''You don’t have to be positive all the time. It’s perfectly okay to feel sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated, scared, or anxious. Having feelings doesn’t make you a ‘negative person.’ It makes you human.'' -
This morning, I got up and felt like I had to write. It is now 5 weeks until we leave on this brilliant and beautiful adventure, however, I think we have both been feeling the pressure. In fact, I know we have, and it’s started to take a toll.
Imagine, coming home from a holiday where you start to feel those ‘holiday blues’, we’ve all had it right? Well, in stead of feeling this after our trip we are feeling this beforehand. The pressure of packing up our lives, getting rid of practically everything (as neither of us own a house that we can leave stuff in), the financial strain a trip like this can bring and the overwhelming panic of feeling like we have not planned enough or that we have forgotten something, is hard, in fact it’s really bloody hard.
We both feel flat. We are in this weird time frame of just waiting to leave after constant planning for the past 6 months and it is causing a strain on everything. Don’t get me wrong, I love where we live, I love our friends here and I actually love my routine of working, going to the gym and socializing with the amazing humans I have met in Taupo. Last night in fact, I cried watching TV , for no other reason than I was feeling sad that I would miss people. I guess it’s just that feeling of emptiness and to really having a place to be that has put us both on this weird discourse of uncertainty.
Then the anxiety takes control and the negativity starts to seep through into my thought imagining the worst-case scenario about EVERYTHING…It has been an incredibly stressful weekend.
Side tracking for a minute- Did you know that according to figures by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 18.1% of the population every year. Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. more than $42 billion a year!!
It is defined as an experience that causes fear, worry, apprehension, and nervousness. In some cases, anxiety can affect your life and interfere with your daily activities such as schooling, work, and relationships – DING DING DING, yes, of course it does and I have it all.
However, anxiety is a normal experience and I have learnt to live with it for many years. At this point I actually need to give a shout out to Leo as he has to live with me, and that’s not easy, but for anyone with high functioning anxiety will know – it’s not easy for us either. It’s not a fun existence when you have the feeling of constant panic about pretty much everything and feel like if there is no plan for even the smallest activity then life as we know it will fall apart.
I am focusing on being more present and taking each day as it comes, looking forward to everything in day to day life as well as the big trip ahead. For me, I love going to bed as I know that in the morning I will make breakfast. For most people that’s the norm, but for me I actually love it. I make the best peanut butter porridge and it is my go to each day. To be honest, I look forward to every meal as I love food, but that’s not all. I look forward to the gym each day, to my favorite TV programme, to washing my hair and sitting reading a few chapters in my book with a cup of tea.
I have found that looking forward to even the smallest parts of my day can not only make that day more enjoyable, but it can also improve my outlook on how I am feeling about life, helping to appreciate what I have and keeping me from getting stressed out (too much).
Looking forward to each day I have the ability to realize the millions of silver linings that I have been ignoring, because I have been skimming past them for so long and not living life in the present.
Overall, I need to stop thinking about everything. I need to just live as I have a truly wonderful life, we both do. If I’m writing an email or immersed into my work, I hone in on how good it feels to be typing. If I’m driving, I crack up the music, let me hair down and sing my heart out making sure to appreciate the scenery with extra attention to detail, especially in and around Taupo where we live as we live in NZ paradise. The trickiest one for me is I stop trying to control everything. It’s so hard for me to not be in control, I panic but I know in order to improve my mental health I just live in the moment.
‘’You don’t need to travel the world or do big things to live an extraordinary life. Be present. Notice the beauty around you. Be curious. Try the things that interest you. Be brave. Start the things you’ve been putting off. Create something. Learn something. Teach something. And do it all for the love of it’’.
Anyway, that’s me off to go watch Vanderpump rules and be a potato for the next hour!
” Travel makes a wise man better but a fool worse.” – Thomas Fuller
I will start this by letting you all know to PLEASE get you vaccinations before traveling. I will also start this with the disclaimer that I am not a doctor…by any means and everything I have written here is strictly my view on vaccinations and our own personal experience along with some tips from World Nomads insurance.
Now, I am about to tell you a sad story which actually happened to us and will really push you into getting those vaccinations. Two years ago we traveled to Brazil and on top of that planned a 10 day trip to the Galapagos. As we were traveling from NZ which is a safe country we didn’t need any vaccinations for Ecuador or Galapagos – SWEET. Upon arriving in Brazil however, there had been an outbreak of yellow fever in - THE STATE WE WERE IN! and a lot of people were dying from it. So, upon checking in for our flight to Ecuador we were informed that we, because we had been in an infected area, could not board the plane without our certificates of Yellow fever and proof of vaccination. WTF?? What the actual F**K?
…we lost that full 10 day trip, and travel insurance will not cover that just an FYI.
On top of that, we were actually not allowed to then leave Brazil if we were flying to any other worldwide country that was a yellow fever risk, even Australia! Safe to say, I freaked out and cried a lot, but after many tearful phone calls we were informed that NZ was safe. (It really is the best country to live in) So, with this said, DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU! Please get your Yellow Fever vaccination, it is a little expensive usually about $180-250NZD but 100% worth it. **We have ours now and get them at the start of the year.
Some other vaccines that are definitely advisable are:
Backtracking, over New Year 18/19 we traveled to Thailand for a week to spend time with my brothers as they both still live in the UK so we hardly ever get to see them. It was truly awesome, in fact one of the coolest holidays we have had, BUT this is where my tip #1 comes in handy as I got poisoned on the second last day.
Yes, it's pretty normal, I have had food poisoning in the past and to be honest usually get it in S.E.Asia but after being there 9 times – it doesn’t stop me from returning. I just love the food, culture and people! Anyone who has been will 100% agree. However, this time I ended up being hospitalized as my condition became more severe to the point I couldn't lick an ice cube without projectile vomiting out pretty much every orifice in the head - how's that for a mental image? The doctors couldn’t pin point the source of the poisoning, only that it was most probably water born.
1. Do not drink the water
I would recommend that you assume that all water is contaminated, it may be extra cautious but well worth it. Drink and brush your teeth with bottled or treated water only and keep your mouth closed while taking a shower – I AM A SHOWER SINGER AND AS DIFFICULT AS IT IS DON’T DO IT! World Nomads have written this article which really helps if you need more info - water safety while traveling.)
2. Be that annoying compulsive Hand Washer
Not just because it’s the right thing to do but when traveling it’s the safe thing to do. Always carry a bottle of hand sanitized in your handbag/day pack and especially if you go on any treks. Prevent yourself from being hospitalized like me or catching some god-awful disease which will not just ruin your holiday…but could potentially ruin your life and use sanitizer before each meal, after handling paper bills and coins and always try and not touch your face or mouth!
3. Avoid Mozzie Bites
Ok, so mozzie bites are gross, they are not only super annoying but they are ugly, itchy, if you are anything like my mum, can make your face swell up and look like Quasimodo (her words not mine) So as much as each day you will be having so much fun and feel you don’t have time for a quick spray of repellent, stop what you are doing and do it! I continuously tell any of my travel clients to use DEET and permethrin, wear long sleeves and pants when you can, and mozzie nets in bed to prevent insect bites.
“Life is a journey. Make the best of it.”
Are you a seasoned traveler and have some must do tips and tricks for staying safe? Let us know so we can add these to our list!
Digital Nomad and travel blogger…best job in the world, right? Get paid to travel the world and write all about it – sounds wonderful, l where can I sign up??
Yes, I am sure this is a wonderful job, but that’s not what I am or what I do. Sometimes, I wish I was, but I actually have a wonderful job that allows me to travel and most importantly, maintain traveling cheaply, while also keep this diary up to date.
When we are traveling this year, we are using a company called Work.Away. If you haven’t heard of this company before, check out the link above as it is truly a wonderful organisation. Myself and Leo are ‘workawayers’ which means we are travelers interested in cultural exchange and learning but will help out for a few hours a day in exchange for food and accommodation, with visits lasting anywhere from a few days to a few months. So far, we have secured work in pretty much the most magical place on this planet - the Galapagos islands where we will work there for 1 month. We are also in the process of finalizing Colombia and Costa Rica for June/July this year before we start the process again for Africa in November on wards.
This allows us to travel cheaply and stay for free, whilst making a difference to the communities we visit. We can utilize our existing skills in Tourism and help various companies along the way. I whole heatedly think this idea is wonderful as I know there are so many people in the world who just need help and if we can be more than just tourists then why would we not go balls deep and give this opportunity 100%!
The next travel experience that we will have is House and Pet sitting through Trusted House Sitters. If you love animals & adventure, then for just $130.00NZD a year this platform allows you to sign up as a house and pet sitter where you can apply to look after people’s pets and homes all over the world! We have a lot of friends who have used this site and after much research this one, although slightly more expensive, gives the most comprehensive support and information.
If this sounds like something you would like to do, then use this code RAF246957 and you will receive 25% off your membership – you are welcome! It also helps us out too as it allows us to travel for longer and will help to increase our membership validity, so we thank you in advance too!
These are 2 fantastic ways to travel cheaply and stay for free along the way while making your experience meaningful and not being your average tourist. So, moving on to my actual job; I work for a company ‘Stray Travel’ as their digital sales co-ordinator. For the past 5+ years this has been my passion and I am blessed as I work remotely and plan other people’s travels! This is the only time in my life that having ‘high functioning anxiety’ comes in handy as it always allows me to put in 100% effort to a job that’s not based in an ‘office’. See, sometimes anxiety can be a good thing. It can motivate you to finish your tasks, work harder for a goal and it can alert you when in dangerous situations - hence why I describe myself as 'thriving'. Oh ...and It helps that this truly the best job in the world!
''If you are in thriving mode, you are focused on your big dream goal and you keep making baby steps towards it. Your big dream is clear and even if you don't know the exact path, you can see what the next step is. You don't let obstacles get in your way. You simply find the easiest solution and keep moving towards your big goal.'' - Rachel Kate Rose
I can plan and book all your New Zealand, East Coast Australia and South East travel through our adventure bus network focusing on 'off the beaten track' locations and true travel experiences. So, if you have any questions then get in touch! It’s actually the one thing I can say I am an expert in and you can check everything out here.
Are you traveling the world and working while at it? What do you do? Let's share stories!
So, in most of flights we have 23kg’s which is great but for Iceland we have a maximum of 20kg’s unless we want to pay a horrific amount before or at the Airport to add on baggage – don’t you just love low cost Airlines? In fact, Delta is the worst as you can’t even add on luggage at time of booking… but that’s a story for another day I feel as it’s still a raw wound that needs time to heal first.
Packing wise, we are both pretty economical when it comes to packing for trips as we just don’t own that much stuff – Minimalism is a dream! However, I recently bought a new Mac Pac 80L backpack which is amazing but is HUGE! I guess it will be good if we get stuck for accommo as we can both sleep in my luggage, but still…I don’t want to take too much.
After much chat about what company to get our gear from we opted for both Mac Pac and Kathmandu this year for our packs, for no other reason than they are both great quality and we got them on a brilliant sale.
TRAVEL TIP : Never buy full price Kathmandu! If you have any friends that work in Kathmandu, ask them when there is a friends and family day as they get MEGA discounts so that is the day to buy your travel gear for sure. I managed to buy Leo’s pack reduced from $699 down to $290NZD – that mark down is unreal! My bag was slightly more expensive, but I still got it for $310 reduced from $690NZD.
Clothes wise – what do you pack for a trip where we will be hiking Glaciers, relaxing on the beach, camping, spending time in sweltering deserts? Honestly…we don’t know either, but active wear is always a hit right? So, I plan to pack as lightly and sporty as possible. As for Leo he is pretty much doing the same along with our Merino’s and Puffer jackets (if you are from NZ you will understand these are a staple in everyone’s wardrobe)
Now, the most important, integral, space saving hack we have came across is packing cells! You can get these from Kathmandu and they have saved our lives on so many trips. Instead of packing all your clothes straight into your pack and then on the 2nd day realize you can’t find anything and it’s a complete mess – BUY PACKING CELLS. I cannot stress this enough; these little beauties allow you to arrange and pack your clothes in cells essentially and from there provide a fantastic space saving hack as well as saves various anxiety attacks daily when the mess takes over. Anxiety attacks…really?? YES, if anyone has met me then you will know that I am crippled with high functioning anxiety. More to follow, I promise.
Camera equipment – This is the fun part, right? I cannot live without taking photos so in our kit bag this year we have:
- Go Pro 6
- Go Pro Dome (this was my best buy of 2018 for sure)
- 2 x tripods (selfie stick, and Gorilla Pod)
- 1 x Floaty
- DJI Spark drone
- Canon 6D
Do you have any packing tips/ must’s that we should know about? Please let us know as we welcome any tips to make packing less stressful and would appreciate it so much!
We love hostels, and have spent the last 10 years staying in hostels as they are a great way to meet people and fantastic if you are traveling solo. You meet new and amazing travelers from all round the world and some hostels are honestly second to none when it comes to embracing new and interesting cultures. However, as we are now in the slightly higher age bracket (Leo more than me...I'm still a spring chicken ) and our days of sweaty dorm rooms and noisy snorers are over, we are leaning towards Air B n B and Booking.com for the majority of our trip. We will also be volunteering along the way as well and you can read all about that here.
These 2 platforms have been interesting and valuable to us in NZ as we find this Air B n B a great way to meet locals and immerse in that culture, whereas with booking.com it's often to find accommodation that includes breakfast or, if a member - a genius discount (more info below)
Air B n B – So far into our planning and initial booking stage for the first few months of the trip we have found some amazing deals on Air B n B. The best one recently being in Santiago, Chile where Booking.com was charging $167NZD for a 2-night stay. After some research, contacting the property directly on Air B n B allowed us to book this for $66NZD for the 2 nights. WINNING. This doesn’t happen too often but shopping around is 100% the best, most effective way to save money!
We use this site a lot as when we travel we want to experience the location and meet the locals. We feel this results in a highly rewarding experience and more often than not, this is where you find out about those hidden gems – the highlights of most traveler's trips! Allowing us to meet the locals and gain and insight into their knowledge can be invaluable which to us is why this this platform is so worthwhile. If you haven’t already – sign up here and use our link to receive a $50 NZD discount off your stay and $19NZD discount off one of the activity experiences of $66 or more!
BOOKING.COM: - Booking.com has to us been our 'go to' for many years and we have used it for Brazil, Easter Island, Ecuador and both Norway and London in the past. It’s easy to use, all the photos are generally great (apart from a few dodgy. blurry ones in South America) and the reviews are from actual travelers so are pretty honest…. especially the bad ones which can be a great read! If you book regularly then you become a ‘genius’ member which unlocks an extra 10% off a lot of properties which can save you heaps a long the way. But as I mentioned before, ALWAYS do your research and compare the properties through both platforms as this alone can save you $$.
UPDATED HACK! - So, I just came across this little beauty and now I'm hitting myself as I hope it's new and I haven't been doing it wrong for years! On Booking.com, download the app on your mobile device and when booking there are a lot of properties that offer an extra 10% off - JUST TO BOOK THROUGH YOUR MOBILE PHONE!! I am completely mind blown as I have just booked Auckland Airport accommo. Through the website direct the property was $125NZD. Through Booking.com on my laptop it was $115NZD and on my phone it was $103.50NZD! Every penny counts when traveling so make sure to use this whenever possible!
If you are new to booking.com then you can use this link when booking and it will then automatically refund you 10% of your stay after you have stayed in the location which is pretty awesome!
Please contact us if you would like any extra info though as we are more than happy to help point you in the right direction and tell you some of our fav's from our trip!
So...here's the deal, travelling the world isn't cheap. There are ways to save money, of course but between the flights alone it add's up fast!
The question we get asked most when our friends see that we have booked another trip to somewhere amazing is ‘how can you afford that?’ or my personal favorite when they blurt out 'you guys must be RICH??' - automatically presuming that we earn millions of dollars in our current Tourism jobs which for those working in tourism will agree this is not quite how it goes. (HAHA…I wish).
No, this is not correct, but we are both lucky enough to have very similar values when it comes to money, spending, saving and most importantly our PRIORITIES.
A few years ago, we started to adopt the minimalist lifestyle… and no we don’t live off 2-minute noodles and sleep on the floor of a cave. Quite the opposite - we live in a beautiful 2-bedroom rental by the lake in Taupo, NZ, we both have jobs which we love and that do pay the bills but what we spend our left-over wages on is mostly travel. In fact, …it’s about 80% travel.
“Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.” —Edwin Way Teale
Everyone has priorities and we respect each and every one of these as each person in this world is different. Some people love the newest technology, the best make-up and perfumes, a brand-new car or that expensive bag that has been staring at you as you walk past it on the way to work. We however, just do not enjoy materialistic things (apart from camera equipment, its my kryptonite). We eat in most nights – in the past 2 years I have become a fantastic cook (so Leo tells me) so I cook every night which saves us about $500NZD month at least. Every weekend when we go on adventures within NZ it’s mostly on walks and hikes which in NZ are FREE, and when it comes to clothing and accessories, we are pretty basic and only buy when needed.
“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” —Socrates
Now, there is a huge difference between consumerism and materialism and if we had to choose one we would actually be materialistic. Wait…what? Minimalists being materialistic? What an oxymoron… and yes, this is true, as we love the small amount of possessions that we own. They don’t by any means control us, but we will literally keep them until they are deemed unusable. If we were consumerists, then we would continuously buy new things that we really don’t need even when the ones we own are completely usable. However, this is a complex, large subject that we won't go into now but it's always good to ask yourself the question.
Joshua Becker describes being minimalist perfectly, and has helped us to learn and explain in depth. See what you think: ''Minimalism, for me, is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it’'. Sounds easy...and so logical, right?
So, with this said if travelling the world is the top of your Bucket-list but you feel you cannot afford it – simply re-evaluate your priorities! What is vitally important to you when it comes to spending money, ie – bills, food and rent and what can be removed from your day to day expenditure and put into the ‘TRAVEL THE WORLD’ fund?
If you would like to read more, then this article will certainly give you some pointers and change your perspective about why we should spend our money on experiences and not ‘things’.
SIDE NOTE: Not to mention, for all those out there struggling with anxiety, then de-cluttering your life will 100% help. BELIEVE ME, I have tried and tested it, and it works. By adopting a minimalist lifestyle I learned to realize all that clutter I have that had been clouding my thoughts ironically made me think about all the things I didn't have, therefore gradually releasing that sense of panic. By removing the unnecessary, you are forced to really pin point the underlying issue and find your calm, bringing you and your mind back to living in the present.
Have you succumb to the minimalist lifestyle recently and love it? Let us know ...
Hey! I'm Ally. I left the UK in 2011 to move overseas and ended up in New Zealand - my new home. This year we are taking a gap year to loop the world stopping in some AMAZING destinations - and I'm passionate about sharing these adventures with you!