Iceland Tales- Why you need to go to Þingvellir National Park

If you are planning a trip to Iceland and need to know what to see and do then here is why you need to put Þingvellir (Thingvellir) firmly at the top of your list!

With the snow-capped hills, waterfalls, plains, rugged terrain from when time began and the largest natural lake it is a truly spectacular place. It probably sounds a little wanky but you can actually feel that it holds significant importance to Iceland and its people.

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#viewgoals

I don’t know how many more superlatives I can use when talking of Iceland but visiting Thingvellir and seeing the beauty and grandeur of the area really is something else!

Its name comes from the old Norse words Ping (assembly) and vollr (field). I’m almost embarrassed to say I didn’t know much about Thingvellir before went but i soon learnt it is more than just an important historical landmark it’s also where you can LITERALLY walk between a continental drift. Which coincidentally is also a GOT filming location. Two birds one stone.

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The National Park contains the site of the first parliament of Iceland dating back to 930. It was where the clans would meet, settle disputes and decide upon the laws that would drive the country forward. It became a national park in 1930 and this was largely to protect the ancient assembly site and to protect the natural land. There are several information boards up around the main assembly site explaining the history behind where you are standing.

If all that history wasn’t enough then there is the chance to see with your own eyes what a continental rift looks like. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is where the Eurasian and North American plates meet and the land between them subsides.  On average each year they drift 2 cms a year apart.  You can see, walk or even scuba dive along it!

The best place to do this is in Silfra Lake where you can dive between the tectonic plates. We didn’t get a chance to do this but it’s on the list for next time.

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The clearest water

If camping and hiking are more your thing then you are in luck and camping – There are facilities for this and It would be an AMAZING place to see the Northern Lights. There are two campsites and from what we found out you don’t need to reserve but you do need to obtain a permit from the visitor centre and there is a cost per person. Children under 17 are free though. If you just want to hike then there is plenty of routes to take you around the park including the remains of the historic abandoned farms of Hrauntun and Skogarkot.

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Oxarafoss Waterfall

Obviously, there has to be a waterfall, it is Iceland after all, and you can find the beautiful Oxarafoss Waterfall for yet another postcard-perfect waterfall photo. The good thing is you don’t need to hike to far to see this one as it is fairly close to one of the car parks.

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Þingvallakirkja
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Þingvallakirkja

There is a very quaint 19th-century church close to the assembly site which you should walk around. This church was built in 1859 but Christianity was introduced to Iceland prior to 1000 which at the time split people’s religious beliefs from paganism and Christianity. At the time to stop chaos the Lawspeaker declared that Icelanders should take up Christianity but if there were pagan they should practise this in private. There has been a church at Thingvellir soon after the decision was made. The church is open 9-5 daily from May/June to early September. We didn’t get to go inside but you can have a good peek in the windows and it’s beautiful to look at both inside and out.

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Continental Drift. You may also have seen this in GoT

If you are a big fan of Game of Thrones you will be aware there are many filming locations dotted around Iceland. Thingvellir was also used as a filming location with 4 scenes featuring in the show. The Wildlings Camp, the path leading to Eyrie, Brian and the Hounds battle scenes, as well as Arya’s and Sandors journey, all were shot here.

Thingvellir is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is located on Golden Circle route of Iceland, just 40ks northeast of Reykjavík. You can easily self-drive through the park just keep an eye on the weather or most Golden Circle Tours will include a visit within their itinerary.

As with most natural wonders in Iceland, it is free to visit and explore just be aware of the parking fees and if you need the loo it will cost you so have some change to hand. You may also need to check the seasonal hours as with the reduced daylight in winter certain areas may be inaccessible.

A trip to Iceland really wouldn’t be complete without visiting this stunning atmospheric place, that just epitomizes Iceland and its history.

For more ideas on what to do in Iceland check out our post on the Lava Tunnel and 38 Photos of Iceland

You can also find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, check us out and if you like what you see please do give us a follow.

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planning a trip to Iceland and need to know what to see and do then here is why you need to put Thingvellir National Park at the top of that list! Post by thewanderingdarlings

38 photos that will make you want to visit Iceland, like right now!

Iceland had long been on my bucket list and I can hand on heart say that it MASSIVELY over delivered on all my expectations. The varied landscapes, the people, that lava fields, the waterfalls, the geothermal activity, the ruggedness, the midnight sun, the black sand beaches and just the absolute magic of the place. It was seriously like visiting another world or a secret land that’s been lost in time.

It is the perfect destination for all types of travellers, from the adventurers to the road trippers, to the science and history lovers, to the luxury travellers. It has something for everyone and if you didn’t leave in awe then you need to get your eyes checked.

Iceland literally rose up from the ocean and is still forming. There is even an island which recently rose up that no one apart from scientist can visit. It’s a geological hotspot sitting on the cusp of two continents. Because of this, there are more volcanoes than anywhere else and earthquakes are a daily occurrence although not that you would notice. There are so many reminders of the intricate nature of the island with snow-capped volcanoes, glistening glaciers, towering waterfalls, lava tubes, thermal pools, geysers, black sand(!), green mossy lava fields, commanding mountains and rugged basalt coastlines. It just shows that it is an island like no other and certainly very different to the dry paddocks of Australia and the green fields of England that I am used to.

Tourism is a big contributor to the Icelandic economy with over 1.1 million visitors annually(over double the population). Even with that many people visiting you can still feel the untouched elegance of the country. It’s got a rawness that even though you know so many others have been there before you that your almost the first ones to discover it. There will be some sites that are full of other tourists but it never feels too overcrowded. Maybe it’s because everything is so big and vast or maybe it’s because Iceland is still in its tourism boom. I often wondered what it would be like in ten years time and can it still retain its natural charm with even more tourists. We shall just have to see but I really hope so. Iceland is a country everyone should have the opportunity to see.

There will be lots of posts coming soon so keep your eyes peeled but for now here are 38 photos that will make you want to get online and book up your visit. Even looking at these photos I am just not sure they still give Iceland the justice it deserves!

pretty bike in reykjavik - 38 photos to visit Iceland from The Wandering Darlings
Cute find in Reykjavik
Þingvellir waterfall long exposure - 38 photos of iceland from the Wandering darlings
Waterfall in Þingvellir
Church in Reykholt - 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Church in Reykholt
Icelandic Horses from travelling to Iceland
Icelandic Horses
Grass Hut in Þingvellir National Park - 38 Photos to visit Iceland from the wandering darlings
Grass Hut in Þingvellir National Park
Rainbows at Skógafoss long exposure - 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Rainbows at Skógafoss
World famous Reynisfjara with its black sandy beach- 38 photos of iceland from the wandering darlings
World famous Reynisfjara with its black sandy beach
Sólheimajökull- 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings. Humbling landscapes
Such humbling landscapes about to walk over the verge to witness Sólheimajökull in all its glory
Sólheimajökull - 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Sólheimajökull – I could look at this view for hours
Skógafoss waterfall iceland - 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
You always just feel so small in Iceland.  Can you see the person in front of Skógafoss?
The Blue Lagoon Iceland - 38 photos to visit Iceland from The Wandering Darlings
The Blue Lagoon
Blue water, white silica and black volcanic rock at The Blue Lagoon. 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Blue water, white silica and black volcanic rock at The Blue Lagoon
mossy lava fields , 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Mossy lava fields
lava tunnel Raufarhólshellir, 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Lava tunnel Raufarhólshellir
Nature creates the most amazing patterns especially at Reynisfjara, 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Nature creates the most amazing patterns especially at Reynisfjara
Kleifarvatn Lake
Skógafoss on top of waterfall. 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
When visiting Skógafoss make sure you walk up to the top of the waterfall and follow the path for views like this!
Black and white Hallgrimskirkja in Reykjavik. Photos to visit Iceland from The Wandering Darlings
Hallgrimskirkja in Reykjavik
Moody lakes and black stones beaches at Kleifarvatn
The colours are out of this world.. Overlooking Reynisfjara
The colours are out of this world.. Overlooking Reynisfjara
View in Þingvellir National Park- 38 photos to visit iceland from the Wandering darlings
Þingvellir National Park
 Seljalandsfoss  38 photos to make you visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Seljalandsfoss
Wide open spaces
Different view of Hallgrimskirkja
Different view of Hallgrimskirkja
Views like this around every corner of iceland. visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Views like this around every corner
The Queen of all Waterfalls- Gullfoss. 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
The Queen of all Waterfalls- Gullfoss
Þingvellir - A GOT filiming location 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Þingvellir – A GOT filiming location
open road in iceland. 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Iceland is made for road trips
Muted tones at Kleifarvatn
Sulfur smells at Seltun.
Sulfur smells at Seltun
Behind Seljalandsfoss looking through the waterfall , 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Behind Seljalandsfoss looking through the waterfall
Seljalandsfoss
Seljalandsfoss
Eyjafjallajökull
This bad boy Eyjafjallajökull ruined so many holidays in 2010 but just looks like butter wouldn’t melt here
Geysir Iceland. 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Geysir
Þingvellir National Park
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Borgarnes
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Street Art in Reykjavik
Dressing as a Viking saga centre in Reykjavik. Photos to make you want to visit Iceland.
You can even dress like a Viking at the Saga Centre in Reykjavik

 

We’ll have more posts coming soon about Iceland and the places featured above so please do check back.

The wonderful Deb’s World has also blogged about our time in Iceland here

You can also find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, check us out and if you like what you see please do give us a follow.

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What is the one thing you wouldn’t travel without?

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I am an over-packer. Fact!

So when I think about the question ‘What is the one thing you wouldn’t travel without?’ it makes me shiver. Only one thing surely there is at least 10 things that you have to have, like 5 pairs of jeans for a three-day trip just in case you need them all. Seriously!

Planning for a trip usually consists of the logistics and not always what your taking and I guess more importantly why are you taking it. There has been many a trip when I ‘ve looked in my bag and just thought why on earth did I bring that but then there are other items which I know I always need and they are the first things I pack.

Imagine turning up at the airport with no luggage and just one thing (i shudder at the thought) but what would that one thing be?

It’s a question we ask as part of our Globetrotters Series and I have been thinking about this question and what my own answer would be. Obviously passport, toothbrush and wallet are a given and it would be a pretty boring post if that’s what all the answers were so we’ve collated some of the previous answers and also added in some other bloggers who had other great suggestions. And as for me what would be the one thing I wouldn’t travel without, well you’ll just have to read on…

Camera- The Pamplemousse Papers

I would have a really hard time not having my camera with me, however, sometimes I think I should force myself to go without it here and there! I often worry I’m not as present in the moment as I could be if I were less focused on gathering a collection of images.

Go ProThe Wander of Two

We invested in one of these last year and now we honestly don’t know what we would do without it. It comes on every trip with us and is so easy to use.

Headphones-Her Favourite Food

Travelling can inevitably involve long waits, long journey and essentially a lot of time to fill. That’s why I always need my headphones on me and easily accessible too (remember not to pack them away in the check-in luggage!). Whether it’s on the plane, bus, terminal or even just in a cafe waiting for my next mode of transport, headphones are the ideal accessory to ensure that you can never get too bored! I use them to relax to my favourite music, watch a movie or box set I’ve recently downloaded or caught up with loved ones – headphones make this all possible!

Book-Wanderlusting Hippie

There is a book that I always try to have 2 copies of at any given time. It’s called, “Many Lives, Many Masters” and it’s a book that is very meaningful to me. I love to give away my extra copy when I inevitably run into the person who needs to read it.

A Person-Its All Bee

I have grown rather fond of not wanting to experience places without my fiancé. So…I guess it’s not a thing but rather a someone I wouldn’t want to travel without.

Kindle Adventures In Middle Aged Travel

I read a lot. A. Lot.

And I read fast, so I generally end up reading several books a week. This can be expensive, but it’s an expense I choose to live with. Problem is if I have several books on the go, and I’m going away for a week, am I going to use up valuable packing space with bulky books? Nope.

I bought my first e-reader (a Kindle) back in 2012 and I don’t think I’ve read a paper book since, even though I never thought I would be an e-reader aficionado. A lot of the time I use the Kindle app on my iPad, but for travelling, I use the actual e-reader. Compact, able to hold thousands of books, and with a battery life of weeks, it’s the perfect travel companion for a book lover.

The only drawback is that I can’t read in the bath.

Phone/Google Maps –Sarah + Laura

My phone, but more for camera and map purposes (I appreciate that Google Maps allows you to see where you are on a map without using WIFi or data – super useful when trying to find which direction you need to go.

Power BankGerman Backpacker

The one thing I never travel without is my power bank – mostly, I have at least two with me! The worst thing that can happen to me is running out of battery on my phone when solo traveling, I’d feel completely lost without google maps, whatsapp and emails. Additionally, I can also use it to charge my camera or my action cam if needed. Especially when backpacking in off-the-path countries, there might not always be (working) plugs available in restaurants or even in hostels and since I’m traveling a lot by myself, I need to be organized and have my devices available. I have one smaller power bank which conveniently fits into my pocket, and also a bigger one (with more charging capability) which is great for e.g. multiple day treks and camping without electricity.

I highly recommend getting one for your next trip!

Eye mask & Earplugs – Well Traveled Nebraskan

Whether I’m staying at hostel or a 5 star hotel or regardless of if I have a long haul flight or just a short domestic hop, I never go on a trip without my eye mask and earplugs.

It doesn’t matter if it’s my husband’s snoring or the very thin walls of the hotel that weren’t in the reviews, it seems as though you just can’t go wrong with having a cheap pair of earplugs tucked into your bag. They take up NO room and can save you an entire night’s worth of sleep.

Likewise on an eye mask Especially when traveling internationally your internal clock can be all sorts of out of whack. I love having an eye mask in my bag to help me get to sleep at oddball times to help me get into the right time zone.

I’m all about traveling light and efficient while still having all the “necessities.” Whether I’m staying across town or the world, two things I don’t travel without are my earplugs and eye mask!

Scarf- The Wandering Darlings

I love a scarf. I have over 300 (hoarder) and even if I am travelling to a hot country I will always take a scarf with me. It can literally be used for everything. Pillow, sarong, covering up when visiting temples and churches, blanket, shawl, privacy if changing on the beach, a fashion accessory to change up that tired outfit you’ve been wearing for the whole trip, picnic blanket to sit on and then most importantly it can keep your neck warm.

After reading these answers,  we are curious and would love for you to share below … what is the one thing you wouldn’t travel without?

If you would like to read more from our Globetrotter series then click here and even better if you’d like to be involved then send us an email at thewanderingdarlings@gmail.com

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Derby, Tasmania- Rejuvenating a town

We often hear of bloggers rebranding, people reinventing themselves and businesses rejuvenating with a complete change of priorities and/or focus.

So it makes sense that an entire town can also rejuvenate itself by changing direction and coming alive again.

On a recent trip to Tasmania, we experienced a town that did just that. Derby, (pronounced Dur-Bee, not Dar-bee) in North Eastern Tasmania, is just one town that has been revitalised.

And how have they done this?

With mountain bikes!

Derby was once a thriving town. When tin was discovered in the mid-1870s the town was booming with mines, businesses, people and activity. We found it to be a pretty little town, alongside the Ringarooma River but it has obviously seen better days. It’s surrounded by hills, forest and the Blue Tier Forest Reserve. There are accommodation, cafes and bike businesses catering to the influx of visitors and the town is starting to thrive once again.

Derby is just over 100km from Launceston and is now a popular area for mountain bike riders. All of Tasmania is actually getting a name for being a mecca for mountain bike riders. As well as Rail Trails, the provision of mountain bike trails moves the whole island way ahead of other states of Australia.

In 2015 a network of mountain bike trails was opened in the hills around Derby, called Blue Derby. It has reinvigorated the whole town, and region, with property prices doubling and houses becoming a high-end commodity. They now have businesses catering for all levels of riders and vehicles that can take you and your bike to the top of one of the big descents and then it’s up to you to ride down.

The trails are called Atlas, Black Dragon, Big Chook and Blue Tier descent – just to name a few. I’m afraid I’m not very brave but I did enjoy my meander alongside the river.

We took our bikes with us on the car ferry from Melbourne and rode them in most places we visited during our two week holiday. Although not into mountain biking myself I gave one of the beginner trails a go in Derby and was impressed with the work that has gone into the area. The Mathematician, unfortunately, didn’t have his mountain bike with him, but still had a good ride on one of the more difficult tracks and loved it. There were carloads of people stopping and unloading bikes all the time we were there and this was in a non-holiday time and mid-week.

As well as beautiful forests, bush walks and landscapes the area also has some beautiful waterfalls nearby. We visited St Columba Falls, Lilydale Falls and Halls Falls – these are all quite close to the town of Pyengana.

St Columba Falls is 90 metres high with a huge volume of water tumbling down over the granite rocks. The helpful signs told us that 42000 litres of water every minute go over the falls and in winter this increases to over 200000 litres of water. This water then flows into the sea at St Helens in Georges Bay. Most of the falls had easy walking tracks from the car park to viewing areas and the walk was always well worthwhile! The walks through rainforest, passing by ancient trees and under the cool green canopy were just beautiful and a highlight of our trip.

For more information on this lovely area

RideBlueDerby.com.au
DiscoverTasmania.com.au

This post was kindly written by a lovely Wandering Darling- Debbie from Deb’s World   Check out her blog and social media channels with the links below for more great travel, lifestyle and midlife posts.

Author Biography

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Debbie is not only a guest blogger but she is also my Mum! A keen blogger and traveller, she along with my dad have been taking my sisters and I on adventures since we were little girls. She has lived abroad, travelled to too many countries to mention and never once sits still. Always planning and thinking of the next great adventure. From treking in Nepal, hosting Rotarty Exchange Students, Riding rail trails,  Barging and cycling through Croatia, walking the Kokoda Trail or just coming to visit little old me on the otherside of the world they make the most of their life and show that you just need to get out there to explore.

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Globetrotters- The Pamplemousse Papers

This week we are welcoming the delightful Caity from The Pamplemousse Papers to our Globetrotters series. I have long been a fan of Caity’s both on Instagram and her blog so I’m so excited to have her involved.

She’s an upstate New Yorker who has travelled to so many places, lived in France and even got to call my homeland ‘home’ for a period. Travelling is certainly in her bones and the passion she has for it is evident in her writing, her stunning photography and how she has put her blog together. Her answers below are so insightful and such a joy to read especially with a freshly made brew. I love that she just wants to share and pass along her tips and tricks. I can sooo relate to the surprise at the Turkish Hammam!

Caity’s blog (links will be below) it’s so beautifully laid out and so stylish.  Easy to navigate, written with a friendly tone and packed to the brim with great content from all around the globe there is so much to love. From packing advice, storytelling and guides for a wide range of destinations you are sure to find something that will help or inspire your next adventure. She just comes so authentic and real. It’s like she’s a friend you’ve known for years sharing her experiences to help you have an even better time. It’s hard to find genuine and real bloggers these days and Caity is certainly one you want to have experienced.

I’ve really got into photo tours these days and this one Beacon Hill in Boston is so picturesque. I’ve never heard of this area of Boston and after reading this post I felt as those I had walked the streets myself. The pictures are so inviting and capture the area brilliantly. Another post I’ve read over and over is Your Mini-Guide to Tulum. More and more people that I know are venturing here and I’m so desperate to get there. This post is only increasing my wanderlust further.

Once you’ve read the below I know you’re going to be desperate to see more from Caity so as usual, we’ve included all links to Caity’s blog and social channels below.

It’s my absolute pleasure to introduce Caity- you’re going to love her! And wait till you read where her blog name came from! I wasn’t expecting that.

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Hi there! My name is Caity and I’m a native of Upstate New York. I’ve spent time living, working and wandering in France and Australia. I love to explore new places and then share my adventures: the beautiful successes, the challenging missteps, and everything in between. I’m currently pursuing my goal of visiting 30 countries before my 30th birthday, as well as exploring more of my home country, the United States. I hope you’ll stop by my blog and social media channels and say hi!

What do you enjoy most about travelling?

It’s the little things that end up being the most exciting for me. Exploring a local grocery store, stumbling upon a piece of beautiful street art, soaking up the atmosphere at a café, people watching in a park, and appreciating the local architecture are all things I love to do in any new place.

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Why do you think travelling is important?

For me, travel is an exercise in perspective. Everyone has beliefs and impressions that they’ve gained through their life experiences, and these differ so widely throughout the world. I think it’s healthy and important to shake these notions free on a regular basis.

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Where are you off to next? Or where have you just come back from?

I’ve had a whirlwind first few months of 2018 visiting friends and family in some of my favourite American cities: New York City, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Chicago. My next international trip is to Portugal at the end of May and I couldn’t be more excited!

What is your favourite photograph from your travels?

This photograph was taken in 2010 while I was teaching English at a summer camp in the tiny French village of Azé. Some of my fellow friends and counsellors took a nighttime walk through the surrounding farm fields. I’m sure my yoga posture isn’t perfect and the image quality isn’t great, but it’s a very fond memory of the small but beautiful moments I’ve been lucky enough to have while travelling.

Do you have a pre-travel ritual? If so what?

As challenging as packing can be, I love the ritual of preparing my carry-on bag. I make sure I have nothing superfluous by paring down my wallet, purse contents and anything else that may have extra items floating around in it. When it’s all ready to go, it’s such a nice feeling knowing my essentials are all in one place and helps me clear my head before I hit the road.

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Who do you usually travel with?

I’ve been lucky to travel with a variety of people, from childhood best friends to my boyfriend to family members. Some of my fondest travel memories are with friends I’ve made while travelling that I’ve continued on to new places with. And while I don’t mind travelling solo, it’s definitely not my preference! I love to have someone to share both the good and bad with.

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If you were to give one piece of travel advice what would it be?

Don’t be too hard on yourself! There are bound to be aspects of your trip that don’t go perfectly. Maybe you get ripped off. Maybe you get lost. Maybe you don’t have enough time to do everything you were hoping to do. It’s so easy to dwell on the negative, but try not to beat yourself up. Not to mention, it’s often the mishaps that turn into great stories and opportunities for advice later on!

Tell us the most memorable moment you’ve had whilst travelling?

It’s so hard to choose just one, but I love thinking back on the things that now seem so funny and outlandish: Sleeping on the beach in Nice with friends while trying to save money – something we pictured being relaxing and fun but was actually a very cold, rocky and uncomfortable night! Visiting a traditional Turkish hammam with friends from college and not realizing we were going to have to strip down to nothing but bathing suit bottoms. Having to do the same – sans bathing suit bottoms – at a public bath in Iceland. Last but not least, WWOOFing for the first time, which I wrote about here . It remains one of my most cherished travel memories.

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Where is your favourite place that you’ve been to?

Another hard question! I think ultimately I’d have to say France and Australia. Those are the two countries where I’ve spent an extended period of time living, working, and studying as opposed to just visiting. The emotional connections I forged with both of them are hard to top. But more often than not, I love the places I visit and am hoping to get back to most of them: the UK, Scandinavia, Mexico, Asia… the list goes on!

Where was one place that didn’t live up to the hype?

My only visit to Spain was a long weekend in Barcelona. One of my friends was mugged, one was pickpocketed, and it rained all weekend, making sightseeing challenging. It was not the most carefree trip, as you can imagine! I would love to get back to Spain (as I realize none of those things are the fault of the place!) and rectify that experience.

Tell us one place/experience on your bucket list?

I’ve visited Italy, but largely cities. I would love to rent a car and explore the beautiful countryside, stopping whenever and wherever I feel like! Dining at Massimo Bottura’s renowned Osteria Francescana in Modena would be pretty great, too!

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What is the one thing you wouldn’t travel without?

I would have a really hard time not having my camera with me, however, sometimes I think I should force myself to go without it here and there! I often worry I’m not as present in the moment as I could be if I were less focused on gathering a collection of images.

Your go to or favourite book/film/tv series that always makes you want to travel?

Ensemble, C’est Tout is one of my favourite movies of all time. It’s set in Paris and whenever I watch it, I long to be in France! For books, Peter Mayle’s series about Provence (A Year In Provence, Toujours Provence, and Encore Provence) is so lovely. I also love Bill Bryson’s In A Sunburned Country, which he wrote about Australia.

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What can readers find on your blog?

I love to share tips and recommendations from places I’ve visited, as well as general travel advice, reflections and photos. I’ve been lucky enough to be inspired in the past by so many writers, bloggers, photographers and more – I’d love to repay that favour in any way that I can by helping to inspire others.

Where does your blog name come from?

After much brainstorming, I landed on The Pamplemousse Papers. Pamplemousse is the French word for grapefruit and one of my favourite words in the French language. Pairing it with papers captures my love for France, citrus fruit, writing, language, and alliteration all in one!

Do you have a favourite blog post? What is it and why?

I don’t think I have a favourite post, but it’s always exciting when something I share seems to be especially helpful for readers. After sharing my “Three Days in Pittsburgh” post, I was so happy to see comments from individuals who would never have considered visiting Pittsburgh and were adding it to their bucket list. I love the idea of offering new trip ideas that might never have occurred to someone. Plus, underrated and less-visited destinations are often cheaper and a lot less busy! It’s a win-win.

To see more from Caity check out the following links

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To see more of our Globetrotters Series click here

Seaspray Day Cruise – Fiji

Oh Fiji,  I couldn’t rave enough about you if I tried!

We were staying in Sigatoka but knew that we really wanted to get out and explore some of the many islands that make up this picturesque country.  With so many day tours to choose from we finally decided upon the South Sea Cruises Seaspray day trip. The main reason was that it included a visit two of the Mamanuca Islands and we wanted to see as much as we could. Greedy I know.  It also included a barbeque lunch, unlimited drinks (beer, wine & soft drink), morning and afternoon tea, visit a traditional village and snorkelling gear to explore the colourful reefs. It was the complete package!

We were lucky enough a to do this tour on Fiji Day and the Fijian spirit was out in full force and what better way to spend  Fiji day sailing around the islands with the dulcet tones of the Fijian crew singing.

The day starts with a South Sea Cruises catamaran from Denarau in which we passed some well know islands – Southsea, Bounty and Castaway. I was in love already and I hadn’t even set foot on the soft white sand of an island. After powering through the islands on the catamaran we went aboard the yacht at Mana island and then set about sailing around islands to our first destination, Mondriki Island.

It was like a little piece of paradise just lying there in the crystal clear waters waiting to be explored. You could get the dingy boat over to sunbathe or you could don the complimentary snorkel gear and dive right off the boat and swim your way into shore whilst taking in the coral reefs below. This deserted island is actually famous for being on the big screen. It was the island used for filming Castaway with Tom Hanks. Funny how he just wanted to get rescued from this island but trust us you will wish you never had to leave. You have almost an hour there to walk around the white sandy beaches, sunbathe, find the HELP ME sign written in coconuts or stay within those clear waters watching the world below you. It was a really beautiful place and one where you felt like you were nowhere near civilisation.  No other tour group can visit this island so if you want to go here you need to book this cruise. And you really want to go there.

Once we had finished exploring the pristine Mondriki we boarded the yacht and whilst we had been swimming and snorkelling the crew had been cooking up an absolute feast for lunch.  Sat on the yacht eating the amazing bbq lunch with a wonderful array of salads, beer in hand, the crew singing and with the most stunning view, you literally couldn’t imagine life being any better.

A quick sail over to the days next stop off on the lovely island of Yanuya.  This island is a little haven and has a gorgeous colourful traditional village. Once ashore the first part of the visit was to experience a traditional kava ceremony. Please note this doesn’t happen on a Sunday. Two people from the group are chosen as the group’s chiefs and they sit down with the village chief and partake in the ceremony while the rest of the group watches on. Once they chiefs have taken their cup of kava the rest of the group can try it.  It’s certainly an interesting tasting drink! The women of the village have all their handicrafts out so you can purchase some lovely souvenirs and presents. There is then a tour through the village where you can see the homes and meet some of the villagers. We met some friendly children by the school who were quick to show us around their dorms and playing fields. The Fijians certainly are the most loveliest people. There are some village customs to be aware of you need to make sure you aren’t wearing a hat within the village and you need to dress modestly in a sarong or longer skirt.

After two amazing visits to two picture-perfect islands, the voyage finishes with a quick anchor out in the lagoon for a 10 min dip jumping straight off the boat. The most fitting way to finish an amazing day.

Throughout the journey the service by the crew was outstanding. They were happy, knowledgeable and sang and played the guitar to ensure that each and every passenger had the best time. We absolutely loved it and I still look at our pictures and can’t believe we were there and got to experience it.

There are daily departures just bear in mind that the cava ceremony is not available on Sundays. The catamaran leaves Denarau at 9 am (do check as this may change in time) and returns back around 6 pm.  If you are staying on other islands you can also transfer over to Mana to pick up the yacht there do check the times and prices as they will be different to those travelling from Denarau. We did this tour in October 2017 and paid FD$259 per adult from Denarau. I believe this to still be the price but do check their website.

If you need even more inspiration to visit Fiji then check out another of our posts here.

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15 Reasons to Visit Paris (like you need them!)

Paris is one of the most popular destinations in Europe and is often included in most people’s bucket lists but what is it about that city that makes so many long to explore its beautiful streets. Is it the romance of the city? Or the history? Or the art? Or more importantly the food? Whatever it is this city has a draw to it like some kind of huge magnet. Maybe that is what the Eiffel Tower is made of??

When you think of Paris you think of style, sophistication and class. Just thinking of the city conjures up romantic images in your mind and not the just standard romance it’s the romantic ideals of the city. With its architecture, it’s quaint side streets, the stylish people sitting outside cafes drinking coffee, the hidden and not so hidden love stories that inspired the paintings inside the galleries and the photographs that locals and tourists still capture just transport you into a French dream-like experience.

Audrey Hepburn was so right, Paris is always a good idea.

If you are exploring simply for the weekend or for a longer period there is more than enough to experience and leave you wanting to come back for more. To help you either work out what to see and do or to just fuel even more wanderlust for this stunning city here are our top 15 reasons to visit.

You can see some awesome art  

A lot of the worlds best art and artefacts can be found in the museums and galleries of  Paris. Some of them even have a day where they are free to visit so do check out if you are travelling on a budget. There will be queues but it is worth the wait to see these artworks with your own eyes.  Obviously, the Louvre is a must visit but you should also visit the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Petit Palais and the grass-covered exterior of Musee du Quai Branly.

You can marvel at the Eiffel Tower

There is nothing more magical than seeing the Eiffel tower lit up glittering at night. This is one landmark that should really have more than one view on your trip. Sunrise, during the day, sunset and then at night. Whatever the angle whatever the weather it’s a magnificent place to be.

A bird’s eye view is the best view

There are several vantage points where you need to get up high and witness the city from a bird’s eye view. Climb the stairs at the Sacre Cour for breathtaking (once you get your breath back from climbing) view of the city with the river and Eiffel tower or climb the Effile tour to see the view of the city streets. If ever there was a city to see from above it has to be Paris.

You can meander along the River Seine

Lazing by the river in the summer sun, or cruising along under the many bridges on a boat tour- Paris is yet another city that should be viewed from the water.

You can eat alfresco

The cafes take up just as much space on the pavement as they do inside. You’ll notice that the chairs are usually all lined up looking out to the street. It’s the perfect place to order a drink and people watch to your heart’s content.

You get all the history

With so many historic buildings and monuments, you’ll be spoilt for choice on what to see and do.  There is Notre Dame Cathedral that dates back to 1163, The Arc de Triomphe (just don’t try and drive around it! #confusing), the Sacre Coeur Basilica (one of my absolute favourite places in Paris) to the Ile de la Cite where Paris was born in 300B.C Paris has had many different rulers and all of these have their mark on the city which makes it a like a history book that you can step inside and explore.

You can appreciate true style

Fashion and Paris are synonymous with each other. The best shopping and the best style can be found on the streets of Paris. It’s not showy or gaudy it’s all just classic. Maybe keep the credit card locked in your hotel safe if you are out shopping.

You get a whole lotta bridges

Paris is no Venice when it comes to bridges but it does have a staggering 37 bridges spanning the river Seine. All are designed differently and all beautiful a couple of our favourites are Pont-Neuf, Pont Alexandre III and Pont de l’Alma

You can pack a picnic and get the grass between your toes

For all the amazing things to see inside the museums, galleries and historic buildings you’d be forgiven for not even thinking that there are parks to relax and unwind in. There are so many perfectly manicured gardens across the city to enjoy. You should check out Jardin des Tuileries, Jardin du Luxembourg and Le Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil.

It’s almost wrong not to be a tourist

The age-old debate of being a traveller or tourist. In Paris, it is almost wrong not to be a tourist. Who goes to Paris and doesn’t go to the Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower and Arc Triomphe? People who don’t really want to see Paris that’s who!

You can explore all the neighbourhoods

There are 20 arrondissements within Paris and sometimes just trying to work out where to say, go out and explore can be a little intimidating. Each has its own charms, vibe and areas to be a little wary of.  So your research and try to experience at least 3 of them on your travels. Montmartre in the 18th arrondissements is a firm favourite of ours as the 1st arrondissement due to the picturesque views and of the course, the Keira Knightley Chanel adverts were filmed there.

You can get those steps up on your Fitbit

An abundance of walking tours focusing on different aspects of the Parisian life or do what I do and walk until your lost and then just see what gems you can find along the way. It’s an easy city to walk around and whilst there is public transport it would almost be a sin to use it and miss some of the best street scenes in all of Europe.

You can fall in love

Maybe with a local but more likely, it will be with the city itself. Paris is always referred as one of the most romantic cities in the world and once you are they you will melt to its romantic charms.  The art, the history, the music all were fueled by love and lovers in the city. Even the simplest of things just sounds and feels more romantic in Paris. Drinking a coffee in a cafe on a Parisian street, walking the side streets in any weather, lazing in the park or sitting along the banks of the river enjoying a croque-monsieur.

You can eat all the food

French cruise is an art form and where better to indulge than in the capital. From rich meat dishes to simply a warm croissant n the morning from the boulangerie, there are so many dishes you need to devour. Macaroon’s, and crepes are also must for a sweet treat. As with most places try to find some smaller cafes and restaurants and not the usual touristy ones the food will be so much better.

You can escape the city for the day

From feeling like French royalty at Versailles to taking in the water lilies Monet style in Giverny to witness and reflecting at the poignant rows on rows of white crosses at Normandy. There are so many places close to the city to take in more of what France has to offer.

What’s your favourite thing about Paris? Have we left anything off? We’d love to hear your suggestions below in the comments.

Want to see more reasons to visit other great cities, if so be sure to check out our Copenhagen, Marrakech and Venice posts.

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If you were to give one piece of travel advice what would it be?

Seriously, if you were to give one piece of travel advice what would it be?

It’s a question that when asked you really have to think about. What actually is my one piece of travel advice and  do I need to impart it on the world. Is it something inspiring, something practical, or some romantic notion of travel, something like food for the soul or is just a simple statement. Whatever it is, I think the main thing is to share it high and low. Personal recommendations are valuable and if you were going to book a hotel your likely to check Tripadvisor for reviews and to take someone’s advice on if to stay there or not. People want to hear how what others do and how others travel. It pushes them to think about their own travels and how they can do things different, cheaper, ethically or more efficiently.

After speaking to some wonderful women travellers some of which have been apart of our Globetrotters series, we posed the question- If you were to give one piece of travel advice what would it be? And they have delivered the absolute goods with top-notch travel advice covering all areas of what you should do to help make your travelling experience the dream you hoped it would be. Hopefully, by reading through these, it might help to inspire you to take that first trip, to try something different on your next adventure, how to pack properly or to just give you some insight to something you may never have thought about.

Read on and see if you disagree, agree or if you know what your advice would be. If you would like to see more from the travellers mentioned below then check out our Globetrotters Interviews or click on the names below to go directly to their sites. We’d love to hear your advice so do leave a comment below.

The Curious Desi
1. Take a spare battery for your gear and a portable battery for your phone. When you are on the go you want to have your devices ready to use so it’s best if you invest in spare batteries.
2. Choose the people you travel with wisely: it’s all too easy to get swept up in a “we should totally do this” moment – only to despair once you realize your travelling tastes aren’t compatible.

Debs World
Sorry, I couldn’t leave it at just one so I’ve listed three!
1. Always dress and pack for where you’re going to not where you’ve come from.
2. Be organised but also be spontaneous and ready to take opportunities should they arise.
3. Don’t live the trip through your camera or phone, put them down from time to time and just soak in the sights with your whole being.

Global Housesitter x2
Just get out there and do it. Take in the most valuable information while doing it, listen to your gut instinct, have travel insurance, small suitcase and patience.

Wanders Hub
Travel often; travel with an open mind and an open heart. That will help you experience different cultures, religions and people in the best manner. Celebrate life and don’t forget to strike conversations with random people you meet on the go.

A Mindful Traveler
I would advise taking all documentation, we actually take copies as well and keep another set at home with my parents.
Also, be sure to have multiple outlets of credit. A diverse range of cash, credit cards, and cash passport cards are important, and we always split this between the both of us. Never does one person carry all the cash or cards on their own.

Lfy and Spice
Don’t think too much – Just go! Most of our travel plans are marred by over-thinking, both before and during the travel.

Gin & lemonade
Be open to anything. Get lost. Look up. Write it down. That’s more than one, but I can’t count!

The Travelling Stomach
There are many ways to get around a new destination, but in my experience, the best way is to strap on some comfy sandals and get walking! Some of my favourite places have been those I’ve discovered completely by accident on my wanderings around a new city. Although I do love taking the lazy option (I prefer to call it the relaxing option…) and grabbing a taxi, you can miss out on so many awesome places when you’re speeding by on the road.

You might find it daunting knowing where to even start walking but there really is no wrong turn to take, and with most of us now owning a Smartphone you’ll never really be lost with Google Maps to hand. Perhaps you’ve got lunch booked somewhere and can add in some extra time so you can take the long route taking the time to meander down quieter side streets, or perhaps you’ll find an even better lunch spot during your walk!

Not only will you accidentally stumble upon lovely hidden gems such as that bar with an awesome view and a quaint local shop during your walks, but you can also save money and keep fit at the same time, plus how can you take that amazing Insta shot out the window of a taxi?!

Digital travel Guru
Plan and research your trip as much as you can before you go, so you have some sort of idea what you want to do and see when you get there, it saves a lot of planning time once there, also check with the locals once you get there, for off the beaten track places. This I always feel maximises my time once in the destination and allows me to see and do more.

Fill my Passport
Be open-minded to everywhere and everyone you meet on the journey. They were placed on this path for a reason. When you must sleep on a dirty overnight train, think of it as a part of the adventure. When you see that woman at the café sipping a latte looking gorgeous and perfect for that inner photographer in you, take a chance and ask her to pose. Life is so short. Take the chances as if it were your last day.

A Walk and a Lark
Taste as many local dishes as you can. It may not look like something you expect to be delicious, but you’ll never know unless you try it!
Also, if you live somewhere for a while, go back and re-try things after you have started to get used to the flavours. I wasn’t keen on maccha and azuki beans when I first arrived in Japan, but now I LOVE them both.
I also think you should attempt to learn some of the local lingo. Even if you are still pretty rubbish, people really appreciate the effort and the world is less bewildering if you can understand more about what is happening around you.

Beyond my Border
Be fearless & have fun

Earths Magical Places
Simple, get out there and do it! We spend so much time sitting, planning and procrastinating when we could be out exploring! Trust me, it’s far better taking the world in with your own eyes rather than ‘liking’ it through Instagram.

Girl with the Passport

One of the best pieces of advice that I can give any traveller is to ditch the rolling bag and get a backpack, or at least a backpack with wheels if you have back problems. Why you may wonder?

Well, I made the mistake of bringing a rolling bag with me on a six week long trip through China. Between lugging the large, over-packed bag through the subway and up and down the stairs of hotels that had no elevator, I was absolutely miserable. Not to mention the fact that the bag always got caught on curbs, the wheel broke, and it got filthy as I rolled through the rain and large puddles.

The moral of the story then is always bring a backpack. Not only is it much more versatile and convenient to carry, but you tend to pack less since you can only pack what you can carry on your back.

So learn from my mistakes and leave that rolling bag home.

Footsteps of a Dreamer
Personally, I feel like some of my favourite and most memorable travel experiences have come from times when I took the courage to step out of my comfort zone. It’s even better if it’s an experience I can’t have at home. When I was in Japan, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to participate in a Noh workshop. I’ll admit, I don’t have much interest in traditional Japanese theatre or theatre in general for that matter. However, it was an opportunity for me to learn more about Japanese culture. I decided to sign up for the workshop and had a fantastic time.

At the workshop, I got to put on traditional Japanese clothing and learn the steps to one of the dances performed in one of the traditional plays. I was surprised to find out how incredibly difficult it was. Did I walk away from the workshop a total theatre geek? No, but I did walk away with a newfound appreciation for the role of theatre in Japanese culture and admiration for the sheer amount of work the performers put into the plays.

My advice to travellers is to consider every opportunity that comes your way.

Stefs Journey

I am a strong believer that sometimes it’s the people as much as the place that make travel meaningful and memorable. My best advice is to mingle with locals while you travel because sticking to tours and itineraries designed for tourists might not give you the most authentic experience of your trip. While traveling, I have made friends from around the world that I have visited in their countries and were more than happy to show me around. They would take me for to Easter at their grandmother’s house, for a drink at their favorite bar or give me a tour on their bike and show me around. While it’s not always easy to meet a person in the street and get a conversation going, the sharing economy in the last few years has made it lot easier to meet with locals. There’s Couchsurfing, where you can meet locals by staying at their place or by simply grabbing a drink with them, there’s MeetUp where you can meet people with the same interests as you and many more sites that connect you with locals.It’s not always easy and It takes some work, but getting out of your comfort zone could make give you a rewarding experience that will make your trip unforgettable!

The Travel Sisters

My best piece of travel advice would be not to overpack. If possible try to travel with carry-on bags only – this will save you both time and money (no checked bag fees, you can avoid the long wait for your bag at the baggage carousel and it makes it easier to use public transportation to and from the airport). Even if you would rather check bags not overpacking prevents you from having to pay overweight bag fees and makes it easier on your back not having to lug heavy luggage around.  I recommend using a travel packing list before your trip to make sure you bring all the items you need and nothing more.  You might want to limit how many shoes you bring as shoes are heavy and take up the most room in a bag.  I also roll my clothes to save space and use packing cubes to keep everything organized in my luggage.

The Wandering Darlings
Get lost and enjoy finding your way back… oh and always make sure your passport and visas are in date

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How to speak Australian- Bloody Oath Shazza don’t you know what we are saying?

Need to decipher what Australians are actually trying to say?

Australia is a funny old place. Most of the animals can seriously injure you, the ripe tides can take you out to sea, it can be stinking hot in one part and then snowing in another and half the time visitors can’t work out what we are trying to say and I’m not even going to mention the drop bears.

You would be mistaken for thinking that Australians speak English and we do but there is A LOT of words that we say that just make no sense to the rest of the world. Its Australian English and in most cases it can be self-explanatory but in others, you will just have no bloody clue. You may have picked up the odd word from Crocodile Dundee or Neighbours but I’m pretty sure there will be a few that will have you going- seriously you say that!?

We have a weird (some might say lazy) way of communicating in that we shorten our words and you will find most Australian slang has an ’o’ or ‘y’ at the end. It just rolls off the tongue a little sweeter. Generally speaking the fewer syllables the better but there is also the odd occasion when we make the word longer.

It’s also not always about what we say but how we say it. The inflection on letters can also change how words are pronounced and it is usually words with the vowel such as water (drawn out a), quarter (same as water), yoghurt (yo-ghurt rather than yog-hurt).paracetamol (para-seat-a-mol). We also go up at the end of our sentences so you’re never really sure if someone is asking you a question or not. It says a lot that our country’s name has 3 ‘a’s in it and all are pronounced differently.

If you are planning to visit Australia or just bump into some Aussies abroad in a bar (that’s where we can be found) then here are 31 words/phrases that should help you communicate. And yes they are all real!!

  1. G’day- Good Morning, hello, hi. People do say this it’s not just in the movies. My favourite thing is when I ring home and dad says straight away ‘G’day Sweetheart’
  2. Straya – Australia. Because saying your full country is just too much. Those two extra syllables really take it out of you
  3. Arvo- Afternoon. I literally say this 10 times a day and it has now become a common phrase in my workplace.
  4. Hooroo – Goodbye. Makes saying goodbye a sound so much nicer
  5. Brekkie- Breakfast. Standard.
  6. Sanga – Sandwich. Most commonly used if your getting a sausage sanga likely at Bunnings on a Sunday.
  7. Maccas– Mcdonalds. I honestly grew up thinking everyone called it Macca’s alas it was only really in Aus.
  8. Bottle O– Bottle shop and yes they are usually drive in. Yep that’s right you drive in and someone comes to you with your booze. AMAZING
  9. Thongs- Flip Flops. No idea why they are called thongs but I quickly changed to saying flip-flops as I got a few odd looks when I first moved here
  10. Swimmers/cossie/togs– Bathing suit. Swimmers cause you swim in them. Cossie and Togs- no idea where those came from
  11. Bloody oath– Similar to Oh my god but not OMG.
  12. Bogan– uncouth or unsophisticated person. It’s always hard to say what makes someone a bogan but when you know you know.
  13. Chuck a sickie– calling in sick when you aren’t really sick. Cause we never do that
  14. Dunny- Toilet
  15. Servo- service station. No need for two words you can sum it up in one.
  16. Esky –cooler. Esky is the make of most coolers in Australia. It’s like vacuums in Britain are called Hoover even if they aren’t a proper hoover.
  17. Crisps/hot chips- chips are potato chips, hot chips are potato fries. Make sure if you’re having hot chips that you ask for chicken salt. You can thank me later
  18. Stubbie- both a bottle size and a style of shorts
  19. Schooner- glass size. Smaller than a pint but bigger than a half
  20. Heaps- lots. Aussie use heaps, heaps!
  21. Chuck a U-ie- do a U-turn. Chucking a u-ie sounds so much more fun than doing a U-turn doesn’t it
  22. Para/smashed- drunk eg paralytic
  23. Spit the dummy- throw a tantrum.
  24. Muffler- Exhaust
  25. Whipper snipper- Strimmer. One of my favourites mainly for when I asked my other half if he was going to whipper snipper the garden he looked at me like I was MENTAL.
  26. Smoko- morning or afternoon break at work. You don’t need to smoke for it to be smoko actually Australia is really anti-smoking
  27. Tradie- Tradesman and apparently tradies get the ladies
  28. Barbie– BBQ and no we don’t throw shrimps on it.
  29. Woop woop- a long way away. It is usually said bloody oast they live way out woop woop. Australia is big and to be fair anywhere more than 4 hours away is considered woop woop
  30. Zucchini/Capsicum/Eggplant- Courgette, Pepper and Aubergine. Fun veggie (vegetable) names to confuse you
  31. Nicknames- just add an a, o, y/ie to any names (even if it makes the name longer)and that’s your Aussie name egg Sharon- Shazza, Steve- Stevo, Shawn- shawny

Have you come across any that we’ve not included? Do leave them below in the comments as I am sure there is heaps we’ve missed.

Hooroo

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When there is a death at home and you are living abroad

It’s something most expats don’t even consider when planning to move abroad and hopefully for most it doesn’t occur. However if you end up living abroad for an extended amount of time you have to be ready as it may just happen.

For me it’s happened twice. Both sudden. Both dearly loved family members. Both heartbreakingly sad.

Being on the other side of the world has this strange way of making you feel like time stands still at home. You know it doesn’t but you experience this odd disconnect with the daily life of home that sadly you are just not a part of now. So when a situation like this occurs it almost doesn’t feel real. It’s like a bad dream. One that you can’t wake up from.

Both times I got the phone call whilst at work surrounded by people in my new life that didn’t know my family, didn’t know my relationships with those dear to me, that I didn’t feel I could talk to about what had happened at home. In that moment you already feel alone but feeling alone in your grief on the other side of the world is a whole different kettle of fish. Thankfully I have an amazing partner and the very best friends and family both here and at home that I could lean on. But I couldn’t imagine if I was somewhere where I didn’t have that.

The decision to go home for me was always an easy one. I wanted to be with my family. I wanted to support them and wanted to say my own goodbyes. I was lucky enough to have a manager who understood this and gave me the time off, I had my emergency fund for a flight home and a family who knew however much they told me not to come that I wouldn’t listen. One thing I would say is to not just go home for the funeral try and stay longer as this is when people need it the most and when you need it. Once the dust of the funeral settles and everyone starts going back to normal life is actually when your family most need the support.

It’s hard posting about a topic like this as it’s so deeply personal and everyone deals with grief in different ways. That said it’s a fact of expat life and if this helps someone in a similar situation then it was worth it. If you are reading this while in this unfortunate situation then here are a few things to remember ..

Its ok if you can’t make it home to say goodbye or for the funeral.

Your first reaction is always going to be to get straight to the airport to get home.  But what if you can’t get the time off work as you’ll likely need a week or two to get back home. What if you can’t afford it? What if the funeral is straight away and you’ve not got the time to get back. These are all very real situations and as much as you desperately want to be there you might just not be able to. And that sucks and as much as it will hurt remember it is ok if you can’t make it back. Your family will understand and to be honest they will likely tell you not to come back (numerous times!). If you can’t get back then make peace with the decision and don’t be too hard on yourself. Trying to get back at a later stage will mean just as much as if you flew out straight away.

The world isn’t that big

It’s really not. It will feel massive and the distance between you and home will feel like it will take an eternity to get back. For most places, it will take no more than 2 days to get back. If you are able to get home then you’ve got flights ahead of you which will be the hardest flights you’ll ever have to take. All these people around you excited about their holidays and your in a weird limbo of being happy that you will soon be with the family and sad that you didn’t want to go home in these situations. The time on the plane will give you the chance to reflect and reminisce and once you’ll step off it will feel like it took no time at all getting back.

To think about having an emergency fund

I’ve always tried to make sure I always have enough money in my account just in case I need to go home. It’s worth it sometimes just putting a little extra away each month so if the time comes when you need to decide if you’re going home that you can afford it.

To rely on your network both here and at home

Talk, reminisce, cry, shout, laugh, sob, whatever you do just make sure you get it out. You have family and friends that love you and that want to help you through this sad time. If you are abroad and haven’t yet made your network then call home. We are fortunate enough to live in an era where you can facetime/skype/call over the internet without the extortionate prices. Speaking to friends and family will be the comfort blanket you need at this time.

That the pain will be intensified but it will subside

When you first get the phone call. It breaks you. It’s a hard enough to have the phone call when you are in the same country but when abroad it’s intensified tenfold. You just have to ride through it and know it’s all part of the grief process. Just trust me the pain subsides. Eventually.

That time heals

It’s the oldest cliche in the book but it’s true. Whoever has passed would not want you giving up on the experiences you initially set out to have. So try to not let the sadness take over. Every day will get easier and just by moving forward every day and by taking in every new experience will help. Enjoy it for them as much as you need to enjoy it for yourself. Make the most of your life and just be thankful that they encouraged you to travel, inspired you to look for the best in life and that they helped make you the person you are today.

At the end of the day, you need to follow your heart, enjoy your memories and be there for those you love. Death is a part of life and there isn’t anything we can do to stop it whether we are back in our home countries or in our new countries. If you have any other advice to impart or want to share your story please do leave a comment below.

To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.

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