Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Children of Cambodia

When I tell people I volunteered at a Childcare Centre in Cambodia for a month one of their first questions is "What were the children like?"...

I'm a little dumbfounded by this question as, they are children, just like any other children. A little bit sweet, a little bit naughty, a little bit cheeky, a little bit cute, a little bit funny, a little bit crazy! They were just like any other children.

It was no surprise to me, especially being a teacher (or should that say 'former teacher') that, despite the fact that the children in the room where I spent most of my time spoke next to no English, I was able to pick up on their little personalities and traits. Some days I just wished I knew what the hell they were saying! 

Not a day has passed since I left them that I haven't thought about these kids. Wondering what they are up to, how they are, wondering what the future has in store for them and their country. But for now I just look at their beautiful faces and smile that I got the opportunity to spend some time with them. 

LEROY!! Constantly pointing and amazed by everything

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

a trip to Stanthorpe

Recently I travelled to Stanthorpe to witness a beautiful friend of mine get married.

Growing up on a sheep property nearby, Stanthorpe was our major centre for shopping, doctor, dentist etc and two of my younger sisters were born there, so it has a special place in our hearts.

Located about 220km south west of Brisbane close to the border of NSW, Stanthorpe is the heart of the Granite Belt area which is famous for it's amazing fruit, vineyards and wineries. There are many national parks nearby, including Girraween and Bald Rock, which provide some great bush walking tracks and sights.

I arrived just in time to wander down to the little creek by my hotel and snap this picture.

Monday, 20 April 2015

My number one travel app..

I was recently chatting to someone about my trip to Thailand and Cambodia and they informed me that they hadn't been to Asia since the 1980s and she laughed about how hard it was for her to organise the trip herself, telling me that she booked BnBs by sending Postcards to them and hoping the booking was secured when she arrived.

I seriously could not fathom travelling that way! I am a big pre-planner when I travel. I need to know where I am going, where I'm staying, when I'm leaving and everything in between. Sometimes it's a little annoying and I wish I could be a bit more 'fly by the seat of my pants' but it's just not me.

With the invention/introduction of the Internet booking and planning travel has never been easier, and now with smart phones everything is literally at your fingertips. You can find any information you need, book flights, accommodation, everything, in an instant, almost anytime, anywhere.

There are countless apps that you can download to suit your every travel need but when I travel there really is only one that I use, without fail, every single day....

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

for Singapore Zoo

No visit to Singapore is complete with a trip to the amazing zoo.

Singapore Zoo was opened in 1973 and is home to the largest captive colony of orangutans in the world. It also is very modern in its design in that many of the exhibits appear very natural with hidden enclosures and moats keeping the animals, and visitors, safe but giving that up close and personal feel.

I could sit and watch the animals all day, especially the monkeys, apes and orangutans and Singapore Zoo has an amazing number of different types of these.

I took over 200 photos on the day so it's been hard to narrow down some favourites to share with you today.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Why I choose to travel alone

So due to some poor time management on my part, a family trip to the Sunshine Coast, the absolute lack of wifi in Australia (don't get me started on that!!), a stunning wedding and a little bit of downtime this is my first blog post in a week!!! I know....shock horror *gasp!*

Monday, 6 April 2015

My next destination

Barely back from my trip to Thailand/Cambodia/Singapore and already people are asking what's next.

I must confess I am a little sad that my trip has come to an end and how quickly that end arrived. I am back home in Australia spending Easter weekend with family at the Sunshine Coast, so I guess I can't really complain too much can I.

So what is next.....

I am home for about 8 weeks, during that time I will be catching up with family and friends and hopefully getting some relief teaching work. The pay is pretty good and I can be flexible with the days I work.

And then, in about 64 days, I take off again, this time US/Canada bound!!

I have never been to the States so I am super excited about that. And first stop is Nashville for CMA Fest, which has long been near the top of my bucket list! From Nashville I spend 5 nights in New York before starting a Top Deck 28 day USA Road trip tour, a few nights in LA before heading to Canada.

I have been to Canada before. Back in 2005 I took 6 months off work and headed over. The main reason for my trip was to see my friend Katie get married.

So it's been 10 years since the last time I was in Canada and I must confess I have been a slack friend and not kept in touch with Katie very well (and she's not very Facebook active - terrible excuse I know!) but I am super excited to see her and spend some time getting to know her 3 children, none of whom I have met.

I have no real plans for the 6 weeks I have in Canada other than to catch up with friends as I did a lot of touring around there when I was there in 2005. 

The last photo of Katie, her husband Mike and I

So that's what I'm up to next, what about you?? 
What have you got coming up that you are looking forward to?

Linking up with My Home Truths for I Must Confess and One Mother Hen for Open Slather.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

What you do when your luggage doesn't arrive

So there you are, standing aimlessly at the baggage carousel watching it go round and round and round... Hoping... Wishing... Praying... that your bag will be on the next go round but knowing it's not going to be. 

Everyone else from your flight left minutes ago, your flight was pretty empty and most of the people on it were transferring so there weren't many bags to begin with.

Just 2 more minutes...

You give up... You swear and then you head towards to Lost & Found counter. There's a massive pile of suitcases, backpacks, prams and such parked aimlessly in front of the counter and you hope your bag is safe... Wherever it may be. 

You update your Facebook status using a few choice words about how angry you are that your luggage hasn't arrived with you because everyone of your friends also needs to know! 

You explain to the lady that you have just gotten off the plane and your luggage isn't there, you tell her you've flown from Phnom Penh, with a short stopover in Kuala Lumpur... She tells you that there was no way your luggage was going to change planes in time and that you should have been told that... YOU WEREN'T!!!

You fill out the paperwork, show her a photo of your luggage, cause at least you were a little organised, and try not to be angry, you're too tired now anyway. She tells you she has no idea when your bag will arrive but it should hopefully be within 24 hours. She hands you $120 Singapore Dollars, apologises again and sends you on your way.

You find the taxi rank and wait your turn. The driver is of course surprised by how lightly you've packed! 'No suitcase?' He remarks.. You can do little but shake your head. 

You enjoy the ride to the hotel, taking in the city lights and sights. Upon checking in you explain again that your luggage hasn't arrived and the hotel takes a copy of the paperwork you received at the airport and tell you they will keep chasing it up for you. 

You head up to your room and are a little shocked to see how small it is, 'it's kinda like a really flash jail cell' you remark to a friend later! 

You shower and head to bed, exhausted after the long day!

The next morning you wake again, shower (again) and put in your same stinky clothes from yesterday. They were bad enough then, after the long and dusty Tuk Tuk ride to the airport in Phnom Penh, now you know no amount of your roll on deodorant is masking the smell! 

You have no idea what the weather is doing as you have no window but a message from the friend you are due to meet later tells you it's raining.

You head downstairs and across the road to a shopping centre in search of something for breakfast and some new clothes! 

 Surely there will be something here. After breakfast you spot a shop, Hush Puppies, that looks to sell women's clothes. You see some polo shirts and shorts and the sales lady helps you with sizes as you head to the change room. The shorts look suspiciously small despite the tag saying L. You manage to get them on but they are tight and so you ask the shop assistant for an XL.. (Wtf!!??.. You've never been an XL!) as you are pulling them up you know they are also going to be too tight and then you remember that you are in an Asian country and you curse your big fat western hips and arse!! 

You thank the sales assistant for her help as she smiles and laughs at you awkwardly as you hand back the XL shorts and walk out empty handed. 

You head off in search of an underwear shop. If you can't find any clothes you at least want a new pair of undies!!! 

Success!! You see one and head straight for the sales bin, 4 pairs for $10... You don't need 4 pairs! You have more than enough in your luggage god damn it! But it's cheaper to buy 4, so you grab 4 XL undies and head off again. 

Eventually you come across a UNI QLO shop. Thankfully they have clothes that fit you and you grab a shelf bra singlet top, t shirt and shorts! 

You almost sprint back to the hotel in excitement and anticipation of wearing clean clothes! You shower, again, and throw on your clean clothes.

You check the online status of your luggage using your lost luggage code given to you... 'Luggage located, pending confirmation' it tells you.. In other words, nothing!

You head back downstairs and across the road to navigate the train system to go and meet your friend. You get on with your first day exploring this new and wonderful city and worry about your bag later! 

Thankfully when you return to your hotel many hours later your luggage is there to greet you and you breath a very deep sigh of relief!!! 

Linking up with With Some Grace for FYBF and A Brit and a Southerner for Weekend Wanderlust.