A Love Letter to Australia

Dear Australia,

I never expected to fall in love with you. If you want to know the truth, I never even cared about visiting you. Whilst other backpackers dreamed of your golden beaches and red deserts, I dreamed of pine forests and snow capped mountains. There was always a reason not to visit you; the flights were too long and too expensive, I didn’t have the time, I don’t like spiders (or snakes, or lizards, or jellyfish, or sharks…), it’s too hot and there was always somewhere that seemed to make more sense.

torquay

But maybe that’s why I fell in love, despite all logic and reason. I still don’t like spiders or lizards or snakes or jellyfish, those 30 hours of flying home were… gross, and honestly having to wear so much suncream everyday is not my favourite thing. But something about your vast country, your pale sandy beaches and crystal waters, your sprawling, glittering cities and wildout outback… something about it stole my heart.

I’ll never forget the excitement I felt the first time I saw a tree filled with parrots, or even saw a water dragon creeping along the ground, and somehow the shock of seeing my first PROPER Australian spider is now ranked as cool.

brisbane

There has never been a country I’ve wanted to leave more, with endless tear-filled conversations to my parents about changing flights, but when it came down to it there’s never been a country I wanted to leave less. You were the ultimate trial for me; being 10,000 miles away from home when I became ill, or alone on New Years Eve and every new dorm I entered thinking ‘this will be the one where I see a Huntsman Spider’; I failed to see why so many people rave about the experience of backpacking your vast lands.

fraser island

You’re undeniably problematic, which I learnt time and time again from speaking to your people about ignorance of climate change and unstable politics, and particularly the lead up to and day of January 26th. And then there’s the unignorable fact that the entire country is a deathtrap. I’ve never been somewhere that there are so many ways to die or be killed by the environment or ecosystem. But this is somehow one of my favourite things about you: your relentless optimism and ‘get on with it’ attitude- who cares about the snakes when there’s incredible surf conditions?!

I still can’t understand why I love you so much aside from the obvious (sunshine, surf, good food, good people) but somehow I do, and it hurts to have left you already. You have somehow in six short weeks become the place I associate with peace, and happiness, and just pure enjoyment of life. But I know now as well as I knew on the bus to the airport that it wasn’t a goodbye, it was a ‘see you soon’.

noosa

I’ll be back, whether in 6 months or 6 years (or maybe even 6 weeks). This love affair isn’t over yet.

-Millie xox

 

My Gap Year (part 1)

As my gap year comes to an end, I’ve been thinking a lot about all that I’ve experienced and accomplished this year. If I think back to this time last year, it’s hard for me to believe everything I’ve actually done, and how far I’ve come in 12 months. I decided that a post like this would be exactly what Millie-one-year-ago would like to read, so I’m hoping it can help some people in the same position as me last year!

Continue reading

A New Direction…

Hey guys!

I know it’s been a painfully long time since I’ve posted on here. I was really struggling to find things to write about, and it took me a while to realise that that’s because I don’t really find this blog very interesting. I started off wanting to be a ‘lifestyle blogger’ but the big flaw in that plan is that I don’t actually enjoy anything that lifestyle bloggers write about… Sure, I love reading lifestyle blogs, but being the voice behind one really wasn’t for me. It wasn’t until I returned from a month on the West Coast USA that I realised what  I was really passionate about: Travel.

When I got home, and even whilst I was still out there, my mind was full of post ideas for the first time in months. I want to share all the information I wish I had at the start of this adventure, and share the details of all the adventures still to come. Obviously this blog will still contain some lifestyle-type content, but it won’t be the main focus.

I’m hoping to completely revamp this blog over the coming months (both content and appearance-wise) but have started with the baby step of my own domain name, yay!

Thanks for your patience whilst I got back to this, and I hope you look forward to seeing where this goes 🙂

-Millie xox

p.s. follow me on Instagram @AmeliaCDowling to stay up to date on my travels!

Growing up: what I learnt living alone

So I finally have gotten around to a second part in my ‘growing up’ mini series! (The first part can be found here) In February I was volunteering in Wales for 3 weeks, and spent a fair amount of this time living completely alone in the staff flat where I was staying. This was actually my first time ever staying somewhere completely alone and I definitely learnt a lot from the experience, which I have compiled into this post. I also just returned from 4 weeks of solo travel in America, so I have included some things I learnt over there as well!

Continue reading