How To Travel Long-Term And Build Your CV At The Same Time

FeaturedHow To Travel Long-Term And Build Your CV At The Same Time

Travelling long-term is something that I always wanted to do and to this day I have an ever-growing list of places that I want to see and experiences that I want to have. However, as much as I want to travel long-term, continuing to learn and build my CV  is important to me too.

With the internet and changing attitudes to a work-life balance, the way that we learn and work isn’t the same as it has been in the past. Education can extend past the walls of a classroom and working doesn’t mean having to do the 9-5 in an office.

There have never been more opportunities to travel the world and build your CV at the same time than there are today. Here are some of my favourites.

Paid and unpaid internships

Paid or unpaid internships are a fantastic way to gain skills and experience in an industry that you are interested in.  In terms of a learning opportunity, I can’t recommend them enough.

What’s great about internships is that they are generally really hands-on, giving you the knowledge, experience and the confidence to work in that industry after. What’s more, doing an internship in a foreign country is really going to make your CV stand out from the crowd.

Throughout my time spent in Australia on a working holiday, I have done three internships in marketing and content writing, all of which have taught me more than I’d ever learned in a classroom, as well as looking great on my CV.

There are loads of paid and unpaid internships around and a good place to find these is on job sites like Indeed, Seek and Jora. Travel agencies like STA and GVI also offer plenty of internships abroad opportunities too, although these usually come at a cost.

How To Travel Long-Term And Build Your CV At The Same Time

Online courses

Never underestimate the value of online courses: they are a fantastic learning opportunity and demonstrate a willingness to learn on your CV. What’s more, they needn’t cost you any money, with plenty of free courses available.

Depending on the topic of study in, some platforms will be more suitable for you than others. A couple of places that I have done online learning include Skillshare, Moz and Google’s Digital Garage.

Study abroad

If you prefer to learn in the classroom but you’d like to combine it with living abroad then studying in another country is a fantastic idea. After spending a year on a working holiday in Australia, I am now staying longer in Melbourne to study here. Being an international student is a completely new experience for me and it’s an invaluable one, allowing me to combine getting a qualification with travelling long term. You can read more about my experience of transferring from a working holiday to a student visa here.

Language courses

Following on from study abroad options, opting to learn a language in the very country that it’s spoken is an incredible learning opportunity. Not only is immersing yourself in a country the most effective way to learn a language, but it’s also a fun and unique experience. These days, having a second or even third language to add to your resume is a skill that many employers look for so enrolling in a language school abroad really is a smart move.

There’s no end of options when it comes to language courses abroad. Some of my favourite ideas are Spanish school in Barcelona, Spanish school in San Pedro, Guatemala or learning Korean in Seoul (like one of my best friends, Izzy is currently doing).

How To Travel Long-Term And Build Your CV At The Same Time

Volunteer abroad

Volunteering is an incredible and meaningful way to travel long-term while doing some good and improving your CV. Volunteering abroad is also incredibly diverse and there’s a wide range of areas that you can work in. This can include anything from marine conservation to community development.

Teaching abroad

If you’ve been researching long-term travel then TEFL is something that you’re probably familiar with, right? Getting your TEFL or Teaching English as a Foreign Language qualification, allows to teach and live in an endless list of countries across the globe. Not only is this a unique and culturally enriching experience, but it is also one that allows you to earn money abroad. That way, you can afford to travel long term while developing new skills to add to your CV.

Working abroad

If you already have some qualifications or work experience then why not try working abroad? Of course, the country that you are from will have some bearing in terms of which countries you’re legally allowed to work in.

Some common options: a working holiday in Australia or New Zealand, a working holiday in Canada or a working holiday in England. You could also work in the US as a Camp America counseller or through being an Au Pair on a J1 Visa. For Europeans, why not try working in another European country? Alternatively, another option is becoming a tour guide with a company like G Adventures or Contiki where you actually get paid to travel.

How To Travel Long-Term And Build Your CV At The Same Time

Blogging 

Last but not least, blogging is one of my favourite ways to travel long-term while creating something to show for it. Setting up a blog is quick and easy and you don’t have to be tech-savvy or invest in lots of expensive equipment to do it. All you need to do is sign up for a blogging platform like WordPress and start writing. To start with, you’ll probably just be writing for your friends and family. However, stick with it, and who knows, one day you might be being paid to travel the world.

Travelling in itself is one of the most valuable things that you could do, particularly in your early twenties. Even without working or studying abroad, travelling helps to develop a huge range of skills including everything from budgeting to conversation skills and resilience. However,  if you want to travel long-term but you’d like a little more structure, then some of the ideas in this blog post might be a great option for you.

Have you ever done, or are considering doing any of the long-term travel ideas in this blog post? Get in touch- I’d love to hear. 

 

How I’m staying in Australia for a second year WITHOUT doing my farm work

FeaturedHow I'm staying in Australia for a second year WITHOUT doing my farm work

Everything you need to know about bridging visas, student visas and working holidays in Australia

So, this week it’s been one year since I touched base down in Australia at the start of my working holiday. At the time, I had no clue how significant this decision to leave home in the UK and come to Melbourne was going to be. It was, in my mind, just another trip.

A year on and a lot of things have changed. I’ve had the opportunity to travel and explore a country that’s on a lot of people’s bucket lists and the chance to do iconic things like sailing through the Whitsundays, seeing the Sydney Opera House and encountering more Australian wildlife than I can name. However, what is more significant is the extent to which my working holiday has become so much more than that. I have made emotional ties here in Melbourne, I’ve developed a work routine, a network of friends, a deep knowledge of a new city.  I even managed to build my CV alongside all of this, doing multiple internships and freelance writing jobs while I was here.

I’d always presumed that by the time October came around, I’d be ready to leave Melbourne. But the reality is, I’m just not. However, I have a problem. You can’t just come and go to Australia as you please. To qualify for the second Working Holiday Visa, you have to have completed (and been signed off of) 88 days of farm work in rural Australia: something of which I didn’t do. So, what are my options?

In this blog post, I explain everything that came into my decision-making process of transferring on to a student visa, including the financial costs, the visa conditions and most importantly, how to do it. Here’s how to stay in Australia if you haven’t done your farm work. 

Student Visa Subclass 500 Terms and conditions 

The student visa subclass 500 allows you to stay in Australia for as long as you are enrolled in a course and for up to 5 years. To qualify this you must be enrolled in an eligible course of study (so you can’t just study any old course), study full time and hold overseas student health cover.

To adhere to your visa conditions you must participate in 20 hours of classroom time a week and not work more than 20 hours a week (apart from in school holidays where there are no limitations). Apart from that, the student visa is very similar to that of a working holiday. You enjoy all of the same freedoms, except for the bonus that you get taxed less- yay.

Finding a course in Australia

I think that studying at any age is a great thing to do, and having the opportunity to further my education in a city that I love seemed like a win-win. There is a range of courses that will allow you to stay in Australia on a student visa and these vary from full degrees to shorter diplomas and Certificate IVs.

Finding an eligible course that is relevant to you can be a bit overwhelming. It was because of this is decided to go through an agency called Australian Study Solutions. There are loads of these agencies around and for a small fee, they will help match you to a course that suits your educational and financial needs; as well as a course that matches the time that your WH visa ends. They will also assist you in the student visa application process, which is a lot more laborious than the WH one.

Applying for your visa

When you’ve found a course that you want to study, your first step is going to be to apply to that school, either directly or through the agency. When they send you a letter of offer and you have made the first payment, you then need to wait for your Certificate of Enrolment documents. When you have these, you can apply for the visa.

You need to do this on the Australian home affairs website (or you agent will do it for you). To apply you must fill in an official form 956 form, make the payment of $620, pay for your health cover and also write a Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) letter.

The GTE Letter

This is a letter to the government that explains who you are, what visas you’ve previously held, what and why you want to study in Australia and the details of that course. The thing to remember about the GTE is that it is an example that you only want to remain in Australia temporarily. You MUST make it clear that you plan on returning to your home country after your studies.

Bridging visa

Student visas can take anything from 43 to 77 days to process. However don’t stress, if your WH visa is coming to end in a matter of days, like mine, you don’t have to leave the country. Once your student visa application is lodged (and when your current visa ends) you immediately move on to a Bridging visa A.

This takes the role of your applied visa (so in my case a student visa). The only conditions are that you cannot work legally on that visa until the first day of your new course and you must not leave the country. If you do need to leave Australia, you need to apply for Bridging visa B- basically a bridging visa of your bridging visa for your student visa. Complicated right?

How much transferring to a student visa really costs

Moving from the WH visa to a student one can be painful as you initially have to make a lot of payments. However, after you’ve paid that first chunk, the rest is a lot less expensive. Anyway,  if you’re gaining the opportunity to study in a country that you love then it’s worth it.

Here’s a breakdown of the payments that you will have to make:

1 .The cost of your chosen course (and agent fee). Average costs are:

Certificate IVs: $4000

Diploma courses: $7000 a year

Bachelor Degree at University: $20,000 a year

Bachelor Degree at college: $12,000 a year

(Don’t stress as these can usually be paid in instalments during your course). 

2. The cost of your visa: Around $620 AUD per application

3. Your overseas health cover: Prices vary but usually around $500 for a year

So that’s it, that’s pretty much everything you need to know about applying for a student visa in Australia. Obviously, if you want to stay in Australia after your first Working Holiday visa then doing your farm work is a lot cheaper and easier. However, if there’s a course of study you’re genuinely interested in and if you run out of time to do your farmwork, then a student visa is a great option.

How I'm staying in Australia for a second year WITHOUT doing my farm work

The course I have chosen to study is a certificate and diploma in business and marketing here in Melbourne. It’s a great option for me as it correlates with my writing background and builds on the marketing internships and self-taught learning that I have done in the past. Alongside this, I am continuing at my cafe job, starting a new digital marketing internship at a startup company and even moving house next week. Updates coming on the blog.

Life on a working holiday in Melbourne has been out of this world and I’m hoping this year as a student will be even better. Now it’s time to do as you always should in Melbourne, head to a rooftop bar and have a drink to the start of something new.

Solo In Bangkok: Survival Tips

Whether you’re starting out on a solo backpacking trip around Asia or you’re just simply passing through, the idea of being alone in a city as busy as Bangkok can be a little overwhelming.

I remember that when I first set out solo travelling a couple of years ago, it wasn’t until I was in that hotel room in Bangkok’s city centre that reality really set in: I thought, what the heck am I doing here? Since then I’ve been solo in the city a few times and I can vouch for the fact that not only is Bangkok an easy city to be a solo traveller in, it’s a really fun one too.

So, if you too are feeling daunted at the prospect of being alone in the busy Thai capital, don’t stress. Here are my top tips on how to enjoy Bangkok as a solo traveller.

Book a hostel

That moment that I mentioned, where I was alone in a nice hotel room in Bangkok freaking out about things, is exactly the reason why you should book a hostel if you are a solo traveller. While having a luxurious hotel room is nice, backpacker hostels offer the chance to meet people who you can explore the city with and have some fun. What’s more, hostels are generally cheaper, better located and fully equipped to help you sort out all of your travel arrangements.

Use Grab or Uber instead of taking a taxi

Whenever I travel alone, that initial getting from the airport to my accommodation is the thing that I always find the most stressful. Bangkok is notorious for its taxi scams so save yourself the hassle (and the money) and download one of the ride apps such as Grab or Uber. You can order a car from the airport by connecting to the wifi or alternatively pick up a cheap sim card once you land. This way you have a price set before you get in the car and you don’t have to stress about being scammed or the driver not knowing where they are going.Solo In Bangkok: Survival Tips

Solo In Bangkok: Survival Tips

Eat a lot

Bangkok is a great city to be solo in because you could basically spend the entire length of your day eating. Seriously, the Thai capital is a metropolis of mouthwatering spicy street food and sweet treats, all of it for very little money. Being a solo traveller means that you don’t have to comprise with anyone else so you can eat what you want- when you want it. What’s more, Bangkok’s incredible street food scene means that you could even grab your food to go if you feel stressed about dining alone.

Walk wherever you can

The best way to get orientated in Bangkok is to walk as much as you can. Many of the cities main attractions are in walking distance of each other so try and save getting a tuk-tuk or the Skytrain for when you’re travelling long distances. If you are looking for walking routes in the city, I’ve included a few links to some self-guided walking tours of Bangkok here.

Find a pool

Wandering around a city as hot and humid as Bangkok can get pretty tiring after a few hours. So, if you’re looking recuperate after a busy day out then I really recommend finding a pool. I stayed at Mad Monkey Backpackers hostel which had its own pool. However, if you don’t mind parting with a little more money then the rooftop pool at the Sofitel hotel is supposed to be incredible.

Do a cooking class

Travelling solo but don’t particularly want to be alone? Booking a class is a great option. There are loads of companies running them throughout the city and not only are they a lot of fun, but they are a great way to meet like-minded travellers.

Solo In Bangkok: Survival TipsSolo In Bangkok: Survival Tips

Be alcohol savvy

Lastly, on a more serious note, remember to look after yourself when it comes to going out. Bangkok has a wild party scene- and as fun as it is to drink out of buckets and dance to your heart’s content, remember not to get too carried away. The best thing to do is buddy up with a few people from your hostel and stick together. Don’t go home alone and make sure you get a taxi. When buying drinks, keep a hold of yours at all time and make sure that they mix the buckets and cocktails in front of you in the bars. Generally, though, going out in Bangkok has always been a laugh and I’ve never had any problems.

I hope that you found this advice helpful. If you’re planning a solo trip to Thailand and the rest of South-East Asia then trust me you’re in for a treat. I don’t think there’s a better or more exciting region to travel alone in.

Do you have any questions about solo travel or female travel in Thailand? Or any tips of your own that you want to share? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or feel free to get in touch with me here. 

 

How To Plan A Backpacking Trip (Without Really Planning It)

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I know that the title of this blog post might sound a little bit cryptic but read on, I’ll explain what I’m talking about. After having spent the majority of the last couple of years travelling, one question that I get asked a lot is- ‘how do you plan your backpacking trips?’ Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret: I don’t- at least not in the hostel booking, schedule planning kind of way anyway.

Here’s why I don’t plan my trips

I find planning boring

I know some people find that planning a trip is part of the fun- I hate it. Whether it’s booking accommodation, coming up with an itinerary or researching what to do in each place, I find it so tedious. In fact, sometimes researching a trip puts me off even going in the first place.

You can’t plan for the unexpected

Travelling is all about embracing the unexpected and you simply can’t plan for that. Who knows what hidden gems you’ll discover along the way, the people you’ll meet or the things that happen that are totally out of your control. Trying to stick to a rigid plan while backpacking is just going to cause you more hassle than it’s worth.

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It’s better to follow suggestions from people you meet

One of the best things about travelling is meeting people that are doing similar things to you. This is great because not only do you meet like-minded people but you also get to hear all of their recommendations first hand. This is how you really discover those hidden gems while travelling.

It ruins the adventure

Lastly, planning trips totally ruins the sense of adventure for me. The thrill of backpacking is that it’s a journey into the unknown. A routine is non-existent, each day brings endless possibilities and you really get the chance to live in the moment. That’s what travel is about for me.

Here’s what I do plan

I know that turning up in a new country with virtually nothing planned might seem really overwhelming but trust me, it’s the best way to do it. Having said that, there are a few things that I do organise or at least research before I go. Here’s what.

The first few nights accommodation

I think that it’s practical and sensible to book your accommodation for the first few nights before you arrive. This is because wandering around looking for accommodation when you’ve just got off a long flight isn’t a lot of fun. It’s usually easy to extend your stay in person in hostels so I wouldn’t advise booking more than three days accommodation in case you don’t like the place.

How To Plan A Backpacking Trip (Without Really Planning It)

Looking at the weather

Before even booking your flights, I would advise to check out the weather. It’s easy to forget that ‘warm countries’ aren’t always warm and the last thing you want to do is book a trip in the middle of monsoon season or fly to a beach destination in the height of their winter.

The highlights

Once I pick a region or country to travel in, I’ll usually come up with a rough idea of some places that I want to visit. I like to do a little search before I go about some of the highlights in these places whether that’s beaches, cafes or hikes. Then I jot them down on a list for me to refer to when I’m away.

A Rough budget

I’m a naturally cautious spender so I don’t feel the need to stick to a strict budget or keep a note of all my spendings. Having said that, I do like to come up with a rough estimate of how much I’ll spend before I go. I do this by researching the average cost of accommodation, food, activities etc.  I then multiply this by the number of days I expect to be away, in order to make sure I have enough money for my trip.

Booking Flights 

Flights are the one thing that tend to get more expensive the later you book them so I tend to book the main ones as far advance as I can. By this, I mean booking any long-haul flights as well as any for countries that require proof of onward travel. (Some countries will not let you enter if you do not have a flight or a bus booked out of the country). Generally speaking, internal flights are ok to leave until the last minute to book.

How To Plan A Backpacking Trip (Without Really Planning It)

Obviously travelling without a plan doesn’t work for everyone. I understand that if you have restraints like a lack of time, a strict budget or even if you’re travelling in a group then it can be tricky to travel fully spontaneously. Even so, I urge you when you can, leave whatever you can to fate- You never know what surprises are in store for you.

Are you a travel planner or a travel winger? Let me know. 

Here are 10 things I accomplished instead of doing a journalism degree

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For as long as I can remember there has only been one real thing that I’ve wanted to do-travel. However, when I left school in the UK at 18, I made the ‘sensible decision’ to start university in London, studying for a journalism degree because that was what all of my friends were doing.

The thing is, for an impatient person like me, spending just three hours a week in uni, being tied to the UK, and the prospect of doing so for the next three years didn’t really make me very happy. I was anxious to start living the life I wanted to live, so I dropped out. Now as the summer arrives that I would have originally finished, I can say in all honesty that I am very happy that I did.

There are so many great reasons for doing a degree if it’s in something that you love and I’m not writing this post to say that going to university is a bad idea. I just want to show that there are other options too. So, here 10 things I accomplished instead of doing a journalism degree.

1. I started my own blog

I had tried and failed to start a blog many times before this one. The thing is, when you’re at home studying, keeping up a travel blog is pretty tricky as you don’t have that much to write about. It was only after I dropped out of uni and started travelling that I had the time to write and the experiences to blog about. Now two years on, blogging is quickly evolving from a hobby to a job and I couldn’t imagine not having this platform to express my own views on.

2. I went solo backpacking around Asia

Solo backpacking around Asia was my biggest dream and it was one of the first things that I did after leaving uni. I know that my friends and family had their doubts about my trip and so did I- but despite my fears, it was something I had to do. That first trip alone around Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia was one of the most liberating and exciting times of my life and it shaped me forever. I came out of that trip as a completely different person, with loads of confidence and a whole new perspective on life.

3. I did a working holiday in Australia

Travelling is amazing but having the opportunity to live and work in another country is something else. This is what lead me to make the decision to do a working holiday in Australia. Apart from getting to travel around a whole new country, my working holiday has taught me so much, from professional work experience to add to my CV along to life skills like living alone and travelling on a budget.

4. I completed an NCTJ Diploma In Journalism

I didn’t want to spend three years studying for a degree however that didn’t mean that I didn’t want to get some kind of training in journalism.  Instead, I decided to do an NCTJ in my hometown in Brighton which was a much better option for me.

An NCTJ is a short diploma in journalism, that can be completed in three months, studying full time. Unlike the degree I would have done, my NCTJ was both exam and coursework based, it was accredited, came with work experience at my local paper in which we would be published and it was a fraction of the cost. Of course, it didn’t have the social aspects of a full degree but I had a great class and I was happy to get the learning done quickly so I could get started with all of the other things I was desperate to do.

5. I worked (a lot)

The last few years have given me plenty of opportunities to work both during and in between my travels. Since leaving uni I’ve done everything from working as a social media executive and copywriter at home, working in cafes both in England and Australia as well as doing guest blogging alongside this.  All of this has helped me build up loads of confidence, gain experience for my CV and helped me to save money to entirely finance all of my travels.

6. I did loads of internships

Experience, experience, experience- that’s all it really comes down to, especially in an industry like journalism. The last few years have given me plenty of opportunities to do internships in everything from a media agency producing one of the UK’s most popular tv news shows to digital marketing and journalism, resulting in a whole portfolio of published work, all with my own byline. A lot of the other interns I have worked alongside have just graduated university themselves so it shows you that degree or no degree, we all end up in the same boat.

7. I backpacked through Central America

Another trip that I’ve always been desperate to do was Central America and that’s something I got to do for a few months last year on a tour with G Adventures. Countries like Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica had long fascinated me but I knew that the region had a reputation for being a little dangerous, hence why I ended up doing the tour. If anything, this trip awakened a whole new level of wanderlust in me and it gave me more friends and once in a lifetime experiences than I can name in this blog post.

8. I saved up a lot of money

I don’t know how many thousands of pounds worth of debt I saved from not going to university, but it’s a lot. The last couple of years have given me the chance to save up loads of money through working, enabling me to fund all of my travels.  What’s more, I’m now completely debt free.

9. I lived alone

I know that uni seems like the obvious way to move out of home but if independence is all you crave, there are easier ways to do it than signing up to a three-year course.  I love my home and staying back with my parents for a few months in between trips has helped me save up loads of money. However, for the last year, I’ve been in Australia where I have been living independently in a flatshare,  working and looking after myself. The whole moving out thing has been pretty straightforward and while it is harder to save up money now I’m paying rent and buying my own groceries, I get by.

10.  I made lots of new friends

The social aspect is another huge drawing point for going to university. However, I can vouch for the fact that the last few years travelling has given me more new friends than I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve met so many amazing and truly inspirational people from all over the world through work, internships, through my friend’s uni friends and throughout all of my travels. The only negative about having friends spread out all over the place is that it can be tricky to stay in touch. It’s hard when you do things on a daily basis with a person while travelling and then you suddenly have to say goodbye.

People are often surprised to hear that I didn’t do a degree. You see, not completing further education goes against the norm and it’s a shame there’s still such a taboo against not going. We have to realise that everyone is different and a degree isn’t right, nor is it necessary, for everyone. I wanted to write this post to discuss some of the benefits that come from not going to uni and to show that a lack of further education doesn’t mean you have to work in retail for the rest of your life either.

Do you have any more questions about any of the topics mentioned in this post or do you have a similar story? Feel free to drop me a message here. 

8 Things They Never Tell You About An Australian Working Holiday In Melbourne

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When I touched down in Melbourne six months ago at the start of my Australian working holiday, my stomach did the kind of churning sensation that was synonymous with having a hundred different thoughts and emotions going on inside of me. I felt nervous, excited, apprehensive and even a little bit lost.

I guess all of these feelings stemmed from not really knowing why I was here in the first place. You see, I’d never particularly wanted to do a working holiday but after having spent most of the previous year travelling, Australia just seemed like the next big trip I should take.

Fast forward to now and I couldn’t be more grateful that I ended up doing a working holiday. Having the chance to not only travel but also live and work in another country is such an amazing opportunity and the last few months have changed me in more ways than I can count. However, a lot of things about doing a working holiday have really surprised me and I thought I’d share some of these thoughts with all of you. So, here are 8 things they never tell you about an Australian Working Holiday.

8 Things They Never Tell You About An Australian Working Holiday In Melbourne

1. Slow travel is great

After a few months travelling the East Coast at the start of my trip, I was itching to start earning some money back. I got back to Melbourne, handed out a few CV’s and managed to get myself a cafe job.

Since then, living and working in a city on the other side of the world has been such a great experience and it’s actually been my favourite thing about doing a working holiday in comparison to other trips. Sure, work is work, and sometimes it’s a drag, however, in general, working and having the opportunity to really get to know Melbourne like a local has been a once in a lifetime experience.

2. You can advance your career

I’d just assumed that my working holiday was going to be another year of procrastinating from getting a ‘real job’ however it’s been completely the opposite. Australia has overwhelmed me with the number of opportunities available and that combined with a renewed sense of motivation that comes from being the other side of the world has meant I will leave with loads of things to add-on to my CV.

After six months of being here, I’ve managed to do a digital marketing internship, another content writing one, I’ve started guest blogging and alongside all of that, I’ve learnt how to make coffees like a true Ozzie. Who said a working holiday is all farm work…

8 Things They Never Tell You About An Australian Working Holiday In Melbourne

3. You’ll have friends here

The best thing about doing a working holiday is that it has enabled me to settle and form close friendships here. Melbourne wouldn’t have been the same without the friends that I’ve made and I’m so grateful for all of them.  It’s been so nice to spend so long with the same people in comparison to backpacking, where I’m usually only with the same people for a few days.

4. It’s not always hot

The general stereotype of Australia is that it’s all sunshine and beaches but that’s definitely not true, especially if you choose to live in Melbourne. I am totally in love with Melbourne but this city is famously unpredictable in its weather, often being cold one day and boiling the next. However despite all this, I wouldn’t change Melbourne for a second, I just might have packed some warmer clothing in hindsight.

5. You’ll learn about loads of different cultures

Obviously living and working in Australia is going to teach you a lot about the Australian culture, but one thing that surprised me is just how much I’ve learnt about other cultures too. Melbourne is a melting pot of people from all over the world and I’ve got to experience the little things that everyone loves and, misses about their home.

This includes everything from Swedish taco night with my friend, trying honey dill sauce from Manitoba from my Canadian roommate, experiencing a Dutch New Years dive and so much more.

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6. You might not want to leave

I’d assumed that after one year, I’d be desperate to get back home to the UK. Now, six months in, I do miss my friends, family and hometown a lot but when I go, I’ll also be leaving a big part of my heart in Melbourne too.

7. You’ll realise just how good, good coffee is

Anyone who reads this blog will know I love coffee and I was excited to get to Melbourne because I knew that it was famous for it. To be honest, I thought that I’d had really good coffee in the UK before I got here and realized just how good, good coffee is here. With no end of cute independent laneway cafes to choose from (like Centre Place in the featured image- where I work!), and after genuinely not having had one bad coffee in six months, I’m a little worried that I’m going to be a coffee snob when I’m back home.

8 Things They Never Tell You About An Australian Working Holiday In Melbourne

8. Going home might be the step back

I originally came out here for a ‘year out’. Now when I head back home, I’ll be leaving two jobs, two internships, a flat and new friends behind here. Life’s an adventure and there’s always more opportunities on the horizon but before I started my working holiday, I could never have imagined how much I’d be leaving behind here when I went back to the UK.

Have you done a working holiday in Australia and did anything really surprise you about it? Let me know in the comments. 

8 Things They Never Tell You About An Australian Working Holiday In Melbourne

El Salvador: Three Places To Add To Your Bucket List

Featuredtravel guide el salvador

El Salvador is a country that doesn’t see much in the way of tourism, which is a shame considering how fantastic El Salvador is. Often overshadowed by Central America’s more popular countries like Guatemala and Costa Rica, tiny El Salvador is often missed out by travellers backpacking in the region. However, with its colonial towns, friendly locals and diverse scenery, El Salvador is a must visit destination in Central America in its own right. Here are three places that you won’t want to miss.

travel guide el salvador el tunco

travel guide el salvador el tunco

travel guide el salvador el tunco

El Tunco

A line of palm trees is that separates the sleepy streets of El Tunco’s town from the sandy beach. This quiet town is made up of just a couple of streets and is predominately a surfing town due to its great waves. The small amount of tourism that it gets means that the town has it’s fair few cafes, restaurants and hostels, however, it remains largely untouched. El Salvadoran’s are some of the friendliest people in Central America and I guarantee you you’ll feel right at home in this chilled beachside town. If you’ve never surfed before then you can give the sport a go at one of the surf schools or simply spend the day relaxing at the beach.

When it comes to eating, you have to try Pupusas: an El Salvadoran speciality. These hand-made flatbread are stuffed with anything from black beans to pork and cheese and are then baked on a hot grill.  They are then served with sides such as cabbage slaw and tomato relish that you can help yourself to from the table. The best place to get these is at local pupuserias: bustling eateries, packed with local families grabbing a quick dinner. Pupusas only cost a dollar each and are freshly made upon order so it’s best to start with one and take it from there. You have to stop by Tunco Bonita in El Tunco for the best pupusas around.

travel guide el salvador suchitoto

travel guide el salvador suchitoto

travel guide el salvador suchitoto

travel guide el salvador suchitoto
View from Cafe 1800

Suchitoto

Sleepy Suchitoto is a fascinating colonial town in El Salvador. The colourful Spanish architecture and winding cobblestone street in this town give Central America’s more famous destinations such as Antigua, Guatemala and Granada in Nicaragua, a run for their money.

The town really is a photographer’s paradise and with so many winding roads and hidden courtyards to explore, it really is a delight to walk around. While it is largely untouched, Suchitoto experiences a small amount of tourism, mainly due to tour groups so there are a few international style cafes where you can pick up a nice coffee and some brunch food.

One place you have to visit is  Cafe 1800. This stunning outdoors cafe has unbeatable views over the lake below and is honestly one of the most stunning places I have ever had my coffee fix.

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Tamanique and Jauaya Waterfalls

For a tiny country, El Salvador packs in a large number of stunning waterfalls. Some of the most impressive ones are the Tamanique waterfalls which you can easily do on a day trip from El Tunco.  The ones located just outside of the town Juayua also looked fantastic but sadly I didn’t get around to visiting these on my Central America tour. Alexandra has some amazing photos and waterfall suggestions for El Salvador in her blog though.

One of the most common questions that I get asked about my travels in Central America is, was it safe? While there are some problems with gangs and political demonstrations in the region, it generally felt very safe and I never felt uncomfortable throughout my one-month backpacking. If you are anxious then I would highly recommend doing Central America on a group tour, like I did with G Adventures. This was great because I got to travel with a fantastic group of people and we had the advantage of travelling with a tour guide who knew the area.

You can read my review of my Central America tour here.