I still can’t work out if I’ve actually mentioned this on here but in June I’ll be flying to New York City (!!!) to spend my four months living and working at a summer camp in Pennsylvania! I can finally say that this is actually happening as yesterday (March 5th) I had my appointment at the US embassy in London and was granted my J-1 visa! The whole experience was a pretty interesting (and slightly stressful) one so I thought I’d share it on here in case anyone else has a visa appointment coming up or feels inspired to do this in the future…. 😉
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.
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.
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.
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’.
I’ll be back, whether in 6 months or 6 years (or maybe even 6 weeks). This love affair isn’t over yet.
If you’ve ever stayed in a hostel, then you will learn that their kitchens can vary hugely. One hostel’s ‘cooking facilities’ may mean a microwave and a fridge, whereas another might mean 10 rows of hobs, a Master Chef-worthy range of cooking implements and six fridges (my advice is to check pictures first). Your first time cooking in a hostel can be pretty stressful, so I’m going to share my recommended recipes and cooking advice!
Can you tell that I’m currently staying in hostels from all this hostel-themed content? Today I’m bringing you a non-definitive list of people you may meet in your hostel! Hostels are a real melting pot of people from all walks of life: budget business men, older travellers seeking interesting accommodation, long term residents on working visas looking for flats and jobs, and regular young backpackers. Please take this post with a pinch of salt, it’s meant to be humour, not me being a bitch!!
Ah Christmas, the time for love and goodwill to all. I tend to get pretty nostalgic and reflective around this time of year! This year, whilst I’m on my biggest trip yet and also away from home at Christmas for the first time, I’ve been thinking about all the things that travel has made me appreciate more.
Seattle, Washington. Home of Grey’s Anatomy, Twilight, a whole lot of Native American history and some pretty darn good music. I was super grateful to be hosted by some family friends here, which made the experience so much more fun (and comfortable!)
If you follow my Instagram, you may have noticed that I recently embarked on my biggest trip yet: 2 months exploring Singapore, Malaysia and Australia! I’ve called this post Australia packing list simply as that’s where I’ll be spending the bulk of my time away and therefore is the climate/ environment that I’m mainly packing for. I have always enjoyed Googling other people’s packing lists when I’m going somewhere new to get ideas so I thought it was about time I wrote my own (and hopefully it will stop me forgetting anything!)
The next stop on my West Coast trip: the city of Portland, Oregon. I was SO excited about this as visiting the Pacific Northwest has always been #1 spot on my bucket list and being in Oregon meant I would finally be there! I’d also heard so much good stuff about Portland, from its quirky vibes to its incredible vegan food scene.
On the 23rd of April 2018 I got on a flight at Gatwick airport, and 11 hours later (but somehow only 5??!) I arrived in Oakland, California. This is still one of the most ‘I did that?!?‘ moments of my life; arriving in California alone was the most surreal (like literally from a daydream) thing I’ve ever experienced and WOW writing this now is making me miss it so much.