By some miracle I’ve convinced my #gaplife partner in crime to guest post for the third time! If you’ve missed Ryan’s previous posts catch up here and here. When you’re all up to date, check back in for Ryan’s thoughts on our latest leg of the #gaplife journey.
It’s been a little while now since my last post, a little too long methinks to try to fool people that this is the next weekly round-up. I hold my hands up, okay? It seems that a weekly blog post was too much to handle for a man with the attention span of an excitable young puppy. But I’ll give it another crack and rebrand the whole thing. So, without further ado, I’ll give you a quick round-up of our first month on our travels in … Ryan’s Monthly Roundup.
When I last wrote we were halfway through our whirlwind tour of the Philippines and were heading to what promised to be the best island of the lot, Palawan. I had hoped that this Island in the southwest corner of the Philippines would offer the rugged beauty and serenity that I had hoped to find and it sure as hell delivered. We spent the majority of our time in the small coastal town of El Nido. Nestled between sheer limestone cliffs and the never-ending azure of the South China Sea, the town has become something of a haven for backpackers and holidaying locals, offering stunning vistas, great food, cheap beers and a whole lot of adventure to boot.
From the town you could arrange boat trips out the surrounding islands, exploring deserted beaches and snorkeling in lagoons and underwater caves. However undoubtedly the best experience was renting our own motorbike for a couple of days and really staking out and exploring the island properly. There’s nothing quite travelling on the open road, tearing past wonderful scenery and picturesque towns, stopping when something takes your fancy or just continuing aimlessly until something grabs your attention. With this newfound freedom we explored the forests, trekked to waterfalls and natural hot springs and stumbled across the most sublime beaches I have ever seen in my short life. This island had finally delivered on everything the Philippines had promised and is certainly a place I will visit again and again. The mandatory trip back to Manila is but a long faded memory now, when I think of the Philippines now, I will forever think of this magnificent island.
After the Philippines however came the real reason that we are travelling after all, to live and work in the never-ending expanse of island that is Australia. A short 8 hour flight took us straight from the smog and humidity of Manila to the immaculate and slightly more forgiving city of Melbourne.
Now I have always had a strange relationships with cities, I consider myself something of a country boy and so it usually takes a while for a city to wrestle me into submission. Melbourne however was very different. The city is flawlessly clean, the people are friendly and relaxed and there is a sprawl of suburbs to explore, each with its own unique identity. The cuisine and coffee culture is second to none, I am yet to have a bad cup of coffee or inadequate meal. On top of all of this however there is a strange feeling that intrigues me above all else, the feeling of not having left Europe. I’m still undecided as to whether or not this is a good thing, all I do know is that it is relatively easy to forget that you are standing on the absolute opposite side of the world on a continent which, until just a couple of hundred years ago, was unexplored and unknown to the Western World.
So this is where I will leave it for now. We have arrived in the city and are moving into a house share imminently. We are searching high and low for some decent employment and are chomping at the bit to explore the city in-depth and try our hands at becoming fully fledged Melburnians.