Globetrotters- Travel with Me 24 x 7

Travel with Me 24 x 7 is exactly what their goal is to do. I love it when a blog name is exactly what it says on the tin.

You should see just how many places are covered on their blog. If you need travel inspiration on advice then this is certainly a one-stop place for resources, The design and headings mean navigating their site so much easier and also allows for you to find so much more than you would have initially expected.

Sri Lanka is somewhere I’ve been reading more and more about and it fast becoming a bucket list destination. This post with suggested itinerary shows just what I  I need to see once I eventually get there. It looks so beautiful and so diverse. I’m a little ashamed to admit but I’ve never really known much about Georgia or even read much about what to do and see. There are many posts covered on Travel with Me 24 x 7 and they show it off in all its glory. This post about Georgia in the winter really encompasses the charm of this destination.

As I’ve mentioned many times (and will probably do so again and again) I really thrive on reading the answers from the Globetrotters involved. We’ve covered so many people from different countries, races, nationalities and walks of life that everyone has such an interesting mind set on the same questions. Travel with Me 24 x 7’s answers on Why travelling is important and why do you enjoy it really match my own viewpoints and its reassuring to know that there are people in the world who see the same benefits you do.

I so happy to introduce Travel with Me 24 x 7 to you all.

Hi, I studied computer engineering but have always had a wandering soul. I love to paint/draw my favourite travel scenes on canvas. Travel, Photography, painting, arts and craft, cooking are all my passions. I am a family oriented person and vegetarian. I’ve travelled to many places but still much more left on my bucket list. For me whatever might be the destination, enjoy the journey or path because paths are more beautiful and adventurous than destinations. Blue skies, countryside towns, narrow local streets, colourful houses, green grassy slopes with grazing animals are all my weaknesses.

What do you enjoy most about travelling?
Meeting new people, indulging in new cultures, travelling around to see how people live in different geographies. Travel widens my horizon and I really believe on this great quote “The best stories are found between the pages of passport”.
Traveling enhances practical knowledge about history, political status, geography, commuting options, living with odds and even, socializing, enjoying and discovering the truth.

Why do you think travelling is important?
Travel clears the misconceptions or misunderstandings of a particular place or region. While travelling we find certain truths which are not even mentioned in books. After returning from a travel, you are not the same person as before. Travel is the biggest adventure a person can have.

Where are you off to next? Or where have you just come back from?
I just came from China. A very eye-opening place for me as language, culture and cuisine all were so new. It was exciting trip.

Do you have a pre-travel ritual? If so what?
Just praying to god, packing clothes within a day even though travel has been planned months before. I don’t make any plans for my itineraries.

Who do you usually travel with?
My husband and my children. And of course my camera with loads of memory.

If you were to give one piece of travel advice what would it be?
Travel and just travel, don’t make many plans on paper, take a leap and jump into this pond which is then followed by superb ideas and an addiction to travel. Every place has some tourist attractions which are worthy of experience but do enjoy every moment of travel whether it is the snowy, rainy or bad weather.

Tell us the most memorable moment you’ve had whilst travelling?
Once in Italy, we were stuck in the heavy snow with small children. As it was night, there was no help and being new to a place, we were helpless too. We were freezing literally but all of a sudden 4 youths emerged from somewhere and took our luggage and dropped it at our hotel. There were many thoughts running through our minds about the authentication of those unknown youths, but humanity wins all doubts. They didn’t even ask for money. We felt like as if they were sent by God.

Where is your favourite place that you’ve been to?
Mykonos- I loved those narrow streets, the sound of waves, turquoise blue water and silent nature. Everything looked unrealistic and as if it was a different land or planet. Another favorite is Caucasus mountain town – Kazbegi in Eurasia. The real untouched countryside that heals our soul.

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

Tell us one place/experience on your bucket list?
A trip to Russia or being in the quaint streets of Cuba.

What is the one thing you wouldn’t travel without?
Family and my camera. I can travel without my phone but my camera is a must. Once while travelling my camera stopped working properly and very soon at that new tourist place I bought a new one.

Your favourite book/film/tv series that always makes you want to travel?
Tv series and Bollywood movies at exotic locales always tempt me to visit that place.

What can readers find on your blog?
How exciting travel is. Also how to travel by blending with that place. Every place has some positive vibes which we have to feel there. There is no exact formula of what to see, but just feel the place as it is. My blog reflects that. I simply choose destinations in random order and visit them according to my moods and emotions.

Where does your blog name come from?
I want to travel 24 X 7 means all day and night. This feeling changed and gave birth to my website name.

Do you have a favourite blog post? What is it and why?
I love Familyearthtrek blog by Dada K S, as it also deals with family travelling and also they are nature lovers. The way they explore non-famous paths or offbeat destinations resonates me.

To find more from Travel with Me 24 x 7

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Does your passport really need 6 months validity?

Yes, yes you do! Especially if travelling to Fiji

Does your passport really need 6 months validity?I’ve been fortunate enough to not really have too many travel horror stories. Sure, I’ve ran for a train (never a plane Dad taught us early how you should always be 6 hours early for a flight!) , lost a boarding pass, misplaced a passport, cut it fine for boarding even with the 6 hour wait time, had a few dodgy character try to take us the wrong way in Marrakech but really nothing too bad or anything too serious that has thrown my travel plans into jeopardy.

Well, that was until recently and spoiler alert it all turned out ok and probably isn’t as dramatic as you might expect but when I was googling for advice nothing came up so I wanted to share my story in case it helps anyone else.

Postcard perfect Fiji- South Sea Island

As regular readers will be aware we’ve recently been to Fiji. Oh, beautiful Fiji -The holiday blues are still sooo raw. Fun fact about Fiji-  you don’t need a visa (for Australian or British Passports) but you definitely need 6 months validity on your passport from the date of departure from your home/departing country.

This is where the problem lay.

If you are like was stressed, cranky and googling everything combination of- passport, Fiji, validity and looking for quick information scroll to the bottom and the answer lies there!

Months ago when we booked our flights my other half said his passport will have less than 6 months validity and asked will it be ok? I (stupidly) was like yeah, of course, they just say 6 months to be careful. Point to note here I hadn’t even checked as genuinely believed that as long as your passport is valid you can enter any country. Of all the places and all the trips, I’d been on I’d never had any issues with this or really never checked about passport validity only about visas. It’s Travel 101 and my error number 1.

We were moving house during this time and were stressed and minds elsewhere so it wasn’t till the night before we were to fly that I checked again and noticed that my other half’s passport expired exactly 6 months to the day that we left London. I text my parents, my sisters, I put a message up in a Travel Facebook group, I googled to page 20 and no one could help or had a definite answer if we were going to be able to fly. Some websites said 3 months, some said 6 months but from the date of when you leave Fiji, and then other says 6 months from when you enter Fiji. No one knew and even when I checked the Fiji website it didn’t specify if it was exiting or entering. I was so confused. It probably also didn’t help that night I hadn’t slept for almost 24 hours so I was pretty highly strung.

I spent the whole 2-hour bus trip to Heathrow on edge. Do we fly all that way and then they say no, do they say no at Heathrow, what’s plan a/plan b/plan c.

Queuing at Heathrow check-in and looking at the desk clerks praying we weren’t going to get the grumpy one that looked a bit of a computer says no jobsworth. Thankfully we got a friendly one. Handed over the passports holding my breath. Then I saw the fingers come out. I could see her counting. 1,2,3,4,5,6. And then the words I didn’t want to hear.

‘We aren’t sure if you can fly today as the entry requirements for Fiji is 6 months passport validity’.

Noooooo. She said to not worry but she had to go check with a supervisor. Longest 3 minutes EVER! She then came back saying as today was the 1st of October and the passport expired on the 1st April we were very lucky with dates as it was 6 months to the day and we can fly.

As much as I was pleased I still was worried he’d get turned away in Fiji. Not the feeling you want to have before you get on a 30 flight. I text my family to relay the good news as they were also on tender hooks about if we’d both be joking for the wedding or just me. My sister then gave us information that I swear should be more accessible as I didn’t find any of it in my googling session. If an airline allows you to board but you are aren’t allowed to enter a country it’s their responsibility to pay for your return flight and they will be fined in excess of £/$10k so they will always be careful when allowing you to board.

So you’d think we’d be on cloud 9 and no worries but I still wouldn’t relax until we were actually there and on the beach.

We flew Heathrow to Dubai then to Melbourne and due to board a connecting flight to Nadi. We’d had no issues up to Melbourne until we got called to the check-in desk over the tannoy. Initially, it was just to get new boarding passes but then they wanted to check Passports. My heart sank. We’d made it so far!! Again the fingers came out. 1,2,3,4,5,6 and then the ‘I need to check with my supervisor and Fiji immigration’. Cue more freaking out and me trying to explain London said it would be ok like that would do anything but thankfully she came back and said it was ok.

My nerves couldn’t take it anymore. I needed a very large glass of wine!

Stepping off the plane in Fiji and I had everything crossed, praying, hoping it would be fine and you know what, no one even batted an eyelid when we went through immigration. Nothing AT ALL!! Just a Bula and have a nice day. There was probably notes on the system but still NOTHING!!

I almost felt cheated and then I remembered we were here and to hurry up and get out of the airport just in case they changed their mind.

Every day is a school day so..

Lessons learned

  • Always check not just visa but passport validity when going somewhere new. I’ve since learned there are all sorts of these validity rules for lots of countries!
  • Make sure partners passport is up to date.
  • Yes, you need 6 months validity on your passport(defo Australian or British) if trying to enter Fiji. Based on the day of your date of departure eg when you start your journey
  • No, you don’t need a visa to enter Fiji (if you have a British or an Australian passport) Please check if you have another passport.
  • If an airline allows you to board they are generally 100% sure it’s going to be ok as if not they need to pay for your return flight and will be charged in excess if £/$10k
  • If British you can get an emergency passport both at home or abroad but you still need a few days before flying to get it sorted and you’ll need to do it as a high commission

Have you had any passport dramas?? Drop them in the comments would love to hear and to also to reassure myself that others can be just as clueless and that I just didn’t miss the travel memo on this.

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If this doesn’t inspire you to take that Fiji holiday, I don’t know what will

As if you would need even further inspiration to go to Fiji, but here’s 20 reasons to take that Fiji wanderlust to the next level

Fiji the little gem in the South Pacific. Palm-fringed beaches, over 300 islands, beautiful traditional villages, crystal clear waters and possibly the nicest people in the world. I absolutely loved my time in Fiji and its taken me awhile to write this post as I just wasn’t sure my words could do justice to this stunning country but here we go..

Bula

If you had a pound for every time you heard this traditional Fijian greeting during your trip then trust me you would be extremely wealthy. Everyone says it even the tourists and not only that it is always said with a huge grin. Even when I say it in my head I smile. At one of the resorts one of the gatekeepers jobs was to be the Bula Bula man to whoever entered and my word did he do it with enthusiasm.

Being serenaded with calming island tunes

The moment you step off the plane and into the terminal the serenading starts. Yep right there in passport control. Then at dinner, and then with cocktails and we even got serenaded while sailing around the islands. Such beautiful voices it really just added to the feeling of being in an island paradise. If you were serenaded like that in the UK it would feel super weird but not in Fiji, in Fiji you wanted it to never end.

Literally every shade of blue

I thought growing up in Australia that I would have seen all the shades of blue but alas I was wrong. So wrong.  Fiji opened my eyes to more colours and shades then I had every imagined the colour wheel could contain. The water, the sky, and the horizon in between. If I was ever only to remember one thing about Fiji it would be the blues.

The weather

Sunny and hot – Yes, please!. I should warn you that it can get pretty windy at times and this can lull you into a false sense that you aren’t burning so do keep that factor 50 on at all times. The weather is perfect for those early morning beach walks, lazing in the water days and alfresco dinners.

The People

Fijians are the BEST! They are kind, good-natured, funny, helpful, generous and have the most amazing memories. We were spread out over three resorts and all the staff remembered not only our names straight away but what we drank and who was in our group. Even the Fijians that we came in contact with on the streets and in the villages all were lovely, chatty and very welcoming. Everyone just seemed so happy.

You can take thousands of photos of palm trees

Yep, thousands.

The Fijian Farewell song (Isa Lei)

We had this beautiful song sung to us a few times during our stay. Google the words they are so emotive. The most touching time we heard this was the final night our whole family was together. I think we all got a lump in our throats. The words and the way its sung is just so beautiful and a fitting farewell for our time there. I think every country should have a farewell song.

Fiji water, Fiji gold, Fiji Bitter and  Fiji cocktails

Ok, I made that last one up.The cocktails were pretty on point especially when served at a swim-up bar or slid down the bar to you! Fiji Gold and Fiji Bitter were a big hit.  I always thought people who drank  Fiji water were just a bit pretentious but now I’m on board. Must be the electrolytes. I  even brought a bottle back and although I keep filling it up with ‘normal’ water, I can kind of trick my mind that I’m there in the sun drinking it.

Snorkelling

Every day started with watching the sunrise then snorkeling right outside our resort. I think in another life I was a mermaid, being in the water really is my happy place and this was just the most energising way to start each day. We saw so many starfish, brightly coloured fish, coral and some huge clams. I even saw a sea snake and then promptly swam as fast as my little legs could take me back to shore.

Coconuts

Bill at our resort told us that we didn’t need to worry about coconuts dropping on our heads as the elders in his village said that they had eyes. And low and behold they kept their eyes open and didn’t drop on us. One day we were walking along the beach by a nearby village and there were a couple of guys up a palm tree with nothing more than a rope and machetes cutting down the coconuts. In any other country if someone approached you with a machete you would run for your life but no in Fiji he was just offering us a coconut for free to enjoy on our walk. See nicest people ever.

A $7 note

Yes, a $7 note and yes its legal tender. Hilarious!  It was put into circulation to commemorate the Rugby 7’s winning gold at the Olympics. Is there any better way to celebrate a countries success?

Island hopping

One of my favourite moments in Fiji was when we were on the ferry and as if out of nowhere there was this small sandy, palm tree studded island that looked like it had just popped up out of the ocean. There are over 300 islands to explore some easy to reach and others require seaplanes and helicopters. Try and see as many as you can and even the ones owned by resorts have day passes so you don’t need to spend a fortune staying on them to reap the benefits.

Mainland

As lovely and picturesque as the islands are you almost be forgiven for not wanting to spend any time on the mainland.  However, the mainland has many of its own charms and is as equally. If your flying internationally you’ll arrive in Nadi and the drive to the coral coast or even Suva will give you an insight into the day to day life.

Sunsets and sunrises

I watched the sunrise and set every day and every day and it was different. It also resulted in a memory card full of the suns movements. The way it affected the tides, the colours it created and contrasted against the silhouettes of the palm trees. I would sacrifice chocolate forever if I could have that each day of my life. There is just something so good for the soul watching the sun rise and fall over the ocean each day.

Sailing

Any place with water involved if always best seen from on top of it and sailing around the Mamanuca islands way pretty damn perfect. We had the captain an crew playing guitar and singing with their dulcet island tones, a bbq lunch served while staring at the islands, weaving through and around uninhabited islands and then jumping straight off the boat into the water. If I recommend you do anything in Fiji spend a day doing this.

Villages

Traditional villages, kava ceremonies, colourful houses, women’s crafts, meeting the chief and so many smiling happy faces. Whilst I appreciate parts of the traditional villages have been tailored to the tourists it is still really interesting in walking around and absorbing their life and also contributing to their economy in buying souvenirs rather than buying at the tourist shops.

It’s perfectly acceptable to wear a flower behind your ear and a shell necklace

Enough said.

Stars

As there is very little air and low light pollution the sky at night is clear as clear can be.  The stars put on one hell of a good display.

Fiji time

Everything runs on Fiji time and you’ll get on board with this almost as soon as you start saying Bula instead of hello. No rush, no worries.

Family

The reason I was in Fiji is that my sister and brother in law were getting hitched. Initially planned as an elopement they then decided to have the family there (thank the lord!). So we travelled from all over Australia and in our case from the UK to be with them. It was an intimate affair with only immediate family, 2 friends and a cousin -15 in total.  And what an insanely romantic and beautiful place to tie the knot.  One of the reasons I loved Fiji so much was the family time we had.  Many of the resorts are aimed at families and that isn’t just families with younger children its families of all ages.  We laughed, we swam, we went down water slides very fast, we ate, we cut some sick shapes on the dance floors, we explored, we took millions of photos, we had girl time, we watched our dad embrace Fiji life and wear a sulu when walking our sister down the aisle, we marveled at the views and we all cried when it was over and time to head home.. Fiji and little nuggets wedding will hold a very dear place in all our hearts. One of the best family holidays.

Until next time Fiji.  Vinaka vakalevu

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It’s not just me that feels like this check out a post by Debs World who had similar feelings https://debs-world.com/2017/10/21/how-fiji-got-under-my-skin/

Globetrotters- Always on the Way

Another Sunday and another fabulous globetrotter to introduce you to. This week we have Julie from Always on the Way.

Always on the Way is a huge resource of travel and expat information. There is soooo much for you to discover. Wonderful words, gorgeous pictures, insightful advice and honest reviews, it is a fabulous blog to follow.

As a fellow expat, it’s lovely to read on Julie’s about me page that we share a common feeling that living in a new country allows you to really experience it and see more than if you were just cruising through on a holiday. I’ve been dreaming about visit Canada FOREVER and as Julie has lived there I’ve been reading and rereading all of her Canada posts to just entice further wanderlust for me to get there. It seems every Globetrotter we have had recently has been to Canada. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something.

One of my favourite posts is this one about Nazca Lines. I had never heard of these or where to see them but OMG they look amazing. It was so fascinating to not only read about it but also to see the pictures and that you can see them without flying. What a fabulous place to see and explore.

Julie regularly travels solo and I found it interesting about her thoughts on how some places are safer than what the media makes out that they are. You usually read so much about how being a solo female traveler can be very dangerous in certain destinations so its eye-opening to hear a different take on it. I know nowhere is now completely safe and you still need to be smart and have your wits about you but maybe some places are not as scary as we think it might be at first and by giving them a chance you get to experience something different. Check out her thoughts about this in her answers below.

Here is Julie from Alway on the way….

I am Julie, a travel blogger based in Toronto. I have lived in the USA (Hawaii) and Canada for eight years. When I am not traveling and writing, I am learning a new language, reading a book, and staring at the horizon to figure out my next adventure.

What do you enjoy most about travelling?

I love waking up alone in a new place and embracing the excitement of being surrounded by adventure. It feels surreal to visit destinations completely different from home, with people speaking a different language, sharing a different culture, and eating different food.

Why do you think traveling is important?

I believe travel is important for us to get out of our fears and see how things really are. We live in a society where negative news reports and fear are prevalent, and many afraid of traveling to certain countries because of safety concerns.

During my years of travel, I’ve learned that the world is generally a safe place and not every destination is as dangerous as the news media makes it out to be. The countries people are usually scared to travel to are the ones that give the best experience.

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

I am currently traveling in Peru and then all the way south to Patagonia.

What is your favourite photograph from your travels?

This picture was taken when I walked to the top of Mt. Royal in Montreal. I was amazed by the changing color of foliage in the middle of October. A lady I met at a bus station ended up walking up Mt. Royal with me. She knew I was a traveler and told me to take as many pictures as possible because this was possibly my only chance of seeing such colorful landscapes on Mt. Royal. She was right – I returned to Montreal but never again did I experience such colorful scenery.

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

I always write down the address and number of local contacts (embassy, police station, the owner of the accommodation) to be safe.

Who do you usually travel with?

I travel solo. I love the feeling of freedom that comes along, and taking time to explore a place, going where I want to go.

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

Trust your instincts. The world is generally a safe place and people are there to help, but if you feel something is wrong, please listen to it. It is always the best to be aware of your surroundings and be smart on the road.

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

Watching the northern lights on Christmas Eve. My friend and I went to the Chena Hot Spring resort in Fairbanks Alaska to celebrate Christmas holidays. We waited for the northern lights in the waiting room near a café where it was surrounded by the snowy mountains. At 12:30 am, the northern lights showed up and were dancing around the sky for over two hours. It was freezing cold but we did not care. We stood outside on the snowy and icy ground and watched the northern lights illuminating the northern sky. It was the best Christmas gift I have ever received, and it was magical.

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

USA – Alaska. I am a natural addict and Alaska offers the most beautiful landscapes in the USA. Postcard quality pictures are everywhere and any road trip in Alaska is not disappointing.

Canada – Prince Edward Island. It is the birthplace of Canada and it has a stunning coastline with gorgeous beaches. People there bend their back to help you should you need any assistance. The seafood on the island is freshly made and cheap. I could just eat lobster all day every day.

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

Grand Palace in Bangkok. It is expensive to visit and is filled with crowds. I was wondering why a place every guidebook recommends for a visit looked like a tourist trap. When I shared my experience with my Thai friends and hostel workers, they told me they have never visited Grand Palace because they know the experience would likely be the same. I wish I could have asked my Thai friends earlier, so I would spend my time and budget elsewhere.

Tell us one place/experience on your bucket list?

I would love to take the VIA Rail to visit Churchill Manitoba (Canada). It is the polar bear capital of the world and has the Aurora Borealis show up 300 days each year. Churchill is in the subarctic region, has only 3,000 residents, and is a remote place that is inaccessible by road, which makes the travel experience unlike that of any other place in the world.

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

Books. I don’t feel my suitcase is packed up unless I fill it with some books on history, memoir or travel guides I love spending afternoons in cafés, on the beach, and the local park, and sticking my nose in the books.

What can readers find on your blog?

Always On The Way focuses on destination features, personal travel experience, and travel guide and tips from locals’ perspective, and the content on the tourist attractions is minimum. I have lived in the USA and Canada for eight years and had return visits to many places; so many blog posts are geared towards the places most travelers are not aware of unless they live there. I wish my blog will inspire you to explore new destinations beyond tourist attractions and connect deeper with the culture, history, and its people.

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

“8 Things I Have Learned After Living in Hawaii” is one of my earliest blog posts I wrote it back in 2012 revealing the thoughts and reality of living in Hawaii. That time, I just started blogging as a hobby. The post got published on another online blog and magazine Bucket List Publications and went viral in just a few hours with Facebook shares and comments. I love this post the most because not only has it received the most engagement and many a-hah moments from residents of Hawaii even to this day, it also inspires me to write more about Hawaii from my own experience and that is how my blog officially started.

For more from Always on the Way check out the below links
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11 Things to see and do in Cape Town

The Mother City, aka Cape Town. South Africa is home to the adventure seekers from all over the world. Plan your trip with this roundup of the best Cape Town attractions.

Table Mountain

table mountain
One of the new seven wonders of the world

Table Mountain is magnificent and one of the most popular visitor destinations in Cape Town and over 900 000 people visit it each year- both tourists and locals. It is 1086m ( 3563feet ) above sea level and got its name because of its flat top.

Table mountain only looks flat from one side, but from the south-west, you will see the overlying mountains that are called the Twelve Apostles. Often the mountain is covered in clouds known as the ‘tablecloth’. There are over 2200 species of plants found on Table mountain and can’t be found anywhere else because of its endemic to the mountain. Animals known as the dassie can also be found on the mountain.

The cableway that transports visitors to the top was built in 1929 which takes about 4 to 5 minutes. 65 Passengers can fit in the cableway. Before the cableway was invented the only way getting to the top was by foot. So for the fit and agile hiking up is also an option with more than 350 different routes which takes about 1 to 3 hours. For the really brave ones, abseiling is also an extreme option. It is currently the worlds highest abseil at 112m high.

The famous Table Mountain is 240-million years old and was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the world in 2011.

Big Five

elephant
Have you ever seen or heard of the BIG FIVE?

At Aquila, a Private Game Reserve, 2 hours drive from Cape Town you can get to experience to meet elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, and buffaloes. Considering them being difficult to hunt on foot they are known as the “Big Five” The big five are the most dangerous, yet the most popular animals for hunting and Game-Drives. Other endangered species can also be seen.

In 1990 South African Rand Notes got a different Big-Five animal on each note.

Aquila has been recognized as the “21 favorite things to do in Cape Town” and offers various of safaris. There are day trips safaris, horseback safaris, quad bike safari, overnight and fly-in safaris, 4 x 4 trails, fishing and weekend breakaways

So who would not want to hop straight off a beautiful sun-kissed beach onto a thrilling Big Five drive?

Cape Winelands

winelands
The Cape Winelands is a region of the Western Cape Province and is the largest wine producing region in South Africa with its increasing popularity worldwide. The Winelands are situated about 45kilometres (25 miles) east of Cape Town and have a lot to offer.

Cape Town is well known for its favorite destination of wine gatherings from around the world. As locals, we love nothing more than to escape to the Cape Winelands for a much needed relaxing weekend away with spectacular surroundings. It has the best and oldest wine farms in the region. You could spend about three days exploring around.

Wine tasting is an utterly incredible way to pass the weekend. With some of the most beautiful landscapes on earth, old architecture and inspiring food, it all becomes one of Cape Town’s most beloved activities for both visitors and locals.

1,000,000,000 liters of wine are produced annually. Groot Constantia is the oldest wine farm in the Western Cape and in 1659 the first wine was produced by Jan Van Riebeeck.

The Cape Winelands are filled with events and happenings.

Explore the most popular and breathtaking wine farms which are divided into six main regions, each offering its own unique wine route. They are known as Constantia, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Robertson, and Wellington. Make sure to view the beautiful surroundings, taste wine and pick strawberries.

“Wine tasting is a sensory journey. We drink to remember—not to forget.”

Kirstenbosch

kirstenboch
The most beautiful Botanical Garden in Africa and regarded as one of the greatest in the World.

By car, Kirstenbosch lies 13km from the city and was founded in 1913. Kirstenbosch is part of the eastern slopes of Table mountain. Before Kirstenbosch botanical garden existed, it was a piece of land, overrun by pigs. There are gardens with the garden over 7000 species of plants that could be seen. You could explore for several of days and still see new scenes at every corner. And there are loads of corners.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is peaceful and breathtaking for its views, stunning flowers and surroundings. You should definitely take your time exploring the garden. It will also be good to get a map of the grounds in case you get lost.

One word of advice, if you are planning on exploring the whole garden be sure to bring decent walking shoes and lots of water. Of course, all the walking is bound to work up an appetite with a number of options for satisfying your hunger.

Musical concerts are held on the lawns at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, on Sundays from the end of November until the beginning of April. It is definitely a stunning place to visit with your family.

Who would not want to end of their Sunday enjoying some of South African’s best live music with a bottle of wine and a picnic basket with your loved ones, watching the sun slip in behind the mountains?

Robben Island

robben island
There are a lot of islands in the world that are quite famous, but Robben Island is certainly one of the most famous islands in the world.

The name Robben Island comes from the Dutch word Robbeineiland which means Seal Island because of all the seals that were found around the island and is 6,9 kilometers west of the coast of Bloubergstrand, Cape Town.

Earlier, Robben Island was used as a prison and military during the second world war (1939-1945) but today it is a museum for it’s National Heritage Site. Nelson Mandela – South Africa’s first democratically elected president, spent 18 of his 27 years in prison on Robben Island. Over 132 bird species and African Penguins have made the island their home.

There are tours that depart from the waterfront four times a day that takes about 3.5 hours when taking a ferry from and to the island depending on the weather.

Many tourists both local and well as foreign visits the country annually. Robben Island is a must see when visiting the country. A trip to the island allows them to experience what life prisoners went through.

Bo-Kaap

bokapp
The Bo-Kaap, known as the Malay Quarter is a beautiful area of Cape Town.

The area is well known for its brightly and colorful houses with cobblestoned streets

Multiple of former township houses situated on the slopes of Signal Hill above the city center was built in the 1760’s when people from Malaysia, Indonesia and the rest of Africa known as the Cape Malay lived there to work in Cape Town.

It also has a museum which is one of the oldest residential houses in the area and is still in its original form from the 1760s which highlights the cultural contribution made by early Muslim settlers.

Brightly painted houses are not the only reasons why to visit the Bo-Kaap, but also it is the most photographed area in the Mother City. The Bo-Kaap is packed with full history and culture. There is just too much to see, taste and explore.

Cape Point

cape point
The Cape Peninsula is a rocky cliff that extends out into the Atlantic Ocean at the southern-western point of the African continent. The Southern end of the Cape Peninsula is Cape Point and The Cape of Good Hope. The northern end is Table Mountain overlooking Cape Town. From Mouille Point in the north to Cape Point in the South, the peninsula is 52km long. The colorful history of The Cape Point was discovered by a Portuguese explorer, Bartolomeu Dias in 1488 for a sea route to the East.

There are so many things to see when driving to the Cape Point. You can experience one of the highest cliffs and fresh air, 1200 species of indigenous plants, various small mammals, zebras and if you are lucky to even the South African’s largest bird – the ostrich.

The Cape of Good Hope has brilliant sceneries for hiking, biking, swimming, diving, surfing, fishing, animal watching all over the reserve. The road from the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve at Cape Point takes you past Smitswinkel Bay and Millers Point to Simons Town.

V & A Waterfront

va waterfront
Where your shopping meets the sea.

South Africa’s oldest harbor was named after Prince Alfred who visited the harbor in 1860, and his mother Queen Victoria. The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is situated in the heart of Cape Town and attracts more than 23 million visitors a year which has so much to offer.

The waterfront covers 123 hectares (Think: 180 rugby fields) which holds commercial and residential property, hotels, museums, fine dining restaurants, retail, down-to-earth food markets, adventure, entertainment facilities and more leisure activities than you can count on both your hands for both locals and tourists.

It has plenty of everything for everyone and is thought of as a shopping destination.
All the shopping is likely to work up an appetite with more than 70 restaurants to choose from with breathtaking views of the harbor. Before you end your night off, treat your kids to a ride on the Cape Wheel with a spectacular 360 degrees view of the city.

There is an Information Centre that provides maps and information on special events planned for that day.

Hike Up Lions Head

lions head
Lion’s Head known as “Leeuwen Kop” and Signal Hill is known as “Leeuwen Staart by the Dutch in the 17th century as the shape of the mountain looks like a crouching lion.

Lion’s head is a mountain in Cape Town 669metres above sea level between Table Mountain and Signal Hill.

If you do not have the energy to hike up Table Mountain, hiking up Lion’s Head is a must. Lion’s Head is well known for its spectacular sunset and sunrise hike views over Cape Town which takes around 2 hours to hike up and down.

It might feel like a struggle getting to the top but when you do, it’s worth the breathtaking views in all directions: the Twelve Apostles, the ocean, the city bowl, as well as towards Table Mountain. You can pack a picnic basket and even pop a champagne bottle when getting to the top, reminiscing about life with your friends or just celebrating that you made it to the top. Just make sure to wear comfortable shoes, bring a torch, enough water for your hike up and down. Trust me, you will need it.

Muizenberg

muizenberg.jpg
Muizenberg is a small suburb just outside Cape Town known as the ‘Surfers Corner” and is also famous for its Historical sites and museums.

It is a perfect little getaway place to spend a sunny afternoon. Many people will take the train from just about anywhere to go for a surf session at Muizenberg which is 27.2km (30minutes) from the city center. Though Muizenberg is well known for its active surfing and colorful houses there are plenty of antique shops, hippie boutiques, bookshops, restaurants and coffee shops along the main beach.

For beginner surfers, there are heaps of surf schools in the area and for the more experienced surfers the full range of waves. Whether you want extreme adrenaline, to explore Muizenberg a bit more or try something completely new, it is really one of those beautiful places that caters for everyone.

It is more than just a summer destination where you can learn to surf, spend time with your family and simply build a sandcastle or eat an ice cream. Not just is it all about the ocean views, you can walk down the streets and embrace all the artwork against the walls.

If you can drag the kids out the ocean, some well-established pursuits await – mini golf on the seafront, fun water slides, a playground for the kids and a real Cape Town summer day is waiting for you.

Boulders Beach

Boulders beach
Meet the penguins

Who wouldn’t want to visit a beach with crystal clear waters, white sand, and granite rocks and even meet penguins?

Meet the penguins about a 45-minute drive from Cape Town.

Boulders beach is a touristy beach and spoils you with a colony of African Penguins located in the Cape Peninsula near Simon’s town. It is the only place in the world where you can get close to African Penguins but not too close because their beaks are razor sharp.

In 1982 a colony of African Penguins settled at Boulders Beach from Dyer Island near Gansbaai. From two breeding pairs in 1982, the penguin colony grew around 3000 and dropped to 2122 since 2005.

The African Penguins are only found on the coastline of South Africa and is on the verge of extinction. Boulders beach and its surrounding is part of the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area, therefore the beaches are safe and clean and the penguins are protected.

These penguins are monogamous which means they have the same partner for their whole life.

When visiting the Penguins you get to visit them in their own habitat that no zoo experience can compare to and experience how entertaining they are in real life than you probably imagined them in the first place. You could look at them waddle all day and even consider taking one home because of their cuteness.
This post was kindly written by a lovely Wandering Darling- Chandre from Both Paths. I’m sure you loved what you’ve read as much as I have so check out her and her partners blog and social media channels with the links below for more great information and inspiration

Author Biography

I met Maria while she was traveling in South Africa. We fell in love through traveling and now run our own blog both-paths.com together. Both-Paths is a blog that we want to prove that traveling is for everyone. Right now we are exploring Maria’s home country, Norway. It is the fifth country we have traveled together since we met six months ago and that is only the beginning.

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Globetrotters – A Walk and a Lark

So we’ve taken a few weeks off with our Globetrotter series (sorry about that!) but we are back tonight and we have a gem of a blogger to share with you. This week it’s the lovely Josy from a Walk and a Lark.

I’ve long been a follower of Josy’s and always read her blogs wondering how her feet keep up with her with all her walking and hiking. I think mine would tell me to sit down and have a cuppa. We share that we are both expats with Josy previously liking Japan and now living in Canada and it’s great to read and relate to someone to who understands the trials and tribulations of living abroad. We also share a huge love of jumping photos and I am so glad she has sent one over to be included in this post.

This year she moved to Canada and as this has been long on bucket list I’ve been pouring through her posts to fuel even more wanderlust to get myself over there. This section on her blog has all the posts you need to know where to go, what to do and where to hike.

I really do love reading other travelers answers in this series and I think Josy’s answer to ‘Why do you think traveling is important’ is one of my all-time favourites. As traveling isn’t always important and that you can have a rewarding life even if you don’t travel. We often need to remember it’s a privilege to be able to do it and that not everyone has the means, funds or interest in traveling and that’s ok. We are all different and what’s important for one person is always going to be different to another and there are other ways to be enriched by the world. Such a refreshing reminder.

And on that note let me hand you over to Josy

Hello! I’m Josy.
I am not sure why I have always had wanderlust, but as soon as I first got a job back when I was 15, I started to save money for air tickets! I have lived in the UK, Japan and now Canada, so most of my trips have been close to those countries. My other love is walking and the outdoors so almost all of my travels include some long walks and thousands of photo opportunities.

What do you enjoy most about traveling?
This is a toss-up between food and pretty scenery! I LOVE to see the varied countryside around the world. When I lived in Japan, I picked up the habit of traveling with plans to eat a specific dish from whatever area I was traveling to. For example, Japanese people would all want to try kakinohazushi (really yummy sushi wrapped in persimmon leaves) when they visit Nara or eat Fugu (puffer fish) when they visit Ise. I love the culture of traveling to eat!

Why do you think traveling is important?
Hmmm…I don’t think it is important per se, but I do feel like I have been incredibly lucky and privileged to have been able to travel a bit. I mean, life can still be rewarding if you cannot travel, it is just the icing on the top to enrich a person’s life. I really think seeing the world and meeting people from different cultures opens my mind.

I am already a pretty cheerful person, but I also find planning my next trip helps make me really happy! It’s something to look forward to, and then something to experience and remember forever!

Where are you off to next? Or where have you just come back from?
At the moment all of my travel plans revolve around friend’s weddings. We just got back from a trip to Ireland (both North and South as the wedding crossed the border!) and my next big trip is for another good friend’s wedding in New Zealand. I am sooo excited to explore the land of the Lord of the Rings!

Having said that, as my husband and I are living abroad at the moment, every weekend feels like an exotic trip! I am having so much fun exploring the mountains near my new home!

What is your favourite photograph from your travels?


This is basically impossible for me to choose! I really like jumping photos and amazing mountains, so I guess I should pick this photo from Italy. A few minutes before the photo the whole world was white and the mountains were shrouded in mist. It is hard to describe how ridiculously happy I was when the clouds parted and this vista appeared. The sound effect that goes with this image is “squeee”

Who do you usually travel with?
Nowadays I travel with my husband, Marc. He loves to explore the world, but he is rubbish at making plans… so I normally make all the decisions, and just bring him along for the fun! He’s the one who takes my jumping photos.

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

Tell us the most memorable moment you’ve had whilst traveling?
I have so many! This will probably change each time I think of an anecdote!

A few years ago my husband and I were hiking in the Atlas mountains in Morocco. There was a moment when we came over the top of a ridge to look down on the valley below and it was just magical. The colours of the mountains changed from browns to reds and yellows, in large colourful stripes. People had built their houses from the rocks in their area, so the colours of the houses changed in sync with the surrounding mountainside. I had never seen scenery like that before, and it blew me away.

The people that lived in those colourful houses were soo friendly! We walked through a village just as a group of ladies were getting ready for a wedding ceremony. They giggled when they saw me, and brought me inside to join in the celebrations by covering me in henna! My husband and our guide were not allowed in (girls only!) but they could hear our giggles before I returned with some very orange arms!

Another brilliant memory is from Mongolia. We went to stay with a family in their traditional Ger camp. They are nomadic people, following their herds as they cross the steppes. The problem is, they were a little too nomadic for our guide! We had to drive around for a few hours looking for them as they were not in the place we expected!!

Once we’d settled in, the local children came over to play with us, and my brother, George, spun one of them around. The child loved it so much that he then had to spin every single child in the camp! It was hilarious watching them collapse into dizziness and giggles. Their parents welcomed us with their “beer” and “vodka” made from fermented horses milk. It was pretty gross, but still fun to try.

Where is your favourite place that you’ve been to?
This has to be Japan! I love the gorgeous mountains, the ancient culture with all the temples and shrines, the fooooood, the festivals and the people. I studied Japanese at university, so have lived there both as a student as well as working for a Prefectural government. I have so, so many amazing memories from my years there. I could easily write this entire post just about my experiences in Japan. I also have many good friends there that I hope I’ll stay in touch with for the rest of my life.

Where was one place that didn’t live up to the hype?
Marrakesh. I thought the city was beautiful and loved the food, but I hated the way people treated tourists there. It just seemed like everyone was pushy or attempting to rip us off. I had a horrible experience with touts and it made me want to hide in our Riad and keep away from the streets. In the end, the stresses didn’t stop me exploring, but I never felt safe while we were there.

Tell us one place/experience on your bucket list?
I would love to go walking in the mountains of South Korea and eat some of their gorgeous food. I studied Korean several years ago, and although I have forgotten most of it, I can still read Hangul. I’d LOVE to explore and see if I can actually understand anything there!!

What is the one thing you wouldn’t travel without?
Walking boots (or at least comfy shoes that I can explore in!) My favourite part of visiting a new area is finding a map and planning a walk!

What can readers find on your blog?
I started my blog to document some of our pretty walks around the UK or on our travels. Since then I moved to Canada, so I’ve been documenting the amaaaazing scenery around Vancouver in British Columbia. I take far too many photos and find it difficult to cut down, so my blog is full of the vistas that have taken my breath away.

Where does your blog name come from?
My long-distance walking started with the Capital Ring through London. This is a 126km trail which goes through parks and pretty areas of London. I started planning the blog as we walked through the parks on this route. Originally I thought about calling the blog “a walk in the park”, but then when my husband suggested “a walk and a lark,” I liked the sound of that better.

Do you have a favourite blog post? What is it and why?
This changes all the time! At the moment I love my post about the Honen matsuri (penis festival) just because it’s fun to share a funny side of Japan that less people know about! I also adored writing about our fantastique walking holiday in Italy. I tried to fit it all into one post, but had so many photos to share that it expanded into a whole mini-series of posts!

To find more from Josy check her out here

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An Aussie living in the UK. Not quite the cliche you would expect

The Wandering Darlings- how I ended up in the ukAn Aussie living in the UK. Pretty cliched really, however, the story of what got me here isn’t your run of the mill gap year tale.

I’ve now spent a 3rd of my life living in England and to be honest I’m really not sure when or if I’ll be heading back to my island home anytime soon. Over the years I could have racked up some pretty good frequent flyer miles but alas foresight wasn’t my strong suit. I’ve flown backwards and forwards from Australia to England almost 20 times.

Most Aussie’s will venture to the UK as part of a gap year before Uni or for a year out after Uni to enjoy the last of their freedom before a working career prevails. It’s the perfect base to explore Europe, live in London, try and meet the Royal Family and wind up some poms about the cricket. Usually, the time living in the UK lasts for 2 year which is the common visa length, however, some just end up embracing the grey dreary weather and the way of life and stick around for a bit longer. This is me.

The most common question I have been asked (and still get asked) is ‘Why are you here when you could be in Australia’ and it’s a fair question Australia is paradise but the real answer is-  I was always meant to end up here.

So I promised above that mine isn’t your run of the mill moving abroad story so hold onto your hats here it comes…

When I was young (much younger) my parents took part in an international teacher’s exchange which meant that they swapped jobs, cars, houses and lives with a family in England. They went to our small town in the Snowy Mountains in NSW and we came to their home in Somerset in the South West of England for a whole year and here is the kicker- this is where I now live- in that very same village. Some 25 years later.

I was 10 years old and my life’s path was in motion and I had no idea.

My sisters and I went to school, we made friends, we got to live in a two-storey house, we even got cute English accents. We loved our life in this foreign country.

My parents also made friends and when it was time for us to move back to Australia we all kept in touch. As it was the 90s this was mostly through being pen pals! We had some of these friends come out to stay with us and the relationships remained as strong as ever. One set of my parent’s friends had a daughter my age who was my best friend so it was great that when they came to visit our friendship remained and still does.

We then, when I was 16 ventured back to the Northern Hemisphere as a family and went back to our little village home. We all caught up with our friends and also made new friends. I had my first pub and clubbing experience. I was sucked into the British life then and there and wanted so much to stay and live in England. My friends back home in Australia even knew after this trip that I would always end up back in England.

While I was in my final year at school my best friend from England came to stay with my family for 3 months and then when it was time for her to head back I packed my bags with her and started my gap year back in the village. I worked in the local pub, made an even wider set of friends and fell for a few boys (standard). I embraced my English life wholeheartedly. I didn’t have any Aussie friends or family around and weirdly felt at home.

Sadly by being on a gap year before uni meant that I had to go back home AGAIN. I didn’t want to at all and I remember my parents telling me that when they picked me up I was miserable and just complained about how bright and sunny Australia was (silly girl- I totally wouldn’t do now).

For my 21st birthday, I went back again for a two week holiday. I just couldn’t stay away. Then when the time came for me to finish my degree, there I was back at the airport with my blue suitcase ready to move to England till I was done living there. That day just hasn’t come yet.

I am still friends with those I went to school with, I have other friends who I call my school friends but never actually went to school with them, I’ve made friends who are now considered my family, I have history in the village and can remember when the florist was actually where the old swimming pool was, I play ladies football for the village and actually feel like a local. When people would tell me how brave I was to move abroad  I always thought I wasn’t actually that brave or adventurous as I  was just moving to my second home. Which is actually a pretty awesome feeling to have. One of my favourite quotes at the moment is.

‘You will never be completely at home again because part of your heart will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place’  Miriam Adeney

I often wonder if my parents didn’t do their exchange would I have still ended up here. Would my life have been on this path anyway or would I have never made it to England? I do find it funny that I’ve basically moved to the other side of the world to live in a village so very similar to where I grew up and all I wanted to do growing up was to move out of our small town to a big city.

Life is a funny old thing and you never know with the decisions you make where they will eventually lead you. I’m just pretty damn lucky my parents took the gamble and brought me here to my home away from home all those years ago.

Do you have an interesting tale of why you ended up living abroad but would love to hear your stories if you are a fellow expat so do leave them in the comments below or get in touch?

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The Wandering Darlings- how I ended up in the uk

Globetrotters- Earth’s Magical Places

This week’s wonderous Globetrotter is Rachel from Earth’s Magical Places.

I always love finding blogs with interesting names and Earth’s Magical Places is no different. You can just tell there is a story behind it. Anyone that has the goal to journey to see the magical and beautiful places on this planet we call home gets a big high five from me.

Reading Rachel words, finding out more about her travels and seeing her photographs you wouldn’t expect that she is only a 19-year-old traveller. Not that age matters but it’s great to read about someone wise over their years and isn’t expecting the world to give her a favour but is instead going out and working hard to achieve her goals. #slaygirl

I loved this postpost from Rachel about if we should be letting terror stop us travelling. I wrote a similar one around the same time and both of us have the same view point. We can’t let terror stop us from going to new places or stop us from our living our lives. Rachel discusses it so eloquently and respectfully with her words.

I also am always in awe of anyone that can travel solo as it takes a lot of guts to set off on an adventure on your own. Rachel has a great post here about how to meet people when you are travelling solo.
The two links above are just two of my favourite of Rachel’s posts but you can also find a whole host of information on her site including accommodation and flight reviews, destination guides, travel information advice posts, lust worthy snaps and a true and honest voice. I’ll include links to her blog and social below so you can check them out for yourself.

So with my absolute please here is Rachel from the Earth’s Magical Places.


Hi, I’m Rachel, a 19-year-old student and part time adventurer with an ambition to see as many of our planets ‘magical places’ as possible!

Whether that be a whole country, city, mountain range, beach or isolated village, I believe our world is full of beauty and wonder that I’m just dying to see…

What do you enjoy most about travelling?
I’d say that what I enjoy the most about travelling is stepping off a plane and instantly being greeted by the smells and sights of somewhere new… It helps that every corner of the globe is constantly leaving me speechless, thanks to the beauty of mother nature and each country’s strikingly different architecture and culture!

Why do you think travelling is important?
There’s a cliché that people go travelling to ‘widen their horizons’, but I actually think that this is so important! Travelling to cultures that are different from your own opens your eyes and makes you think twice before prejudging someone.

What is your favourite photograph from your travels?
Hmmm, this is a tricky one! But I’d have to say it is this photo taken in LA

It’s the first time I looked back after taking a photo and thought to myself ‘damn that looks pretty cool’. Ever since I’ve fallen in love with photography almost as much as travel itself…

Which is your favourite type of holiday? Sun, Snow, Sea, City, Mountains or Country?
Is ‘all of the above’ an acceptable answer?

If I had to choose though… Sun! The British summer of two hot days whereby everyone in the country freaks out buys a barbecue and gets the inflatable pool out before it clouds over and inevitably rains for the rest of the month, is just not enough sunshine to meet my needs!

Who do you usually travel with?
Having only just turned 19, the majority of my previous travels have been with my family. My parents both share my love for exploration and so growing up I was lucky enough to visit many destinations in Europe over the summer holidays!
Throughout the last year, however, my travelling company has been limited to me, myself and I! I love the freedom of solo travel, being able to go wherever and do whatever you want without having to worry about anyone else is rather liberating. However, I can imagine it gets pretty lonely on longer trips. But, in the short term, a good book and the latest Netflix series are all the company I need!

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

Tell us a funny story or mishap from one of your adventures?
During a recent trip to Los Angeles after a morning spent in the deceivingly cool fog of its famous hills, I returned to the hotel for a little R&R by the pool… Little did I know that my feet had been sizzling away in the sun and only continued to do so pool side. I’d completely forgot to put sun cream on them!
It was only in the evening that I realised how red they’d become… I resorted to covering them in Aloe-Vera and wearing socks to keep in the moisture (it was a good look). Although not necessarily funny at the time, and still debatable now due to the pain suffered, it was certainly a mishap! Moral of the story? Sun cream is important EVERYWHERE… I am now extra vigilant, not an inch of skin is left uncovered… Or, I just cower in the shade like a true Brit 🙂

What is the favourite place you’ve been to?
Without a doubt, Yosemite National Park (California). I have never been so overcome by beauty in my life! I can’t describe to you how stunning this place is: towering trees create a sea of green, while its rivers are clearer than diamonds! All this is framed by colossal rock formations and pristine meadows.
I’d recommend a visit to anyone, certainly something to make time for if you’re ever in California!! I made a full post on my time on Yosemite here

Where is one place that didn’t live up to expectations?
Before the feet burning incident in LA, I explored Hollywood Boulevard. As a big fan of the series 90210 and film in general, I’ve always romanticised Hollywood. I’d naively assumed that it was the height of glitz and glam…. And that I’d surely bump into Sandra Bullock (other actors are available) walking down the street.
Unfortunately, this was not the case, the streets were dirty, grubby and crammed with tourists, all of whom were pushing and shoving people out the way. Meanwhile, street vendors and people dressed as superheroes tried to sell you tacky souvenirs, or a picture, every five steps.
There’s simply no sense of magic and charm. Whatever this area had back in the 1940’s is sadly long gone… So yeah, not worth going and so over hyped!

Tell us one place or experience on your bucket list?
New York is top of my Wish-List! A love affair with Gossip Girl ignited my desire to visit this iconic city… While this may not be the most accurate portrayal of life in New York since 2010 I’ve fantasised of the day I’ll get to walk the streets of the Upper East Side and Brooklyn or lose myself in central park.

What is one thing you wouldn’t travel without?
My phone! I’m ashamed to admit that I’m a millennial through and through! I would be lost without my phone on my travels…

What can readers find on your blog?
Readers will find stories from my travels along with helpful guides and reviews… Basically, anything to do with my adventures around the globe!
All such posts are of course accompanied by envy inspiring photos, my honest (if sometimes brutal) opinion and a sprinkling of British sarcasm 🙂

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What to see and do in Marrakech


Marrakech had long been on my list of places to visit so when I finally got to grace the intriguing city I was in awe.  My what a city it is. The smells, the rose coloured walls and buildings,  the culture, the winding never ending streets and the hecticness all just add to to the charm of this Moroccan gem of a city.

Marrakech is the 4th largest city in Morocco and a hugely popular travel destination. It’s a city of the unexpected. You will see new things in every step and if you know me you know one of my top travel tips is to get lost and I can assure you this is something you will do in Marrakech whether you’re like it not. Don’t even attempt looking at a map that won’t help you here. Not at all!

There is so much to see and do and this is a city that caters to everyone’s taste no matter what you are looking for in a holiday.  There is the Atlas Mountains dominating the views, the desserts to wander in, souks full of shopping delights, food so good you may only ever want to eat Moroccan for the rest of your life, sunrises that replenish the soul and street scenes that make you feel a million miles away from your daily life on your regular high streets.

So what do you need to do when you visit this magical city? Well let me tell you my top pics


Eat. Like all the food.

Moroccan food is AMAZING. You don’t even need to go to the most expensive places to get the good stuff. There are so many restaurants and cafes and I can assure you after sampling the tagines and couscous you will still remember the taste sensations years after. There is lots of street food on offer and as per any street food just be a bit cautious, you don’t want to miss your holiday because you are stuck in the loo.


Visit or take in the views of the Atlas Mountains

These breathtaking mountains dominate the views around Marrakech. Considering how close they are it’s also a popular day trip or several day trip option from Marrakech. Hiking, camping or even staying in luxury travel options it’s a must when you are in the city.


Drink mint tea

The best drink you can have in Marrakech. I didn’t even miss my old faithful English Breakfast. I liked it so much I even tried to find the mint tea back in the UK but nothing compared to the real experience.


Watch the sunrise over the city

This goes down as one of my all time favourite moments. Standing on top of our Riad with my gorgeous friends watching the sunrise over the city,  Atlas mountains in the distance and the call to prayer playing out to call in the morning. Well worth getting up for it. Still, makes me have goosebumps even now.

Visit Jardin Majorelle

If you didn’t think Marrakech was colourful enough already then you need to visit Jardin Majorelle.  A beautiful luscious tropical garden, bubbling water fountains, a vibrant blue villa and ties to Yves Saint Laurent what’s not to like.


Jemaa el Fna

This is the heart of the Marrakech and has to be a must visit on any itinerary. There is so much going on that you’ll need to keep your eyes open to take it all in. Snake charmers, monkey trainers, street food stalls, street performers and music playing through the square. It’s a truly intriguing experience and one you don’t want to miss.


Enjoy the rooftops views

So I’ve already mentioned the sunrise from the roof but there are many other roof top views to enjoy. Cocktails while watching the sunset, the views over the sprawling Medina, the snow capped Atlas mountains, women going about their daily business. Looking out and down with a bird’s eye view is a great way to take in the delights of the city.

Pack for the heat in the day but have layers for the evening

It’s hot there, especially in the day. Out of respect for the Moroccan culture and Islamic religion try to dress respectfully especially if you’re in public places. Save the skimpy clothing for sunbathing on the riad roof.  Also be aware when the sun goes down it can go off chilly so always have layers on hand.


Stay in a riad

Riads are like little-hidden paradise. So unassuming from the outside but as soon as you walk through the door and are greeted by the serenity you actually consider never leaving the tranquil oasis. A riad is a traditional and common style of accommodation in Marrakech and which usually has a courtyard, garden, pool (or all 3!) in the centre of the building surrounded by rooms. They often also have roof top which is good for sunbathing, eating breakfast in the sun or watching the sunrise (see point above). There is a lot of them to choose from in the Medina and some include spa facilities so do have a look around. The contrast of relaxing in the riad after a day of exploring in the Medina is one you would never really appreciate until you are there.

Visit a Hammam

I know getting scrubbed and washed by a person you don’t know probably isn’t  on most peoples to do list for a holiday unless you are maybe on one of those 18-30s singles holidays but I can assure you trying a Hammam on your trip to Marrakech certainly should be considered. It is such an interesting experience you come out feeling the cleanest and freshest you ever have been in your life. They also use to much argan oil that you make you want to purchase it by the bucket load before you leave the country.


Meander in the Medina

So many alleyways it’s like a labyrinth that you’ll ponder (more than one) if you’ll ever make it out the other side. Full of restaurants and cafes, animals, market stalls selling an array of trinkets and fresh produce. Walk till your feet are sore and your senses have exploded.


Haggle in the souks

Now haggling just feels a bit odd for us westerners. We see a price in a store and we pay that price. This is not the way in Marrakech. Especially if you are shopping in the souks. The price they give you initially will be extremely inflated so you need to get your negotiating skills on and do some haggling. Stay strong, know your price and know when to walk away.

For more ideas of what to see in Marrakech and wider Morocco – http://www.visitmorocco.com/en

Now go and enjoy your trip you lucky darlings!

Globetrotters – Digital Travel Guru

You guys are in for a treat with this weeks Globetrotter- Elizabeth from Digital Travel Guru.

I came across the Digital Travel Guru on their Facebook page earlier this year and have loved getting to know Elizabeth and her site. She is so supportive of other travel bloggers and even runs a travel blogging group to encourage interaction and collaboration between like minded bloggers. I love anyone that is building others up and helping get everyone working together. You would think by the layout that they have been around for years but the blog only started late 2016. The design is spot on and so easy to navigate. I’ll leave links below and I can’t recommend enough that you head over to check them out.

Elizabeth is like a kindred spirit in many ways! Passion for photography, travelling, visiting historic places and a huge desire to see and share so much of the world. Total #girlcrush. She also loves sharing stories and q&as with other travel bloggers on her blog. Similar to our Globetrotters series she has her featured blogger series and takes great pride in introducing her readers to other bloggers who will help give them inspirations on what to see and do when visiting places around the world. I’ve included some links below. We both love being inspired by others so it seemed only right that she got involved with our Globetrotters series. You may also see us pop up on their site shortly.

A couple of my favourite posts include 20 Amazing things to see around Bali and 25 Travel Blogging idea and 20 Inspirational travel bloggers. I think if I had stayed in Australia for my 20/30s then I would have made it to Bali but alas it remains on my bucket list and this post induces some serious wanderlust. The 25 Blogging ideas and 20 inspirational travel blogger is such a good post that I have it bookmarked for when the writer’s block creeps in we also feature on the list of inspiration travel bloggers so another reason this one is a fav.

Oh and if you are scared of snakes maybe skip over the travel misshap questions below.

Without further ado let me hand you over to Elizabeth the Digital Travel Guru.


Hi, I’m Elizabeth and I run and manage Digital Travel Guru, which I launched late last year in 2016, the blog is still very new as it has taken me some time to understand word press and various other things you need to know about running a blog. I was encouraged to document my travels and photography by friends and family, also because I was helping many people plan their trips and itineraries.

Digital Travel Guru is travel blogging site that focuses on 360 travel I cover all aspects of travel on it. To date, I have travelled to over 40 countries and still have a bucket list a mile long. I love historical places and tropical beaches. My big passion is writing and photography. I am also planning to start doing travel droning and developing my YouTube travel channel. I run a Travel Bloggers Club with a friend and fellow travel blogger from Creative Travel Guide, which aims to help Travel Bloggers network with each other and with engagement on their sites. 

What do you enjoy most about travelling?
I have been travelling since I was a child with my parents and I have previously lived in Asia and Africa. Currently, I live and work in London UK, but I have plans to move to Asia later in the year. What I enjoy and have always enjoyed about travelling is seeing new countries, meeting people, experiencing cultures, trying out new foods and learning about how different people live. My favourite of them all is visiting historical sights such as temples and of course exploring and finding beautiful beaches. One of my passions is photography, so I love destinations that offer good photo opportunities such as (street photography, ancient building, portrait’s of people and scenic views).


Why do you think travelling is important?
I think travelling is important to understand people, which links to my profession in psychiatry, I just love finding out about people, their traditions, their cultures and ways of lives. I think travel has helped me do my job better as it involves working with people from many cultures and countries. Travelling is important to give you a greater insight and understanding of how life is lived in other places and to develop greater awareness and understanding of the world and people in it.

What is your favourite photograph from your travels?



Photography is my passion, and I am constantly learning and developing my photography skills. One of my favourite photographs is of Mount Batur in Bali, which is an active volcano and a sacred mountain according to Hindu beliefs. Mount Batur is located in Batur village, Kintamani District, Bali, Indonesia and it is 1717 m above sea level, the highest mountain in Bali.

Do you have a pre travel ritual? If so what?
Well, yes, I have a few LOL. Prior to booking my flight and before my actual flight.

Before booking a flight to a destination I do the following:
Plan and research the destination.
Putting together a rough outline of all the places and things I want to do.
Check the weather of the destination and what season it is.

Before my actual flight:
Check passports + copy of boarding pass and e-ticket
Check cards + money
Check I have all my gadgets (laptop, cameras, chargers)
Check my accommodation booking confirmations
Ensure I have things I need for my flight such as (warm cardigan, mini size toiletries, comfy socks, spare set of clothing, and a book)
Check I have my phone
Weigh all my luggage

Who do you usually travel with?
I have travelled solo and with friends and family, as well as with my partner. Mainly solo and with my partner at present and I usually meet friends and fellow travel bloggers if they are in the same place as me.


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

Tell us the funniest story or a miss hap from one of your adventures?
Having a SNAKE in my suitcase in Koh Samui, Thailand, that was definitely a big mishap as I am terrified of them. I was staying in a beautiful pool villa with views overlooking the jungle, and I went out one day and left a door open by accident. When I came back that evening, something said to me there was a snake or some sort of creature somewhere as I usually act on my instincts, so I started looking for snakes and creatures around the villa, as I realised I had left the door open.

Anyway, I didn’t find anything and I went to sleep. The following day I was checking out to move to another part of the island, as the villa owner was assisting me to put my suitcase in the car I rented, he said to me I have a story to tell you, he disclosed to me, he said as the cleaners were cleaning my villa the day I left the door open they saw a snake in my suitcase and had to carry my suitcase outside to take it out, while I was out, very scary.

Another funny story was I was in a rush one day in Bangkok and needed to book a flight to Koh Samui but instead, I booked a flight to Surat Thani (Koh Samui is also known as Surat Thai district) and I thought it was the same thing whilst rushing. When I was on the plane and about to land I thought hold on I can’t see the sea lol, then realised I had booked and taken a flight to the mainland this was many many years ago. I was still able to go to Koh Samui that day via a taxi and then a boat, it was actually a good experience in the end as I got to see, a different part of Thailand, however, it added 6 hours onto my journey. I still laugh about this till today.


Where is your favourite place that you’ve been to?
This a hard one to answer. I’ve been to some amazing and beautiful places, for me I have my favourite places in and around Asia, but in terms of a tropical paradise, with secluded beaches, crystal clear turquoise sea, and amazing scenery it has to be Seychelles. I spent two weeks here just driving around the island, exploring beaches, driving in the mountains, trying out local foods, and island hopping.

Where was one place that didn’t live up to the hype?
Difficult to answer, as I always try and find good things about a place, but once I booked a last minute trip to Sharm El Sheik In Egypt, and I really did not like the place and could not find much to do there. Some of the scenery was nice and the sea, but I’m more into cultural activities and experiences and it was one place that I could not find any historical places and sights to see. Plus I got an awful tummy bug there which just made me dislike the place even more, as this was something that is apparently very common there, so, all in all, I was not really impressed.


Tell us one place/experience on your bucket list?
I really want to go to the South Pacific Islands like Fiji. I love tropical destinations and the sea, these islands look spectacular and so beautiful. My bucket list seems to never end!!

One experience on my bucket list is to visit Machu Picchu in the Andes Mountains in Peru. Mainly due to my love of historic places, the views here look so beautiful and the history fascinating.

What is the one thing you wouldn’t travel without?
The one thing I need with me is my phone, at least you can still snap your memories or video them with your phone if you have nothing else or for emergencies and to keep connected with everyone also for maps and to checked saved notes of where I want to go as well as making my blogging notes on.


What can readers find on your blog?
You can find my blog at www.digitaltravelguru.com come and say hello. My blog focus on the 360 travel, so in essence, I cover everything from reviewing places abroad to doing interviews with bloggers for my featured blogger section, travel guides, travel resources and a lot of photography.
I am constantly changing and developing my blog site, so it’s work in progress, I am looking at adding travel videos to my site in the future and some other types of travel content such as drone videos.

Do you have a favourite blog post? What is it and why?
My favourite blog post is a recent one on Bali. Here is the link:

To find more from the Digital Travel Guru see below

Blog  links to check out

https://digitaltravelguru.com/interview-jeremy-noronha-think-travel-lift-grow/
https://digitaltravelguru.com/interview-with-runwaymarina/
https://digitaltravelguru.com/history-of-koh-samui-island-Thailand/

Pinterest
Website
YouTube
Twitter
Instagram
Facebook
Travel Blog Club
Email- digitaltravelguruinfo@gmail.com (if you want to guest post or be interviewed for The Digital Travel Guru site please send Elizabeth over an email)