Follow me as I blog my way through 12 months of travel, 20 countries, 2 volunteer programs, 44,000 miles, over 20 flights, countless chicken bus rides and 365 wonderful work-free days.

Archive for the ‘My Top 10’ Category

10 Foods I’d Happily Live Off

For me, travelling is so much more than seeing the sites and getting photo’s of yourself in front of something cool. Amongst other things, food ranks very highly on my to do list while abroad. Mainly, eating it.

I love food. Who doesn’t? but for me it’s about discovering food that you don’t get at home. It’s the condensed milk pancakes, or the pizza slice as big as your head (or your arse depending on how many you eat), it’s the spices and the flavours, and sadly so it’s the discovery of bulk bags of peanut butter cups.. a good thing they don’t sell them at home. 

So you guessed it, this Top 10 List is about food. As mentioned in a previous post, these 10 foods I would happily chop off my arm to be able to eat again.   

10. Coconut Shrimp (Las Vegas, Nevada) – Enough said really. Try it.  

9. Burrito with chips (Lyon, France) – I have to explain this one. It wasn’t just any burrito, this was the king of burritos. Big, tasty and loaded with chips and aioli on top. yuuummmm.  

8. Cashew Chicken (Bangkok, Thailand) – We have this in Australia, but nothing compares to the real thing.

7. Fat Burger (America) – Fat Burger is actually the name of the restaurant. It’s very similar to a regular McDonald’s or Burger King burger, but SO much better. Try one, or ten, I won’t judge.

6. Cheese Pizza (New York City) – Who goes to NYC without trying pizza? Not me. I love cheese pizza but there is a shop on every corner offering an endless amount of toppings. mmmm cheesy goodness.

5. Traditional Sunday Roast (London, England) – Maybe it’s because this dish reminded me of home, but I used to love the traditional pub roasts, and it didn’t even have to be a Sunday to eat one.  

4. Gelati (anywhere in Italy) – We found a quaint little shop in Venice that sold the best gelati, although they sell it all over Italy. Careful, it’s addictive.  

3. Condensed Milk Fried Pancakes (Luang Prabang, Thailand) – Not only do these taste great but you get to watch them make them in front of you. I loved these and think about them often, like a long lost friend.

2. Hurricanes (New Orleans) – Not a food exactly, well not a food at all, although by the time you’ve gotten through one, you won’t need dinner. This drink has something like 5 different types of alcohol in it so you only need one. Can you say hangover? 

1. Food (China) – We call it Chinese food, though I’m sure in China they just call it food. Without a doubt, anything I ate in China, I LOVED LOVED LOVED. I would go back just for the food alone.  

10 Bucket List Moments – ticked off

So in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m big on lists, and as I haven’t yet started my big adventure, all that’s left to do is dwell on previous adventures… ahh memories.  

Which is precisely why I have started a series of Top 10 Lists. Everything from the food I would chop off my right arm to be able to eat again, to things I’ve learned about myself while travelling (a riveting read I must say ;)).

So in light of the above, here lies my Top 10 bucket list moments that I am proud to have ticked off…so far.

10. See the Terracotta Warriors in Xian, China – Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to visit the Terracotta Warriors. That dream became a reality when I visited China in 2010.  

9. Swim with sharks – While I actually didn’t do this when travelling, I still think it’s worth a mention. I completed this crazy task in 2002 and I didn’t die, or pee in my wetsuit from the sheer terror.

8. Held a snake – though probably not on my original bucket list at the time, I mean, what sane person would intentionally make a plan to do this? I held this baby (not a baby) in Vanuatu in 2005.

 7. Kiss an alligator – The lucky fella was a resident of the Everglades in Florida. Oh and this one was a baby. I’m not insane.  

6. Go hiking… like real hiking. Possibly not what ‘real’ hikers would consider a ‘real hike’, but for me it was as good as. One of the best experiences I’ve ever had was a 3 day hike in Thailand in 2011, where on our third day we got to ride elephants the rest of the way. Probably the prouder moment was that I didn’t pass out, more so than the actual hike itself.

5. Visit Miami Ink Tattoo Studio in Miami – Not afraid to admit this. I was so excited when I stumbled across the famous studio in Miami in 2008. Unfortunately we didn’t get to spot any of the guys on the show but getting a photo of me in front of the sign was good enough.

4. Go to a baseball game in America – I love baseball and something I have wanted to do since I can remember was go to a game in America. We went to a game in Washington 2008, and it was everything I imagined it would be, and more. High 5’s from random strangers, fanatical fans and Budd Light. What more can a girl ask for?    

3. Jet Boating in Montreal – Imagine splashing water over your face and it being so cold that it hurts when it hits your skin. That’s an understatement. I described this experience at the time as feeling like I was going to die one minute and feeling so invigorated the next. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done.    

2. Eat a grasshopper in Thailand – definitely another one that wasn’t on my original to do list. I’m not usually the type to participate in such shenanigans (ie. eating weird food) but when our tour guide presented a group of us with a bag full of deep-fried grasshoppers, I had to do it. FYI, it tasted like chicken, and I’m not kidding.

1. Climb the Great Wall of China  – Not only did I get to the top of the wall, I climbed every one of those thigh burning, heart attack inducing steps to get there, all with a cold mind you. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years and I’m really proud of myself for having done it. Yay me !

10 Things I’ve Learned From Travelling

I’m a big believer that travelling really broadens the mind and teaches us things about ourselves that we wouldn’t have necessarily found out sitting behind a desk all day. I also think I have changed a lot because of my experiences while travelling. I know this sounds cliche but ask any traveller and I bet they’ll tell you the same thing.

So, here is my list of the top 10 things I’ve learned from travelling.

10. To accept all cultures. I have to admit that I’ve been a little ignorant in the past when it came to stereotyping certain cultures. By visiting these countries, it has shown me that what we perceive as rude, dirty or aggressive in Australia, is really not that at all.

9. Patience. While I think I’ve always had pretty good patience, nothing tests it quite like travelling does. I’ve also learned there are a lot of people who have none. The way I see it, you’ll get on your flight, you’ll get to the front of the line, and yelling at people isn’t going to make it happen any faster. So just chill out.

8. Trust. Not everyone is out to rob you. One of the best nights I’ve ever had in Texas involved a random stranger offering to drive a group of us home in the back of his ute (or pick up truck for you American folk). He didn’t kill us, we didn’t crash. He just dropped us home like he said he would. You can be sensible and be smart, but if you let your guard down just a little, it’s amazing the people you can meet.

7. To take what you can get.  I’ve been to some of the most disgusting, filthy, what-the-hell-is-that squat toilets around the world. Once you have experienced that, nothing shocks you. You can take on anything.

6. To play the waiting game. In airports, on planes, at train stations, at bus terminals. Nothing puts a damper on travel quite like long stop overs and late public transport. I imagine I am now one of the worlds best time killers. Now, standing in line at the post office is cake.

5. To be brave.  I can and have been put in some really scary situations and have dealt with it without crying or chucking a tanty. In fact, I’ve learnt that I can actually be quite calm and deal with the situation.

4. That people are awesome. No matter the language barrier, for the most part, people are friendly, happy and willing to help you. I made great friends with two Chinese women who worked in the corner store near my hotel. They didn’t speak a word of English, nor I Chinese, and we still managed to laugh (probably at each other) and ‘chat’ each morning.

3. To take risks.  As any great travel guide will tell you, avoid eating food from street carts and stalls. That’s just CRAP. I listened to this for all of 2 seconds and have since eaten some of the best food I’ve ever tasted. Could I have tasted something similar in a restaurant, probably, but where’s the fun in that. (Don’t drink the water though, there’s no fun in that)

2. It’s a jungle out there. There are so many incredible, amazing, eye opening places, things, food, cultures, people and experiences out there. And to miss out on that is such a waste. Yes Australia is beautiful, but prostitutes standing in shop fronts like store dummies in Amsterdam, that’s just cool.

1. That I’m blessed. I’ve learned that I am incredibly lucky and blessed to be born in such an amazing country, and even luckier to be born into an amazing, supportive, loving family. Others are not so lucky and I thank the gods everyday for what I have.