Travelling Australia: Part 1

Whitehaven Beach

When I lost my job and my relationship within the space of a few hours of each other one day back in June, I never thought it would have resulted in quite possibly the best five months of my life.

As I write this I’m currently on a flight from Sydney to Bangkok as a part of a marathon journey back home to the UK to surprise my family for Christmas.

When I arrived in Australia on the 6th July 2014, I wasn’t really sure how everything would pan out. I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do but like any new venture I had doubts and at first I missed what I’d left behind.

However, the past five months of my life have been a whirlwind of ups, downs, crazy parties, hard work, bananas (lots of bananas!) new friendships, new relationships, amazing sights, breathtaking experiences, skydives, bungees, exploring the ocean, too much goon, too little sleep, bustling cities, hippy towns, long bus journeys, love, laughter, arguments but most of all fun, and I wouldn’t change it for the world!

Scotty's Beach House

Home away from home…

The first month I spent living it up in Sydney & Cairns, partying almost every night with a great bunch of people I met doing OzIntro.

Shortly after this we parted ways and I started work on a banana farm in Tully, which was possibly the best and worst experience of my life, but one I’ll never forget.

If it wasn’t for the family I became part of at Scotty’s Mission Beach, then I doubt I would have lasted on the farm and may not have got my second year visa, something I’m so happy to have.

Scotty's Beach House

Some of my Scotty’s family!

After the farm, I spent the next five weeks travelling the East Coast of Australia with my best friend and an awesome couple we met on the farm along with their friend. This was probably the best part of my time in Australia, spending literally everyday for five weeks in some of the most incredible places I’ve ever been to.

I plan to blog more in-depth on the East Coast trip along with putting out an East Coast video I filmed soon, as soon as I find some time back home!

The last few days I spent in Sydney, catching up with some of the guys from OzIntro and the farm and putting plans in place for my return to Australia sometime in February 2015.

Lake McKenzie Fraser Island

The beautiful Lake McKenzie, Fraser Island

For now I just wanted to write a quick post to say thank you to everyone who has been part of the last five months of my life.

There’s far too many of you to name individually but if we met and either; spoke, shared stories, worked together, partied, drank goon, had a dance off, did something irresponsible, laughed, argued or all of the previous then thank you!

I’m going to enjoy a few months with my family and friends at home over the festive period before I return to begin part 2 of my Oz adventure!

-Craig

Packing for Australia: Pre-trip stress

Pre trip organisation

If there’s one thing I dislike about travel, it has to be all the arsing around you have to do before you go.

Of all the trips I’ve done in the past, they’ve never been more than a month in duration, so the pre-trip organisation usually boils down to sorting some travel insurance and notifying the bank that my card will be in use overseas so that they don’t mistake my spending abroad for an international card fraud scam. Everything else, well you can deal with it when you get back!

Not this trip though.

Australia pre-trip checklist

Trying to be organised!

Going away for an extended period of time is different. The student loan company for example, want to know some ridiculously specific information about my future travel plans and when I plan on coming back, whereas I on the other hand, don’t know what I’ll be doing past the first week in Oz, let alone in a few years time.

There’s also forms to fill in to claim all the tax I’ve paid this financial year back, something I’m not going to overlook as there’s at least a few good nights out worth due to come back to me!

I’ve also had to cancel my phone contract, my car insurance, my motorbike insurance and my gym membership. I still need to sell my car and my motorbike, though I’ve got the luxury of having my old man to do this on my behalf when I’m gone.

All these things are essential when planning on going away for long-term travel but I really wish they’d take care of themselves, leaving me just to worry about getting to the airport and what I’m going to drink first at the airport bar!

If there’s one silver lining in having to organise all this stuff before I go away it’s that it’s starting to make the whole situation feel real, which it hasn’t really for the past few weeks.

Most of my pre trip organisation is done now, bar a few minor things, which is good considering I leave the country in a few days. I do still have one challenge left though, and that’s deciding what’s coming with me in my rucksack!

Pre-trip packing

I hate packing!

-Craig

Tomorrow I turn 28

Tomorrow I'm 28

Tomorrow I turn 28.

Not old enough to start thinking my best days are behind me, but old enough to take stock of where I’ve been and where I want to go.

You see, I’ve kind of always felt like I’ve floated along in life, living in the moment and never really knowing which direction to head in.

Even as a kid, when the other children knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up, I replied “a bin-man” because at the time, I thought it was cool that they got to hang off the back of the garbage truck.

This mentality, although evolved through age, has continued throughout my adult life. I’ve never really had a career in mind that I wanted to pursue with all my heart, instead I’ve worked in a wide variety of jobs to fund whatever I thought was cool to do in the moment.

Looking back, this has enabled me to do lots of awesome things like, skydiving in Prague, seeing in the New Year on a beach in Thailand, backpacking around Europe and more recently, learning to ride a Motorbike.

However, I’ve always felt pressure to conform to the path our society lays out at an early age, i.e. school, university, career, marriage, kids, house..you get the picture!

I’ve never felt like this was the path I wanted to go down and it’s been the root cause of many years of internal conflict and bouts of depression, leading to a mini mental breakdown during a backpacking trip through Eastern Europe last summer, which ultimately prompted me to have a brief stint in therapy.

I’ve not told many people about this, partly as I was embarrassed about it all and partly because I’m not really the kind of person that opens up easily. I now realise it was probably the best thing to happen to me in a long time.

More than anything it gave me clarity, that the way we choose to live our lives isn’t a question of the right way or the wrong way, it’s to choose the path that will make you happy.

For me, my immediate path is seeing out 2014 before I head to Australia to finally realise a life long dream. Beyond that, I still don’t know what I want to do with my life but I accept that and it’s okay.

Abraham Lincoln famously said “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

And as one man with a beard to another, I agree.

-Craig

An open letter to close a life chapter…

An Empty Departures Hall In Terminal 1 Of Manchester Airport

To my family, friends, acquaintances, and people I’ve never met.

As I’m sat here in the airport, I have that feeling you feel when you first ride that roller-coaster you’ve been scared to ride for so long. The feeling is that of the unknown and it scares you but logically you know everything is (probably) going to be fine.

I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. A really long time and honestly, I didn’t know if I’d ever get to this point or that it would always remain a pipe dream, impossible to achieve through the cloak of a comfortable, “normal” life.

It’s funny, leaving home to go and travel long-term isn’t really anything unique these days. Lots of people do it, but for me it holds a special meaning, one that is hard to explain to other people, especially those who don’t really know me. Hell, I struggle to understand why it’s such a big deal to me myself.

All I know is that it is something I have to do and is finally happening after all those years of talking about it.

The manner in which it’s came about is something that I don’t think I’ll forget anytime soon. I’m not a religious person and I don’t really believe in fate, but my girlfriend breaking up with me and being made redundant all within the space of a few hours of each other a few weeks ago are both major factors in why I’m sat here today.

Naturally I’m sad about the former but glad we’ve had the chance to discuss things since and the latter, well I never saw it as a career for life anyway.

I’m quite an emotional person deep down, though I rarely show it and as such I find verbalising how I feel quite difficult. Having a blog and being able to write is very cathartic so I want to use this to say the following:

Mum & Dad – without your support and understanding over the years, I doubt any of this would be possible for me. I love you both very much and Mum please don’t worry so much, of all the crazy stuff I’ve done over the years, I’ve enjoyed every minute and still find a way to come back to annoy you ;)

Nikki –  keep working hard and achieving all the things you’ve set out to do over the years. I’m proud of you and wish you and Chris all the best for the future.

Nan – your independence and strength of character you show as you’ve reached your 90’s are a continued source of inspiration for me. I love you and I will see you again soon. (Mum you’ll have to relay this one as she asked me what the internet was the other day..haha!)

Courtenay – yeah you get a mention too..I love you to bits and appreciate your understanding of my dream. Take care of yourself and keep working on your plans to travel! P.s. you’ll always be a bozo!

The rest of my family – Even though we don’t see each other that much, you’re still my family and I wish you all the best with whatever you do. Take care and I’ll see you soon.

To my friends – Again we don’t see each other as much as we should but I appreciate that we all have our own lives now. It makes me happy to see you all doing so well and living your lives fully. I expect a beer or two when I’m back though! Take care of yourselves :)

And to everyone elseif you have a dream, no matter how significant you think it is, I implore you follow it and make it happen. You won’t regret it!

Yours sincerely,

-Craig

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m going to Oz! Life update…

Leaving do

Two weeks ago, I had a steady job and a girlfriend.

Today, I have neither having lost them both in the space of a few hours on that eventful Friday.

I’m not a believer in fate or that we have a preordained path set out for our lives, but I did find it a bit strange how both of those events happened on the same day within a few hours of each other.

These two events combined effectively fast tracked six months of my life, meaning I’ve been able to pull my life long dream of travelling Australia forward.

In my mind I had six months to prepare for the trip, now I have only two weeks. Not long, but it reminded me of a quote by Hugh Laurie:

“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.”

Hugh Laurie

I haven’t really had time to sit and reflect on the past two weeks, it all feels a bit surreal still. On the one hand I’m super excited to finally do the thing I’ve wanted to do ever since donning my backpack for the first time on my Eurotrip. On the other hand, I’m a bit sad about how my relationship ended and obviously a little bit apprehensive about how things will turn out.

I leave the UK on the 4th of July, arriving in Sydney on the 6th before spending the week with OzIntro. Beyond that my plans are still pretty vague, but I’m hoping to meet up with my best mate who is out there already.

I’ll be vlogging the trip for my YouTube channel as well as putting out blog posts on here, so be sure to keep up to date by subscribing to both!

In the meantime, I’ve got a few things to tie up and some goodbyes to say before I finally head out for my biggest adventure yet. It’s going to be a good one!

-Craig