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…..

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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.

5 Things I Will Miss About Home: And A Million I Wont.

Home is where the heart is – or so the saying goes. Is that entirely true? I’m not too sure. When I consider what I am going to miss the most about leaving home its only people that springs to mind. My family and friends, that’s all I could come up with which frankly, is rather sad. That’s what happens I suppose when you come from a tiny town which is at least a decade behind the rest of the country, there’s no activity that I will miss greatly, or really any major event that I am going to miss out on. Spalding in general is dull. My friend said to me yesterday there’s got to be some things you will miss about the place, but honestly I struggled to come up with five. If I was counting the people it would be a different story but no im not allowed to do that, it has to be five things about home that I will miss in some way shape or form – much easier if I lived in a city im sure.  But once again I have surprised myself and thought of five things I am truly going to miss in my time away from home.

Now top of the list is home cooked dinners. My mum isn’t a Michelin starred chef by any ones standards but there’s something comforting about her cooking – Sausage and Mash, so simple but my favourite. It’s normally my first request after a two week holiday and im sure after two years I will be pining for it. Then there’s my bed, nothing will ever be so comfortable. The pillows soft and fluffy, the duvet cosy and warm, the mattress has the perfect amount of springiness. In a way I suppose I will kind of miss work? Ha! ok maybe not, but the loss of   a constant wage and the occasional splurge from that is definitely going to hit me hard. Then there’s the familiarity – going out and knowing you will bump into someone you know, knowing that I will definitely never be on my own. Where im going to be is a far cry from that.

Ok that wasnt five things but by now you have the gist don’t you. I’m not going to miss the rain, the lack of excitement or the “fun” that this sleepy little town brings.I’m not going to miss the stress of work, living somewhere where every knows your business and the constant nagging of family members to find a direction in life. I’m not going to miss Tuesdays market day, a saturday night on the town or any of those little shops.  I’m very much looking forward to spreading my wings and getting to see the real world where I can wake up near a beach, try new things and make everyday an adventure. I don’t want to get bored with Australia so I have vowed to myself to do something with the “wow” factor everyday. I want to come home and be able to say those really were the best days of my life.

HELP: My Very First “Bucket List” Needs Inspiration!

Before I stumbled upon the blogging world, I had never before thought of having a “bucket list”. Of course ive had a list in my mind of things I just HAVE to do before I die – I don’t see the point in the whole ” I must do this before im forty, blah blah blah” what I can do now im pretty sure I can do when im forty, it isn’t that old. But no ive never had a definitive list. After endlessly looking through a variety of travel blogs it seems to me everyone has one, so not one to be left out im taking the plunge. I’m going to set a list of things I want to have achieved by the time my travels come to an end – and many items on the list to keep me going way beyond the next two years. I’ve already done some pretty amazing things on my travels so far, I have quad biked through the Egyptian desert and the Jamaican jungle, ive travelled by tuk tuk in Sri Lanka, ive rode an elephant and my personal favourite – I climbed a waterfall. Amazing experiences and a few ticked off my “list”. Now I can come up with a few things that I must do…but I need suggestions. I want you guys to help me create my very own bucket list 🙂

So here’s what I have come up with so far…

  • Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • Dive the Great Barrier  Reef
  • Sail the Whitsundays
  • Do a Skydive
  • Bungee Jump!
  • Swim with Dolphins – and Sharks!
  • Learn a new language.
  • Go on a proper Safari.
  • Take a road trip.
  • Learn to surf
  • Create me very own signature dish.
  • Climb a tree.
  • See the 7 wonders of the world.
  • Go on a zipline.
  • Travel Route 66
  • See Cirque du Soleil
  • Learn to sail a boat.
  • Write a novel.
  • Ski a Glacier.
  • Go skinny dipping in the ocean.

What else can you come up with – I want it to be a list of 100, you know the typical ” 100 things to do before you die”.  Hopefully I can tick a lot of these off on my travels down under, but I want things that can last me a lifetime. Some of my suggestions are silly things everyone should do – but I havent got round to it. Help me add to my list guys – it needs to be complete for the start of 2012…