My Worst Travel Experiences of 2015

Worst Travel ExperiencesYes,2015 was incredible. But the good definitely didn’t come without the bad. 

Travelling is still real-life, despite how pretty it makes your Instagram feed. For every picture-postcard beach there’s a looming setback or bout of illness.

So here’s my worst travel experiences of 2015.

Manila, The Philippines

manila national museum

One of the things I hated most about Manila was the fact that I hated it. I really wanted to be the one blogger who ventured to Manila and found its hidden treasures.

But alas, it sucked.

 

The city was so choked with pollution that I had black gunk coming out of my ears and nose for days afterwards. Heart-wrenching poverty clashed with glitzy skyscrapers. The airport was the worst I’ve ever seen. No air-con, no organisation AND a five hour wait for a taxi.

I’m sorry Manila. I tried to love you, I really did.

Read more: #Gaplife: Month One, Ryan’s Weekly Round-Up: Week OneFrom Jeepney Journeys to Trip-Hop Bars: The Two Sides of Manila.

Being sick on my birthday, Puerto Princesca, The Philippines

Eurgh, being sick on my birthday was the worst. I managed to crawl out of bed for a tour of Sabang’s Underground River, a world UNESCO site.

But even natural wonders couldn’t rouse me and I spent my birthday trying to control my nausea. Happy birthday to me!

Read more: Turning 23: Sick Bags and Unesco Sites

Finding jobs in Melbourne, Australia

Gaplife Month Two 2

We came to Australia expecting an easy ride. We thought we would turn up in Melbourne, where the streets were paved with gold, and have opportunity come knocking at our door.

Unfortunately, this is the real world and finding work in Melbourne actually requires some hard work and dedication. After a month of looking and panicking about being unemployable, we were back on the payroll. Just in time for the worst winter Melbourne’s had in years…

Read more: Moving to Melbourne

Shivering through a Melburnian winter, Australia

Winter in Melbourne 2

The myth about Australia’s sun-kissed temperatures was well and truly shattered for me this year. After leaving a dreary English winter, I landed right at the beginning of an Aussie one.

Who knew that Melbourne winters are almost as bad as ours? The days are short, it always rains and it’s bloody freezing!

It’s only now in December that I’m finally managing to hunt down summer. Never again!

Read more: Preparing for Winter in Melbourne

Working on a chicken farm, Margaret River, Australia

farm 8

I hated every minute of working on the chicken farm! The whole day was spent cleaning egg after egg or clogging your lungs with chicken fumes as you tried to collect the eggs of over 10,000 chickens.

For the three weeks we were on the farm, I battled a reoccurring nasty cold and generally felt rubbish. If it wasn’t for the lovely friends we made there, it would have been hell!

Read more: #Gaplife: Month Six

Daily emotional breakdowns at the dairy, Scott River, Australia

Calving 4

Working during calving season at a dairy is the hardest thing I have ever done. These little balls of fluff look angelic but they were impossible at times.

There were daily escapes from paddocks, newborns refusing to feed, terrible weather and sick calves who, no matter how hard you tried, didn’t get better.

Pair all this with the physical challenges of lifting 20l buckets of milk, trudging across muddy fields and running after the blighters and it’s one difficult job!

There were countless times where I broke down and just couldn’t hack it anymore.

Despite this, I soldiered on and four months later, left the farm feeling the proudest I’ve ever felt. But god was it a bloody struggle to get there!

Read more: My New Office Tour & Blog Update

Crashing the car, Scott River, Australia

Road Trip 9

Martin, I’m so sorry!

Our dairy was in the middle of nowhere which meant that the only road connecting us to civilisation was a dirt track.

Unfortunately these dirt tracks are very slippy and our car, Martin, had no little tread on his tyres. These factors collided, literally, one wet day and I came sliding off the road.

Luckily Martin and myself remained intact with just a bruised ego when one of the farmers had to come and tow me out…

Not being able to blog, Middle Of Nowhere, Australia

Calving 8

Living in the bush had a lot of drawbacks, namely the lack of connection with the outside world.

Whereas sometimes it’s good to disconnect for a while, 4 months is a long time to go with no wifi or 3G.

The blog suffered the most as I was unable to produce quality content and post regularly like I had been used to. Luckily, I used the time to work on a new exciting project which is coming very soon!

Read more: The Blogging Blackout

WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR WORST TRAVEL EXPERIENCES OF 2015? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW OR VIA MY SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES!

gaplife 6 3

#Gaplife: Month Six

gaplife 6 3Every month I will be writing a round-up of my #gaplife adventures. From where I’ve been to what I’ve eaten, I’ll be keeping you up-to-date with everything that’s been happening on and away from The Student Travels. Catch up with Month One,Two,Three, Four and Five. Enjoy!

Places Visited: Margaret River Region, Western Australia; Busselton, Western Australia; Scott River, Western Australia.

What’s Been Happening Away From the Blog

Calving 5

  • I don’t even know where to begin this month! The end of August means that we have almost ticked off our first month of farm work, 3 weeks at a free range egg farm and 1 week at a dairy. We had both been dreading beginning our three months of regional work to secure our 2nd year visa. Let’s just say that it has been a shock to us city-loving office workers…
  • Nomad Hostels gave me a shout-out in their article about East Coast Australia’s top 5 secret beaches. Check it out here.
  • I did have some HUMONGOUS changes scheduled for the blog but due to my current situation these will have to wait…
  • This month ticked off the milestone of the longest I’ve ever been away from England. Who knew it would fly by so fast?!Calving 3

 Highs

  • The benefit of farm work is that it attracts a lot of backpackers completing their 2nd year visa extension. The fellow backpackers we have met so far have been the nicest bunch we could have hoped for.gaplife 6
  • The Margaret River region is simply spectacular. You can spend your time watching the sunset from your own private beach, popping down the road for wine tasting or staring with bewilderment as surfers pad around barefoot in the supermarket. It’s such a chilled out area with an endless list of things to see and do.
  • Seeing dolphins! Dolphins are one-a-penny around these parts but that didn’t stop me from shrieking with excitement whenever I saw them pop above the waves at Busselton.
  • Experiencing rural Australia. I don’t know if this is a high as such, or more of a WTF is happening to me moment. Our new farm is miles from anywhere which most of the time is hell but the moments of complete stillness you feel out here are unlike anything I’ve experienced before.Calving 1
  • Our car Martin staging the best resurrection since JC himself. More on that below…

Lows

  • This month has been pretty rocky. Probably my least favorite month so far. The mix of leaving Melbourne, being bunged up with cold and starting our farm work is a deadly cocktail for morale. Add a drop of homesickness and lack of internet, you have yourself a recipe for disaster.Calving 8
  • I managed to almost write off our car. Not only the low of the month but potentially one of the worst mistakes I’ve ever made. As our farm is located in the middle of nowhere we have to drive almost 30 minutes to reach anything other than fields. Coming back from civilisation I managed to reverse the car up a mound, leaving it wedged and lopsided at the side of a dirt track. I had to hitch back to the farm, tell Ryan that we were stranded here forever and face the prospect of living out the rest of our years in a field. THANK GOD we have an amazing car and amazing mechanic colleague who managed to get the car back on the road!gaplife 6 2
  • I’ve completely fallen from the wagon in terms of health. So many travellers struggle with keeping fit and healthy on the road and I am certainly no exception. However, working on the new farm is a guaranteed body blitz. Everyday is a 14 hour boot camp workout with heavy lifting, walking for miles and scaling fences keeping the fat at bay. If I’m not a supermodel by the time we leave I will be very disappointed.
  • Speaking of work… Farm work is not my cup of tea. The chicken farm was boring, the dairy is unbelievably tough and frustrating. I’m working harder than I ever have before and have never felt pain or tiredness like it! But, we need money and a visa so we will have to plod on.

Most Popular Blog Post

Best Country in SEA 2

My old posts have been dominating my stats this month due to increased social media traffic and Google searches. Why the Philippines is the Best Country in South-East Asia came out on top, followed by last summer’s A Week of Luxury Living in Hvar clinching second place.

Road Trip 2

In terms of new content, The Best, Worst & Weirdest Moments of our First Road Trip took the crown.

Most Liked Instagram Picture

gaplife 6 4This snap of the stunning Nullabor cliffs won the Instagram battle this month. Whilst the road trip from Melbourne to Margaret River could be tedious, vistas like this made it all worth it.

Follow me on Instagram here.

Favorite Picture

gaplife 6 1I think I like this picture so much because of its cheesy sentiment. It had been a long, wet day scrubbing chicken poo off eggs and I was feeling fed up. But as soon as the rain passed and the sun came out, so did this beautiful rainbow.

It made me remember that we are doing this farm work for the long-term pay off.

Favorite Eat

Gaplife 6 4The eats this month have been few and far between. Nothing wowed our palette in August, with home cooked meals and treats shared with new friends being the best of the bunch.

Highly commended is The Colonial in Margaret River for the most inventive pizzas in town. Head down on a Friday as pizzas are only $10 (£5) each!

Favorite Place

gaplife 6 5

The beaches in this south-western pocket of Australia are stunning. Buttery white sand, crystal clear waters and not a soul in sight.

My favorite spot we discovered this month was Redgate Beach at sunset. We had the whole stretch of sand to ourselves and the evening was warm enough to dip your toes in the surf.

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month

farm 3

Hopefully managing to get another month of farm work under our belt! Making more time for the beach and being able to enjoy the beginning of Spring.

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN THIS MONTH? LET ME KNOW VIA MY SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES OR IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE ME TO INCLUDE IN MY MONTHLY ROUND-UPS? LET ME KNOW!

gaplife month 5 4

#Gaplife: Month Five

gaplife month 5 4Every month I will be writing a round-up of my #gaplife adventures. From where I’ve been to what I’ve eaten, I’ll be keeping you up-to-date with everything that’s been happening on and away from The Student Travels. Catch up with Month One,Two,Three & Four. Enjoy!

Places Visited: Melbourne, Victoria; Wilsons Promontory, Victoria; The Great Ocean Road, Victoria; Sydney, New South Wales; Yarra Valley, Victoria; Ballarat, Victoria; Road Trip from Melbourne, Victoria to Margaret River, West Australia

What’s Been Happening Away From the Blog:

Sydney 6

  • I’m officially unchained from the office! Woohoo! Ahh, I love the feeling of zero responsibility and going back to what the #gaplife is all about – making every day an adventure!
  • Ryan and I have moved to Margaret River in West Australia. Ever since our friends have raved about this South-Western corner of Oz, we knew we had to give it a try. After a 6 day road trip from Melbourne we are finally here and will be trying our hand at chicken farming… More on that soon.
  • I teamed up with the guys at Melbourne Bike Cabs to try out their new Fitzroy Bike Cab tours. I will have a full post coming soon!

Highs

Wilsons Prom 17

  • This month was my favorite month in Australia so far. One of the major factors for this was my friend Leah coming for a visit from the UK. I love seeing familiar faces on the road and it meant two weeks of non-stop activities and zero work!
  • The Great Ocean Road. Despite some apocalyptic weather, the GOR surpassed all my expectations. Dramatic coastline, misty rainforest and a whole host of Aussie wildlife, what more could you want?! It was so spectacular that I had to dedicate two blog posts to it. Find them here.

GOR 19

  • My surprise birthday weekend was a massive highlight this month. Ryan made amends for my tragic birthday back in March by booking us into a beautiful lodge outside Wilsons Promontory National Park. We spent the weekend exploring the stunning park, patting wombats and cosying up in front of open fires.

Sydney 7

  • Exploring Sydney. I’ve been to Sydney a few times now and have found something new every time. This visit was the best yet with an itinerary planned to perfection. We ticked off the tourist spots, strolled through funky neighbourhoods and fell head over heels for Manly. 72 hours well spent! If you’re heading to Sydney for the weekend then here’s the perfect itinerary for fitting it all in.
  • Being a tourist in Melbourne. Having Leah visit meant that I got to play tourist again! We did the fantastic I’m Free Walking Tour, culture-vultured in Melbourne’s museums and galleries, walked around aimlessly and snapped photos wherever we went. For me, it was a great way to prepare to say goodbye to Melbourne.

Lows

sydney 10

  • Leah’s visit paved the way for glutenous eating, excessive drinking and subsequent chins. I haven’t exactly been a lean-vegan-queen in Melbourne but this level of gluttony was unprecedented. Time for some kale and a jog!

gaplife month 5 1

  • My new-found physical repulsion of heights reared its ugly head again. If you remember this panic-filled endeavour then you will know that I’ve been suffering with some serious vertigo issues recently. This month, it came back to haunt me on a trip up the Eureka Skydeck in Melbourne. It’s a beautiful viewing platform 88 floors up and something which wouldn’t usually faze me. This time however, my legs were fizzing with pins and needles and the ride in the lift nearly made me pass out. Cue head in between legs and deep breaths before my body finally relaxed.
  • Leaving Melbourne. I still don’t think I’m up for talking about it. But, alas, our time in Melbourne has come to an end and a new chapter is about to begin.

Most Popular Blog Post

Melbourne 312 Things I’ll Miss Most About Melbourne came in at number 1 this month. I already miss Melbourne and know it will be a highlight of this trip.

Most Liked Instagram Picture

gaplife month 5 2Who doesn’t love a moody art-inspired Insta? I adore wandering around galleries and Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria is a good’un. Joined by Insta snapper and art buff Leah made it all the better!

Follow me on Instagram here.

Favorite Picture Sydney 11This is one of those snaps I will always be able to look at and remember the scene exactly. The cool breeze from the harbour, the chatter from the bar and that beautiful view of the sinking sun. Bubbles at Opera Bar was the best way to conclude our Sydney trip.

Favorite Eat

I had been meaning to try out Vegie Bar on Brunswick Street for a while. Loved by vegetarians and meat-lovers alike, Vegie Bar is famed for its mammoth portions, fresh produce and cheap prices. I wasn’t disappointed with my tasty curry and the great company made it even more delicious!

Favorite Place

Winter in Melbourne 2This month I have to dedicate my favorite place to my Melbourne neighbourhood of Fitzroy. I can’t believe that it’s taken me four months to do so.

Fitzroy is my favorite area of Melbourne. It’s packed with bars, cafes, gorgeous shops and oddly dressed characters. It’s been the backbone of my Melbourne experience and a place I’ll know I will come back to again and again. I’ve left a little piece of my heart on Brunswick Street.

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month

gaplife month 5Exploring! I’ve got a whole other state to sink my teeth into this month. Think beaches, hippies and lots of chickens… Can I skip that last bit?!

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN THIS MONTH? LET ME KNOW VIA MY SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES OR IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE ME TO INCLUDE IN MY MONTHLY ROUND-UPS? LET ME KNOW!

Gaplife month 4 8

#Gaplife: Month Four

Gaplife month 4 8Every month I will be writing a round-up of my #gaplife adventures. From where I’ve been to what I’ve eaten, I’ll be keeping you up-to-date with everything that’s been happening on and away from The Student Travels. Catch up with Month One & Two & THREE. Enjoy!

Places Visited: Melbourne, Victoria; Mornington Peninsula, Victoria; Sydney to Melbourne road-trip, Coastal Art Walk, Victoria.

What’s Been Happening Away From the Blog

New Car 7

  • I joined Snapchat! For as-they-happen insights into my trip follow me at “studenttravels”.
  • Werk, werk, werk, werk. I’ve had a four-week work placement which has been taking up the majority of my time. I leave in the dark, get home in the dark and spend my evenings curled up in front of the TV. Not very productive…
  • We bought a car! Read all about our new addition here.

Highs

Gap life month 4 4

  • Being invited to enjoy the Good Food and Wine Festival at Melbourne’s Convention and Exhibition Centre. The fact that I was able to share the treats this blog gives me with Ryan and two of our friends was great! The unlimited free cheese and wine helped as well…Gap Life Month 4
  • Finally seeing more of Melbourne’s coastline! This month I explored Melbourne’s Coastal Art Walk which was so much better than I’d imagined. I then ventured further afield to Mornington Peninsula for the best beaches I’ve seen yet!
  • Seeing the best sunset of my life at Brighton Beach. Unfortunately no picture could ever do it justice!
  • Our first overnight road-trip! Getting a taste for the open road was all that we needed to spur us on through our last remaining weeks of work.

LowsGaplife month 4 6

  • We have had to do a lot of number crunching this month and the results haven’t been as pretty as we had anticipated. Despite our best efforts at budgeting, Melbourne does a great job of draining your cash. Damn your coffee shops and amazing bars!
  • Missing out on big events at home. One of my oldest friends from school is getting married and I’m not there for the celebrations which has been a lot harder to get over than I’d anticipated. I’m just hoping that I get to catch a glimpse of the ceremony via Skype.
  • Our friends from uni have left us! It was great having some familiar faces around for just over a month but now they’ve moved on to the next stage of their adventure. You will be missed guys!

Most Popular Blog Post

Festival in Europe 3

This month you guys were feeling those summer vibes and checked out my post Why you should go to a festival in Mainland Europe this summerJust think of me when you’re sunning it up in Croatia or Germany, I’ll be the girl shivering through Australia’s winter!

Most Liked Instagram Picture

Gaplife Month 4 3

This picture makes me want to lick the screen, and apparently you guys thought it equally drool-worthy as it racked up the most likes on Instagram this month! There’s more about this picture in the Favorite Eat section below!

Follow me on Instagram here.

Favorite Picture

Gaplife month 4 1Us travel bloggers can’t resist the good ol’ view-with-your-back-to-the-camera shot! This one might be my fave ever. The Mornington Peninsula backdrop is stunning!

Favorite Eat

See the Instagram pic above… Juicy Bao in China Town is probably my favorite Chinese restaurant EVER. Chinese has never been my cuisine of choice but their amazing array of freshly made dumplings are enough to make anyone dribble.

What makes it even better? It is SO cheap, BYOB and you can watch the ladies make the dumplings in the front window!

Favorite Place

Gaplife month 4 7

 

This month, it has to be Cape Schanck at sunset. This spot on the Mornington Peninsula is stunning at any time of day but it was particularly peaceful at sunset. Watching the sun sink behind the gorgeous little lighthouse was one of those moments I know I won’t forget.

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month

Gaplife month 4 2

Leah will finally be here in real-life and not just in cardboard form!

My friend from home, Leah, is coming to visit! I have left my calendar completely free so that I can have a whole 2 weeks free to show Leah around Melbourne and beyond. We have a couple of road-trips and a city break planned so stay tuned for that.

Ryan and I are leaving Melbourne! I can’t believe that our time here is nearly up. But the road is calling and I can’t wait to set off in search of our next adventure. It’s exciting to think where this post will be coming from next month! See you on the other side…

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN THIS MONTH? LET ME KNOW VIA MY SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES OR IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE ME TO INCLUDE IN MY MONTHLY ROUND-UPS? LET ME KNOW!

Gaplife Month 3 5

#Gaplife: Month Three

Gaplife Month 3 5Every month I will be writing a round-up of my #gaplife adventures. From where I’ve been to what I’ve eaten, I’ll be keeping you up-to-date with everything that’s been happening on and away from The Student Travels. Catch up with Month One & Two. Enjoy!

Places Visited: Melbourne, Victoria; Yarra Ranges, Victoria; Yarra Valley, Victoria; Dangdenong Ranges, Victoria; Healesville Sanctuary, Victoria.

What’s Been Happening Away From the Blog

Gaplife Month 3 4

  • I’ve thrown myself into work this month as I’m determined to start saving the pennies for a couple of upcoming trips and also for when we hit the road again. I’ve completed a couple of assignments for a temping agency and some more lined up for June so I’m looking forward to saving some cash.
  • I guest posted for Samantha over at Samantha En Route, check it out here!
  • I have a couple more fun collaborations coming up soon, so watch this space…

Highs

  • Escaping to the countryside at last! Ryan and I have been spending at least one day a week out of the city. This regular dose of fresh air and incredible vistas has been keeping us sane away from our full-on lives in the city. Who knew Victoria was so beautiful?! Experiencing the countryside has allowed us to see a whole other side to this amazing state and we hope to keep finding new gems to gush over.

Dandenong 11

  • Our first taste of an Aussie road-trip. Our wonderful friends from the UK took us out for a day of adventure and exploration in the Yarra Ranges. Having the freedom of our own transportation again, we whizzed around the region and had the best day ever. Read more about it here.

Belgrave Dandenong 4

  • Seeing our first Kangaroo! We are in Australia after all! We spotted our first ever group of Kangas in a clearing whilst hiking in Dandenong National Park. Whilst we were spying on them a kookaburra landed in the tree above- HOW MORE AUSSIE CAN YOU GET?!
  • Catching up with friends. The arrival of our aforementioned friends from the UK has brought us a dose of home-comfort and familiarity. It’s been great reconnecting with them and sharing this amazing city with them.

Yarra Ranges 10

  • Enjoying Melbourne, almost guilt free… Having a regular paycheck has meant that we can start to really enjoy Melbourne and start to sample its famous fare. We have limited ourselves to only a couple of meals out a week and drinks with friends at the weekend but unfortunately I’m yet to curb my coffee addiction. It’s just too good ok!

    Gaplife Month 3 6

    I don’t think this fella was enjoying this as much as I was…

  • Getting up close and personal with Australian wildlife at Healesville Sanctuary, including my favorite animal- the platypus! Keep your eyes peeled for a post coming soon…
  • Seeing Courtney Barnett at the Forum. One of Ryan and I’s favorite things to do back home is go to gigs so we simply couldn’t turn down seeing Melbourne’s own Courtney Barnett play on her own turf. She was great, her band were great and the venue was awesome! Gaudy Victorian-chic at its best.Belgrave Dandenong 6
  • Having a new lease of life for blogging. Like many bloggers, I have a very love/hate relationship with this outlet of ours. This is usually in direct correlation with how much content I’m able to generate which recently has been low due to work and limited budget. However, this month I’ve been more pragmatic about it, planning and scheduling posts and tweets and just generally being more organized. I can’t tell you how much it’s helped!

Lows

Gaplife Month 3 3

  • Having one of the worst hangovers of my life- will I ever learn?!
  • Oh routine, how I despise you yet how necessary you are at the moment! Luckily the weeks I have spent working have flown by- greatly aided by fabulous colleagues and laidback working environment. But, as ever, the need to move is becoming almost unbearable. We have been in Melbourne for almost 3 months now and I’m loving it, but I can’t help feeling confined. The road is calling…

Most Popular Blog Post

How much does it really cost to live in AustraliaYou guys seem to love the posts I do about budgeting (let me know if you’d like any more!), with How Much Does it Really Cost to Live in Australia? coming out on top this month!

Most Liked Instagram Picture

gaplife month 3 1These beautiful blooms I found at Prahran Market pulled in the most likes this month. I just wanted to take them all home!

Follow me on Instagram here.

Favorite Picture

Yarra Ranges 6I took lots of treasured snaps this month, but I think this one is my fave. Not necessarily due to the aesthetics but because of the circumstance it was taken in. Learn more about why this picture is so important here.

Favorite Eat

Grub Brunch 2

This, as ever, is a toughy. Melbourne’s food scene is amazing and I am slowly beginning to graze my way around it. The accolade this month has to go to Grub for the scrummiest brunch going.

All beautifully presented, fresh and washed down with impeccable coffee, what more could you want? It was so good I even wrote a post about it here.

Favorite Place

Gaplife month 3 2

It has to be the Yarra Valley at sunset. This place is gorgeous! The sun was aflame, the vineyards were glowing and hot air balloons bobbed on the horizon. I could have drank in that moment forever.

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month

card

June is going to be a month of head-down, buck-up-your-ideas saving. Boringggg. But I still fully intend on exploring Melbourne and the stunning Victorian countryside in the rare moments I have free. Hopefully we will be getting closer to buying a car so we can begin to cruise around this gorgeous state!

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN THIS MONTH? LET ME KNOW VIA MY SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES OR IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE ME TO INCLUDE IN MY MONTHLY ROUND-UPS? LET ME KNOW!

Gaplife Month Two 1

#Gaplife: Month Two

Gaplife Month Two 1Every month I will be writing a round-up of my #gaplife adventures. From where I’ve been to what I’ve eaten, I’ll be keeping you up-to-date with everything that’s been happening on and away from The Student Travels. Catch up with Month One here. Enjoy!

Places Visited: Melbourne, Australia.

What’s Been Happening Away From the Blog

  • I’ve been crazy busy with writing this month after volunteering to write for my local newspaper The Northsider, guest-posting for Rachel at Hither and Yonder as well as contributing to some exciting projects I’ll let you in on soon.
  • I got a job! Well a couple of jobs through a temping agency. I’m back to juggling the 9-5, hence the lack of blog posts this week (sorry!). It’s good pay, the people are lovely so I can’t complain but… I left the 9-5 for a reason so I’m glad that it’s not forever.
  • I’ve been making plans to reunite with a couple of buds. One of my friends, Leah, will be visiting from the UK for two weeks in July, our friends from uni are finally on their way to Melbs and my cousin might be visiting in September!

Gaplife Month Two 2Highs

  • Getting to know my new city! I’ve loved roaming markets, loitering in galleries and sipping my flat whites in quirky cafes. There is always something happening or a new neighbourhood to explore. I love this city.
  • Moving into our new house and upgrading to a bigger room. I really like our new pad, our housemates are lovely, the location is perfect and we treated ourselves to a bigger room. It’s been great getting settled and making the place our own.
  • Getting behind the mighty Hawthorne at the MCG. Aussie Rules games are so fun to watch and taking a seat to watch my team win at the massive MCG was pretty darn cool.
  • First payday! Having some much-needed money coming in was a definite highlight. It means that we can start planning the rest of our time in Oz and enjoy Melbourne to the fullest.

Winter in Melbourne 3Lows

  • Being unemployed and poor. I can’t tell you how many jobs I applied for without hearing anything. Finally I signed up with a temping agency and the work poured in (long may it continue…).
  • Losing my phone. A major blow at the end of the month. Not having WhatsApp and being instantly connected to friends and family is horrible.
  • The weather. Melbourne is notorious for having unpredictable weather and with winter drawing in the temperature has been all over the place, and the drizzle can be persistent.
  • Not travelling. As much as I love Melbourne, I started to get itchy feet pretty soon on. I think it’s being in Australia and not being able to explore outside the city boundaries. Hopefully I will have a couple of excursions planned in May.

Most Popular Blog Post

month 1 4You guys loved last month’s round-up with #Gaplife: Month One taking the most popular crown. You also loved Ryan’s Weekly Round-Up: Month One which followed a very close second.

Most Liked Instagram Picture

Gaplife Month Two 4You guys love a good street-art snap, none more than this beauty which is also one of my favorite pieces I’ve seen so far in Melbourne.

Follow me on Instagram here.

Favorite Picture

Gaplife Month Two 6I loved this shot of a bubba penguin I took at the pier in St Kilda. It was waiting for its parents to come back after a hard days work at sea. Seeing penguins in the wild, and so close up, was amazing.

Favorite Eat

Gaplife Month Two 3This month’s accolade has to go to Lentils as Anything. The not-for-profit restaurant and hippie-hangout was so good I even dedicated a blog post to it.

The budget didn’t allow for much eating out this month but special mentions go to my new favorite places to grab a flat white, Grub which runs out of an AirStream and KereKere in Fitzroy Gardens which was just so beautifully chilled out and welcoming.

Melbourne First Impressions 6 Favorite Place

I loved escaping the city and exploring Yarra Bend National Park. It felt like we were actually in Australia (probably due to all of the snake warnings…) and it was so relaxed (despite aforementioned snake warnings).

Gaplife Month Two 5I also loved getting to know my neighbourhood, Fitzroy. It’s achingly cool and filled with amazing street art and hidden treasures.

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month

I’m excited to explore a bit further afield and get out in the countryside. Also, as I’ve mentioned, a couple of friends should be making an appearance which will be fun! I’m also looking forward to having some money in the bank so I can start getting excited for what’s to come!

Where have you been this month? Let me know via my social media pages or in the comments below!

Is there anything else you’d like me to include in my monthly round-ups? Let me know!

1 Ryan Manila

Ryan’s Weekly Round-Up: Month One

1 Ryan ManilaBy 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.

Ryans Month 2From 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.

Ryans Month 1After 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.

Ryans Month 3So 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.

Have you ever felt immediately at home in a city? Let me know in the comments below or via my social media pages!

You can follow Ryan on Instagram here.

month 1 4

#Gaplife: Month One

month 1 4Every month I will be writing a round-up of my #gaplife adventures. From where I’ve been to what I’ve eaten, I’ll be keeping you up-to-date with everything that’s been happening on and away from The Student Travels. Enjoy!

Places Visited: Manila, Philippines. Boracay, Philippines. Palawan, Philippines. Melbourne, Australia.

What’s Been Happening Away From the Blog

  • Since arriving in Melbourne I’ve been trying to set down some roots! I’ve got an Aussie bank account, phone number, a new place to move into on April 13th (more on that soon) and I’m on the hunt for a job. It’s going to be a busy 3 months…

month 1 8Highs

  • The first day with the moped in El Nido. Having the freedom of controlling where we went and when was perfect. When we were bored of one beautiful spot we would simply move on to another. Bliss!
  • Every sunset in Boracay. Watching the sun spectacularly melt away with a 40p rum ‘n’ coke in hand was as far away from the 9-5 as you can get.Boracay Sunset Water
  • Having clean laundry for the first time in 3 weeks. I was overly excited about slipping into clean clothes after nearly a month of re-wearing and sink washes.
  • Arriving in Melbourne. I was so excited to be back in Oz and to make myself at home in Melbourne. I can tell that I’m going to be falling head over heels for this city.
  • Every single pinch-me moment. And there were a lot. Every time where I took a step back and thought how lucky I was to finally be living out my dream!

Month 1 1

Lows

  • The smog in Manila. I am only the tiniest bit asthmatic but Manila turned me into a wheezing, sickly mess. You could feel the smog clog your pores and coat your lungs, something that I have never experienced before even in highly polluted Chinese cities. Never before have I had to scrape black gunge from my ears or nose after a day in the city. Yuck.manila national museum
  • Waiting five hours for a taxi at Manila airport. Yes, there is a Manila-bashing streak going here. After touching down from the island bliss that is Palawan, we were burdened with a FIVE HOUR wait for an airport taxi. Landing at rush hour was never going to be ideal but with seemingly only 3 or 4 taxis serving the entire domestic terminal, this was just horrendous. The queue was easily a kilometer long and even multiple San Miguel’s at the night market after did little to ease the pain and frustration.manila old town colour
  • Chundering on my birthday. Usually if I’m sick on my birthday it’s because I’ve had a pretty good night the evening before. This time however, I was just sick. And it sucked. In between throwing up, we managed to escape to the Underground River but it meant that I couldn’t eat or drink anything all day. Anyone who knows me will know that was torture! Watching Ryan devour my gorgeous birthday meal was a very sad time indeed.Month 1 3

Most Popular Blog Post

This month saw the best stats I’ve ever received and continues the rise in readers on thestudenttravels.com! So thank you to each and every one of ya and please keep reading!

1 Ryan ManilaThrough gritted teeth, Ryan’s Weekly Round-up: Week 1 has secured the title of Most Popular Blog Post this month, closely followed by Welcome to Manila. I’m not bitter at all…

Most Liked Instagram Picture

month 1 6It was a good first month for Instagram, with record likes and follows. The spectacular scenery of the Philippines spoke for itself (#nofilter) but this shot of beautifully bright Bulabog Beach on Boracay shouted the loudest.

Follow me on Instagram here.

Favorite Picture

month 1 7This was a toughy.

But after browsing the hundreds of images I’ve already captured, the top spot has to go to this shot of Nacpan Beach. This was probably the most beautiful view of the trip and looking at this snap already brings back some warm and fuzzy memories.

Favorite Eat

month 1 9Photo Credit

First place would have easily have gone to Kalui in Puerto Princesca for my birthday meal. This seafood extravaganza was cheap and looked incredible but unfortunately I had to experience it solely through Ryan’s continuous praise.

For food that I could actually digest, the winner has to be the falafel burger at Blue Azul in El Nido. I didn’t expect to find the best falafel I’ve ever tasted in the Philippines but I did. I may have eaten this more than once, or twice…

Favorite Place

El Nido moped 12Nacpan Beach, El Nido. This place is stunning and beautifully underdeveloped. It had the perfect level of amenities with a few hammocks and a beach bar to keep me stocked up with juice straight from the coconut. When I wanted the beach completely to myself, I could just head further along and hunt out a patch all to myself. You can’t ask for more than that!

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month

month 1 5I can’t wait to start exploring Melbourne and hopefully find a job!

We are kicking off the month seeing Adam Hills and Sara Pascoe perform at the Comedy Festival and are on the lookout for more gigs and nights out in Melbourne. Any suggestions Melburnians?

Where have you been this month? Let me know via my social media pages or in the comments below!

Is there anything else you’d like me to include in my monthly round-ups? Let me know!