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It’s a Wrap – Part 2

Budapest, Hungary – July 2016

Collage_Fotor BudapestVienna, Austria – July 2016

Collage_Fotor ViennaLos Angeles, California – September 2016

Collage_Fotor LALas Vegas, Nevada – September 2016

Collage_Fotor VegasRoute 66 – September 2016

Collage_Fotor Route 66Grand Canyon, Arizona – September 2016

Collage_Fotor Grand CanyonYosemite National Park, California – September 2016

Collage_Fotor YosemiteSan Francisco, California – September 2016

Collage_Fotor San FranNew York, New York – October 2016

Collage_Fotor New YorkIgloo, London – December 2016

Collage_Fotor IglooOk this one is a bit of a cheat since I live in London, but seriously how many people can say they have been in an Igloo;)

I have listed my top 5 experience/places of 2016 below:

  1. New York – this may seem like such a predictable choice but New York seriously stole my heart and was everythig I hoped for and more.
  2. The Helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon – really the only way to experience the immensity of the place. Luckily it was all organsied for me by the Topdeck tour I was on.
  3. Croatia – I loved it so much I will be back there again this year. I am sure my pictures say it all.
  4. Italy – I mean whats not to love about Italy, the wine, food, weather and the people. Hmmmm maybe I will scrap the last part;)
  5. My best friend getting married in the middle of nowhere.  Look I am a hopeless romantic, what can I say.

Please let me know if you have any questions on how to plan your next trip, it is my absolute favourite thing to do.

 



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That’s a Wrap – Part 1

As I am getting ready for my first trip of the year (did you see the event Ice Queens visit Iceland). I can’t help but smile when I look back at all of my adventures in 2016. What a great year it was:) 25 cities/towns, 12 countries & 4 states which brings my current country count to 35, a total of 7 brand new countries visited in 2016.

The year in review:

Bergen, Norway – January 2017

Collage_Fotor BergenEdinburgh, Scotland – February 2016

Collage_Fotor EdinburghBordeaux, France – March 2016

Collage_Fotor BordeouxGenoa, Italy – March 2016

Collage_Fotor GenoaPortofino, Italy – March 2016

Collage_Fotor PortofinoCinque Terre, Italy – March 2016

Collage_Fotor Cinque TerreVerona, Italy – March 2016

Collage_Fotor VeronaVenice, Italy – March 2016

Collage_Fotor VeniceHarrismith, South Africa – April 2016

Collage_Fotor South AfricaDubrovnik, Croatia – June 2016

Collage_Fotor DubrovnikSitkovia, Croatia – June 2016

Collage_Fotor SitkoviaKorcula, Croatia – June 2016

Collage_Fotor KorculaSplit, Croatia – June 2016

Collage_Fotor SplitKastella, Croatia – June 2016

Collage_Fotor KastellaMontenegro – June 2016

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Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina – June 2016

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Part 2 coming up next…….

 



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Santa Monica Beach

On my recent trip to LA, I spent 2 wonderful days exploring Santa Monica Beach and the famous pier. The beach is a quick train ride away from downtown LA and definitely worth the trip.

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dsc_0017_fotorI arrived quite early in the morning before all the crowds, this gave me the time to actually appreciate the beach and the pier.

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img_0686_fotorI sat down for my first ever corndog and how totally overrated it was:(

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dsc_0038_fotorMaking friends with the locals.

dsc_0059_fotorDoes this look familar? Think red bathing suits and the hof himself;)

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img_0830_fotorTime for a well deserved cider and one of the most delicious burgers I have ever had.

img_0835_fotorStout is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area!

dsc_0116_fotorGoodbye for now Santa Monica…..



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Golden Gate Bridge

The icon landmark of San Fransciso which is featured in thousands of travellers photo’s and guide books. What makes it so special? When the weather shows off for you the views of San Fran are sensational.

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dsc_0547_fotorThe bridge is 1.6kms in length, the only way to truly experience it is to get out of your car and walk it.

img_1550_fotorWhen I checked the weather for the day it showed it was 25 degrees ith very little wind, so I decided to pull out one of my beautifully flowing forever new dresses.

img_1551_fotorRule 1 when visiting San Francisco: Never ever trust the weather forecast, beacuse if it is due to be hot with a light breeze in one part its guaranteed to be cold and windy in another, especially when crossing the bridge. Here I am with a hair tie keeping my dress together.

dsc_0554_fotorThe clouds slowly parting to show whats down below.

dsc_0557_fotorLiterally 1 second later.

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dsc_0563_fotorSadly, the Golden Gate Bridge is the 2nd highest suicide site in the world. So for so many of us we visit this iconic bridge as part of our bucket list, but for many others they visit it for very different reasons. I hope your reasons will be for the former but don’t forget to stop and have a moment of silence for those who choose their time on the bridge to be their last.

 



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Birds Eye View

One of the highlights of my USA trip was none other than the Grand Canyon. Not only was it high up on my bucket list, but it also makes up one of the seven natural wonders of the world which is another bucket list I am working through.

There is only one way to truly experience the immensity of the canyon and that is with a birds eye view.

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10 minutes of flying over this lovely forest and the landscape opens up to this………….

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dsc_0259_fotorThe Grand Canyon is carved by the Colorado river below.

dsc_0261_fotorThe Canyon is 466kms long, up to 29kms wide and 1857 metres deep. Only when flying over it can you truly appreciate how massive it really is.

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img_1260_fotorNext stop to go and explore on foot…..

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img_1284_fotorIf you haven’t added the Grand Canyon to your travel list yet, I highly recommend you make it a priority.

 



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Route 66

Firstly, apologies for the recent silence, I have been working very hard on some very exciting future additions to the blog:) Watch this space for future announcements.

Whilst I was in Vegas we had a very exciting day trip to the Grand Canyon (post to come), en route we stopped in one of the historic route 66 towns which survives purely on tourists who come for a traditional diner experience and to take loads of pictures. I was luckily enough to be on a Topdeck tour so didn’t need to do any of the planning myself, however if you are making your own way and would like to find it you can do so here.

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dsc_0219_fotorJust like in the movies;) I didn’t see any bikers so still undecided on whether or not they are props or not.

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dsc_0235_fotor5 of the 9 cities I have been lucky enough to visit.

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img_1194_fotorCopper cart is the local diner in which tourists flock to.

dsc_0222_fotorWe only spent about 30 minutes in the town and to be honest that was all we needed, but I am so glad I got to experience one of the old route 66 towns as it was everything I imagined it to be and more.

 

 



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A Sunday ride in New Forest

Over the last few weeks it has been very obvious in the UK that the seasons are changing and that autumn is here, very soon to be followed by winter. On my daily travels I have been in awe with the beautiful colours and was desperate to find a destination that would allow me to capture the beauty of autumn.

The research began and after stumbling across this article in the telegraph, I decided New Forest was going to be the place I had to go.

The idea of riding a bike through this National Park and the thought of possibly bumping into wild horses seemed like a perfect way to spend a sunday. I looked on New Forest’s website and found a bike hire shop in Lyndhurst (the centre of New Forest).  At only £10 a bike for the entire day it was a serious steal and Billy was a super friendly chap who went through all the best routes.

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And so the adventure began….

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It didn’t take us long to find these two.

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dsc_0895_fotorLuckily for us, they weren’t the last.

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Our next stop was Rhinefield House which was highly recommended by Billy at the cycle shop.

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dsc_0935_fotorSo many beautiful wild horses!

img_0003_fotorApproximately 20 miles and 5 hours later with a little stopover in Brokenhurst for lunch it was time to make our way back to London.

 



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Venice Beach

dsc_0064_fotorTucked away along the coast of Los Angeles, is the famous Venice Beach. 1.5 miles of beach and promenade that stretches across the pacific ocean. Here you can find various performers, vendors and artists.

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dsc_0071_fotorPersonally, I was dying to visit Venice Beach has I have seen it in dozens of movies and shows and wanted to see what the hype was all about.

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dsc_0088_fotorHaving been to many beaches around the world, the appeal about Venice beach is the soft warm sand unike the rocky beaches of Europe.

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dsc_0099_fotorMuscle beach where the famous Arnold Schwarzenegger was discovered.

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dsc_0109_fotorIs Venice beach the best beach I have been to? Definitely not, however it is exactly how you would see it in the movies and is quirky and definitely worth the visit.

dsc_0090_fotorNext stop, a few miles down the coast to the Santa Monica Pier.



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The good, the bad & the ugly

Today marks 2 years since I arrived on UK soil, moving overseas is something so many people do on a day today basis, its made to look so easy isn’t it? Today I thought I’d share my experience, so this post is for anyone who is thinking of moving abroad, this is the good, the bad and the ugly.

At 25, I had been overseas a couple of times and each time I did my love for travel increased and I would arrive back home in Johannesburg and couldn’t wait to plan the next trip. The downside was that with our depreciating rand it meant that a glass of wine abroad was equivalent to an entire night out on rands so saving for a trip was a long and demotivating process. I felt lost back home and when a friend said to me why don’t I go work abroad, the seed was planted and 3 months later I had resigned, packed up a house and was on a plane to London embarking on my new adventure.

I arrived in London and was welcomed by an incredible family friend who I had last met when I was 3 years old. I knew very few people in London but was lucky enough to be arriving to a job with the same company I had worked for in SA. I moved into a flat with another family friend who I remembered only through childhood photo’s and videos. One of my best friends here today, was someone I had met once before and decided to message when I arrived to see if she’d be keen to go for a drink with someone she didn’t recall meeting. The first night I met her, I had been in tears after trying to figure out London transport and her and her sister were kind enough to let me sleep on their couch.

The first few months were hard, much harder then I ever let on to friends and family back home. As incredible as the public transport in London is, I missed my car, every journey took much longer then I had ever imagined and it made me long for Joburg traffic with my aircon & music booming. I missed my family and friends and space. I was now living in an apartment with 4 other people sharing 1 bathroom. The flat wasn’t much bigger than my first flat in SA that I lived in by myself.

7 months in I was unhappy and I knew one of the biggest contributors to it was my job, I was commuting 2 hours one way which was soul destorying and I didn’t see myself climbing back up the ladder after starting essentially from the beginning again when I moved. I had a good idea of where I wanted to go and approached a company I wanted to work for and 1 interview later I was hired. I made the change and every day since has been better.

With a new job, it meant that I could afford to travel even more and my goal was to travel on a monthly basis. London is an expensive city to live in and sometimes a weekend away somewhere in Europe cost less than a weekend of sightseeing and partying in London. For every city I ticked off my list, I added 3 more. The travel bug is a serious addiction and with each new adventure and every new person I meet I grow and change and gain more perspective then I ever could have sitting at home.

In the last 2 years, I have been to 24 new countries and 47 new cities and I could have never imagined how addictive it is. Travelling has always been a dream of mine and I never would have thought I would have been able to do this much in the last 2 years.

The truth is, change is hard and moving thousands of miles away from everything you have ever known is a big decision and a massive risk. However the good far outweighs the bad and the ugly. You realise how important the kindness of strangers is and how much we all still have to learn on a day to day basis, we just need to be open and ready. I want a balanced life, my career is just as important to me as travel, as time with friends and family and living in London has given that to me.

This is for every single person who may be too scared to make the change, whatever that change may be. Life is short and as scary as making a life change is, it isn’t as scary as a life filled with regret.

 

 

 

 

 



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Our Lady of Rocks

Just 2 hours away from Dubrovnik, hidden in the bay of Kotor in Montenegro is the tiniest island (otherwise known as an islet) you will ever come across, Our Lady of Rocks.

DSC_0163_Fotor6The islet is man made from old and seized ships which have been loaded with rocks. Its is home to a Catholic church with a museum attached and a tiny little gilf shop.

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DSC_0173_Fotor10The islet dates back to 1452 when an icon of a madonna and her child were found. Today, ancient artefacts like this canon can still be found on the islet.

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DSC_0156_Fotor2At only €5 a boat trip it is well worth the trip. The views from the island of the bay of Kotor were stunning. From here we got back on the coach, with our next stop being Kotor itself.

DSC_0202_Fotor17Goodbye for now Our Lady of Rocks.