Volunteering in Bali part 2

23rd – 25th October

The next few days were not as eventful as the past few, it was mainly doing the farm work in the morning. Digging up trenches and pulling up weeds. Absolutely sweating my ass of for a couple of hours and feeling the most disgusting I have ever felt in my life haha but it was good.

 

Then in the afternoon we went for some food and also a walk around the market in the centre of Ubud, although typical Asia and its heavy rain, the shopping got cut short due to the rain ahhh well I guess more food and beer is in order instead then hey? So I tried fried ice cream for the first time and omg what a taste sensation that was.

One of the days Manu showed us to a place he had been a few times for lunch which was actually a Sumatran restaurant and the food was delicious. It was a sort of buffet place where all the food was out on show but the people who worked there walked around with your plate and you point at the things you want. I also discovered the Bali dish Cap Cay which became my staple food for the rest of my time in Bali, it is delicious, it’s basically like a vegetable stew and then you can have it with rice or without.

On the 25th when we got back from dinner Chakra and some of his friends were sat around outside his house playing guitar and singing, practicing for a wedding the following day which he said he wanted to take us too….wait….what am I supposed to wear to a Balinese wedding? Think I may need to go shopping!!

 

26th – October

We all went to the farm in the morning as usual to continue with building the chicken house and digging up the weeds and grass, feeding the pigs etc.

Then we went back to the homestay and had a bit of a rest and then me and Ruby went into the centre as we both needed to buy something to wear for the evening and I needed to get my Christmas presents for everyone back home.

We did lots of walking around the markets and the shops and eventually we both got everything we needed, and thought we would reward ourselves by going to the coconut shop where they have homemade coconut ice cream and you can have it on top of smoothies or in fruit salads and omg it is so flipping good!! I went for the fruit salad and muesli option which was delicious.

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Once we had finished the coconut delightfulness we jumped in a cab back to the homestay to get ready for the wedding that evening, I had bought a long wrap around skirt and a white lacy top which covered my shoulders.

We walked to the wedding as we knew we would all be drinking and thought it best not to ride the bikes even though there are no laws there about drink driving but for safety reasons we thought it best haha.

On the way there we walked down little back streets and there were so many dogs barking their heads off at us but we were with chakra so they didn’t really approach us which was good even though I was still scared and thinking they would smell my fear and try to kill me.

When we got to the wedding we walked through an archway into the house area and we were greeted by some of the women who I presume to be bridesmaids and they were offering us some snacks and drinks, we then went and sat down with chakra and started drinking Teak, the way you usually drink it is that you have a small glass and a jug and you pour a glass for the person sitting next to you, they then drink it or really down it like a shot and then pour the next person a glass. So there is usually only one glass between large groups of people.

Not long after we sat down chakra started telling us more of his stories. We were discussing religion and how he was not religious but his wife is very religious and wondered if it was ever a problem, he then told us that it was a problem in the past and that they were married before and actually separated for 7 years due to their disagreements in religion, but after 7 years had passed and chakra had been working in other countries he came back to Bali and met his wife again and the rekindled their relationship and both now agree to disagree but also accept each other’s views on the world which I think is great. Just because one person believes in something doesn’t mean everyone else in the world has to believe that too.

Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs I think and we shouldn’t judge others on what they believe in……well I say that apart from these bloody idiots who believe they need to blow people up or themselves because of religion…..those idiots can FUCK RIGHT OFF!! Blow yourself up and all the others who believe the same but leave us normal and sane people to enjoy life please you bastards!

Ok sorry about that….rant over…..back to the wedding where was i? Haha

So we were drinking the Teak and then chakra said that some erotic dancing was about to happen out the front and Manu’s eyes lit up and off he went outside and of course we followed, what was this erotic dancing going to be? I thought Balinese women were very reserved are they really going to start doing a strip tease now?

Everyone sat around on the walls and on the floor and out came a woman dressed in a sarong and a big headpiece and started dancing around to the music the men were playing on their drums behind her, she then chooses a man from the crowd and he then has to show off his dancing skills to her, and then she chooses someone else to dance with so not so erotic dancing after all but erotic for Bali I suppose. The funniest part of all this was that Manu got chosen to go up and dance with her and he was very excited about this, unfortunately I did record it all but the camera on the iPhone 6 for recording is absolutely rubbish so you can’t see a single thing. – I need a new phone!!

After the erotic dancing we went back inside and had some food and then went to watch Chakra and his band playing and singing all different types of songs, me and Manu were still drinking Teak and dancing around listening to him.

It got to around midnight and we all decided to leave as we did need to be up in the morning for the farm work, so we all left besides chakra and started walking back to the homestay but this time we did not have his protection against the big group of dogs so I was panicking as they were barking so loud at us and following us and I was thinking omg they can smell my fear they are going to kill me which made me even more scared which made me think they could smell me even more, luckily no one got attacked by the dogs and we all made it home safe and sound.

27th October

I woke up the morning after the wedding with such a headache and spent the whole day in bed watching fear the walking dead and also deciding on my plans for the next few weeks, I was quickly running out of money and knew that I would be needing it for my return to Australia in January so I decided that I wanted to go home a bit earlier than I was planning on.

My amazing dad said that he wanted to buy me a scuba dive course for Christmas as I had already done my first course the open water scuba diver I wanted to continue with my learning so I decided that I would do the next course in line which was the advanced course.

I spent ages researching places I could go and eventually settled on the Gili Islands just off Bali. I ended up booking a package with a hotel as it was so much easier than booking everything individually…I will go more into that in the next post about the scuba course.

After a busy day planning my next few weeks I took myself for a Mexican dinner at a place called taco casa and it was delicious! – I do talk about food a lot don’t I! But I love it! Haha

28th – October

The next day we went and did the usual farm work in the morning and then in the afternoon we decided that we would go and explore some places nearby that ruby had found online, so we settled on going for lunch in the rice fields.

We all jumped on the bikes and went off to find this mystery place and it was quite hard to find…thank god for google maps because the roads we had to drive up and down didn’t look like roads at all, more like little alleyways to nothing, but once we got through them we were on a thin little lane that goes through the rice fields and had lots of cafes and retreats, how on earth people actually manage to get to these retreats with all their luggage I will never know because you could just about fit a bike down the path.

We settled on the cheapest café and all went and lay on the pillows and looked out to the rice fields, got our self some food and a coconut to drink and Manu decided that he would try to jump up the wall to the café rather than climbing the 5 steps to his right, which made us all laugh….ahhh Manu such a funny chap!

29th – October

So this was the last day of farm work as we had Sundays off and I was leaving on the Monday. So we all went and did our farm work in the morning and the evening and then chakra said he wanted to take us to a party.

We all got on the bikes and followed him to a temple where there were lots of people sat on the floor singing or more so chanting to Krishna, chakra said that we should leave because it wasn’t a party if there was no food or alcohol, I like his thinking.

We walked around by the temple which is also a hotel with lots of cabins all the way down hundreds of steps to the river, it was really nice.

After we had walked down the hundreds of steps we then had to get back up the hundreds of steps and my legs and butt were killing me after that but I made it….just about.

We went back to the homestay after the disappointing party and chilled there for a bit until we were all ready to go to Bali Bohemia which is a café/bar that has live music, as soon as we were about to leave in typical Asia style started pouring it down and the little pathway around the homestay quickly became a stream.

We waited for around 30mins and it was still raining, but we all decided to put our raincoats on and go to the bar anyway as it was our last proper night together.

When we got there the band were not playing, but setting up still and they didn’t end up starting for another couple of hours due to the rain one of their band mates had not arrived yet. While we waited we ordered food and some drinks.

I discovered the poor man’s mojito which was made with Arak and it was delicious, the band eventually came on and they were really good, they were an African band and I loved the music. I do love this about travelling, that you get introduced to lots of different types of music from different cultures that you would not normally listen too.

30th October

It was my last day with everyone and when I woke up and went over to the homestay Jess had realised that her visa was going to run out and that she needed to get it extended immediately so we were helping her get all her things together for it.

We went for lunch and then into the centre of Ubud to get some of her printing done and once all of that was done we all decided that we would go to some waterfalls, so we got on the bikes and started riding to where we thought the waterfalls were, turns out we went the wrong way but im pretty happy we did because we ended up at Tegalalang rice fields which were really beautiful, so we decided to stop and have a coffee at one of the cafes there.

We then went back to the homestay and I had to go and pack up all my stuff ready to move on in the morning, god my backpack is so full now I seriously need to ditch some stuff!!

Then it was Cap Cay time and then a pretty early night ready for tomorrow.

I had such a good time staying at Chakras and especially with the other volunteers. It was my first work away experience and I have to say it was a great one. I am really going to miss everyone I met, such is the way of a traveller! Always meeting amazing people and then having to go separate ways but I always know I will meet more of these amazing people along my journey which is a nice thing to know.

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Volunteering in Bali

19th October

I arrived up to Ubud around midday and found my way to Chakra’s house but he was not there, I met the other people who were volunteering and they told me that I would be staying somewhere else as the beds had now all been filled at Chakras. I stayed with them for the day and then I got picked up at 7pm to take me to where I would be staying. It was about a 30min drive to get there and it was really nice but I had absolutely no signal and they didn’t have WiFi or anything either. The family were lovely but also didn’t speak a word of English so I thought it would be best for me to go back to where all the other volunteers were and check into the hostel over the road the next morning.

20th October

When I woke up in the morning I went down stairs to see the family and I ended up helping them prepare all their fruit and vegetables for them to sell to restaurants and hotels.

Chakra called and I said to him that I think I would prefer to move back closer to them and check into the hostel so he spoke with the man I was staying with and asked him to drop me off back to his house on the way to their sales drop offs.

When I arrived the other guys were on the way to the farm and told me that we were leaving at 10am to go to Denpasar, so I went and checked into my hostel and then walked back over to chakras at 10am ready to go and got chatting to everyone.

There were 5 of us volunteering for him.

Jess – from America

Ruby – from Singapore

Babette – from Germany

Manu – from France

And then me! So a nice mix of nationalities I thought.

Chakra turned up with a truck which could fit 3 people in the front and he put a blanket on the back for the rest of us to sit on. All of us girls decided that we would sit on the back and Manu got in front, it was fun for the first 30mins until we got to our first stop off to pick up a load of Meringa plants which look like wood. The plant grows and they chop it down to use and replant it to grow again, the plant itself is a superfood and great for the earth as well.

After we picked those up there was less room in the back so things got a little more squashed but it was still fun sat in the back especially as we were on busy roads and when we drove past everyone they were quite surprised to see a bunch of westerners (or Bule as they like to call us) on the back of a pickup truck with loads of wood.

We then arrived at the next place which was a house for disabled children which chakra helps them with trying to raise awareness and funds and also helps with planting trees and plants for them. They were so lovely there and we all sat on the floor and the brought us lots of food which had Meringa in. it was delicious. After the food they showed us what they do with all the Meringa that they grow here, they dehydrate it and then blend it up into a powder which they then put into little pots and sell that to stores. The Meringa powder as I mentioned earlier is a superfood and has so many beneficial qualities, and you use just a teaspoon of the powder in cooking, or you can add it to your water to give you more energy throughout the day.

Just before we were about to leave they told us they have some baby Meringa plants that we need to take with us also, so the truck now was getting pretty full, so I jumped in the front seat with Chakra and Manu.

I had a good talk with chakra, he is a very interesting man, he is not religious at all which is surprising in this country as everywhere you go here you are surrounded by Hindu religion with all the temples and offerings on the streets.

He says to me that he believes in the power of nature and not a god as such. He believes that nature will respond to human actions, like many of the tsunamis in the world are in countries where people dump stuff in the oceans and its nature’s way of wiping them out and giving the land back all the rubbish, and he thinks it will happen to Bali one day too as most of the people here are uneducated with what dumping rubbish into the rivers and the ocean will do so they do it.

It was a very interesting and deep conversation for the journey but I enjoyed speaking to him a lot.

The next stop was to a silent retreat surrounded by rice fields and it was beautiful. We were dropping off the Meringa plants and cuttings to them, and we had a look around while they were all sorting that out, and I saw a pineapple growing which I had never seen before. I always thought they grew either straight out the ground like vegetables or that the top of the pineapple was connected to the plant and the pineapple its self was hanging down….learn something new every day hey!

We then got back to the homestay around 4pm and we all went and had a shower then headed out for food to a cheap Indonesian restaurant called café bla bla. After food we walked back to the homestay and we were all ready for bed after the busy day but chakra was waiting for us and said he wanted to take us to a Tuak place (Tuak is a natural alcohol made from palm trees, where they drain the tree and the liquid that comes out is already alcoholic. Only around 2% but alcoholic none the less) so we all jumped on the bikes and followed him to this place which just looked like an empty shop but with lots of people just sat on the floor.

We were the only westerner there’s so everyone was having a good look at us and laughing when we were drinking the Tuak. It tasted really nice and not alcoholic at all which is the dangerous thing about it. It sort of tasted like a sweet but also bitter almost vinegary taste. They served the drinks in old water bottles and we had a few to drink there while chakra was talking to us about many things to do with the history of the world and how places came to be what they are today. I don’t understand how this man can fit so much information in his head.

After a few bottles of Tuak and many many stories we head back to the homestay but not before we got some Tuak takeout’s in plastic bags. We then sit around on the front and chakra brings out his guitar and starts playing music which we had to guess who sang it and what it was called. We did this for an hour or so before looking at the time and realising it was 1am and knowing we all had to be up at 6am we then decided to call it a night.

21st October

We woke up at 6am feeling rather tired but not hungover which was a nice feeling and headed to the farm for a few hours of work.

We were all quite unsure about what exactly needed to be done so we decided that we needed to sit down with chakra and get a proper idea of what he wants to happen there, otherwise we are just digging up grass and weeds all over the place when we may not need to in that area and I tell you what it is hard bloody work in that heat.

When we got back from the farm Chakra said he would like to take us to the rice milling and show us how it happens. So we jumped on the bikes and went to meet the people who deliver the rice to the clients, their main client is a company called Bali Buda which are a chain of restaurants in Bali. Chakra needed to look at the rice and make sure that it had been milled correctly and was up to standard of selling which it was.

After that we went back to the place where I stayed the first night and went to the back of the house where the milling machine was, we were going to mill some red rice but the people who had been there before us had left lots of rice that needed to be milled so we did it for them.

You pour the big bags of rice onto the bottom of the machine which then uses an elevator system to take it to the top and drop it into the machine, which has rubber bands running around inside that takes off the husk of the rice and shoots the husks out the back of the machine and the milled rice comes out the bottom. That is how you make brown rice and if you then want to make white rice you use the same system and the same rice but shut off the first compartment where it comes out and redirect it to a polishing area which then polishes the rice after the husk has been removed to take off an extra layer and then you have white rice.

I never knew that brown and white rice are the same thing and that white rice just needed an extra process in the machines, I just had always presumed they were different plants.

After all the rice milling we took chakra for food to discuss what he actually wants done on the farm, and we all felt like it went really well and that we had a plan of what needed to be done…..a lot of hard work was what needed to be done! Digging up trenches so we could get water running all the way through the farm, digging up very thick and long grass and weeds, planting trees, building chicken houses! Yep lots of hard work to come! Haha

After all of that we went back to the homestay and then had a bit of a nap, when I went back over to meet the guys for food jess told me that her phone was missing, and they thought that it was one of the men working on the house for chakra. After they had all left I told her to sign into my phone and use find my iPhone, it then showed up at the place that all the workers lived. We told chakra about it and he started calling the manager saying he knows the phone was there and he wanted it back.

While he was getting all that sorted out we decided to go for food to a vegetarian restaurant which was delicious, I ended up having a taco salad with poached eggs and red rice….yummy!!

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When we got back we were expecting Jess’ phone to be there but it wasn’t, the manager said that he had asked all his workers to give the phone back but they all denied having the phone, so chakra and jess took my phone and hopped on the bikes to go over there, they were gone for a while but when they came back they still didn’t have the phone, so obviously the person who took it decided to hide it.

Chakra told them all that none of them were getting paid or coming back to work until the phone was returned……it never was!

 

22nd October

This was Babette’s last day with us and Chakra wanted to take us all to see the world heritage rice fields which would take around 2 hours on the bikes. I was not looking forward to this as I was on the back of Manu’s bike and I felt like such a fatso compared to everyone else and that I was weighing his bike down.

Since my dodgy hip incident on the farm in Australia my hips are a lot less flexible than they used to be and get really tight (I swear I am not 70 years old yet am I?) so sitting on the back on Manu’s small bike and having to try and remain still my hips start to hurt and eventually feel like they are locked in place. My back is killing me and even my right knee starts hurting again after around 10 years of it being healed. (long story but old boyfriend who was an absolute asshole chucked plates at me dragged me through them and basically cut my leg open and I needed around 18 stitches – I sure do know how to pick them don’t I haha) anyways…..all of this pain comes after only 20mins on the back of the bike! KILL ME NOW!

Luckily….well I thought it was lucky anyway the heavens opened up and started absolutely hammering it down, we were all wearing shorts and small tops so we got cold and very wet very fast, luckily we saw somewhere with cover to wait out the rain. It was some kind of bike shop but there was one of the cart men there selling Bakso which was only 5000ringit, which works out to be around 30p for a bowl of this lovely soup, so we all ended up waiting around there eating soup and chain-smoking for around an hour before the rain stopped enough for us to continue on the way.

And onwards to the rice fields which were absolutely amazing. We sat at the top to have a Bali coffee looking out to the rice fields which was really nice and such a beautiful view, chakra pointed out to us which one of these plantations was his. After we had finished our coffees we jumped back on the bikes and rode down through the fields to chakras plantation and we all got out and went and had a look, I nearly ended up falling in one of the streams of water that they make to keep the rice nice and moist…luckily I managed to stabilise myself.

Once chakra had walked us around his plantation we got back on the bikes and rode down the road a little way and stopped on a big bridge, we all got off and looked over the side and saw a river and next to the river was a dirty looking pond that none of us would ever have gave a second look at. We walked down the steps to this dirty looking pool and stuck our hands in there…..it was so warm. It was a natural hot spring that was full of sulphur and other minerals which gave the pool its murky colour. Off came the clothes and in we went, it was so nice especially as it had got quite a bit cooler as it had been raining so much, none of us wanted to get out.

Not long after we got in the hot spring we were joined by 3 Balinese kids who stripped off everything and jumped in with us, I think they found it funny that us westerners were in there pool with them. Unfortunately it was time to get out and head back so that Babette could make her bus down to the south of the island in time to meet her friends.

Back on the bikes for an hour and half and back to the pain and the suffering of my quickly ageing body! But I made it back in one piece thank god! I think the hot spring had a lot to do with that as I felt like it had made all my muscles relax while I was in there.

As soon as we got back I said my goodbyes to Babette and I went and got myself showered and changed ready to go and meet Lisa and Nathan who I know from home. They were on their honeymoon. I walked out of the homestay and up the road for a bit until I found one of the bike taxis to take me all the way to the centre.

When I arrived at the bar they were in Lisa was on the phone to the banks in England as her card had apparently stopped working, she was on the phone for a while and I was just chatting away to Nathan. She then realised at the end of the call that the ATM she had tried to get money out of did not actually have a visa sticker on the front which means it doesn’t accept her card and that would be why they can’t get any money out. She quickly hung up on them.

We went to a few bars and had some cocktails and then I joined them for dinner at a place they had visited a few years before, it was lovely! Although our table wasn’t ready when we arrived and we did have to wait about 10 mins for it but ahhh well that’s Bali time for you.

After food we decided to go for another drink somewhere so we started walking around unsure of where to go and then we heard bob Marley playing down a little road so we obviously decided to follow the voice of bob…I mean come on who can resist him?

We ended up in a bar with a reggae band about to come on and also a monkey running around the place, I obviously went over and wanted to say hello to this tiny monkey. When I went over the man who was holding it just put it straight on my back and luckily I had my phone in my hand so quickly passed it to him and asked him to take a photo. I then went and sat back down and some guy decided to come and sit next to us who told me that the monkey was drunk. It had been doing shots of tequila which I just feel sorry for the monkey that the owner was feeding it booze when it was so tiny. Poor little guy.

Me and Lisa got up and had a bit of a boogie and left Nath with the guy who had taken a shining to me, and we stayed there for a few drinks and then it was time to go home. The guy who had come over and sat next to me tried to offer me a lift home but I said no, god knows where he would have actually taken me!

It was so nice to see them in Bali.

So far a good first week….to continue reading about my time with Chakra click HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bali, Blue and Bruises

1st October

I arrived in Bali on the evening of 1st October feeling absolutely terrified to walk through customs after filling out the landing card on the plane, and knowing that I had not managed to find the luggage wrapping service in Kuala Lumpur airport.

I have heard one to many horror stories about airport security putting drugs in the bags of passengers, and while my bag had locks all over it I also knew that security could break into the locks and put whatever they wanted in there.

So no I was not trying to smuggle drugs into the country but I was terrified that someone will have put something in my bag and customs would find it think it was mine and then sentence me to death. It was a very tense moment for me. Haha

But I got to passport check and paid the fee for the 30 day visa so I could get it extended for another 30 days, and then walked through security without getting checked but with my heart pounding.

Thankfully I am not going to die today!

When I got out of customs I walked into the arrivals hall and was surrounded by so many drivers holding signs, I have never seen anything like it! I had to walk up and down the rows of men twice before finding my driver holding a piece of paper saying ‘SAMI BEE’. I ran over to him and smiled and told him that it was me, so he pointed around the corner where I was to meet him.

I met him and we walked to his car in the parking lot and began driving to the hostel I was staying at called Funky Monkey in Kuta. On the way to the hostel he kept asking me if I was married and if I had a boyfriend, I kept telling him no and that I didn’t want one, but he didn’t understand why.

I tried to explain to him that I am very happy on my own at the moment and it gives me the freedom to do what I want when I want and I have to answer to no one, he still didn’t understand this and tried asking me to marry him to which I politely declined.

we arrived in Kuta and drove down many little streets that could only fit one car just about and he told me it was a two way street, how on earth do people drive two ways down this road?

But we got there in the end and I checked into my hostel which I was pleasantly surprised I was on the bottom floor and had a pool right outside my door.

When I walked into the room there was another girl in there called Melanie who had also just checked in, so we decided to sit out by the pool and have a chat, everyone else seemed to return from the bars just a few minutes later and started swimming, which I thought was good as it was around 1am and I thought most hostels had a closing time for swimming, obviously not this one. After an hour or so chatting we both went to bed around 2am.

2nd October

Me and Melanie woke up and decided to spend the day together, so we got ourselves ready and went out for a walk and then ended up in a little café for breakfast where I had a smoothie bowl which was delicious, it was just a smoothie in a bowl but they added chopped up fruit and muesli to the top of it, it really was nice.

We walked through the little streets of poppies 1 and 2 and then headed to the beach, which was so overcrowded with people sunbathing and surfing but also will lots of people trying to sell you things. We decided to sit down at one of the places selling drinks and ordered a couple of coconuts to drink. While we were sat there we had a constant flow of people coming over to us asking if we wanted to either have a massage, have our nails done, have our hair done, or buy bracelets. It was quite annoying to be honest. We did decide to buy some bracelets and the very pushy woman kept on at us until we did, but she tried charging us around 100k just for one. But I eventually got her down to 30k for 2. – Everyone just wants to rip you off here.

After that we decided to go back to the hostel and have a swim in the pool, then I got ready to meet Blue after she finished work. Melanie couldn’t come with me as she was waiting on her suitcase to turn up at the hostel (the airline she was with left it in Singapore!) but the two other girls in my room came with me to meet blue up in Seminyak at a cool beach bar with beanbags.

We got there and ordered a drink and then blue came to meet us, it was so nice to see her after a whole year, but as soon as we saw each other it just felt completely normal and like we hadn’t been apart.

We ordered some food and some cocktails and sat there reminiscing for a while, before ordering a grab back to the hostel, although that took forever. I can’t believe how bad ordering taxis are here.

You either get a normal taxi and get completely ripped off or you use an app to order a driver, either go jek, grab or uber and then they cancel on you or just takes forever to find one, so it ended up taking us around 2 hours just to get back to the hostel.

Me and blue then decided that we would go out for drinks, so we went walking trying to find some bars that were still open with some good music, eventually we found a bar and went and ordered some drinks. We ended up meeting 2 Australian guys who seemed really nice, we went with them to a bar over the road which had live music on and had some more drinks in there and the one guy joined the band playing his Harmonica which was quite funny.

After the bar we decided that we wanted to carry on drinking and the guys suggested going to the beach…..I was a little worried about doing that as I have heard so many bad things happening on that beach but of course we decided to go. We went and got some beer and jumped on the back of their scooters and headed to the beach, Blue and one of the guys went swimming in the sea while I stayed on the beach with the other guy…..then things just got weird!! Firstly the guy I was with decided to start getting creepy towards me and I told him that I wasn’t interested but he clearly didn’t understand that so kept trying it on with me. Then people kept coming over and talking in Indonesian so I didn’t understand what was happening…..anyway long story short Blues phone got taken out of her bag from one of these people and I felt awful because I was supposed to be looking after the stuff but I was a little distracted at the time as I felt pretty nervous about all these people coming over including the police and trying to deal with this bloody idiot trying to touch me up and not understanding the word NO!

Blue finally came out of the water and then she realised her phone had been taken which she was pretty pissed off about obviously, the creepy guy that was trying to touch me up decided to leave which was good, and the guy that had gone in the sea with blue gave us a lift back to her apartment and had a few drinks with us before going home.

Drama drama drama on the first night of seeing each other in a year hey!! Lordy!!

3rd – 18th October

After all the drama with the phone being stolen we had a pretty chilled day the next day as blue had a day off work, we grabbed some food and headed down to the beach for some drinks while watching the sunset which was nice.

The next few weeks I stayed with blue in her apartment and I was getting my visa extended at the immigration office which takes about 10 days, I did a lot of catching up on game of thrones and then when blue had days off we would go to a beach club to chill.

We went to one called potato head which was really nice, it was expensive but was a really nice day although we had never felt as fat and pale in our whole lives being there with all the beautiful women around. Haha. but we drank cocktails, had some nice food and lazed in the infinity pool with a bar in the middle, until we got a day bed a decided to laze around on there drinking prosseco and watching the sunset.

And sometimes in the evening we would go and sit by the Nirmala supermarket with some of the people Blue works with for a couple of cheap drinks.

I had decided that I was going to go up to Ubud to spend some time there and do a work away program on a farm, so I did some research on that and found someone called Chakra to go and stay with which sounded really good.

Two nights before I left Blue had a work party  to go to which she invited me to go along with her, it was really good to begin with as there was free food and drink and lots of it. They had some good music on and everyone was having a really nice time until around midnight, when blues old manager Richard decided to start acting like a dickhead towards blue, telling her that she would never make any money as she is a woman and that she’s useless etc.

I obviously wasn’t going to let someone talk to my friend like that so I asked him who he thought he was and he then proceeded to start insulting me too. He was just being such a pathetic twat, I laughed at him and ended up saying he looked like a fat pedo! (low blow yes I know but he totally does) he then says to me that he gets lots of women and I then said that highly doubted that and that he probably bought his wife….well as soon as I said that he jumped at me and grabbed me by the face, I just laughed at him because I had obviously touched a nerve there guess he must have bought his wife after all hey! And then he started to hit me, and I got head-butted.

Lots of people jumped up to try and get him off me, blue had come over to help too but he ended up punching her too! What a lovely man! After all the drama we left the party and went back home ready to go out but it was so late that nowhere was open – thank god! So we ended up passing out instead.

When we woke up the next day we couldn’t believe what had actually happened the night before with all the craziness and blue was really upset about it all. Thankfully she got a message from the manager of her department asking her if she was alright and to tell him what happened, which she did.

We then decided to go out for breakfast at Grocer and Grind and then head over to Cookie’s apartment to chill with him for the day and steal his pool which was great.

We then got very hungry so we went to a really nice restaurant and ordered pizza and omg they did roast potatoes…..oh how I have missed roast potatoes haha. The food was amazing but I started feeling really bad when we got there, my head was pounding and I felt really dizzy and sick, think the blows to the head from the night before were starting to catch up to me now.

We went back to blues and she then got told that Richard had lost his job which was great news! Thank god for that, which should mean blue will enjoy herself a lot more now.

In the morning blue went off to work and I packed up all my stuff and got a grab up to Ubud to start my volunteering with Chakra as my Visa had come through.

And that was the first couple of weeks….drama filled hey haha.

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One Year of Solo Travel

It seems so strange to me to think that I left my home a year ago now, when I look back It feels like it was just yesterday and then at the same time it feels like I have always been travelling.

So much has happened in this first year, I have done a lot with the time I have had, but I feel like I have also changed as a person.

I have gone through every emotion that there is from feeling incredibly high to incredibly low, it is a hard thing to leave home and all the people I know and love behind but it’s also amazingly rewarding.

I have seen and done some absolutely wonderful things and as I mentioned before I have changed as a person to the girl crying as I was boarding the plane at the beginning of this big adventure of mine.

One of the main reasons I wanted to leave was because I wanted to become a better version of myself and all the great things I had heard about travelling made me wonder if this was the way to do that and I think I was right.

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I am in no way perfect and nor will I ever be but I have definitely grown and improved on my weaknesses in the past year, when you are a solo traveller you are forced to be in the unknown and out of your comfort zone and that in itself is the best way to figure out who you truly are.

At the beginning of the year I didn’t like what I found, I was very emotional and self-conscious and I felt like I was not a nice person to some of the people I met especially when I had been drinking (isn’t that always when we are at our worst hey! Damn you alcohol)

Since then I have fallen for the lies of people I thought were true to me and felt heartbroken, I have cried because I miss my home and the people I love and also felt like I wanted to go home at times. However even though I have had a lot of time on this first year feeling these things I am actually happy for them because I feel stronger than when I left.

I didn’t have anyone to turn to like I would at home to hug me and tell me everything was going to be alright, I only had myself and the places that I was in to try and figure all these feelings out myself, and from having to do that it has made me feel like I am definitely stronger as a person and know my worth.

The great thing about all of this is that in one year I already feel like I am on the right path and I have gained so much knowledge about myself and the way I want to be treated and also treat others, which means that with each year I travel this will improve far more than It ever did while I was at home.

So that was my main reason for going travelling but I obviously had more than self-awareness and improvement as my goals.

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I wanted to see the world and experience the beauty that it holds, overcome fears and also become an adult.

In the past year I have travelled down the east coast of Australia, I have tried a few jobs, done sky dives, scuba dives, drove many different vehicles, purchased my very first vehicle, fell in love with the little boy I was an Au pair for (Dan), met some absolutely amazing people and seen some of the most beautiful places in the world.

(a few of my favorite pics from the past year….click to make bigger)

I have overcome some of the things in my past and I feel like I have finally become an adult.

It is such an amazing feeling for me to have to feel like I have come so far since leaving home and I am feeling very happy and proud of myself, and the thing that makes me feel even better than all of that is that I know its not over yet, I still have more places to see, more people to meet and most importantly I have much more to learn about myself and the type of person I am and want to be.

So cliché hey! Haha

So……I wonder what the next year of travelling will bring me? It will be a different year as my brother will be joining me. 🙂

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A few days in Penang

25th – 29th September

I arrived in Kuala Lumpur in the afternoon where I got the train to KL central from there I got another train up to Penang.  The train journey was around 4 hours however it was delayed by an hour so I arrived to Penang late, when the train arrived into Penang I had to run to go to the ferry that I missed it by seconds, so I had to wait for the next one which was another hour.  The ferry took 15 minutes to get to Georgetown when I got there are ran down to front and I quickly ordered an uber to go to my hostel.  Luckily I arrived in the hostel just in time, everyone in the hostel was going out for drinks and luckily I caught them as they were turning the corner which meant I could check in, they also told me to come and meet them in a bar after I checked in, if I had been even 10 seconds later I wouldn’t have been able to check in and I would have had to sit around on the street until morning……  Thank fuck for that!

I quickly ran upstairs and got changed then headed back downstairs to the hostel bar where I met a girl called Brooke and another guy for a but I can’t remember his name, they were finishing their shift on the bar and heading out for drinks with the rest of them, so I said I would join them.

We went to a bar called the why not bar where I had a few beers, and then I started to feel tired it had been a long day so I headed back to the hostel jumped into my little pod and passed out.

When i woke up in the morning I decided that I would go out and look at all the street art, on the way out I gave my laundry two one of the people working there his name was Alex, he said it would be done in the next day, he is a liar and a twat……more on him later!

The street art was amazing, there were so much of it and all over the city, check some of it out.

The food was also amazing, and really cheap.

After I had walked around all the street art I jumped on the free hop on hop off bus called the CAT, which takes you around George town and I went to the Komtar tower, while I was on the bus I met a guy called Hanis who was from Penang but spoke really good English, he was really nice and helped me find my way to the tower as it was a bit difficult to find out how to get up there to begin with.

I didn’t stay out too long on the first day as I knew I was staying in a party hostel so I wanted to make sure I was ready for the evenings antics, so I went back to the hostel around 3pm and decided to have a bit of a chill out ready for the night.

It got to 8pm and I headed downstairs which was when our 2 free drinks began, it was a nice hostel, with a big area for everyone to chill in around the bar, we all sat at the table and were playing drinking games and chatting away, soon the two free drinks went so I paid for unlimited drinks all night for 35RM which is about £7 so not too bad really.

I met a girl called Laura who was staying in another hostel, and 2 others people in her hostel called Sophia and Eric, they were all really nice and they joined us on our table with the drinking games, then we went out back to the why not bar for some dancing and playing pool. By the time we got there I was absolutely fucked out my face and I felt like I was going to be sick!

Luckily Sophia was so lovely and went and got me some water and I sat down and just started drinking that, I eventually sobered up and re-joined the normal people haha, and dancing the night away. It was a good night!

The next day though was a complete write off…as usual! I’m getting so rubbish at all this drinking stuff! So mainly chilling in bed with game of thrones and the hostel cat, and the sofa downstairs, and trying to find out where the hell my laundry was only to find it still in the hostel and never been sent, fucking fat Alex didn’t even send it the prick! Grrrrr!!!!!! But it did finally get sorted after a lot of hassling everyone that worked there about it! And I ended the night with a pizza delivery! Delightful!

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After a long and lazy day and no drinking, I woke up nice and early the next day which was my last full day in Penang, I went and met Laura from the other night and we went on a tour of an old mansion called ‘the blue mansion’.

It was actually really interesting and I would definitely recommend people to pay a visit if they are in Georgetown, it was built a few hundred years ago by a very rich Chinese man and he had many wives and children but said that his children could not sell the house, only their grandchildren could once the last child was dead, so that they could grow up and realise what it means to earn your own money. They ended up losing all their money and rented out the rooms to people to live in and it became somewhere anyone lived, and they destroyed a lot of the house, but once the last child died the grandchildren sold it to someone who wanted to restore it and it took quite a few years and now it is a hotel and obviously a tourist attraction. It really was beautiful.

After the blue mansion we decided to go get some food, and on the way to the food we stumbled across a coffee shop called ‘Selfie Coffee’ which you could order an ice coffee and have your face printed on the top of it. It was absolutely hilarious and has to be the highlight of my time in Penang! I mean come on…..drinking your own face? How can it get better than that? Haha.

After spending a long time laughing at our selfie coffees, we decided to go and get some food and I tried the famous dish of Penang of fried oysters, which was sort of an oyster omelette. It was really nice but a little strange and I have to say I prefer my oysters raw, but still glad I tired it.

Once we had finished our food we decided to go get the ferry over to the train station as Laura was also heading to KL the next day and I told her about the train I was getting, so I said I would go with her to get the tickets.

We got all that sorted and then went back to our hostels to pack up ready to go in the morning, although I still couldn’t pack because my laundry still was not back, which they said that it would be that day! Getting very angry at all of this now, wish I hadn’t even bothered!

In the evening me and Brooke decided to go grab some food and then we met Laura and another couple of people from her hostel and went to a place called Red Garden which was a very strange experience, we sat in the middle of lots of little food carts and there was a stage where people were singing and getting sashes which I presume is if someone tipped them for their singing, and on the TV were lots of shows about animals, including slug sex, which if you have never seen it on a discovery channel I think you should go and search it right now, it is the strangest thing!! There were bulls running into crowds and even more strange animal shows.

It was an entertaining night, but an early one as me and Laura were leaving in the morning.

 

So when I wake up in the morning, I go downstairs to find out about my laundry and it is still not back, I speak to Alex – the dick head! And he tells me it will be back at midday. I tell him that I need it before because I need to pack and it was supposed to be back four days ago. He doesn’t seem to care. I ended up having an argument with him sort of because it was all his fucking fault! He was the one who took it off me and didn’t send it and now I may or may not get it back before I leave! Again he didn’t seem to care, so I told him to go fuck himself and walked away before I got even angrier.

Luckily it did turn up just in enough time for me to shove it in my case before having to leave.

I ordered an uber to pick me up and then went and picked Laura up and got dropped off at the ferry to take us over to the train station, as we arrived the stopped letting people on the ferry that was there so we had to wait for the next one, and we were starting to run late so we were worried we would miss our train.

While we were on the next ferry I decided to turn my case into a backpack which I haven’t used it as yet, and it was massive and really heavy. But I knew we needed to run as soon as we got there.

The ferry pulled up and the gates opened and off we ran to the train, the thought of running and the actual running with this bloody bag on are very different, I could hardly move my legs, but I had to do it! Upstairs and down stairs and along long bridges, it seemed to never end.

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But we got there eventually and almost as soon as we boarded the train it left station! Thank fuck yet again for that! I feel sorry for the old man and his family who were also on the ferry worried they were going to miss the train, I don’t think they got there in time!

Onto KL now for the next couple of days before heading to Bali.

I had a nice time in Penang but I’m annoyed I wasted a whole day in bed hungover when I could have gone to see more of it, but I guess that just gives me another reason to come back and visit the temple and some more of the museums doesn’t it!

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Open Water Scuba Dive Course, Sipadan Scuba

20th September

So I’m back on my own again now, dad just left me to board his plane back home and I am off to a hotel in the airport for the night until my flight tomorrow morning.

It feels so strange being back on my own again, not going to lie…..I’m feeling pretty nervous about it. It’s been a while since I’ve been on my own travelling really and all those silly thoughts come racing back into my head, like “what if no one likes me” , “what if I don’t meet anyone to spend my time with” , “what if people think I’m strange”

And then I have a bit of a breather and tell myself everything will be ok, If I meet people who don’t like me, chances are they are probably a dick and I won’t like them either! So it’s for the best!

If I don’t have anyone to go see things with then I will go on my own, and that way I can decide everything!

And if people think I’m strange then they are probably right! I mean I do own a cloak for goodness sake! Maybe I won’t lead with that but own the strangeness.

Anyways……back to what I did.

I went and stayed at air Asia tune in KLIA 2 which was nice, it was nothing special but did me for the night.

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Then up in the morning for breakfast and then onto the plane to fly to TAWAU, which is on the island of Borneo. As we started coming into land I had a peak across the person next to me out the window and all I could see was green, it was incredible. So many trees!

I get picked up a by a little Malaysian man holding a sign with my name on as I had paid for an airport transfer with the scuba company I picked. He was really sweet and I sat in front with his on the bus as it was just me that he was picking up. He reminded me of the guy she meets in eat pray love, although he was from Bali not Malaysia.

It took about an hour and a half to get to Semporna from the airport, and we mostly drove on roads between palm trees, and the man who picked me up (I feel so bad that I can’t remember his name!) and he was telling me that there are lots of palm trees because there are lots of companies making palm oil here.

When we got to the hotel I checked in and he then took me over the road to the scuba dive shop where I went and got my gear ready for the next day.

After all that was done I decided to go and have a look around, I ended up walking through a small alleyway market, I’m annoyed with myself because I didn’t take a photo but to be honest I felt a little nervous around there as everyone was staring at me.

Then I decided to go for food so I went to an Indian restaurant by my hotel and asked what was good and not spicy, the girl serving me saying something about banana so I just said yes and omg it was a taste sensation! It was like a banana pancake with some kind of sweet sauce, it was oh so good.

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After food I went back to the hotel watched one episode of game of thrones and passed out at around 5pm and didn’t wake up until 7am the next morning!

Day one of scuba baby! Woooppppppp

We went to an island called Subuan Island which was very small but extremely beautiful, and before I knew it I was setting up my equipment and getting into the water, it all happened so fast from getting to the shop and getting in the water, I was worried I wouldn’t understand what I needed to do when we were down there.

But I did and it all went well, I had to do things like flood my mask and empty it, and remove my suit underwater and put it back on.

Then after all the learning we moved into deeper water and did a quick repeat of what I learnt in the shallow water and then went on a ‘fun dive’ where we swam along looking at all the fish, I had forgotten to bring my underwater camera this time – DUH!

We also had lunch on the boat, which was really yummy!

After lunch we did a bit more learning and then another fun dive, where we got completely surrounded by a massive group of small fish, it was crazy! If only I had brought my bloody camera hey!!

Then it was time to head back to the hotel and I had a shower and spent about 40mins trying to comb all the knots out of my hair – damn you sea water! Just damn you to hell!!

Food, bed, game of thrones!

Day 2 of scuba

I got to the shop around 8am, had to get all my kit together and put it outside ready for the boat.

We were off to a different island today where there will be turtle’s baby!! Omg is my dream about to come true? Am I going to get to swim with turtles finally?

As soon as we got to the island that was it, kits on and into the water…..no messing around.

When we get down to the bottom we finish off the learning aspects of the course, seeing what it’s like to be out of air where they turn my air off and I breathe until there is no more air, not a nice feeling!

We do some emergency assents and try and get our buoyancy right which is actually really hard to do.

You have to try and control it with your breathing and your BCD, think I definitely need more practice in that department.

Then it was fun dive time and not long after we begin the fun dive we see some turtle’s! Omg yes yes yes yes yes!!!! I am so fucking happy right now!! I have finally swam with turtles! I love them so much.

Then lunch on the boat and back in the water again for more fun dives and more turtles and other fish, and I remembered my camera so got a bit on film.

Although I wish I had known about different diving filters, as a lot of It looks green the further we go down which apparently I need a red filter for deeper than about 6meters

And then that was it for day 2 of the course which was the last day. So we go back to the mainland and they give me the exam for me to do back at my hotel, so I go back and do that and then take myself for dinner. – Bed – game of thrones again haha.

Day 3

I had completed the course so I just needed to go and hand in my exam and pick up my certificate which I didn’t know I was going to need a photo for, if I had then I maybe would have tried to make myself look a little better haha.

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I was going to go on a jungle tour but it had started raining and by raining I mean like a monsoon so they said it wasn’t safe to go, which was fine, I didn’t mind as I needed to catch up with blog updating etc.

The next day it was time to leave to go back to KL to get the train up to Penang.

I had a great time on my scuba course with Sipadan Scuba, they were great and I felt like I definitely learnt a lot especially as most of the time It was a one on one session which I definitely benefit from having my instructors focus entirely on me – not that I like to be the centre of attention or anything haha.

But they get 5 Bee’s of approval from me.

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Here is my attempt at an underwater video without a diving filter haha

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Dad’s Visit to Australia

Friday 9th September

The night before dad arrived me and Tarsh were sat at the kitchen table drinking wine and realising that I was leaving over the next few days and that my dad was actually arriving the next day.

I then get a text from him saying that his flight from Singapore has been cancelled – WHAT!!!!

So me and Tarsh were then trying to find another flight for him to Melbourne but we weren’t having much luck.

In the end he ended up getting a flight to Sydney and from there he then had to fly to Mildura which was the opposite way to where we were heading the next day.

It was all a bit of a drama but it all worked out in the end.

Saturday 10th September

So we all wake up nice and early to get Dan fed and Tarsh was going to take my van to swan hill to get a wheel alignment and me, Andy and Dan were going to go to Mildura to get my dad.

Dad then messages me and tells me that his plane is actually delayed to Mildura by 2 hours, what is going on? He’s not having much luck is he!

But anyway, me and Andy leave the house around 9:30am to go and get him and it takes around 3 hours to get there because of how wet the roads were leaving the farm.

But we got there and he got there so it all worked out in the end.

I ran over to him and gave him a big hug, he looked really tired (well I’m not surprised!)

Then back in the car to go back to the farm, Dad sat in front with Andy and he was telling him lots of stuff about the farm etc.

When we got back there Andy had to go back out to pick Tarsh up as it was too wet to bring the van back in, so Me and Dad had a couple of beers and had a stroll around the farm with Dan and I showed him the cottage he was staying in and all the old staff sheds etc., which he enjoyed.

This was his very own cottage for the next few days….

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The rest of the night we spent drinking a lot of beer and wine and catching up and also Andy and Tarsh telling my dad’s lots about the farm. I think it’s safe to say that my Dad ended up being rather drunk!

Sunday 11th September

We woke up around 8am the next day and I did my usual chores and my walk but took my dad with me and Dan this time.

So we took the bins out to the incinerator to be burnt, then onto the chooks to collect the eggs and give them their food, then we went and got the dogs and took them for a walk up round to where the tip is and down to where the magpie kept swooping at the dogs all the time, I had pre-warned him about the magpie so he brought along some sticks with him to throw at the magpie which did seem to work! He didn’t swoop as much as normal and gave up sooner! If only I had brought along sticks with me to begin with!!

Then we walked up to the house dam where the dogs go swimming and I usually stand there and throw in sticks for them to catch so we did that and let the dogs race to the sticks, well not Cashie as she just stands there barking at the other two and trying to bite Nate when he comes back in.

When we came back to the house everyone was ready to go out so I quickly went and got changed and we all drove to Kyalite to go to the pub there. It’s the closest pub to them really and takes about 40mins to get to.

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It’s a nice little pub though with lots of room and lots of things on the walls, like fish and crocodiles and even a boat.

We had dinner there and the food was really good, we all had fish and chips apart from Andy who had steak.

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We also had quite a few beers there (well of course you have to in a pub don’t you)

After food we went down to an old shearing shed for my dad to have a look at, it had lots of information in their about shearing and had some old wool in there and even some info on Keri-Keri. It was really interesting to see.

We then went back to the farm and went straight up to the dam by the woolshed to watch the sunset and also watch a group of birds flying around and catching all the mosquitos which was really cool.

After that we went back to the house and had dinner and more drinks around the kitchen table.

Monday 12th September

I spent a lot of the day packing up all my stuff that I had left around the house as I was leaving the next day after nearly 6 months there.

Tarsh drove dad around the property and he got to see the eagles nest with the massive brown eagles and what they had dropped out of their nest like bones and bits of fur.

He also went up to the shed to watch the guys doing the wool side sampling of the rams that were being sold.

I finally got all my stuff together as we were leaving quite early so my room looked really empty and it hit me that I was leaving so I felt quite sad, but I still enjoyed the evening.

Tuesday 13th September

We woke up around 7am and had breakfast and got the last things together. I left my message in the visitor’s book and then we all jumped in the car and drove over to the van ready for me and my dad to drive away from the place I had called home for so long.

It was a very emotional goodbye – (by me and Tarsh anyways haha) and because I was crying my dad drove the first bit out of there.

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First stop was about a 3 hour drive and it was to a place called Dunolly which is in the middle of Victoria. I was meeting a guy there about a fridge for my van which I ended up buying off him, so my van is pretty much all set now for the big adventure next year which is great.

We stopped there for a little while for food and coffee too and then set back off to Wincanton (Tarsh’s sister’s farm).

We arrived there around 5pm and as soon as we got there in typical Austin style of being a whirlwind of energy and excitement we got back in one of the cars and took a drive down to Coleraine to see where it had all been flooded just days earlier. It was also due to flood again so everyone was getting prepared with big sandbags blocking the doorways. Di said that it was the worst that it had flooded in about 50 years.

Then it was back to the house for dinner and to plan what we were going to do the next couple of days. Because the weather had been so bad a lot of the roads were closed and there was even a closure of the Halls Gap national park which I had been planning to go to. So that was off the list.

Jack and Harry were chatting to my dad about sports and showing off their high jump tricks.

Harry also showed us his birthday present, a crossbow! Of course! That’s what every 9 year old boy gets for their birthday!! Haha.

Wednesday 14th September

We woke up early and had a look at the roads online to see if anything had changed but nope!

Di let us borrow one of their cars, so we decided to drive down to the waterfalls close to Hamilton which were absolutely incredible.

The one was called Nigretta falls and because of the amount of rain they had been having it was massive. It was pretty incredible to see especially considering that normally it is hardly a waterfall at all.

After the waterfalls we drove down to Port Fairy and Logan beach where they often have Whales.

It was really beautiful but no whales and was raining quite a lot – typical haha.

Then we drove back up to the house and had some dinner and watched some TV, and then had an early night ready for the next day.

Thursday 15th September

Again we woke up and thought that we would check out the roads to see if we could go to halls gap but they were still shut. So Di wrote down a list of places that we could drive to which was really nice of her.

First we drove down to Portland which is a town that exports lots of goods on shipping containers so we went down to the port and had a look at that, we also went to a café that she had suggested and had lunch there which was really good!

After Portland we drove along the coast to a town called Nelson where we went to look at the beach which was pretty incredible, they did have two beaches to look at but one was inaccessible because of all the flooding the road there was underwater.

Then it was up to Mount Gambier which we had to cross the Victoria/South Australia border to get to.
While we were there we visited the blue lake which was an old volcano, it was really beautiful.

Then we went and grabbed some coffee and drove over to an old sink hole which was turned into a garden and that was amazing! I’ve never seen anything like it!

 

Volcanos and sink holes……..glad I didn’t live there in those times!

Then back to the house for dinner, while dinner was cooking, we all went up to the shearing shed because Jonny had been waiting for us to be back to shear some sheep, so dad could watch and even have a go on his own.

Jonny makes it look so easy but it is really difficult, but dad had a go anyways as you can see here…..

Haha that was funny!

Then back to the house for dinner and a movie.

Friday 16th September

We were up really early as we were leaving the Austin’s to continue our journey in Melbourne, so Di took us to the bus in Hamilton around 6am.

I left the van the capable hands of Jack and Harry Austin…….god I hope it survives! haha

We got to Melbourne around midday and took all our bags to the hotel but our room wasn’t ready so we decided to go for a walk around until it was.
I took dad to the graffiti streets, down the little café laneways and over the bridge to Southbank.

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Then we got a call that our room was ready so we went and checked in and showered etc. Then we went back out for some lunch at Grill’d in the laneways.

Then we jumped on a tram over to Melbourne central and had a look at the shopping centre built around an old clock tower.

After that we decided to go over to Richmond and have a walk around the MCG, we couldn’t go in as the footy finals were on but we walked around the gardens and then jumped on a tram over to chapel street and got a few drinks in a bar.

We also ordered some nachos for us to nibble on and only realised a few mouthfuls in that it had chili on, which obviously has beef in and as dad is a vegetarian he probably should stop eating it haha. He decided to carry on but try to miss the bits with meat on! Lol

After the nachos and beer we went to a restaurant called Richmond oysters which was absolutely amazing. We only went in for oysters as we weren’t really hungry, but ended up getting oysters, and full meals too! All the fish was freshly caught and you could go and have a look in the fridges at the fish before buying it, it was absolutely amazing!

Once we finished our food we walked down to the jam factory and got tickets to watch sausage party, and while we were waiting jumped into TGIF for some cocktails.

Dad fell asleep during the film, and I nearly did! Not because it was boring, far from it! It’s absolutely hilarious! But because it had been a busy day.

Luckily we were just a short train ride away from the hotel so we jumped on the train and then as soon as we got back to the hotel fell into our beds and were out for the night.

Saturday 17th September

We didn’t have to check out the hotel until 11 so we had a bit of a lie in but still made it out in time for breakfast. So we packed away all of our stuff and left it at the hotel while we went and enjoyed our last day in Melbourne.

First stop was a café in the laneways for eggs on toast and some coffee.

Then we jumped on a tram over to St Kilda and strolled around the beach, and the shops and then the botanical gardens which was really nice.

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We walked up the big peer on the beach where the turtles are during the morning and we were hoping that we might see some but we didn’t! Typical again! Haha, but it was a nice walk up there and the view was good too.

I kept having to stop because my feet were hurting as I had been walking around all day yesterday with the wrong shoes on so I ended up getting big blisters on the balls of my foot again, which happened nearly a year ago when I started travelling! Surely I should have learnt my lesson when it comes to shoes! – Clearly not!

After the peer we decided to go and grab some food in one of the restaurants along the seafront and we had to wait a little while for a table as it was lovely weather which it hadn’t been for a while so everyone was out making the most of it, but we didn’t mind as we wanted a good table.

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We both got some seafood and I ended up getting the biggest platter I have ever seen! Is this seriously for one person??

When we finished lunch we got a tram back to the city and went to Kathmandu (it’s like an outdoor shop in Australia) dad bought himself a new backpack as his one was breaking, and he got some walking shoes.

I got myself a lightweight waterproof coat as it rains a lot in Malaysia and Bali as they are so tropical so thought it would be a good idea, and I also got myself some sensible sandals as I obviously need better shoes!

After the shopping we went to the hotel and dad changed over his backpacks then we headed back out again – with the old backpack because I said I thought it would be nicer for him to give it to a homeless person (there are so many in Melbourne)…anyways all the homeless people we walked past had bags galore and don’t think they really needed another one so we ditched it and went to a couple of bars by the river instead. The bars were really nice and it was a nice way to leave Melbourne.

Then back to the hotel, time for an uber and onto the airport…..next stop Malaysia!!

(I can’t believe I’m leaving Australia after a year!! It feels so strange!

TO CONTINUE READING ABOUT OUR TIME IN MALAYSIA CLICK HERE

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Malaysia With Dad

Sunday 18th September

We arrived into Malaysia airport around 6am and it was hot hot hot already, and really humid.

I was absolutely knackered because the flight was awful! They put us in the seats right by the emergency exit and while that meant we had all the leg space in the world it also meant that the seats were a lot smaller because the trays fit in the side of the chairs so my butt only just about fit in the seat! – Thankyou donuts!

There was also a screaming baby right next to us so I hardly slept at all even though I had popped a couple of sleeping tablets! So when we got off the plane and into the taxi I fell asleep straight away.

We got to the hotel and paid a little bit extra so we could check in straight away, I had about an hour’s nap and then dragged myself out of the bed so we could go and enjoy the day.

we walked out of the hotel and down to a road with a load of bars and restaurants on called and then at the top of that road was a another road called ‘Jalan Alor’ which had lots of restaurants on and also lots of closed street stalls which opened later in the day.

We walked down that street and went into one of the restaurants for some breakfast and we had absolutely no idea what we were ordering.

You go up to the buffet and point at the things you want and it’s served with rice. Whatever we ended up getting it was beautiful!

We are doing pretty well with all the delicious food we have been having over the past week!

After breakfast we walked to the twin towers using my maps, as I had downloaded the maps for offline use which is a great thing for you to do if you go travelling anywhere!

The system they have there for people walking is great, there was a big air conditioned walkway above all the cars which had different routes to go down and it was all signposted so that was brilliant.

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When we got to the twin towers, there was some kind of science fair going on outside so we had a walk around there and stayed to watch a street illusion act which was actually really good and all in English so even better.

Then we went and got our tickets for the twin towers and as we had to wait a while decided to go and have a walk around the gardens for a while which were really nice.

Then up the towers which was actually really funny as the Malaysian guys we went up with decided that they wanted photos with us, and they ended up taking hundreds while we were waiting to go up, when we were in the lift and while we were up there. Don’t know why they wanted photos of us two! Haha

The view from the towers was amazing, see for yourselves….

After the towers we jumped in a taxi and went over to the botanical gardens bird park, it was great in there as they have most of the birds free to walk around inside with you, and they also had some birds that I have never seen before.

The one downfall about this place was that it was all on a hill so for us it was knackering as we were already feeling pretty dead.

But it was great and really beautiful inside.

Once we had climbed back to the top of the park we decided to get a taxi back to the hotel and have a bit of a chill and a shower before heading back out to ‘Jalan Alor’ the street markets.

The street markets were amazing! We went to one place with lots of kebab sticks called ‘Fat Brothers’ and had a few sticks of fish and also some vegetables which was amazing. There was also a really nice boy selling fresh watermelon drinks with vodka in so we tried one of those and it was delicious.

Later we ended up in one of the restaurants on the side and ordered a few dishes and one of them was a dragon fish which we watched him cook on the BBQ under a bin lid (hopefully clean haha) it was really nice.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped for one drink at one of the bars and then went back for an early night ready for our rainforest tour tomorrow.

Monday 19th September

Today we were going on a rainforest and self-awareness tour with a guy called Happy Yen. I had found him online and he had good reviews about his tour.

When he came to pick us up he was bursting with energy and just seemed like a happy old man. We walked outside and got in his car.

It was just me and my dad on this tour, no one else haha.

So firstly he told us about the history of Malaysia and that they have 3 main settlers, which are Malaysian, Indian and Chinese, so that means that the food here is from these 3 countries and he wanted to introduce us to some of the food here.

He took us to an Indian restaurant out of Kuala Lumpur that was amazing, we had a bread called Poori and some dips to go along with it, it was amazing.

After breakfast we drove for about an hour to a temple where we went and had a look around and Yen was explaining to us how we don’t need to go to a temple to find peace, as the temple is in our minds.

Then after the temple we went to a rainforest, and drove through an aboriginal village, when we walked up through the rainforest we saw more aboriginal houses, there was a lot of rubbish just tipped everywhere too which is such a shame considering how beautiful the place is.

Then onto a stream where dad and happy yen had a bit of a swim (I didn’t because I had covered my blisters up with blister pads and all sorts of stuff so I didn’t want to get them wet) and we drank some milky green tea with water from the stream.

After the tea we walked back to the car and to the stream there to have lunch and we were joined by lots of dogs and big butterflies which was nice. The food was amazing too.

Then it was back in the car onto the next place which was a natural hot pool that gets to over 50 degrees. I again didn’t want to get my feet wet but dad got in straight away and didn’t even need to sing the song that Yen was trying to get him to sing to try and distract his mind from the hot water. After they got in the one pool, the moved onto 2 more which we even hotter and yen picked up buckets of water and began chucking them on himself and said for dad to do the same thing, which he did and Yen decided that he would help him with the last bucket to throw on his back. I was just laughing at all of this because it did look really funny.

Once all the water throwing was done we got back in the car and drove back to Kuala Lumpur to finish our day, we asked Yen to drop us at the train station instead of the hotel so I could buy my train tickets to Penang for when dad leaves, so we did that and had a stroll around the shopping centre under the train station.

We were right next to little India too so we had a walk around there which was quite pretty, and then went back to the hotel to shower and get ready to go out for some food and drinks where all the street food was.

We went back to the kebab guys because they were amazing, and then we got some coconut Ice cream which was absolutely incredible! I just want to eat that every single day! And then back to see the nice boy selling the watermelons.

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Then as we didn’t have to check out the hotel until midday tomorrow we decided that we would go for a few drinks in a couple of the bars, which was nice.

Tuesday 20th September

We woke up around 10am and packed all of our stuff away and then went down to reception and checked out the hotel but asked them to keep our luggage while we went out as dads flight wasn’t until 11pm.

We ordered an uber over to the central market and found somewhere to grab breakfast from around there which was a mix of fish, vegetables and rice! – I’m getting used to this kind of breakfast! Who says you need Weetabix to fill you up until lunch time hey!! Haha

Then we had a stroll around the china town markets where I bought my brother his b’day pressies and also got a pair of hippie trousers (think I need to admit that I just can’t wear shorts anymore!) dad also bought himself a Kuala Lumpur T-Shirt.

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After the market we managed to find somewhere with WiFi so we got an uber over to the Batu Caves  which we absolutely amazing, it is also a Temple, but as you walk up to them and look at those steps up there you feel like you already ache! There are a lot of them and they are very steep too! Do people seriously walk all the way up there to go to a temple every day? Omg!

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We were about to go in and I was wearing some shorts (well old lady shorts that come down to my knees, so not really shorts at all) but there was a woman sat at the bottom of the steps that said I couldn’t go up there like that and I needed to either buy one of her scarves to wrap around me or put some trousers on, lucky I have just bought a pair then isn’t it! So I went and changed into those around the corner in the loos where there were loads of monkeys just eating out of the rubbish and I was thinking how cute they were clearly forgetting my last run in with a monkey when he tried to rob me in Singapore on a tiny bridge over the forest a year ago – (YOU CAN READ ABOUT THAT HERE IF YOU WANT)

Back to the bottom of the steps and we look up, take a deep breath in and begin the climbing! It didn’t take long for my legs to start burning, so we kept having to stop for them to sort themselves out and for me to get my breath.

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When we get up there we see lots of men building and we were wondering how the hell they get all their stuff up the steps? I wonder if they have to carry it up there? It would take a long time!

It was really beautiful up there, although…….monkeys, monkeys, monkeys everywhere and one tried to grab the bag of clothes off dad that we had just bought from the market! Ahhh yes now I remember I actually hate monkeys! The thieves!!

There were so many of them and each of them kept trying to come over to us and everyone else to steal our bags, we eventually held our bottles of water up and went to throw it at them and they went away! – Bloody monkeys!!!

There was a cave called the dark cave up here that we decided to pay to inside to look at and it was really good. We had to wear hard hats and carry a flash light each, but we weren’t allowed to shine the lights up the cave as there were hundreds maybe even thousands of bats up there and that’s all you could hear. We were told not to shine the torches up high as it can disturb the bats and they are very sensitive to light.

The bits we did see though were really beautiful and we did even see a bat that had come close to the ground to die, so that was a bit sad to see a dead bat but hey that’s the fact of life I guess.

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After the caves we got a taxi back to the hotel which cost a fortune! Definitely go for uber where ever has it! So much cheaper!!!

We quickly used their WiFi to find a rooftop bar we could go to have a drink and have a view of the twin towers. We found one called Heli bar and walked there but unfortunately once we had got the lift up to the 38th floor we found out they were closed for a private function, luckily there was another rooftop bar close by called Elysium which said you had a view of the towers so we decided to go there, and I’m really happy we did. The view was great and the bar was empty so we got a good seat. The drinks were very expensive but I guess that’s the same with any rooftop bar! You’re not really just paying for the drinks are you!

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We stayed there for a couple of hours and then it was time to leave for the airport, so we ordered an uber who took us to our hotel and then to the airport.

We went and got dad all checked in and then said our goodbyes, it was a lot easier than last time as its only 2 months until I’m home for Christmas so that was good but I had such a nice time with him I didn’t want him to go home.

 

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Farm Life – The Final Chapter

As usual it has been a while since I last updated my diary, and this will be the last post on the farm which is sad, but I have been here nearly six months now which is a really long time in the travelling world.

So time to catch up….

25th July – 5th August

We got back from Melbourne on the 25th July and then spent the rest of the week just doing the usual, looking after Dan, going for walks and house stuff like doing the bins etc. nothing too exciting tbh.

The 29th was a trivia night in Moulamein and it was Mexican themed, so me, Tarsh and Dan went over while Andy went to a funeral in Adelaide and we had tacos which were bloody excellent! And then did some quizzes which I actually knew quite a lot of the answers to the TV and film one so I was pretty happy.

There were themed games and a taco eating contest, which I unfortunately did not participate in, I know I would have won that one! Ahhh well haha. It was actually a really funny night.

On the 5th August we went to swan hill for the day to do the shopping for the next few weeks and we decided to get there early so I could take Dan to the library for a thing called rhyme time, which was really cute as there were a few babies there and they put on some nursery rhymes and we have to sing to the babies. This was all going well until I was getting into my dancing a bit too much and my trousers ended up splitting right up the back. Some of the children even cried which is oh so shameful so have scared children for life with my fat ass!

How embarrassing!

I also started planning what me and my dad are going to do when he gets here, and what I will do in Malaysia and Bali after I leave him. I thought I might do my open water scuba diver course in Malaysia as I absolutely loved diving when I did it in Cairns and thought that I could start doing the courses and maybe one day be able to teach it and that means I can travel to lots of glorious places and teach scuba diving.

So I signed up for the course and they sent me over a manual and some videos that I need to watch, so I started learning about all of that.

6th – 16th August

The next week was pretty much the same for me but there were also some contractors here doing lamb marking which means they get the lambs and put them up in stirrups and they use a hot knife to cut off their tails and they put a ring around their balls so they will drop off, and also put an ear mark in. what an ordeal for the lambs! Not having the best day are they, although they don’t seem to mind too much, I thought they would be screaming their heads off but they didn’t make any fuss so that makes me feel a bit better about the whole situation.

They cut the tails off so they don’t get infections which they can get very easily if they keep their tails as it creates a dark warm patch where the tail hangs and they are very prone to infection. The ring around the balls means over time the balls will drop off which makes that lamb turn into a weather, as they don’t want them to turn into rams as one ram will be able to get around 100 ewes pregnant, so only some get kept as rams, who basically get to lead a pretty good life, they never get killed for meat and just get to live out their days shagging! – I know who I would rather be! Haha.

I also got to meet a little Chihuahua while I went up to see what it was all about, this little beaut is called Pippa!

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She’s so small and I was getting worried about the eagles circling above us and that they would swoop down and take her! It was only a few weeks ago I was watching the news and that happened to someone’s dog near Melbourne! So sad! I don’t know what I would do if someone took my toby!! So anyways I insisted that she go in the back of the Ute for her protection haha.

We also went over to some of Tarsh and Andy’s friends for a bonfire Bbq which was really cool, they had loads of bonfires light up and used the hot ashes to cook the potatoes and meat, and it was really good.

17th – 29th August

Wayne came to visit who used to live and work here and he is from England but has lived in Australia for around 20 years, he stayed for a couple of weeks helping out with things that Andy needed and also did quite a bit of work on the van for me which is really nice of him.

I spent the rest of the time doing my scuba course and ticking things off my to-do list, just things like learning about my camera and sorting the van out etc.

Not long until I leave here now.

It will be sad for sure but I am getting a bit restless now, I like to keep moving and keep doing different things where it’s easy to get a bit bored here. But I am going to miss it so much when I go. It will be a sad sad day when I leave.

I did some more trying on of my clothes and had to throw my bikinis out as my fat butt can’t fit into them anymore, and nothing worse than a bikini that doesn’t fit! Makes you look even bigger and bumpy than you actually are!

On the 26th we all went to a clearing sale which is what happens when someone decides to leave their farm so they get all their stuff they want to get rid of together and then invite everyone over to have an auction on different piles of stuff. There was so much stuff there, like lots of farm machinery but also home stuff and even camping stuff. So I got Tarsh to do the bidding for me as I was too scared and nervous about not winning to do it.

I ended up getting a shower for the van haha, which I found absolutely hilarious picturing me and my brother holding the shower head up for each other! And I also got a big load of pans and mugs and knifes etc. so the van is looking pretty good and set up now ready for the big adventure next year!

I AM SO EXCITED!!

When I leave the farm I have a pretty good set up!

Malaysia for 2 weeks

Bali for 2 months

Home for 6 weeks

Back out in Jan for the van adventure!!

I love this traveling life!!

The rest of the week just back to the usual, Dan, walking and cleaning etc.

Speaking of walking……every single time I take the dogs for a walk there is a magpie that just started swooping at Red, I had my suspicions that when he was off running around that he would go terrorise the bird so it wanted its revenge. This kept happening and I kept missing it on film. But then I finally got it one day and it seemed to start going crazy, swooping at all the dogs including me!

This magpie is a knob!!! See for yourselves. Haha

29th August – 9th September

The week starting the 29th was the same, just looking after Dan and me counting down the days until my Dad arrives. Getting quite excited about it now and I’m also getting restless being here as I’m getting a bit bored of doing the same things all the time.

I do love it here but I couldn’t live here forever. I need more excitement and different things going on.

The weekend came and the beautiful man Rocket came to visit and help Andy out with putting power into his shed.

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He is so bloody beautiful it’s not even fair, too beautiful for me that’s for sure! Ahhh rocket! The things I would do to that man haha.

So he was here for a couple of days and the night before he left we went and had a bonfire up by the shed to burn an old tree down which was a really good night and then we didn’t end up eating until nearly midnight as we were drinking and talking about cocaine prices around the world and the ‘underground internet’ silk road! haha such good role models for Dan!

Tarsh was laughing saying that she has learnt so much from me being around haha.

Anyways….rockets visit was short lived and he soon left again and then it was back to the usual of looking after Dan and just getting all the final things I had to do ready before my dad arrived.

I went up to see them classing the rams ready for sale where they use the figures from the scanning and Andy also looks at the wool and decides if they will go up for auction, private sale or if they are to be culled (which means they will be sold for meat that ends up in sausages or dog meat!)

After they classed them they then had to crutch them which means the back of their wool around their bums gets Shawn as they literally just shit everywhere and all that shit gathers up all around their bums. It’s horrendous! So they get it all off so they look better for sale.

I had to move the van out on Wednesday ready to take to swan hill on Saturday for new wheels etc. as its supposed to piss it down just before my dad gets here (Typical) so the roads are going to be awful to drive on and I’m pretty sure the van wouldn’t be able to deal with it!

And so here we are, my dad arrives tomorrow and we are staying here for a couple of days so he can have a look around and then I’m off!

It’s so strange that I’m leaving after 5 ½ months of being here, I will definitely miss it and everyone here! They have become like my Australian family and I am so thankful to them for everything they have done for me! They are truly some of the nicest people you could ever meet in your life and I feel so lucky that I got the opportunity to come here but more adventures await for me now. I will always stay in touch with them and hope to meet up again when I get back in January with my brother!

Next step – back to Hamilton for a few days and then Malaysia, so watch this space!

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What Technology Should I Take Travelling

You’re planning on taking the world by storm and seeing every inch of the place, so what technology do you want to take with you?

Technology items can take up valuable space in your backpack so you want to take as little as possible but still the essentials - that can differ from person to person, as it depends what you plan on doing while you are travelling, if you’re a photographer or creating videos or a graphic designer etc then you will want to take all your gear for capturing the memories or creating masterpieces which you will know more than me what you need to take.

So these are the basics that I would suggest you bring.

As always if you have any questions please feel free to ask, or if you have any suggestions yourself then don’t hesitate to let me know.

 

An Unlocked Phone

You will be wanting to call home no doubt and also take photos to share with loved ones back home, so you can easily unlock most phones these days by contacting your provider.
You may also find it useful to check out some brilliant travel apps that i recommend you to download to your phone HERE

A laptop or a tablet

If you like to stay online or watch films etc. then taking a reliable laptop or tablet or hybrid is a good option, I have a windows tablet that can take USB’s which is really good although the battery charging is horrendous so I probably wouldn’t recommend it to you now, but having a tablet or laptop small and light enough to carry around with you and to keep your baggage weight down is always a good option to go with and the fact it has USB ports means I can plug my phone Into it or a hard drive.

A Hard-Drive

Mega packed with series and films, you are going to have times when you’re a bit bored or just fancy a bed day, after all this is your life now and that means you want to have home comforts sometimes of just spending all day in bed watching a film, so I would definitely suggest you take one of these, lots of backpackers have them and you can all share what you have. – I would say get a terabyte hard drive that way you should never run out of space and have plenty of things to choose from on a bed or rainy day.

An iPod

Ok so you can use your phone but playing music off your phone takes up valuable battery time which you can use for other things, so I would definitely suggest getting a separate iPod – I don’t have one of these I am still using my phone but it’s on my list of things to get.

A Portable Speaker

Of course you are going to want to listen to some of that music you have on your ipod so bringing along a small Bluetooth speaker is a must.

A go-pro or other sports cam

I bought a cheap camera off amazon which was ok, but the exposure was awful and had to be reset every time you turned the thing on, it ended up breaking so my dad got me a new camera for my birthday, it’s a Veoh Muvi Kseries and I have to say its brilliant, I don’t think the app is quite as good as the go pro from what I have heard but it’s cheaper and the camera its self seems to do the trick.

Portable battery charger

the one I have can jump start a vehicle too as I have recently purchased a van for my travels so it means that if I were to get into any trouble with it not starting I can do it myself, assuming that I have charged the battery of course.

Travel plugs and chargers

For all of your technology, I have a universal travel plug which you can slide out different parts so it will work in any country and you can also plug in any countries plug sockets. Mine also comes with an attachment for USB ports.

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