Van Life Reading By the Campfire: The Realities Week 2

This blog post is the second in a weekly series sharing real experiences of van life, as I travel Australia in my camper, Roma. Each week, I publish a post with the previous week’s failures and successes (you can read about week one here). I’ve committed to this van life diary for my entire four-month tour, so it’ll be interesting to see how my perspective changes in that time! To know when each post goes live, sign up.

I can safely say that by week two of van life, the novelty has worn off. What initially felt like a fun camping holiday, now feels like a long-term reality. As you’ll find with every form of travel, the overall experience is fantastic, but it doesn’t come without the odd trial and frustration. Read More

Fortescue Falls in Karijini National Park

Made up of a unique system of marble-red gorges, fairy-tale waterfalls and natural swimming pools, it’s mindblowing that Karijini National Park is unknown to many travellers – even those born in Australia.

Situated in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, Karijini National Park is a true paradise for any backpacker who enjoys nature, stunning landscapes and untouched wilderness.

The forty-eight hours I spent exploring this haven, were the most entertaining, awe-inspiring, and adventurous that I have experienced in any national park previously. There are a couple of reasons why. Let’s begin with the hiking options.

Now I’m no major hiker. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I really don’t enjoy uphill hiking.

However, after clapping eyes on the dramatic drops of Karijini National Park’s many gorges, some up to 100 metres deep, I was literally itching to hike down into each base and see what was hiding in the rocks and crevices below.

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Living in a van in West Australia

This blog post is the first in a weekly series sharing the experiences of a real #vanlifer and the realities of living in a van. Each week, I will be publishing a post with the previous week’s failures and successes. I’ll do this for my entire four-month tour of Australia. Let’s see how my attitude towards van life evolves over that time! Sign up to be notified when a new post goes live.

It’s official; my home is now a small yet comfortable campervan that I’ve affectionately named Roma. Seven days ago, I left Perth to see and experience all that Australia can offer, travelling by road with my partner, Dave. Read More

Looking at Klima on Milos

It’s Sunday as my boyfriend and I walk from the bus stop to our guesthouse on Milos island, in Greece, and I feel as though I’ve arrived in a ghost town. Square white houses line a gleaming cobblestone street, but each has shutter windows and doors tightly closed. The houses are evidence that the village of Trypiti has residents, but in the six minutes it takes for me to walk its length, I encounter only sleeping cats. Read More

Greek Island Hopping - Church of Milos

Arriving on each of the Greek islands I visited this September, Santorini, Milos, and Paros, I was blown away by just how breathtakingly picturesque each was. I can confirm, those practically-postcard photos you see of Santorini are completely accurate, whilst up and coming Milos has so many hidden beaches and coves you could spend days exploring them. What was meant to be a relaxing 10-days of island hopping in Greece, quickly became a mission to capture the most stunning spots I could share with you. Oh, and to genuinely take in and enjoy the gorgeous scenery with my partner, of course! Read More

The Greek island of Santorini is the opposite of a hidden gem destination. Its pristine white buildings, set against a backdrop of turquoise sea, circulate social media daily. Most of the accommodation featured in these videos and photos include private villas complete with pools, but let’s face it, for those of us backpacking the Greek islands, these types of lodgings just aren’t realistic. Without the luxury hotel experience then, and knowing how the crowds flock here each summer, is Santorini overrated? Read More

Sitting at Portchester Castle in Portsmouth, One of the Best Attractions To See

Isn’t it funny how we world travellers are constantly on the lookout for new places to visit outside of our hometown, yet most of us have yet to explore our own backyard? I recently visited the city I was born and grew up in, Portsmouth in England, having been backpacking abroad for the past two years. Amongst the family reunions and get-togethers, I was determined to really get out and see the attractions that are on offer for a visitor to Portsmouth. The amount that I found completely exceeded my expectations (and memory!). Read More

Campervan Conversion - Interior of Van

This post is the second in a series of how-to style pieces about doing a budget campervan conversion. You can read the first one here, and sign up for when the next goes live.

Travelling by road is absolutely the best way to experience the diversity of a country and see beyond the tourist hotspots. Whether it’s by bicycle, motorcycle, public transport, or using your own car or campervan, the hours spent watching rural landscapes flash past beat the alternative time spent in airport lounges, hands-down. Read More

Before and after van conversion feature

To independently road trip a country guarantees you a perspective that just isn’t possible by travelling on public transport. For years now, my bucket list has contained the item ‘drive a campervan around Australia’. The dream has always been to do it as cheaply as possible, in a cosy and comfortable self-converted camper. It’s lucky then, that my partner is an engineer because actually, I am the least handy and practically-skilled person you will ever meet. It’s also lucky that Dave wants to travel Australia by campervan just as much as I do, as this joint dream is what has led to the four-month adventure trip we are about to commence, in our very own DIY campervan conversion. Read More

Santiago mountains

The traditional notion of a backpacker has changed drastically over the years. Once upon a time, backpackers were people that took a chicken bus for a twelve-hour journey from one place to the next. They carried only the most basic, non-tech essentials and lived on a shoestring budget, favouring the cheapest of cheap accommodation. Nowadays, it’s a very different story for most. Read More

Girl at Canal Rocks Yallingup

Backpacker itineraries for Australia are usually filled with the most iconic destinations and landmarks; New South Wales’ Sydney Opera House, Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef, Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. In fact, all of the experiences I was recommended as a first-time backpacker to the country are found on the East Coast. Poor old Western Australia, seen as too remote or not quite spectacular enough to warrant the additional cost of a domestic flight, rarely gets a look in. Read More

Cartagena streets and buildings

Streets of Colombia

If somebody offered you the chance to bathe in the crater of a volcano, would you take it?

Considering volcano craters are usually bubbling with searing hot lava, I imagine not, but I’ve been standing in line to do exactly that for the past twenty minutes. Read More

Thailand Swing Koh Lanta

If you read the mainstream newspapers, you may have seen one of many recent articles concerning the safety of Thailand for travellers, and proposing to offer Thailand travel advice. In most of these articles, incidents of scams, muggings, unprovoked attacks, terrorist bombings, and even deaths are listed. If you’ve never been to the beautiful country of Thailand and you read one of these fear-inducing articles, I wouldn’t blame you for being put off visiting.

Thailand temple koh lanta Read More

Group of Nepali young people

Sitting on rubble in Dunbar Square Kathmandu

When a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on 25th April 2015, it made global headlines. The epicentre of the quake struck at Gorkha, but its effects impacted for miles, causing an avalanche on Mount Everest, destroying thousands of homes, and tearing down religious buildings in Kathmandu that were centuries old. More than 9000 people were killed, and hundreds of thousands made homeless. Following the earthquake, aftershocks took place regularly, including a major aftershock just two weeks later, which killed a further 200 people and injured 2500. Read More

The quarry at Ellis Brook Valley

The beauty of spending an Australian winter in Perth is the amount of sunshine and clear skies you’ll get. It may not be the scorching temperatures of the summer months, but if you’ve ever been exposed to that heat you’ll know that achieving any kind of outdoor activity (besides beach lounging and swimming) is near on impossible! From June to August though, the days are filled with the perfect warmth for outdoor adventuring, and pretty Perth has the ultimate walking trails to offer. Read More

If Cambodia is crowned as the most epic country I’ve visited so far, then Battambang is the jewel in that crown. Located just south of popular backpacker destination Siem Reap, it’s a city overlooked in many itineraries, especially by those with time constraints. In my opinion, though, Battambang deserves your attention for its authentic experiences, delicious cuisine, and comfortable yet budget travel-friendly accommodation. Read More

Girl in a hammock Gili air

We’ve all read the stories about wanderlust-ers that have been so keen to get their travel fix that they’ve sold everything they own, giving up material possessions that took years to earn. Some might say these people are crazy/brave/stupid. I don’t. I completely get it, and I’m one of them. Read More

Raeburn Orchards Girl Trees

The dream of travel in Australia is intrinsically linked with guaranteed warm temperatures, allowing for endless days spent lounging on beaches, surfing waves, joining sailing trips, and night after night of the infamous Aussie barbecue. It’s no surprise then, that most choose to visit the country in the summer months. The thing is, much of Australia does get pretty cold, yet the country still has plenty to offer year-round. Read More

Scared of Flying Flight View

I recently worked out that I’ve taken sixty-eight plane journeys in my lifetime. Sixty-eight! That is a serious amount of hours spent trapped in a capsule in the sky. You’d think this level of experience on planes would mean I’m completely at ease in the air, when actually, I remain terrified of flying. Yep, you read that right, I have a fear of flying. Read More

For an island so small you can cycle the entire thing in one hour, Gili Trawangan has a huge reputation. It’s known as one of South East Asia’s best party destinations for backpackers. Recommended to me by numerous travelling friends, I had to include the infamous ‘Gili T’ in my plans for Indonesia, despite the fact that I’m a grandma when it comes to partying these days.

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