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Am I Ready To Stop Travelling?

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The plain and simple answer is no. Do I kind of have to stop… the answer is yes. After spending the past 8 months abroad adventuring throughout Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Singapore and Indonesia I am ready to recharge my batteries and plant myself in one place for more than a few days. I know I will tell myself this and arrive back home to Sydney and within a few weeks I will already be mapping out my next adventure.

To be honest this last adventure has been the most taxing on myself with the amount of moving around that I have been doing. The promise I always make to myself for when I arrive to a new destination is to take it easy and relax. However the excitement of wanting to explore always trumps this. I will admit it physically I am drained I feel like I need to sleep for at least a week. This adventure has brought me to this point and the consecutive late nights don’t help. I mean when a beer is cheaper than a bottle of water back home and you’re in great company then you’re going to make the most of the experience. You’re crazy if you don’t.

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Emotionally and mentally I am exhausted after the countless stressful moments I have had to deal with throughout my travels. From the crappy airlines, double booked hotels, over priced border crossings and many scamming antics used to rinse you for all your worth. However these are all things you will never see unless you travel for an extended period of time. The biggest piece of advice I can give to anyone undertaking extended travel is to ‘DO YOUR RESEARCH’. The amount of people I have crossed paths with on this journey that have no idea of where they are, what they are doing, what they can see here, the local customs and how to not get ripped off is madness. This is no word of a lie I have met some really ‘bad travellers’ who have left home underprepared with no real plan of what they want to be doing. I struggle to make sense of this however these people make for humorous conversation at time as I feel like they don’t even realize they are abroad.

Financially I am starting to hurt as the past 8 months of adventure have of course come at some cost although South East Asia is a much cheaper option than venturing throughout Europe. I would say with all my flights, accommodation, tours, transfers, motorbike rentals and spending money for the past 8 months has cost me under $10,000 AUD. Your dollar definitely goes a lot further here than elsewhere in the world.

I am definitely looking forward to spending some time back at home with my friends and family. With my eldest brother and his wife due to have their first child in the coming days, I am about to become an Uncle. Am I prepared for this responsibility… of course! I look to my brothers that are both happily married, with stable jobs, a home to come back to and this makes me think is this what I am searching for? Is it really time for me to find a real job and slowly begin to settle down? I believe I have convinced myself of this over the past few months of travel however there are no promises on how long this will last. The desire to travel is too strong to be in one place for too long.

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When I reflect on the past 8 months of travel through South East Asia I consider the good and the bad moments that I have experience that have got me to this point. The countless memories and newfound friends I have met along the ways that have impacted on my life in one way or the other.

What I will miss most about Asia:

  1. The cuisine
  2. The people
  3. The culture
  4. The smiles
  5. The price

What I won’t miss about Asia:

  1. The scammers
  2. The language barriers
  3. The delays
  4. The frustrating moments
  5. The hard beds.

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To believe I am a few days away from leaving this paradise and stepping back into the real world is crazy. The past 8 months has taught me so much about the world, myself and how I can make a difference to others’ lives. My goal has always been to motivate others whether in the classroom as an educator or through my website. I try to show people that stepping out of your comfort zone is absolutely okay and travelling can be one of the greatest times in your life. I want everyone to see that they can do what I do and travel for an extended period of time it just takes that first step of booking a flight.

Top 5 things I miss most about home:

  1. A home cooked meal
  2. My bed
  3. Operating in dollars not monopoly money
  4. Silence (no constant beeping horns or hasslers)
  5. Friends & Family

Top 5 things I don’t miss about home:

  1. The cost of living (housing, car, food & bills)
  2. Negative people
  3. Expectations
  4. Responsibilities
  5. Working

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In less than 72 hours I will be back home on Australian soil, immersing myself back amongst my friends and family. I always hope on return that I can uncover a change although this never seems to be the case. Everyone seems to be operating in the same way and conversation seems to flow from where I left it when I first boarded that plane in Sydney.

What I will take away from the last 8 months in Asia:

  1. Don’t be quick to judge people.
  2. Life is too short to deal with negativity.
  3. Stay cool, calm & collected.
  4. Friends & Family are always there.
  5. Embrace the time we have and make the most of every opportunity, no matter how big or small.
  6. Happiness is key.
  7. We don’t always need to please others.

5 Things I Have Learnt In The Past 248 Days Of Travel…

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These past months of travel have really opened my eyes to a much bigger picture and have provided me with many life lessons that I would have never learnt back home. South East Asia has been my playground and has left me thinking in a completely different way in terms of what I find important in life and what isn’t so necessary.

  1. Happiness is what you make of it – Happiness is key!

After adventuring top to bottom through South East Asia, I have been witness to how simple life can be and how this ripple effect brings forth happiness. How strange is the thought that people living day to day in harsh conditions can greet you with a big hello and enormous smile. Offer you into their homes, share what they have with you with no complaint at all. When back in Australia, America or England if you smile at someone they may think you’re strange.

I love the fact that many countries across South East Asia are so family-focused where they will arrive home from a hard day of work and have quality time with their entire families. They will sit and share a meal, play with the young children in the fields or tell stories. To observe this really opened my eyes to how important family time is and how I sacrifice this each time I set off on a new adventure.

One memory that will stick with me forever is from when I was on Don Det Island in Laos, and I sat down for a meal and watched the local children playing outside in the dirt. They were all smiling and laughing as the community spectated during their game of marbles.

Happiness shines through from the simplest of things in life and to think I am about to step back into a society where I have so many expectations is now something that intimidates me and makes me think how can I make these situations happy ones!

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  1. I have no time for negativity

When I think of home every now and then as I have been travelling I consider the things I miss in terms of friends, family and those materialistic items that at times make life so much easier. Then I consider those negatives that assisted with my decisions to stay abroad and travel. These negatives associated with my life include individuals and groups of people who still feel the need to act like 15 year olds and show their true colors over and over with their immaturity and attempts at ridicule. I am unsure if these are attempts to rekindle a friendship that I definitely don’t wish to be a part of or jealousy. To be honest at times I wish I could trade in what I have been doing for a desk job where I can rock up to work and not have to worry about border crossings, flight transfers or scams at each destination I arrive.

Negativity will only throw fuel on the fire to motivate me that little bit more to achieve what I have set out to achieve. I can tell you now I am very happy with where I am in the world and what I am doing. Life is pretty sweet! A big lesson I learned is that negativity will never get you anywhere.

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  1. Patience is a virtue

There have been countless situations in the past months where I have been very irritated that things have not gone the way they were supposed to. For example cancelled flights, no notification of changes to bookings and double booked accommodation just to name a few.

Efficiency is something I have always been used to at home and when travelling through developed countries. Once stepping into a developing country where English is a second language and their idea of a day’s work is much different to that of home’s, frustration and stress levels can go through the roof.

In the past 248 days I set myself a challenge to be as patient and calm as possible when a situation went wrong. My five top tips:

  1. Take a deep breathe before speaking.
  2. Think before saying.
  3. Talk very calmly, softly and slowly .
  4. Always let them speak, never speak over them.
  5. A simple smile will get you very far!

Once again anger and frustration will never get you anywhere especially in South East Asia. It has the complete reverse effect where the people whom are meant to help you will do everything they can to actually not assist you!

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  1. I am still learning

I’ll admit it – I don’t enjoy reading books or articles, but over the past months I have made the effort to read at least one article per day. This new found information that I am obtaining amounts to so much more when in conversation with other travellers. Travelling provides you with a much greater knowledge and understanding of the world than the information provided to you back at home. With all the current global affairs, it’s so interesting to speak with people where this is present at their back door or neighboring countries as the information and details they present are so different. Travel has provided me with the ability to learn new things every day!

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  1. We don’t always need to please others.  

When I think of home I think of where I could be and where I am now. The countless number of expectations and responsibilities I would have whether in a house hold or at work. Our lives are based around making other individuals’ lives much easier with those certain responsibilities or set tasks we need to achieve on each day. I look to my friends who spend countless hours in the office staying back until 4am to be noticed and hopefully climb that ladder within their company. Why do we always have to seem so busy when at work? If we are set a task and complete this before the due time why can’t I pack my bag and return home to my family. This reverse effect where we please others then ultimately affect our own wellbeing. We need to take more time for ourselves then to worry about others all the time.

After observing the way families operate throughout South East Asia especially in the rural and remote communities life makes so much more sense. There is not necessarily a set expectation. You do what you can manage for that day and that is completely fine. The only people these individuals feel the need to please are their families and this is the most amazing thing to witness.

My Fear: The Fear of Flying

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From a young age I have always had this strong desire to travel and adventure to every corner of the globe. Always jumping at any opportunity to book a flight and travel abroad at any cost. However booking the flights is always the easiest part, taking my seat is always easy as well. It’s what happens next that leaves me on edge for the full duration of the flight until we are back on the ground.

Let’s rewind back to my childhood. As far back as I can remember I have had an enormous fear of heights. This stemmed from falling from someone’s shoulders when I was very young during some sort of relay race at a rugby presentation day. Anyway this fear developed further and further to a point where I recall staying in a hotel with my family and having to take two lifts to arrive at our floor. The second lift we took I was sitting on the floor. I guess in an attempt to make myself smaller and fall that meter less if the unlikely chance that the lift started to free-fall. I can recall at the age of 10 flying from Sydney to Melbourne with my older brother finding refuge on the floor during turbulence. Basically this fear of heights mixed with somehow getting a plane up in the air and mother nature’s plans has developed this incredible anxiety I have now once the plane begins to move.

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Every time before I board a flight it’s as if I have ignored the previous experiences as the excitement of getting abroad always trumps this. Then once the airhost closes the doors I think to myself “Oh god not another one.” My heart sinks. Soon followed by VERY sweaty palms. With any slight movement, it’s like I am on edge. The plane is called onto the runway, and next thing, I am praying in my head that everything will be A-Okay.

On each flight we motor down the runway gathering as much speed to launch into the sky. Now I don’t know if it’s just me but I still to this day think how the hell does this enormous A380-800 get off the ground. We launch and 30 seconds into the flight it’s as if the engines turn off! Silence over the wing, I think to myself is this meant to be happening. The plane begins to turn almost to the point where I feel like we are at a 90-degree angle to the earth. Pushing up through the clouds, we finally hit cruising altitude.

After the vast amount of flights I have been on in my life both domestically and internationally, it’s quite ironic someone like me is so fearful of being up in the sky. You would honestly think I would be a good at this by now. To be honest, my fear of flying is getting worse and worse with each flight. Perhaps it’s the smaller little propeller planes we continue to fly with. Each time I fly anxiety and sweat just take over me, and there is no chance of sleep. I have these little pep talks in my head with no successful outcome. I stay completely still as for some reason I feel like this is going to help and I rarely use my phone or laptop on a flight. Arriving on the ground could not sooner. It’s an immediate relief, and I ignore the fact that I am going to put myself through this once again in the near future.

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My Two Worst Flying Experience:

  1. Sydney – LAX (Delta Airways)

Before take off, the flight crew informed all passengers that we might experience a little bit of turbulence on our 14 hour flight. Personally I feel they could have expanded on this point a little more. Moments after take off it was as if Mother Nature was pissed off at everyone aboard this flight. She was throwing us about like a rag doll. After some time the flight finally found a nice cruising altitude. This was a small window of opportunity for the airhosts to serve all passengers their meals before turbulence was once again out of control. To watch an airhost serve food on a flight screaming out, “What do you want beef or chicken”, whilst the overhead compartments break open and they were tossed around in the aisle was outrageous. Note to any traveller: it’s extremely hard to consume a meal with crappy plastic cutlery and holding a beverage with your other hand. The highlight of this flight besides the solid 13 hours of turbulence was the second time we began to cruise nice and easy. This peace was quickly interrupted by the pilot saying, “Seat belts on immediately.” There was no please or anything. I have never in my life experienced anything like this before and hope I never have to again. Even though the flight was nice and cool, I was sweating from head to toe, and I can guarantee you could see the fear in my eyes!

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  1. Hanoi – Luang Prabang (2015)

We boarded our little 50-seater propeller plane and were soon steaming down the runway and up into the air. Everything was surprisingly smooth, almost too perfect for words. Oh wait, I spoke too soon. I swear the moment I turned and told Kelly that this was going to be a perfect flight with no clouds in the sky, the flight attendant immediately said over the speakers, “Keep your seatbelts fastened nice and tight. We will be experiencing some turbulence.” “We will be.” Who ever says this… at least lie and say there may be a possibility of turbulence, not that there will be a 100% chance that we are going to experience this. Anyway I am already on edge sweating buckets at this point. We then fly into what I could only describe as the eye of the storm and begin to drop meters and begin to be tossed around.

I’m not sure what it is about flying in Asia that scares me so much. Perhaps the fact that the pilots don’t do as much training as other places around the world or the fact I like being in control of the vehicles I am in, but I didn’t feel safe. I honestly thought that was the end, until the voice of an Australian pilot came over the speakers. A breathe of fresh air and reassurance of home, I knew I was in safe hands.

I understand the fear of flying is no laughing matter, and honestly it’s an fairly irrational fear that I wish I could easily overcome. As my life revolves around the next adventure and travelling the globe, I somehow manage to get myself into boarding that flight. Sometimes we just need to try and overcome these fears. Turbulence is another story!

The Misconception That Extended Travel Is Always Easy

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I will be the first person to put my hand up and say long-term travel is not always easy. Added to this travelling with others can make these adventures ten times harder as well. It’s as if you have that little bit more responsibility that you don’t necessarily want to have in your life. You just want to look after yourself and not have to worry about what anyone else is doing around you! It’s your time to be doing what you want to do.

As of late I have posted photos and images of my adventures around the globe documenting where I have been to show people where they should get to around the world. Many responses include such phrases as ‘living the dream’ or ‘incredible journey’, which in some aspects is so true however you will never see the frustrations or mishaps of my day that lead me to this point.

Travel is a life choice we make. For many people, they dream of doing exactly the same thing, but sometimes would rather fantasize about the idea than actually do this. And that’s okay. For others, they attempt to travel for an extended period of time and realize either that they have run out of money’ or it isn’t for me them. Then for the small fraction of us who get out and continue to adventure the globe we always will put a brave face on and tell you everything is all okay. To be completely honest some of my darkest days have been whilst travelling around the world, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.

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You will usually never hear about the stress from our day ever. At times I honestly wish I was sitting in an office back at home twiddling my thumbs instead of having to try and talk my way out of a bad situation or communicate with locals who don’t understand me or having to pay a bribe at the border to cross countries.

Travel can be frustrating, stressful, tense, overwhelming and so the list goes on. It’s not always happy days when you’re on the road because, unlike people at home going by there day to day jobs, we are out wandering each corner of the globe, discovering new places to share with the world or uncovering the lucrative scams being tested on seasoned travellers. We want you to experience what we are, but extended travel versus vacationing is very different.

We aren’t coming home to our family and friends; we are living out of a backpack unpacking into a dormitory or hotel room to then pack up our belongings in the coming days and move onto our next destination. I lose track of time, what day of the week it is and sometimes what I set out to do on that day altogether. That is part of the adventure.

If I were asked to define travel, this would be my answer. Travel is like an addictive drug allowing you to step out of the ‘real world’ for a moment, and into a place of discovery and new beginnings. Travelers will do anything to make this happen at times, making us feel desperate to make it a reality!

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The toughest times I have had to face on the road is losing valuable time with my friends and family back home. Missing Christmas, New Year celebrations, birthdays, weddings and funerals. Is it fair to say that I feel guilty and selfish for making the decision to stay away and achieve what I set out to achieve. It’s such a hard thing to understand at times, but travel can be my own demise sometimes. I can assure you those low moments end many travelers’ adventures, but for those who persevere, it’s a stepping-stone on your journey to recognize that you can overcome obstacles.

One of the bigger challenges I have faced while on the road is truly connecting with other travellers. We may all get along and share similar stories, but we all have differing perspectives of travel and adventure and what exactly we want to get out of this time abroad. I’m always open for opinions, but the final decision always rests with me.

A big motivator for me to keep doing what I am doing comes down to those individuals out there who add fuel to the fire and try to bring others like myself down to their level of immaturity through blatant jealousy and cyber bullying. It’s sad that we live in world of bullying and hiding behind screens. I mean most of these people are classified as adults and still feel it’s necessarily to have a laugh at the expense of others. To you I say, perhaps its time to grow up. I honestly think it comes down to their jealousy that we are out there travelling. These people could be doing this as well. We just have different priorities. Like I have said before, there are times I wish I could trade it in and come on home, but I don’t.

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When I travel compared to many others who travel, we all have a very different approach. Many people I know travel to get over to Europe and live out the summer, partying the night away, paying for over priced drinks and waking up thinking who is that laying next to me. Just to do it all over again. That’s exactly what they are searching for, and that’s completely okay . For me, I want a little bit more than a drunken memory. I travel to destinations to explore as much of it in the time I have before crossing borders and doing exactly the same thing elsewhere. Extended travel has many highs and lows which are just obstacles along the way.

If you look at the bigger picture, a vacation or short trip usually is mapped out and booked before leaving your hometown. Therefore it’s quite easy to follow your itinerary. When travelling for an extended period of time, you may arrive at a destination and immediately want to move on or stay longer. You are essentially planning day by day as to what you wish to do, and this is always going to come with issues.

There is nothing better than exploring every corner of the globe, and this is what I set out to do when I first left home on my own to adventure solo many years ago. Travel teaches you many valuable lessons and allows you to learn more about yourself if you have the time to really appreciate your journey. Although never forget there will always be a few curve balls along the way to keep you on your toes!

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Travel. “How Do You Afford It”?

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For anyone who travels for an extended period of time this has to be hands down the most annoying question. “Hey mate, how do you afford to travel”? I honestly feel like replying with a “How do you afford to go out every weekend and buy those designer brand clothes”? I feel like at that point we may get the same mutual answer ‘WORK’.

Travel to me is honestly like something you have to work hard for. The harder you work the more comfortable you can travel or for that extended period of time. The same applies for anything really.  It’s up to you to set your own goals and work as hard as you can, then you can buy anything you may desire. I mean your stock standard employee does their 9-5 job each day and that is fine with them to receive a pay check fortnightly for the same total and almost have this become like a routine. I’ve always had this desire to achieve far beyond this point. It is limiting when you take that 9-5 and sign your life away with small benefits and limited holidays.

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I have been able to fund travel through nothing but hard work and juggling a handful of jobs at once. No hand outs from mummy and daddy like others who manage to fund such extravagant trips abroad where you wonder how did a 18 year old afford that $20,000 trip? Look I am not trying to toot my own horn, but anyone is capable of working hard although it just comes down to those motivating factors, desire and determination to make it all happen. Working the 9-5 just doesn’t cut it for what I want to do. I have never signed a contract, and I have never wanted to feel like I am locked down. I prefer to work for several companies on a causal basis where the money is great and its ever changing. Hence I am not sitting in an office looking at a computer screen all day.

What excuses do I honestly have not to work my butt off? All the odds are against me. I am young and have this determination to really make something of the time I have. And many other people feel the same way. That’s why people like me can not sit back, relax and settle for a normal job – we need more.

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I enjoyed working 7am – 4pm teaching at school or on the construction site, then off to manage an exclusive event. Finally tuck into bed around 2am, just to get back up and do it again the next day. Then there are weekends… which don’t exist for people like me. For your stock standard employee, weekends are for letting off steam and spending some money. I tend to work 6-7 days a week. You may disagree with those hours, but when you can afford travel through hard work, every day feels like a weekend. Why have two days a week to relax, when you can have weeks at a time after putting in the hard yards. My belief is through hard work from a young age you can always fund your dreams, reach your short and long-term goals and tick off your bucket list.

When people ask the question “How do you afford it?”, I want to reply in the nicest way possible – “Are you thinking about the words that are coming out of you mouth?” Think about the bigger picture. I’ll break it down for you. When I am home working, there are some things I need to buy, but once I am travelling, these become irrelevant and the money stays in my pocket.

Here are the hard facts: 

I don’t have to pay …

  1. Rent, bond or mortgage
  2. Water, electricity, gas and internet bills
  3. Phone contract for that Iphone 6 ($100+ a month)
  4. Private health insurance ($110+ a month)
  5. A car, the services, accessories, petrol
  6. Car insurance ($500+ a year)
  7. I don’t buy designer brand clothes. I prefer picking up the bargains at store like Cotton on. Who honestly knows these days the clothes all look the same.
  8. Groceries

For a quick example, my “rent” for the month in Vietnam, staying in nice hotels with breakfast included was $250 AUD total. As opposed to the average minimum rent in Sydney for $1200 AUD a month.

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Once you start considering the amount of money you are spending living in your country day-by-day, it’s quite easy to see where the savings could be made if you cut out some unnecessary items and worked a little bit harder to get overseas. A cheap living cost allows for your money to go much further and for some this allows them to place more money into their big business ideas or travels.

What I do pay for when travelling:

  1. Travel insurance
  2. Flights, trains, boats, buses, motorbike ride
  3. Hotels, resorts, hostels and guest houses
  4. Global cuisines
  5. Life experiences
  6. Tours

Do you see the difference here? Once you leave to venture out on that extended travel all you’re paying for are new experiences that offers so much more than handing over your hard earned money to phone companies or wanky real estate agents.

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Most people dream of travel and adventure, but never find the “time,” and to you I say, poor excuse. Most people say to me, “You’re so lucky”, but I don’t find any luck in working hard and prioritising my dreams. Find that motivation to not settle for that 9-5, and search for more opportunities. I guarantee if you work hard and limit spending on daily Starbucks, online shopping or new cars, the savings will quickly grow. Working 7 days a week doesn’t give you much time to spend money shopping or going to the pub. You are literally working or sleeping, and weirdly for me, there is something extremely satisfying about this.

I am not saying it’s easy. It’s definitely a challenge at times, but once you find your groove you just want more and more. You could ask some of my employers about the hours I have put into be able to fund my travels. Sometimes I reflect and think how the hell did I manage that lifestyle, but I just did! Motivation, determination and enthusiasm will always get you a long way. And a combination of the three and a desire to travel will get you out into the world that much sooner.

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Take Me Back To Florida Keys

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Before arriving in America for the first time back in 2014 I really didn’t know too much about the states besides what I had heard or seen on TV. I feel like I knew more about the animals and terrain from watching National Geographic shows like Gator Boys and Deadliest Catch. I really didn’t know what to expect arriving in Florida, as I knew it was known as the ‘retirement state’ where people go to live out their lives on the beautiful shores.

After arriving in the states and staying in Tallahassee for a few weeks, it was time to venture to the other corner of Florida to meet Kelly’s family. We endeavoured on a seven hour drive from Tally to Fort Lauderdale after taking to pit stop due to what I would deem a ‘tropical storm’ then proceeded down to the Keys.

If you had asked me before meeting Kelly to tell you anything about the Florida Keys, I most probably would have made something up. Once driving into the keys it was quite awesome to come up over these large bridges onto an island that is encircled by stunning turquoise waters that appear crystal clear.

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As we pulled up to the rental property in Islamorada and I took a step out of the vehicle I could smell the freshness in the air of the ocean and the beauty that is the Florida Keys. After meeting Kelly’s family for the first time and shaking hands with her dad, we drank a beer and checked out the house. The house was big with plenty of rooms and space. Once taking ten steps out the back door you were at the pier where the boat was moored in the canal with a stellar view out to the ocean. After taking in my surroundings it was easy to see how the Keys is an absolute must for family holidays. It’s a paradise at their backdoor for all Floridians.

Our three days in the Keys comprised of laying out in the sun with a drink in hand, taking the boat for a run, attending The Keys Annual Seafood Festival and dining at some of the fine restaurants and bars scattered across Islamorada, like Robbie’s with the enormous tarpons. This was a very memorable experience for me and it is one place I could see myself at some stage in my life kicking back and relaxing to the picturesque sunsets and beautiful waters.

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After leaving the Florida Keys in 2014 I found myself pestering Kelly that if we made our way back over to the states from Australia at any stage we would have to go back down to the keys. We didn’t have to wait long! My wish came true when my brother decided to have his wedding in Cartagena, Colombia. This meant Kelly and I would fly to America spend some time with her family and then head on over to the wedding. Each time we spoke about our plans I was sure to be persistent and say ‘Oh how about the Keys?’ or ‘Lets get down to the keys!’ I think Kelly and her family caught my drift so they organised a weekend in the Keys for us all.

After arriving into Miami airport we were greeted by Kelly’s family and drove the two hours down to Key Largo where we would be staying for the next few days. This was a new area of the Keys for me and I was eager to get out on the water and explore. After a seafood dinner, key lime pie and a handful of coronas we were back to the house to rest up for a day of exploring.

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Kelly’s Dad had our day planned out with a boat rental from a local company. The first boat rental fell through due to several reasons including a ridiculous regulation that wouldn’t allow for us to take the boats to the sandbar or the larger reefs we were looking to snorkel on. Further the boats looked like they were about to sink to the bottom of the ocean.

Needless to say with the ability of IPhones these days and 7 eager boaters, we found a rental for half the price closer to where we wanted to go with regulations that said just bring the boat back in one piece. That sounded more like it. Only thing was the boat wasn’t the fastest thing on the water by any means, but it was comfortable and did the job. We took the rental boat out to some areas along the reef and sandbar floating about in the water with a beverage in hand. It was an awesome day spent out on the water with Kelly’s family and friends.

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The following day we were out and about the waters of the Florida Keys with friends of Kelly’s parents aboard their awesome new boat. As such great hosts, they ran us out to see the Jesus Status out at sea, stopped at several reefs to snorkel and took some mandatory time to drop anchor on the sandbars and enjoy the finer things in life, like American beer and hand made sandwiches. Over all my time in the Florida Keys, today was definitely a highlight.

Once out on the water in the Keys, it’s really easy to see why so many people make their way down here each year. The views, the water, the people and the sunrises and sunsets are absolutely stunning. No photo is going to do this place justice. You have to get there and experience what it has to offer, and for any crazy boater – this is your haven. If I could retire right now, I would be looking for a place down there to spend a few months out of the year really relaxing. I feel like each time Kelly and I are in the states now somehow we will be having a mandatory weekend in the Keys. I will be making sure of this. If you haven’t been down to any of these areas, make the trip. I guarantee you will have an awesome time and create memories that will last a life time.

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My 7 Essentials For Travel

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As we travel we usually pack items that we think are going to be of a benefit to us at some stage on our journey. Yet half the items we do pack are indeed of little to no use at all to us throughout our trip and may never actually leave our bags. These items are additional dead weight that we have to lug in and out of airports, taxis and hotels. Ask yourself this question do you really need those additional changes of clothing or that hair dryer?

Besides packing the basics I have comprised a list of items, which I feel are essential for travel. These items are easily attainable and add to the experience of venturing around the globe.

  1. GoPro

I feel like I should be a sales rep for GoPro. I can’t get enough of this awesome piece of technology and the ability it has to capture awesome moments. Now your memories may last a lifetime but a picture or video clip will guarantee this. The GoPro may seem a little bit pricey to some however the fun you can have with this and the footage you can capture is remarkable. For the past year I have used my GoPro across the globe above and below sea level and have had no problems at all. I see this item as an investment for travel and if your serious about capturing moments you should seriously consider investing as well. These can be found online and at all good surf stores and technology outlets.

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Pc – www.gopro.com

  1. Universal Charger

I have left home on big trips and forgot my universal charger which is an absolute buzz kill when your stuck at a lay over in the middle of no where and just want to browse the net, and your electronics are out of battery. These are easy to pick up online or at a travel store for a small fee. Most of the modern chargers come with built in USB charger points and multiple power points.

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Pc – www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAQ4FaaH8Lk

  1. Combination Locks

These will only cost you a couple bucks from most big stores. Now don’t get yourself locks with keys because losing the key means your now faced with a locked bag. Take the time and find a four-digit combination lock. It’s very simple and easy. These are useful to lock your bags while you travel, lock your lockers at hostels, swimming pools wherever you are looking to store your valuables.

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Pc – www.zappos.com

  1. Diving Cert (Open Water/Advanced)

This has been a valuable qualification to have as I travel. I preach to anyone looking to travel any coastline to invest in the time to complete your SCUBA diving course. Whether this is PADI or SSI, it’s worth the time and the money. There is nothing like travelling and arriving in locations like Australia’s Great Barrier Reef or Mexico’s Cenotes and having the ability to walk into a dive operator and book a day’s diving or a live aboard. Being certified allows you to be able to explore the underworld not float on the surface wearing a snorkel, mask and life jacket.

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Pc – www.paradisediver.net

  1. A Lighter

Some may ask the question why? I don’t smoke however many countries when you buy beer the bottles are not twist top so having a lighter handy in your backpack makes for the perfect bottle opener. May even better your chances of meeting that special somebody if they ask you for a light for their cigarette.

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Pc – www.dingolighters.com

  1. Cash $$$

When travelling I find it much easier to travel with cash than a preloaded bank card which allows you to withdraw from cash points. The preloaded cash cards allows you to withdraw from specific cash points for free however when you are unable to locate these and withdraw cash from a different bank you are hit with a big fee. These fees can be quite ridiculous and add up to a big amount quickly. Whilst I travel through Asia, I find it much easier to bring cash and exchange this for the local currency at a much better rate than any bank could offer me in Australia. I can spend at my own leisure and change as much or as little as I like at a time. Quick Tip – bring big denomination with you as the bigger the note usually the better the rate. For example if you travel with US dollars in Thailand you get a much better rate on the $100 and $50 US notes compares to the $20, $10, $5 and $1’s.

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Pc – www.telegraph.co.uk

  1. Decent Shoes

Make sure you have just one pair of decent shoes, which can sustain any terrain. By this I mean a pair of joggers/sneakers which you can wear hiking, white water rafting, bike riding, running, cliff climbing and jumping, walking or whatever you may be doing this one pair of shoes can get you through the day comfortably. Now you may think hey I can buy these when I get there, and this may be true. Why not save yourself the stress of finding them and just pack a pair in your bag just in case. You can buy a decent pair of shoes online from sports stores around the globe for $40-$50.

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Pc – www.runblogger.com

Tiger Muay Thai & MMA Training Camp, Phuket

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I had always been interested in spending a period of time at a fitness camp somewhere around the globe since a young age. As a great period of my life has been spent playing sport and further studying Personal Development Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) Teaching at University I have always had this great interest in fitness and challenging myself at any chance I am given.

Earlier this year I finally saw the opportunity to make this dream a reality and spent one month training at Tiger Muay Thai Training Camp in Phuket, Thailand. Now I had heard mixed reviews from friends and read mixed reviews online, but I just went with my gut feeling and booked.

The week before leaving for Tiger I felt like I was mentally preparing myself for the unknown and found myself watching transformation videos on YouTube and reading more and more reviews of others experiences. Before I knew it I was on a plane and had arrived at Phuket airport where my driver stood holding my name scribbled on a board.

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As we drove down towards my accommodation at ‘Two Home hotel’ nearby to the training facility I couldn’t believe the amount of gyms and training facilities that could all be within a kilometer on a tiny little road. I will admit it I was slightly taken back as I really had no idea what I had got myself into. Was I going to quit? Would I be able to get though each day unbroken? Would I see a change?

The next morning I awoke early and made my way up to Tiger and checked in. I was handed a class schedule for the Muay Thai and Fitness classes. These classes didn’t sound too tough with Body Fit, Ocean Blooms Raw Fitness, Cross Training, Olympic Weight Lifting and Combat Conditioning… Oh how I was so wrong. I had prepaid for an all Inclusive Fitness experience, which allowed me to attend all Muay Thai & MMA classes, fitness classes and full access to the indoor and outdoor gym. Each fitness class is 1 hour and the Muay Thai classes run twice a day (morning and afternoon) and last 2.5 hours.

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The fitness classes were awesome, mostly targeting cardio, strength and burning fat and had you working at a high intensity for between 20-40 minutes of the workout. I found these workouts extremely positive with constant positive reinforcement and motivational speeches. The added bonus was each class you attended you really had no idea if you would be working individually, in pairs or as a group. The best feeling was at the completion of a class when you’re on your hands and knees, huffing for air, dripping with sweat from head to toe and glance up to look around and see everyone is there with you for their own reasons with a common goal.

I was lucky to become mates with a fellow Aussie on the first day and two Kiwis on the second day. These guys were there for my entire stay which made the time much easier. We all shared meals together on a daily basis, trained together and hung out together by the pool. I was very thankful to have the ability to spend time with these guys as they gave me a newfound drive to push myself harder each day. When we would take part in fitness classes it became a bit of a competition against one and other as to who could do more in the allocated time or who was ‘smashing it out’ better.

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The hardest part of my stay at Tiger was to stay strict on my diet, but with a restaurant like ‘Tony’s’ it made life much easier. Tony’s restaurant served healthy portions of food at a cheap price with options such as brown rice with sweet potatoes and chicken breast or protein shakes. Any request you have at Tony’s I can assure you they will do their best to assist you. Here are some other delicious dishes.

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Throughout my visit, I stayed strict on my training with a set goal of around 5 hours of fitness 6 times a week with Sunday as a rest day. These 5 hours comprised of Muay Thai classes, fitness classes and gym sessions. I followed my movements each day and week with my Fitbit and aimed for over 20km travelled by foot daily, which I exceeded regularly. When I arrived at Tiger Muay Thai Fitness Training Camp I was feeling heavy and slow on my feet hovering around the 85kg mark. When I left Tiger, I had a smile on my face and felt like I had cleansed my mind body and soul through the strict training and dieting with a loss of 7kg. It was an awesome feeling!

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For anyone looking into a Fitness Training Camp, I recommend doing your research and find somewhere that suits your needs. There are many different camps around Thailand and other countries, which offer you classes, accommodation and food options at an affordable price. I went with the Tiger Muay Thai Training Camp as they have a sensational coaching staff across the board and have many international MMA fighters whom attend the camp to better their techniques and skills from the likes of James ‘The Sledge Hammer’ McSweeney, who fought in the UFC and most recently K1. If you immerse yourself in the experience and set solid short term and long term goals, you will leave satisfied with a memory of a great life changing experience. Here’s to making a change in your life and ticking off that bucket list!

Travel?

Sometimes I sit back and observe others while thinking to myself why on earth are you travelling the world if you look so god damn miserable? Perhaps this may not have been the best idea for you? I mean in reality travel isn’t for everyone and everyone doesn’t enjoy a change from their norm but to not take in the new environment and explore what is on offer seems like a complete waste. Doesn’t it?

Time and time again I have stumbled across people like these in my travels whether attempting to befriend them (with no success), eavesdropping with my headphones in but no music on (a success) or just witnessing from afar. Now the truth behind the tale I can assure you once these people return to their country of residence they will be sure to tell everyone how ‘amazing, fantastic and life changing’ their adventure over the pond was. However in reality they are hiding the truth of an ‘eventful, challenging and well life changing experience’. However might I add there are some people I feel who travel for the wrong reasons to snap a photo next to the Eiffel tower or Niagara Falls however they spend more time getting the ‘shot’ than they do admiring and appreciating what they came to see.

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The stunning Great Ocean Road, Australia.

Now I am not at all trying to be completely emotionless I speak from experience as there are some evil challenges, which you face while you are on the road especially if you are travelling solo. These may include feeling homesick, missing important occasions (birthdays, Christmas, new years), losing loved ones and the longing to share these travel experiences with others.

Now I learnt a valuable lesson from a close friend when I was travelling solo throughout the UK and Europe that made me think differently and erase these negative feelings and emotions from my life. The answer

  1. Make new friends!
  2. You are literally travelling and have invested your money so step out of that little bubble you call home and see the world
  3. Travel isn’t usually forever
  4. Engulf yourself in the experience and your surrounding
  5. Home is always a phone call away

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This is all so very true. The more you do and stay busy the less time you have to reminisce on home and wonder what the rest of the world is doing. I mean these days its only a scroll away on your smart phone. Travel is usually for a set length of time and there is a light at the end of the tunnel 1, 2 or 3 months chasing summer on some corner of the globe, or working a season abroad skiing. However for some people travelling just doesn’t seem like the right option. Especially when their closest friends accompany them on a trip of a lifetime and cant seem to enjoy the experience.

Recently I was awaiting the arrival of a boat from the island of Koh Tao to arrive in Koh Phan Gan for the full moon party in the coming nights. It was a beautiful day and the sun was high in the sky and I took my seat on a bench awaiting the arrival of the vessel reminiscing on how the past two weeks had been a life changing experience for me. To my immediate left sat a group of five friends from the UK. I sat there for the next thirty minutes listening to a conversation that reeked negativity. As the boat arrived one person from their group remarked ‘there is no way you’re getting me on that’. I struggle to understand how people can be so disconnected from their immediate surroundings and express verbally how they are having such a miserable time in paradise. It makes you think was any research conducted into where they were actually travelling or were they expecting to be collected on a super yacht?

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Cool and calm Koh Tao, Thailand.

Throughout Asia I have seen it time and time again with travellers who express rudeness towards the local people. By this I mean talking rudely and demand an order or an explanation as to why their food is cooked in that way or the price is so high. In times like this you just need to take a step back and think where you are, apologise and try again.

Everyone travels for different reasons – for vacation, to find themselves, to lose themselves, love, adventure and thrill to name a few. This is meant to be a time of relaxation and fun, and to see something new when you are so lucky enough to have the ability to do so. So I say to you why not engulf yourself in the experience, do something crazy, speak to a stranger and create a memory as we don’t live forever and travelling is a life choice!

I have been lucky enough to travel since a very young age and don’t see myself stopping any time soon. I have realized when you travel for a short period of time of 14 days or less it is so easy as the time flies by. Before you know it you are a week in and don’t want to leave. Compared to an adventure for 3 months plus you slowly become irritable about certain aspects of travel or life and you must learn to take this in your stride otherwise travel suddenly becomes really hard.

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The sun setting from Krabi, Thailand.

Through my travels I have modified and compromised a list of 6 qualities of a poor traveller. This list has been altered over the past seven years of travel and has been determined by those I have met, those I heard stories about and those I was ever so lucky enough to travel with.

  1. Thin Skin (Easily affected by words)
  2. Indecisiveness (I don’t care what we do)
  3. Laziness (Sleep the days away)
  4. Ego (I am better than you)
  5. Emotional Wreck (Cries, bitches and moans)
  6. Selfishness (I don’t want to do that so I am not going to!)

I travel to chase the sunsets and sunrises, laughs and smiles, create new experiences and new friends and construct these ever-lasting memories. Following my dreams, reaching my goals and ticking off my ever growing bucket list in the process.

pc: http://thecultureur.com/travel-quotes/

pc: http://thecultureur.com/travel-quotes/

8 Things To Consider When SCUBA Diving

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Choosing that dive operator that is going to work for you at an affordable price can take a substantial amount of time. It’s easy to type into a search engine ‘diving in…’ or once arriving in a location find the cheapest option however this doesn’t always create the best memories. There are many elements that contribute to a great experience diving which need to be considered. So here we go…

  1. Dive Company

It is imperative that you take your time to do some research online into certain companies operating within that region and choose someone that is going to suit all your needs. And even if you’ve done all the research in the world, always take into account your gut instinct when you first meet with the dive company. You should always feel comfortable and confident with their abilities.

My personal recommendation for diving in Australia would be to book with Pro Dive as they are not only extremely affordable, but also boast excellence in all fields of diving from their gear to their dive sites. It is truly a special experience. I further recommend you to dive with La Bombona Diving in Koh Tao, Thailand as a newer operator they have everything to meet all your needs and express this with utter professionalism. I guarantee you will create memories to last a lifetime! Both of these companies offer all forms of diving courses and their staff are experienced, cool, calm and collected. Essential trait when diving!

  1. Clean & Healthy Diving Equipment

There is nothing worse than diving with faulty gear. It’s important to read reviews and personally check over your gear before entering the water. Make sure you check your Tank, BCD, Regulator, Wetsuit, Fins and Mask. If there is any concerns or issues let someone know prior to entering the water. Anything that would impose on your safety is a threat. All gear has the potential to present issues. For example a BCD that has faulty connections or a regulator that doesn’t flow with consistent air.

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Suited up in our mandatory stinger suits for the box jellyfish on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

  1. Mask Comfort

Every dive operator will provide you with all your diving gear; however having a mask that will work for you, is extremely important. I would advise anyone who is serious about diving to make the purchase and buy a decent mask that you know will not pose any problems for you. There is nothing worse than continually clearing your mask of fog and water seeping in. Personally I need a mask, which is frameless and doesn’t have a stiff plastic frame. Comfort is the key as diving is all about staying relax, moving slowly and discovering what lives under the ocean.

  1. Boat

Choosing a dive operator that isn’t operating off a tiny little off board motor is important. If you decided to take part in a live aboard experience or a day trip its vital to feel like you are not over crowded on the vessel and that you can move around at your own leisure. Companies such as ProDive and La Bombona Diving have large, modern boats that have all the key amenities that you will need whilst out diving. Once again do your research!

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  1. Dive Sites

When diving its important to once again do some research into where the dive operator’s dive sites are. You don’t want to be taken to a barren, dark dive site where there is nothing but dead coral and the odd fish. Most diving companies that operate with their day trips will advertise where they are going that day prior to boarding the boat. However it’s important to understand these constantly change due to accessibility to these locations due to the forces of Mother Nature. Its incredible that you may enter a dive site and have 10 meters visibility then on your second dive a mere kilometer away be diving in crystal clear water and have 25 meters visibility.

  1. Overall Health

It is important to be feeling 100% when diving. There is no point entering the water with a cold, blocked ears, headache anything that doesn’t feel right. All you will do is disappoint yourself and I speak from experience. I completed my second dive of the day to 15 meters with a small headache and when I resurfaced I was struggling to keep my eyes open my head was pounding so badly. You always have to ability to push your dives back if the operator is lenient and if you are onboard a live aboard you do not want to risk the possibility to undertake your other dives which are scheduled.

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  1. Safety

Safety is number one when diving. If you feel unsafe or are at risk while diving let your dive buddy or instructor know and resurface. Emergency situations can occur whilst you are diving and they can pose a threat to you or others in your dive group. These may be the result of fault gear, someone touching something they should such as a poisonous coral or fish or you or others injuring themselves underneath the water. Make sure to conduct all your dives with a dive buddy who you trust and feel confident with underwater. Many reported accidents whilst diving is the result of careless preparation and not abiding by the rules of the sea.

  1. Have Fun!

Make sure to make the most of each dive. If you follow this rough guideline you are bound to have an enjoyable experience and create memories that will last a lifetime. Remember when diving with your buddy or instructor you are there to observe and discover what lies under the ocean and communicate this to one and other. Once you enter the water it’s a totally different world when your 25 meters below sea level!

Check out our short video from our experience diving with La Bombona Diving, Koh Tao, Thailand.

Pro Dive, Australia:

http://www.prodive.com.au/

La Bombona Diving, Koh Tao, Thailand:

http://www.labombonadivingkohtao.com/en/