Hey Hollywood! 

America, Uncategorized

What better way to end the trek than a day in Hollywood. A new movie starring Ryan gosling was premiering tonight and I was basically just wandering the boulevard hoping I might spot him, catch his eye and he would fall in love with me immediately.Then we would run away together and he would build me a house and row me down the river every afternoon at sunset.

Anyway, that obviously didn’t happen, so I compensated by spending money in forever 21 on new clothes because the ones I was wearing felt horribly unflattering and were obviously the reason Ryan and I aren’t eloping right now.

Hollywood is an interesting place though. I dislike it as much now as I did when I was here in 2001 and yet it is still oddly fascinating. 

I managed to find the Harry Potter hand prints outside the Chinese theatre and get lost in the tackiest souvineer shop I’ve seen all trip. 

We finished at our LA hotel and not quite ready to leave, those of us staying an extra night went out for pizza together. 

I am finding it difficult to even sum up the last three weeks. I’ve made so many new friends, seen so many incredible things and basically rediscovered life on the road as I do on every trip. 

There is something exciting about not having concrete plans and living simple out of a suitcase. Having the freedom to meet people from all over the world in hostels and on the road is such a privilege. I love watching the countryside change from day to day and the beauty nature hides around the world never stops being amazing. 

These kind of trips always leave me inspired to see more, do more and be more.

Next stop, Hawaii. 

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Oxford, England

England, Uncategorized

On my last day in England, I decided that I wanted to see one last place before I left. Oxford University. This has always been a place of pure inspiration for me. As a person who thrives in the world of academia, I felt that my trip to England would not be complete without a stop here. So I hopped on the Oxford Tube and made the pilgrimage.

I loved it. Honestly, I want to come here. Or if it can’t be here, I definitely plan to study next year and I think this just confirmed that for me. It is almost sacred. University towns are somewhere that I always seem to feel at home, maybe just because I lived in one for so long, but I felt especially at home here. I checked out the library and a couple of different campuses, plus all the good coffee shops. I just wandered through the gorgeous buildings and grounds… One of the campuses has a deer park! Whaaaaaaaaat! If only all universities could look like this.

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It struck me how, despite the fact this is one of the most prestigious universities in the world, ultimately there seems to be little difference in the students. They are still just going about doing the same things every other student does, having coffee, playing sport, dressing in weird clothes and fighting for various different causes that seem important in your twenties.

Aside from all the academic aspects, the place is just generally very cool. I can definitely see why tourists make a stopover here, though I was appalled at the amount of people buying university apparel when they quite clearly do not attend the university. Of course, I still bought a shirt but I would NEVER wear it in public. Except maybe for a run. Sheesh.

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To Tour or not to Tour?

Africa, inspiring, positive, travel

Well, it’s the age old question really. You are travelling alone… so is it better to go it completely alone, or hit up a tour group?
I have never travelled alone. In fact, the thought kind of terrifies me. I have been overseas with my family, a boyfriend I had at the time, a huge group of friends, and my best friend. Over new year I will be with a couple of my best friends but next year, in Africa and Europe, I will be completely alone.

It got me thinking, do I really want to do this alone? After all, I feel that some experiences do just need to be shared. If not among friends, among like minded strangers. Ultimately, it’s probably a fear of the world in general that had me looking at tour operators to help me organise the experience of a lifetime.

Better than the Balinese buses...

Better than the Balinese buses…

In Africa it just made sense. I have no idea where I am going, what I should see or what I should avoid. I have heard horror stories about young woman travelling alone on that continent and stories of killer wildlife and people who will have no shame in ripping you or your stuff off. I realise that in Australia we have horror stories, killer wildlife and people that will shamelessly mug you on the streets, but I guess it’s different when you are on another continent. I would hate to scare myself out of such an amazing chance to see a place like this though, which is why ultimately I decided on a group tour.

To summarise the pro’s:
1. Someone organises everything for me.
2. I can meet like minded people who also want to see Africa on a group tour
3. It makes me feel more secure, being with people who know what they are doing and where they are going.
4. I don’t have to worry about getting places
5. Tours generally do the highlights. It might not be the most authentic experience, but I feel that you can always come back for that later when you have seen the basics and you know what you like about a place.

To summarise the con’s:

1. A very set itinerary. If the tour misses something you really want to do… that sucks.
2. You might not get along with the people in the group.
3. You might get a dud crew… which admittedly could ruin the experience.
4. It can be expensive and touristy- that is sort of two cons but they go hand it hand.

Being an absolute wussy, I feel like I have made the right choice to tour. And to be fair, when you go to places like Europe, there are so many options. Options for the young, old, party animal, introvert, options for those who want flexibility, such as bus about, and options for those who want to be pampered in the Mediterranean, such as a luxury cruise. You can’t say that there is NO flexibility. There are plenty of options available and I hope, that if I have chosen the right one, I won’t really be travelling alone at all.