OK so this vlog is super random because I kept forgetting to vlog! But I really wanted to make it because it showcases some truly amazing people I’m lucky to have in my life.
I want to give a massive shout out to everyone who put me up in the UK. Your hospitality, tour guide skills, food and company was so special. You know that when you’re in Australia next, you have somewhere to go.
Well June you’ve been well and truly CRAZY! Finishing up with uni, finishing up at work, moving out of college, packing my life into a bag and heading off to LONDON! June has absolutely flown by, and as I sit on a bus heading up north to Leeds, it feels like a perfect time to reflect on the month that’s been.
(If you haven’t read about my awesome plans for the next few months, read here so you know what I’m talking about)
Finishing uni for Autumn session
Damn, what a session! I can’t believe that session has already come and gone! It’s actually mind blowing! This session has probably been my best session yet. Whilst my results aren’t released for another week, I’m feeling pretty confident. I felt really engaged with all of my material, pushed myself to try new things, and made awesome friends in my classes. I’d call that a pretty successful session if you ask me! (I got my results the other day… 2xD’s and 1xHD!!!)
KB End of Session Formal
One of the best things about finishing uni for the session, is having a massive party to celebrate! And what better way to do that, than with your bestest friends that you’ve called family for the past few months. We had our KB formal which consists of a three course meal and an open bar. Yes, that’s right… an open bar. For uni students…. If that isn’t a recipe for disaster I don’t know what is. But it’s amazing. Everyone gets super messy and you drink and dance the night away with everyone you love! Plus you get to dress up all fancy and just have a fab time!
Finishing up with work
It was quite bittersweet finishing up at work really. Whilst I was stoked when 5pm on that Friday afternoon finally rolled around, I was also quite sad. I’ve become really close with my work colleague and saw her basically every day for the past year. I feel that I’ve grown a lot in that position which has not only been personally rewarding, but I feel that the work I was doing was contributing towards a positive work environment. Hopefully when I return from my travels, I can get my job back, or get another great job with the uni! Fingers crossed!
Moving out of college
That was a sad day indeed. Not only was I leaving but my other housemate was venturing off to Italy for a month and at least 4 of my close friends are also going on exchange for second session all around the world. I moved out on the Monday of the Queens Birthday long weekend and had the biggest weekend! 21st parties, picnics, clubs, bars, drinks, drinks and more drinks. You could imagine I was not in tip top condition on that Monday. Plus, through in the emotions of leaving, it was a pretty rough day. Thank you to everyone who made that last weekend in the gong so special.
Spending time at home
I don’t get to make it home often, so getting to spend 10 whole days at home was absolutely delightful! The weather was superb and I got to spend quality time with my family and my two cute little dogs. It really was so lovely and I’m so grateful for everyone showing me so much love and kindness before I head off on my big adventure!
A beautiful Sydney sesh
It’s kind of a tradition in my family that the night before you fly out, you spend the night in Sydney and go out for a special dinner and drinks. I spent the day in Bondi with my Mum and sister. It was an absolutely stunning day and it was so lovely to spend quality time with my family. For dinner, my best friend Tishia and her bf Mark joined my Mum and I for a cute little pub feed. Again, I’m so grateful to these people for making me feel so loved and special. You definitely made leaving Australia much more difficult.
Being pleasantly surprised by Manila
On the 24th of June, I heard the best words I think I’ve ever heard come out of an air hostesses mouth… ‘you’ve been upgraded!’ Not only was I going to the Philippines, but I was going to the Philippines in style and comfort! You can watch the experience of my flight and my stopover here.
Again, it’s difficult to describe how amazing it was to see some friends that I haven’t seen for nearly 3 years! And it’s even better when it feels like no time has passed at all! I’m so so so grateful for everyone who made my time in the UK so special and who went above and beyond to show me a good time.
They’re back!!! Thank god! I’ve waited way too long to hear Dan’s beautiful voice! Such a catchy and just damn awesome song!!! Now I just need to patiently wait for their album!
MUMFORD & SONS
Holy sh*t I’m absolutely in love with this song! It’s full of soul, it’s uplifting and it’s just AMAZING!!!! I used it this month as my ‘take off song’ (a song you play when your plane takes off and you feel an overwhelming feeling of ecstasy).
This quote says so much to me. This month I’ve been so blessed to be surrounded by people who love me and who are there to encourage me to pursue my dreams. I really and sincerely grateful for every act of kindness. It is these people around me that inspire me to be the best I can be and spread this kindness around the world. Especially in a world where love, kindness and acceptance seem to be fleeting, it is now more than ever that we need to stand together, to support one another, in solidarity and strength. Love is love is love is love is love…
July – you better watch out… because I’m coming for you!
Lately I’ve been asked a lot from my lucky jet setter friends, ‘what are the essential things to do and see in London?’ I usually reply with ‘depends if you want to see the touristy London, or the real London?’ And whilst I only lived in London for a year and am still no expert on the real London, here’s my list of awesome things that you mustsee and do in the fabulous city of history and culture, LONDON!
1. Big Ben. Of course.
2. The Red Telephone Box. Again. Of course. And don’t worry, they’re EVERYWHERE!
3. Piccadilly Circus TDK neon signs. Kind of unmissable if you venture into the city.
4. Tower Bridge. So much history and beauty. Get a good shot from the Southbank.
5. Buckingham Palace. Obviously.
1. Camden (Markets). Pretty much one of my favourite parts of London. You can walk around aimlessly for hours and find a good feed and bargain along the way. With music, buskers and weird and wonderful things everywhere, it’s a must see. Plus an amazing music scene! Amy Winehouse ring any bells? This was her territory.
2. Brick Lane. Possibly one of the coolest places ever. Located in East London and just a short walk from Liverpool Street, Brick Lane is a hipsters paradise. Amazing pop up food stalls, underground vintage markets (I bought my pair of Converse from there for 20pounds), street performers and AMAZING Indian cuisine. If you want cheap and authentic Indian then this it the place to go. Hidden between the high rises of Liverpool Street, it really is a hidden gem.
3. Covent Garden. Beautiful restaurants and a few little markets hidden around, conveniently located right in the middle of the city.
1. Carnaby Street. Lots of cute little restaurants and bars scattered along the street it’s a great find and a lot of fun.
2. Any markets. Camden, Brick Lane, Southbank, Notting Hill, Borough Markets…
3. Browns for High Tea. If you’re in London then you must indulge and have a high tea experience. I was fortunate enough to go with some family members and it was a simply divine dining experience.
Galleries and Museums
1. The British Museum. I went here about 4 or 5 times and still didn’t see everything! Make sure you don’t miss Cleopatras Mummy or the Rosetta Stone.
2. The National Gallery. Prime location, overlooking Trafalgar Square. Again, a day simply is not enough but my (biased) recommendation is checking out the Romantic’s artwork.
3. The National Portrait Gallery. Adjacent to the National Gallery, it’s worth the detour to spend an hour or two here. When I visited, there was an exhibition on Miss Marilyn Monroe and I was in love.
1. The Tower of London. If you want to dive deep into 13th Century London, this is the place to do it!
2. Shakespeare’s Globe. If you’re a poetry/literature nut like me then you’ll probably swoon when you see it. If you’re not too keen on paying super high prices, every now and again they have deals on tickets.
3. John Keats House in Hamstead Heath. Again, if you’re an English Romantic Literature fan… you CANNOT miss this. I studied John Keats in English at high school and have since had a fascination of him and his work. Being at his actual house and in the surrounding neighbourhood was so inspiring and overwhelming, I may have shed a tear or two.
A Little Something Extra
1. The Heron Tower. Located just near Liverpool Street tube station is this fabulous 40 floor tower. If you dress up pretty nicely and say to the guy at the door ‘I’m just going up for drinks’ then he’ll let you past. Press number 38 and you’ll shoot up in a glass elevator. Up the top of the building is something spectacular. An amazing 5star bar, a sushi restaurant and a fantastic view (which is free). I’ve been up there a few time and not purchased anything, just to check out the view and it’s splendid every time. If you feel like splurging, why not enjoy a glass of wine whilst overlooking the spectacular city.
Things to give a miss
1. The Tate Modern. OK if you love modern art… go for it. Even with my open mind, I still didn’t get it. Any of it.
2. The London Eye. Look at it from a distance. It’s not worth wasting the time in the huge line or money.
3. Changing of the Guard. I never went and I’m glad I saved myself a few painful hours. There’s waaaaaay too many people, you can’t really see anything and it’s all rather uneventful.
What are the differences between dominant flows and contra-flows? Why are contra-flows important? How do they affect us here in Australia?
Media has traditionally been dominated by America and Europe due to economic, technological and political power, and rapid advancements in communications. When my parents grew up, they would watch television shows like the Brady Bunch and Happy Days, listen to music like the Beach Boys and Bay City Rollers, and want to be like Sandy from Grease and fall in love with Danny. Whilst I still enjoy the occasional Grease song, growing up and consuming media in the 21st Century was drastically different because of the endless options the Internet provides. I can read Japanese anime, listen to Korean Pop, watch strange Norwegian films, extravagant Bollywood films as well as enjoy a classic Hollywood film like the Notebook.
This change over time not only represents how globalisation has dramatically altered our media consumption but also the differences between Dominant Media Flows and Contra-Media Flows. Dominant media flows are generally associated with worldwide popularity like Disney, MTV and Google (Thussu, Table 1.1, pp. 12, 2006). However the ‘one-way flow of US programming to the periphery of the world system are being reassessed in light of increasing multi-directional flows of media imagery’ (Curtin, pp. 131, 2003). This change has led to the emergence of contra-media flows which are associated with ‘national corporations, governments and national audiences’ (Thussu, pp. 30, 2006).
Contra-media flows such as Al-Jazeera (Middle Eastern and North African news) and Baidu.com (a Chinese version of Google) have had significant effects on dominant media because consumers want to be able to relate and understand media from a cultural and personal perspective. The emergence of contra-flows are important in today’s interconnected society as they ‘can shape cultural identities, energise dis-empowered groups and help create political coalitions and new transnational private and public spheres (Thussu, pp. 20, 2006).
For example, I lived in London last year and found that I was losing track of Australian politics, events and most importantly… sport. A century ago, it would be practically impossible to keep updated, however, there is the wonderful TNT magazine, specifically made for Australians living in London. They include topics like current trends in Australian politics, who’s favoured to win the State of Origin AND relevant information about events in London such as housing prices, cheap travel options and pub crawls (that’s all Aussies do in London). This contra-flow allowed me to feel engaged in both Australia and the UK and by combining them with dominant media flows (with a little help from my friend the Internet) allows me to stay up to date with current events across the globe.
We are all aware of dominant media flows such as Disney, however, we are not all aware of the little guys (contra-flows) that are making a big impact in our lives and across the globe. I believe that contra-flows will become more important and prominent as the forces of globalisation threaten cultural diversity. It’s a nice feeling knowing wherever we go in the world, we’ll be able to know what’s happening in Home and Away.
Scotland. A wild, rugged country. Where red heads roam free and it’s perfectly acceptable to say Aye and Wee. On my travels, many people told me about how I should go to Ireland, ‘it’s so green, the accent is so sexy, they know how to party, there’s so much history…’ and yes that is true… but how many people have you heard say ‘YOU MUST GO TO SCOTLAND!’ Well here I am telling you this! SCOTLAND IS WHERE IT’S AT!
These are the places I visited
-Isle of Skye
1 – They have the sexiest accent! Seriously, any Scottish men out there give me a call. Whilst you might not always understand what they’re saying, it’s ok, you can just stare into their eyes and nod your head. The people are so so friendly. Unlike the snobbish Londoners, the Scots know how to make you feel welcome. When I first arrived off the train in Edinburgh, a gentleman helped me find my hostel and carry my bag without being creepy! Yay. You can approach almost anyone in the street and they’ll be more than happy to help you out with directions, translations or just to say hello.
2 – Edinburgh is the coolest capital city ever! The windy roads, cobblestone streets, open green spaces, clean crisp air, best and cheap nightlife, amazing pubs and a castle in the middle of the city… it has everything you could ever want out of a city! And it’s relatively small, so you can explore the city by foot. Be sure to make the climb up to Arthur’s Seat to get a breath of fresh air and a spectacular view over the city.
3 – Scotland has so many castles! Like 3000 (most are complete ruins but still spectacular). So if you’re into your knights in shining armour, kingdoms and castle walls, look no further than Scotland. For the full list of castles visit http://www.scotland.com/castles/ A lot of the castles are free, so you can climb in and around them and capture some wicked photos.
4- Harry Potter was written and filmed here! Enough said really.
5 – The Isle of Skye is one of the most majestical places on Earth. Basically untouched by man, you can completely immerse yourself in the beautiful countryside!
6 – You can spend hours by Loch Ness, looking for Nessy! You can enjoy a beer or whisky by the lake and watch the sun set whilst having your camera by your side. If you’re game enough, you can jump into the nearly freezing water, unfortunately I wasn’t game enough, but what a great story to tell.
7 – The landscape is completely surreal. Moutains, rivers, valleys, lakes with small winding roads to take it all in.
8- It snows! For all of us Australians that have never seen snow before, it’s quite a remarkable experience. Scotland has ski fields and beautiful snow capped mountains, and in the midst of winter, snow will creep down to the lowlands into the bigger towns and cities where you can throw snowballs and make snowmen.
9 – It has beautiful beaches and coastal areas. Perhaps, not in winter, however when it starts to heat up, you can flock to the sandy beaches. My favourite was in St. Andrews where you can see the ruins of a cathederal, castle and run your feet through the sand.
10 – IT’S JUST DAMN BEAUTIFUL!
I hope this has inspired you to add Scotland to your itinerary for your next adventure!
London oh London. You are not just another city, but your own country, your own ecosystem, buzzing with people, music, sound, buses, cars, towers, bridges and foxes. Last year, I was lucky enough to call London home. East London, so that makes me one tough girl. Whether it was getting to work, meeting friends, having a night out or exploring the city, there’s a hidden gem around every corner… you just need to know where to look.
So these little segments will be about the little nooks and crannys that don’t quite make it into the Lonely Planet books, but are definitely worth the detour.
If you want to get the best view in London, don’t wait in line for hours and waste your money to go on the London Eye… instead take advantage of this free lookout and one of the best bars in London. Located right outside Liverpool St Tube Station (Central, Hammersmith & City, Circle Line), the Heron Tower is the big one down and on the right (you really can’t miss it).
It is quite a fancy place so dress to impress.
There’s always a guy on the door by the lift (very fancy) and just say you’re going up for a drink. You enter a glass lift and press 38. If you’re terrified of heights, I strongly suggest closing your eyes. You’re whisked up ever so quickly watching the world disappear beneath your feet. It’s hard to resist a nervous laugh. Warning right now… THE DRINKS ARE EXPENSIVE. 2 glasses of wine as pictured above will set you back about 15pounds! But on a good occasion (like your best friends 21st) there’s nothing better.
You can sit by the window on intimate little stools and slowly sip your wine or outside there is a beautiful viewing platform (which overlooks the suburbs) with a fire pit to keep you warm at night and a large tree dotted in gorgeous fairy lights, the perfect place to lay back and lose yourself somewhere on the horizon.
On a clear day, you can see the entire city (except for the Chard). St Pauls Cathederal, the Thames, The Gherkin and millions of little ants as you look 38 stories below. By night, it is even more spectacular as you see the city burst to life with red, yellow and orange hues igniting the bustling city.
This is such a fancy, private and beautiful place to bring all of your friends that are new to London, you’re guaranteed to see chins hit the floor.
If (like me) you’re too poor to buy drinks up there, after you check out the amazing view, Shoreditch and Brick Lane are just around the corner, waiting to be discovered.
‘Hey, yea I’m from (insert country here).’
‘Oh really? I want to go there one day.’
‘Ah well add me and when you come hit me up.’
I’ve had this conversation so many times. And my facebook friends keep growing in number as you meet people from everywhere across the globe. There are so many places that I do wish to visit in the world and yes if you’ll let me crash on your lounge and take me out to your favourite bar, let’s do it. However, I just recently got to thinking about all the people you meet through your travels, you might have an amazing time with them, and you may never see them again, but you’ll always see their status updates and keep up to date on their life.
Twenty years ago, you would’ve had a great time out with some cool people, went your separate ways, never saw them again, and they may cross your mind a few years later as you reminisce.
But now due to facebook, a night out turns into a virtual connection lasting a lifetime.
And it gets me thinking about what it really means to be someone’s friend, beyond a friendship request.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love scrolling down my news feed and seeing things in all different languages, with pictures from the snow, mountains or beaches. And I love the fact that at some point in our two very different lives, our paths crossed, we smiled at each other and formed a bond. The unfortunate thing really is, I still know everything that’s happening to you in your life, but I genuinely don’t know if I’ll ever see you again. And you’ll see what’s happening in this person’s life for years to come.
So how do you cut people out of your life now? You really can’t. Whereas 20 years ago, if you outgrew someone, that was it. But now it’s all so personal and people take great offence to being blocked or deleted. Life definitely needs those buttons to filter out those people who are no good for you, but does it have to be so public? It’s such a relief when you do realise that you don’t need certain people in your life and you can cut them out, but until then your friend requests keep rolling in.
Some of my closest friends that I have the fondest memories with , are people that you share intimate moments with. Whether it’s telling them your secrets, going on an adventure together, staying up until 3am just talking about nothing in particular, calling them when you’re in trouble and just someone to hug and who makes you feel at home. And it’s just a bonus if you can crash on their lounge when you go traveling to their home country. But it’s those relationships that last beyond that one night out, you message them, have your little inside jokes, have numerous photos with them and you’re already planning when you can see eachother again. You don’t necessarily have to talk everyday or skype once a week, but when you do talk, it’s like it was yesterday. And when you talk, you’re not telling them everything you’ve done for the past month, instead just having a general conversation filled with laughter that doesn’t really make sense.
It’s crazy how social media has changed friendships especially within the travel community, because back in the day if you really wanted to keep in touch with someone special, you would get their home address, print off some pictures, write a letter and send it across the world which could take weeks. But now everything is instantaneous. Night out. Take some photos. Have a good chat. Discuss future travel plans. ‘Oh add me.’ And done, you’re now friends for life, where that friendship once wouldn’t have exceeded that night.
And I’m not saying in any way that this is a bad thing at all, it’s fantastic. 20 years ago it would’ve been impossible to have pen pals from Brazil, America, Canada, Scotland, France, Sweden, China… all at the same time. I am so thankful for all the incredible people I’ve met in my travels from all across the world, and I probably follow you on facebook, Instagram or twitter. I wish you all of the best in your lives and really do hope I get to crash on your lounge at some point and my offer is always there, if you’re ever in Australia, please do come a visit. Until then keep the status updates, snapchats, tweets and posts coming.
p.s (everyone in these photos are truly incredible! we shared some amazing times together and these photos are just a small reminder of the memories i’ll carry with my for life).