Travel, Love and Weddings- An Elopement to a Weddding Abroad

Love travel? Love the love of your life? Planning a wedding? Getting stressed planning said wedding? If you answered yes to all of these then why not hot foot it on a plane and get hitched abroad.

Regular readers might remember we were in Fiji back in October last year and the reason for this was my cheeky little sister and her partner were getting wed. Initially, they had planned to elope and had told us that they would be getting married away with only two friends on a beach somewhere in the world. Our parents masked their pain and whilst they would have loved to have been there they did support their decision. Our parents are good like that they might not always agree with our life choices but they will always support us with our wild and wonderful ideas. My middle sister had recently had her own wedding day and decided to impart some wisdom and also wanted to get in on the beach wedding adventure so somehow convinced our sister and future brother in law that immediate family should be invited. Then with one decision, the elopement became a wedding abroad.

And what a wedding it was. Fiji was stunning (how could it not be), the bridal party looked gorgeous and our dad and my sister’s brother in law wore a sulu to truly embrace the Fijian spirit. The wedding was at the Outrigger Resort I and whilst  I am sure they have over 100 weddings a month my sister’s wedding wasn’t just a standard cookie cutter wedding that you would possibly expect. They were able to include parts of their own personality and style alongside the facilities on offer. With different locations around the resort, they are able to choose which best suited their needs for all parts of the day and also what suited the weather. There were 15 guests including the bride and groom (but not including the 100 odd people at the resort nightclub we ended up partying the night away with) and it was an intimate and family oriented wedding. The wedding planning and staff involved were amazing and displayed the world famous Fijian service and  welcoming attitudes. She was serenaded by Fijian singers, served amazing food, had a funny game of Mr& Mrs, was spoiled with a hen party spa day for the ladies and we got to have an amazing family holiday whilst celebrating a new chapter for the happy couples.

My sister and her now husband love travelling and by getting married abroad allowed them to see another place they hadn’t been with their nearest and dearest. Obviously, though it was bittersweet as they weren’t able to have everyone there with them, however, they did have a big party a few weeks later to share the joy with everyone.

A wedding abroad is actually a really tempting idea. It’s usually cheaper than a normal wedding, it’s often somewhere exotic, it’s intimate with fewer guests than a normal wedding and it allows travel loving souls the chance to explore and have their special day on foreign soil.

It was a picture perfect wedding and I’d always wondered how they decided and planned their wedding abroad so my sister kindly answered some questions and shared her insight below in case there is anyone else out there planning a wedding abroad or an elopement.

Why a wedding abroad?

We both love travelling so thought it would be great to incorporate our wedding in that.  A wedding abroad gave us the option to travel somewhere new!

How did you decide where to get married?

We were originally planning on eloping, and we found Fiji had great eloping packages and it was somewhere we had never been. Over time we changed from eloping to a wedding (complete with family) but Fiji remained.

Was it a hard or easy decision?

A very easy decision, I mean have you seen pictures of Fiji?!! Palm trees, friendly Fijians, cocktails, sunset, beach – what more could you want! It was a very laid back and intimate wedding, with only 15 people (including Shawn and me).

Did it affect the type of wedding that you had or wanted?

Shawn and I are quite laid back so a beach wedding was always the plan and this fit in with Fiji.

The best part of getting married in Fiji?

It was so relaxing, we basically just turned up – everything was organized for us. My sister Sarah will love this, as she was the one to convince us to invite the family, but it was awesome as it was like a family holiday. It was also very special as Shawn’s family had not been outside of Australia before so it was great to see them experience somewhere new.

The hardest part of getting married in Fiji?

The Outrigger resort where we got married is so organized and professional – so we didn’t have any problems. Except maybe when our butler picked up our wedding clothes a bit late to get prepped for the big day (basically just threw that it in so I could say we had a butler 😊), the hardest part was not inviting more family members – it would have been great to have my grandparents with us and aunties and uncles.

Where was the best place for research information?
My mother, Debs known as the MOB(Mother of the Bride) was in research heaven. There are many websites for Fiji weddings that show different packages for the different resorts. One great find was the Outrigger Wedding Facebook page – it had all the information I could want and you could ask previous brides questions. Also, the Outrigger assigned a wedding planner from the resort, Darshita, so I could email with any questions/issues and they were quite prompt with replies.

Where did I have Hens party and stag party?
I had a night out with friendsin Brisbane, which my amazing Maid of Honour organized…. won’t go into too much detail but it was an awesome night! I was then spoiled in Fiji by the MOB, she had organized a manicure/pedicure or all the ladies (MOB, sisters, mother in law and best friend), this also came with some bubbles! Shawn waited until Fiji, he and the boys went and played some golf, complete with a few beers.

How was it planning on across 2 countries?

It was quite easy as the wedding planner from the Outrigger was amazing. They let us know all the options and variety of things and Shawn and I picked what we liked. The package we selected had everything included so we didn’t need to source much. That being said – I did get addicted to Etsy – there is so much out there in the wedding world! Also, my maid of honour is a travel agent, so she booked all our flights and transfers, which made everything nice and easy! As we were getting married in a different country, there was quite a bit of paperwork to be organized, but this again was helped by the resort wedding planner.

Did you have to plan more than you expected to or wanted to?
No, it was quite simple you would have thought it would require more planning but it all came together very easily. It would have been harder for our family, Shawn’s family all required passports, my sister and brother in law in England, were moving to a new house at the same time as trying to organize travelling such a long way.

Were you able to iclude your Australian heritage in the day?
As we were in Fiji we wanted to incorporate the Fijian culture into our day. We had Fijian serenades sing traditional Fijian songs whilst I walked down the aisle. My father wore a Fijian outfit, a bright orange shirt and a sulu! He looked fantastic! My brother in law also wore a sulu and by the end of the trip, everyone was looking very Fijian.

What (if anything) would you do differently?
It was a wonderful day, very relaxing and no stress. The only thing I would change is to have had my mum with me whilst I was getting ready.

Top tips for other couples planning a wedding abroad? 
Do it! It’s a wonderful experience! I would say get organized early if you are planning on getting married overseas – find out the legal requirements for the country so you aware of what needs to be done.

Those that are familiar with our blog or Deb’s World will be aware that our family really loves to travel and I love how this has been a factor in both my sister’s weddings. I’ve recently posted about my middle sister’s wedding here. She and her husband met whilst she was living and working in the UK and they had an Aussie/Pommie wedding incorporating both of their heritage.  You can check it out here. My sisters and brother in laws have set the travel inspired weddings high so I’m going to have to come up with something pretty darn special when I finally get down the aisle.  Did you have a travel inspired wedding or know someone who did? Get in touch or leave a comment below as would love to hear other ways you can incorporate it in your big day.

If your thinking of getting married in Indonesia then our friends at HF Tours have a great post of what you need to think about with your planning.

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Travel, Love and Weddings- Planning a wedding with someone from another country

So what happens when you meet the ‘one’ when you’re on your travels?

Obvs take them home and marry them of course. And that is exactly what my sister did.

My middle sister moved to the UK a few years ago and while here she found her ‘one’.  She’s not like me we always knew her time in the U.K. would be for a few years and that she would eventually return. I, on the other hand, have dug my heels in and now drink so much tea and eat copious amounts of Yorkshire puddings that I’m practically British. But she was always going to go back and when they decided to move to Australia my brother in law made the decision to move without him even ever stepping foot on Aussie soil. They were (and still are) crazy in love.

Their love began and grew in Birmingham, they were engaged in Canberra and then the wedding planning began. Where, when, how? Two nationalities and cultures to come together in one place. Would it work? Would people travel wherever they ended up marrying? So many questions and things to consider that normal couples don’t need to think about.  My sister, however, is the super organised one of the family so we knew she would have it sorted before anyone could even ask when’s the wedding.

They married in Australia just near our hometown and had their wedding at a family friends property. We all stayed onsite in cabins and the ceremony was on the lawn with a marquee for the wedding breakfast. I wasn’t at all surprised that the wedding was in Australia but what I did like is how the celebration gave a nod to both cultures. The bridal party had both Aussies and Brits included on both sides. The night before the wedding and breakfast after we all had meals together so that everyone could get to know each other. The favours were a milo sachet and a Yorkshire gold tea bag and the games on the lawn while they were off having photos felt like a British afternoon garden party. The bouquets included my sister’s favourite native flowers and the groom and groomsmen’s suits all came from the UK.

It was a wonderful day and I’d always wondered how they decided and planned the wedding across the two countries so my sister kindly answered some questions and shared her wisdom below in case there is anyone else out there planning a wedding for two different nationalities.

How did you decide where to get married?

It was a really easy decision to get married in Australia. I’m not sure I even thought of getting married in the UK! It just made sense for it to be Australia as that’s where we are living. The main difficulty was choosing where in Australia to get married. We looked at venues near my grandparents’ house on the south coast and also my hometown. We ended up getting married in my hometown as it was easier, cheaper and my parents were there to handle some of the tedious bits of planning.

Was it a hard decision?

Nope! Well not for me! Luckily Ben is pretty easy going. I think it was easy for Ben once people said they would travel over (we had 67 adults attend the wedding and almost 20 came from overseas).

Did it affect the type of wedding that you had?

Not overly but it did impact on what we had to consider. We ended up getting married in my hometown in the middle of nowhere. There is no public transport to the town and there is no public transport to get around the town either. So everyone had to drive and to make it easy, we ended up with a venue that had enough accommodation on site for everyone to stay. It made the whole weekend like a massive family reunion/party.

What was the best part of getting married in Australia?

For me, it was having most of my family attend, including grandparents and cousins. On the other hand, Ben only had his mum, dad, step mum and step brother from his family attend. Plus we had the perfect spring day with lovely weather. Not sure we could have guaranteed that in the UK!

What was the hardest part of getting married in Australia?

Having friends and family who couldn’t attend, especially Ben’s sister and her children. However, we did travel to the UK a few months before our wedding to attend Ben’s sister’s wedding and we at least got to see all the family then. We also had a bridesmaid and groomsman who weren’t able to come over which was sad as we would have loved them to share our special day.

If you had married in England how do you think it would have been different?

It wouldn’t have an outside wedding – you just can’t risk it! I’m not sure it would have been so relaxed. We got married on a private property in the middle of nowhere and everyone could stumble to their room when they were done for the night. There was no one to complain about noise so those who wanted to could keep the party going to 2 am. We also had to provide our own alcohol so that kept costs down.

Where did you have your hen party? Stag party?

We had several! While we were in the UK in August, Ben had a week in a caravan in Wales with his best mates and I had a day out with my girlfriends at an inflatable park. Back in Australia, I had high tea and cocktails in Canberra and Ben had a night out. Plus I had a weekend in my hometown with my mum and two bridesmaids for the wedding trials.

How was it planning across the two countries?

It wasn’t too bad, as we didn’t really need to do much planning for the UK. Ben bought his suits (and the groomsmen’s) while in the UK but everything else was pretty much done in Australia. The only extra planning was organising things to do with our visitors. We spent a week before the wedding in Sydney with friends and family from the UK and after the wedding, we went to Jervis Bay and the Gold Coast. I organised the accommodation and travel which added a lot of planning.

Did you have to plan more than you expected to?

I’m often the organiser of a lot of things so I assumed I would end up planning a lot of things (including the travel above) so that wasn’t unexpected. One of the things I didn’t factor in was how to assign cabins to the wedding guests. The cabins had shared bathrooms and kitchens for 8-10 people. It was hard working out the different groups and who would be compatible to share.

How did you include your different heritages in your ceremony?

Luckily, English and Australian cultures are pretty similar (especially as my grandmother was born in England) so there wasn’t much we needed to bridge in that regard. We just worked with our celebrant to plan a ceremony that worked for us and reflected our relationship.

What (if anything) would you do differently?

It was a perfect day – I wouldn’t change a thing….except for the hair drama. Oh, and I maybe I would have finished my master’s thesis before the wedding.

Top tips to any other mixed national couples planning to get married?

I’m not sure how useful any advice I have would be for couples that have vastly different cultural backgrounds. I just think that you and your partner need to remember that it’s your day and so long as the two of you are happy, nothing else matters.

Those that are familiar with this blog or Deb’s World will be aware that our family loves to travel and I love how this has been a factor in both my sister’s weddings. From my middle sister above meeting her husband aboard and planning a cross-national wedding to my baby sister initially planning an elopement to Fiji but then deciding they wanted the immediate family with them so turned into a wedding abroad. We like to keep things interesting.  A huge thank you to my middle sister for getting involved in this post and keep your eyes peeled as my baby sister is also getting involved so a post on planning a wedding abroad will be up shortly.

As my dad keeps saying 2 down 1 to go. No pressure then!

Maybe one day you’ll get 3 out of 3 Pappa.

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Globetrotters – Sarah Plus Laura

I’ve long been a fan of Sarah and her wife’s blog Sarahpluslaura. Not only are they ridiculously cute and super loved up but they also have been to and blogged about some amazing places! Recently they have been exploring in the US and pictures have been so wanderlust worthy!! The  Grand Canyon is high on my to visit list!

They are a cross-national couple with Sarah from Britain and Laura from the US. They have lived and travelled all over the world and as I have learned from the below they were also the first all-female couple to marry at Westminster on the day the gay marriage became legal in the U.K. Yas Girls!!

I love their take on their adventures in that they travel when they can and they just love exploring and seeing the world together.

My favourite post is one from their recent travels and is all about the Neon Museum. This place looks insane! So many huge neon signs. I’d never really wanted to go to Vegas but this post and these pictures have created some serious travel inspo!!  You can find the link here . You’ll find lots on their blog from travel to lifestyle to super cute pictures of their dog Bisbee.

Sarah has said that their blog is a storybook of their lives and I’m so glad that they have allowed us all into their world..

Let me hand over to the lovely Sarah from Sarah Plus Laura.


I’m Sarah and I blog with my wife Laura. We met in 2009, moved to Australia in 2010, we were the first all female couple to marry in Westminster on the day gay marriage became legal in 2014, we then held a wedding celebration in Idaho, USA, Laura’s hometown in June that year. Since being together we have travelled the UK, Europe, Australia and a fair few places in between. Living and loving life.

What do you enjoy most about travelling?

Finding something new. It’s inspiring, rejuvenating and makes me feel alive.

Why do you think travelling is important?

Without it, your world view is so limited. Media only tells one side of a story to understand the world, the people, the reality you need to see it for yourself. I love the quote ‘the world is a book, if you never leave your home you will only ever read one page’

What is your favourite photograph from your travels?


Which is your favourite type of travel/holiday- sun, snow, sea, city, mountains, country?

Can I say all? My current order is mountains, sun, country, snow, sea, city but that’s today. Tomorrow it may be something different 🙂

Who do you usually travel with?

My wonderful wife and when we can our cockapoo dog, Bisbee


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

Plan. Maybe not everything but having key things to see helps make sure you don’t miss out. We plan our must see’s by following the hashtag for the place on Instagram. We added the Neon Museum to our must do list for Vegas because of the pictures.


Tell us the funniest story or a mishap from one of your adventures?

The mishap was when Laura got bitten by a dog on our 2nd day in Thailand. The whole story is here. The story itself leads to some funny moments among the panic though – me holding on for dear life as some poor Thai child took me on a moped to clear out my bank to pay for the treatment. Or the Jekyll and Hyde character I played in the Thai hospital – swinging between being a dutiful girlfriend checking Laura was okay to have a full on argument with the medical staff who were trying to charge us for everything and the kitchen sink. I managed to argue the bill down from over £4,000 to nearer £1000!

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

New Zealand. I had to think long and hard as Santorini is a close second, but for out of this world experiences, New Zealand has it. We climbed a glacier, helicoptered over a glacier, sailed a fjord, bungee jumped and drove our camper van for days seeing only sheep, the occasional person and no traffic lights. Total escapism.

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

Singapore. What we were expecting was Asian beauty, what we got was a hot, sticky and overwhelmed in the crowds. I’m sure if you had a local guide it is full of amazing experiences but we won’t rush back.

Tell us one place/experience on your bucket list?

I think right now I’ll pick the Florida Keys, or maybe Florida as a whole. I want to do the theme parks and drive the Keys. See the long, beautiful beaches, azure sea and make a road trip to the islands. Laura (my wife) on the other hand is desperate to do a trip to the North Pole on an ice-cutting boat. At a cool $20k for 3 weeks at sea, she’ll need to find another travel buddy for that 😊

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

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.

What can readers find on your blog?

An interesting mix of travel, lifestyle and opinion pieces, and some LGBT stuff thrown in and if you go back a few years tonnes about our wedding, What we Love Wednesdays and Fun Fact Fridays posts. We started our blog 5 years ago to share our experiences with Laura’s faraway family but since then it has grown into a storybook of our life.

To find more from Sarah get clicking on these links.

Blog

Instagram

Twitter
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Spread The Love like Wild Flowers

The world is a challenging place at the moment. Whilst terrorism is not new it is becoming more and more prevalent in our lives. My first awareness of terrorism was September 11. I remember being so naive in thinking it was an accident and that people wouldn’t want to cause that level of harm. Now though, there is barely a month that goes by without an attack or incident somewhere in the world and everyone is doing their best to stay strong, not to be afraid and not to let the terrorists win. But it’s hard. 

 I woke up to a group text message from my best friends at home in Australia saying ‘ok, ok enough is enough. I think you should come home now to live’ 

 I know it was out of care and love but I replied that I wasn’t going to live in fear and move home because some shitty people have acted in an inhumane way. If we are afraid, if we are angry, if we change our lives based on their behaviour then they have won and I will not let that happen. 

 I spent the morning watching the news unfold about the attack in London last night, interviews, footage from phones and powerful people from all over the world condem the actions of these terrible people and praise the stories of heroics. Not superheroes but people from the general public standing up and helping, caring, showing love for people they have never met. The speed at which the police acted and their bravery of running into the action when most people run away from it. I’ve then spent this evening watching the outpouring of strength, togetherness and love at the One Love concert in Manchester. Most of the people in the audience had been at the Manchester bombing, They had experienced the fear first hand, they maybe have been recovering from their injuries, they most likely know someone who was injured or worse had their life taken but they still came out to show their love and support for their city and the victims. 

 

There was some brilliant artists performing but one song really stuck out for me. The Black Eyed Peas came out and sang Where is the Love and listening to the words (and then googling them to make sure I heard right) they are just as relevant now as they were back in 2003. 

 ‘Yo’, whatever happened to the values of humanity

Whatever happened to the fairness and equality

Instead of spreading love we’re spreading animosity

Lack of understanding, leading us away from unity’

 

‘But if you only have love for your own race

Then you only leave space to discriminate

And to discriminate only generates hate

And when you hate then you’re bound to get irate, yeah’

 It’s scary that words written in 2003 are still so appropriate some 14 years later and scarily enough maybe still relevant in another 14 years. 

 This isn’t something we’ll solve alone, we need to do it together. I always believe that love will beat hate. Yes, I appreciate this sounds a little idealistic but let’s leave the political issues to the politicians, the crime fighting to the amazing police and armies across the world whose sole job is to protect the general public, the healing and rehabilitation to the doctors and nurses. What we can do ourselves is not share stupid memes/facebook rants, not turn our hurt to anger and misdirect it at a whole religion instead of the radicalised ones, not change our daily habits, keep doing the things we love, go to concerts, travel, go out for dinner and drinks, visit tourist areas or just get on plane to travel the world. I for one refuse to be scared. We’ve all only got a short time on this beautiful planet and I’m not going to let these misdirected people ruin it for me. 

The more they try to pull us apart the more we need to stick together. The more destruction they cause the more courage we need to show. The more they try to hurt us the more love we need to give. 

We will not let them win. 

We need to spread the love like wildflowers. 

Full lyrics of Where is the Love if you are interested 
What’s wrong with the world, mama
People livin’ like they ain’t got no mamas

I think the whole world addicted to the drama

Only attracted to things that’ll bring you trauma

Overseas, yeah, we try to stop terrorism
But we still got terrorists here livin’

In the USA, the big CIA

The Bloods and The Crips and the KKK
But if you only have love for your own race

Then you only leave space to discriminate

And to discriminate only generates hate

And when you hate then you’re bound to get irate, yeah
Madness is what you demonstrate

And that’s exactly how anger works and operates

Man, you gotta have love just to set it straight

Take control of your mind and meditate

Let your soul gravitate to the love, y’all, y’all
People killin’, people dyin’

Children hurt and you hear them cryin’

Can you practice what you preach?

Or would you turn the other cheek?
Father, Father, Father help us

Send some guidance from above

‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’

Where is the love (Love)
Where is the love (The love)

Where is the love (The love)

Where is the love, the love, the love
It just ain’t the same, old ways have changed

New days are strange, is the world insane?

If love and peace are so strong

Why are there pieces of love that don’t belong?
Nations droppin’ bombs

Chemical gasses fillin’ lungs of little ones

With ongoin’ sufferin’ as the youth die young

So ask yourself is the lovin’ really gone
So I could ask myself really what is goin’ wrong

In this world that we livin’ in people keep on givin’ in

Makin’ wrong decisions, only visions of them dividends

Not respectin’ each other, deny thy brother

A war is goin’ on but the reason’s undercover
The truth is kept secret, it’s swept under the rug

If you never know truth then you never know love

Where’s the love, y’all, come on (I don’t know)

Where’s the truth, y’all, come on (I don’t know)

Where’s the love, y’all
People killin’, people dyin’

Children hurt and you hear them cryin’

Can you practice what you preach?

Or would you turn the other cheek?
Father, Father, Father help us

Send some guidance from above

‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’

Where is the love (Love)
Where is the love (The love)?

Where is the love (The love)?

Where is the love (The love)?

Where is the love (The love)?

Where is the love (The love)?

Where is the love (The love)?

Where is the love, the love, the love?
I feel the weight of the world on my shoulder

As I’m gettin’ older, y’all, people gets colder

Most of us only care about money makin’

Selfishness got us followin’ the wrong direction
Wrong information always shown by the media

Negative images is the main criteria

Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria

Kids wanna act like what they see in the cinema
Yo’, whatever happened to the values of humanity

Whatever happened to the fairness and equality

Instead of spreading love we’re spreading animosity

Lack of understanding, leading us away from unity
That’s the reason why sometimes I’m feelin’ under

That’s the reason why sometimes I’m feelin’ down

There’s no wonder why sometimes I’m feelin’ under

Gotta keep my faith alive ’til love is found

Now ask yourself
Where is the love?

Where is the love?

Where is the love?

Where is the love?
Father, Father, Father, help us

Send some guidance from above

‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’

Where is the love?
Sing with me y’all:

One world, one world (We only got)

One world, one world (That’s all we got)

One world, one world

And something’s wrong with it (Yeah)

Something’s wrong with it (Yeah)

Something’s wrong with the wo-wo-world, yeah

We only got

(One world, one world)

That’s all we got

(One world, one world)

Back to the future- How social media and technology has changed for expats and travellers in 2017

When I left Australia in 2006 there was no Facebook. Yes NO FACEBOOK! No, Twitter, No Instagram, no Pinterest, no snapchat. Well, they may have been in existence in the US but it was early days. I don’t even think smartphones were a thing. Pretty sure we were all still rocking the flip phones.

Gosh, I sound really old.

I remember New Years Eve 2006 my friends were talking about this new website which was coming to England and It was set to be better than Myspace. That you could upload photos to, find friends (but better than friends reunited which let’s be honest wouldn’t be hard) and to send messages to friends over the internet with no charge. There wasn’t even an app it was just a website.  I also remember when I first signed up and no one I knew in Australia was on it. I remember wondering if it would even catch on.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently just how different living away from my family was only 11 years ago to how it is now. Which in itself has had drastic changes. Then I was thinking about when my parents moved our family to England in 1992 and just how different and hard it was for them. The world has changed a lot in 25 years!

In 2017 the Harris sisters meeting up in an airport would have been a Facebook status update but in 2007 it was just emailed to the parents. Oh we were so fresh faced

For me, in 2006 I probably spoke to my parents on the phone (always on a landline!) once a month as it was extremely expensive to call. I would have emailed a few times a month but would be completely out of the loop as to what was going on at home with the family or with friends. I wouldn’t see pictures of my family as again picture messages were very expensive and it was just a bit difficult to get photos from a camera to a computer to then email. Even sending an email I would need to go to the library to use the internet there.  I always felt quite disconnected with the goings on at home and it made it really tough emotionally. I always would get jealous of my friends who would go home to see their parents at the weekend and I wanted Australia to be just that little bit closer so I could pop home for a weekend break.

In 1992 my parents must have felt like they were on the other side of the universe rather than on the other side of the world. The contact with their parents, friends and family was few and far between.  International phone calls cost the same as a small car, there was no Skype, cameras still primarily used film, mobile phones were still bricks and could only keep 10 text messages at a time and you were charged by the number of letters. Areograms were written and received often, postcards of all the places we went were sent back and took like a month to get there. Nothing was instant. To get information on either side of the globe took time and for that year they were only able to get snippets from back home. For all the amazing experiences they had they couldn’t really share them with their parents or if they were missing home they just had to suck it up and wait till they were back on Aussie soil. They wouldn’t have even been able to see their own parents faces for a whole year!

Grainy family photo due to having to scan it in from a printed picture. The challenges of 1992. They obviously didn’t have razors in 1992 by the state of dads beard

Fast Forward 25 years and now  I can face time and speak to my parents face to face and even better I can  feel like I’ve been home (especially when my parents walk me around the house or perch the iPad up at the breakfast table like I’m there in the flesh), I have a group chat group  with my parents and sisters and with my besties so we can share the goings on in our lives as it happens. I can be on the other side of the world and still feel like I’m only an hour down the road from them.  I couldn’t tell you the last time I wrote a letter or postcard home but I could tell you where in Tasmania my mum has just been, through her Instagram and blog or i could tell you what my sister did after she finished work today. I can keep up with their fitness through runkeeper, I can see what my sister is planning for her wedding from her Pinterest board and I can know town gossip at the same time if not before my mum knows. It really has made those thousands of miles in between us seem so much smaller.

It’s not only changed keeping in touch with home but it’s also hugely changed how I view travel. I can now go on a website and find the best flights for my travels and not rely on a travel agent. I can stay in someone’s home on Airbnb rather than a hotel room. If I am going somewhere new I can look on Instagram to see what it looks like or the best places to visit. I can get a guide of what to see in any given country from Pinterest. We can read reviews on trip advisors or learn from other people through their blogs about their experiences and the good, bad and the ugly parts of destinations. We can get annoyed at the Begpackers on social media asking people to pay for their ‘journey of self-discovery’ , we can tag ourselves into places on facebook to show just how fabulous and awesome our travels are. I mean can you imagine how only 10 years ago we couldn’t upload the standard ‘my Monday is better than yours’ status update accompanied with a picture of a beach or beautiful view. The horror! We get an endless supply of wanderlust worthy travel photos on Instagram and that those hidden gems of destinations are just not as hidden as they once were.  It’s opened up the world both for the good and the bad.

I’ve read about how social media can make people actually more lonely than if they were interacting with ‘real’ in the flesh people. One website even said this was higher in expats as they are in a new place, still making friends and getting used to adjustment and changes in their life. I can see how this could be true especially if you don’t know ANYONE or if there is a language barrier but I’ve never felt like that. If anything it’s given me a greater connection with home which has allowed me to interact more in my day to day life as I’m  not sat around missing home. I used to get massive FOMO as I never really knew what was happening at home whereas, with technology and social media the way it now it feels like I’m closer to home, I can get involved in family activities by face timing, social media or just a simple WhatsApp message. I’ve met and maintained new relationships and I’ve had friends in similar situation help me through the tough parts of living abroad as they have done it themselves. So whilst I agree the rise of social media and new technology does have its negatives and downfalls I’d much rather have it as it is now than what it was like in 1992 or even 2006.

I can’t even begin to imagine what it will be like in another 10 years. I’m hoping for teleportation pods but we’ll see…..

Have you noticed how social media and technology has changed for you either travelling or living abroad? Would love to hear your thoughts!

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Annual Bloggers Bash Awards 2017

Something pretty awesome happened this week!

I was nominated for Best Overall Blog in the Annual Blogger Bash Awards (ABBA). When I first saw the acronym I thought they got me confused with an ABBA fan blog site.

Yes seriously.

Yes little old me.

IT’S CRAZY!! Cue excited jumping up and down.

The awards are made up of several categories ranging from Hidden Gem to Best Book Review blogger to Best Overall Blog. Each category has a whole host of awesome blogs and it’s amazing that I’m in the same nomination lists! Talk about being in great company!

The awards are announced at the Annual Bloggers Bash on June 10th in London and details can be found here https://sachablack.co.uk/annual-bloggers-bash/ 

So not only is the short list full of amazing blogs to discover but you can also vote for your favourite in each category!! You don’t need to log in or even leave an email address so super easy. Well, easy voting process, trying to decide who to vote for is the hard part!

Obviously, I’d love your vote but no pressure choose your favourite and show the blogging community some love.
Voting closes 12 pm on June 2nd on this date and all the nominees (including links to their blogs) are listed here just click your vote and it all goes to the organisers. The list of all categories can be found below. Get ready to discover some brilliant blogs covering a huge range of topics.

https://sachablack.co.uk/2017/05/18/2017-annual-bloggers-bash-awards-voting-open-bloggersbash-bloggersbash/ 
I’m so chuffed about being on the shortlist. When I first started blogging I thought it would only be my family reading my ramblings but it’s continued to grow and to get listed in the nominees is just the icing on the cake.
So thank you so much for reading, following,

commenting, sharing and of course for the nomination and I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for June 10th!
X

Globetrotters- Wanderers Hub

Travelling is pretty awesome especially when you get to experience it with the person you love most in the world. Prerna and Harsh from the Wanderers Hub get to do just that. Lucky sods!

I love their answer regarding why travelling is important and how it not only rejuvenates the soul but also makes you more tolerant. If only more people opened their mind to travelling and seeing new cultures, meeting people from different walks of life and seeing the world from a different viewpoint to what they are used to. This is a message we all need to get out there.

One of my favourite posts from them isn’t a destination post as you would expect but a post about interesting wanderlust words. Most of these I’d never heard of! Have a read here and see if you’ve heard of them. I’m going to see how many I can get into conversation this week. Now for the destination link I loved reading about the beautiful Bhutan which has long been on my bucket list. Check out the post here and don’t blame me for the wanderlust that will entail.

So happy Sunday all and let me introduce you to Prerna and Harsh …

Hi we are Prerna and Harsh and we are Indian travel bloggers, who run a travel blog called Wanderers Hub. We met in school, fell in love, dated for years, and then got married in 2015. Despite Harsh having a full-time job and Prerna being an entrepreneur, we both fetch time from our busy lives to travel as much as possible. With our itchy feet we are always on the hunt for offbeat places which we can present with an interesting series of photos. In fact, we focus on making a genuine connection with our audience rather than just cluttering the internet space.

What do you enjoy most about travelling?

Travel helps build and strengthen relationships. A quick sun-and-sand getaway or a week-long beach break helps ignite the spark that lasts long even after we are back home. Then there is this feeling of conquering a new territory. The idea of trying new food, watching the sun set from a different zone and sleeping in a different world – it gives a sense of accomplishment.

Why do you think travelling is important?

Travelling changes our conceptions of conventional. It’s so amazing to see the world from a unique perspective. Simply put, travelling is an eye-opener. Getting a free new take on life by seeing how people in the other part of the world live is simply fascinating. Plus you are able to leave all worries back at home and step out of your comfort zone. Travelling rejuvenates the soul and makes a person more tolerant.

What is your favourite photograph from your travels.

This one kind of makes us nostalgic about encountering the most romantic sunset of our lives together. It gives us warm fuzzies! 🙂

Which is your favourite type of travel/holiday- sun, snow, sea, city, mountains, country?

We both love beach holidays!

Who do you usually travel with?

We travel with each other and no one else. Rarely, do we go for family trips as our parents themselves are keen on exploring the world at their own pace.

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

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.

Tell us the funniest story or a mishap from one of your adventures?

It happened during Tigers Nest trek in Bhutan when the weather got changed drastically and it perhaps started raining. Since the slope was extremely steep, we couldn’t move properly. It got worse when the entire stretch became muddy and we could see so many people slipping here and there. We took our chances and started trekking down slowly, much to our dismay. I slipped really bad the first time and in a fit of rage, threw the bottle I had in my hand, which landed on another person’s head. That was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. But I slipped again and again and again! Needless to say, I was a dirt sack by the end of the trek. Now when we think of it, we have a big laugh about the entire episode.

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

So far Bhutan. That country can have a numbing impact on your senses – it’ll leave you awestruck!

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

Dubai was a bit overhyped, I believe.

Tell us one place/experience on your bucket list?

I have heard a lot about Fiji and it definitely is on our bucket list. We’re looking forward to exploring Varanasi next week and Switzerland in August this year.

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

Sunscreen, for sure!

What can readers find on your blog?

Readers can find a perfect melange of travel and lifestyle on our blog. We’ll take them through the exciting journey of finding offbeat places, secluded beaches, and all those hidden streets in a country they’d love exploring.

Find more from Wanderers Hub here

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Forget your year 6 school trip experiences here is 10 reasons to visit Canberra now

My sister has lived in lots of places both in Australia and overseas over her lifetime. She lived in our rural country town,  experienced the bright lights of Sydney, spent a semester in Sweden, lived in the midlands of the UK  and she even lived in the Italian Alps for a year when she didn’t know a word of Italian.  Her husband and she relocated from Birmingham a few years ago (he had never been to Australia and yet moved without hesitation- but that is another story for another day) and after a brief stint staying back with the parents, they made the move to Canberra.  Yes, Canberra. You can probably hear me roll my eyes when I say this.

I seriously don’t mean any disrespect to Canberra or its residents but really my only memories are of  school trips, roundabouts so many roundabouts, stopping for a Macca’s on the way to my grandparents on the way to the coast or a brief end of school girls trip when we weren’t even really old enough to do anything fun so just shopped and visited Telecom tower.  I also slightly resent Canberra as a whole as it’s close to Mum and Dad so they spend a lot of time there visiting my sister.  I know the inner 16-year-old version of myself is coming out.

My sister, however, has been constantly trying to encourage my other half and I to 1)move home and 2) move to Canberra.   I even got a Canberra tea towel from her one birthday as if that could tempt me further.  Nice try Sissy.

In her bid to promote Canberra as a place I could move to I asked her to send over 10 reasons why people should visit Canberra.

If you aren’t familiar with Canberra it is the capital city of Australia and located in the Australian Capital Territory. Australia has only two territories and these are the ACT and the Northern Territory (NT). It’s home to Parliament House, National War Museum and was a purpose built capital city that lies directly equal distances between Sydney and Melbourne.

So here are Canberra’s Best Bits according to my Sissy..

1.     It’s the bush capital


Canberra strikes a great balance between having all the amenities and convenience of cities but a small population and large open spaces.  Within a five minutes drive of her high-density apartment complex,  she can be in the bush with no sign of development.

If you want a true bush experience there is the Canberra Nature Park (30+ separate areas) across Canberra allowing you to walk and hike in the bush.  Plus you can hike up Mount Ainslie, Black Mountain or Red Hill for great views of the city.  And if you’re really keen, there are plenty of bushwalks just outside of Canberra (such as Mount Tennent or Mount Painter). If you’re keen to see Australian wildlife, it is pretty much guaranteed at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.

2.     It may not be on the water
Unlike most Australian states and capital territories, Canberra isn’t located on the coast.  However, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t any water fun to be had.  In the middle of Canberra is Lake Burley Griffin neatly dividing Canberra into south and north (with a fairly competitive rivalry to accompany it).

There are also smaller lakes in the some of the Canberra districts – Lake Ginninderra (Belconnen), Gungahlin Pond and Yerrabi Pond (Gungahlin) and Lake Tuggeranong.

There’s also plenty of swimming locations.   Casuarina Sands (swimming in the Murrumbidgee River) is highly recommended but there is also Uriarra Crossing, Kambah Pool, Cotter Dam/River, Gibraltar Creek (with some nice waterfalls) and other spots to be discovered.

3.     It encourages an active lifestyle
Due to the large open spaces, Canberra encourages an active lifestyle.  Not only are there cycling tracks all around the lakes, there are plenty of shared off-road paths and on-road bike lanes linking the main areas of Canberra.  And if you get tired, all the buses come equipped with bike carriers so you can just get the bus home!

You can also row, sail, kayak, stand-up paddle board on the water and cycle, walk or Segway on the 40km path surrounding Lake Burley Griffin.

4.Seasonal experiences
It’s a rarity in Australian states and territory capital cities (excluding Melbourne with its four seasons in one day and Tasmania) that all seasons are fully experienced in Canberra. What’s even better are the events that accompany the seasons.  No matter when you travel to Canberra, there is likely to be something on.

Summer events
Summer kicks off with Christmas markets and light displays.
Canberra holds the world record for largest number of Christmas lights on a residential home and also the world record for most Christmas lights on an artificial Christmas tree.
Canberra has a free New Years Eve concert and fireworks (though don’t expect them to be anything like Sydney’s).
Free Australia Day concert
Multicultural festival – three-day event that is massive – sort of like Tumbafest on a bigger scale with daytime drinking encouraged
Ignore Summernats – highly recommend avoiding Canberra on this weekend

Autumn events


Autumn may not be what you expect – in March the days are still warm (often getting up to 30 degrees) with cool nights. From late April (Anzac day onwards) the temperature drops, but the days are generally sunny and bright.
Enlighten and the Night Noodle market in March
Canberra Day – public holiday – second Monday in March
SkyFire – Random Saturday night of fireworks over the lake – in March
Balloon Spectacular – nine days balloon festival near Lake Burley Griffin – in March
Anzac dawn service at Australian War Memorial
Canberra District Wine Harvest

Winter events
Truffle Festival
Sports – rugby union, rugby league, AFL GWS
Corin Forest – skiing, snowboarding, sledging and snow activities 45 minutes from Canberra
Ski fields  – the best ski fields in Australia are less than three hours from Canberra

Spring events
Floriade
Night Fest (part of Floriade – comedy shows, drinks, music, cooking demonstrations and imaginative light display
Canberra Nara Candle Festival – Nara (Japan) is the sister city of Canberra – over 2000 candles with Japanese music and other Japanese-themed events
Oktoberfest

5.     Markets
In addition to your typical shopping centres, Canberra has thriving markets.  You can get your food for the week or crafts and clothing.
*Old Bus Depot (weekly) – has food, clothes, craft, art etc
*Hall markets (monthly)
*Canberra Handmade markets (quarterly) – the very best products from independent designers, artisans, craftspeople and gourmet food makers. Categories include – Art & Photography, Skincare & Grooming, Things for Children, Fashion, Food, Homewares & Textiles, Jewellery & Accessories, Paper & Craft, Furniture, Pets and Christmas.
*EPIC Farmers Markets – every type of produce you could imagine.

6.     Dinner and drinks
When we used to go to Canberra as a teenager, we always ended up eating in  Manuka as that was the “Canberra eating area”.  Thankfully, (and while Manuka still has good restaurants) Canberra is undergoing a transformation and other areas have developed.

*Braddon has led the trend of hip and quirky nightlife.
*The Bentspoke Brewery brew all their beer and cider on the premises – they have up to 18 different beers on tap at any time.
*The Hamlet – Food truck venue and bring your own alcohol (with a bottle shop conveniently across the road)
*Mandalay Bus – Canberra institution
*Frugii Dessert Laboratory – amazing ice cream in a strange variety of flavours
*Grease Monkey – used to be a mechanic shop, now does amazing burgers

In addition to Braddon, Kingston Foreshore, New Acton and Civic are highly recommended spots for great food.

If you’re in the mood for a pub experience, the Old Canberra Inn is the oldest pub in Canberra and predates Canberra itself by over 50 years (although it was a home for a large amount of that time).  It’s an amazing old building that is very cosy and does amazing food.  It only serves craft beers and always has different beers on tap.

Canberra has also joined the trend of concealed, laneway bars.  Molly is an amazing underground (literally) whisky bar, Suke Suke is a Japanese cocktail bar that’s also underground (and down a dodgy looking lane), Highball Express is a Cuban themed bar up a fire escape and unlike most laneway bars is very airy and spacious, Hippo Co is another whisky bar, Bar Rochford has a lovely open fire in the winter.

7. Breakfast
The most important meal of the day and you’re bound to be impressed by the breakfast and coffee available in Canberra.  A Canberran barista has won the Australian Barista Championships for the past two years.

The freakshake trend started in Canberra at Patissez who incidentally do amazing ricotta pancakes.  Another place where you can get a side serve of diabetes with your breakfast is Ricardo’s – their display cabinet is a rainbow coloured delight.  The Cupping Room does great breakfasts and quite often has a queue outside the front door.

8.The iconic Canberra experience

Forget about your year six excursion to Canberra, some of the main tourist spots are fascinating.

The Australian War Memorial is incredible and depressing; Questacon is just as fun as when you were a teenager (and I highly recommend the adult only nights – science and alcohol!?); the National Gallery of Australia currently has Treasures from the Palace of Versailles on display; there is a lot to see in Canberra and you may as well roll down the hill at Parliament House while you can (they’re building a fence).

9. Jervis Bay
Jervis Bay has the most amazing beaches in Australia and the world.  Part of Jervis Bay belongs to the Australian Capital Territory so that the capital has access to the sea.  The Booderee National Park is part of the Jervis Bay Territory has truly incredible beaches and campsites.  Murray’s Beach is probably and all time favourite beach.

10. She lives there and its closer to home than I am currently
Do I need any other reasons??

Planning your Honeymoon?

Have you checked out Honeymoon Seeker? Well, you should!

I’ve been fortunate enough to meet Nickie on Instagram and now through many comments, emails and conversations, I feel I have found a kindred spirit in the travelling blogging world. She’s lived in lots of different towns and countries. Visited and explored so many places both on her own but also with her family, she’s backpacked and had luxury holidays and just had a deep love for travelling so much so she started a website to help couples plan their dream honeymoon.

I work my day job in the magazine world and work on two wedding magazines so know all too well how important the honeymoon is to brides to be. So to have a resource like Honeymoon Seeker really is amazing when planning your first holiday as husband and wife! Honeymoon Seeker not only has a blog for inspiration but also has an easy to use directory to help create your perfect honeymoon.

Nickie has been kind enough to share some of her insights. I’ve also put links below for Honeymoon Seeker and their social pages so you can check out more.

Let me hand you over to Nickie…

My name is Nickie and I am a mother of two, wife to one and lover of all things travel! I have explored and lived in most of my home country Australia and am now based Darwin, NT. In my early 20’s I was addicted to snow and spent two ski seasons living on the beautiful North Island of New Zealand and one ski season in Banff, Canada. My love of travel continued to blossom as I explored India, Bali, Singapore and Thailand. In between working jobs in HR, Advertising and Hospitality, I have backpacked solo through USA, Canada, Ireland, England, France and Italy. Some of my favourite trips have been travelling with friends through Croatia, Austria, The Netherlands and Germany. I have travelled as a family with young kids through Spain, Germany, Switzerland, France, England, Hawaii, Thailand, Singapore and Bali. I don’t fit in a box or category! I’ve been a solo backpacker, a loved up couple in fancy hotels, a family on a budget and a bunch of girlfriends on a weekend away. I love sharing my knowledge and tips with anyone who wants to explore our globe.

What inspired you to start Honeymoon Seeker?

My love of travel, romance and all things in between. I was a destination bride with an 18-month-old baby and I had no idea where would be a good place to honeymoon for us! I wanted somewhere family friendly that offered babysitting services so my husband and I could have a few date nights together. I spend hours stressing and searching and ended up finding a beautiful hotel in Ao Nang, Thailand. I want to reduce that stress and time searching by offering carefully selected places to suit a range of honeymooners wants and needs.

What can couples find at Honeymoon Seeker?

They can find inspiration of where to stay and explore on their honeymoon! Loads of blogs with our team’s personal experiences of destinations to help couples decide what will suit them best.

Top 3 things that should be considered when planning a honeymoon? 

1. Budget! Don’t send yourself bankrupt by booking three weeks in Bora Bora on a water bungalow if your budget won’t allow it. Look for similar and cheaper options like the Philippines and Fiji.

2. Your personalities! If you don’t like sitting still, then don’t book a two-week honeymoon on a beach in Play Del Carmen in Mexico. Look at Thailand for rock climbing, zip lining or New Zealand for other adrenalin fuelled activities.

3. Expectations! Chat with your partner and make sure you are both on the same page about what your honeymoon means to you both. One might want to sleep in and read books, the other might want to rise early and explore the surroundings. Chatting first and sharing your expectations will avoid arguments or frustrations on your honeymoon.

If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?

I have always wanted to explore Central America! We are waiting til our young kids are a bit older so they can be more independent and enjoy the rainforest boat rides, hikes and long bus journeys between each country.

If a bride asked you one thing she must take on honeymoon what would you say?

Your camera! Phone photos are great, but if you want to print or enlarge any images from your travels, a good quality camera is a must have.

Tell us the most interesting honeymoon adventure you’ve heard about?

A four-month driving tour of the USA. The Australian couple started in Boston and made their way down the East Coast to Florida, over to California and up the West Coast to Seattle. They stopped at so many places along the way and were able to spend a quality amount of time in each place. It was something they had been dreaming about together for 8 years!


http://www.honeymoonseeker.com

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Sacré-Cœur


Of all of the amazing places in Paris the Sacré-Cœur is one of my favourites. If you haven’t been there I almost demand you get on a plane to Paris right now.  Seriously get onto the easyjet website and book up your flight.

Whilst it’s known as Sacré-Cœur the official name is the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris and your can find it in Montmartre. I have stayed in this area on my last two trips to Paris and have stood and stared for many an hour at this amazing Basilica.

It was built between 1875 and 1914 on the place where Saint Denis (the first ever Bishop of Paris) was decapitated for his faith. Which sounds barbaric now but then again we’ve obviously not learnt from history as you would have thought people would have stopped killing other people for their faith- that’s a post for another day!

The Sacré-Cœur is beautiful inside and out. It is free to go inside and is open from 6am till 10.30 pm every day. There is crypt underneath the basilica however according to the website is currently closed. You are also able to climb the Dome of the Basilica. Entrance is outside to the left (you also can also access the crypt at the same place).

I would thoroughly recommend climbing the 300 stairs to the top of the Dome. The views are spectacular and you see more of Paris then you could imagine. You also have the Eiffel Tower in sight which is certainly high on the list of ways you should see the tower. The walk up isn’t too challenging but it is steep and narrow in some places and you just need to take it at your own pace. Honestly once you see the views you will forget about the steps . After that bit of exercise you also earn yourself a pain au chocolat #winning.

There is an admission charge and the opening times do depend on the season.  So do check when planning your visit. One thing to note is there is always a lot of people trying to put thread bracelets on you for money. This is quite off putting but as long as you say no they generally go away but it is quite annoying.

Visiting this beautiful place has to be on your list when visiting this stunning city.  If I’ve not convinced you enough with my words then I shall let my pictures do the talking…