Wednesday, 28 January 2015

TRAVEL: My 2014 Backpacking Adventure

At the end of summer 2013 left the UK to embark on what would be the biggest adventure of my life so far. 

I've always had a big love of travel and been to some incredible places all over the world thanks to my travel bug Mum and my agreeing Dad.

I began 2014 in Sydney. Beautiful, beautiful Sydney. Looking back, Sydney was certainly my favourite place to have lived (between there and Melbourne - which I know is controversial to many with it being voted the most liveable place several years running) but not the centre, the North, Manly, the stunning beaches. I flew to Sydney just before New Year to move in with a friend I lived with at Uni, later to be joined by another of the girls we lived with. Sydney is a city with SO much to do, not just centrally but in the outer suburbs too. The girls and I did one of the best things I've ever done - a skydive over Wollongong. I will never forget the experience and it is 100% something I want to do again! A great trip is to Port Stevens; a day of sandboarding and dolphin watching. It's such a stunning place and so easily accessible if you drive there yourself. I'm reminiscing big time now - drinks at the Opera House, nights out in Kings Cross, the Blue Mountains, surfing on Bondi, tanning days at Coogee. There are so many amazing places to visit!

February was the best month for me - three weeks, three friends, one campervan and the East Coast. That's right, driving around 2500km (plus MANY detours) up one of the most beautiful and most famous coasts in the world. The experience was completely unforgetful and absolutely incredible. We had an amazing time in that sweaty little campervan and no two days were the same! Byron Bay and Noosa were without a doubt my favourite places - I love the chilled out, hippy vibe that can be found there and would happily have spent the rest of my days there surfing, eating sushi rolls and soaking up the sun!

The end of February involved a week spent in Cairns and a trip up to Cape Tribulation and The Daintree Rainforest, marking the end of our trip up the coast. I had been toying with the idea of doing my regional work but after umming and ahhing for several months, decided it wasn't what I wanted; if it was, the decision would've been apparent from the start. Regional work allows you an extra years working visa in return for 3 months spent working (quite often unpaid with food and board as payment!) on fruit farms, as a farm hand or something...regional. It shows you are willing to give back to the country and are willing to work really hard to stay there! Cape Trib and The Daintree are beautiful places - so quiet, nothing around for miles and you really do feel 'at one with nature' - kayaking, treks through the rainforest and, my favourite, trying out their infamous ice creams!

March saw me fly back to Melbourne to return to the cafe job I had acquired in November when I first got to Australia - which was A LOT of fun. They were brilliant people to work for, letting me come and go from the cafe several times and giving me full time hours every time. Absolute godsends and I still cannot thank them enough for them looking after me. I spent a lot of March making the most of the warm weather as it would soon get a little bit colder (still warm for us English but cold for somebody that hadn't seen cold weather in months and months!)

April was another fun month (lets face it - they were all FUN!); my parents flew over to spend three weeks with me and see my for my birthday. My Mum has wanted to visit Australia since she was tiny so this was an absolute dream for her. Having our family friends over here and her godson made the trip as well made the trip feel even more necessary. We had a brilliant trip - a whistle stop tour of Cairns, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne - seeing all of the touristy delights there are on offer. 

I was really sad to see them leave but it meant I was on to my next destination - New Zealand. I must admit, I didn't do New Zealand as I wanted to. I had flown over to spend just over three weeks with some friends I had made during my time in Sydney and whilst in the campervan. I wanted to do a hell of a lot more travel, see South Island and do a bungee jump but time and money seem to dwindle very quickly. Plus, I had my Australian working holiday visa and vowed NZ would be a separate trip, all about the travel and less about the work (which I 100% would have needed to do at that point to see the rest of the country). I suppose that is the reality of a working holiday - the money will dip at some point and you'll have to get back to work! New Zealand is such a stunning place and I would definitely recommend heading over there. We managed a trip up to Piha and the black sand beaches which is a lovely day out!

Mid-May meant returning to Australia. Back to work, back to a lovely set of friends and to the city of Melbourne, one that really stole my heart during my trip. I spent my days on bike rides from St Kilda to Brighton Beach, eating at the wonderful Lentil As Anything (which you NEED to try if you're ever in Melbourne!) and just taking in the city life - a city that definitely proved itself worthy of winning the title of most liveable city three years running!

I had already been toying with the idea of returning home in July to get back for the British summer and to reassess, recharge and save, save save, ready for the next big trip. I didn't miss home particularly, just the fact I would have loved to share aspects of my trip with my nearest and dearest back in England but I felt ready to leave Australia and see a little more of the world.

I love Australia; it truly is a beautiful country with lovely people and my experiences were ones I will cherish forever. One day I hope to go back to see more of the West Coast and head up to Uluru, something I really regret not doing.

I would encourage ALL OF YOU to backpack or go on an extended holiday at some point. It teaches you so much, not only about yourself but about the world, different cultures and just what there is out there! If you're a backpacking beginner, there is SO much information available not only on my travel section but also all over the internet!

But what's next? Good question! I want to do EVERYTHING. I want to see this big, beautiful world we live in. I think what's next for this year is a long awaited trip to Morocco (somewhere I have been dying to go for almost 8 years now), a delayed trip to Amsterdam to explore and catch up with an old school friend (who has an incredible travel blog, if you haven't already checked it out!) I've got some seriously exciting opportunities coming up with work that may allow me to travel - not just Europe but America and China too. 

Life isn't meant to be lived in one place. The world is BIG and BEAUTIFUL - get out there and see it. Make each moment count!


*DISCLAIMER: This post was written as part of a competition with Love Holidays*

1 comment:

  1. How did I not go to Lentil as Anything?!?! I stayed in St Kilda as well! Can't wait to see a blog post on Morocco!