What a Month!

Well what a month we have had!!

You may have noticed we’ve been pretty quiet on the old blog post front. Sorry about that… but life got in the way a little. It happens to us all but things should be a little quieter now meaning we can start updating on what we’ve been doing and where we’ve been with some wonderful posts sharing the delights of the South Pacific with you.

So what have we been up to…

Firstly we did something that kinda goes against the travel loving lifestyle. We set down roots, got ourselves a mortgage and brought a house 😱 So many people said it’s the most stressful thing you can do and I didn’t believe them but oh my word was I wrong to be a non believer. I came to the UK with 1 suitcase 11 years ago and the amount of stuff we moved I don’t know how I ever was able to fit my life into my trusty old blue suitcase.

Secondly we had to move house on a deadline as we were off to Fiji to watch my baby sister and her hubby get married and have a family holiday for two weeks. We were moving and cleaning right up until the night before we flew and with no sleep fo almost a week we collapsed on the plane ready for 37 hours travelling to the South Pacific. I mean there are worst places to have two weeks relaxing. Being so far away from the family we really cherish the time together so everything else gets put on the back burner. We were only really updating our Insta Stories while away so was a bit of a media black out just so we could enjoy every moment with the family. If you managed to see any of our stories let us know what you thought. It’s such an easy way to share on the go.

We’ve just got back today and the jet lag is still very fresh. I’m falling asleep as I write this and wondering how early is to early to go to bed, I’m looking longingly at my photos, I’m thinking of all the blog posts I want to write, I’ still wearing my bikini as underwear and keeping the flip flops on, I’m having cuddles with out house bunny Bruce and avoiding looking at the huge pile of clothes to be washed. The reality of being home hasn’t quite hit yet and I can tell you I’m not looking forward to it but I guess it’s all part of the process. Life can’t be just one big holiday otherwise they wouldn’t be as special when they happen. I love a cheesy quote and this one springs to mind at the moment ‘don’t be sad it’s over, be happy it happened’. I’m really bloody happy it happened. I need to re read this post to get ready for reality on Tuesday

So keep your eyes peeled- posts and wanderlust worthy pictures will be coming your way very soon

X

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!

Like me? Wanna pin me? 

14 Facts Every Traveller Should Know…

  1.  The journey is always just as important as the destination. Yes in a strange way those 6 methods of transport and 30 odd hours of travelling is just as important as that picture perfect beach you end up on.
  2. Ask and more importantly listen to others on where to go and what to see. Read blogs, search Pinterest, read travel guides, ask friends in the flesh (or on social media), read reviews, lust over snaps on Instagram and get inspired by others. Recommendations from others might set you off to some place you’ve never heard or even let you find your new favourite place.
  3. Do you plan your life down to every minute or every day?- no. So you shouldn’t do the same with your trip. Have a rough plan but leave a bit up to chance you never know where you might find yourself or who you might meet.
  4. It’s ok for not every part of the trip to be amazing or as you expected it to be. Don’t dwell on it just let it go (try saying that without pretending your Elsa).  You don’t want it to ruin your overall adventure.
  5. Everyone looks shit after being on a long haul flight. The cankles, the dry skin, the greasy hair, dried drool on your chin (ok maybe that’s just me)  it’s ok. Sadly it’s unlikely you’ll be papped at the airport so don’t dwell on your post flight style.
  6. As Theodore Roosevelt said  ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’. Don’t compare yourself to that girl on the beach who is a bronzed toned goddess or to that traveller you met in the bar that’s been to more countries than you or has a better picture of a temple in Thailand. You are you and this is your journey. For everyone you compare yourself to there is someone who is probably using you as their compassion. 
  7. Stay in contact with home. Sadly the world is changing and it’s not always as safe as what we once perceived it to be to explore all four corner of the world. Our news headlines are dominated with evil people trying to test us and while you are off exploring, people at home will worry about you. So check in with them. Thankfully with technology the way it is you should be able to connect fairly easily.
  8. Take photos – lots of them just remember that everyone isn’t going to want to see them when you return. You will though. A month, year or 10 years later you’ll be thankful for every photo Even that awkward selfie you took where you tried to take it  to look like you weren’t taking a selfie as you didn’t want everyone else there rolling their eyes at you. Future you will smile and be able to be transported back to the trip so suck it up and take all the pictures and selfies you want. 
  9. Go away with your girlfriends. I love going away with my family and with my better half but what I love most is holidays with my girls. If you’ve not been on a girls holiday then grab your BFFS and book up a trip. It is the best thing you can do!
  10. Get lost. In a good way. I can assure you will find something you would never expect to find.
  11. Marvel. Be in awe. Appreciate the world. A sunset, a beautiful church, a street performer captivating a huge crowd, a waterfall wherever you end up take a moment to marvel at just how amazing this world is. 
  12. Similar to the above take a moment without your phone and camera.  Slightly contracting myself for point 8 but… trust me sometimes you just need to put down the phone and look up. See the world with your eyes rather than behind a lens or through a tag in on Facebook.
  13. Labels suck. Who cares if your tourist, a traveller, a nomad, or if you are travelling halfway around the world or only going to the next town over to explore. It really doesn’t matter you are getting out there to see another part of the world and broaden your own viewpoint. There is nothing better than that.
  14. Have the best time you possibly can!

Martha Mine

On our road trip round the North Island of NZ my partner did a lot for me – he drove (mainly because its less painful if he does), he saw alot of things that whilst he enjoyed them may not have been high on his to see list and he let me choose and plan the route. He is a man who loves machines and also current owns his own Plant Hire business so when I was planning I ensured we factored in some time in the historic gold mining region. There was bound to be big machines there!

Now in all my planning I hadn’t realised quite what we would find when we arrived in Waihi.

This is the Martha Mine….


It is HUGE! The mine sits at the end of the Main Street and is accessible via a footpath from Seddon Street and has a viewing area around the rim on the pit. There is also a replica Poppet Head and Historic Cornish Pumphouse that was moved from its orginal site in the grounds.  There was a large subsidence to one side which you can see has blocked off the roads along the side of the pit.  There is information board which explained that it was a gold and silver open-pit mine which is not operational (would be kinda hard and unsafe with the side so unstable) but that there is also an underground mine very close to this site that is operational.

We enjoyed our wander around but we hadn’t seen any machines and also wanted to know more. Opposite the mine  on Seddon Street is the Waihi Gold Discovery Centre with a museum and they also do tours. The Gold Discovery Centre was really interesting and covered so much of the history of not only the mine but also of Waihi. There was lots of hands on activities that would keep the kids (and man children) entertained. However I would throughly recommend buying the Tour and Discovery Center combo ticket.

The bus picked us up just outside and our guide was brilliant. Nice chap who knew everything about the mine and the gold history of Waihi. The first part of the tour takes you to the open-pit mine where you get to get closer to the mine and also finally see some big trucks. After some further information and a few pics we then headed down the road to the newer underground mine. On the way there our tour guide pointed out a man-made lake that the mining company (Oceana Gold) had built for the town and also highlighted other ways that Oceana Gold helped support the town. this wasnt just through employment and local charity funding but also scholarships for the high school.

Arriving at the underground mine we got to see entrance to the mine (and some more big trucks) and were also told how the operation works. One of the interesting things was regarding the rocks that came out of the mine as these were not allowed to be sold and needed to be put back into Waihi. The way they have done this is by building up the landscape surrounding and creating huge tailing ponds which have brought specific species of birds back to the area. It is a really creative and inspiring way of using something that affects the landscape to actual also help the landscape and ecosystems.

We then got to get closer to the working mine and saw the dumpers taking out the rocks and then everything going onto the conveyor belts to get broken down and starting showing the gold and silver. The tour guide had samples of gold and silver for the mine and we were able to take a few token pics.

On the bus back to the Discovery Centre our tour guide answered all the questions and had some booklets with further information that you could look through.

It was a great experience being able to have a look around the mines but I also found the history behind the town and the mine so fascinating and nice change to everything we had already done on our trip. What is the point of going somewhere if you don’t learn somethings new?


I’m still working my way through blogs on other places we visited in the North Island however if you wanted to read about seeing the Gloworms in Waitimo you can find this  here or  drinking wine at one of the many wineries on Waiheke here

Finer Details for the Gold Discover Centre

Website and details below if you would like more information

http://golddiscoverycentre.co.nz/

Tour times 10.30 and 12.30 daily (tour takes around 1.5 hours)

Prices $55 per adult for combo ticket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wine on Waiheke 


On Waiheke Island you MUST drink 🍷 at one of the many vineyards.  Surpringly for such a smal island there is a lot of wineries. We caught the ferry over from Auckland so had a lovely day exploring and found ourselves settling in at Goldie Estate for a wine with a view. 
Goldies is one of the first vineyards on Waiheke and we learnt that when the original owners retired and their children didn’t want to take over they gave the vineyard to the University of Auckland for Wine Science. 

They had a lovely setting and cellar door set up with wines and cheeses. Such a relaxed atmosphere and we were able to try a few different wines before settling on our favourite. You can sit out on benches, cushions right next to the vines or take your wine and sit up on the hill over looking the picturesque Putiki Bay. 

Beautiful setting, amazing wine (especially the Rose) and the views. Just divine 👌

Almost home time 

As my current adventure draws to a close I’m getting a little sad at the thought of reality drawing in and the routine of normal life.

Over the last three weeks my partner and I have been celebrating Christmas with family on the Gold Coast,  been surprised by best friends, gallavanted around the north island of New Zealand and now spending a few days in the heat in Brisbane before heading back to the cold and grey UK.

We’ve had some amazing experiences and I’m hoping the 24 hour flight will give me some good quiet time to get up to speed with my blog so I can share it all with you.

I’ve been updating Instagram with a few photos -rather small collection against the 1,800 or so I have still to go through #ithinkihaveanaddiction 📷 If you are on Instagram you can find me @thewanderingdarlings or on Facebook search for the The Wandering Darlings.

But reality  isn’t for another 4 days so as the sun is shining (its up soooo early in Brisbane!) I’m off to fill every last hour with fun, sun and excitement.
Keep an eye out over the next few weeks when I’ll be doing some mass uploading on our adventures down under.

Happy New Year

X