Happy new year!
…I started writing this post in January.
So over the past couple of months, I have been off travelling… I was not doing dry January, I wasn’t wrapped up in blankets wishing for summer, and I wasn’t moping around saying that ‘January is too bloody long!’ …Of course I am experiencing delayed January-feels now that I am back, broke as hell, and constantly frozen. And that’s without even mentioning coronavirus.
I decided this would be a good time to tell you all about the adventures I’ve had to lighten the mood in this weird time. And also because I have a lot of free time at the mo. Writing everything down also reminds me of a better time, in lands far far away, and helps me to dream of going back there, so I can forget about how shit things are right now.
Right, positivity only from now on…
My trip started off at the beginning of January exploring the land down under. Australia that is, not like… Yano…
My route was the classic Australia backpacker route: starting in Melbourne and working up the East Coast. It was just me and my best friend, staying in hostels as we made our way through the country. As I look back, it feels that my time in Australia was pretty plain sailing. I think that is for a variety of reasons:
- My pal, Elle is very organised, so anything I might have forgotten, she would remember
- It was an English speaking country (basically a hotter, better England) and so it felt easy to navigate around
- It was the beginning of my trip so had money at the time
- Compared to the dramas I had on the rest of the trip, Australia was truly a piece of cake (more to follow in future posts…)
This proved for a successful trip without too many issues.
As I mentioned, the trip started off in Melbourne: birthplace of the ‘best coffee in the world’. This sparked the idea that I should rate all of my coffees from now on, and so I set up an instagram highlight rating my coffees as I travelled the world (discreet insta plug). To be honest, I could just write about coffee for the rest of this post because I bloody love it. But maybe just have a look at my coffee highlights to see more on that if you’re interested…
Melbourne was cool, and reminded me of Brighton (the Brighton where I live in the UK…. not the Aus Brighton beach which is actually in Melbourne). Kind of edgy, a nice, modern city, and a beach just around the corner (ish).
The only downside was the smoke hanging around due to the crazy bushfires going on, making Melbourne the most polluted city in the world at that time. Great. I genuinely saw a guy on the tram with a full gas mask on… Like an army type gas mask just chilling on his commute. But better safe than sorry I guess.
We stayed in Melbourne for a few nights in a super nice hostel called United Backpackers, with free pancakes in the morning, on a really cute street with lots of cute coffee shops and a subway station right outside. It was all round CUTE.
We then decided to stay at a cheaper hostel for our last night in Melbourne to even out our spending. This hostel was awful. We were in a room of 12, which is normally sealable with, however, clearly the hostel company were trying to squeeze as much money out of people as possible, cramming beds in this tiny room like bloody sardines. There wasn’t even space for our bags to go under the beds. It was just a weird vibe.
The people in our room were also an interesting set- with one South African guy who gave Elle some unsolicited six-pack advice: that she should be eating a diet of fruit, fruit and just fruit. Then there was the woman on the bed next to me, who didn’t speak to anyone, and then got out of bed at 6am with her flip flops on. Did she sleep with them on? Why take them to bed, especially on a top bunk?
The next day, we left for Sydney on our first overnight Greyhound coach. The greyhound itself was alright, saved us £20 on a hostel for the night and we both slept a bit. But we woke up the next morning to the sound of rain. Like a looooot of rain. It was a conflicting feeling, because this was great for the bush fires, and it did actually put out a lot of bush fires, as we read in the news… However, everywhere was now flooded, and we didn’t really know what to do.
So we went to see the Harbour bridge and the Opera House anyway, both of which were pretty cool, but also cold, windy and rainy.
We ended a relatively nice day with a weird night out. We met a group of guys at the hostel who we pre-drank with and eventually left to go into the city with. The group consisted of an Australian tattoo artist, who apparently did a stint in prison but no one would say why; this very irritable Irish guy who scared us a bit, and a very normal person from Norwich. Quite a bunch.
The first ‘weird thing’ I guess was when I asked the tattoo artist to give me a tattoo (because why not, good story right?) and everyone said no, he can’t actually tattoo… The Irish guy showed me some incoherent scribble on his leg where this ‘tattoo artist’ had marked his skin. Not a look.
The night got weirder when the ‘tattoo artist’ wasn’t allowed in any clubs because he had a neck tattoo… This was due to the Sydney licensing laws… He then ended up having a physical fight with Irish guy who had started mouthing off at everyone. Elle, the guy from Norwich and I snuck off and continued the night in a different venue.
The rest of the night was pretty fun: we were over excited, dancing like lunatics, and had a good time.
Our time in Sydney finished the next day when I looked at the floor in our hostel room and realised there were maggots EVERYWHERE. An old lady in our room who had lived in Sydney her whole life said she had never seen these strange creatures before… I explained they were just maggots, like what a fly is before it turns into a fly… She replied, and I quote: “no.”
So I told the guy at reception who responded: “maggots?” I showed him a picture from google and he agreed that he had also never seen a ‘maggot’ before… “It must be some kind of silk worm” the old lady in our room insisted… Had we brought the maggots from England? Or had we invented the maggot maybe? Do maggots even exist?
Elle and I stood there confused, and stunned…
Our next stop was Byron Bay. It was BEAUTIFUL weather, and like THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE in general. Of course Elle and I were dumb enough to burn our whole bodies within the first day because of the bloody hole in the ozone layer. (Yeah, thanks a bunch global warming). We then spent our first evening laying in bed moaning about the awful sunburn, slathering ourselves in after-sun. Two Aussie girls walked in at the exact moment we were going, “ooooWWWwwww this HUUUURTSSSS.”
The Aussie girls were great, and we all made friends immediately, laughing at the stupid British girls that hadn’t grasped the Australian heat yet. In our defence, the weather had sucked up to this moment, so the sun was unexpected. We hung out with the girls all week, them showing us the best spots in Byron Bay (including the tastiest brekkie I’ve ever had at The Farm). They taught me to surf (kind of… I was shit and almost drowned, but hey) and best of all, they told us that that old lady was crazy, and maggots do exist in Australia.
We had bbqs, we saw dolphins while kayaking, we walked to a funky lighthouse, we ate a LOT, and had the best time. Byron Bay is the most amazing surfery, hippie place and I miss it so much! I fully left my heart there.
Oh also we walked past Chris Hemsworth in the street, so that was mental.
That’s about it for part 1 of my travels, there is a lot more to come in the next few weeks, so stay tuned every1, let me know what you think!
Thanks for reading!