Travelling – Losing All Sense Of Date And Time



Guest Post by Ellie Wookey


I’ve always joked that when I travel I lose all sense of date and time. But, on reflection, it made me think why exactly that was. It’s not just the different time zones, it’s the distraction that travelling is to your mind. No longer are you at home thinking of all the different people you need to see or the places you need to be at a certain time. When you travel you just go with the flow and you are fixated on what and who is around you. Travelling is the best distraction in the world. It makes you focus on what is important; and that is being in the moment.

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In my opinion, travelling is the greatest gift you can give yourself. It opens up your eyes to the world and most importantly so, it keeps you opened minded. If you don’t travel, you only experience your normality, your day to day life. However, if you travel, you get a greater understanding of other people’s normality, their day to day life. This is highly significant in countries such as in Asia where life really is so different to my home. The culture, the language, the food, the clothing, the traditions and the religions are so different to what I know. This is why I travel. This is why I love it so much. It opens my mind up to a whole different world and makes me feel so lucky that I can experience a different lifestyle, even just for a short period of time.  

Travelling also puts me out of my comfort zone which is the best thing for you. After all, you don’t grow as a person in your comfort zone, you only grow outside of it. Even just getting from A to B on my own requires me to experience situations that I haven’t previously encountered. This can be made more difficult by, for example, a language barrier. However, one must embrace the challenge and remember that this barrier to overcome is a blessing because it’s another step on your learning curve.

Culture is something that fascinates me greatly. I feel that ‘culture’ can be interpreted in many different ways. For me, culture is the interaction of the people and the traditions and lifestyle choices that bring them together as one. Culture is not the same everywhere in the world. It’s unique to a country, to a city, to a town and even to a small village. It’s different everywhere which is why travelling to, for example, different continents, is so enriching as you experience such diversity in culture.

Food is something I love and I try really hard to embrace and try all different foods in each country I visit. Food forms such a strong identity for each country and really adds to the travelling experience when you can try local dishes and really get a flavour for the cuisine on offer. It makes it even more special when you get to watch the food being made and even get a go at making it yourself. Recently when I was in Chiang Mai in Thailand, we took part in a local cooking class. It was here that we really got a good understanding of the Thai cuisine and the way in which it is cooked. It felt so rewarding to be able to have a go at making the traditional dishes such as chicken fried rice and pad thai. Prior to my trip to Thailand, I wasn’t hugely keen on Thai food but I tried to embrace it whilst I was there and I left my trip with great enthusiasm for it! I even brought home a Thai cookbook to attempt some dishes at home!

To sum up, travelling for me is my happiness. It brings so much to my life and has given me some of the best memories and experiences that I’ll ever have. It’s become an obsession now and I can’t wait to spend more time travelling around the world!

Workouts & Wanderlust

Article By Helen Wright, Guest Post.

It was a crisp, bright morning in early September 2014 and it was certainly a morning with a difference. No more routine, no more early morning traffic. I was going travelling; a round-the-world trip I had been planning for 18 months was finally starting.

As I boarded the Delta flight to New York, I think it's pretty accurate to say I was experiencing almost every emotion possible. Excitement, apprehension, expectation, nervousness, and pride in the decision that I had just decided to drop everything and just go and do it.

Part of the nervousness was obviously down to leaving family, removing myself from the 'comfort zone' and the familiarity of England. But also, a large part of it was attached to something else in my life that meant a huge amount to me. Fitness. It's safe to say travelling and fitness don't naturally go hand-in-hand. Exercise and maintaining a decent enough nutritious diet are certainly entwined in routine. Repeated workouts and meal planning were tough enough already, let alone when I was on the road.

I knew it was going to be a challenge. I hoped I'd just 'forget it'. However, amongst all the experiences and incredible things I learnt during my backpacking year, incorporating fitness into this lifestyle was one of them.

New York, west coast USA, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia formed my itinerary from 8/9/14 to 8/9/15. There must be something about that date. The high reaching skyscrapers in NYC, the vast landscapes of the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park, the golden beaches of Fiji which reflect the sun as it sets, the magic of Melbourne, the breathtaking beauty of New Zealand which I still struggle to justify with words, the ancient towns of Vietnam and the welcoming nature of the Thai people helped form the memories I will hold with me forever.

Maybe it was all these experiences and more which cause this thing they call 'wanderlust'. Maybe I caught the travel bug. But I truly believe it's more than that. It's life. Travel changes your perspective. It inspires you. It consumes you. You want more, because you know there's a world out there of endless discovery. 

I won't say it was easy combining my love for fitness and passion for travel. But I feel it opened up opportunities. I learnt a lot about myself, found new ways of enjoying fitness and balancing it into the most incredible year of my life so far. You don't need a gym to work out and you don't need a cupboard full of Tupperware to eat healthily. I'll never forget running along the Nadi beach as the sun rose and the waves gushed on the shore. It was so peaceful; so beautiful. Then there was running by the Hudson River in NYC with all the New Yorkers just starting their day like they always would. A highlight for me was trekking up various hillsides in New Zealand and being rewarded at the top with yet another picture-perfect mountainous view.

Not forgetting the incredible cuisine on offer. Perfect fresh fruit in Fiji is pretty much what I enjoyed the whole time I was lucky enough to be enjoying the wonderful islands; papaya, pineapple, bananas. And in Asia; dragon fruit, mango, the list goes on. Furthermore, there's a large and thriving health scene in Australia with plenty of nutrition-orientated cafes and inspirational figures who are big on the fitness scene with their blogs and Instagram following. I've never tasted such amazing 'brunch' as that on offer in the suburbs and backstreets of Melbourne. Smashed Avocado with poached egg, chilli and lime dressing and toasted whole seeded sourdough. Cacao, chia seed and peanut protein balls, 'positive organic pancakes' with banana nice-cream (healthy ice cream). Amazing. So much choice and so deliciously nutritious! Don't even get me started on the coffee... Proper coffee!

Whilst I enjoyed incorporating this into my travels, I still enjoyed the odd Cricketers Arms pint on Southbank in Melbourne, a few glasses of goon on Fraser Island, a few famous Tim Tams during Tim Tam slam (just try it!), and of course, delicious Pad Thai in Asia, because that's what it's all about. Whilst I maintained my love for fitness and always will, I made the most of the opportunities and experiences each country had to offer. 

Running with breathtaking views beat any standard treadmill in the gym. Beach running certainly provides a decent workout. However, my advice to anyone with these dilemmas is to not let your love for fitness consume you when travelling. Let it become part of the experience, incorporate it when you can, but most of all, enjoy every single day and let yourself thrive. Maybe you'll go a few days without a workout or maybe you'll eat a few delicious spring rolls on Khao San Road with a 30p pint. It's all part of the experience. You can always get back into your fitness but you get one chance at making these memories. Make it count!

 

 

WRITTEN BY HELEN WRIGHT  

Adventurous Food Tourism - Lauretta Wright

Have we gone too far with adventurous food tourism?

By LAURETTA WRIGHT of www.HomeandHorizon.com

One of the great things about travelling is the opportunity to experience different cultures and traditions. And hand in hand with this comes eating local cuisine and delicacies.

I’ve never been the most adventurous with food and this has caused me to face some awkward moments on my travels; the most recent of which was on a press trip to Las Vegas. We stayed in the best luxury hotels; experienced the top night spots; and dined in the most exclusive restaurants. Unfortunately, as a ‘burger and chips’ kinda girl, the posh nosh is a little wasted on me.

So when the general manager of one of the most revered hotels on the strip took us journalists to an exclusive restaurant (more suited to the Alec Baldwins of this world than the Lauretta Wrights), and presented us all with a huge dish of French frog legs, I could have cried.

I kept my composure and decided instead to hedge my bets on avoiding being spotted not eating the delicacy, which had been placed in the middle of the table as if to say ‘this is the centre piece and you are privileged to even look at me, let alone taste me’.

But I got caught: “Go on Lauretta, have a taste of the legs, they’re delicious.” “Mmmh…” I said rather a little hurried, “I’m just eating these sautéed mushrooms at the moment, they’re really moreish…”

But my failure to steer the conversation soon became apparent. “Haven’t you tried the frogs yet? They taste just like chicken – Lauretta, you’ll love them.”

Sometimes I think us Brits are a bit thick. I had made up my third excuse for not trying the legs, yet still they persisted. Why don’t they focus on eating their own grub and leave me to it?

I gave up. “Look!” I exclaimed, very exasperated by now. “I had a really, really bad experience with frogs legs once. I ended up ill in bed for days with it coming out of both ends, and since then I’ve vowed never to touch them again.”

This was a lie of course, but it did the trick in shutting everyone up. I get the feeling I went a little OTT with my explanation though; the PR who was accompanying us wasn’t impressed that the general manager seemed put off his dinner following my outburst and kept shooting me dagger eyes across the table. C’est La Vie…

I may be one of few who is a little guarded when it comes to putting strange animal parts in my body. Just a cursory glance online reveals stories of travellers sampling anything from a pig’s head jelly in Prague to chicken feet in East Asia.

Even TV shows are jumping on the gastronomy bandwagon and fuelling the trend with programmes like ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’, daring people to eat things like kangaroo testicles. I mean, really? I’d rather crawl over broken glass…

But despite the increasingly adventurous streak that more people are seeking when it comes to gastronomy, there’s something that most of us agree on: latest research undertaken by momondo (which questioned 1,000 Brits), revealed that good food was one of the most important ingredients for a happy holiday, with Italy being cited as the greatest gastronomic nation (31% of Brits voted it the best worldwide country for food).

Following in joint second were Spain and France, yet only 4% of Brits voted Germany a grand gourmet destination, with just 1% of Brits voting for other nations Norway, Sweden and Russia.

 With our capital London boasting some 65 Michelin-starred restaurants however, it appears we Brits still commend our own cooking at home. The UK claimed 29% votes from Brits (not far behind Italy), as offering the best food worldwide. I’m not sure I’d be among that 29% myself, but I’d still rather know what I’m putting in my mouth than play ‘guess the meat’ game.

And it seems that operators are capitalising on the rise of the foodie holidaymaker, with a whole host of gastronomy options available – from city walking tours to eating with local tribes or enjoying home-cooked meals in the company of locals.

For example, Explore’s Cycle Vietnam tour is new this year and is ideal for foodies with a sense of adventure. The tour takes guests off-the-beaten-track where they will eat with the locals and learn about their unique cultures and traditions.

Guests will enjoy home cooked dinners, try fresh Vietnamese coffee at a coffee processing plant and be tempted with all manners of noodles, snacks and stir fried delights by food sellers in Hanoi.

It all sounds great! However, it seems our liking for unusual delicacies hasn’t gone unnoticed, as also on the menu is the chance to sample a traditional Vietnamese meal of grilled ostrich in bamboo, crocodile with chilli and lemon grass and even snake-head fish.

This doesn’t leave me with much choice; the only advantage I can see on taking this kind of holiday is the weight loss I’d undoubtedly see.

But instead, I’ve decided to save up £1,500 for a nice little foodie tour from RealWorld Holidays that has my name written all over it: a Chocoholic Tour of Ecuador to discover some of the highest quality chocolate in the world.

Kit Kat anyone?

Valentine's Day for a Single Traveller

Valentine's Day is upon us once again, and once again it's a day that highlights to us singletons just how single and alone we really are. It reminds us that no matter how much chocolate and ice cream we eat to fill that little crack of heartbreak that we've encountered along the years, it's never going to fix it. If you're in love and in that ‘honeymoon’ stage of your relationship, it's one of the best days of the year after your birthday and Christmas, a day where you can enjoy huge public displays of affection and look at each other with those gooey eyes of love. I am, however, much more in the Bridget Jones boat after Hugh Grant, and (hopefully) before meeting my Colin Firth. This year though, I thought that instead of hating everyone who gets beautiful bouquets of flowers around me, I’d reflect on the one constant love in my life that has never let me down and will forever be with me - travel.

 

The greatest love affair I will ever chase is wanderlust, and that love is a true adventure. It is, and always will be, the most epic rollercoaster I could wish to find. Travel has only brought joy into my life, it's helped me grow and has led me to the most beautiful places on our planet. My sense of adventure has never let me down, it may have gotten me into a little (or a lot!) of trouble over the years but it’ll always be there looking out for me. It's even cured me of some broken hearts over the years too, filling those broken fragments with new experiences & adventures showing me that I really can do anything, either on my own or with someone else.

Finding love on the road may not be possible in a traditional sense, but you will sure find it in bucket loads if you open your eyes wide enough.

Finding love on the road may not be possible in a traditional sense, but you will sure find it in bucket loads if you open your eyes wide enough.

I may not have met mr right during all my travels, but I've certainly found so much love and that's what Valentine's Day is all about isn't it? I've fallen in love with counties, with a sunset / sunrise that helped create the most perfect moment. I've seen how people celebrate love in different cultures for not only each other, but for their gods and beliefs. Travelling has led me to some of the greatest friendships I've ever known, and that in itself has built me a family of fellow explorers who I love and will hold close to me forever - how could you not after dancing in the rain together in a thunderstorm or dived out of planes in tandem? Sharing beautiful moments with beautiful souls - it's been the greatest gift I've ever received and that I, once again, have my sense of wanderlust to thank!

 

So, if you're like me and are feeling a little worse for wear this Valentine's, wishing you had that one special someone. Remember that love isn't just like in the movies, you can find love in a moment, a friendship or even the way a song makes you feel. Take the plunge and go ahead solo for a while like me above, I may not be the most graceful but I sure do get to experience it all. Celebrate the love you do have and don't focus on the one type of love you don't have - he's not worth it anyway!

An American Living in Croatia by Lara

There comes a time in every young adult’s life when we must actually face the age-old question our aunts, uncles, grandmas, and grandpas have been consistently asking us at every year at the annual family Christmas party: what are your plans after high school? My answer had always been the same - college. It was definitely my next stop, but which college that would end up being was still a mystery. Having lived in Boston my whole life; loving its charm and history, staying local was definitely an option for me. Many of my friends would go on to attend University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston University, Boston College, and the likes, while some would choose colleges in one of Massachusetts’ surrounding states. But I wanted to try something different. I had already experienced life in the States, and the wanderlust in me drove me to explore college options a little further from the place I had called home for most of my life.

So how did I choose Croatia as my next ‘home sweet home’? My family is originally from Croatia, and I have spent every summer since I was born having fun in the sun running around the beautiful country. Getting back into touch with my roots, not just during a holiday, but really seeing how it would be to live my life in Croatia as my family had for so many generations was something I wanted to experience. Every time my parents would complain about me moving so far away from them, I would blame their own travel-seeking genes that have clearly been passed on to me.

My parents moved from Croatia, never having been outside of Europe, with nothing but a suitcase’s worth of clothes to attend college a world away in beautiful California. After California, my parents relocated to Baltimore, where I was born. We followed my dad’s career next to Trieste, Italy, back to the States to North Carolina, and finally found a permanent home in a little suburb 20 minutes outside of Boston where my parents still live. My own life story is still being written. I currently live in a cozy little apartment in Croatia’s enchanting capital, Zagreb (recently voted Europe’s best festive city 2015). I am studying international business at an American University, Rochester Institute of Technology (Zagreb campus). 

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The only thing Boston and Zagreb have in common is that I consider them both my home. In all other things, Boston and Zagreb are quite literally and figuratively a world apart. When I first moved to Zagreb, everything was new to me and I was experiencing culture shock to the max, but one of the things that seemed the most strange to me was the coffee culture in Zagreb. A coffee café graced every street corner in Zagreb - literally. Every. Corner. If a street happens to be a longer street, it is not uncommon to find a row of cafes next to each other. The more shocking part about this to me was that at any hour of the day, Monday-Sunday, each café I would pass would be at least half full. I started realising why each café was always so full: the question “so, coffee?” followed every meeting with every person I would come in contact with in Zagreb! When I got my first coffee in Zagreb, I was surprised at how small the cup was, and drank it within the first 20 minutes of sitting at the café. It was only after a few strange looks and a few hours of conversation passing by that I realised drinking coffee was a social event, rather than a means of getting caffeine. In Boston, coffee equated to caffeine and nothing else. Boston has its own special way of drinking coffee however. A majority of Bostonians walk into Dunkin Donuts and order some flavoured variation of (forever and always) a large iced coffee, be it spring, summer, fall, or winter.

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The cuisine in general is extremely different in Boston and Zagreb. Croatian cuisine is typically a mix of healthy and delicious coastal Mediterranean food which is marked by fresh seafood, wine, olive oil, fruits and vegetables, as well as northern Croatian cuisine, which includes lots of meat, potatoes, and rich stews. 

Whenever I visit the coast, I go squid fishing with my grandfather. The squid often go from the sea to the frying pan in a matter of minutes, and are always enjoyed with a glass of homemade red wine. Coastal foods also make for interesting and surprisingly fitting combinations, such as figs and prosciutto – who would have thought! 

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Of course I do love my Americanmeals though, and all the grease, sugar, and cholesterol that comes with it. I have only been to McDonald’s in America once however, because my chicken nuggets tasted like a shoe box, and the restaurant itself resembled one. McDonald’s in Croatia however, are made with fresher products and better meat, and the taste is significantly better. McDonald’s in Croatia are also decorated more like a classy restaurant than a fast food joint, and are nothing like the ones I picture back in Boston with McCafes becoming much more prominent (classier versions of the traditional fast food joints). We love our burgers and hot dogs in America, but we also somehow find a way of Americanizing other cultures’ cuisines as well. Leaving an all-you-can-eat Chinese food buffet in America has you feeling significantly less healthy and significantly more comatose than leaving a restaurant in China would. Luckily Zagreb also has foreign food restaurants, one of which is my favourite sushi joint called Takenoko. The only food that is missing is a Boston hometown favourite, and locally known dish – lobster

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Although I live in Zagreb for most of the year now that I am studying here, I miss Boston’s fall season the most. The changing leaves, apple picking, and Halloween are such great memories there and thinking about everything about autumn makes me nostalgic while I’m in Zagreb. However, to wash away the nostalgia, the best season in Zagreb comes along soon – Advent season. I love seeing the city all decorated with lights strewn all around its streets, skating around the ice rink on a plaza, and enjoying mulled wine and sausages from one of the many food stands that get put up around the city.

Summers in Boston are amazing, and include bonfires and many beach days on some of the local sandy, shallow, cold water beaches. They are quite a difference from Croatia’s gorgeous pebbly warm water beaches! I had an incredible summer experience in Croatia this year, which made this summer the best one of my life: hopping aboard the Oh! So Croatia bus as a brand ambassador. The bus took me and a group of young travellers all over Croatia, from Zagreb to Zagorje, and then all the way down the coast to lovely Dubrovnik, on a sight-filled, fun-filled adventure unlike any I had ever seen before, and I got to know Croatia and its charms and beauty better than I ever had before!

Nights out in Zagreb and Boston are incomparable. In Zagreb, it is all about the clubbing. A typical night out would consist of both boys and girls getting all dressed up and going from club to club. The drinking age is 18 in Croatia, but it is not particularly strict - younger people tend to go to certain clubs and older people to others. In Boston, going out is a bit different. As for the nightlife scene, it is 21+, as that is the drinking age. People enjoy clubs but also bars and pubs a lot, where it is not necessary to dress up, and a casual t shirt and jeans suffice. Boston is a city with a high population with an Irish background, which shows in many of the Irish pubs around Boston. Zagreb has some great pubs as well, such as Pivnica Medvedgrad that has authentic Croatian craft beer, as well as the Irish Sheridan’s pub, where one can find many foreign craft beers! Outings in Boston can also very often include house parties, college/frat parties, and tailgating before concerts or sporting events. Tailgating is an American phenomenon – sitting in a massive parking lot, music blaring from cars, barbequing, and playing games such as America’s favourite pastime. Baseball? No. Beer pong, of course.

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Boston and Zagreb are two separate worlds that I have the honour of getting to live in and experience. I would not give up my time in Zagreb studying and living the Croatian life for anything, nor would I for being born in the USA and growing up in the states! I would recommend both of my home cities to any traveller looking for a historic cultural experience as well as a good time!

 

 

 

 

Thanks Lara for sharing with us your experience of living in Croatia after growing up in the USA - have any of you done the same?



The 2016 Bucket List

With 2015 coming to a close, I’ve been thinking about the places I’ve been this year and where I would want to reach in 2016. With some all time favourites in my list, and some newbies I have to say my top 10 may be eclectic, but man would they make for an incredible 365 days. I’ll let you know how many I make it to next year but in the meantime, let me know yours!

Antarctica

Forever on my list, it should be on everyone's! Antarctica is the least visited continent in the world & the one that could be disappearing the fastest. If anyone can get me down there for a few weeks GET IN TOUCH - I'd love you to the moon and back.  

India

India is a little bit of a guilty pleasure for me, I've been but there is so much more for me to see here! It's a country like no other and has stolen part of my heart, it's definitely a goal of mine to be back here soon.

Peru

Peru - best known for Machu Picchu and the Inca trail, there is so much I want to see here. From meeting to locals, chilling in the forests and seeing the Nazca lines this would be a serious highlight for me.

Palau

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I love the Pacific and so I always throw an island into my list for the year because, let's face it, who doesn't love island life?! 

Greenland

Having hopped to Iceland this year, Greenland is next for me! I just can't wait to get our here and see what life in the Arctic winter is truly like. Reindeer coat at the ready...

Japan

Ever since I heard about the wasabi kitkat I've been fascinated. From thousand year old traditional cultures to the insanely modern cities, there's a lot to see here let alone eat! 

Borneo

The 3rd largest island in the world divided by three separate countries, it's diverse scenery and wildlife has been drawing me in for some time now. Let's see if this is the year I make it out there!

Tanzania

A little slice of Africa - one of the 54 countries that make up the continent and one I'm dying to hit in 2016. From scenes like the above, to the well known African wildlife and cultures who wouldn't want to try a taste of the country?

Montenegro

Montenegro is another country that became independent after the breakup of Yugoslavia which is becoming hugely popular in recent years. Last year, Croatia was a hugely popular destination and I loved my time there, but I think Montenegro is quickly becoming number one for 2016.

Bhutan

Finally we reach a ultimate destination that I'm sure will be on my list for a few years to come before I can finally make it here - Bhutan. Hidden away in the Himalayas, it's a nation that is hardly visited and strictly protected with travellers only allowed on organised tours. Fingers crossed that I can nab a spot on one soon!



Travelling with MillieGoes - Jess Fournier

Travel Buddy Jess, who put up with me for over 3 months while gallivanting through Oceania, has written something up below to let you know what I'm really like... At least she was nice about it! Want to know how to find the perfect Travel Buddy? Read up my tips here

Choosing a travel buddy is a decision that can seem small, but in reality it’s actually a really big commitment. You spend all day everyday with your buddy and for some that can be overwhelming, however Camilla and I survived 3 months without an argument despite being very different people. We used our differences to our advantages and both of us stepped outside our of comfort zones thanks to the other. Our differences meant we always had something to talk about; having come from different backgrounds, going to different schools and having different aspirations allowed us to learn a lot form each other.

We started our adventure in New Zealand and I think one of the best things we did was climb Mount Eden at sunset. It was our first proper night away from home (where we weren’t stuck on a plane) and it allowed us to talk about what we both wanted to experience in the next three months of freedom. New Zealand was one of the coolest countries I’ve ever been to with the most beautiful scenery. The country renowned for extreme sports definitely lived up to its expectation with us skydiving, black water rafting, white water rafting and climbing up Mount Doom (Tongariro). Whilst we there, we learnt a lot about each other mainly that Camilla is the most organised human being on the planet, whereas I am not. I get where I need to be but am ridiculously laid back when to comes to planning and being on time. There must have been times where Mills was pulling her hair out but would know how to chivvy me along without us having a row, and for that I fully commend her.

We hit Australia after 6 weeks together, so by this time we had routines and were used to being with each other 24/7. Aus brought us new challenges with Camilla falling ill whilst we were staying in Noosa at Flashpackers Hostel which was one of the cleanest, nicest hostels we stayed in. This involved an emergency trip to the doctors to get antibiotics, but she survived to tell the tale and that’s all that matters! In this country, Mills swam with a crocodile, we toured Ayres rock, dived on the Great Barrier Reef and sailed Whitsundays along with walking a lot of Australia’s beautiful coastland. We made sure that each other was able to have the time to do what we wanted and that’s a really essential thing if you’re going to get along with your buddy.

Our final destination was Fiji and I can say we definitely saved the best until last. This place was paradise. We travelled around the mainland first before doing island hopping for around ten days. The beaches here were beyond beautiful and we got to swim in some of the riches corals in the world. Swimming with manta rays was definitely one of the highlights for both us and I’m sure it’s an experience that we will forever remember. We drank far too much kava and spent our days lazing in hammocks, kayaking or exploring the islands. It was a luxurious end to what had felt like the longest time living out of back pack.

Overall, I had the time of my life travelling with Mills and I’m sure if I ever go back to Aus, New Zealand or Fiji with anybody else I will have a completely different experience. I think that is one of the beauties of travelling and I hope she remembers our time together with as much fondness I as do. Sure, we had our differences but we made them work in our favour and writing this has brought back many fond memories that I hope stay with me for the rest of my life.  

Jess - you're awesome! This just goes to show what great friends you can make on the road and travel with.  

Will before The Broke Backpacker

Most of you know him as The Broke Backpacker. You might have seen him clinging to a mountainside or haphazardly hacking his way through a jungle. He’s kind of got the whole ‘adventurer’ thing going on. He’s famed for heading into risky countries and getting out in one piece and with plenty of jaw-dropping stories to boot. He’s known for being held at gunpoint, for nearly dying in Nepal and for travelling the world on an extreme budget. But, I know him simply as 'Will'.

 

Before he was The Broke Backpacker he was just another random guy who wandered up to me in a pub, bought me a drink and made it known that I was to be his best friend for the next few months. Will was still all the things he is today; namely totally nuts and in love with adventures but he hadn’t gotten round to starting his blog and sharing his adventures and advice yet, and thank goodness he has right?

Other than thinking 'where on earth could this guys from’, (Will talks kind of funny when he is excited if you haven't watched any of his videos), my first thought about Will? This is a really genuinely kind guy. Now please, don't take my description of kind like you would with nice. Nice is an awful word and means nothing, what I mean is that he was really interested in talking to me, getting to know me, showing an interest; he didn’t just want to try and get me straight back to his place in 0.5 seconds. He was, and still is, a true gentleman when it comes to women. He laughed at my shit jokes (and still does), was good enough not to point out that I blush like a tomato and has a way to make you feel completely at ease around him to share your story. But guess how much of an idiot I felt after I'd talk about the few places I'd travelled to when I was young after he opened his mouth and hinted at a couple of his recent destinations!

For me, Will was that guy that every girl has to have once in her life. It was that ‘just for fun’ relationship, the first time you date without feeling like you have to label it or feel you need to whack up ‘it’s complicated’ on facebook. The older ‘guy’, who is a few years more mature than you, who was living away from home in accommodation that wasn’t university halls (oh so grown up). It was just two people hanging out, having a laugh, with no strings attached. Looking back to my first adventure, it was Will who inspired me to pack my bag and throw myself head first into the world of backpacking. It was also him that helped me to lie to my parents about how I met my Travel Buddy, we decided it would be better if they thought Will had put me in touch with someone he knew instead and she wasn't just a complete stranger from the Internet... Now, Will is the person who I go to for advise as I throw myself into the world of travel blogging!  

For those who want to know, the way to his heart (or to his bed at least) is with cake. My famed chocolate and baileys cake was always a hit with him and his housemates, earning me the right to crash whenever I saw fit / had drunk too much. Will is also a fan of glitter. If there’s an event happening within a few hours journey from him that involves glitter, it’s a safe bet that he would race you to the door, where he would instantly cut the line. Will also enjoys being naked. His chest is forever bared (as those of you who use periscope will know), and when appropriate, Will can be found happily striding around the place in his boxers. He’s also a great guy to have around in a sticky situation, as he has a knack of talking his way out of pretty much anything. His version of breakfast in bed was 8 pieces of bacon in between some bread, with ketchup. His room was covered wall to wall with incredible reminders of his adventures, from pictures to souvenirs and quite a few travel books! The first gift he ever gave me was one of his original business cards and I remember him running over to his computer a few mornings to excitedly show me the most recent comments on his first blog site. 

I better leave him with some secrets* but I think I can quite safely say Will is one of the most interesting, genuine and kind people you will ever meet. He throws himself into every situation with a positive attitude and a ‘why not’ smile making him a bundle of laughs whenever you need it. If you get the chance, hunt him down on the road; he’s bound to make you laugh and to hurl you knee-deep into some hilarious adventure which somehow he gets you out of without a scratch... Even today, he still likes to check up on me and despite being crazy busy is one of the few people in my life who would stop everything and help if I truly needed it because that's just the kind of person he is. But on a more serious note - ladies, if you haven’t already you may want to form an orderly queue outside his bedroom door - trust me ;)


Will and I have yet to do some travelling together, but I'm planning to find him at some point during his two years of adventure from UK - PNG to meet up for a pint or two! While time has moved on and many of those feelings have dissipated, I think it's safe to say I have a massive blogger crush on him because, well - who doesn't?!

*Will also has a full collection of Star Wars actions figures in his room...If you're reading this Will - I'm sorry! I've kept it in for two years and now need to let it out. Perhaps this ruins the 'cool' persona, but I just think it makes him more adorable!