88 days a slave 

If you don’t look into it, you wouldn’t know that all of us backpackers to Australia have to complete a life challenge to be entitled to a second year visa. When I say life challenge, I really mean a challenge! Like the hardest thing you would ever have to do. 

Not only is it hard work but it is just an experience in its self. We have to complete 88 days of agriculture work. Doesn’t sound like a lot right? Trust me it is, although so rewarding once it is completed! 

Unless this is your lifestyle, this really is a shock to the system! I worked doing orange picking, along with a group of random other jobs chucked in as well! Again, I can hear you thinking “orange picking can’t be that hard” well let me tell you now, it honestly is. 

Firstly, I completed this during the winter months in a place called Loxton, which FYI is in the middle of nowhere. Next, it is shit money! But that isn’t the worst of it, because even if it is shit money, you’re in the middle of nowhere so can’t spend it anyway! And then it was cold, backbreaking and exhausting! I think there is a theme to my writing though… the people are amazing. They make it so much easier! I was so lucky to have met such a great group of people whilst completing my farm work I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them! And that is more important than you imagine because you are working and living with these people 24 hours a day! Maybe you get a break from them when you go to the toilet? 

So anyway, farm work. There is a few things you have to think about… 

1. Are you mentally ready? Because it really takes its toll! We would sometimes work 2 weeks in a row then get 1 day off! Routine is good though and just think, you get your days done quicker!               

2. Do you know where you are going? You hear horror stories and to be honest, chances are, you are going to get treated like shit! I’m not saying this is okay at all, but don’t forget this is these people’s livelihood and if you do a bad job it will affect them! (Also most people in this line of work are grumpy old men) AND just count it as day… this isn’t your life career choice so as long as you’re getting your days ticked off it’s good! 

3. Do you have the correct clothing? No point rocking up on a farm with your Levi jeans and new Nike trainers because they will get trashed, I promise! (RIP to my nice trainers)

4. Do you know what your letting yourself in for? Because I sure as hell didn’t! I would not have been able to do my work if it wasn’t for the incredible people I had around me!! Be prepared for a shock to the system when you’re sharing a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom! 

5. Make sure you still have something to look forward to! This helps so much! Farm work is hard! And if you are working day after day.. a party with your friends on a Friday makes the week go by so much quicker! My friend and I also made a little calendar and treated ourselves to something every 11 days! This could be anything from booking tickets to an event when we finished to just buying a nice bottle of wine rather than drinking goon! You Aussie travellers will know how much of a treat this is especially if you are poor! 
So there we have it… 88 days a slave complete and I have now been released from my prison sentence and am back in the real world… a tiny bit overwhelmed but I made it! Let me know if you have any more questions about my time because this really is not even touching the sides! 

Fabulous Fiji

Oh Fiji, how you changed my life in so many ways.

A three week trip to Fiji suddenly turned into 5 weeks and my god where they full of adventure, thrill, fear, and hangovers!

img_3934When you think of Fiji, you think of the luxury, the white sandy beaches and the utterly gorgeous surroundings, but there is so much more to this place than anyone can ever imagine. For any of you that don’t know, Fiji is a group of 332 islands that are based in the South Pacific and yes, backpackers, there is a place here for you too!

Turning up at Fiji, being greeted at the airport by a guy from the hostel, the second destination on my trip, I had no idea what to expect other than what I imagined as per the last paragraph, oh no was I wrong. Rocking up to the hostel the beach was  covered in grey/black sand, you know that sand that burns your feet if you walk on it? Yes that. The water wasn’t clear and there was a TON of mosquitos (which FYI just hang out around me using my legs as a feeding ground, NOT COOL) as well as a crying English girl telling me how awful the place was within the first 5 minutes of my arrival, don’t judge a book by its cover! As soon as you get to the islands it all changes, in fact even getting 5 minutes from the main land by boat it changes!

 

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In instant panic mode, the only thing you can do is book as many things as possible in order to make sure you have the most amazing time. First of all diving, my uncle is an avid diver therefor my dad suggested I complete my open water diving qualification. This was the first time I have ever dived and to be honest, I am not sure how I feel about it! I completed it, but I did have a little slight hiccup as part of the qualification you have to take your mask off underwater then back on and clear it. This sounds simple, but when your 5+ metres under the water this is a tiny bit unnerving to say the least!! The good 100% out weighs the bad in diving though, we got to see the most incredible sea life ranging from Leopard Sharks to Lobsters! Unimaginable amounts of fish swimming within touching distance and coral of all colours your eyes wouldn’t even believe, it is just when you look up, to a sheer face of coral wall when you realise how deep you really are!
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img_8934The next thing on my list of things to do was island hopping, this is a must for any backpacker that’s heading over to Fiji, this is something you will never experience (well you might but still do this anyway!) I booked this through a company called Awesome Fiji, although you can book it yourself all separately, 6 days and 5 nights hopping from island to island, I did it as cheap as possible because you want to experience the real deal right? Oh, and it’s quite expensive but SO worth it. Each island had no hot water (fine if you go in the summer and it’s boiling hot, not so fine if the weather is cooling down and you have to wash your hair in the evening and OH EMMMM GEEEEEE putting your head under the water and yeah, wow, you get my gist). Electric? What electric? Okay, that is an exaggeration, you get about 1-2 hours electric a day but lets not forget your in paradise, who needs electric and wifi when there is so much more to experience! I made friends with an awesome girl named Jen and we did the island hopping trip together BUT you can 100% do it on your own as well!

img_3990So what I am trying to get at is that Fiji has plenty to see and do, don’t be put off thinking it’s all honeymoons and couples because it’s not, it’s music festivals, zip lining, diving, swimming, partying and just experiencing the local life. Visit a village, get on a bus to anywhere, buy food from the markets and soak up the life these people lead because it really is incredible! Who wants to stay on the tourist path anyway?!

Keep your eyes peeled on the blog for further in Fiji, you really thought I could fit 5 weeks in 1 post?

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What I learnt whilst backpacking

If you throw out the idea that your thinking about going backpacking, people will instantly start taking the piss and asking questions such as ‘What? Are you going to find yourself or something?’ and ‘How are YOU going to manage that?!’but what these people didn’t realise is that their negativity spurred me along in reality.

I am one of those people that if you say I can’t do something, majority of the time I won’t stop until I prove them wrong so although it was hard at times, I actually did learn a lot about my self!

For starters, I’m weak as hell. My backpack for my last 3 and a half month trip was 12kg at most, no matter how much I went to the gym, I struggled to carry this. Has any backpack designers ever thought of making a backpack for someone petite and not a normal size adult because we backpack too?! The backpack was huge pretty much… but its just something you have to deal with!
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You have to have faith! Give people the benefit of the doubt! If you live your life scared of every person you see you would never get anywhere, obviously be cautious, I’m not saying being stupid, I’m saying if your lost, ask a local, get on that local bus, get in that taxi and just have a teeny bit of faith they’re not going to murder you because they probably aren’t!

You don’t need many clothes! I’m about to embark on my next trip and the amount of clothes I have thrown out whilst moving from my place in the UK is ridiculous! When backpacking you probably end up wearing the same 4/5 outfits on repeat and your fine with that! Until you end up sitting waiting for your clothes to be cleaned and dried whilst in a blanket naked…

img_4673Micro fibre towels are the one. I owe the person who told me to get these big time!! They’re horrible, don’t get me wrong but anyone that has used them knows that 1. when you finally  get to use a real towel its like wrapping yourself if a sheet of perfect softness which really drys you! Its amazing. 2. They dry quickly, they fold up small, they’re easy to carry. If I was to have tried to take a real towel I would have spent half my time with a smelly heavy towel on my back making the backpack harder to carry!

Last but by far means least, the people! I don’t think I can go on enough about the people I met whilst away. I would say the number 1 thing I have learnt is to be patient! I met some of the most weird and wonderful people whilst I was away. You might be with someone that you think is the oddest person ever but thats fine! The world needs odd people! The same thing goes, chances are you will meet some of the best people who you really think you want to be friends with for life!


So yes, this is just a few of my 6am thoughts whilst I STILL cannot sleep properly although I’ve been home for a month now! Too many things going on in my mind to rest, like my next trip! Keep your eyes peeled!

Top 7 tips on surviving Trek America

Venturing out into the big wide world for the first time is daunting. I’m not going to say it might be, because there is no ‘might be’ about it, it is. Anyone that says otherwise is a liar, without meaning to sound too harsh. When I went on my first Trek America trip I had all the what I’m assuming is normal thoughts of going it alone in such a vast, yet incredible country. This is my top tips on how to survive Trek America and make it the best trip OF.YOUR.LIFE.

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1. Be open minded 
Yep, sounds like an obvious one right? Your going to be meeting up with a group of people you have never met and going to be spending a lot of time with them and I mean, A LOT of time with them and sometimes (most of the time) in a very small space. These people aren’t going to be who you ‘usually’ socialise with and they’re not going to look like/act or even talk how your used to. Is this a bad thing? No, infact this is the best thing about Trek America, the people. These people are all in the same boat as you because lets not forget, your strange to them too! Accept everyone for who they are because if you can do that, you can concur the world and it’s going to be brilliant! Food for thought – Good time to learn some foreign phrases and words?

2. Your going to be tired
The trip I went on, Western 2, is involving a lot of camping. This is therefore not going to provide the best night sleep ever but you do get used to it! You will survive! Being tired sucks, but it is all part of the experience! There is also going to be a lot of early morning where you have to pack away the campsite super early and get on the road again. Alarms are going to be going off left right and centre. It is worth it, trust me. Those early morning are going to take you to the next destination of your trip and there is no doubt in my mind, that 5:30am alarm is going to sound like a good thing by the end of the trip!

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14642292_10154337385693891_3244172900531588161_n3. Tents
Yep, like my last point, your going to be sleeping in tents. Now you might be an expert camper and you might know your stuff, which is great, but the majority of us don’t. LISTEN TO YOUR LEADER regarding how to put up your tent. Your going to be doing it a lot. You think your listening the first time but really, chances are, your not. Your thinking ‘I can’t believe I’m going to be sleeping in a tent with someone who I have only just met’ or ‘OMG I’m putting up a tent’. Yep simple things, but really, it will benefit you to listen because when it comes to the next 27 gazillion times of putting it up and down it will help to know your stuff!

4. Food
I personally, am the fussiest person ever and also a vegetarian so one of my worries when going was what was I going to eat? You do not need to worry! I was in a group of amazing people who really thought about what I was going to eat as well as themselves and the chances are, you will be too! Don’t be afraid to say if you don’t like something and also don’t be afraid to try new things (this is rich coming from me but honestly, it really will be fine). Maybe even make a suggestion of a meal you like and volunteer to make it for the group!

img_35015. The cold
This is obviously weather dependent and also trip dependent. My trip started on the 2nd October and was 15 days around California. California and cold in the same paragraph I hear you say? Yes, that is correct. Camping in the Grand Canyon was possibly the coldest night I have experience ever,ever,ever! Be prepared for all weather. Take that extra fluffy pair of socks, take that extra jumper, even chuck in a hat! If the Trek America team recommend to take it, TAKE IT. Or if you don’t there is always going to be a stop at a K-Mart and you can purchase that extra blanket there!

6. The Van
Your going to be spending a lot of time in the van travelling from one place to the next and when a 10 hour drive doesn’t sound that long when you read it, it really is. Prepare a playlist! The Leader will most probably have an aux lead in the van so you can be the DJ for the day! Just make sure it’s music you think the whole group will like not just yourself.

7. Experience 
Be ready to experience thing you have never experienced before! I sound like a new block buster movie right there, but seriously. The Trek America trips are arranged so that you can see the most amazing parts of America and you really are going to so I’m warning you, life is never going to be the same again. Your going to see the most beautiful landmarks, your going to have the hardest, stomach hurting laughs and your going to meet the most incredible people! Would I recommend a Trek America trip? YES! Even if your slightly thinking about it, just do it. I can promise you if your trip is anything like mine, you are not going to regret it and hey, you never know, you might get the chance to get married in Vegas!

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Why travelling has saved my life 

Okay, saved my life is a teeny bit dramatic I admit, in reality it has made my life.

Society cements into our minds about what life is meant to be like and how the correct path should go which, for years, I’ve been right on track to success, should I have continued to follow this. But I took the plunge and by far this is the best thing I’ve ever done. 

Small, blonde and pathetic I decided that I was going to step into the world of solo travelling. Some people may say brave, others say stupid but I don’t care either way. Adventure is something I’ve always been into, wether that be exploring or getting into trouble, count me in and as the saying goes, the world is your oyster. 

From hiking the Grand Canyon and watching the sunset to watching new friends making fools of themselves learning how to climb coconut trees, this is what I live for now. I have no place I can call home, although I will still refer to the place my parents live as home, I’m not sure I fit in there any more. Of corse, there have been hard days, days I’ve felt heartbroken and days I’ve missed ‘the norm’ but it’s also hard to imagine living like that on a daily basis again at home when I can live in paradise. I like the having to find somewhere to go next and the meeting new people, my god have I met so many people along the way, people who I would never have spoken to before and that have opened my eyes to a whole different perspective which I now completely cherish. People I have known for 3 days and cried about leaving (yes, that’s true) as well as people I couldn’t wait to leave!

I don’t know what I want to do with my life now, but I know I want to make a difference and I want to see and experience as much as I physically can.  I want to go and live, not just exist. This may not be for everyone which is fine, but this is for me. You cannot be happy in life unless your happy in yourself and I can say, hand on heart, I am the happiest I’ve ever been and I cannot wait for my next adventure to start! 

Skiing for Christmas

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Christmas is such a special time of year as it is let alone being up a mountain surrounded by snow, fairy lights and just being outside! I absolutely love being outside wether that on a dog walk on a Sunday or an outdoor activity, I’m there! When my parents suggested a skiing holiday over Christmas I don’t think I could have said yes any quicker!
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We stayed in a resort called Les Menuiers which is in the French alps, about an hour and half on the plane from London Gatwick then 3 hours by coach up the mountain to the resort but trust me now, the travelling is worth it!

This resort is part of the three valleys which is surrounded by different towns and mountains with loads of different slopes to ski on at a range of difficulties. Each Valley contains something unique and there is so many things to do other than skiing and snowboarding. Courchevel is the life of luxury with shops galore and beautiful restaurants serving the best food around! Val Thorens has more activities providing anything from paraskiing (paragliding with skis on, crazy I know), jumps and zip wires where as Les Menuires is quieter with a more family atmosphere, it has amazing restaurants as well as the olympic ski park.
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IMG_9387At the top of each main slope of the resort there was statues of animals with amazing views in the background. Going up the mountain on a chair lift looking up and then suddenly going over the peak and having a view of a thousand miles was breath taking every time. Stopping for hot chocolate at a mountain side restaurant, always with roaring fires inside the log buildings, being able to devour crepes at every opportunity I don’t think I could have asked for a better Christmas. If you ever get the chance to go skiing, even just for a few days, GO!
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We where so lucky with the weather, the sun shone 6 out of 7 days with the sky as blue as it could be and the snow glittering like diamonds. Christmas eve there were fire works over a full moon and an evening of food and drinks and celebrations for everyone, then waking up on Christmas day knowing that there is all the snow you could want right outside, I mean what else do you want other than a white Christmas?! So my question is, who wants to go next year?
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Finale di Roma

This is the final instalment of my long weekend in Rome which is actually rather upsetting, not only is it the holiday over and I am officially back to work and back to day to day life but I am also finishing writing about my time too!

IMG_2230On our final day in Rome we did quite a few things! Back when it was my birthday Danny, my boyfriend had arranged for us to go Segway. In England it isn’t that common to be able to do and there isn’t many places to be able to try this so it was really exciting, so while in Rome we spotted an opportunity and jumped at the chance!
We went Segway around the main park in Rome called Villa Borghese. This was brilliant, it was such a beautiful park full of tall trees and ancient statues, as just like every part of Rome.

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We then went on to the Vatican to experience the rumours for ourselves. The building is extreme. It is humongous! It has statues along the whole outside of the walls and fountains in the middle. Once inside the painted ceilings are incredible and they’re so high it is breath taking.
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IMG_2199After spending hours walking around and admiring everything there was to offer we went off and found a small restaurant down a side street and had the most delicious food to end our trip, although half way through the meal the heavens decided to open and it started to rain which was not planned but it didn’t put a damper on our weekend away.

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I hope you have enjoyed my Rome trip posts and I hope I will be able to take you with me for lots more of my future trips!

Contour to perfection

My friend has recently been on holiday to America and she was nice enough to get me a present and that being the best thing EVER. She got me an Anastasia Beverly Hills contour kid and Oh My God is it as amazing as I thought it would be!

I got the light palette which contains 6 shades and each being as perfect as they next. Each colour is highly pigmented which means you need the tinies bit of product to see the results from it and it is brilliant. The colours are all really natural looking and smooth to touch. They all apply really evenly and leave such a great finish.

I am newly obsessed with this product and you will see in some of my blogs to come me using this A-LOT thats for sure.

I have heard great things about this brand and it really does live up to its name, although it is slightly more expensive it is 100% worth it! I would recommend this product to anyone as it has so many different shades and each gorgeous.

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The tomb of the unknown soldier

Where to even start with this incredible place? Like really, I don’t think I have ever seen a building as huge with as much detail and thought taken into every millimetre of the perimeter!

This building just cannot be misses, while walking around Rome, every point with a view, this was to be seen. I honestly think my house would fit into this building 50 times over! Standing next to it, in all its greatness, was just something in itself. When I was in New York the building were big and tall and wide but this is a different type of building, this was there to be seen, this stood a purpose of holding the body of a soldier that once fought for Italy, although from what I read, no one knows who this unknown soldier actually is. He must have been pretty special to have this as his tomb!

From every edge of the building it was clear that it was in a prime location with beautiful views from the balcony, especially as it was such a hot day! It also contained some of the most amazing hand painted ceiling I have ever seen, although my picture of this isn’t great but still, I hope you enjoy looking through some more of my pictures from my time away and let me know your thoughts!

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Hand luggage essentials

I was lucky enough to get a short city break to Rome for my birthday and the weekend of has finally come around although going on holiday for such a short time (three days) means that there is no need to take full luggage, so for any girl this now brings the trouble of what they can and can’t take within their hand luggage!

There is so many things to think about, how much make up you can take is my main concern, you have to think about how much liquid everything contains and how heavy things are as there is a sure chance you will have to carry it around at some point, so this is my basics for what I am going to take on my short break.

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First thing first, suncream. This is a must, especially if you are going somewhere hot. I have chosen the Boots own Soltan factor 15. This isn’t too strong, as I don’t burn too easily but it is really important to protect your skin at all times as the last thing you want is to get burnt and be in pain for the whole trip! This suncream is in a 75ml bottle which is perfect for hand luggage and it smells amazing. It really smells like holidays and gets your in the mood for relaxing!

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I have got myself a John Frieda shampoo, conditioner and hair spray, all great for blonde hair  which you will see in my last post, I have very blonde hair. Each of these products come in a 100ml bottle which is great for a short break as wont need to use to much product within that time. The hair spray will be great for my hair as it is so frizzy and if it is going to be humid while in Rome this will help keep my hair in control as if any of you have seen the Friends when Monicas’ hair gets huge when on holiday, well yeah, that is me. There are also really light packaging so if I have to carry them round in my bag this will not be a problem as it can sometimes be the products in the suitcase which actually make it heavy! I also really like the packaging this comes in, its a really subtle colour and quite shimmery!
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I have then got myself a miniature Batiste dry shampoo. This dry shampoo is the best I have tried. You need a tiny spray and it makes your hair look fresh. This is perfect for having in your hand bag and lets be honest girls, if it’s hot and you feel a bit sticky the worst thing is greasy hair, a tiny bit of this and you feel fresh and look great! It is also great for adding volume, they have a separate volume spray but it doesn’t come in this small size , but this still is great for adding a bit of root lift to create the perfect style for the evening!
IMG_2043I have then gone for the basic tooth paste and deodorant both in small sizes, dental hygiene is important guys and no one wants to smell!

I hope you like my post and it has helped anyone out that was stuck on what to take for a short weekend away. Leave your comments and thoughts and let me know.