Americans tend to think of themselves as some of the greatest celebrators and holiday decorators around, and I admit I’ve felt that way from time to time, but there are a lot of countries that really have us beat.
I’ve celebrated a lot of different holidays in a lot of different places. It never gets less strange seeing palm trees decorated with ornaments or jungle huts strung with tinsel. I’ve celebrated the biggies all over. I’ve done Christmas in Sweden and Australia, put together makeshift Thanksgivings in Ecuador and Australia, and rung in the New Year in Thailand, Sweden and Australia. I’ve also had the fortune to witness the celebrations of countless unique local holidays in other parts of the world. And I always try to get as involved as I can, whether it’s checking out bull fights and riding party buses during Founder’s Day festivities in Quito or wearing a crown of flowers, eating herring and drinking schnapps for Midsommar in Sweden.
There are different ways to bring the holidays alive. The thing that separates countries like the US and Australia from what I consider to be even more festive countries like Thailand and Peru is this: we go all gung ho for our own holidays, but in other countries they go all gung ho for ALL holidays. In the States we go over the top to decorate every public place and every home for, say, Christmas. (Australia, from my experience, seemed to go more over the top in public but less so on a personal level as in decorating their own homes.) (more…)
If you’re under the age of 30, and from one of many eligible countries around the world, getting a Working Holiday/Work & Holiday visa for Australia is almost unbelievably easy. Furthermore, if you’ve entered the workforce in the past few years, going to Australia to work for a year might even help further your career!
Even though they talk a lot about the GFC (Global Financial Crisis), Australia has remained remarkably sheltered from many of the negative economic effects other places in the world have experienced. After I graduated in 2009 (with a degree in advertising, an area not doing the best in such an economic climate) I could not find a job. When I returned from my trip to South America and my visits to Sweden and Jordan, I made the decision to move to Australia more for personal reasons (aka a Swedish boyfriend and a vague “non-goal” I’d had for the past ten years). It wasn’t until I got to Australia that I realized what a great decision it was for other reasons. (more…)
Maybe… Or maybe not.
If you begin your round the world trip in Oz, then it may be a fine idea to include it… although you better budget accordingly or you may find a yearlong RTW trip turning into nothing but a two-month RAT (Round Australia Trip). That being said, over at BootsnAll they do make a good argument for using Australia as a destination to begin your round the world trip. After all, it is a nice place to ease into a big trip (especially if it’s your first) with a friendly, English-speaking population and a fairly familiar and comfortable Westernized culture.
However, during my year living in Australia, I met up with two of the people I had previously befriended while traveling in South America, as they were each continuing their RTW trip in Australia, and both of them were eager to get out of Australia after spending very little time there. (more…)
I’ve been itching to put together some kind of video, so I wrangled together all the video I happened to take in Australia and experimented around a bit in iMovie to throw together this little number. At the very least, putting together this video has brought to my attention a few things (such as 1) take more video! and 2) it would be nice to have a camera that takes HD video!) that will hopefully improve any videos I put together for future travels. I also hope to put together something on Aussie wildlife at some point, as that was the other theme my videos from Oz seemed to show, but for now I present to you, without further ado, Across the Bottom: The Epic Aussie Road Trip!
From Sydney to Perth, crossing the Nullarbor, taking on the 90 Mile Straight (Australia’s longest straight road), and winding through the Southern Forest and along gorgeous coastal roads, this was one road trip to remember!
Whether traveling in a group or solo, living abroad or traveling fast and taking part in a lot of could-be-budget-busting activities, I’ve managed to do long-term travel affordably. To best share my knowledge, I’ve broken down my tips into four categories that tend to be the biggest budget drainers while traveling:
To best share my knowledge, I’ve broken down my tips into four categories that tend to be the biggest budget drainers while traveling: Transportation, Accommodation, Food & Drink and Activities & Attractions.
The peninsula that contains the Shark Bay UNESCO World Heritage Site and Monkey Mia Resort is an oft-mentioned destination in Western Australia. Lonely Planet and many other travel guides rave about Shark Bay, one of the few places in the world that satisfies all 4 of the natural criteria to be a World Heritage Site. However, if you read about the destination online, the reviews are often quite to the contrary. When I was researching the Coral Coast for our road trip, it seemed like every blog and review I read about Shark Bay/Monkey Mia (pronounced My-a) was negative. Most people called it overrated/over-touristed/disappointing/boring/lame and many other negative things. A lot of them remarked that it was far from worth the almost 300km roundtrip detour (off the Northwest Coastal Highway) it required.
So when planning our road trip, we concluded we would skip the peninsula on the way up so we could have more time to spend at Ningaloo, and probably give it a miss altogether unless we had the extra time on the way back down. In the end, despite how much we love-love-loved Ningaloo, we had grown tired of snorkeling and beach bumming quickly (which was most of what there was to do in Exmouth/Coral Bay since a recent cyclone had wiped out many of the roads leading to hiking areas) and decided we had the time to check the area out. (more…)