My 10 Halloween Must Watch List

More of a ‘Might Watch’ List if I get the courage together (and they’re not that bad!)…

I’m taking a little break this time from posting anything travel related and writing a post dedicated to one of my favourite holidays, Halloween.

Last year I was traveling up the Australian East Coast and running around the city of Brisbane. This year I’m going to be at work in the grain plant in Moree, Outback New South Wales.  Moree is a small outback town, there’s not much here. Shops shut early and I don’t think there are too many celebrations. I guess we’ll see.   But just in case they don’t celebrate Halloween I’ve got my film reel ready.

1) The Witches

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A Roald Dahl classic turned into a nightmarish film! I have not seen this since I was young and I’d nearly forgotten it existed. The story at the beginning about the girl trapped in a painting scarred me forever, as a painter this is terrifying. Different from the witches in Hocus Pocus these witches don’t want to eat children but turn them into mice. Every child in England. No more English kids.

2) The Nightmare Before Christmas

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Tim Burton and stop motion? Always a good combination and this one is tradition. This should be played twice a year. Once at Halloween and again at Christmas.
If you’ve been living under a rock for years and don’t know the story, Jack Skeleton, the Pumpkin King is bored of Halloween town and tries to hijack Christmas! Two great holidays in one!

3) Hocus Pocus

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Another old one with witches. These are the three bad, bad girls that want to eat the children! It’s overly American cheesiness is addictive and tasty. Plus it has a spooky book with an eye, a black flame candle, zombie ex boyfriend, cursed black cat and a groovy musical number.  “I put a spell on you!”

4) The Shining

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I think I just need to see youngish Jack Nicholson again.  This one is probably not as child friendly as the previous ones, what can I say I’m not that into really terrifying horror movies. Especially the gory ones or ones with rape and uncomfortable scenes that hit nerves that ought not to be touched. I guess my list is more of a soft core Halloween movie list. That being said there is always a place on my list for old horror movies.
In this a family move to a remote location and after evil spirits drive the father to madness he tries to kill them.

5) Halloween III: Season of the Witch

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The third installment of the Halloween Series from the 1980’s. Yes another old and actually horrifying movie. The commercial for the Silver Shamrock Halloween masks, that all the kids want, is still something I sing in my head every year. It still creeps me out, the countdown in the song *shudder* and even better all the masks are trying to kill the kids. What is it with killing kids on Halloween?

6) Monsters Inc.

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Okay, enough of the movies that will give you nightmares and time for something a little more light hearted.  This Pixar animated movie about monsters scaring kids for their screams to be used as fuel is genius.  The concept is fantastic and the moving doors in the factory are just so cool. Plus, jazz music.

7) Coraline

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Another animated film but this one is a little scarier than Monsters Inc. When Coraline moves into a new house only to find replica’s of her family through a little door she thinks it’s a dream come true as it’s so much better than her normal life. That is until she finds out they want to sow buttons into her eyes!  I mean this is supposed to be a kids film, but most kids that watch this will have trouble sleeping after. Now I WON’T be watching this on Halloween, not because it’s scary, it IS scary. But I watch this film almost on a monthly basis. I know all the words on cue. I love to put it on when I can’t sleep or when I need background sound for drawing.

8) Amityville: It’s About Time

Back to the super scary films and I’m still touch and go with whether I’ll actually watch this one. This is the movie that actually petrified me. Honestly I didn’t sleep right for weeks! I was about 7 or 8 when my dad let me watch this. I don’t know if he knew how horrific this film was at the time.  All it is a mysterious clock possessed by evil spirits that takes over the house. That was enough to make me never own a loud ticking clock and if there’s one in the room I can’t sleep, even now.

9) Edward Scissorhands

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Another Tim Burton classic.  An unfinished experiment, a man with scissors for hands lives alone in a castle. When he comes down to live in the suburbs with the ‘normal’ people it all goes wrong. Not so much scary as just strange, sad and unusual. I LOVE it!

10) It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

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I know I’m such a big kid and this is probably the least scary Halloween movie list ever! In this horrifying and deadly tale Charlie Brown is invited to a Halloween party and Linus is waiting for a visit by the oh-so-scary and mysterious Great Pumpkin! My mother loves Peanuts and Snoopy so I grew up with it (although I prefer Garfield shhh) but there is something about this old style dated animation and it’s colours and techniques that are just too cute and create a nostalgia too beautiful to ignore. In fact I might just go ahead and watch this now. Excuse me.

P.s I may add to this list in the future, it’s mainly just for my own personal reference as I hate it when you remember bits of childhood films and shows and can’t put your finger on them. Well future me, here’s some of them! And yes Casper should be on that list but I’ll never forget that film!

Sydney Vivid Festival; My Photo Dump!

Vivid Sydney is the biggest festival of it’s kind, light installation art everywhere! The city lights up and it’s fantastic! It’s growing every year and it’s not hard to see why.

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We arrived into Australia late 2015.  Our plan was to see how things went, go with the flow.  Our dream was to stay as long as possible.  We were scared after hearing a lot of stories about people travelling to Australia and running out of money fairly quickly and having to go back home. We got jobs within three days of being in the country.

Before we knew it we were working and all the things we wanted to do in Australia took a back seat.  I’d done a fair bit of research of some of the things I wanted to do but the Vivid Festival had escaped me!

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In May 2016 a work colleague and friend Tomo went to Vivid 2016 and this was the first I’d heard about it.  It was only after he got back we knew where he’d been.  At first we thought he’d been fired.   Then we thought he was at Sydney Gay and Lesbian Parade, wrong time of year.

Then we found out what it was and were a little miffed he didn’t tell us.  Not that we would have taken time off work.  We wouldn’t have dared.  However we had been granted our second year visa, so we knew we’d been in Australia for another chance. and when I saw a few pictures of it that was enough to make me want to go!

So here’s an extremely photo (and video) heavy post to encourage you to do the same!

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P.s  If I was better at blogging I would put the names of the artists down and would have written more interesting facts and things that would help you out, maybe next time. Or I might come back and edit this. Sorrynotsorry.

5 Ways Travel Donked Up My Life

An old friend from my school days got in touch with me recently over Facebook. We were catching up and she mentioned the last time she saw me I was running for a train. I told her not much has changed as I’ve been travelling off and on ever since. Aaaand as usual it sent me into a soul-searchy spiral.

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It threw into perspective the contrast of our lives. Deep right? This contrast has been bothering me since going back to the UK this summer.

The conclusion of this pondering has been whittled into 5 points of how I think travel has donked up my life. Not in a good way, not in a bad way, but just in a way.

And may it be a word of caution to anyone who is considering leaving their ‘home’ country and normal way of life …

  1. You might lose your identity and create a new one.
    I would prefer (and relate more) to being a citizen of the world rather than acting patriotic. Even though that sounds kinda douchey.  People kept referring to it as my ‘home’ and England is where I was born and raised but I don’t really consider it home. I guess it’s one of my homes. *shrugs*
    My reason is I don’t feel at home in England. It’s always been slightly alien. That’s not to say I don’t love it or miss it. I do! It can be a great place! But so are many other places!
    Then there’s friends and family.
  2. You become unrelatable.
    Traveling makes you miss out on milestones and the lives of people who you care about. Eventually you won’t be able to relate to a lot of the things they do. You’ll get bored listening to conversations about local happenings, house renovations and people’s work /life balance or whatever. And in turn you’ll feel hurt that people don’t want to hear about your travel stories, and plans to lie on another beach for a couple of weeks being all irresponsible and stuff.
    Again I’m not saying that I would want to judge others for their decisions in life. I don’t like it when people do it to me so why would I do it to others! Just because I don’t really understand the need to get married, buy a house, have a baby etc doesn’t mean I’m not happy for them! Equally it would be nice if people supported our need for travel, even if they don’t understand it.
    But sometimes the ‘difference ocean’ is just to deep and inevitably relationships drift apart, even when you don’t want them too.

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    I mean if we ignore our calling for the sake of others, you’re only going to end up resenting that person or yourself, right?
    It’d be cool if we could all go do our own things and respect each others decisions and STILL find a way to relate to each other!
    We always seem to latch onto things that justify our choices and condemn others.  Let’s not do that. People should do what makes them happy (within reason).

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    I’m still trying to navigate relating to people back “home” as travel does tend to change and shape you as person. Big life events in general tend to change people. The old me may have gone but the new me is still pretty awesome, at least I think so, it’s up to people back home to decide if I’m still relevant to them or not, or if they want to stay in touch.

  3. You can develop an allergy to stability.
    Itchy Feet, travel bug, call it what you will but some people catch this deadly virus and never get over it. Other people recover, eventually and some people are immune to it. I get super itchy feet and bored in one place or situation. It’s like I’m allergic to stability but crave it. Like if you really liked nuts but were allergic to them. The grass is always greener on the other side they say. I would really love my own house/home with my own wardrobe, my own bed. Or just not to live out of a suitcase.But whenever I ‘settle down’ somewhere after a certain amount of time whether it’s 3, 6 or 12 months I feel the need to leave. If I don’t it’s a slippery slope into the blues. It gets worse and worse until well… during a 3 year stint in Sheffield, UK I ended up needed to get medical help for depression. Yeah…. I don’t know if I’ll ever recover from the travel bug either way I’m good, as long as I do what’s best for me.

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  4. You become prone to extreme highs and lows.
    The highs are super Annapurna Himalayan high and the lows are like well just bottom of the canyon – locked out of your hostel at 2am in the rain – dump trucks.  When I’m living in one place or ‘rooted’ a good day is going for a meal out after work or walking around the local area discovering new things.  A bad day is missing the bus or getting a bad audit at work.
    When you’re travelling a good day could be snorkeling around the Great Barrier Reef or horse riding in the Himalayan Mountains. A bad day is a tyre bursting in the middle of the Outback, miles away from help or getting lost in a Malaysian jungle with no water, or worst of all getting extremely homesick.
    It is a life of extremes. Even extreme situations that happen when you’re rooted seem to be heightened when you’re on the road.
    For example, when I was settled at home I had to go for an operation. I knew where the hospital was, all the paperwork was sorted and I knew the protocol. Plus my friends and family were in the same time zones and a bus ride away.
    Whilst traveling earlier this year I had to go for another operation. I felt so alone, scared and didn’t know what the heck was going on. It sucked.
    Alternatively when I celebrated my clean test results in the UK I bought myself a pair of new shoes. When I got my clean test results (eventually) whilst travelling I celebrated by going surfing at Surfers Paradise.
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  5. Planning seems futile.
     In school I had a 10 year plan! I cannot recall what it was but I honestly don’t think it involved immigrating.  My old friend, the one at the beginning of the story,  told me she always thought I’d end up travelling. I was planning on going to University, getting a good job and buying a house and filling it with cats. Yes cats. (I have always know I never wanted children.)
    In school we did fantasize about doing up trucks and buses or combining our pocket money to buy a fancy camper home together and driving across the United States. But that’s all it was. A fantasy. It doesn’t seem like one now.
    Even now when I make plans, travel plans, they go awry.
    “Oh let’s stay in Australia for the year.”
    “Yeah but look how cheap these Bali flights are.”
    “Okay.”

I do wonder if I’ll ever stop and be happy in one place. My plan was to travel the world to find somewhere I’d be happy settling. I haven’t found that yet. Maybe our next stop New Zealand will be the place!

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P.s Apologies for any spelling and grammar mistakes. I’m super pooped from untangling my hair for 3 hours.

Blogging without a Computer

I had my first WordPress Website anniversary the other week. I barely noticed and didn’t celebrate with a post the way most people do.
As happy as I am that I still have my website a year on, I can’t say it’s been easy.

I wish I had more content, more blogs full of the interesting stuff me and Sean have done, more cartoons and illustrations. I mean, they’re in my bag I just haven’t uploaded them because a lot of quality is lost. You really need access to a scanner and unfortunately I don’t have one in my backpack. I’m working on that.

I could have filled in the empty corners of my site. The “Countries Visited” section has been empty for about a year since I made it. It may be the case that I delete it or replace it soon.

I think this was in Vietnam or Thailand…or Cambodia?

The breaks I’ve taken off this year haven’t done me any favours. Regardless of time off (mainly my 3 month recent trip in Europe), not having a computer is probably the main reason for not progressing with anything. The list of what I wanted to achieve this year is quite extensive. It’s October now and I’ve not done an awful lot. 

Blogging on a phone is hard. Setting a blog up on a phone is even worse. 

I set up erinreki.com whilst on holiday/workacation in Bali. 

Everywhere we had wifi and I had plenty of time to scream and curse when technology didn’t do as it was told.

I set up a lot of pages on my phone.

I took and uploaded photographs on my phone. 

I designed it using paper, writing out what content I wanted, all the little bits and bobs on scraps of paper and anything that couldn’t be done on a phone I borrowed Sean’s netbook (aka piece of sh*tbook).

Design wise, if you know the difference between wordpress.org and .com, (I’m a .com at the moment) there are things that can’t be done using a phone. Layouts had to be changed on something that vaguely resembles a computer.
First of all, the netbook Sean’s. Sean’s phone is not as good as mine so anytime he needs to use the internet or access documents he needs the netbook. This gives me limited time and use.

Plus Sean and I both use the netbook as our TV. We don’t watch terrestrial TV (daytime TV both bores us to death), we tend to watch films and series. Usually the same ones on repeat, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, The Wire, Adventure Time, Modern Family, 2 Broke Girls, survival shows, and anything Pixar and apocalyptic.

I don’t really watch them. I listen to them whilst I work. Many people listen to music, I like to listen to the audio of TV. I can quote many movies word for word and if this ever becomes a useful and employable skill someone let me know please. Please.

Why don’t I have a computer?

Around 2 years ago when we left the UK I had the not so ingenious idea of not taking my laptop. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I had no intention of blogging and hadn’t even thought of building a website.

We started our first leg of our journey with a three week trek in Nepal. Not the best place to be bringing a heavy old laptop. And Sean’s netbook was good enough for what we needed it for. I sold mine before we left along with a load of other stuff and I haven’t had one since. 

I’m saving up for one but in the last year of not having a computer this is what I’ve learnt.

You need good apps.

1) A platform app. 

This could be blogger, tumblr, wordpress whatever you decide suits you. Download the app have a play with a mock site if you like and see which one you prefer. I had a blogspot at one point but forgot about it as it bored me a little. Now I prefer wordpress as I find it more engaging.

2) Writing apps.

I’m lazy and tend to just write straight onto wordpress however I’ve lost a lot of work this way and it doesn’t do any spellchecking for me. 

Get yourself the Word docs and do it properly.

I’ve gone one extra on the laziness and am currently trying to find an app that will convert my text to speech so I don’t have to type anything at all.

It’s just a matter of downloading them, testing them out and uninstalling the ones you don’t like. For example all the ones with unacceptable excessive adverts.

3) Photography apps.

There are an abundance of photo editing apps available. I like Snapseed. It’s got nice sliders on it. It’s not overly technical but it does the job.

Other people use and recommend VSCO and Pixlr. Again I think it depends on what works for you. 

For taking photos I love Candycam, it’s filters are just loads of fun!

Taken with Candycam!

For videos I love Boomerang! Short, fun repetive clips are the future of photography!

I also have started included gifs using Giphy!

For storing photos and video I use Google Photos. Because 64gb was apparently not enough space on my phone. I filled that in a few months.

In the future…

I’ll start using Buffer and Google Analytics. 

Buffer automates the posting process for you. Unfortunately I don’t have enough content to warrant using this app at the moment. 

Google analytics gives you insights into your readers habits. I’ll use that when I get more readers.  If that ever happens.

Also I should use the dictionary and thesaurus I have.

A Note about Typing…

Physically typing up notes and blog posts, or any text really, is done using a combination of texting on my phone, sometimes with my fingers, other times with my stylus, and with a bluetooth keyboard (until my “niece” broke that). I would strongly recommend buying a bluetoothkeyboard. Even a cheap one from amazon is better than the nonsense your phone will come up with. 

P.s Apologies for any weird autocorrects in any of my Bogotas.

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I may limit the blog posts to once every two weeks from now on. Even when I get my new computer I want to spend more time drawing rather than spellcheckinh.

Why I went to The Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is an annual LGBT pride parade and festival in Sydney, Australia. Thousands of people from all over Australia and the world visit to celebrate and support each other. 

Mardi Gras usually runs from mid-February to the first of March.

This year (2017) it was on between Friday 17th Feb to the Sunday 5th March 2017.

We went to Sydney on Saturday 4th for the parade.

We only had a short amount of time as we finished work early Friday, drove 8 hours from Moree, slept in the car that night, celebrated on Saturday then drove back on Sunday to get back to work for Monday. Phew!

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So why did we drive all the way to Sydney for a day if it’s a 16 hour car journey there and back?

First and most importantly my beautiful friend Ami was living in Sydney at the time. We met and worked together at Stanthorpe Salad and Herbs Farm last year. It was amazing to catch up with her and it turned out another friend, Sho who we also met and worked with on the same farm was in town!

Aside from it all being nicely and coincidentally lined up, I had been looking at Mardi Gras for the past year.
Now, protests and parades are not typically my thing, but that’s not to say I haven’t been involved or part of a few. The festival type atmosphere and sense of togetherness really lures you in an some topics just can’t be ignored.  If it’s something you have an opinion on and feel very strongly about, you know, you should probably do something. If just for your own sense of self achievement.

If you’re not aware of the political nonsense and what not about what’s been going on for a while in the LGBTIQ community in Australia, here’s a nutshell bullet point breakdown.

Gay marriage is illegal in Australia.

Many people have protested this.

The Government has decided to send out a survey with a simple yes/no question: “Should the law be changed to allowed same-sex couples to marry?”

“The survey results will be published on the ABS website on 15 November 2017. That’s just eight days after the survey officially closes. (Although you actually need to post your form by 27 October to ensure it’s counted.)”

This will in theory influence the government to change the law although they are under no obligation to do so irregardless of the results.

There are already speculation as to whether this is going to be a fair survey, with post going missing, people not receiving them or articles claiming that people have found a fairr amount of people’s surveys in the trash.

Now I’m not writing this to tell you which way to vote, that’s up to you. And I would hope it would be obvious I’m in the Yes camp. But I’m not Australian. I’m British. I’m only here on a working holiday visa and therefore it’s not something I can vote on. I might live here temporarily and love it here but officially this is not my country. My country has legalised gay marriage. It was legalised back in 2014. And I can tell you that no heterosexual that I know of cares or has mentioned it since, even if they were in the no camp. Some people are just argumentative for the sake of it and when the dust has settled they couldn’t give a damn about what they were so fervently against a month ago.

Now I know some people are incredibly protective of their privacy. Most just want to get on with their lives and be left alone. 

Just imagine if a friend or family member disapproved and vocally expressed their unwanted negative opinion about a part of your lifestyle that you enjoyed and more importantly couldn’t change and wouldn’t want to change. Hurtful right?

Now imagine a stranger doing the same. What a jerk yeah?

Now imagine a whole country giving their unwanted opinions? Woah, not cool and kinda scary. Not to mention, what’s the word? Infuriating and very upsetting.

And this isn’t the half of it.
Something as seemingly simple as falling in love and wanting to spend the rest of your life with someone isn’t actually that simple. Depending on the gender of yourself and your partners determines if it’s illegal or not. When I think of the word illegal I think of drugs, murder, drunk driving and theft. Not marriage.

This whole marriage topic is just one problem in a list of problems the LGBTIQ community face. Especially in Australia. Aaaand we could talk about priorities until the cows come home. There will be other problems that are more of a priority to other people depending on their situation. I’m just focusing on this one because it’s been in the news and it’s pretty big right now. It’s something I can get behind and support even though I can’t vote.

And let’s call that the political reason of why I went to Sydney Mardi Gras. Regardless of my sexual orientation I’d be in the yes camp and support this.

Now a personal reason as to why I went or wanted to go is that as much as I don’t like announcing it (and you can stop reading now and save me the embarrassment)… (hopefully I’ve bored you to death already and no one is reading this until the end) I’m actually in there in the alphabet soup community I’m a B in the LGBT. I always have been, even though I’ve been told a multitude of crappy things such as “it’s a phase.” And “You’re just saying it for attention.”

I’ve never really fully embraced it and keep it quiet. I don’t usually pursue same sex relations as part of me is or was embarrassed by it. This inability to be comfortable with myself has ruined a few good relationships in the past and makes for fun awkward conversations with conservative co-workers.
I don’t feel like it should be or is as much of an issue as I think it is.
I guess we’ll never know now as I’m happily committed to the Irishman.
And it’s out here in the internet now, so no backsies.

I’d like to think that if we ever did split (although I have no intention of that) that I would have the guts to pursue any relationship I want.

With that being said it seems awfully unfair that if I was to marry Sean it would be legal but if I wanted to marry I dunno let’s call my imaginary future wife Lucy that would be illegal! It makes no sense!? And you don’t have to be in the alphabet soup to notice that.
All you need is a little sprinkling of a magical piece of humanity called E-M-P-A-T-H-Y.

That’s my personal reason for going. Plus people running around in pants doing push ups. And if you don’t love drag we can’t be friends.

Be sure to check out next year as it’s the 40th year anniversary! And those ones are almost always guaranteed to be special!

To end here’s a comic of me in the beach shower minding my own business when some hot chick decides to jump in with me. She got naked too! “Oh, it’s ok! We’re both girls.”

“Begone temptress!!”

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Erin Reki Receives Liebster Award!

Oh my gosh, you guys… YOU GUYS!*
Come look at this!

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I got nominated for an award by this awesome blog This Big Wild World!

I actually got awarded this back in July.  JULY!

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That is how completely and utterly swamped I’ve been with my little jaunt around bits of Europe. I’d just like to say thank you a million times over to This Big Wild World for nominating me and her kind words about my blog. Here’s what she wrote;

Erin Reki is a blog with the subtitle “Travel. Art. Nonsense.” I love the quirkiness of this blog. It is more than just a travel blog, she shares her cartoons, art and advice all inspired by her travels. If you’re a creative mind, a traveller, or looking for something unique, I highly recommend this blog!

To return the favour here is what I think about This Big Wild World and why you should check it out.

 This Big Wild World follows the stories of a soulful 30 something traveller with a kind heart and big lens. Her stories are inspiring yet informative and her photographs are beautiful. Her personality shines through a lot of her writing and I love her openness, honesty and appreciation for what she already has in life.
In this regards she replaces  The Bucket List with The Nectar List and after reading the philosophy behind it, you’ll want to do the same. It encourages you to reflect on the moments or experiences that have changed your life or you as a person. The things that have affected you most.
Instead of looking forward to what you want to do, you’re looking back appreciating what you’ve already had. A quick summary of your life. A chance to be grateful. Congratulations you made it this far and nothing has killed you yet! That’s got to be good! I love this idea and may very well right one of my own one day soon.

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Now for those of you that don’t know the Liebster Award is an internet based award given by bloggers to other bloggers. It is given to bloggers with under 200 followers to encourage growth and spread support. You are given questions to answer and in return you must pay it forward to other bloggers and ask them questions.
The official rules of the accepting can be found on The Global Aussie.

In the new rules for 2017 there is an optional 10 random facts part and I’m going to include the 10 random facts about myself  because well…. I want to.

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  1. I have a black belt in junior ju-jitsu and know how to handle weapons. Watch yo’self!
  2. I learnt how to ride a bike in Singapore at age 24. I know this sounds lame but I used skateboards growing up, not bikes.
  3. I have a Charmander tattoo (that’s Pokemon guys) to match my brothers Squirtle tattoo because we are cool like that.
  4. I prefer to watch animated film in comparison to films with real people in them.
  5. I’m nervous around dogs so I pretend to ignore them, but I do love them. It’s a mixed emotion. I adore cats though. I’m trying to say I’m a cat person, but dogs are nice too.
  6. I’m currently a 32FF UK bra size and yes I want a goddam reduction. My poor back hates me.
  7. I’m a 9gagger but yeah I do get laid and yeah I’m a girl and yeah I did just assume my gender.
  8. I’m 5’1, and wish I could carry a fold up step everywhere with me.
  9. I left home just a few months after turning 16. I lived at various friends’ houses until the local council gave me an apartment.
  10. I put a spoon in a microwave once.

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Here are the questions asked by This Big Wild World and my best attempt at answering.

Where do you call home?

Wherever I lay my head. Which is usually on Sean. Home is an odd concept to me.

But if the underlying meaning of this question is to find out where I originate from that would be England, specifically the north, even more specifically Sheffield in South Yorkshire. You know, where Yorkshire puddings are made, the Arctic Monkeys play every hour and Sean Bean is king.

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What was the last random act of kindness you did? (HINT: If you can’t think of one, do something before you write your post)

I restrained myself from screaming and crying on the last flight I was on (it was that bad and I was cranky) and the child in from was doing enough for the both of us. I thought I’d spare the other passengers the extra drama, that’s kindness right? Okay, I’m gonna go donate some of my stuff now.

What are you most thankful for?

My life. In general. I guess. I dunno. Right now? Like right this minute? Probably this white hot chocolate drink, I’m thankful for its hot creamy tastiness on this cold, so cold night. I came to Australia for the heat! What’s with this cold front?! Let’s turn up the heat and get on with Aussie summer please.

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What are you currently working to improve for yourself or your blog?

Oh my my my. Sooooo many things. Blog wise I’m trying to improve my writing, reading about coding, trying to improve my drawing and painting. I currently (and for the part year) have been blogging without a laptop or pc, I do this all on my phone. It’s painfully slow and I’m limited to what I can do.  I’m saving up for a computer right now.
A little bit louder for the people in the back….
I DON’T HAVE A COMPUTER!!!! I HAVE TO BLOG AND DO ALL THIS ON. MY. PHONE!!!!!!

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What advice would you give someone wanting to start a blog?

Spare a thought for your boyfriend or girlfriend, friends and family. They will have to listen to you if you constantly jibber jabber on about your blog.

Oh and if you’re like me and start swearing like a sailor when you can’t get something to work (I accidentally deleted a whole blog post once) just mind your language around small children. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.

NOW IT’S MY TURN TO PAY IT FORWARD! 

My nominees are:

  1. Morrisons Enroute
    An amazing Canadian power couple that shares advice about traveling as a unit. The highs, the lows and everything in between.  If anyone has ever traveled with their other half then this blog is for you!
  2. Chasing Krista
    Her photographs are so beautiful and website is extremely well laid out. She’s gone off the beaten track a few times with some weird and wonderful experiences and locations most other travelers didn’t know existed. Well worth a nosy!
  3. Lori World Hapa
    Lori is incredibly smart, thoughtful and kind, she has lived in interesting life and has some great stories to tell. Her blog comprises of telling these stories and although there aren’t many they are definitely worth the read!
  4. She Goes Global
    She has a beautiful writing style and is able to make the unrelatable well…relatable. It’s humble, helpful and her positivity and honesty make this blog one I can’t stop reading.
  5. The Rambling Mermaid
    Scuba drive enthusiast with some serious travel locations under her belt. There’s also some very interesting thought provoking reads going on up in here.
  6. Art Teach Travel
    A teacher, an artist, a traveler. I can relate to all three! Although I only do two of them now. Quite funny too in the way that she writes. Teachers, artists and travellers should stop here.
  7. Joy Makon
    Absolutely gorgeous watercolour paintings! You need to check this on out whether you like art or not (who doesn’t like art? Seriously?) I’d say more but I think I’d go into a fit of jealous rage.

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My 5 questions for them are;

1) What is the lowest (and potentially funniest and most embarrassing) moment you’ve had whilst travelling?

2) Can you briefly describe a meaningful experience with a person you met traveling and know you might never see again?

3) Have you ever been on the receiving end of negative criticism  (possibly from friends and family) about your lifestyle? If so, how did you react?

4) What have you done this year so far that you are most proud of? Travel related or not.

5) How do you manage your stuff storage-wise when you travel? Asking for a friend.

If you have been nominated I look forward to hearing back from you and reading your posts. Please share the love. Many people believe the Liebster award is similar to a chain email/letter and sure it shares similarities but the underlining idea is to help promote each others’ blogs.

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Thank you for the graphic and all the information The Global Aussie.

And another final thank you to This Big Wild World.

*P.s I call a collective group of people ‘guys’ and it has nothing to do with gender but more my own inability to change the dialect in which I speak.

​P.p.s Sorry not sorry for the unruly amount of gifs in this post. I don’t usually do it. But today got away from me.

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When you Want to Turn your Passion into a Full Time Thingy

“True guilt is guilt at the obligation one owes to oneself to be oneself. False guilt is guilt felt at not being what other people feel one ought to be or assume that one is.” – R.D. Laing

Hello again! Hope you’re all doing fantastic!
Happy, healthy, aware that Christmas is nearly on the way…. all that jazz!

I’ve been away from blogging for a while because I needed time to concentrate on getting my travels well organised. It’s been a hectic past three/four months.

Just to quickly fill you in (lol) we left our jobs at the grain plant at the end of May and have since;

  • travelled down the Australian East Coast with my little sister and her boyfriend,
  • walked part of the Great Wall of China,
  • flew back to the UK where I was Maid Of Honour at a wedding in the Derbyshire countryside,
  • had a trip to Barcelona,
  • attended a funeral in Sheffield,
  • worked at Latitude Festival in Suffolk,
  • stayed with friends just outside of Rome,
  • flew over to Northern Ireland to attend a wedding in the South,
  • went on a short city break in Amsterdam where we went to Mysteryland festival (Craig Daaavid),
  • did a mini tour of Singapore

and… now we’re back home in Moree back on the grain farm for the next three months until it’s off to New Zealand! Phew! (oh and I passed my driving theory test.)

Several months ago I was kinda complaining I was homesick …well, not anymore.

I did make some new friends though and got to see some old ones though.

Anywho this post is titled ‘When you want to turn your passion into a full time thingy?’ So we’ll jog on with that!

MAKE TIME FOR IT (Whatever it is)
My point of mentioning what I’ve been up to over the summer other than to inform friends and family is that despite what all those overly optimistic books and sites say about turning your passion into a career… is that life does get in the way sometimes. Sometimes necessary life stuff, sometimes fun life stuff.  Either way an incredibly positive colleague told me you have to make time for what you want.

So if you want something, try and make time for it! I’ve set aside mornings to draw more cartoons and half of Sunday to get some painting done.

Now that you’ve set aside time in your schedule…it’s time to plan what to do with that time!

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How could you not wanna paint that! Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

PLAN YOUR GOALS
You might have set aside time but now what do you do with that time? I always start with research and reading. Although I guess you could always just talk to people too… hmmm… being sociable? *Sticks head back in a book.*
Then using what you’ve found out from others, create your own blueprint to achieving your own goals!
For example in the future I plan to improve my drawing and painting up to a standard I’d be happy selling them and hopefully you buying them!  (whilst also setting up in New Zealand.)
To achieve this I have looked at other artists who have already done this, taken up their advice about practicing art everyday, created a schedule and a list of areas where I need to improve.

I also plan to continue to improve my writing to bring you the best content I can; however I have been stuck with blogging recently, as I lost site of my goal. THERE’S NO POINT aiming for a goal you don’t really want.

This is why it’s always important to re-evaluate goals, whether it’s what you do for work, savings, fitness or any hobby that you wish to turn into a career.

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If it hadn’t been for my planning we never would have seen the Great Wall of China! Or as Karl Pilkington says “The Alright Wall of China.”

CHECK IN WITH YOUR VALUES
An easy way to check if you’re working towards goals that aren’t working for you is to see if they reflect your top three values in life. I learnt this from the book The Life Plan by Shannah Kennedy.
Basically, you create or find a list of values such as friendship, affection, wealth, health, economic stability, adventure etc etc etc.
Make sure this is quite an extensive list. Then go through and pick your top ten. Then your top five. Then your top three. And.. your top one if you like.
Now every time you are faced with a decision ask yourself;

“Does what I’m doing right now align with my values?
Does it help me towards what I really want?”

If the answer is no, you’re probably wasting your time. If you’re really not obligated to do it, don’t. Put yourself first.

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I started blogging because I wanted to share my art and stories about travelling with everyone because creativity is in one of my top three values.

Through my blogging I’d like to take credit for inspiring and helping my sister go abroad. Since then I’ve been dreaming of turning this into a full time thing.

Economic stability is in one of my top three too. I’ve had an empty shop for a while and will be working on changing that in 2018 or sooner.

It’s now time to jump back in with both feet!

So although this may not be the post you were expecting with a step by step guide of how to turn your pash into profit, it is the first step, my first step, maybe our first step!

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Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day!

I’ve had to take baby steps (mainly because I don’t have laptop or computer.)

I’m at the start of my journey. And I hope you will follow me on it (especially now I’m back on it like Sonic!)
Maybe you’re just starting out too!
Maybe you’ve been doing this for a while and you might find it entertaining to watch me flail, fail and struggle my way from a fat caterpillar into a beautiful butterfree. Or not.

All I know is that we are not alone on this journey. I have friends that are doing similar things and sharing their stories too! All unique and exciting! Shout out to others on their journey.

I have so much love and support for the Travel Beans, the Morrisons Enroute and not even finally Mari-ly & Argo‘s blog, even though I can’t read it as it’s in Estonian… fantastic photo’s though, and all awesome people!

So in the next few months my intentions are to share with you a few bits and pieces of what I’ve learnt over the summer from travelling with siblings to being a maid of honour abroad! I’ll also be sharing my travels of Barcelona, Rome and Amsterdam.

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Ahh Dam, why are you so expensive. *sigh*

I will continue with my Lil Big Sister Travel Co. posts as Beanie is still off traveling and I don’t want her to get in trouble (although there seems to be very little I can do about that.)
I’m aiming to post more little cartoons, at least two a week! And I’m working on another secret little project too!

And if you’re just starting your journey too I encourage you to go for it! You really do just have to stick with it. (I may just be repeating to myself.)

Here are my favourite resources and things I’ve been reading lately that have encouraged me to start taking the first step!

  • The Life Plan by Shannah Kennedy
  • The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss
  • The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
  • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
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We’ll end this with a photograph of Surfers Paradise, Australia cos why not?

P.s The cover photo is from Mysteryland, Amsterdam. Be sure to check out my Instagram!

Packing List for Australia 

Lil Big Sister Travel Co. 

I may not be the best person for this as I’m a all or nothing kinda person. 

I’m currently carting around random things that most backpackers wouldn’t even entertain the idea of.  Red wine vinegar, full length easel, 7 or 8 pairs of shoes, teapot… you get the idea.

I’m so excited for my lil sister Beanie.  She decided last year that she’d had enough of the UK & wanted to travel! Her first big trip and she’s coming over to Australia! 

She’s super excited and I said I’d help her out with planning so I came up with Lil Big Sister Travel Company! 

The previous Lil Big Sister Travel Co. Blog Posts are:

  • Intro to Lil Big Sister Travel Co. 
  • To Do List
  • Savings Plan

Immediately after Christmas Beanie started asking me about a packing list. She got her brand new backpack and I imagine she’s eager to fill it!

Well Beanie don’t go spending your Christmas and birthday cash just yet! Let your little big sister butt in! I’m going to try and give you the best advice I can (even if I don’t take my own advice, you should.  Don’t buy a teapot.)

First of all! Before you go stuffing things in that bag…

Check flight baggage allowances!

This can catch some people out. 

Imagine you’re on your way to Australia, you have two layovers and three flights to catch. The last two’s baggage allowance is 35kg but the first one is 25kg. If you pack over that 25kg you’re going to have to pay charges! 

Always check your baggage allowance for every flight! And only pack the minimum amount unless you wanna pay extra. 

Label your luggage!

Yes it’s those back to school days where you had to write your name in everything. There are some nice people out there that will happily try to find you if you lose something. I add an email address onto mine so the person can email me and find out where I am instead of thinking about shipping it back to mum’s house in the UK.

Try to predict the future!

Pack light if you know you’re going to be moving around a lot. Or if you know you can cope living the minimalist life.  Or if you have a shoulder injury. (Why don’t I take my own advice?!)

You can pack heavier or a little more stuff if you know you’re going to be staying in one place for a while and you can legitimately keep your stuff there without worrying about it.

Know where and when!

A lot of what you pack will depend on where you’re going and when you’re going…why? Because of the weather! Australia is incredibly diverse. Summer can be over 45 degrees and Winter (when the sun goes down) can be minus numbers! When we worked on the herb farm in Mulgowie, during the winter we couldn’t feel our fingers or toes! Apparently in Stanthorpe they had snow!

Remember Australia is the complete opposite to the UK.

UK – Summer June, July, August Winter December, January, February

Straya – Winter June, July, August Summer December, January, February      This means their festival season is around Christmas and New Years!

UK- Head South for warmer climates! The further North you go the colder you get, Scotland brrrr.

Straya – Head North for warmer climates! The further South you go the colder you get, Melbourne and Tasmania!

I guess what I’m saying is take at least one coat.

What to Pack!

Important documents

This is next because without these you won’t be getting on the plane! Get a nice thin little folder to put in the back of your backpack for these. 

Take photocopies/photos of these and send them to your email address and someone else responsible. In fact feel free to send a copy to me or mum to look after. This is in case you lose them we still have the details. These documents include: 

Passport 
Visa 
Travel insurance policy
Any medical documents/info 
Bank Cards
ID cards (driving)
CV (make sure this is up to date and has a nice photo on it)
Spare passport photos (they’re just handy)

Technology

Music.

No one I know can survive anything without music. Don’t just rely on your phone to play music. A) incase you lose it, B) you might have to work somewhere they don’t allow mobiles and C) battery life. 
Make sure you take earphones too.

If you have one or can afford to get a spare get a small ipod or mp3 player of some sort.

And back up all your music (or at least your favorite) on a computer or cloud storage. The drives are L-O-N-G here.

Mobile Phone.

As I’m typing this I started looking around wildly for my phone! It’s in my hand. Doh. Get insurance or a back up phone. Just in case. 

Make sure it’s unlocked too as you need a sim card when you get here. 

Also make sure it has enough space in it or get a bigger memory card for it. Most people take ALL their photos on their phone.  You don’t wanna come face to face with a koala bear only to find out you have no space left! #travelnightmare 

Then again you could always carry another…

Camera.

This is useful for when your phone battery dies. It’s completely up to you what you want to buy, if you’re just going to put photos on facebook then trust me don’t spend the money on something too fancy or technical. You won’t need it and it might get wrecked on hikes or trips to the beach.

Kindle/Kobo/Reading thing.

I actually don’t know if you read books. If you don’t, you should! This one is completely up to you. If you read a lot of books then these devices are fantastic. They so much space. Check out the reviews bit don’t feel you have to get the most expensive one. Mine cost £30 and it does what I need. If you’re not too bothered you can pick up cheap/free books anywhere.

If you need any inspiration for a travel reading list I’ll try put one together next month. 

Laptop/Notebook.

This one again is up to you.  It depends on how much you spend on the computer and how much you can do in your phone. I can do most things on my phone and im only thinking of buying a computer because I NEED Photoshop in my life. Just remember if it’s not essential, it’s just something else to worry about.

Adapter.

It’s cheaper to buy one of these in the UK.

Travel hairdryer.

Can be useful if you’re imitating Rapunzel, otherwise not needed. Same goes for staightners etc.

Clothes

As I’ve said before this will depend on the weather and what you’re doing.

It’s up to you if you want to wear white or light coloured clothes but I warn you they don’t stay white for long.

I wish I had bought packing cubes sooner! These will save you so much hassle and time!
Have a look for some cheap ones on Amazon.com

I’d recommend;

A couple of tank tops (baggy & tight)

A t-shirt and a nice top

A long sleeve shirt (for cold/mozzie time)

A pair of shorts (denim to look cool) or skirts whatever you’re into.

A pair of jeans or long trousers (again for the cold and bugs)

A dress or two (mine are the same dress) …

Hat! A big one! Seriously! If you’ve ever get a sun burnt scalp you’ll know why this is so important.

Swim gear (bikini, board shorts/whatever) … FYI they sell really cute/cool stuff here in the surf shops so consider buying swim wear here!

Lightweight jacket or coat (extra points if it’s waterproof)

Jumper/sweater/hoodie type thing.

Pjs.

Underwear (I shouldn’t have to tell you to pack socks. For goodness sake!)

REMEMBER you’ll be going for job interviews at some stage so make sure you have at least one outfit that’s smart casual aka jeans and nice top.

Accessories

Sunglasses.
Big huge ones with proper UV protection! Don’t go swimming in the sea with them on unless they are superglued to your head. You will lose then in minutes.

Waterbottle.
Get a nice one, bpa free, with a clip attachment or something and carry it everywhere!

Towels
You can get really cute cheap beach towels from a shop called Cotton On here, so save and get one here.
Travel towels for after showers are pretty good and quite cheap from sports direct. They don’t take up a lot of space and dry quickly.

Bags
You have your big backpack but don’t forget a day one, this could be a cute lil backpack for day outs or a large handbag. Just imagine you’re going out for a day at the beach and see which bag fits all your stuff.
Preferably one with a zip so things don’t fall out or are easily pinched.

If you plan on doing a lot of swimming some people invest in dry bags to keep things… well dry. I had one in Thailand when we were on boat trips all the time.

Watch.
Up to you. Dunno if you wear one…

Shoes…

Sandals/flipflops/thongs.
You need these.

Trainers.
Something you can wear all day comfortably.

Fancy/going out shoes.
If you go out for a nice meal anywhere or even that job interview your not going to wear your flip flops or trainers, right?

Cosmetics
I guarantee that you won’t wear as much make up here as you usually would. Two reasons.  1) it’s hard to put on over suncream and 2) sweat.
If you’re by the beach you don’t need it anyway.  But yeah this one’s totally up to you.  Just don’t go OTT. Except fake tan with shimmer. You go girl *snaps fingers* Er huh!  
Lipsticks dangerous see what not to bring below.

Hair care!!!! 
Favorite brands. This might not be that import make to you but if you absolutely cannot live without a product make sure that Australia stores stock it.
Your experience may be different to mine but the two things that actually detangle my hair aren’t available here.  Or I’ve not found them anywhere. And one of them is Aussie. Ironic huh? The range of hair care in Australia is abysmal.  Sorry Straya but it is. Sort it out!!
(I know you like bedhead, don’t worry they have that.)

Extra useful things

Padlocks.
If you’re going to stay in Hostels you will need your own padlocks for your lockers. I recommend a combination padlock over a padlock with keys. I’m more likely to lose a key than to forget a few numbers.

Sleeping aids.
Calms. (Natural sleeping remedy)
Ear plugs.
Sleeping eye mask.
Worth their weight in gold for light sleepers.

First Aid Kit.
At least one of you should carry this. No need for two but seriously get one. You won’t need it until you need NEED it. Things you should have in it:
Savlon, gauze, bandage, plasters, paracetamol, ibuprofen, ….

Scrapbooking/journal/ hobby stuff.
This is optional, I know you’ve got a new book and it’s just nice to write about wear you’ve been, glue ticket stubs in or write down things you wanna do. It’s like Pinterest…before the internet!
I’d go mental if I didn’t have a sketchbook!

Insect repellent & Tiger Balm
Australia isn’t as bad for bugs as SE Asia but they still have mosquitos and sand flies.  They like to feast at dusk and dawn so make sure your armed with repellent. 
It should have at least 50% deet in it. 100% is too much. Lethal. If it leaks it will dissolve plastic. Don’t put that on your skin. 50% is fine. 
Buy it cheap at sports direct.

Tiger balm you can get in Boots. It should be part of your med kit. It soothes insect bites, clears stuffy noses, relaxes muscle pain. It does everything except tapdance.

What NOT to Pack! 

Sunblock/screen/cream/whatever it’s called. The UV rays are stronger here so european standards won’t do. It has to be approved by the Australian Cancer Council. 
Bring a little bit aka a small travel size bottle to get you by.

Too many valuables. Jewelry or sentimental things that would be really difficult to replace. A couple is ok but you don’t want to be constantly worried about stuff.

Lipstick or other cosmetics that will easily melt. They will melt if you’re living in a car/tent/somewhere workout a fridge or aircon.
Oh candles melt too. Don’t buy candles. 

Drugs.
I shouldn’t have to tell you this but they have sniffer dogs at the airport. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Just say NO to drugs!

The kitchen sink. 
There’s just no need.

P.s

Remember this is just a guide. 
If you can’t fit everything in don’t worry too much you can always get stuff here when you need it. And if you want to take more be my guest. I have three effin blankets and a multi coloured unicorn teddy bear.

Your Savings Plan for Travel

Lil Big Sister Travel Co. 

First of all for a savings plan. Reminder this was made for my little sister but you can still apply this post to your own plans if you’re creative. 

Before you go anywhere, make sure you afford everything before you leave. 

The following:

  • FLIGHTS: one way £350-500
  • To get in and to live off: £2,500
  • Visa application:  £215
  • Travel insurance: £300
  • Extras and miscellaneous: £200

TOTAL: £3700. Ish

You will need to plan how long it will take to get this.  Then you will know what sort of date you’re realistically looking at going.

REMEMBER to add anything else you think of later on to this number. Travel can be full of hidden costs. 

SAVING PLAN

STEP 1 

1. List all your income ( what you earn a week)
2. Then list all your outgoings (so everything you spend money on every week) 

3. Subtract your outgoings from your income and down the total.  Even if it’s minus.

Remember to be honest with yourself.  You dont have to show it anyone if you don’t want.  Just remember if you lie. You are only lying to yourself. 

If you were guessing about your outgoings (everybody does)…

To get a more realistic idea. You will need to keep a diary of everything you spend.  Write it all down. Everything.  

Then add it all up at the end of the week. 

See if you were right.

Get a mini notebook and carry it everywhere. It might be difficult to remember to do. But try.

An example:

Income: £600 a week.

Outgoing: Rent – £150 a week. Food – £100. Bills – £50. Extras – £100. Social – £100.

What’s left = £100 a week. (SP).

STEP 2

Step 1 will give you an idea of your potential weekly savings.  That number you worked out will show you how long it will take to reach your goal. Don’t worry if it’s not alot or if it’s minus we’ll deal with that. We’ll call this number your SP or saving potential.

You’re goal is £3,700. Don’t panic, it’s achievable! Trust me! And we know you can do it! Shia la’Bouf believes in you too!

When we’ve broken it down it won’t seem as much.

In Step 2 we do a timeline check. If you need £3,700 divide it by your SP number (how much you can save in a week) and this will equal how many weeks it will take to achieve it.

For example.

The date is Monday 14th March I need £3,000 and I can save £100 a week. 

3000÷100 =30. 

So it will take 30 weeks. 

This means I would be able to afford to go on Monday 10th October! 

Figure out what day you can leave on!

And don’t panic if it says 2018. We’ll fix that in step 3.

TIP

You can add on any current savings you have.  Say you have £500 saved already. Now you only need £2,500 so use that number in your calculation.

REMEMBER 

Remember if you don’t understand or need help, just contact our 24/7 helpline on Facebook and one of our advisors will get back to you when they’ve finished running around the farm. (Only applies to my little sister… although if anyone fancies sending me an email it’s erin.reki@gmail.com or visit the contact page.)

Send me your questions! Unless you’re my ex in which case you can bugger off.

STEP 3

If you’re SP number is a minus or not as high as you want it to be or maybe it might take you until 2029 to save the money! You need to look at increasing your income and spending less money.

First let’s look at spending less.  We’ll tackle increasing your income in Step 4.

What can you save money on?

Write a new outgoings list with how much you are going to let yourself spend every week.  Try and stick to it.

Every time you are thinking of spending ask yourself:

“Do I really NEED this? Or do I want to live at the beach?”

If you do need it ask yourself:

“Can I get it cheaper?”

Do your research. Freecycle is now a thing. So is ebay or just ask around if friends and family are willing to donate things you might need.  

Distract yourself away from places that might encourage you to buy stuff you don’t need.  Aka don’t go window shopping. 

Instead of eating out, make meals at home. 

Explain to people your savings goals so that they may support you. 

If you have a vice or bad habit now is the time to kick it. Calculate how much alcohol or cigarettes are costing you per week and get some help to quit.

Put your savings in a high interest rate saving account. I’ve gained over £100 in a year just from interest. Free money. Yay!

STEP 4

Increase your income. How? Let’s look at some ways.

1. Selling your stuff. 

Remember not to sell anything you’ll regret. Read my post about that. 

You can ask people if they would like to donate unwanted items too.

Carboots are great, but remember some things are worth a lot more on ebay. 

For any clothes that don’t sell on ebay put them on the carboot and for any that don’t sell on the carboot, you can weigh them in for cash. 

Books can be sold online. So can electronics. 

Friends and family night be interested in your stuff too.

2. Work extra hours. No one wants to hear this.  But you do what you must.

3. If you can make or do anything that people might want. Do that. Bake sales. Nails. Makeup.  Kids facepaint. Busking. Anything you can spare time to do. 

4. Don’t be afraid to research other ways to make cash 🙂 the internet has lots of good ideas. Market research, testing websites, audio typing etc.  And ask people too. Get yourself out there. People might need dogs walking and babies sitting. 

Step 5

You should hold yourself accountable and monitor your savings. 

Download from online or make your own savings chart. Every time you put a certain amount of money away colour in the box or tick it off. I made mine on excel and I usually tick mine off after I save £100. 

This is so you can see your progress. It motivates you and reminds you what you are working towards. Put it somewhere you will see it everyday! 

And that is your savings plan.

P.s 

I will post about applying for passports, visas, flights and insurance at some point. But the next post will be about what to pack because Beanie has been harassing me for it! 🙂

Your Very Basic To Do List for getting Started to Travel

Lil Big Sister Travel Co. 

When my little sister said she wanted to come to Oz, after I broke down what a company proposing to help your move would do I started with a list of what she needed to do. Here it is!

1. Save some cash!

Flights are around £500/600 depending on when you fly and who you fly with. I always use the skyscanner app or website.

Travel Insurance is a must! Ours cost around £300 for two of us 18 months with Alpha Travel Insurance. It’ll cost different depending on how long you need cover and what the cover…covers.

Oz officials say you should have £2,500 in your account when you enter the country…this is to cover living expenses before you get a job and a return flight in case you are stuck.

Visa is $446 including the card charge which is around £250.

Plus money if you want to buy a car. You can always save up for one here though.  I honestly don’t know how I’d manage here without one but some people use the greyhound buses or get lifts and travel in groups. You never know who you’ll meet!

2. Download useful apps, music etc and get inspired.

Read some travel blogs for inspiration just to get an idea of what you want to do and other useful things.  Basically do some research.

I recommend downloading the app ‘Currency’ its a green circle with lots of money symbols in it.

The reason you need to get your tech and stuff sorted before you go (and well in advance) is because before you get a sim card you will be stuck for internet here. Free wifi is limited and it’s even worse in the countryside!

Journeys are long here. Don’t get caught out without entertainment.

3. Before you apply for your visa…

Check your passport is in date and has at least two years on it. If not, get a new one. 

You are also better off paying for your visa with Australian dollars and you’ll need a travel cash card anyway.  So you might as well get one asap. I have a caxtonfx card. It’s dead easy to apply for.

When you get your card load some cash onto it in Australian dollars and then you can apply for your visa.

You might need a medical but you don’t really need to worry about any other kinds of travel jabs or malaria pills and that sorta stuff if your only going to Australia.

4. Get your flights booked!

It’s a really long flight so you might want to stop over somewhere, Singapore airport has a swimming pool!!

Like I mentioned I use Skyscanner most of the time.  

Here would be a good time to mention that you should sign up to frequent flyer points or airmiles. I don’t expect you to 100% understand ‘travel hacking’ just yet but it’s good practice and you should give that term a quick google. You’ll be kicking yourself you didn’t start it when you first started travelling. I do. 

5. Choose your insurance!

Do NOT I repeat do NOT travel without travel insurance.  If you think you can get in a plane without it please first read some of the personal horror stories online. If God forbid something terrible happens, you will have enough on your plate without having to worry about the cost. It’s just not worth it. 

You saved up your money to buy your insurance in step 1, so now buy it. 

It may be the most boring thing on the planet and seems like a punishment from the devil himself but it’s actually important to read through your policies. Know what you are covered for. It’s also your responsibility to make sure you understand them.  If you don’t read through them with someone and work it out together. That or call the company.

6. Pack your bags!

Don’t worry too much about this one. I’ll write you a packing list to help you start thinking about the things you might wanna take soon enough. You should really start with step 1 at least 6 months prior to when you want to travel anyway so we have time to come back to this. 

So in very basic terms:

1. Save some mulah.

2. Download inspo and stuff.

3. Get visa.

4. Buy flights.

5. Get insured.

Now, there may be other things your thinking about that aren’t on this list including TFNs, mobile phones, getting a job and what to take with you. We’ll come back to those things as soon as you’ve finished these 5 steps as there’s no point knowing about Medicare cards etc if you haven’t already been granted a visa and booked your flights etc.

Your on your way though! And congratulations and being brave enough to start!

P.s

My next post will help you with step 1. Saving money. A lot of people don’t travel because they think it’s unaffordable. I will help you overcome that thinking with another step by step plan.