I'm an Aussie girl who's mad about travel! Me and my pack have covered lots of ground over the past few years ....
2003 - 3 months leave to backpack Europe & Canada
2004 - Holidays in Bali, Indonesia
2005 - Holidays in Turkey, Greece & Thailand
2006 - 5 months leave to travel around the world - India, Nepal, to China, across Mongolia and Russia, through Eastern and some of Western Europe. Then home via Canada and the US.
January 2007 - Holidays, North Island, NZ
September, 2007 I decided I needed a break from the corporate grind and resigned from Ford in Australia, to do a year of travel - including some volunteer work in India. The journey was amazing - from South East Asia, I headed across to India. Here I did some volunteer work for Providence, a school in Shillong in the North East corner of India, before some travel around Southern India. For Christmas I flew to Canada for my first ever White Christmas. In January, 2008 I hit Mexico and spent the next 7 months travelling mostly overland through Central and South America. These adventures were probably some of my best-ever and took me to many diverse countries like Cuba, Guatemala, Columbia, Bolivia and Argentina. Here I met some amazing people and learnt lots about different religions and cultures ... time of my life, would be an understatement!
Unfortunately, that journey had to end at some point - so the next one could begin. So, after a few stops in Spain, Portugal and the UK, I've just reached Dublin, Ireland where I plan work and settle for a while...
October 20th 2008
Ireland may not have taken gold in the recent Olympics, but they’ve since become the first of the European countries to declare a recession, have pledged €400 billion to the bank bail-out and turnip sales are up 75%. Yep, that’s right, you heard it here first (well second if you read the Daily Mail) - turnips - recession gourmet! The Celtic Tiger, as the Irish economic boom was affectionately known, is officially dead. Whilst I’ve landed on the Emerald Isle in possibly the worst time since the potato famine to find employment, the local peculiarities and the fabulous humour of the people here continues to put a smile on my face. I know I’m feeling at home here because I find myself talking to random strangers about the weather and singing along to ‘Galway Girl’ at ... read more
September 4th 2008
Confused? True, my blog has experienced drought-like conditions these past six months. Testament perhaps to the nature of my crazy adventures and just how much fun I've been having! And no, unfortunately I'm not still in some exotic and hot Central American location. Actually, I've just moved to Dublin, Ireland - where I'm busy applying for jobs and 'back-blogging'! Ireland? "Why would anyone want to live in Ireland, instead of Australia?" "All it does here is rain" "This is the worst Summer we've had in twenty years" "Dublin's just not the same as it was ten years ago" "It's so expensive here" "There's no jobs at the moment love" "What's happening on Neighbours?!" Everyone, particularly the locals, are questioning my decision to come to Ireland - I suspect based on the carefree image of Australia portrayed ... read more
April 18th 2008
Colombia has long been reputed as one of the most violent countries on earth. Where great coffee, left-wing guerrilla groups, drug barons, syndicated crime and kidnaps are rife. Where back in 2000, two crazy English backpackers were kidnapped attempting to cross the Darien Gap from Panama to Colombia and held hostage by FARC guerrillas. Where in 2003, one Brit and four Israeli backpackers were held hostage for 102 days after they were kidnapped on a trek to the Lost City near Taganga. Where as at 2000, 2/3 of the world’s kidnappings occurred. Yet, the longer I stayed on the gringo trail - the more tantalising a destination it became. I heard stories of the coffee, breathtaking mountains, green fertile countryside and a Caribbean playground with some of the cheape... read more
April 10th 2008
Just the name conjures up images of a remote, exotic destination - but all too quickly I was to have this image shattered. Costa Rica is exceedingly beautiful, with a winning combination of jungle and beach, but unfortunately it’s no longer quite so remote or exotic. Before we got there, feedback from other backpackers wasn’t all good - we’d heard that it was (comparatively) expensive, very touristy, that there are lots of agents offering every tour option conceivable without much regard for the environment and that there was a great party scene. Sarah and I crossed the border and suddenly there was fast food, gringos in 4WDs and I could buy hair conditioner for the first time in 6 weeks. Just like Australians have taken much of the Bali out of Kuta Beach, our American friends ... read more
March 11th 2008
When the inevitable question of travel highlights comes up - Little Corn Island, Nicaragua is high on my list. Basically - this little Caribbean gem sets a new benchmark for paradise on earth. The thing is; I wouldn’t have even gone there if it hadn’t been for St Paddy’s day and a fabulously crazy gang of Irish. But I’ll get to that … If Guatemala is hot on the backpacker destinations for Central America, then Nicaragua is the next BIG thing. With colonial Spanish style cities like Leon and Granada, undisputed paradise on the Caribbean Coast and some of the best surfing breaks in the world on the Pacific Coast - there’ll be no stopping the Americans making it their 52nd state (after Costa Rica). The first thing I noticed about Nicaragua was the heat - ... read more
March 10th 2008
El Salvador has a dirty reputation. It’s famous for its creepy pre-pubescent moustaches, massive guns and the fact that it boasts more prostitutes than tourism. It also gets a bad rap for being dangerous - I can count the number of us gringos I saw whilst in El Salvador on two hands. The local men are mean looking characters - short, ruddy and broad - wearing cowboy hats and requisite moustaches, yet their faces and entire demeanor transforms when they break into a smile. I also discover that they often speak English, even if they claim not to - teenagers on the checkout at supermarkets and random locals on buses and in internet cafes shyly strike up English conversation. One hapless bloke said to me - “You’re from Australia - but you look American?” “Oh no”, ... read more
February 28th 2008
Earth Lodge was a welcome reprieve from the rigours of 6 months of backpacking. A lodge, cum avocado farm up the hill from Antigua, with spectacular views over the local volcanos. Those who've heard me bang on about its merits will have already heard about the spanish lessons, delicious family dinners, hammocks and the brilliant characters who make it such a great home away from home. But bear with me ... effectively, Earth Lodge is the Guatemalan boomerang - everyone who's been here once, will someday come back. I arrived at Earth Lodge jammed in the back of a pick-up with a bunch of other backpackers and was dropped in the small village of El Hato, with nothing but dense bushland below and some local ladies doing laundry at the public village lavaderos. The driver ... read more
February 20th 2008
I was psyched about Guatemala - the exotic and unknown - with live volcanos and jungles, the famed chicken buses and Mayan locals in brightly coloured clothing. But, Guatemala got off to a bad start. Within minutes of alighting from the lancha in Livingston a rough Garifuna tout with a gold tooth told me to ´get f-ed´ when I wouldn´t accompany him to his hostel. Things got far worse, before they got better. The coked up, midget manager of the Iguana hostel, Eric, did his best to run my friends and I out of Livingston. Guatemala was an adventure waiting to happen. Livingston is tropical town set on a hill overlooking the Caribbean - more tropical island, than coastal town. The place looked like it would have copped lots of pirate action way back ... lots ... read more
February 10th 2008
¨Baby, you gonna be dancing with me later, you better Belize it¨- said the enormous rastafarian who´d accosted me by the dance floor of Caye Caulkers infamous karaoke joint. I´ve heard some pretty amusing pick-up lines in my time, but this one was stolen from Belize´s most popular souvenir t-shirt. Classy! Still on a Cuban high, I decided to head to Belize on a whim. Belize being one of those places that a lot of backpackers skip. Mostly because it´s quite expensive versus the rest of Central America, it´s English speaking and it doesn´t offer the same cultural diversity as its Guatemalan neighbour. Home to the hammock, unbelievably blue Caribbean waters and the second biggest barrier reef in the world (after Australia) - Belize is just too good to miss! Previously a British Colony, Belize was ... read more
January 26th 2008
Cuba is almost too much to take in - food for the senses! For starters, the streets are lined with crumbling, colourful buildings and elderly Cuban men and women really do smoke cigars in windows and doorways. Add to that, curvaceous women in headscarves and hair in rollers strolling down the street, whilst men wash or repair shiny vintage cars. It´s like one big fiesta - music plays, people call out to friends, children play in the streets, people look out their windows, watching the world go by. Like Carrie Bradshaw wandering the streets of Paris (but somewhat less stylish), I find myself strolling Habana´s colourful backstreets talking to the locals, laughing at the wolfwhistles (the men here are harmless, but relentless) and snapping pictures. Research for my spontaneous week in Cuba begins at Cancun Airport. ... read more