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We love writing about our travels, whether that’s engaging our readers with tales of our adventures or helping out with travel advice from past experiences. Getting involved with other blog sites is something we’re hugely passionate about. Please see below a few blogs we have featured with:

If you’d like us to write a blog or article for you, please get in touch here!

 

 

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We’ve got 99 problems but travelling isn’t one!

The realities of coming home…

2380Two people, two back packs, nine countries, twelve planes, ten months and then … home. Did that just happen? Did we really just spend the majority of 2015 living our dream, fulfilling our wanderlust, exploring, adventuring, and travelling the world… to now be home?

The harsh reality is coming home is harder, much harder than going away and this is our first really personal blog. We’re going to let you into our minds and see how we are feeling now we’re home. If you’re NOT a traveller the likelihood is you won’t have a clue what we’re talking about reading this, and if you ARE a traveller we know you’ll be able to relate to this more than anything else you’ve read today.

Our year travelling Singapore, Australia, Bali, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and India came to an abrupt ending the minute we arrived back on home turf. As the plane landed in Heathrow we were a mixture of emotions; tired, sad, shocked, excited to see our families (we were surprising them) uncertainty, and most of all it all just seemed like a big haze, a dream, we couldn’t accept that we were now home. They say time flies when you’re having fun, well boy, we must have had a blast because it felt like we simply blinked and we were home again.

781After three months in India the journey in a black cab down the M25 was somewhat different to a tuctuc zooming around Delhi. All of a sudden we were being bombarded with being home; red busses, Ford KA’s, level roads, road signs, Costa Coffees, rain and we had to take all of this in as we made our way into Essex. Culture shock going to India? Forget that, coming home after so long is the biggest culture shock ever and you’ll either settle back in going back to your old ways or you’ll feel this now alien country is no longer home.

Our first few weeks home were incredible. Seeing the looks on the faces of both our families and friends when surprising them after so long was priceless, emotional and completely unforgettable. Sleeping in our own bed, the build up to Christmas, the welcome cold weather, the partying, it was good to be home. You know you’ve been away for a long time when you can feel yourself talking in slow, broken English to your mum!

However, as the weeks passed we both started to feel unsettled. Imagine being together 24/7 for nearly a year, just us in our own little bubble, doing what we want, when we wanted with no one to answer to and not being held back by the reality that is society. We feel it may have been easier if we came home and were living together, but we’ve both had to go back home to our parents, and we’re hugely thankful to them, but truthfully we just want to be together in our own little routine that we built whilst travelling.

671We’ve both had to adjust back in to our old lives, new clothes, hair and makeup done, nights out and expensive dinners. Gone are the days of 20p beer in the street with Pad Thai for dinner wearing anything we could reach for from our backpacks including the tops with international beer logos on (we would never wear those at home!) We found this really difficult, why can’t we walk around bare foot anymore?

As we’re writing this we don’t really know where we are going or what we are trying to say? It’s hard; it is really hard being home and we think people underestimate that. All we want to do is look for new and exciting opportunities, spend time on our blog, keep talking about the incredible experiences we’ve encountered and keep posting our favourite travel snaps. But the truth is no one really cares. At first this is hard to accept, but it’s true and you will soon realise that no one cares about the name of the volcano you spent a day climbing and were so proud of yourself for doing so. Yes of course everyone wants to know how it was… How was it? How was your year travelling? What was your favourite country? How can we answer any of these questions, have you got another year to listen to us? No not really, so you reply with “It was great, we can’t tell you our favourite country as they were all so different” If someone asks a question and you actually begin to open up and elaborate into your magical story, well to you it is, it’s almost guaranteed you will notice the person is not paying for attention, because they don’t care! And in all fairness why would they?

1051You experience all of these wonderful countries, with beautiful cultures and you embrace them throwing yourselves in head first. The people you meet become your family and you rely on them as much as you would your parents. We spent a lot of time volunteering so got to experience first-hand a lot of local communities and we fell in love with all of them particularly, Our Home Community in India. We now spend our days missing them and wondering why we aren’t there, we feel we could be of so much more use out in the big wide world, where we can freely express our love, passion and understanding that has become who we are.

We want to spend every minute of every day together because only we know what each other is feeling, but we can’t. That isn’t reality is it; we have to work to make a living so it’s back to our 9-5 desk jobs whilst our minds are still wandering to the days where what we would have for dinner was our hardest decision. We now realise the simplest luxuries that we took for granted, normal toilets and no more carrying around toilet roll? Much easier right? But so boring.

1118Travelling gave us a sense of purpose, and belonging that we can no longer feel here? And will we ever? It’s been three months since we returned and we still have the same hunger and desire to be waking up in the morning to something new, a different adventure every day. We miss the simplicities in life that is travelling and appreciating the treats when you get them! Our first Nando’s in Chennai was literally like heaven on a plate after six months. Being able to have it every week in Romford Brewery isn’t exactly the same. The excitement of having a decent Wi-Fi and being able to contact your friends and family for a real catch up is brilliant. So is being able to update yourself with the world of social media, not having it on hand every second of every day. Spending evenings watching countless friends episodes was a real treat, here they’re on Comedy Central all the time! The novelty wears off…

We were lucky travellers, only one case of bed bugs, a few Delhi belly occasions, a little bit of travel sickness, some sleepless nights. But we’ve come home with something much worse. We have a very bad case of the travel bug, and what’s the cure for that? To go again…

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Travels

We have travelled 22 countries so far, and visited the majority of those during a year we spent backpacking through Australasia and Asia.

Travelling is something that is a priority for us, we’d even go as far to say a necessity. We have a hunger to explore, and will continue to fulfil our wanderlust through budget travelling and luxury breaks.

We’re currently back in London after four months volunteering at Our Home Community Orphanage. You can read about our adventures below:

Oz by Campervan

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Setting off on our journey after two weeks in Adelaide, we were both excited and nervous at the prospect of driving more than the length of Europe up the east coast of Australia. Our first experience with our new home for the next two months was a nerve wracking one, with neither of us having driven anything larger than a Ford Fiesta before, the camper-van seemed huge. With no plans and nothing but our backpacks and a map we set off on our 7000km journey!

The drive from Adelaide to Great Ocean Road featured a number of small towns, one of which was Kingston. This was a town which was no more than 2km long set on a single stretch of road. It actually also featured the world’s largest lobster statue… Make of that what you will!

Many of these small towns had the same derelict vibe with very few people and even fewer visitors. On the whole locals seemed pleasant but there were a few occasions where we got more than our fair share of stares for not wearing double denim in temperatures of 50 degrees!
12 apostles
Great Ocean Road is where our journey really took off. Situated between Adelaide and Melbourne, this was one drive we never wanted to end! 

After a few days of long drives between areas of nothingness, we finally made it to Great Ocean Road and it definitely lived up to expectations. With an abundance of incredible beaches and extraordinary wildlife, this was the most amazing drive we have ever experienced. The 12 apostles were the highlight of the journey, giant limestone towers protruding out of the rough surface of the sea.

The only downside was that this place is no secret and if you do make the journey, try to stay clear of the more obvious lookouts as they were often swarmed with selfie sticks and tripods.

From meeting wild koalas, hundreds of miles of secluded beach spots to simply taking the drive of a lifetime along the coast, Great Ocean Road is a must for any traveller driving the East Coast of Oz.
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Melbourne was one of our favourite city highlights of Australia. From the modern skyline and multiple riverside restaurants to the abundance of boutique coffee shops. We managed to arrive in the city just in time for the Melbourne Food and Wine festival, our favourite kind of festival!

With so many food and drink options, we spent our days enjoying live music and watching the cricket World Cup with an ice cold cider, perfect! We also treated ourselves to a night in the Crown Casino. Not quite Las Vegas, however, it was still a fantastic place and when you come out 10 times better off than what you went in with, you know it was a great experience!
sydney opera house
Sydney is famous for the Harbour Bridge and Opera House and these were the main highlights of our time in the former Capital. We managed to park our camper-van very close to the city centre for free, a luxury you could only imagine in London! Another highlight here was being around for Mardi Gras, a fascinating event which made our venture even more enjoyable. We also had a date night at Gold Class Event Cinema which featured flowing cocktails and ongoing bowls of Lindt ice cream in reclinable sofas at a reasonable cost.

We can’t talk Sydney and not mention Bondi beach, what a fun place this was! The beach is packed out and although you could find a number of quieter, clearer and more secluded beaches, Bondi is Bondi, definitely worth a visit.
brisbane
Brisbane was a real Surfer’s paradise. The Goldcoast region features miles of unbelievable beaches with huge waves lashing at the foot of the land. If you love surfing, you will be in your element here, but that’s not all Brisbane is about. The city has a number of museums and a great night life with so many bars to visit. There is something for everyone but Australia wasn’t about the cities for us, it was about much more than that.
remarkable rocks
We left our beloved camper-van a few times while in Australia which included some of the best trips of our travelling journey!

Our trip to Kangaroo Island (KI) was fantastic! This huge island off the South Australian coast is actually larger than Tasmania and is sparse with regards to inhabitants. A few highlights include Remarkable Rocks, various vineyards and tastings and having a kangaroo steak in Kingscote.
fraser lakes
Fraser Island included two of our most fun days while in Australia, probably made best thanks to the great people we met. Driving around the island on a crazy 4×4 coach, jumping over sand dunes and crashing through trees, we managed to arrive safely at some incredible locations.

Lake Mackenzie and Lake Wabby are both absolute must dos and you will definitely have fun driving along the 75 mile beach used as the island motorway. Central Station rain forest was an area draped in history and some amazing wildlife, India Head and Champagne pools are also some great spots to visit but our favourite tourist attraction was the Moheno ship wreck. The ship is slowly being eaten up by the sand and sea so time is of the essence if you’re planning a visit.
han beach
Finally, our trip to the Whitsunday’s topped the lot. From snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef to visiting Whitehaven beach, words cannot do it justice but we can try…

The Reef really does live up to expectations, the place looks even better than it did on Finding Nemo! With a vast variety of fish, plants and coral, it really is a whole new world once under the surface of the sea.

Whitehaven beach is one in a million, literally, being voted in the top 10 beaches in the world. It is a huge paradise of shallow, crystal clear waters which are filled with wildlife. Within minutes of arriving we were swimming with wild baby sharks, huge stingrays, jellyfish and a multitude of other marine life. A magical end to our favourite spot in Australia.

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Experiencing Oz by camper-van was fantastic, and we really cannot imagine doing it any other way. Evenings spent watching the sun set over a beach whilst BBQ-ing and enjoying a cold Coopers to us cannot be beaten! A few other of our highlights included canoeing the Goulbourn River, driving the camper through the Glass Mountains and the many nights spent with the exciting (or frightening) wildlife! You could some up our trip in three words, beaches beaches beaches.

If you’re considering travelling Oz by Camper then get in touch with STA Travel!
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