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…..

Packing the Essentials: Explained.

Image from "Google Images"

Yep if you’ve read any of my other pieces you will know by now that packing my whole life away into a backpack is going to be a very difficult challenge. Now I have got over the shock at leaving behind my whole wardrobe  im confident that I know what the essentials are. That’s right, me, a teenage girl, knows what the essentials are. A couple of things to mention first though – I am going to Australia – not somewhere exactly “third world” so my packing list will vary from a lot of other travellers. Secondly you’re not going to see items such as sun tan lotion. I’m not saying you don’t need it because you do, im saying im saving my baggage allowance for other things – I will buy toiletries like that once im there.

A Good Backpack is an essential before you even start thinking about what needs to fill it. For those more experienced(and less clothes, make up and fashion mad) travellers I would defiantly say smaller the better. After all everyone has been telling me half then half again what you think you will need.Mine is rather large at 66ltrs, but as a first time backpacker, I want to be extra sure that I can fit in everything, not to mention I am travelling for two years. Remember this though ladies “only take what you can carry” – it soon changed my mind on all those shoes I said I needed!

A Camera to capture every single moment is not a necessity but its something I always have with me whenever im out and about – even in the UK. So to me it seems silly not to take it away when im going to see such beautiful and new things. In actual fact im taking two cameras with me. Yep some of you are going to scream at me that I am silly I know. I’m taking my DSLR with me and then my normal “messy-a-bouty” camera for those shots which don’t need such good quality, for those photos that are destined for Facebook!

Lets face it, it’s a daft one but Pyjamas have got to be right up there on the top of your list too. Hostels, camp sites or even couch surfing are going to be the main residence for most travellers and as much as you like to sleep in the nuddy at home, im sure it would give your hosts the fright of their lives if they unexpectedly caught a glimpse when you’ve thrown the duvet off in the middle of the night. That in mind – im keeping myself well covered.

Its hot. What do you need? A bikini. Everyone when they’re travelling to somewhere like Australia, Asia or wherever are bound to want to go on the beach at some point. Australia especially, its home to Great Barrier Reef and im not missing out on that. Top tip for you though girls, your travelling, your bound to do some physical activities, so make sure its well fitting and supportive, you don’t want any shock appearance like ive had. Embarrassment can ruin great days out…

My Ipod is my life. Without it I would be lost, so needless to say this is one thing I will defiantly be packing. Handy whilst your on the road, getting ready for some drinks or you just want to block everything else out around you. So useful 🙂

As an aspiring writer I take inspiration from whats around me, anything however small or big can set of some sort of idea for a blog entry or a quick article. So with that in mind a notepad is always of use, I will forget all the detail if not. Even if it’s just to jot down a place name or even a contact for a possible job opening, you’re going to need it at some point… that and a pen of course.

And finally the absolute must have… your passport. Without it your only going to travel as far as the check in desk and as pleasant as that experience might be, im sure it wont match up to that adventure you had planned.

My list of must have things cover what I feel is important to me. I’m not going to lecture on what clothes to take, what toiletries you need or that you need a plug adaptor. These are no brainers and if you don’t realise you need deodorant and shower gel etc in a hot country, well you really need to think about your hygiene standards. As for things like adaptors, yes you do need them, they are a must have but if you do forget them im sure you can pick them up real cheap anyway. A good packing list ive found is http://travelindependent.info/whattopack.htm its super detailed and after reading that baby I know im not going to forget a thing.

budget accomodation v. five star luxury

Now when I first started planning my travels the word ‘hostel’ terrified me. I thought of grubby dull rooms, dirty communal areas all tinged with the smell of unwashed bodies and a sense of ” I would rather be anywhere else but here” about the place. But then that’s what coming from Britain does to you. To us Brits the majority of hostels on our doorsteps are for the homeless – not young travellers. A dark cloud looms over the word, with the majority of us considering them to be a last resort rather than a place for a good nights sleep. To be honest im not any different to the majority – I too would prefer a luxurious hotel to something that’s more “budget”. My only experience of a hostel so far is a school trip aged 13. We were in France and five of us shared a room. The beds were more like a concrete wall and the shower was just a room with lots of tiles smashed or missing – which we also had to share with a couple of our teachers. So you can forgive me for being cynical so far. I myself love a little bit of pampering in upmarket hotels and for the past I don’t know how many years that has been what ive been used too. Even on our first holiday together my boyfriend and I went to a five-star resort in Jamaica – not your average teen get away. The truth is though once you get inside those perfectly clean 5 star walls you have no need to go out of them. Cocktails are served all day there’s a private beach and pool – what else do you really need apart from the odd day trip? But that not what backpacking is about – you go backpacking to see and experience everything. It will be my only chance to live like a student have a laugh with new friends and quite frankly be carefree. I know that im not going to have the money to be living like a princess for the two years, but that doesn’t mean that im going to live like a pauper either.Hostels ive looked into for my arrival in Australia look amazing! The walls are brightly coloured, the sheets are a crisp white and not one person in any of the photos looks miserable. It’s the hostels where im going to meet firm friends and fellow travellers to share my new adventure with so I might as well embrace it! Of course there will be a few hostels which I come across which will no doubt be below my original expectations, in other words absolute hell holes, but im sure that I will be able to count those places on one hand. I’m going to have great fun and who knows if I get used to a hostel maybe I might be able to tackle my low expectations on camping to!

how to survive that endless journey?

I have ranted about this a lot I know, but everyone hates the journey don’t they? Wether its the journey to the airport when it seems you have been travelling for about 4 hours when really you’ve barely been gone 25 minutes, the plane or even just coming home when time goes super quick, everyone has some sort of hatred . To me all journeys are pointless, you see virtually nothing of where you travel through and you are  always waiting for something, admittedly for most of my family it is me that they are actually waiting for. Then when your finally on your way you have to check for the millionth time that you havent forgot anything and even though you have seen it plenty of times during your trip to the airport, you get there and can’t find the passports which you  put in the zipped pocket for extra safety.  To top all that off you can guarantee the weather will be miserable and that reflects in your mood – so far not a great start. I devised a great way of keeping myself entertained – not for the car journey – but for the wait in the airport. I people watch and in an airport this is very amusing, watching the family who are arguing on which way the gate is, or the business man running at 100mph so not to miss his flight, blackberry in one hand, a coffee in the other, it’s an amazing way to pass time. In an airport there is always something going on, so why not entertain yourself, there are tv shows that are made about this sort of thing after all. Of course if you’re in a foreign country and you don’t understand the language this makes for more fun, body language often shows it all, so why not make up what they are saying? I also ensure im fully stocked up on my favourite magazines, I have a few spare books and my Ipod is crammed full of my latest favourite tunes. Sorted for the airport side of the journey. Now planes, that’s the hard part. I tend to sleep and watch the movies. Sometimes I play some cards but 52 card pick up isn’t quite as amusing in such a confined space. That’s what I generally do to keep myself amused, what are your guys tips? I need all I can get for the long journey ahead of me!

suitcase or backpack?

Thats it, our flights are booked. No turning back now. On the 27th August 2012 I will be jetting off on a big adventure, to see and experience new things. The plane journey may well be the most boring 24 hours of my entire life but im certain the following 24 months will more than make up for that. A stop over in Dubai? Sounds glamorous doesn’t it? But no 7 hours in an airport terminal drinking endless Starbucks and reading my favourite magazine cover to cover at least three times will be a far cry from the yachts and seven star hotels the celebs are used to when they visit. Still no grumbling, I tell my self to think what awaits when I finally touch down in Perth – sunshine and paradise but most of all a nice comfy bed to recover from that jet lag (well hopefully!) Before I get carried away with what awaits I need to tackle the important issue of what do I take with me? A suitcase is the ever practical option, it has got me through various holidays and I KNOW that I can fit a lot of clothes in – at a push I estimate at least three-quarters of my wardrobe, but this isn’t just a holiday. Being honest I quite fancy looking like im a traveller, after all surely that is the point. Pulling a suitcase behind me in a busy city when im trying to navigate my way around? No thank you, ive seen it more than enough times in London and not only is it a pain in the arse for which ever tourist it is pulling their case behind them, it’s also a hassle for everyone around you and I for one don’t want to be the subject of those tuts and shakes of the head.  I want to look rustic, so when I wave goodbye at the airport I can actually wave instead of having a fight with the suitcase. Backpack it is for me then. Camera, Passport, Ipod all the usuals are already on the check list, its just narrowing don those clothes.  Everyone says half the clothes you think you will need. Well I think I may need all of mine at some point, but not taking all those UGGs will leave room and it gives me reason to buy more…I am going to be in Australia after all!