Why your journey is different, but it’s OK

Travelling as a lifestyle has it’s ups and downs. Being able to explore different cities around the world is what keeps us going stronger everyday. In all honesty the ability to let go of life’s requirements seems to be pretty hard. I found myself happy in the moment, taking in all that life has to offer me, but then sometimes I see people who are living the traditional life and I wonder am I missing out on something?

I think it’s because it’s so distilled into us that working a proper job, getting a partner and settling down is part of the journey. And sure that is something that I do want, and I do get slightly envious of people that are in these situations but that slowly dissipates as I am sat here in Laos at a Couch Surfer’s place. Freedom. The ability do what I want, when I want. I’ve come to realise that everyone has their own journey in life, whether it makes them happy or sad, or perhaps it’s not the route they want but it’s their journey.

We owe it to ourselves to choose our own path. To be able change it and not feel judged for doing it. We are our own worst enemy. 

Who are we to pick right from wrong? To tell someone how to live their lives? Like so many before us, in the end we are just trying to stay afloat. Survive. Breathe. Do what feels good at the moment and take each day as it comes. Life comes in wonderful little patterns of ups and downs and when you feel that up, well it’s enough to keep you going.

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How to travel Mount ljen from Bali in one day

So I wanted to do Mount ljen but I didn’t want to pay for the expensive tour. Therefore I thought it would be good for me to try and do My ljen on my own. I decided to make an event on Couchsurfing to see if anyone would join me and I managed to get a little group together. The trip itself took roughly around a day, we didn’t sleep over night anywhere we just climbed the volcano straight away. So prepare to be buggered by the end of it, but rest assure you will be thankful that you did it, it was one of my most favourite things I did in Indonesia.

However, if you’re an adventure junkie and you love to scoot around. Hire a scooter from Bali and drive yourself to Gillimanuk, get yourself on the ferry to Banyuwangi and then scoot up to the crater. I am not so much of a dare devil so I took the bus route.

Bali to Mt ljen

Ubung bus station

Right, this is an adventure on it’s own. We arrived at 5pm which gave us enough time to book a bus ticket. Most people recommend not to go to this station but it’s an experience in itself. As soon as you arrive you will get swamped by people trying to sell you a bus ticket. The trick is to not purchase a ticket at the counters because they will be extremely over priced. Purchase the ticket with the driver or on the bus. You need to get to Banyuwangi and the ticket price includes the bus and the ferry over. We paid $6.00 for an air-conditioned bus it’s cheaper for no air con. The trip took longer than expected so it was roughly 6hrs to get there, when it should have been 4. Which worked out fine for us because we arrived in Banyuwangi for 11pm. 

Banyuwangi

Right, we kind of had to take a detour because one of the travellers booked a hotel for the night in Banyuwangi. Once we got to the hotel, we organised for some jeeps to take us up to the crater. The jeep to get there and back was $10 each. Basically it was $60 per jeep, luckily we fit an extra person in so it was a tad cheaper for us. We also hired gas masks there as well which cost us $2.50.

Mount Ijen

The drive to the crater takes about an hour and a half, from there you just purchase your ticket which should cost you $10 and then you start hiking! It was around 2am when we started hiking. From there that is where your journey begins, it starts off pretty steep going up, but nothing too exhausting. We literally had no sleep so this may have affected my mobility, or that’s what I am telling everyone anyway because I was a bit slow. It’s takes an hour and a half to climb up the volcano, and then once you are up you can go see the amazing blue fire which is probably another 30 minute hike down.

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Mt ljen back to Bali

The jeep should take you back to your hotel, we got back at around 8am. They gave us some free breakfast and then we decided to head back to Bali not long after. We got one of those Bemo buses which cost us each $1.50 to get to the ferry. We definitely over-paid but it seems like everyone was not budging that day!  We then jumped onto the ferry to Gillimanuk is only 60 cents.

Gillimanuk to Bali

From Gillimanuk we got to the bus station, there wasn’t much buses around so we found ourselves in quite of a pickle. They wanted to charge us $5 for a non air conditioned bus. We managed to get them to drop it to $3.50 so for a good 5 hours we were sweating on a bus heading to Ubung station.  Once at Ubung station I just go jek it back to Seminyak which cost $2.50.

Whilst getting the bus and ferry takes longer than anticipated I really enjoyed it as I prefer to travel this way. It’s all part of the journey and all up it cost less than $40.00 which is a big difference to the $250.00 tours they provide in Bali. 

10 things solo travellers know to be true

Travelling alone has so many benefits, but there are some moments you know you will only have when travelling solo. Like never being able to take that perfect Instagram photo or rocking up to a country and it be full of couples. Below I list 10 things solo travellers know to be true.

1. Instagram perfect photos is nearly impossible to do

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2. Asking someone to take your photo never comes out the way you want it to

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3. Selfie-sticks are just not cool anymore

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4. People will always ask you where your boyfriend is

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5. When you arrive to a place and it’s full of couples

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6. People will ask you when you’re going to settle down

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7. You forget to take photos because you get lost in the moment

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8. You never end up being alone

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9. People will want to help you out more when you are alone

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10. You open yourself up to so much more when travelling solo

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Why you should visit Litchfield National Park

Litchfield National Park has some majestic cascades, swimming holes and waterfalls.  For me it was waterfall heaven. It also has a sandstone plateau called the Tabletop Range, monsoon rain-forests, intriguing magnetic termite mounds and historical sites.

It’s a great place to visit if you’re road tripping up North to Darwin or if you have some spare time in Darwin as it lies approximately 130km’s southwest of Darwin near the town of Batchelor and covers around 1,500 sq km’s.

It is recommended to spend 1-3 days in the park itself, but if you don’t have the time then make sure you check out Buley Rockhole, Florence Falls and Wangi Falls. They are must-dos if you’re only there for the day.

You won’t get much coverage for there, but they do have wifi at the Wangi Falls.

There is so much to see within the national park so I have highlighted some must-sees below:

  • Terminte mounds
  • Tolmer Falls
  • Florence Falls
  • Wangi Falls
  • Buley Rockhole
  • Tabletop Swamp
  • Tjaetaba Falls
  • Surprise Creek Falls
  • Rum Jungle Lake

Where to stay?

There are several campsites around, check the trusty Wikicamps.

I camped at a place just when you’re entering Litchfield National Park and absolutely loved it. For a non-powered site it was only $5 per person.

For more information, visit the website.

Travelling Japan without a JR Pass

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If the thought of purchasing a train weekly train ticket before your destination makes you feel uncomfortable like it did for me, then you’d be happy to know there are cheaper and better options to travel through Japan.

I decided against a JR pass because I guess I don’t like a time limit of how long I can use transportation for and I didn’t want to feel rushed. I am a free traveller damn it. Anyway there are several buses, metros and local buses/trains you can take instead of using the JR pass which you can see below.

Local Trains/ Suica Card

When travelling through Tokyo you can use what they call a Suica card which is quite similar to our Opal card or Oyster card for the Brits. It’s a 500 yen deposit and you can load it up as much as you want. We used this a lot through our travels if we needed to get the local train or rapid train to places. You can buy these at the train stations, we got ours from Harajuku station.

You can also use local trains a lot, just pop it on the googles and it will show up. Please note it will take longer but will give you a better experience of Japan.

Metro

The metro system is pretty good and easy to get around Tokyo. You can get one day passes which will cost you around 600 yen and you can use it as many times as you want for the day. They also have passes for a few days, so just suss out which one is best for you. You can purchase these at the station, the machines come with an english translation.

Buses

If you’re like me and love being a bus wanker then you’d be happy to know that getting the bus is so much cheaper than paying for the train. Buses to Mount Fuji will cost you around $20 bucks and you can also go to as far as Kyoto from Tokyo for around $40.00. I know it will be an overnight bus, but hey the way I think of it it’s almost like paying for accommodation and travel, how good is that! The best tip I can give you is that leaving from Tokyo will be super cheaper than leaving from say Mount Fuji to Kyoto. Most trains and buses make you go back to Tokyo to then go to Kyoto which is a wee bit annoying but can’t be helped. There is however a bus from Mount Fuji that goes direct to Kyoto, this you will have to book at the stations around the lakes.

Also, if you want to book buses in english than go to Willer Express. They let you book cheap, discounted bus tickets to Kyoto and Osaka etc.

It will take longer but that’s part of the journey folks.

Walk

Use your legs guys. We stayed in Ryogoku which was sumo city, seriously I saw a sumo wrestler ride a bicycle! My only regret in life is not taking that picture. Anyway once you get familiar with the town you can actually walk to a lot of places. Just have your map handy and you’ll find most destinations will be a half an hour walk.

Rent a bicycle

If you’re staying in a hostel they’ll be able to rent you out some bicycles. Which is a great way to see Tokyo, you’d notice that all the locals do it as well so why not try and blend in. They seem to ride on the pathways as well so be careful.

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How to get to Wallaman Falls, Queensland

Wallaman Falls would have to be one of my favourite waterfalls in the East Coast. It’s a must see when you’re doing the big road-trip and it’s located in the UNESCO World Heritage listed Wet Tropics in Queensland.

How to get there?

The falls can be found in the Girringun Naional Park and is 51 km south-west of Ingham. The pool drop is absolutely stunning and you can do a trek to get down there.

It’s relatively easy takes about 40 minutes, it has a path for going down. Once you get down to the falls you have to go through some rocks to eventually get into the water. The pool is 20 metres deep so bring your swimmers if you want to bathe in this beauty.

It’s a bit tricky and slightly dangerous so please be careful as it can be slippery.

What to bring?

If I could have stayed there longer I totally would have, so make a day of it. Bring your swimmers, towels and plenty of water. If you bring food for a picnic make sure you  take your rubbish with you.

Camping

There is a pretty sweet campsite when you get there which is where you stayed. You cannot register to stay there so you have to book ahead. We didn’t book and managed to stay there anyway, I guess it’s because if was off season. But if you don’t want to risk it then book here.

Address: Lookout Rd, Wallaman QLD 4850, Australia

The best and cheapest way to travel up Australia’s East Coast

For the most of us Aussie’s we don’t often get to travel our own country because of how expensive it is. Which is why I decided to start my own adventure of travelling Australia, I figured if backpackers can do it then why can’t we?

There are many rideshares and other travellers looking to give you a lift up the coast in exchange for good company or just fuel. You’d be surprised on how many people are willing to help you out when you get out of Sydney and the bigger cities.

Forget taking the buses up. It’s boring and less exciting so do yourself a favour and roam free. Go unplanned and see where it takes you. You’ll find that country people can be so lovely and they’ll be keen to be your tourist guide just to show-off their country.

So here is a guide for those who want to travel the East Coast cheaply for locals and backpackers.

Rideshares

For solo travellers rideshares is the way to go. Make sure you join Facebook groups such as Australia Rideshares for Backpackers or Life Australia Network Backpackers’. Many people will offer spare seats in exchange for fuel costs. Others will post up trips to see if anyone else is doing something similar so you could also find a travel mate and hire a car with others.

Gumtree

All right so Gumtree can be a bit dodgy sometimes but you just have to be careful. I found the van that I joined through Gumtree. Make sure you email, call and meet up with them before hand. A good tip is to make sure they have a picture and I find if they are younger they are more reliable.

Hostels

Yeah I know hostels can be really annoying, but you can also find other travellers who may have the same plan as you. They may also have a car and be able to offer you a lift as sometimes people who stay in cars like to relax in a hostel every now and then.

Hitch-hiking

The best thing about the East Coast is that everyone is going the same direction. If you’re comfortable hitch-hiking then go for it. Again use your common sense, and if you feel uncomfortable then you can hitch-hike with a mate. Australia is pretty safe but of course just be careful.

Couch Surfing

I basically Couch Surfed my way up the East Coast. One of my hosts actually picked me up from Noosa and took me to Rainbow Beach. Not only did he do that, but he also organised a trip to Fraser Island by just paying for expenses in his 4WD. I can’t stress how awesome Couch Surfing is. Make sure you proper read through the references and let everyone know where you are at all times. I pin-dropped my location to my mates all the time.

Premier Bus

Premier Transport Group is a cheaper bus option then Greyhounds. It runs up the East Coast as well and it’s not as fancy but hey it’s significantly cheaper and does the job.

Relocate Van

This one is  a gem. If you have more time why not apply for a relocation van? It’s basically when companies that hire out vans want the vans back to the depot. Depending on how much time they give you, you can get it for free for a few days or a dollar a day. You’ll have to chat to them to see what the best deal they can give you.

5 reasons you should start couch surfing

I was always afraid of Couchsurfing but because I was a female solo traveller I guess you can say I was afraid. I do have to admit I had always wanted to try it. I guess when I was travelling around the world friends of friends would put me up so I never needed to.

Now that I have tried I am hooked! It’s a great place to meet fellow travellers and of course locals. You’ll end up building friendships and the experience will definitely restore your faith in humanity.

1. Local guide

Ok, so not all of the hosts of Couchsurfing will have the time to take you out, but they will however give you local advice and guidance. Most of the people that do Couchsurfing know the significance of this so they try to help you out as much as they can.

2. Giving back

Whether you’re a host or a guest, Couchsurfing is a great way to give back to humanity. Whether it be by just putting them up for a night, feeding them or even cleaning the host’s house in return for their kindness.

3. Wonderful experience

Couchsurfing is a wonderful experience and one I promise you that you’ll never forget. You meet some amazing characters that will make you change the way you look at life.

4. New friends

Sometimes coming home from travelling can feel quite lonely. Having Couchsurfers will make you feel like you’re travelling all over again.

5. A wanderlust’s dream

It’s a wanderlust’s dream, being surrounded by travellers. Especially if you’re a host, you’ll have people from all over the world willing to share their stories right in your living room.

Start surfing now and sign up here.