Now that the new year is well and truly underway, it's about time I gave you a little life update. This blog has been a little infrequent the last few months and I know that means many of you actually have no idea where I am right now. Well, after a month of flat-hunting and staying with friends as I job searched, I can now officially say I am all settled in my amazing new flat right in the middle of Melbourne city, I have an awesome job working in a rooftop bar, and life feels pretty damn incredible. Once again, Melbourne feels like the home I've been waiting for and I couldn't be happier to be back surrounded by all my amazing friends, and a whole heap of new ones. I know the blog posts have been few and far between since I left England again, but between Bali, Cairns, road tripping through Tasmania and now Melbourne - it's been pretty hectic. Life just got in the way and I won't apologise for that, because life is exactly what this blog is about - living every second to the max. And I can assure you I've been doing just that.
Yesterday was officially my two year travel anniversary, just two months ago I hit my 30th country, and I'm already making plans for the next exciting year of travel. I'm still the same girl who left home two years ago, I still have the same best friends at home, the same family and I'm still happily single and independent. But I'm also an amazing new version of myself - happier, brighter, bolder, crazier and ready to take on the world with every step. I'm capable, I'm knowledgeable and quite frankly, I know exactly what I'm doing, I don't second guess myself. It's the best version of myself I've ever been and I plan to keep taking steps to evolve and grow myself in this direction, I can't see any reason why not to. So for all the people who have asked when I'm coming home, or when I'm going to stop travelling. My answer is who knows, whenever I get bored of growing as a person, learning, changing and being happy - but it won't be anytime soon.
If you haven't seen my post from just before New Years, check it out here to read about my travelling highlights from 2016. It was a year of serious highs, and one serious low, but you can't live the highs without having the lows to compare them with. I use the lows to add fuel to my fire and make plans for the future, it's the one thing that pushes me to make snap decisions and to book the trip, or take the plunge. So for all those girls out there who message me almost daily to ask about their relationship problems, or choosing between love and travel. Two years on, I will still say that choosing travel over love was the best decision of my life, that we remain the best of friends but both say this was the best thing to ever happen to us. That choosing to keep travelling and forget the love that I found on the road was also the best decision I could have made, because I know otherwise I would have regretted it and been let down. It wasn't so much choosing travel over love, but choosing myself over people who would just let me down. That's not a selfish decision, it's a smart one and because I chose well, I have no regrets.
So what are the big travelling plans for 2017?
I'll now be settling in Melbourne for a few months to work and save money for my big West Coast road trip - hopefully happening around March/April - when myself and a friend will drive from Melbourne up to Darwin over a few months. I've been looking forward to this trip since arriving in Australia and I know it's going to be the best yet. Then up in Darwin, we'll be taking in all the National Parks as I work and save for my last few months in Australia - gotta make the most of these $$$.
After my visa runs out, I'll be having a month-long holiday somewhere in Asia - possibly the Philippines as I've been desperate to visit since I arrived in Asia. I'll be craving huge untouched beaches by then and a chance to relax and detox after Darwin. Then I'm hoping to be joined by one of my best travelling friends for a huge trip to South America where I'd love to spend a few months travelling as much as possible.
It's all just a vague plan at the moment and it may all change at the drop of a hat, but it's exciting to have goals for the year. So this year will be less countries ticked off, but I'll be crossing at least three continents and should hopefully get at least another five countries ticked off my list which is far more than many people around the globe. I'd say I'm a lucky girl, but I made all this happen by investing in myself and my trip. You can make it happen too, it's very easy, just make a decision to do it and you'll get there.
My New Year's resolution?
Forget all this "New Year, New Me" bullshit, I've been doing awesome the last two years so if anything, I'm planning to keep up my attitude to life and following my own bliss - the rest all falls into place as a result. Stop worrying about the small negative things and the rest suddenly becomes the everything you've been searching for.
What are your New Year's resolutions? Where do you plan to travel in 2017?
Something a bit juicier today for my second collaboration with Durex, it seems only right that I write about something that happens to all of us backpackers at one point or another during our travels. Much like eating a bug in Bangkok or missing a flight is a rite of passage, so is waking up in the night to find someone is banging in the bunkbed next to you. Some find it gross, some find it hilarious, but let's face it, it does make for some funny stories over a beer with your friends. Let's face it, backpackers have limited places they can go for a little privacy in dorms of ten and they have to find ways to at least pretend they're hiding what they're up to - cue the towel hung up around the bed, the muffled whispers and giggles. That's why we always wear flip flops in the showers guys, we know what goes on in them! But no matter how people try and hide it, we have all had the moment when we've walked in on someone or even had to walk out to save ourselves from the embarrassment as a newfound couple forgets who else is in the room. After talking with friends I've met travelling, it seems that everyone has their hilarious, cheeky or downright gory stories. So I think it's about time we shared some gems:
I was at Gilligan's hostel in Cairns with two friends and one night, two Dutch girls came back late each bringing with them a guy and started to get it on. We were all on top bunks, and couples were at it on two of the bottom bunks which started swaying. We could hear everything, including the wet slappy sex sounds. My friend made enough noise in disgust that the couple below her moved to the shower where we could just hear a loud thumping as the girl kept hitting up against the door. The couple below me continued so loudly I had to switch bunks, luckily our friend had spare ear plugs. When we got up at 8am, the shower couple were done, but the other couple were still/again going at it. They had put a towel up as a curtain, but we just kept getting flashes of the couple in all their doggy-style glory.
One of my friends was hooking up with this guy she had met in the hostel - the only problem was that his bunk bed was right below mine. I'd wake up at all hours to hear them making out really loudly and rocking the bed - I'd always shout at them but it took a lot to stop these guys! In the end I had no choice but to ride the waves and wait it out with my headphones in.
I'll always remember the time I was in Byron Bay. I was on the bottom bunk and half asleep when in the early hours the guy staying above me stumbles into the room with two girls. I realise, after hearing them giggling and their insanely loud whispering, that they plan to have a threesome in the top bunk. Inside I'm screaming "Noooooooooo!" In reality, they are climbing up the shaky bunkbed and I've got my earphones in trying to drown them out but I just keeping hearing these ridiculously loud whispers and giggles which go on forever.
I'm getting so annoyed that finally I get up at 6am because all hopes of sleep are long gone. I'm so annoyed at the guy but actually end up being mates with him, and one night his friend makes a comment about him not being good with the ladies. So I retaliate with "he seems to do alright" pointedly about the other night, and he spills the beans. It turns out these two girls had been lurking outside after their original threesome guy had done a runner, my bunkmate had jokingly offered his bed and when they took him up on it he ended up freaking out - he got too excited and then passed out! I felt bad for him then!
I remember when I was in Sydney there was a video doing the rounds at my hostel of this girl who seemed to be making her way through every guy in the place. Let's just say one of the guys she hooked up with sneaked into the showers where she was spreadeagled across the floor at it and filmed it under the door. A bit mean, but pretty funny!
I had a friend who hooked up with this guy in Cuba and while they were at it they knocked a plate and cup over. When she stood up to leave, she sliced her foot open and it was pouring blood, grabbing all of the white towels she limped all the way back to our room. She was still wearing her clubbing clothes from the night before and was clutching bloody towels to her foot as she passed all the tourists, families and elderly couples along the way - ultimate walk of shame! When she got back to the room we all thought she was about to die because there was so much blood - talk about memorable!
I had a friend in Colombia who met this guy, but they decided they didn't want to head back to the hostel. Instead, they got a taxi driver to take them to a hotel, which turned out to be a pay-by-the-hour in pesos motel. When they went to their room, the motel turned out to have themed rooms and mirrored ceilings, with no sheets on the bed - classy! It didn't stop them from having a good time though!
I'll always remember my one really wild night when I was staying in Darwin - we'd been out all night at a rave and then partying at the hostel. It was nearly 8am and most people had drifted off to bed but I ended up meeting this French girl who wasn't even staying at the hostel, she seemed pretty keen so we thought we'd go for a swim. One thing led to another and we started to hook up in the pool, then one of the staff shouted at us to get out of the pool and for her to leave - we ran off and I lost her. It turns out she had disappeared off to another room where she woke up the entire room by shagging another guy as loudly as possible. She eventually came out of the room then tried to drag me off to the laundry room for round three!
If you liked this post - you should check out this one from Durex about the best spooky castle hotels to get hot under the collar in. And if you've got any other great stories to share - why not leave a comment below!