Win a wearable sleeping bad. Deadline May 31st. Enter here. A 4 day luxury stay in Hong Kong. Deadline 31st May. Enter here. Win a weekend in Zanzibar. (Kenya only) Deadline 29th May. Enter here. A $150 Amazon giftcard for your travel story. Deadline July 31st. Enter here. Win a Philco Android 3G Tablet. Deadline 18th May. Enter here. Win a WorldSIM Philco 3G 7″Android Tablet. Deadline 18th May. Enter here. €22 off your first booking with Airbnb! Deadline ongoing. Enter here. Win a $2000 travel getaway voucher! (Aus only) Deadline 24th October. Enter here. $900 worth of Lonely Planet & Kathmandu merch. (Aus only) Deadline 15th June. Enter here. Photography competition. Deadline month by month. Enter here. Win £500 of travel vouchers! Deadline 31st May. Enter here. Win a trip to two to the Maldives. Deadline 17th July. Enter here. A 5 day trip to the Maldives. (Aus only) Deadline 22nd May. Enter here. UK Entry: Win a 7 night Grecian cruise. Deadline 31st May. Enter here. Photography comp: Published work + 4 day Lapland expedition. Deadline monthly. Enter here. A trip to Tobago! Deadline 31st May. Enter here. Win eight nights of Thailand island hopping. Deadline 21st May. Enter here. Win a Leica-Vlux camera. Deadline 15th August. Enter here. A luxury trip to Crete for two. Deadline 21st June. Enter here. Young travel writers competition (up to age 17). Deadline 30th June. Enter here. Travel Writing experience in New Zealand. (Students only) Deadline 15th June. Enter here. £100 Sunuva voucher. Deadline 14th May. Enter here. A holiday for two in Portugal. Deadline 16th May. Enter here. A three night trip to Krakow. Deadline 17th May. Enter here. Win a trip for two to Tobago. Deadline 31st May. Enter here. Win a trip to the Caribbean! Deadline 3rd June. Enter here. Win a £500 voucher for your next family adventure. Deadline 15th September. Enter here. A weekend with Ray Mears in Ontario. Deadline 31st May. Enter here. A holiday to Iceland and published work. Deadline 30th June. Enter here. Win a £2000 bespoke trip to Ireland. Deadline 31st October. Enter here. Check out my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more travel stories, pictures and updates! #Budget #Free #Backpacking #Holiday #work #Tourist #Competition #Giveaway #Happy #Summer #Win #Travel

Win the World: May Travel Competition Round Up

Win the World: May Travel Competition Round Up

Welcome to  my weekly travel competition round up! One of the major reasons I’m where I am today with my blog and maybe even in life (and no, I’m not being melodramatic for once!) is because I won a travel competition two and a half years ago. Granted, the competition in question wasn’t your run of the mill ‘Click HERE and you could win!’’ kind of competitions, and I did have to work hard through three different stages to be victorious, but victorious I was. I won a 4 month trip around the world as a Travel Reporter for the international company, SPAR. 4 months, all expenses paid. Boom. (Read about the experience here. Spoiler: It was as awesome as it sounds.) Here’s a picture of me doing my obligatory SPAR poses in Rome. Worldwide Entry: Win a Breeze phone and payment plan. (Canada only) Deadline 14th May. Enter here. An American road trip and Writing workshop. Deadline 27th May. Enter here. Win a wearable sleeping bad. Deadline May 31st. Enter here. A 4 day luxury stay in Hong Kong. Deadline 31st May. Enter here. A $150 Amazon giftcard for your travel story. Deadline July 31st. Enter here. Win a Philco Android 3G Tablet. Deadline 18th May. Enter here. Win a WorldSIM Philco 3G 7″Android Tablet. Deadline 18th May. Enter here. €22 off your first booking with Airbnb! Deadline ongoing. Enter here. Win a $2000 travel getaway voucher! (Aus only) Deadline 24th October. Enter here. $900 worth of Lonely Planet & Kathmandu merch. (Aus only) Deadline 15th June. Enter here. Photography competition. Deadline month by month. Enter here. Win a trip to two to the Maldives. Deadline 17th July. Enter here. A 5 day trip to the Maldives. (Aus only) Deadline 22nd May. Enter here. UK Entry: Win a 7 night Grecian cruise. Deadline 31st May. Enter here. Photography comp: Published work + 4 day Lapland expedition. Deadline monthly. Enter here. A trip to Tobago! Deadline 31st May. Enter here. Win eight nights of Thailand island hopping. Deadline 21st May. Enter here. Win a Leica-Vlux camera. Deadline 15th August. Enter here. A luxury trip to Crete for two. Deadline 21st June. Enter here. Young travel writers competition (up to age 17). Deadline 30th June. Enter here. Travel Writing experience in New Zealand. (Students only) Deadline 15th June. Enter here. £100 Sunuva voucher. Deadline 14th May. Enter here. A holiday for two in Portugal. Deadline 16th May. Enter here. A three night trip to Krakow. Deadline 17th May. Enter here. Win a trip for two to Tobago. Deadline 31st May. Enter here. Win a trip to the Caribbean! Deadline 3rd June. Enter here. Win a £500 voucher for your next family adventure. Deadline 15th September. Enter here. A weekend with Ray Mears in Ontario. Deadline 31st May. Enter here. A holiday to Iceland and published work. Deadline 30th June. Enter here. Win a £2000 bespoke trip to Ireland. Deadline 31st October. Enter here. Check out my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more travel stories, pictures and updates! #Money #Love #Budget #Free #Holiday #Europe #Food #Experience #Life #Competition #Win #Travel

Finding alternative accommodation

Finding alternative accommodation

Accommodation choices for travelers of any budget come with such a vast amount of choices in 2015. When I first went travelling in 2009 (ahhhhhh. God. Age is creeping upon me, as I wrote about last week!), I had no idea what to expect… and a mixture of hotels and hostels is what I settled for. The next year when I backpacked in Australia, we stayed in hostels only, and when I returned to Australia again a few years later, we stayed in a camper van for the majority of our trip! But what other options are there? Being a travel blogger, it’s kind of my job to know about alternative accommodation, and I’m always surprised when people don’t know about companies and organisations that I thought were just as well known as regular hotels. I’ve got nothing against hostels, but if you’re travelling for more than a few weeks, I’m sure every traveller can understand the sentiment that hanging around with other travellers can get very, very tedious. Week 10, and you’d rather hang out by yourself then have to answer yet another spiel of questions on where you’ve been, what you’ve done, where you’re from, what you’re going to do next – blahblahblahBLAH. Having your own space for a few days away from the bubble of the backpacking lifestyle is a welcome break at times, and actually gets you to interact with locals depending on where you go, which is always a plus to an authentic experience of a destination. So, without further ado, here’s four alternatives to hotels and hostels. Airbnb

If you don’t know about Airbnb, where have you been for the past couple of years?! Since its inception in 2008, the site now boasts listings in more than 34,000 cities and 190 countries. So, chances are, wherever you’re going there’s going to be an Airbnb listing. The concept is pretty simple: if you have a spare space in your studio, apartment, house or mansion, you can list it on the site. People looking for accommodation can book directly online, send you a message with any questions, and that’s it. They pay Airbnb, who then transfer the money to the owner once the trip is over. Simple! Booking your accommodation with Airbnb has so many benefits; mainly that you get to stay in a real local’s house, and experience something that a hotel can never give you. Often the hosts are super friendly and keen to give you information about the area, which is another great point. I’ve already booked three Airbnb apartments for my time in South America, and aside from them being local, they’re also awesome, hands down beating the aforementioned travellers spiel that you’ll no doubt end up with in yet another hostel. Oh, and here’s the beautiful place I stayed in whilst in Berlin! If you’ve never tried Airbnb before, I implore you to do so. And, to motivate you even more, you can get €23 or $25 off your first booking if you sign up from this link. You’re welcome. Homestay

Homestay is a relatively new company, founded in 2013 in Dublin. It’s another great concept that connects people around the world. The idea is, like Airbnb, you search for available accommodation wherever you going, read their profile, check out photographs of the place they’re offering, and book! The difference with Homestay is that you actually spend your time in the home of people whilst they are there. Only book this if this is really what you want. You should want to stay with a family and spend time with them, as that’s what they’ve listed their homes on the site for! This is not a hotel, this is an experience. And a pretty cool one, at that! Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is one of the best ideas in travel I’ve ever heard of. The founders are passionate about people from all walks of life being able to travel easily, safely and freely, and boom. Couchsurfing was born. The idea is that if you have a spare room or spare couch (clue is in the name), you list your place online and people request to stay with you! If you’re busy, no worries, if you just don’t want to, again, there is no obligation to accept someone’s stay. What makes Couchsurfing so great is that it’s 100%, completely free. No money is allowed to exchange hands between the guests and the hosts – though buying your hosts at least a beer or two is just polite, really. Me and my boyfriend actually hosted a couple from Canada last year when they were in Amsterdam, and had such a good weekend with them! They were super chilled, had a lot of cool stories from their travels, and were no imposition upon our life in Dam at all. In fact, it was nice to meet some new faces. Like Airbnb, Couchsurfing gives you an entirely different perspective of a destination. You’re staying with people who actually live there, for one, so right off the bat you have a more realistic view of life there. I think a lot of people are a bit apprehensive to try Couchsurfing, but if you’re an amicable person who likes to meet other people, there’s no better way to travel! Groupon

Okay, so Groupon isn’t exactly an accommodation site – or an accommodation site at all, really – but they have SO many great offers and deals on experiences that you may never have thought about. For example, whilst searching for something vaguely exciting and romantic at the same time for my anniversary next week, I used Groupon to try and find something different to the usual. Though many were a bit out of my budget (I’m not usually so cheap… I’m going travelling in a month’s time!) Although if you’re on a teeny, tiny budget then Groupon probably won’t be your best bet, if you’re willing to splash out a little and do some research, then you could end up with much more unique experiences than just doing it yourself! There are so many other ways to book accommodation than just heading over to the big, mass search sites, or even just booking it as a package with your holiday. Have you ever tried something a bit out of the ordinary? Tell me about it! Check out my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more travel stories, pictures and updates! #Authentic #Accommodation #Airbnb #Hotel #Home #Tourist #Experience #Backpacker #Travel #Couchsurfing #Local #Berlin