Saturday, 23 November 2013
Thursday, 21 November 2013
Tuesday, 19 November 2013
Saturday, 16 November 2013
- Give yourself time to pack - One of the biggest mistakes I've made in the past is leaving packing to the last minute. This is fine when you're going away for the weekend but if you're headed somewhere for a few months you really do need to give yourself time to think about what you need to take. Before a big trip I start packing a week or 2 in advance, I'll start by just throwing things I think I'll need into my bag but as leaving day looms closers it's best to spend one full evening sorting out your clothes as those are the items that take up the most room.
- Edit, edit, edit and then edit some more - The first time you pack you will inevitably pack way too much stuff which is why it's important to give yourself time to edit. As much as we'd all like to look fabulous when trekking through a jungle this really isn't the time to be showing off your finest garments so put back the 10 dresses you had packed and bring along 2 that you can wear all day, every day instead. I know it's hard but you have to be brutal. When I was in SE Asia for 3 month I took 1 pair of trousers and leggings, 2 dresses, 2 pairs of shorts, a few t shirts, 1 jumper, a waterproof jacket, 1 set of trainers and sandals, minimal underwear, a few accessories, 1 hand bag, a small wash bag / first aid kit and a travel towel. This doesn't sound like a lot but most hostels provide washing facilities which are usually free to use yourself or cost very little if you get someone else to wash your clothes.
- Don't over pack, you will need the extra space - One of the best things about travelling are the cheap markets and you will no doubt want to buy yourself souvenirs and maybe a few gifts for friends and family as well. Therefore it's really important to have space in your rucksack so you have somewhere to store the stuff you buy. You can always post stuff home but trust me this is more hassle than it's worth so best to leave a trip to the post office as a last resort. When I was in Thailand I bought an enormous bed quilt. Fortunately I just had enough space in my ruck sack (due to my minimal packing) as it would have cost a fortune to send home. My ruck sack was completely full for the rest of the trip but I knew I wouldn't buy anything big so it was fine.
- Separate your stuff into little bags - I kept my clothes separated into different bags inside my ruck sack. 1 bag for underwear, 1 bag for t shirts and shorts, 1 bag for dresses, 1 bag for chargers/electronics etc. This made packing and unpacking my rucksack really easy as I only had to worry about a few small bags rather than lots of individual clothes. I kept the small bag with my pjs and wash stuff at the top as it was something I had to reach for everyday. Little things like this don't sound like a big deal but they really do make the whole packing process easier and faster. If you arrive at a hostel late one night the last thing you want to do is spend 20mins rooting through your bag looking for a toothbrush!
- Embrace second hand book shops - This won't apply to everyone, especially e-book users but I love reading as many books as possible when I'm travelling however they take up an awful lot of space. To stop myself getting loaded down with paper I would buy and sell my books in second hand books shops. Not only are these places cheap but they're fun to spend a bit of time in and you can often pick up great travel advice from the people who work there. In SE Asia there are second hand book shops everywhere and the general quality and choice is excellent. After a visit to a few you will start to see a trend in what books they sell. Almost every shop I went into had copies of The Beach, Life of Pi and The Alchemist which are all great travelling reads.
Sunday, 10 November 2013
It's safe to say that this is the weirdest house I have ever lived in. Firstly, I should explain a bit about Coober Pedy...
Coober Pedy only exists because opal was found here in 1915. If opal was not found, it is unlikely that Coober Pedy would be lived in today. The temperature can reach 52 degrees in summer and -3 degrees in winter. There can be sand storms and amazing thunder and lightening storms. It's not a place you would usually choose to live.
Opal is found by digging holes in to the ground and tunnelling along opal seams. In 1915, miners would live in their mines because they discovered that no matter what the temperature was outside, it will constantly be 23 degrees underground. Once this was discovered, people continued to live underground to this day.
I called my underground home, my cave and I feel like you should listen to The Cave by Mumford and Sons whilst you read this post. As you can see from the top picture, my house was built in to a hill and did not go in to the ground like many people would expect.
My cave was once backpacker accommodation, which is why it is full of bunk beds. I spent most of my time living here alone but I did spend some time living with some lovely friends.
My cave was certainly an experience and I'll miss it so much.