A Few Weeks In Port Elliot

Tuesday 7th Feb

We woke up around 9am and got all our things packed up and said our goodbyes to Alec and Marie. We jumped in the van ready to go and Jim turns the ignition and nothing happens. He tries again and absolutely nothing happens.

GREAT! The battery is dead! – This bloody van is going to give me an aneurism!

Well I guess it’s time to check out the battery pack I purchased last year that comes with jump leads then! Yep it works and she’s on!!

Why has the battery drained overnight though? Everything was off! What on earth is going on? Should I have even bought this bloody van? I’m starting to doubt it!

So we manage to get her started and then drive to a super cheap auto to pick up a 12v charger for the van that splits into two so we can charge our phones and the fridge while we are driving, but of course the battery is super low so Jim stays in the van keeping it running while I go in and grab the adaptor.

Then back on the road again to start making our way to port Elliot beach house. We need fuel too so we make sure we drive for a while to get the battery charged and then stop when it’s very near empty to fill up, only when we pull up the van wont now turn off!

The key turns to the off position but the engine is still going, ahhh ok so maybe that has something to do with why they battery got drained overnight, maybe something happened over night that means the power is always on, so we don’t know what to do and I just tell him to stall it as we need to put fuel in. when we stall it, the engine stops but the power is still on.

WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING? WHY IS ALL THIS HAPPENING? NIGHTMARE.

Well not much we can do about it now, onwards to port Elliot, when we arrive we were amazed with where the hostel was, right by the beach and some amazing views. We pull up and of course the van won’t turn off again so we decide to unplug the battery to try and save the power, so it doesn’t drain again. Not ideal at all but it will do for now.

When we go into the hostel we meet Bridget and Steve who own the place and they show us around the house, which is amazing. It’s the best hostel I have ever seen and I get all giddy and happy thinking that this place is going to be our home for the next few months. Steve then tells Jim that he may have some work for him on the vineyards with his friend which is great, already got some work lined up. So now I just have to find myself some paid work too and then we should have a good few months here saving and not spending much money on accommodation.

After we had checked in we went for a stroll around the footpath that goes around the coast and again it was so beautiful it just made me feel so happy that this was our home for a while.

Feeling super happy and motivated to find paid work now!!

In the evening we all had a Bbq together to say welcome and to get to know each other along with some wine and beers which was really nice.

Wed 8th Feb

We woke up around 8:30am and got ourselves some breakfast and coffee and then got ourselves ready to start our new jobs as cleaners. I was on bed duty, so I was remaking the beds in the rooms and also wiping the rooms down and vacuuming. Jim’s job is cleaning the bathrooms which is a bit of a shock for him having never cleaned a bathroom in his life haha. I managed to snap a picture of him looking oh so happy about mopping those floors. Haha.

Once we had finished our cleaning we decided to drive over to Victor Harbour to get some food shopping in for the next few days but first we had to get the van back up and running. So connect the battery back together and then we can go, and of course when we arrive at Coles we have to stall it and then disconnect the battery. FML! This is ridiculous! Seriously need someone to look at it, and we were hoping that Steve’s friend who Jim is supposed to get some work on the vineyards with could look at it, as we have been told he knows a bit about cars.

When we got back to the hostel we cooked up some curry with lots of veg and to Jims surprise he actually enjoyed it, I told him that vegetables are nice and if he just tries things he will be surprised what he enjoys, plus he has no other option on our tight budget!

After curry we grabbed a couple of beers and played some ping pong in the games room for a while.

Thursday 9th Feb

It was baking hot today, was 42° and everyone went down to the beach after cleaning in the morning but I was determined to find work so I spent the day trying to find work anywhere, but also getting annoyed because it is out of season so there is not much work around with such a small place and with the van playing up its going to be really hard to get anywhere.

I got my CV’s printed and walked around everywhere in Port Elliot and handed my CV in only to be told they were not looking for anyone….great!

Remain positive!! Something will come up I’m sure of it!!

Friday 10th Feb

After we had done our cleaning duties of the morning we decided enough was enough and the van needs to be looked at by someone rather than waiting around for this guy on the farm who may or may not be able to help us, so we took it to a mechanic that was nearby and they checked it over for us but unfortunately they said they weren’t able to help us as it needs to go to an auto electrician and they think that mice could have got in and chewed up some of the cables in the dashboard while it was stored on a farm. Waaaa, not good news at all.

We called the only auto electrician in Victor Harbour and he said he couldn’t fit us in until Wednesday morning, so I spent a lot of the day feeling annoyed and upset about this bloody van which is seeming like I should not have bought now and also the fact that we are really going to struggle to find work here.

After all my self-pitying I decided to snap myself out of it and go and join everyone in the TV room and Steve brought us all some pizzas out which is so nice of him. They really are nice people here.

We all started digging in, and this crazy lady who is staying here decided she would come and help herself so some too, although I’m pretty sure it was not for her as he was giving it to us as we were staff, but she managed to stuff at least 6 slices down her face.

She is so strange, she goes around chatting to herself and keeps everything in her car and keeps going out to her car to get things out of it which is directly in front of our window, and she chooses to wear these short dresses with stockings on and is always bending over so we get a full view of what she’s packing! Not a pretty sight at all haha.

After pizza, we all walked down to one of the 2 pubs in Port Elliot and watched a guy playing all sorts of instruments including a didgeridoo which was really cool.

Saturday 11th Feb

Me and Jim decided to go down to Victor Harbour again after cleaning to try and find work there and had a walk around everywhere handing our CV’s in and filling in application forms only to realise towards the end that I have managed to print off my old CV which has not got anything new on since 2015. NOT GOOD!!!! So I had to run around everywhere asking for email addresses to send them over the proper version when I got back home.

WHAT A FUCKING IDIOT!!!

When we got back, I cooked up a stir fry and then me and Jim went down to the other pub with Steve and Bridget where we met Nigel (the guy with the Vineyard) he was really funny and had so much knowledge about everything, he was quite fascinating to talk to. He grabbed Jim’s number and said he should call him for a couple of day’s work this week, so that’s good.

Sunday 12th/Monday 13th Feb

My glorious breasts turned 4 years old on Sunday. Good old plastic fantastic beauty’s that they are, and to celebrate I decided that I would cook myself a roast dinner which took forever in the tiny oven they have here but so bloody worth it!

Ahhh…nothing better than I good roast potato.

Monday we didn’t really do anything other than our cleaning in the morning as it was quite cold and raining a bit. I spent a while applying for jobs at McDonalds and kfc, while Jim had a stroll around port Elliot going to caravan parks and shops we had not been in, including the butchers.

Then in the evening we watched a couple of films, including Iron Man, as I downloaded all the marvel films and series to watch in order this year which should take a fair while with all the TV shows they have out now.

I got a text later that night from a guy putting on a reggae festival next weekend saying that he needed help on the bars, finally some work to do! Although it’s only for one day, but better than nothing and plus it’s at a reggae festival so will be fun too.
Tuesday 14th Feb

The sun was back out, as were the shorts. After we had done our morning chores me, Jim, Tessa and Nesi borrowed the car and went to a wildlife park nearby where Jim got to stroke his very first koalas and kangaroos.

It’s a nice park, but lots of the enclosures either didn’t have anything in, or didn’t have signs for what was in there and some of it was very overgrown so you couldn’t really see the things inside the enclosures.

Me and Jim bought some kangaroo food and decided to walk around all the kangaroos, some of them were really big and were very impatient for their food, so can be a bit scary, one of them seemed to get rather excited when it was close to Jim and had his lipstick out for the world to see. Haha

I got another call from someone who had seen my add on gumtree looking work, they asked me to go to some lady’s house to clean the following day. Yayyy more work for me! And even better, as soon as I got that message I got another one from the festival guy saying he needs help setting up on Friday too if I want a bit more work. Whoooppp!!

Now I just need full time job and then I’m sorted. Fingers crossed baby!

Then it was back to the hostel for a chill, while Jim went down to the beach to do some body boarding with a couple of the girls and I chilled at the hostel with my cup of tea like an old person because I knew the water would be cold. I’m such a baby with cold water! I need my water to be tropical and even then sometimes I find it cold.

Wednesday 15th – Friday 17th Feb

We took the van in to be fixed on Wednesday and left it with him while we went back and cleaned the hostel, he called us back and quoted us $300 to get it fixed as some wires had melted through and that was what was causing it to not stop. He said he would call us when we could pick it up, which he did on Thursday. We went and picked the van up and when we got there the cheeky bastard decided to charge us $400, I asked why it was $100 more than he had quoted and he said that there was more work to be done on it than he originally thought. Not much we can do about that is there! But seriously pisses me off! Doesn’t help that the van is painted with the union jack on so they are bound to overcharge us.

LET’S HOPE THIS IS THE END OF HER PROBLEMS OR I SHALL BE THE ONE TO DESTROY HER!!!!

Later on Wednesday I went and cleaned this woman’s house for a couple of hours, which was fine but it was only 2 hours which was $50, I seriously need more money than this!

Didn’t do anything on Thursday and Friday apart from search and search for jobs and get replies from the ones I had applied to saying they weren’t looking for any more staff. I think I’m going to have to start thinking about leaving early now as I can’t stay here for another month hoping to get full time work when it’s so quiet, and even if I do will Jim?

Jim actually went on Friday to do a full day’s work on a the vineyard, but that won’t turn out to be full time work so we do need to start thinking of something else….but that’s the beauty with travelling! If somewhere isn’t right you can just pick up and move on somewhere else.

Saturday 18th – Monday 27th Feb

The next week was rather boring, I spent most of the time either eating or trying to search for work and so did Jim, although he had a couple of days working on the farm.

We went to the beach a couple of times and I buried Jim in the sand. We also had a couple of nights all together with the people in the hostel, one for one of the German girls birthdays where we all had a Bbq and listened to Steve play his guitar, and then another night where Steve and Bridget cooked us all a lamb roast which was SENSATIONAL.

I got offered a job at a café but it was only part time so still won’t get me much money, but I said yes anyways as still need the cash for now.

They wanted me to work on Friday and Saturday 24th & 25th which is also the days I was working at the festival, so I had a whole week of nothing and then 2 very busy days.

The festival work was really fun, firstly I went there to help set up on the Friday and I was just drinking with them most of the time and then on the day of the festival I finished work at the café and then got picked up to go to the festival where I thought I was on the bar but they asked me to be the person on the door which was fine because It meant I got to sit down after running around the café so that was nice. I was also supplied lots and lots of free booze while doing the work so even better, and even better still plenty of good looking men for me to look at while I was working too.
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Band in the bar

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I eventually stopped being on the door around 9pm and then went into the bar to help them out and that is where my memory fades quite a lot, I was so drunk and 9pm soon turned to 3am when the festival had long finished and the remainder of the people there had decided to bring all their band supplies into the bar area. It was a very funny night indeed and I was so totally drunk I don’t remember much at all but what I do know is getting paid $250 for a night of drinking and fun is always a good thing.

However as I didn’t rock up back to the hostel until about 20 minutes before I had to clean and also feeling rather sick and dizzy I felt like I couldn’t face cleaning that morning so I went to the reception desk and spoke to Steve and told him I needed to pay for the night at the hostel as I couldn’t work. He then told me that was fine but that I had to pack my bags and leave the next day because of it! Hmmm….not very nice but tbh I think it’s for the best anyway! This place is boring the hell out of me and other than the festival work it’s not looking to hopeful.

So I spent the whole day in bed recovering and found myself somewhere to stay in Adelaide and on the Monday morning I woke up, packed my bags and left.

Time to try and find some proper work in Adelaide now!

 

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Van Drama & Morphett Vale

Tuesday 31st Jan

Tarsh drove me and Jim to Swan Hill on the Tuesday and we went and bought our tickets to get to Ballarat where we would be staying for the night. When we got to the train station we found out that trains had been cancelled due to track maintenance and we would be getting a coach to Melbourne and then a train from there to Ballarat.

We left swan hill at 12:43pm and arrived into Ballarat around 7:20pm, jumped in a cab and went to our accommodation for the night which was also a fancy looking pizza restaurant. We checked in and went through to our room which was really nice and we had a TV. Turns out we were the only ones in the room for the evening which was nice.

Once we had showered and sorted ourselves out we thought we should get something to eat, but the pizza from the place we were staying at was actually quite pricy for us, luckily over the road was a take away pizza place that was much cheaper so we headed over there in stealth mode and then back to the room hiding our cheaper pizzas.

Wednesday 1st Feb

We woke up after a good night’s sleep around 8am and packed our stuff away, checked out and then went to the train station for breakfast before jumping on another coach which this time was going to Hamilton – the van is getting closer and closer!!

 

Di (Tarsh’s sister) came and picked us up from the train station in Hamilton and took us for a coffee and a drive around the kid’s school which was beautiful. They are so lucky to go to those schools.

We then drove back to Di’s where the van was waiting for me, looking beautiful as ever, although it had a lot of cobwebs on as not been used for a few months, so me and Jim did some cleaning of the van to get her ready for our journey to Adelaide the following day.

Not long after we got back the boys came home from school, and it was time to go and feed the sheep as it was summer all the feed in the paddocks had dried up so they didn’t have much to eat, so the boys job each night was to drive out into the paddocks and hook the Ute called Burnie (because there was a big fire a few years ago in one of the paddocks where the Ute was so it got burnt)

Jack went off on his motorbike and Jim jumped in Burnie with harry with harry driving, and I went in the new little go-kart type thing with Di to watch them doing it.

It was really funny to watch because normally sheep run away from you when you drive through the paddocks, but they were all running after the Ute because they knew they were going to get fed from it, so we all drove over to the big containers of barley and the boys hooked it up to the back of the Ute to start feeding it into the van, when it was full of they went and the sheep all following behind trying to get some of the seeds.

After watching the boys do that, we went back to the house for dinner and then me, Jim and Di decided to watch a movie. We watched girl on a train which I thought was really good, then it was time for bed when it finished which was after midnight and we had to be up and leave at 7am.

Thursday 2nd Feb

Thursday was just one of those days where anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

Firstly it all started off by oversleeping, not by long but I woke up at 7am instead of leaving at 7am, and we didn’t end up leaving until around 8:30am, which should still get us to the vehicle inspection place on time in Adelaide which we needed doing to get the van registered. Although on the way we had to stop a couple of times because the van got to hot so we had to leave it to cool down on the side of the road a few times.

We eventually made it to Adelaide and then noticed that our fuel and temperature gages and our indicators were not working, but we thought we should just get to where we were going as it was only 10mins down the road, so we did and then we were told we wouldn’t get the van in to be inspected that day – which in hindsight is actually a good job because they do more checking than I thought of just checking the van is what I have said it is and that it isn’t stolen. They do basic safety checks too which obviously it wouldn’t have passed without those working.

Before we left we asked some guys in the car park what they think it could be and they told me to check the fuses to see if one had blown. We drove out of the inspection place and parked it on the road and did some looking around at the fuses and we managed to find the blown fuse, luckily we had some spares in the back so I changed the fuse and to our surprise the gages were working again, quick high five feeling all proud of ourselves!

Get back in the van and fire her up, put in the locksmiths into the sat nav and off we go. I think we must have drove about 50yards and then the van started spluttering before just dying completely. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON TODAY??

I ended up calling the RAA and signing up for a year’s membership of road assistance although I had to pay a joining fee because I wanted to use it immediately, but it didn’t actually end up costing loads considering a year’s premium membership was including in the price, it came to $258 and by the seems of things we may end up using it more than once.

While we were waiting for the RAA to turn up we thought we would make the most of a bad situation and fire up the soda stream and get our chairs out, we didn’t have to wait for long before he turned up to have a look at the rust bucket.

 

He checked everything around the engine first and couldn’t find out what was wrong and then he checked the fuses and the one to start the van had blown which sits next to the one we had just replaced, and that one was about to blow! He pulled it out and it was just a big mess of melted plastic, how did that happen after only driving it around the corner, for less than 10 seconds?? But he managed to sort it out and the van was now starting which was great, and we had enough time to drive to the locksmiths.

When we got to the locksmiths one of the guys came out and had a look at the only lock on the van but it didn’t work, so at the moment we were having to leave it unlocked which isn’t very good. He said he had a box of the same locks in the shop which had been there for a few years and no one has bought so we could have them for $50, but they couldn’t fit it for us so we just thought as it was nearly 5pm and everywhere was closing that we would get them and try to change it ourselves.

Onwards to my Nan and grandads friend’s house (Marie and Alec) and then what happens? Of course the fuse for the fuel and indicators blows again!!!

ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH…….this bloody van!!!

We got to Marie and Alec’s house which was really nice to meet them, as they are good friends of our grandparents and have been for years, but moved over to Australia around 40 years ago on a £10 ferry ticket from England to relocate here. We went inside and had a quick catch up and then we thought we better try and sort this lock out on the van while it was still light outside. When I say we….I mean Jim while I sit in the passenger side watching.

Alec came out to help Jim too and kept offering different tools for us to use, which is a good job we did this at their house because we wouldn’t have had all the tools to do this ourselves.

Well it eventually got done and we went inside for some food and to spend some time with them, and an early night.

 

Friday 3rd Feb

Alec had told us last night that there was an auto electrician just around the corner from them which was perfect, so we drove the van around to them and told them what was going on and they said they would have a look at it for us.

They ended up keeping it for an hour and it cost us $115 but they managed to fix it for us, they told us they had checked everything and found a dodgy wire by the engine which they have now fixed so it was back to working again! Yayyy!!!

Is our luck turning around??

We quickly raced back to the house and grabbed a few things and then headed straight back out to a different vehicle inspection place which was just north of Adelaide, when we got there we had to fill some forms out and I realised I had forgotten my driver’s licence, luckily Jim had his so he had to fill the forms out. We waited for a couple of hours and I thought I should call up the registration call centre to find out exactly what we needed to get her registered, and found out we needed a proof of address, which we could get a signed paper from the bank stating our address, and we both needed our passports. After the couple of hours we then got her inspected in less than 10 minutes.

We then drove into Adelaide city to go pick up my bank card from Australia post and then drove around for ages trying to find somewhere to park which was actually really hard as it was really busy and the van is actually too high to get into the multi-story carparks. We eventually found another commonwealth bank on google that was on our way back to Alec and Marie’s so we headed there.

By the time we had done all of that it was too late for us to get the van registered as we needed to go back to the house to grab passports and things, so we thought we would just stay for the weekend at Alec and Marie’s and get it registered on Monday instead.

So we went back to the house and had a stir fry with them while listening to some of their stories about their life which was fascinating to hear about all the things they have done and how much Australia has changed in the time they have been there.

Saturday 4th /Sunday 5th Feb

I went out on Saturday morning to go and grab some things for the van like oil and screen wash, and then I also got Marie and Alec some wine and flowers to say thank you for being so welcoming and letting us stay with them, which has been so kind of them.

 

When I got back from shopping which I almost didn’t because the van wasn’t starting and I thought I was going to be stuck, but Jim talked me through how he gets it started and it seemed to work. Thank god! I decided that I would clean the van up and let the airbed down so we had more room in there to store our stuff without it getting lost.

Then it was 4pm and we all went over to Alec and Marie’s daughters house who was having a birthday party for her 2 year old son called Bronx. It was really nice going round there and meeting everyone and Bronx was really cute.

Sunday was just a chill day, I caught up on my blog and also got all the documents together ready for the big day tomorrow of getting the van registered.

In the evening we all went out for food to a restaurant about 10mins away which was really nice.

Monday 6th Feb

We woke up nice and early and went off to the registration office to get her sorted.

When we got in there, we went to the front desk and they gave us a few forms to fill out and a ticket number. They were calling the numbers really fast and we didn’t even have enough time to fill out forms out before we were called up to the desk.

It turned out that Jim didn’t have enough information to give over to them for him to get registered so it’s only in my name, which is fine because he is still able to drive the van.

SHES REGISTERED!!!! WHOOOOPPPPPPPPPPP

When we had finished all of that and changed the plates over to the new ones we decided that we would like to stay with them for one last night and cook them dinner to say thank you, so we went to the supermarket and bought all the stuff for spag bol and then went back to the house to chill for the rest of the evening and also managed to fit in a facetime call to our nan which was really nice.

It was so nice staying with these guys, they are such fantastic people, so welcoming and kind.

 

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A week at Keri-Keri

Tuesday 24th Jan

Me and Jim woke up around 6am and checked out of our hostel, then walked down to the main street in St Kilda to jump onto the tram to Southern Cross Station.

Our train was delayed for about 10/15mins because they hadn’t attached the front onto the train, but we got on eventually to start the 5 hour journey up to Swan Hill where Tarsh would be meeting us.

We arrived into Swan Hill around Midday and Tarsh came to meet us at the station, it was so nice seeing her again and I couldn’t wait until I saw dan although I did have to wait until 4pm when he got out.

We helped tarsh with her shopping for the next week and also went and grabbed some lunch and before we knew it 4:30pm came around and it was time to go see Dan. Me and jim waited in the car while she went and got him and when they came out I ran over to him hoping for his eyes to light up and remember me….but nope! He was pushing a lot a little pushchair and when I ran over and said his name he looked up at me and then looked back at where he was going and continued! Waaaaaaa my poor heart has broken!!

We drove back to the farm and I sat in the back with dan with a mission to force my love upon him and to annoy him until he remembers me which seemed to sort of work.

When we got back we of course had wine o’clock and had some pizza and stayed up chatting around the kitchen island.

Ahhh it was so lovely to be back here and even though it was only a few months ago it felt like longer, especially as dan had grown up so much, I got him to wear one of the Birmingham city hats that my dad had sent them over for a thank you for looking after me.

Me and Tarsh took over mine and Jim’s stuff to the cottage where we would be staying, which will be strange for me as I was in the house the last time I was here.

Wednesday 25th Jan

I woke up quite early because the sun was coming through the blinds and I could hear Mr. Rooster doing his wake up call, so I strolled back over to the house and got my self a coffee and then Dans little face appeared screaming loudly and running all around the kitchen island. My god where has that tiny little boy gone that I was looking after?

After breakfast we spent the day driving around in the UTE searching all the dams for trapped sheep, as there legs get stuck in the mud around the dams because the dams were getting low and all the mud/silt that was on the bottom of the dam was now out in the open for them to get stuck in as they had to come in further for a drink.

Tarsh drove while me and jim had dan on our laps and then I would look after dan while jim helped tarsh get the sheep out of the dams by throwing a hooped piece of rope around their neck and pulling them out. – don’t worry about it being around their necks, sheep have got very short but strong necks so they can take it, and also when they are as stuck as they are you cant really get it anywhere else, so its either get pulled out of the dam by the neck or stay stuck in the dam and die basically.

After we had drove round a few dams and saved a few sheep we headed back to the house and chilled for a while looking after dan while tarsh used me and jim to her advantage and managed to go and get some work done in her office.

Not long after it soon became wine o’clock again and Jim started helping tarsh make some potato bake to go with our Bbq, while I gave Dan a bath, when i had finished giving him a bath I had to go and get changed because I was absolutely soaking wet, he was finding it absolutely hilarious to start throwing buckets of water all over me but what a cutie pie he is! Cant stay mad at that little face for long.

Jim was helping Andy with the Bbq when I got back while me and tarsh drank some more wine and had a catch up in the kitchen, it felt so nice being able to do that again but also sad as I knew I was only there for a week this time.

Thursday 26th Jan

We went back out to check the dams for sheep but we had to go in the normal car this time as the Ute’s battery was dead.

When we got back Tarsh needed to get some work done so I looked after Dan while she did that and we did some painting which ended up in Dan being completely covered in paint and then mud as he had been watching Hughey dig up mud in a little corner which he thought would also be a good idea to do, so he was filthy, and I had to give him a bath to clean him up.

While we were doing that Jim went out in the other ute with andy to go and check all of the water they had running through the channels, to move the sheep away from the dams to stop them getting stuck.

Friday 27th Jan

We went back out again to check some Dams and one of the ones we had pulled out the day before had died, there was also a little lamb that was stuck and we thought it was the same one that kept getting stuck every day so Jim and Tarsh carried it over to the car so we could move her to another dam that wasn’t as low as the others. Jim got in the back of the car with her to keep her in one place while we drove her over to the other dam.

When we got back to the house everyone was nakered and had a bit of a nap while I did some job applying for places in Adelaide. I found one ad that I really wanted which was to work for a couple of hours a day in a hostel in Port Elliot which is in South Australia and you get your accommodation for free in exchange for a couple of hours work in the day helping with cleaning and painting etc. and they wanted about 4 people to come and help out so I sent over an email asking if me and Jim could go and work with them.

When everyone woke up after their naps we went over to one of Tarsh’s friends houses which is another farm and about 30mins drive away, there house is beautiful and had a swimming pool so we attempted to get dan in the water but he seemed to hate it and was crying as soon as we tried to get him in.

Then it was back to the house for dinner and a couple of drinks, then bed.

 

Saturday 28th Jan

The ute was all fixed for today so Jim did the driving to go and check the Dams. We found a small lamb without a mother and looking very week so we decided to bring it back to the house and let it sleep in the chook house. Tarsh made up some milk for it and we both had a go at feeding it.

In the evening when it was cooler we both did some motorbike practice, Jim was actually really good and picked it up really quickly. I was really nervous as the last time I tried riding the bikes here I fell off, so It took me a little longer to get used to riding it.

#motorbike #Australia #kerikeri #farmlife #❤️

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After our bit of practice with andy and tarsh watching us we then felt more confident riding and went out to check one of the dams, as we pulled up there were lots of kangaroos at the dam that had come in for a drink as it was close to sunset.

Once we had pulled the sheep out of the dam we sat really quietly by the dam hoping that some would come back for a drink which they did. It was really nice to watch.

Before we left we noticed that one of the sheep was stood by the dam hardly moving, and we were a little worried about it so thought we would come back first thing to see if it was ok, when we got back to the house we told tarsh about it and she said that It may have been bitten by a snake if it wasn’t moving away from us.

Poor thing.

 

Sunday 29th Jan

When I woke up in the morning I went over to the house for my coffee and shortly after Jim turned up looking a bit sad and when he came in he told us that he had gone to feed the little lamb in the chook house and it was dead.

Unfortunately lambs are really hard to keep alive when they are that young as they rely so much on their mothers.

After we got over the trauma of the dead lamb me and jim went out on the bikes to go and check all of the dams, it was so hot and really hard as the wind blowing in our faces was hot and felt like a hair drier, Jim seemed alright but I found it too hot and I felt really dissy and like I was going to pass out at one point. My bike was a kick start bike and I even found that hard, obviously im not cut out to be a farm girl at all! At one point I was following an old track to one of the dams and then it suddenly disappeared and the bike sort of got stuck in some very soft crumbly mud, I put my foot down to try and stop it getting stuck but it didn’t work and I ended up banging my shin on the foot peddle and then the bike fell over. Lol.

God that hurt!!!

when we checked the dam with the possibly snake bite victim from last night we unfortunatley found the sheep dead stuck in the dam, so we had to pull it out of there which was difficult, and when we did we noticed that it had a bit of foam coming out of its mouth so we are pretty sure it did get bitten by a snake.

When we got back to the house, I had to have a bit of a lie down as I was absolutely baking hot and then realised it was around 43º no wonder I was feeling so hot.

It was then time for me to start getting the next few days organised like trains and work etc. so I went over to the cottage to grab my laptop and bank card only I couldn’t find my bank card anywhere. Uh-oh! I spent the whole day looking for it and couldn’t find it anywhere.

While I was sorting all of that out, Jim was busy riding motorbikes and driving the ute over to the tip to find bits of wood that he could use to sort the chook house out for tarsh.

Monday 30th Jan

It was the last day at the farm which was sad as it has been such a great week. I spent the day again searching for my bank card but couldn’t find it, so I had to call the bank to get a new one sent to a post office in Adelaide for me, and then I spoke to my nan and grandads friends, Alec and Marie who live close to Adelaide and they said that we could go and stay with them for a few days when we arrive there which is really nice of them.

I kept pestering the man in port Elliot about working with them and he finally called me back so I managed to have a chat with him and he said he would give us a call on Thursday or Friday to let us know if we can go and help him out.

Then I got our hostel booked for the following night and figured out what trains etc to get while jim was building the chook house and then doing some shooting with andy down the airstrip.

I spent a while with a naked Dan in the garden running around after him, giggling at his little bum!! what a body!! haha

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While i was packing all my stuff Jim was out shooting targets up the airstrip.

Cant believe its time to leave again, after such an amazing week with them.

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First week back in Oz!

Saturday 14th Jan – Monday 16th Jan

My mom, rich (step dad) and Joe (brother) drove me and my brother James (Jim) to the airport on the 14th Jan, they stayed with us while we checked our bags in and then said our goodbyes by the security check which obviously included some tears.

We walked through security and headed to our departure lounge where as grabbed some food and some drinks and waited until it was time to board the plane for our first journey to Guangzhou airport where we would have a three hour wait for our second plane to Melbourne.

 

We boarded the plane and headed to our seats and realised as soon as we got in them that it was going to be a tough journey. The seats were so small and had hardly any leg room and we had to sit on there for 11 hours! Not fun at all, but oh well hey! It’s a means to an end, pop a couple of sleeping tablets and wake up sore and tired on the other end.

When we were in Guangzhou the time seemed to go quite fast which was good because the airport is absolutely rubbish, hopped on the next plane to find we had more leg room for this one which was a delight! – pop another sleeping tablet and wake up half way through the journey thinking we were nearly there only to find we still had 5 ½ hours to go! Arghhhhh!! Back to sleep, and finally wake up in Melbourne!

We then got on our transfer to the hostel and went to check in but we were told that check in wasn’t until 2pm and it was around 11am at the time, so we dumped our bags and headed down to the beach where we were told we could shower. When we got there we went our separate ways into the men and women’s toilets and realised that the showers were communal! – How am I supposed to have a full on shower in here?? I walked out of the toilet and had a look around and found a unisex toilet which was just a single shower and lockable door, so I shouted into the men’s toilets to Jim and he was having the same dilemma! So I told him about the other shower and said we could just use that and take it in turns.

So I go in first and take all my clothes off and get my shower gel etc. all sorted, walk over to the shower and realise that there is no shower head and just an open pipe pointing upwards with nothing attached to the top of it…..brilliant how is this going to work then?

I turn the shower on and loads of water starts shooting out all up the wall….Hmmmm ok well this is going to be interesting! Guess it just a case of washing the important bits then, better than nothing I suppose, and oh yes of course the water is bloody arctic style Baltic! Let’s get this over and done with quickly! Face, pits, bits and feet – over and out.

Then out to Jim to inform him of the disappointing news and his turn to experience the worst shower ever! 10 minutes later he walks out looking mighty disappointed with the whole experience!

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After we were sort of clean and changed into our summer clothes we walked down Acland street and went to the common wealth bank to pick jims bank card up which took a while as it was really busy in there, but we got it all sorted and he now has a bank card and even set up a savings account where he transferred over half of his money to start gathering interest, good idea!! Think I need to do the same when my money comes in!

When all that was sorted we were starving so decided to have a stroll and go grab some food, I spotted Spud bar which I have eaten at before In Melbourne centre and it was delicious so I knew we could get something good from there, which we most certainly did! Nom nom nom!!!

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Then it was a quick walk up the road back to our hostel as it was time to check in, when we got there we asked about where the pool table was that we saw on hostel world when booking and they said it was in the bar that was unfortunately closed on Mondays, but they told us where we could go that was nice and cheap so…..dump the bags in our room and back out down to Lona bar which is at the top of Acland street, we signed up as members which was free and meant that we got happy hour prices all the time. Win!!!

We had couple of drinks at the bar and then decided to go for a stroll down St. Kilda beach which was really nice. Christy (little one, who I travelled with at the beginning of last year) had messaged saying she was going to meet us around 8pm that night, so we decided to go to the supermarket and grab some pasta for our dinner and head back to the hostel for a well needed nap!

I set my alarm for 7pm and got up to make me and Jim some pasta and then we left to go meet Christy down by the beach, where we were just in time to watch the sunset and It turned out to be one of the best sunsets I have ever seen! The photo doesn’t even do it justice, the sky light up with luminous pink, reds and oranges, it was incredible.

Once the sun had gone down we had a stroll up St. Kilda peer to go and see the penguins which we did see a couple but it was so busy it was hard to see anything so me and Jim decided that we would come back the following night when it was later and the crowds shouldn’t be there.

So me, Jim and little one walked down to Acland street and got some mint choc chip gelato and then all went home as little one had to get up for work and me and Jim were absolutely knackered.

 

Tuesday 17th Jan

We both woke up around 8am and went to take advantage of the free breakfast in the hostel kitchen which was just your simple toast or cereal with juice or coffee, but saves us paying for a meal which is always a good thing.

We then went and got changed and then walked down to a 7 eleven to top up the MiKey cards that me and my dad were using back in September and then jumped on a tram to the city.

When we got there we went to the laneways and had a coffee, and then did some strolling around the city so I could show Jim all the funky buildings and the graffiti streets which Melbourne is famous for.

We also managed to go and grab a coffee from brother baba budan coffee shop which I have wanted to try every time I have been in Melbourne but it’s always been way too busy and haven’t had the patience to stand around and wait for so long, luckily this time it was nice and quiet so we went in and had our coffee inside which was cool because they have loads of chairs hanging from the ceiling and the coffee tasted so god damn gooooood!!

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Then we had a stroll down to Southbank and chilled on the grass for a bit and made our snack of rice cakes, with peanut butter and banana – extra yummy, extra filling and extra cheap. After our snack we hopped back on the tram and went to check out the hostel bar where we played some pool or should I say I attempted to play pool but failed miserably compared to Jim and his pool skills. Then decided to go sit outside and take advantage of the $15 food and drink deal which got us a huge plate of chicken Parma with waffle fries and salad which one plate was big enough to feed 3 people, so I couldn’t finish it! It also came with a pot of your drink of choice.

Before we knew it, it was 7:30pm and a free comedy night had started down in the basement of the bar which was actually really funny. They had lots of different comedians come on each for about 15mins with 10 minute breaks in-between to go and grab a fresh drink from the bar, and it turned out to be a really good night.

We met some English girls outside the bar and got chatting to them for a while, and me and Jim came to the conclusion that we need to invest in some t-shirts that clearly state we are brother and sister and NOT A COUPLE FOR GOODNESS SICKING SAKE!!!

It got to 11pm and we decided to do the 20minute walk down to the peer to go and fingers crossed see some penguins, which we were in luck, as soon as we got to the top of the peer there was one little guy walking across the path way, and more sitting on the rocks grooming each other…..so so cute and well worth the walk down there.

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Unfortunately my dream of me sitting on the rocks and them all flocking to me to become my travel companions didn’t happen so I will have to settle for the memory of their cute little faces instead.

Then it was time to walk back to the hostel and get some sleep. Zzzz.

 

Wednesday 18th Jan

I woke up around 9:30am to a text from Jim saying ‘let me know when you’re up sis’ and I was thinking he was still lay in the bunk above me not wanting to speak to wake everyone else up but soon found out he was downstairs after being awake for a few hours and had decided to take a walk down to the beach.

He came back upstairs to meet me and I quickly got changed and we both decided we needed something more substantial than toast and cereal for breakfast so we had a stroll down to Acland street to find somewhere for a cheap breakfast. Most of the places were over $10 for just your plain eggs on toast so we decided to carry on walking all the way down and decide after we had seen all of the menus, when we got down to the bottom of the street we came across a little place called ‘La Roche’ which was doing $8 eggs and bacon so we of course decided to go there. It was bloody beautiful and a massive plateful which was just what the doctor ordered! Always pays to go for a bit of a wander to come across good deals. It was actually a cool little bar with some good music on too, so we will be definitely coming back on the weekend when they do a big breakfast deal for $15.

Once our food had gone down and I felt like I was no longer in a food coma we got up and walked down to the bank so Jim could update his bank details with his Aussie number and then did a bit of window shopping in the hippie shops.

Then quickly popped back to the hostel and showered and also to grab jims passport and other documents we needed and headed down to the library to use the free internet and sign Jim up to get a Tax file number so he can work and get paid when the day comes, and also do other bits and bobs like sorting the hire van registration out for Tasmania and checking out airport transfers etc.

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Once that was all done we walked down to the botanical gardens and chilled there for around an hour. I brought my laptop with me so I was trying to catch up on all my blog stuff and Jim brought his sketch pad with him and decided to sketch the statue in the centre of the little pond. We were sat there for about 30mins and then a guy called Jeff walked over and asked if Jim was drawing, he then sat down with us and showed us his drawing of the same statue and also showed us some of his other sketch books. His stuff was really amazing and he was giving Jim tips on drawing with ink instead of pencil.

We got to chatting about Uni and how Jim had dropped out of Uni as didn’t really enjoy it and the whole animation side of art, he then showed us a tv clip that he was involved in where he gets to travel the world and sketch chefs while they are cooking, and the sketch book that he showed us was the background for the tv clip, it was really interesting meeting him and hearing some of his stories, he is also a fantastic artist and he asked Jim to add him on Instagram so he could follow him back and see the end result of the statue drawing.

It was really nice meeting him, and just hearing about his stories of how he became an artist and really great to hear that he is doing a mixture of travel and art, and it seemed to give Jim inspiration to do the same kind of thing.

We walked back up to the hostel for some more rice cakes and then walked back down to the Lona bar at the top of Acland Street for a beer and to continue m blog and Jim to continue his drawing, only this time he got out his journal and started sketching in there. I wish I could draw, if I could I probably wouldn’t have a blog, and would do some kind of scrap/drawing book of my travels but unfortunately I am not gifted with the arty side of things, so best to stick to typing on a blog instead I think.

Then it was a pretty chilled night ready to pick the car up nice and early in the morning.

 

Thursday 19th Jan

I woke up around 6:30am to a text from Jim telling me to let him know when I was awake, our body clocks are all messed up still. I got up and walked to MacDonald’s to meet him and grab a breakfast while I was there. We couldn’t pick the car up until 9am so we were just pottering around for a while waiting for 9am.

9am finally arrived and we got the car, Jim wanted to drive first and we began the long journey down the great ocean road to the 12 apostles.

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It ended up taking us so long to get there because we kept stopping at beaches and viewpoints to look out at the stunning views. We did also stop in Lorne to grab some food from the supermarket as luckily I had been down this way before with the family I worked with at the farm and I knew there was no more supermarkets on the way.

So we got our little pots of salad and our rolls and meat to make ourselves some cheap but yummy food and got back on our way determined not to stop again until we got there.

Well……at 3pm we finally arrived, a whole 6 hours after we had picked the car up, but it didn’t disappoint, It was so beautiful and just incredible that these things were formed through fossils of dead fish.

It was really busy but we managed to push our way down to the stand to have a look out into the sea and then we drove a little way down the road where we could go down LOTS of steps to the beach and view them from there which was really cool. Although the tide was coming in as we got down there so me and Jim got absolutely soaked!

Time to go home! I did the driving on the way back and we went the short way, although I absolutely hated the car! It was a mix between automatic and manual and I just couldn’t work with it at all! So it stressed me out and I was happy to get back to the hostel.

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Friday 20th Jan

It was a rainy day and I wanted to find things to do inside, I woke up and was absolutely starving so decided to go for breakfast to somewhere called ‘The Banff’ in St Kilda. Jim wasn’t up properly yet so I went on my own as couldn’t wait. The food was delicious!! Most important meal of the day, so it has to be good!!

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While I was there I met a guy who lived nearby and got to chatting with him, he then gave me lots of suggestions of places to go to inside due to the rain. One of the places he suggested was the police museum where they have lots of information about Ned Kelly and even the armour he used to wear on display.

I messaged Jim and he came up and met me and we went off into the CBD, and went to check out the police museum, it was actually really cool in there, just to read about what the police had to do with all the Kelly Boys and how they managed to track them down etc.

Some of it was upsetting as they had a car on display that had been blown up by someone that hated the police and did kill one of the female police officers.

After the police museum we caught some trams up to an art shop I had found for Jim so he could get some new pens and paper for his drawings, while I was in there twiddling my thumbs because I don’t know the first thing about art so I found it a bit boring I realised I was starving and used good old google to find somewhere cheap for food. I found a place that was just around the corner called ‘WonderBao’ that was a fast food place but for Asian bread rolls. We went there and I had no idea what these things were but they were absolutely delicious I ended up having two.

Not having travelled Asia much I had never come across a Bao before but I asked them in there and they said it was bread but it was steamed instead of baked. Nom nom nom.

Once we had finished in there we walked to the library to meet one of the guys from our room and he was telling us about how much police there were around today and we hadn’t really noticed it ourselves, and thought nothing of it. Jumped on a tram and as soon as we did we noticed a massive crowd of people and lots of police around, we had no idea what was going on and at first thought there must be something happening in Bourke street, like someone famous there and need police escorts or something.

I decided to google it as I needed to know if it was Chris Hemsworth or not as we were deciding if we should walk back up or carry on to the ACMI.

When I read the news I was in shock and couldn’t stop thinking about it, and to be honest I don’t really want to write about it as it makes me so fucking angry and upset, anyone that doesn’t know what I’m on about can click here to read the news about it all…..

Anyways…..bypassing all that horrible news, we went to the ACMI which was actually really cool. It’s a history of the moving image so takes you right from the beginning when they managed to take photos and clip a book of photos together in a machine and turn the handle to flip the pages all the way up to the current day and has lots of games you can play too. I really enjoyed it.

When we had finished in there we went back to the hostel and stayed in the bar for the night drinking and meeting other backpackers.

Saturday 21st – Tuesday 24th Jan

So I’m not going to go much into these days, but basically we were supposed to be going to Tasmania on the Saturday and had got up to check out the hostel and get to the airport but Jim decided that he didn’t want to go so we ended up arguing and having to cancel the campervan etc. and booked in to stay in different places, I spoke to Tarsh (from the farm I worked at last year) and she said I could come up and stay with them.

Me and Jim ended up making up and he decided that he would come to the farm with me.

And that is all I am going to say about those few days!

Apart from that the night before we left Melbourne I went into the city to see little one again and we made healthy pizza and healthy ice cream and said our goodbyes! It’s sad because I don’t know when I will see her again now as I am pretty sure I won’t be heading back to Melbourne again before I leave for Bali & NZ in September! Waaaa. Sad times!!

Now……Onto the farm.

 

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Catch up from the past

Bali

So I know it has been absolutely ages since I last updated the blog which means I have absolutely loads to catch up on.

Last time I wrote I was in Bali and I was heading to my scuba dive course, I completed my advanced open water course on Gili air and it was amazing, especially as i was staying in a resort rather than a hostel and It was so much better than my first course because its way more relaxed and you get to do more fun dives, including a night dive if you choose to which well let’s face it why wouldn’t you?

The night dive was my favourite dive and was such a strange feeling at first but once you get used to the darkness then it’s really cool and you see different fish than you do during the day. I saw a big eel eating another fish which was disturbing and entrancing at the same time.

I also did my deep dive where I went down to 30meters and while we were down there my instructor showed me this bright red coffee packet that he had shown me on the surface only now it wasn’t red it was dark purple because as you go deeper in the water colours start to get absorbed. He also took down an egg and broke it and we were playing catch with the egg yolk because the pressure of the water forces it to stay whole. It was such an amazing experience and makes me love diving even more which I know for sure I am going to continue doing.

I didn’t get any pictures of the diving this time because I knew I was going so deep and I don’t have a dive filter for my camera so it would have ended up looking really green.

After the scuba dive course I went and stayed with blue again for a week and then flew home for Xmas.

Home

The first week

I was home for 9 weeks and k had the best time, although I did feel like at the end I was so ready to leave again.

My dad came and picked me up from the airport and drove me home to see my sister, Lucy and of course the doggies!! I was so excited to see my toby boy, although a little nervous because I wasn’t too sure if he would remember me or if he would bite me in the face! Luckily no biting of the face happened and it was a glorious reunion filled with many many kisses!! Ahhh toby!

Lou and Lucy had made me some posters of my year away and stuck them in my room along with a banner saying welcome home, we love you and also lots of balloons which would end up being in my way after a week or so and somehow never disappearing even though I popped them!

The only people who knew I was going home were my family, as I had brought my flight forward I didn’t want to tell anyone else so I could enjoy a weekend with my family without getting kidnapped by my friends. It seemed to work out well until my mom wanted to post on Facebook that I was home, which obviously caught some attention, my friends were all immediately on my case questioning me why I had not told them I was coming home! I remember looking at my mom and laughing saying I told you this would happen. Haha, anyways it was a really good night and my besties Kirsty and dale popped round to join us at my moms and I had a really good night, although I did get quite emotional crying to everyone telling them now much I loved them all, when all my family went to bed i ended up going back to Kirsty and Dales and somehow ended up wearing a chicken onsie…..as you do!

During the week I went to my sisters pet shop in Alcester, and I was little shop helper all week long which I loved. So many cute doggies come into the shop and so many of them gave me kisses! Good job Toby didn’t witness my cheating lol. I’m so proud of my sister for making such a great business and for doing something that she loves.

Once everyone was aware of my return home I started making the rounds of going to meet people, I went to wales with Kirsty and Katy for one of the many Hen Do’s Kirsty is having for herself. It was a really funny night, and another one of besties Kerry had a welcome home party for me at her house, it was a really good night, I loved seeing everyone so much, although again got very emotional!

God what has happened to me since being home??? I’ve turned into a blubbering mess!

Exeter – Christmas Market

The day after the party I had to get up early and head home ready to dive down to Exeter with the girly family to Lucy’s dad Christmas market, it was such a funny night. We did a lot of walking around the market and stopping off in the bars for bubbles, or mulled wine etc. Then when the market closed we went to a bar down the road where more drinking happened.

Everyone then was feeling the drinks and started heading back to the hotel, me and Lucy were trying to cast spells on everyone walking past because we had seen a sign on a taxi that looked like something out of harry potter. I remember casting a spell on her to die and she fell on a bench, o then ripped of my scarf and tied it around her and I lay on the floor screaming ‘avada kedavra’.

What people walking past us must have thought of us!?

Once we had stopped messing around we walked back to the hotel and when we got upstairs we saw my mom and my Nan surrounded by 3 security guards by their room, telling them that they needed to keep it down because my Nan had laughed when getting off the lift. We were all outraged with this and so one of the funniest memories I will have of being back happened.

We all walked off into our rooms to get more booze to take it downstairs to the bar, my sister and my auntie went downstairs to complain to the manager about the way the security team had spoken to my nan and me and Lucy were doing something upstairs in our room, not sure what may be getting changed or whatever…..anyways…..I hear talking outside our hotel room door and open the door to the three security guards hanging around my nans room still, even though she had gone to bed.

I said to them that they were being creepy and that they shouldn’t be stood outside the room, which I probably shouldn’t have said because they came over to us and started telling us we were being loud and that we may have to get out, meanwhile my sister and my auntie were downstairs waiting at reception patiently to speak the manager, when they get told that the manager is currently upstairs being abused, they both looked at each other thinking – ‘well we know exactly what that is’ so maybe we can’t complain now after all. Haha……what a family hey!

I also managed to get  some work while I was back as I needed to top my funds up, and luckily I managed to get an office job just around the corner to my sisters shop, so I kept on popping into her on my lunch breaks which was really nice.

What else happened while I was home?? Typing what I think at the moment trying to get myself to remember lol.

Winter Wonderland in London

Ahhh yes, so my sister and Lucy had asked me to keep the 9th December free and it was a complete surprise what we were doing, we had to get up early and jump in the car which they told me would take about 10 minutes, which did make me wonder what we would be doing that was so great just 10mintues away from where we live.

Turns out it was a 10miute journey to the train station and then from there we got to the platform and I heard the announcement that the next train arriving was going to London Paddington! Omg I am so excited, I have never really been to London before (I know how ridiculous!) so feeling like a very excited child we got on the train and a couple of hours later arrived in London where we then got on the tube to go to Hyde park. I must have been so excited to be in London that I missed all the signs telling me what was at Hyde Park that day. When we got off the train I walked straight past loads of signs and also straight past my auntie who I had no idea was joining us. When I saw her I screamed OMG….and gave her a massive hug, I was so surprised to see her.

From there we walked to Hyde park where I eventually saw the signs for winter wonderland, and got so excited because I was in such a Christmas mode that I wanted to do everything Christmassy. What did we do as soon as we got there? Bar of course! Then we had a booking in the ice kingdom which was actually really cool, it was so cold in there though. They had loads of ice sculptures of things and also an ice slide, which me and my sister decided to go down, we both push off to race down to the bottom and Lou goes flying down, me however, I get stuck basically at the top, I wasn’t moving at all.

How embarrassing that I can’t even get down a bloody ice slide!

The rest of the day we spent going from bar to bar, and it was actually really funny, because we had downloaded the map for the park and every time we looked at it we realised that we hadn’t even got a ¼ of the way down the park, because we were so busy hitting up every bar we came across which there were A LOT!!

It was such an amazing day, but it went so fast.

The next couple of weeks, I did more visiting friends and more working to save those pennies, and then before I knew it, it was Xmas day. Each year we swap between my mom and my dad to have Christmas day on and then the following day we will go to the others house to celebrate again, so 2 Christmas days baby!! Whoop.

Christmas

Christmas day this year was with my dad, so we spent the morning walking the dogs and then we went up to Birmingham to see our Nan and grandad for a few hours and have Christmas dinner number one. It was really nice spending Christmas day there, especially seeing their house as it had been a few years since I had been there and brought back lots of memories of me and Lou when we were small and used to play dress up and make my dad lie on the floor for hours while we pretended he was a mountain for all our babies etc.

After spending time there we drove over to our uncle’s house to see more family and have more food. It was nice catching up with them all and seeing our cousins, who do not look like the little kids I was always see them as but proper adults who want to out drinking. Oh how times change hey!

When we got home we stuck love actually on and sat in the living room drinking Baileys until we couldn’t keep our eyes open.

It was a really nice Christmas day.

We woke up around 9am and got ourselves ready for Xmas day no2 which was at my mom’s house, I was really looking forward to this one because I had made everyone buy Christmas outfits and said that everyone had to dress up or they were not allowed to attend the festivities.

When I got there I was so happy because everyone had gone full out and the majority of us were dressed like elves, we had Mr and Mrs Clause, and my auntie was a Mexican which was hilarious. What a bunch hey.

Christmas food was AMAZING!!! I had such a good couple of days celebrating Christmas with my family especially as I hadn’t been home for the Christmas before, so it felt extra Christmassy.

Harry potter world

My sister had gave me tickets to harry potter world on Christmas day, which I was so excited about. Me and my dad and my sister all went down on the 28th December, and I loved it.

It was so cool seeing how they made the films and seeing the sets of everything, I was in magical heaven! And got to try butter beer which I had been wanting to try for years, and I thought it was actually really nice so I don’t know why so many people have said it’s horrible, it was exactly what I imagined it to taste like.

I got my picture on the night bus and at privet drive. It was super cool, especially as we had gone around Christmas time so it was all decorated ready for Christmas, with snow everywhere and we could feel the different types of snow that they used to create different effects like footprints in the sand and falling snow etc., which they use either shredded paper, or plastic for which was pretty cool.

I think my favourite part was seeing the potions classroom set and Diagon alley, it was super cool to feel like I was there! Oh how I wish magic was real and I could be a witch!!

New years

New Year’s Eve came round so fast! It was a very funny night which started out very tame at my bestie Kirsty’s sister’s house with her family there. There was lots of drinking and lots of music and dancing but everyone was pretty well behaved because of the kids being around, saying that it quickly got to the early hours of the morning so everyone decided to go home not too long after we saw the start of 2017.

I went back to my second home of Kirsty and dales and that is where the night truly began for me, out comes the party pleasures and we stay up till around 9:30am chatting utter bollox.

One of the funniest parts of the night is when me and Kirsty were doing a balloon and were absolutely convinced that dale had been talking to us while we were doing it but obviously we couldn’t talk then so we had to wait, which he completely denied and told us were bat shit crazy, turns out he didn’t say anything to us but we said his name and decided he had been! – think it was one of those moments you had to be there for lol.

Also that night they have a glass picture of the Beatles which was lay on the coffee table in the front room, the light was shining on the picture and was showing a shadow of the Beatles on the ceiling which is one of the more trippy things to see when you’re not sure who you are or what you’re doing at that time in the morning.

After many more utterly stupid things to laugh at that night or should I say morning, we all eventually decided to call it a night and head up to bed. (Well me and Kirsty went to bed and dale was back on the sofa which is where he is all the time when I’m around, as I get dibs on the bed lol)

Then came the worst few hours of my entire life, I couldn’t sleep as always, and my mind was going absolutely insane! I kept thinking of things and then forgetting what I was thinking and then telling myself how annoying I was for thinking of things I couldn’t remember and just being so angry with myself and cringing from my behaviour for the whole night.

Kirsty was in the same position and kept drifting off into other dimensions when she closed her eyes, which I thought actually sounded quite nice, turns out they were not good dimensions at all. I think I lay there for about 2 hours trying to deal with the shit storm going on in my head before I just had to get up and go home! It was way too intense!

It still continued at home but I did manage to fall asleep eventually and then spent the rest of the day and night in bed in and out of sleep.

 

Brighton

My Sisters birthday is on Jan 7th and to celebrate it we all went down to Brighton on the 6th and stayed for the weekend. Me, Lou and Lucy didn’t arrive until around 10pm on the Friday night and when we did arrive we had some food and drinks and we all played poker.

On the Saturday (Lou’s birthday) everyone came over to my aunties for breakfast and we had croissants and crumpets and some fruit for breakfast before heading off into Brighton to go to an escape room, I was actually really nervous about the escape room because I can get let’s say a bit annoyed at times when I can’t do things and I am also a little bit stupid when it comes to well anything educational tbh, like maths, English blah blah blah. In the end it turned out to be amazing, I won’t spoil anything but what I will say is it was thought out really well and you had to solve a variety of puzzles some of which gave you answers to type into things or for a lock, and others gave you an item that needed to be used somewhere for different things. It really was amazing and we all had the best time.

After the escape room, we went for a couple of drinks and then went up the i360 tower (while drinking prosecco of course) it was a fantastic view of Brighton and many many pictures were taken while we were up there, with our mom getting rather emotional because me and Jim were leaving in a weeks’ time.

When the i360 was done we went to a Thai resturant for a late dinner and it was delicious, although I don’t really remember too much of it because we had been drinking all day and I was rather drunk. Haha.

After food we went to a couple more places for drinks but everyone was feeling pretty tired after the long day of drinking and being so busy we all went home relatively early.

The next day we all went for food at nandos to spend the vouchers we had been given for Christmas from our family in Ireland and then it was time for my goodbye to my auntie which was sad but not as emotional as the one the year before, so that’s good J

It was a really nice weekend for her birthday.

Time to go

Then it was the final week, which I mainly was packing my room away again and trying to get last minute meetings in with everyone.

I went for a girly dinner with all my besties to say goodbye to them once again and I also spent a few more nights at home with my dad and sister and Lucy. The one night we had a poker night and another night we went to the cinema in Evesham to watch Passengers which I thought was really good. Anything with Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence in is good with me! Both absolute delights for the eyes.

Me and Jim went to Birmingham shopping a couple of days before we left with our mom which was really nice, although as expected she did get a bit emotional at times. Rich (my mom’s husband) came to meet us in the evening and we all went for dinner to this amazing place which has a buffet of different foods but then you get served with 15 different types of meat to your table and you can have as much as you want. Omg I have never tasted anything so good in my life!! Mmmnnnnnn.

Then the day had arrived for us to leave, I spent the morning sorting out transferring my money over to my Australian bank account and did my last minute packing up and then my mom, rich, joe and of course Jim drove over to pick me up from my dad’s house and stayed for around an hour so Jim could say goodbye to the dogs and our sister.

Then the moment for the goodbyes came – can’t stand goodbyes!! Boo! But they weren’t as bad as last year I thought, as everyone kind of knows what to expect now.

A few hours later we were at the airport, time to check in our luggage and say goodbye.

And the story shall continue in the following blogs.

God….sorry that is so long peeps! I got a bit distracted being at home with everyone that I neglected the blog! Need to as always be more productive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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