Browsing Category

Uncategorized

Am I Ready To Stop Travelling?

travel-adventure-asia-uluwatu-indonesia-sunset-amazing

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.

travel-adventure-asia-uluwatu-indonesia-sunset-amazing

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.

travel-asia-thailand-adventure-guide-chiang-mai

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.

travel-adventure-asia-uluwatu-indonesia-sunset-amazing

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

phong-nha-vietnam

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…

asia-adventure-travel-swing-indonesia-gili-islands

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!

asia-adventure-travel-don-det-cambodia

  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.

asia-adventure-travel-thailand-four-seasons-chiang-mai

  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!

asia-adventure-travel-singapore-diving-thailand

  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!

asia-travel-adventure-house

  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

sunset-airport-flight-travel-adventure-fear-scared

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.

sunset-airport-flight-travel-adventure-fear-scared

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.

flying-travel-adventure

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!

sunset-airport-flight-travel-adventure-fear-scared

  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

travel-adventure-australia-beaches-relaxing

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.

travel-australia-sydney-adventure-harbour-bridge

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!

travel-adventure-australia-beaches-relaxing

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.

travel-asia-thailand-adventure-guide-phuket

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!

travel-adventure-australia-beaches-relaxing

Travel. “How Do You Afford It”?

adventure-travel-globe-how-do-you-afford-it

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.

adventure-travel-globe-how-do-you-afford-it

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.

adventure-travel-globe-how-do-you-afford-it

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.

adventure-travel-globe-how-do-you-afford-it

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.

adventure-travel-globe-how-do-you-afford-it

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.

adventure-travel-globe-how-do-you-afford-it

It’s Never Too Late To Travel!

travel-family-adventure-colombia-cartagena-love

We would have all heard the saying ‘age is just a number’ and that it is. I have recently returned from my brother’s wedding, which took place in Cartagena, Colombia. For my family this meant flying across the globe from Sydney to America and on to Colombia. We were all excited to make the journey to South America, especially my 84 year old grandmother who had not been overseas for over 55 years.

We all were early to book our flights for the wedding; however, my eldest brother and his wife took the time to map out an itinerary that would be a trip of a lifetime for our grandma. Possibly the last big trip she would be able to make in her life. Now for many people of our era, we are in search of a thrill seeking adventure, which allows us to tick off boxes on our never-ending bucket lists. My grandma, on the other hand, from a young age loved nothing more than Walt Disney and her childhood was engulfed in the idea of fantasy, toys and cartoons. Her love for childhood stories and fictional tales provided us with such an awesome upbringing and I, like my brothers, loved the days we were able to spend watching the old VCR cassette programs. Now as a young child, we all had our favorite characters, and my grandma, to this day, has always had a love for Goofy. So needless to say my brother made sure after flying the 14 hours from Sydney to Los Angeles they would spend a day at Disneyland, where she would be able to finally tick this one off her bucket list.

travel_adventure-grandma-brother-family-love-america

Her travels were documented with photos and updates on how she was enjoying this adventure, and it was amazing to see such a big smile on her face. Like a child in a candy store, this was something she had always wanted to do, but never found the time to do so. I was amazed she had found the confidence and courage to step out of the norm she had been apart of for such a long period of time and do something for herself. Her first day in Los Angeles was spent relaxing and venturing out on the Stars Tour where she was able to see the houses of her favorite movies stars old and new. Now one thing I can tell you from a young age I remember my grandma going on and on about Frank Sinatra and hearing his voice being played from the little tape player in her kitchen.

The following day I awoke with a message from my brother saying ‘Off to Disneyland today!’ and was eager to see the photos to come. Later that day, I received photos of her meeting her childhood favorite Goofy and was later told she was so nervous before meeting him that she was shaking, and when she finally could give him a hug she burst into tears. I don’t know if you see this like I do, but it’s somewhat touching seeing an 84 year old meeting her childhood favorite cartoon character.

travel_adventure-grandma-brother-family-love-america-goofy

After Los Angeles they were onto Miami for one night then over to Cartagena, Colombia where we would all meet and have 5 nights stay over the wedding period. Once we arrived I was glad to see the smile still on my grandmas face and she was eager to show me how awesome her room was in the hotel in true spirit. Now everything isn’t always perfect with my grandma as I see with age comes wisdom and further complaints, but I knew she was having an amazing time seeing something in real life rather than on a television screen.

The day and night of the wedding she really took hold of the occasion and was involved in all the dancing to the wee hours of the morning before calling it a night. She danced away the night during ‘crazy hour’ and indulged in the exquisite food and drinks with minimal complaints. There is no greater feeling than busting a move on the dance floor with your grandma aged 84 dressed up in crazy clothing and blowing a whistle. This is something I will never forget!

travel_adventure-grandma-brother-family-love-america

After the wedding it was my time to shine, as I was to bring my grandma back to Sydney from Colombia. I made sure to break up the long journey so she could rest. We flew from Cartagena, Colombia where she was interrogated at the airport for drug smuggling and somehow managed to sneak onboard her nail clippers. Once arriving in Fort Lauderdale, my significant other and her family greeted us and we would spend one night at their lovely home before heading onto Los Angeles.

travel_adventure-grandma-brother-family-love-america

The following morning we boarded our flight from Miami to Los Angeles where we would have an extended layover of 10 hours so she could catch her breathe. When checking in it was awesome to see my family had decided to upgrade her flights to first class to make sure she had a comfortable and relaxing concluding leg to the trip. This also would allow us into the Qantas First Class Lounge in LAX Airport. Once arriving in LAX we promptly checked into the lounge which was spectacular with free food and beverages, showering facilities and cozy couches where my grandma could have her afternoon naps which I witnessed her sleep talking at the top of her voice!

food-qantas-first-class-lounge-lax-airport-delicious

After filling up on French champagne, a couple whiskeys and awesome food we were off to stretch our legs and board our final flight home to Sydney. Luck was on our side as we were to board the brand new Qantas A380-800 which is extremely comfortable in any class. Once arriving back into Sydney I could see the travel for my grandma had placed a little bit of wear and tear on her however she is a touch cookie and had pushed through with a smile from ear to ear accompanied by a couple complaints along the way. But she made it.

After dropping her home and taking some time to sit back and relax I began to reflect on the journey she had just completed and I felt extremely proud of what she had achieved. This has motivated me to do more. She is an inspiration for me to travel, to pick up what is the known and venture out into the unknown and discover. Like she said to me several times on the journey home ‘I am in your hands now’ as if I was to be the responsible one. She looked after me as a young child whilst my parents were at work and I was now repaying that favor to her. This experience has taught me many valuable lessons and to have experienced something like this with her really humbled me.

I wanted to share this story to let people know exactly this age is just a number. We aren’t getting younger, things aren’t getting cheaper, simply saying ‘one day’ isn’t enough. You need to make your dreams a reality otherwise you will always have that thought in the back of your mind saying maybe I should have done that. You can do it, all you need to do is get up off your bum and take that risk and create a memory that will last forever. If my 84-year-old grandma can do it, you sure can too.

travel_adventure-grandma-brother-family-love-america

Congratulations to my brother and now sister in law on their stunning wedding which took place in Cartagena, Colombia!

8 Things To Consider When SCUBA Diving

diving-australia-pro-dive-cairns-great-barrier-reef

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.

diving-australia-pro-dive-great-barrier-reef

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!

diving-australia-pro-dive-great-barrier-reef-cairns

  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.

diving-australia-pro-dive-travel-adventure

  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/