Thursday, 23 November 2017

Books I have read in the first 3 months of Travel

I've always been a huge reader, but studying English Literature at University turned that love into a chore. Only recently, over a year since graduating, have I picked up a book just for the fun of it. It did take me a while to get through my first book (Girl on the Train), and after sporadically picking it up every few months, toward the last few chapters, I just couldn't put it down.

Books I have read in the first 3 months of Travel

I knew that while travelling, reading as much as I could was definitely on my To Do list. Little did I know that I would be getting through about a book a month! So here are the books I read during the first three months of travelling.

1. Everything Everything - Nicola Yoon

I started reading this one in the last week before we left the UK and it was finished around mid-September. If I'd had the time to just sit in a comfy chair all day and read this, I would have raced through this. It was such an easy read and it really set off the past few months of reading for me.

I wanted to read this because I saw the trailers for the film version everywhere, and wanted to read it before I watched it, just so the film wouldn't spoil it for me. I'm so glad I did, as all throughout the novel I was wondering just how it was going to end. Would it be this way, or that way? I'm normally very good at predicting endings, and I did contemplate the ending in my many theories, but I still wasn't 100% sure. That made it all the more enjoyable for me, as I didn't find the storyline super predictable - some others my not find this, but still worth a read!

2. Miss You - Kate Eberlen

This is one that I picked up from the shelf in our shared apartment from what others have left. Honestly, it looked like the best out of a bad bunch, so I decided to give it a go.

All in all, I loved the concept of this plot - the two protagonists find themselves narrowly missing meeting each other. We know the two are meant to be, but their paths never fully cross.

Maybe this was my degree coming out, and I am critically analysing too much, but some of the language and techniques used in this novel truly made me cringe. At some points, it reminded me of the novels I would read as a teenager - and this worked when the characters were in there teens. However, as you see both Tess and Gus age, they reach their thirties and the language hasn't matured with them, you can see why this would make me wince at certain points in the book.

Overall though, I really loved this book and found myself zipping through, wanting to know how they finally met each other at the end. A great holiday, by-the-pool read.

3. Eat Pray Love - Elizabeth Gilbert

While packing up our apartment in Manchester, I found it again and promised myself that I would read it. It was the first thing I packed when the time finally came around to it. I have started this book once before. I'm not exactly sure when, but it was either during the Summer between years at university or once I'd graduated, but the love from reading just hadn't come back yet, so I stopped at Chapter 5.

This is one of the many books where I have watched the film before reading. Normally this spoils the plot for me, and either makes me not want to read it at all, or gives me preconceived ideas about what a character looks like, or where the setting is - which I hate. However, the way this book is written isn't like this at all. More like a autobiography than anything else, I don't imagine the character as Julia Roberts. Rather than scenes, you get a zoomed in situation or a vague flashback. Never really sure if you are in the past, the present or in the future at any given moment, you listen along to what Gilbert has to say and the relevant information you need about her are given at the correct moments of the narrative.

I'm glad I saved this one to read after the last two, as sometimes the discourse can be challenging to get through, and some chapters reminds me more of a first person magazine article than a piece of storytelling. This may be due to Gilbert's journalistic background. However, it is refreshing to read a book in this format.

What should I read next? I have a few ideas on my list, and also a very cute community book exchange on my street here in Cairns which I am going to visit in the coming weeks, so be sure to look out for that if you enjoyed this post!

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Top 5 apps you need while travelling

I don't think we'd have gotten as far as we did on our first leg of our Australia road trip without these top 5 apps. Travelling across the country meant that time would sometimes slip away from us and we would be so taken in by the views and what we were experiencing, we'd forget about a couple of things - like where the next petrol station was, or where we were sleeping for the night. These apps helped us get out of some sticky situations, and also helped us to be as spontaneous as possible. Some of these apps have location specific versions, and I will link all of the Australia versions, as these are the ones that I have been using.

Photo by Justin Main on Unsplash

1. WikiCamps

This has to be our most used app throughout our whole road trip portion of us being here in Australia. You do have to pay for it - £4.99 if I remember correctly - but it is 100% worth the price. Some nights we were really in a pinch when it come to finding somewhere to sleep (which is why you don't really see our campsite experience in our vlogs), and this really helped us find the best free campsites.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Road trip essentials

When going on a road trip there are certain things you shouldn't forget, but always seem to do. This list of road trip essentials will help you pack your car up with everything you NEED. Forget what you need for the car, this isn't the post for that. This post is all about having the best road trip ever! Unless you break down... then you're screwed.

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Why staying in hostels isn't for everyone

So many people talk about how they have the best time staying in hostels. But for some people like us, it isn't always the case. Some hostels are dirty, some are noisy and some are just filled with the type of people you don't want to come across. We haven't stayed in many hostels on our Australia road trip, and mainly stuck to motels and free camping, but there was one in particular that made us realise that we're not cut out for the hostel life.

Photo by Samuel Holt on Unsplash

My boyfriend Alex has never let us stay in hostels when we've gone on a weekend away, even though they will have saved us a considerable amount of money. As a result of that, we've both been subject to a lot of lovely (and expensive) hotels and apartments in Europe, and really, that's what we're used to. Don't get me wrong, we've also stayed in some pretty basic, budget accommodation - Campanile, Ibis Budget, friend's floors with nothing but two blankets between us, all of my student accommodation. The list goes on. Basically, we shouldn't really be this fussy.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

The best free campsite in Queensland - Bouldercombe - Australia Road Trip

On our East Coast road trip in Australia from Brisbane to Cairns, we stayed in what had to the be the best free campsite in all of Queensland. This was in a place called Bouldercombe.

Photo by Lindsay Wood, Itching for Hitching,

It was our third day of our road trip and we were in Rockhampton. To find our free campsites we used the app WikiCamps, which if you are travelling Australia in a van or camping, I highly recommend getting. Every night we would go on the app, find the closest site that had the best reviews, and then that would be our home for the night. In Rockhampton, there is a camp very close to the centre and close to the Zoo and Botanic Gardens that we visited (video below of that). However, it is really close to a main road and I didn't quite fancy that. The only other options meant either driving until it was dark, or driving around 20 minutes out of the way.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Town of 1770 - Australian Road Trip

This place was recommended to us by my Uncle who had previously travelled Australia. If he hadn't, I'm not sure we would have even heard of this place never mind accidentally found our way there. When we arrived, we were amazed by how stunning the view was. The quiet calm of this small town just made our day there feel even more special.

Town of 1770, Australia

Despite its odd name, this small bay is truly spectacular and a great stop off for lunch or just to laze on the sand. There were a number of different types of people visiting - ranging from families, to young couples like courselves. Although there's little around the main beach other than a caravan park, a cafe, public toilets and a number of boats anchored up, it just shows that its beauty was bringing all sorts of people, from all different generations.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Rainbow Beach - Brisbane to Cairns Roadtrip

Our first stop outside of Brisbane was Rainbow Beach. Not that far from the more tourist-y Hervey Bay, the drive to this small seaside town is unlike anything else. With rows and rows of pine trees lining the roadside as you drive through the Toolara State Forest, it was purely magically, and even slightly eerie when it was just our little van alone on the road. I was entranced by how the light seemed to change the further you looked into the dense mass of trees - I wanted to stop and wander, but at the same time I was wary. I kept wondering how easily lost I would get.

It was on these roads that we saw our first wild Kangaroo, just stood as if it was waiting to cross, with it’s baby Joey in her pouch! It was an unexpected sight, something I honestly thought we would ever see. I little like those deer signs we have back home in the UK - you see the signs, but do you ever really see the animal? It's a sight that will forever be etched into my memories.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

8-hour Singapore layover

In the middle of our 30 hour + journey to Australia, we had a layover in Singapore. Now Singapore wasn't really somewhere that was a bucket list place for me, and I didn't really have any sort of idea of what there was to do there. But when the cheapest flight to Australia included a long layover we jumped at the chance to explore this city-state.

Singapore Marina Sands SkyPark view
We landed in Singapore's Changi Airport, labelled by some, the best airport in the world. But instead of spending the 8 hours trawling around the airport (which we most definitely could have done with the amount of activities to do), we decided to venture out into the city. We were so surprised when we were researching Singapore by the size of it and how small it was. But you will soon see we hardly even made a dent in what there is to see and do, and we most definitely need to go back and make sure we get everything in.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

A new chapter

I'm not really sure where to start with this post. I have been very inactive in the blogosphere recently. I had a number of posts lined up that were never finished. Something didn't quite feel right about any of them, whether it was the words on the screen or the time they were going to be posted. Social media went quite for me too - I just didn't know what I wanted to say anymore. All of this broke my heart due to the sheer time and effort I had put into my blog. However, my heart just wasn't in it anymore.

I won't talk about my mundane day-to-day movings during my hiatus from blogging - all I will say is that I was lost in the rabbit hole of finding a career. Other than that I made a new Youtube channel for Sims (here) and uploaded the odd few videos. Nothing seemed to be fitting into place, no matter how perfect everything seemed it should be.

Until something changed, and I made a Youtube video about it, and I didn't look back and now I'm here, almost 4 months later sharing videos about this decision.