Let’s Paint the Town Orange – Then Leave.

For the last 7 weeks I have been in the middle of nowhere. Nothing to do, barely any Internet connection and virtually a million miles away from any civilisation so my sincere apologies for not keeping you updated. What have I been doing with my time you may ask? I’ve been Orange picking in a little town  in South Australia.  It has been my own personal hell.  The scratches from the thorns, the ache in my hands from griping them so hard, the  insect bites and the flies that seem to be magnetised to you – none of it has been what I would call pleasurable. Everyday between the two of us we pick two tons of oranges! It takes 6 – 8 hours and at the end of it you get little money and a massive 29% of tax slapped upon what you have earned. Thank you Australia! The heat gets unbearable, the bags you pick seem to get heavier and heavier and the bin seems to never fill no matter how much you pick. You get plenty time to think when picking, but to be honest by the end of day two I was bored of my own thoughts. There’s only so much you can think about after all and with the only thing to look forward to is pulling a sticker off of your countdown chart your thoughts are limited. So after 7 long weeks I am ecstatic to leave. We’ve picked enough oranges to fill the town twice over, we look like we have a major issue with self harming and occasionally we have worries for our mental health – you know its getting bad when you start yelling at an orange.We get to say goodbye to the hayfever, the continuing tree’s and the town that has robbed us blind of our money. I would love to say it’s been a pleasure South Australia but it really hasn’t. What’s next for us?  We are heading to the Great Ocean Road for a well deserved break and then on to Sydney to get a proper job! I thought coming to Australia, we would be living the dream all the time but as far as the regional work goes it’s more of a nightmare. So for now goodbye fruit picking and a big thank you to the Australian Government for making the visa requirements so back breaking. We certainly look forward to carrying this work on next year…..

A Nightmare on Francis Street.

I am often accused of living in a dream world and to be honest, with my first week of travelling out the way, it’s a good job that I do! If you told me 6 months ago that a hostel could be as bad as where I am now I would have cancelled my plane tickets, forgotten my plans and put a deposit on a nice big comfy flat to cheer myself up a little. I knew it would be basic but at the very least I imagined a comfy bed, cleanliness and the odd smile from the staff. Instead I have a room that brings basic to a whole new meaning, showers that look like they haven’t seen a bottle of bleach since the place opened and receptionists that look as miserable as the dodgy paintwork. It’s safe to say that there has been a slight hitch in my plans. After the emotional goodbyes at the airport, the super long flight and now the poor excuse of accommodation it would have been so easy for me to say “right let’s go home” but reality of it is I really do have to give it a chance. I haven’t put in all this time and invested all this money for a quick hello and a hasty exit. After a good first night sleep (a whole 18 hours but after getting slightly tipsy before the airport and not going to bed until I arrived I don’t think it is bad going really) I opened my eyes to a whole new world. The skyscrapers looked magical and after an explore and walk on South Beach I’ve definatly come to the conclusion that I’ve made the right decision. So the hostel isn’t perfect…I only booked it for a week. I move on to my next one tomorrow. And as beautiful as Perth is, this is only my first stop. I swiftly invested some of my hard earned money into a camper van. At least that way I know what to expect when I go to bed at night. My first week so far has had lots of upsides but also a few down, but even when its been a real bad day I know it can’t be as bad as it can get because I havent seen a spider yet. Not even a tiny one.

My journey with no destination.

I havent updated any of you on my plans for a while now – ive been busy working to save my money for the trip AND im in the middle of getting another blog up and running, so for my tardiness I apologise. With only four months to go ive realised the planning that is going into this adventure is half the fun, the destination  as of yet is an outcome I havent achieved. A journey in the typical sense is getting from A to B but ever since my very first blog post ive been on a very different type of journey. I’ve learnt a lot about myself as a person all through the organisation of one rather large adventure. I’ve had to learn a lot of things, ive met all kinds of deadlines, researched my heart out and even after a long day at work  when all I want to do is get into bed and stay there, ive had to be up and ticking of the next task on the ever increasing to do list. I’ve had to write plenty of those too – lists I mean. Shopping lists, List of important documents I need, Packing lists – colour coded in order of importance on who needs to take what. It’s safe to say if I wasnt organised before I definitely am now. I’ve never been more in control of my finances, I work to save splurging occasionally on a treat. Before all this started the only thing I really knew about money was how to spend it. I’ve always been a home bird, never to far from my family and friends but that’s changing to. I’m maximizing the fun that we all have now because in a few months that will be gone, but forever having Australia in my mind im constantly nagging them all to get Skype. I’m packing up my room, selling my stuff and finding things I didn’t really know I had. Its one big emotional rollercoaster, with me jumping on and off admist the planning confusion. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed finding out all these things about myself, even though I still am young and carefree, ive learnt I can be super organised , money conscious and juggle hundreds of tasks all at once. Now if that doesn’t boost a CV I don’t know what will. And to any employer who thinks “that’s not real work” I challenge them to do all of that and work full time on the side. It’s certainly been one massive journey all right. They said when I booked the tickets the journey time would be twenty three  hours – they were wrong so far its been six months and I still havent reached my destination.

What happens when the wanderer returns?

Six months away now. Six months to finalise all plans, sort through my life, pack up and throw the party of all leaving parties. I don’t do things by halves, im going away for a very long time and I want everyone to remember me – and how fun I am. They will be talking about the party so much for the coming two years, that when I get back, it will be like I never left. HA! No that’s not whats going to happen at all. I am going to throw a party but im on a budget, it will be modest but fun. Everyone will get emotional, we will have a few to many drinks and then its goodbye. Friends and family will remember me of course, but life goes on, as I start an adventure, they all carry on with how things were.I will get back one day and things will have changed. It wont be a case of slipping back into life like I never left – hopefully I wont even want to! It will be a case of starting new again. My friends will have grown up, moved out and probably started to settle down. They will all have a career, responsibilities and bills to pay. My family will welcome me back but there will have been so much that I have missed, I probably wont get the “private jokes” or any of the funny stories about last christmas. But does any of that really matter? No not at all, I could be anywhere in the world and things at home will change. Life changes over night, so does it really matter if I am in London or Sydney? No. When I return from my travels, I am going to have experienced a variety of new cultures, activities and life lessons. I’m going to have made memories which will last a lifetime. Those experiences will shape who I become and when I return I have no doubt that I will be a different person to who I am now. That person might not want to settle back into life as it was. I’m sure when I return everything will have changed and I will have to find another adventure to chase – wether it be building my first home and settling down or just another backpacking trip.

When Does A To-Do-List End?

When planning an adventure as big as mine you have to be organised right? You need a specific schedule, a budget, a timescale. Even when you’ve planned those aspects you need to think of little things like paperwork and insurance. Then theres vaccines and medication – you even have to know what you’re going to do about contraception. You need to know your whole life for the next two years. Ok im not talking about needing to know the exact time you eat your meals and scheduled loo stops along the way – but you get my point, a lot of planning and organisation is needed. Not my strongest points I must say. I love to just go with the flow, plan the odd evening out, the occasional shopping trip but more likely than not my “schedule” is spur of the moment, and for the past 19 years I have loved living that way.  So when it comes to the planning of this trip I do lack – my boyfriend who has a similar mindset, isn’t much help either. Between us we compiled a list of everything that needs to be done and felt proud in with ourselves for doing so. It would be easy for us to just smile at it and say “yes we can sort it out nearer the time” but reality is we can’t. Everyday a new point gets added, an important activity gets underlined but does it get done and ticked off? As of yet no. We have got ourselves a never ending to do list. Its fine i tell myself planning the route is pretty much a given – we will follow each city to the next and throw in some places the guidebook recommends for good measure. Paperwork can be done quick enough. It’s the budget I worry about.. As of yet ive never had to live on a strict budget – not to the point where I couldn’t borrow some from my parents or whack something on the card to tie me over til payday. This is going to need some planning. I need to work out how much for food, how much for rent – not how much will I have left if I buy that new top and those gorgeous shoes. Its occurred to me that now it’s not just the to do list that bothers me if I put my mind to it I really could just get on with it. Its more the idea of being a grown up, managing my finances and being super responsible that scares me. When I first started planning these travels I told you all it was because I wasnt ready to grow up just yet – I still wanted to have adventures. Now with seven months to go until departure ive realised something. I do get to have the adventures but I will have to be a grown up. A responsible organised grown up.

My Bucket List Perfected, Let the Adventure Begin.

At the end of December I asked for ideas for what to put on my own, not to mention very first bucket list. They are so popular now a days. It seems everyone has a set of ambitions that they would like to achieve – wether it be in the next year, before they reach 40 or before they die. Take the TV series “An Idiot Abroad” – the entire show is based up of events evolving from a bucket list, some of which have inspired me. Now I am an ambitious person, very ambitious. I have a set of aims that I set myself every year – like a new years resolution. Do I achieve them? For the most part it’s a no. Thats why when I decided to create a bucket list, I wanted it to be things I could actually do in my life time. Of course  I have some outrageous tasks but if I really put my mind to it all of these are easily achievable. Not only does having a bucket list give me something to occupy myself with – I promise with every one ticked off I will blog about the experience no matter how disastrous it is. So here goes guys – my one and only bucket list.

  1. Go on Safari
  2. See Cirque de Soleil
  3. Travel Route 66
  4. Dive the Great Barrier Reef
  5. Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge
  6. Sail the Whitsundays
  7. Learn to Sail a boat
  8. Ski a Glacier
  9. Skinny Dip in the Ocean
  10. Skydive
  11. Do a Bungee
  12. Swim with Dolphins
  13. Take a Road Trip
  14. Learn a New Language
  15. Create a signature dish
  16. Publish a novel
  17. Climb a Tree
  18. Go on a Zipline
  19. See all 7 Wonders of the World
  20. Learn to Surf
  21. Go Zorbing
  22. Dog Sled in Alaska
  23. Go Whale Watching
  24. Take up Yoga
  25. Learn to Play an Instrument
  26. See the Northern Lights
  27. Take a Breathtaking Picture.
  28. Go shopping in New York
  29. Kiss in the Rain
  30. Cage Dive with Sharks
  31. Learn to do a Thai Massage
  32. See The Whole Of Thailand
  33. Visit the Floating Market
  34. Climb a Mountain
  35. Trek in the Rainforest
  36. Ride in a Hot Air Balloon
  37. Donate to Charity
  38. Have a Romantic Movie Moment
  39. Keep a Journal
  40. Watch a Football Game Live.
  41. Swim in the Dead Sea
  42. Go on a “Dirty” Weekend
  43. Ice Skate in Hyde Park
  44. Go on a Helicopter Ride
  45. Go White Water Rafting
  46. Visit The Grand Canyon
  47. Gamble in Vegas
  48. Go to Glastonbury
  49. Go Camping by a Lake
  50. See Brown Bears
  51. Cuddle a koala Bear
  52. Visit the Orangutans in Borneo.
  53. Go Gorilla Trekking in Africa
  54. Visit a Slum – and Make a Difference.
  55. Read all of the Classics.
  56. Join a Club.
  57. Eat in the Worlds Best Restaurant.
  58. Meet a Celebrity
  59. Create the Perfect Home.
  60. Visit an Art Gallery
  61. Go Wine Tasting
  62. Run a Marathon.
  63. Take an Exercise Class
  64. Watch Sunrise
  65. Learn a Dance
  66. Scuba Dive a Shipwreck
  67. Spend New Years Eve in Times Square
  68. Spend New Years in Sydney
  69. Go to Hawaii – and Learn to Hula.
  70. Rent a Super Car for the Day.
  71. Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower
  72. See the Rio Carnival.
  73. Join a Protest
  74. Learn to Mix Cocktails.
  75. Vist the French Riviera
  76. Holiday on a Yacht
  77.  Play “Pub Golf” – in London, Vegas, New York and Dublin.
  78. Learn to Cook Thai Cuisine
  79. See Penguins
  80. Holiday in my Own country
  81. Make a Mix Tape
  82. Find a Four Leaf Clover.
  83. Eat Sushi in Japan.
  84. Meet a Celebrity
  85. Have my Own Writing column
  86. Go Go Karting
  87. Rent a Speedboat.
  88. Take Inspiration from Buddhism
  89. Fly First Class
  90. Explore the Pinnacles.
  91. Take part in a Mardi Gras
  92. Sleep Under the Star.
  93. Shower Under a Waterfall.
  94. Take a Random Flight.
  95. Send a Message in a Bottle.
  96. Go Cliff Jumping
  97. Build a Tree House
  98. Watch an Eclipse
  99. See the Moulin Rouge
  100. Marry the Love of my Life and Start a Family.

And thats it. The 100 things im going to do before I die. No excuses.