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8 vlogs & blogs about lifestyle that inspire us in 2021

8 vlogs & blogs about lifestyle that inspire us in 2021

We’re asked frequently who we love to watch/read online, so we had a think about our faves in 2021 and have compiled our top 8 vlogs and blogs about lifestyle for you right here!

If you were following us back in 2020, you’ll know we had started to make positive strides on our video work. We documented the ins and outs of house and pet sitting around the world and showcased many beautiful destinations.

It was a pleasure and a privilege.

Sadly, it all came to an end. But we know that many of you reading this have also been impacted by all that the COVID pandemic has shut down. Not a great time to be a content creator in the travel business.

All of the time and learning we put into our content hasn’t gone astray though, and it’s for this reason we love to find vlogs and blogs about lifestyle that keep us coming back for more. There’s been a few standouts for us in 2021.

Here are our favourites in case you’re in need of a little fresh inspiration too.

8 vlogs and blogs about lifestyle that keep us inspired in 2021 🙂

 

For travel inspo:

📽 LeAw Leave Everything and Wander: Luca & Sara

We stumbled across this travel blogging couple by accident, but we just love their content. Sara and Luca are Italian, and they are so so cute. Their channel features an enviable line-up of destinations and experiences, and we have been making our way through their travel playlist.

Most recently, the pair were showcasing the delights on offer in their home country, Italy, where they ended up laying low during the worst of COVID.

Sara and Luca are authentic and likeable. Their video production is terrific too, and includes stunning drone shots, great editing, and soundtrack. The pair also publish a beautiful blog and are all over social media.

If you, like us, are wanderlusting like crazy to set foot back into a dazzling Italian landscape, take a ride with these two in their travel van, Luigi, and get inspired about where to go to next.

 

Island life (our fave island)

📽 Dwayne Muffin in Ibiza

We make no secret of the fact we are huge fans of the island of Ibiza in Spain. In fact, it maddens us that people who have never been to Ibiza have a preconception of what the island is.

Sure, there’s partying (hell yeah); but there’s a magical and mysterious side to this place too.

Dwayne is an English lad living the dream and actually residing and working in Ibiza full time. While the pandemic has hit his business hard – along with many in tourist destinations like Ibiza and its neighbouring Balearic Islands – Dwayne has taken the opportunity to give regular vlogging a go. And hey, are we grateful! If we can’t be there, we’ll wander around the bars and the beaches and boats here on YouTube, living vicariously through Dwayne.

Thanks to his time on the island living and working with the locals, he also gets some cool behind the scenes glimpses into venues and events that most of us wouldn’t.

A great channel if you’re a fan of Ibiza (or think you might be one day).

 

Expat entrepreneur life

Mike Thurston

We first stumbled across Mike’s channel when he filmed his 2020 summer in Ibiza. Man, were we jealous. All the pretty shots and the pretty people and pretty places. Jealous.

But we moved past that to see that actually, we wanted in on more of this vicarious adventuring.

Mike has an enviable life brimming with travel, a successful business, a new fitness app, and plenty of time at the gym. To be fair, he does work hard (on his business and abs) but he seems like a nice guy with fun friends… who wouldn’t get motivated through watching?

He’s just spent another highly enviable summer in Ibiza and has returned to his adopted home of Dubai to get to work again. It’s glossy and fun – count us in.

 

Manifesting and LOA

📽 Mary Kate

Want to shift your mindset to improve your circumstances?

Believe you can manifest the best things in life?

Me too!

While there are hundreds of manifesting and Law of Attraction content creators and mentors out there, for some reason this year I’ve really been drawn to Mary Kate’s channel.

She’s passionate and interesting, yet humble and not over the top like some other names in this space are. I just like her vibe and I think she’s doing a great job at influencing in this space.

Her training and meditations are helpful too. I’d say her work would resonate mostly with women under the age of 45, but if you’re into the topics she covers, take a look and see for yourself.

 

Fashion and beauty

📽 Busbee Style

I’ve got to say, I’m super behind the times following YouTubers for fashion and beauty content. I’m a ‘magazines’ girl of old. But, I somehow stumbled across Erin Busbee’s channel and have been hooked ever since.

A former TV news reporter turned stylist and fashion content creator, Erin’s approach is engaging and honest, not to mention really informative. I had to leave my entire wardrobe of clothes, accessories and shoes behind in England, and my enthusiasm to start again in a hot climate that I do not enjoy as much as I do one with four seasons was seriously lacking.

But, Erin’s helped make shopping fun again!

She’s got a great blog and Instagram you can follow too.

Currently she and her family are taking time out from life and work at home in the USA to live in Spain. Another reason why I think Erin is just too cool.

 

Puppy love (and training!)

📽 Zac George

Call it a midlife crisis, or more like a COVID crisis, but we went and got a puppy!

What?

Yep, we decided that after years of being without a dog – stalking dogs in the street and on the Tube in London, saying hello to everyone else’s dog and generally wanting nothing more than a dog – this little man arrived 👇

 

Now, he had a lot to live up to. Our last dog, Harry, a blue cattle dog, was a prince among dogs. He was beloved by all – even non-dog people. The best dog ever.

London – named after our much-loved adopted home in England, is a West Highland Terrier. When he was a puppy, we’d frequently change the ‘terrier’ to terror. Wow. Puppies might be cute but there’s an evil streak in there 😉

Which brings us to Zak’s channel. We got obsessed with this personable dog trainer’s channel before the puppy ‘arrived’ and during his first few months. Everything on routine and crate training and all in between was spot on.

This channel is a great one if you’re looking for actionable advice on all sorts of dog behavioural challenges and training. It’s also great if you’re quite simply, a dog person. We do owe Zak a debt of gratitude for getting this far with the cheeky Westie though. 

 

Travel and content creation

Two of our favourite channels for content creation and travel follow:

📽 Lost LeBlanc

Stunning filming, editing, locations and great advice on content creation: we love this channel.

Christian (Lost LeBlanc) is literally living the dream. His ‘about’ profile says:

“QUIT my job to travel the world. This is my story of unconditionally pursuing my passion for filmmaking and travel.”

You see why we’re in, right?

 

📽 TopJaw

These guys create awesome productions from locations we love in the UK and Europe. More enviably, they focus on food and drink!

Each location is brimming with dozens of great places to eat through all day long. We started keeping a bucket list based on their recommendations but gave up – there’s too many.

We’ll come back to it when we hit the northern hemisphere once again.

A great, lively and channel – easy to binge.

 

Who are your favourite content creators? Let us know in the comments! 

 

Saying goodbye to a loved one

Saying goodbye to a loved one

Saying goodbye to a loved one takes many forms when you’re an expat and traveller. But should we take a chance for ‘goodbye’ lightly? There’s a song I’ve been listening to on repeat recently by a great group out of Glasgow, Chvrches. The track is called Asking For a Friend and is the lead song from their 2021 album release Screen Violence. A lyric near the beginning strikes me every time: “I’m no good at goodbyes”. Those few words resonate strongly and have reminded me lately about the value of “‘goodbye”.

As I write this and reflect, I realise I should add context before continuing with my story. This is the first post on our site in well over a year. While the world stood still this past year thanks to a nasty virus that’s taken over our lives and plans, it seems our website also got the memo to pause on proceedings. We have been plagued by errors and technical issues that rendered much of the back-end useless. But without the motivation to create, it didn’t matter anyway.

Say goodbye, without saying goodbye

This leads me back to my “goodbyes”, or lack thereof. I’ve said a lot of “see you laters” in my life. Perpetually chasing the next travel plan and living as an expat necessitates this strategy. Plus, “goodbye” has always felt so final. I’ve never been one for dramatic departures. I’d rather make it swift, rip it off like a band-aid, so to speak (then have a good cry in the airplane toilets and not to make a scene). I never wanted a fuss made, especially if I was on my way to where I needed to be. It’s just part of life’s rich tapestry, as my Dad would say.

2020 gave me more perspective on all of this though, and has made me wonder, is there more value in a proper “goodbye” than I’d previously given credence to?

Ignoring an opportunity for a heartfelt goodbye is perhaps underplaying how important it might have been for the person on the receiving end of my goodbye. And, perhaps it was sticking my nose up at a privilege that I should have been grateful for. After all, we hear stories each day of heartbreak where we can safely assume that the loved-ones involved had no chance for “goodbyes”. That, my friends, is ever so sad.

No chance to say goodbye to people or place

Last year… oh wait, I lose track of time… Going on nearly two years ago, we sat at an apocalyptically empty Heathrow Airport. We were forced, for a number of reasons, to leave somewhere that was without a shadow of a doubt, home. We had to pick up in Australia and start everything all over again. When we left England, there was no opportunity for goodbye. COVID was in full flight, the entire world was shut down.

We could not say goodbye to our loved ones there, nor our life. As dejected as I was sitting at that deserted airport late in March 2020 (eerie given Heathrow is usually heaving with commuters and people hurriedly shopping up a storm in Harrods or if you’re me, Accessorize), I never imagined in my wildest dreams that we’d still not be allowed to go back even now. I’m in Queensland, Australia, and still now we have no clear roadmap on how to travel freely around Australia, let alone internationally.

It all makes the fact we could not say goodbye even more difficult to take. It does not get easier. People have explained to us that we still mourn our life in London because we did not get to say goodbye. There was never an end. No closure that we can acknowledge.

Power of goodbye

Saying goodbye to a loved one, for good

There was a poignant goodbye in 2020. An actual moment saying goodbye to a loved one, forever. One painful moment, but one that was better to have happened than not.

It was Wednesday 6 May when my Dad said he wanted to tell my brother, Josh, and I, that it was “time for him to say goodbye”. He’d been lying in a bed for weeks. His body slowly, painfully and cruelly deteriorated. A once active and proud father, business owner and globe-trotter himself, now rotting away from cancer – unable to move, eat, drink, live. Stubborn to the end, his body held on – too long.

On that day, Josh and I sat with him on his bed. In a very odd twist, we both smelled death in that room that day. We both described it like that to each other later on. I can’t tell you how we knew, but we did. It was a telling and foreboding sense – very hard to process and accept as ‘true’, but it was clear to us.

By this point, our Dad had real trouble talking. He’d all but lost his voice and had zero energy. But he told us that he now needed to go, and that he wanted to say goodbye that day. In floods of tears filled with love, gratitude, regrets and fear about pretty much everything coming from that point on, we did just that. We said goodbye to our ultimate loved one, and for me, I faced my first permanent, real, and excruciatingly raw goodbye.

It’s October 2021 and I can only just bring myself to think about this moment. It was the last time I saw my Dad in this realm. I know he’s still around, but that’s a story for another time.

Hello, what’s next? 🙂

I stand by my original sentiment on “goodbyes” – they suck. Especially when they’re directed at people, places or experiences that mean the world to you. There is something to be said about having them though.

Since researching this topic and becoming aware of times when I’ve avoided goodbyes in the past, I have discovered some helpful resources and discussions. One is here, on The Five Reasons to Say Goodbye, and another from The American Psychological Association on why goodbyes are so important, whether it be to a person or a stage in your life. I now know I’m not alone: it’s difficult subject matter to talk about sometimes, and even harder to act on. But the awareness that we should go deeper, is really important.

We’re currently still stuck in an unrealistic and unreasonable travel ban throughout Queensland and Australia. I do hope we’re all rid of it soon (I’ll be very happy to say goodbye to many COVID rules, if I’m honest – get vaccinated, people – seriously). I’m hopeful we’ve got many “hellos” in our near future, and while they may be brimming with tears, they’ll be happy ones, as we are reunited with the people and places we never got to say “goodbye” to all those months (years) ago.

If you come across this post, drop me a line in the comments. How do you see it? I’m, you know, asking for a friend

11 hacks for travelling with a dog

11 hacks for travelling with a dog

At one point or another, you may end up travelling with a dog (aka your best mate!). You don’t have to have trepidation about it as it can actually prove to be a great time for both you and your pooch.

In order to make things easier while you are travelling with a dog, you should utilise the following 11 travel hacks below 🥰

 

1. When travelling with a dog, bring a dryer sheet

Many dogs tend to get very nervous when it’s thundering and lightening outside. They often get scared because of static electricity builds up in their fur.

You can use a dryer sheet to calm them down.

Simply rub it over their fur to get rid of static electricity buildup. It’s a quick and easy way to calm them down when it’s stormy outside.

 

2. Book travel based on your dog’s schedule

It’s imperative that you book your travel at the right time. You don’t want to be taking off on a flight or starting a long car ride during the time of day when your dog has the most energy. This is why you should book your travel based on your dog’s schedule.

Try to make your travel plans for when you know he will be tired and want to nap. While there’s no guarantee that he will actually sleep, your travels will go a whole lot easier if he snoozes for at least part of it.

👉If your schedules don’t match up, have you considered engaging a pet and house sitter? Find out more

 

3. Pack a squeegee when travelling with a dog

Squeegees aren’t just for cleaning car windows. They can actually be very beneficial at cleaning up dog hair. You can use it to get up hair on carpets, furniture or beds.

 

4. Get the contact information for vets at your destination

Unfortunately, dogs can get sick or become injured when you are travelling. Because of this, you need to know where the nearest vet is. You don’t want to wait until there’s an emergency in order to find a vet.

Research vets at your destination beforehand. Reach out to them to make sure that they are taking new patients.

If they are, keep their contact information handy just in case you need it while you are at your destination.

how to travel with a dog

 

5. Strategise so that they’ll need to relieve themselves less on travel days

You probably don’t want to stop constantly so that your dog can relieve himself. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do so that he will need to go potty less.

Don’t feed him or give him water right before you walk out of the door. You may want to feed him or give him water so that he’s not hungry or thirsty, but he will just need to relieve himself at an inopportune time.

Try giving him something to eat or drink about an hour before you walk out of the door.

 

6. Use a pet carrier that has wheels

Carrying your dog around over long periods of time can be difficult. You can make it easier on yourself by getting a pet carrier that has wheels. This will allow you to safely navigate your way around a crowded airport without putting your dog’s safety in jeopardy. Just make sure that he is used to it well ahead of travel time.

Do a few practice runs in the weeks leading up to your vacation. In order to make it easier for him or her, put a favourite toy or blankets in it as well.

 

7. Bring an indoor potty system

There may be times where you can’t take your dog outside to relieve himself. This is where an indoor potty system can come in handy.

You can use it when your dog gets sick and needs somewhere to go pretty quickly. It also might be forbidden to let your dog relieve himself outside of your holiday destination, or you might find that it’s very rainy out and isn’t safe to take him outside.

No matter what the reason may be, he can use the indoor potty system to relieve himself. You won’t have to deal with accidents because there wasn’t a place to take him to do so.

 

8. Pack baking soda

Even dogs that have been potty trained for a long time can have accidents while travelling.

If your dog pees on a carpet, you can easily clean this up with a bit of baking soda. All you need to do is sprinkle it over the wet spot. In a few minutes it will absorb all of the urine.

 

9. Portion their food beforehand

You want to make sure that you pack the right amount of food for your dog. One way to do this is by portioning it before you travel.

Pack a day’s worth of food in a sealable bag. This will ensure that your dog gets the right amount of food, and you won’t have to travel with dog food that you won’t end up using.

travelling with a dog

 

10. Have an extra collar and leash

One of the most misplaced items when travelling is a collar or leash. This is why you need to have an extra of both. You don’t want to let your dog run around without a leash or collar, and there might not be a retailer near your hotel where you can purchase one.

 

11. Pack a can of chicken broth

Dogs can easily get upset tummies when they are travelling. If your dog just has a little bit of motion sickness, you don’t necessarily have to run to the vet.

Chicken broth can help soothe their stomach.

Place a little bit of it in his/her water to drink. Chicken broth is packed with nutrients, and it can make him feel better pretty quickly. Just make sure that you choose a chicken broth that’s low in sodium as too much salt isn’t good for dogs.

Travelling with your dog can prove to be a very enjoyable time for the both of you. If you will be travelling with your dog soon, make sure you utilise some of the travel hacks mentioned above. By doing so, you will ensure that both you and your dog have a great time no matter where in the world you go.

 

Got questions or other tips? Let us know in the comments.

Can’t take your pooch with you on holidays? Have a read about other options so they’re well cared for while you’re away 💕

 

 

Best Valencia restaurants: travel guide

Best Valencia restaurants: travel guide

Best Valencia restaurants: travel guide

It’s a foodie dream and a city you want to wander – discover our picks for the best Valencia restaurants. Though smaller than Barcelona and Madrid, it is quickly establishing itself as a culinary destination with a thriving restaurant scene.
The Valencian region has 22 Michelin-star restaurants under its belt, acknowledging its gastronomical prowess.
Aside from fine-dining, you are spoilt for choice for restaurants in the city of Valencia.  

Best Valencia restaurants for Paella

No trip to Valencia is complete without trying the traditional dish: paella.
Although paella has become synonymous with Spanish cuisine, the dish originates from Valencia where the rice is grown.
Despite its different variations, the traditional paella valenciana is made with chicken, rabbit, green beans and garrófo (butter beans).

Borja Azcutia
Not a touristy place but classy, authentic and beloved by locals. They serve a perfectly executed paella Valenciana, also with duck. 
Arrocería Duna
If you want to get back to the roots and eat paella in its birthplace, take a trip to Albufera. A short bus ride out of the city, you will find the wild beach of El Saler and this dreamy restaurant.
Restaurante Canela
For something reasonably priced located in the city centre try this restaurant right next to the historic Torres de Quart. 
Find best paella restaurants in Valencia Spain

Best Valencia restaurants for Tapas

When visiting Spain, tapas is a must!
The term “tapas” actually refers to any small appetizer.
Valencian culture is largely about sharing food so tapas is perfect as you can get many dishes to share as a table. Practice your Spanish as you delve into these delicious spots 👇
Central Bar
This tapas bar is probably the best well-known in Valencia.
Run by valencian-born michelin-star chef Ricard Camarena, the bar is located in the heart of Mercado Central. It has an unmatchable ambiance and is always busy. It is the perfect place for a mid-morning glass of wine and the roast chicken croquettes are exceptional.
Bar Rausell
Bar Rausell is known for being one of the most classic establishments in Valencia with a barra – the traditional way of displaying the tapas at the bar.
Their most loved dishes are their patatas bravas and sepia con mayonesa (cuttlefish with mayonnaise).
Bar Ricardo
Like Rausell, Bar Ricardo has been around for decades.
Though not a fancy place, the extraordinary quality of the tapas makes up for the rustic interior. Try the patatas bravas and the montaditos (small sandwiches).
Find the best tapas restaurants in Valencia Spain

Best for fusion food

Valencian has gained recognition for its innovative chefs and creative dishes, establishing it as more than just paella! 
Canalla Bistro
A dinner at this trendy Ruzafa bistro is one of the best restaurants for understanding how Valencian gastronomy has flourished in recent years.
The informal downtown restaurant of Michelin-star chef Ricard Camarena, the tasting menu focuses on local ingredients inspired by international street food. 
Gallina Negra
Located in one of the main streets of El Carmen, Gallina Negra offers an innovative menu with creative twists on classic dishes.
The restaurant has a fresh feel with stylish and minimalist design. They also serve what has been nicknamed the best cheesecake in Valencia!
Karak
This restaurant is highly acclaimed for its chef, Rakel Cernicharo, former winner of Top Chef. Cernicharo made her fame thanks to her creative and fusion recipes. She plays with textures and international inspiration. The restaurant is located inside Hotel One Shot Mercat 09, a classy hotel in the city center. 

Best Valencia restaurants travel and foodie guide

Best Valencia restaurants based on product

Spain is lucky to be able to produce a lot of its own ingredients. Certain restaurants in Valencia showcase the highest calibre of different local ingredients. 
Askua
This restaurant is Michelin-star quality due to the level of product. Though not as innovative as Michelin-star winners, it has the best steak tartare in all of Spain. It also is known for its extensive wine menu. 
Bocamada
Fish lovers need look no further than Bocamada.
This classy restaurant situated in the Ruzafa district of Valencia has an extensive fish menu. The must-try dish here is the lubina al sal (salted sea bass). 
Civera Marisquerías
This restaurant is the best option for all things shellfish and seafood. They are known for their spectacular crab and lobster dishes in particular.

Best Valencia restaurants travel guide

Valencia foodie experiences 


If you are looking for a unique dining experience, try a Sea Saffron tour.
This young company’s experiences are the top-rated activity on TripAdvisor for a reason. They combine a cultural walking tour with a tasting menu of local gastronomy paired with regional wines: all in an unforgettable setting.
The menus are changed seasonally to showcase the best of local produce alongside a wine selection chosen to surprise and delight. 
Choose between two emblematic venues of Valencia.
Discover the modern side of the city and the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences complex before ascending to the highest rooftop in Valencia for panoramic views.
Or for something steeped in history and culture, opt for a tour of Valencia Old Town before dining in an intimate venue set in the original 11th Century city walls!
Whichever you choose, you will enjoy the finest of Valencian flavours with a focus on local providers and regional winemakers. Sea Saffron invites you to discover the best of what the Valencian region has to offer, in a truly unique way.

Vacation planner: why one or two days isn’t enough to see a place

Vacation planner: why one or two days isn’t enough to see a place

Any avid vacation planner or world explorer will agree that there are few experiences as impactful as the ones that we get when we are travelling. A change of scenery, some brand new sights and a little glimpse into a different culture. It’s unbeatable. 

The world is massive and when we’re at home we only get to see a tiny fraction of it. This planet expanses almost 200 million miles across roughly 190 countries and there are nearly eight billion people on it. There is a lot going on and each of us only gets a minuscule piece of it.

That’s why we relish in the opportunity to travel (and why many of us are struggling, waiting until we can travel again). Well it’s part of the reason anyway.

‘Wanderlust’, as we like to call our compulsion to explore the world, actually has a basis in psychology. It’s a genetic inclination that most of us seem to have.

That’s why, when we get the opportunity to do it, we try to cram as much as possible into the short space of time that we have. And in truth, it’s probably too much, in too short a space of time. 

Why one or two days isn't enough to see a place

 

Stay for even longer if you can

If you take a tour or quick break you may be especially guilty of ‘travel cramming’. With just a couple of weeks to explore, we try to travel plan four or five cities into an itinerary, including only two or three days in each one. 

I know not everyone has the chance to take their time or travel as a digital nomad. But it’s a shame, because slotting just a couple of days into your vacation planner to explore brand new places really isn’t enough time. That’s not to say it isn’t fun and you won’t get some of the benefits of travel that you’re looking for, but you’re kind of cheating yourself of getting a real experience of a city if you’re only there for a couple of days.

Now while it does depend on the city, how big it is and how much there is to do and see, I think you should aim for at least a week if you want to really indulge in the most important things that a city has to offer.

But don’t just take the time for granted, use it to actually get a good sense of the place and an understanding of what it’s really like there.

 

Here’s a few ways to do that:

Stay in an Airbnb

If you’re not in a specific city for too long, it seems like the logical choice to just stay in a hotel. They’re expensive, unless you’re staying in a really bad one, but it’s only two or three days so that’s not a huge deal.

If you’re staying for a week or more, that money is going to start to pile up and that’s a deterrent for a lot of people to spend too long in one city. Either they’ll have no money left to do anything or they legitimately just won’t be able to afford it. 

So this is when you look at the cheaper options, and Airbnb is your best choice. 

 

You could also go for hostels if you wanted, that would be even cheaper still, but hostels aren’t really for everyone. Most of the guests there are going to be students, you’re basically guaranteed to be sharing a room and a bathroom with strangers and chances are you’ll really struggle to get any privacy whatsoever.

Airbnbs range from just a room in a larger place to an entire apartment to yourself to a log cabin in the woods in some cases. It’s always your own space and it’s always going to be cheaper than a hotel.

I would suggest that if you can, you should try and find a way to make a little money whilst you’re on your travels and then you can basically cover the entire cost of your accommodation. There’s lot of ways to make money online you’ve probably never come across before.

A non-strenuous, online job for your travels, coupled with the inexpensive route of Airbnbs and your accommodation costs shouldn’t come close to putting a dent in your budget.

travel planning how long you should stay in a place for

 

Allow yourself to get lost

I don’t mean this literally. You shouldn’t actually try to get lost in any foreign country because then you’d kind of be screwed. But luckily for us, it’s 2020 and that means that we have Google Maps.

This makes it pretty difficult to actually get lost and it makes exploration so much easier and more efficient. What I really mean by allowing yourself to get lost is that you just shouldn’t over-plan your stay.

I can see the urge to do that. You’re only in a city for a limited amount of time and you have to try and fit everything in. So you fill up every second with some sight to see or some activity to try. 

And when you’re rushing around trying to do all of these different things you’re not really experiencing any of them. You’re just constantly thinking about the clock and whatever public transport system you need to get on next. 

By giving yourself extra time, you can eliminate this problem to an extent by spreading stuff out but actually spread stuff out. Don’t use the opportunity to try and pile more activities in, leave yourself plenty of empty space.

And use that empty space to explore. Just leave your Airbnb without any real plan in mind of what you’re going to do and just have a look around. Do some research and find out where you should avoid, but give yourself free reign of the safe parts. 

You’ll end up seeing things that didn’t pop up on your Google searches of what you should do while in this particular city. Everywhere has its own hidden gems and the best part about them is that they won’t all be crowded by tourists.

how long would you like to stay in one place for

 

Talk to the locals

You want to get a real insight into the culture and the lives of the people living in the city? Well then you gotta talk to them. Let me add a little disclaimer to this one, be careful about who you choose to talk to.

If you’re in a city that’s known for scams or for danger and crime on the streets, then don’t just talk to random strangers because you could get yourself into trouble. Also, maybe just don’t go to cities like that in the first place.

But in safe places, I don’t think you should shy away from just talking to people you see on the street, in the park or in coffee shops. Some of them won’t be receptive, and some of them won’t speak your language, but some of them will and you could end up with a unique conversation.

Also, don’t just limit it to people on the street, try some other avenues too. Use a site like meetups.com and look up things you’re interested in. You’ll be shocked at how active sites like that are.

There’s basically guaranteed to be something going on while you’re in town and you’ll meet like-minded locals and probably a few other travellers too. It’s a fascinating thing to engage with local cultures and personally I think it’s an essential while travelling.

 

Go a little rural

The thing that I sometimes find about cities is that while they are all unique in their own way, there’s a certain amount of similarities and things that every major city seems to have in common.

Shopping, bars and restaurants, museums, historical sites, that’s what you look for when trying to find things to do in a new city. But the essence of the area is elsewhere, where urbanisation hasn’t been able to set in yet. Here’s a nice example from Sarah and Cooper who run this blog:

 

It’s often in the outer edges of the city, where things start to  get a little rural where you can get a glimpse of what the place is actually like, what truly makes it unique. Now look, you can’t do this in every city.

Rural areas just aren’t all that accessible in certain places. The best course of action is to get a train out to the countryside, find a hiking trail that’s easy to get to or some kind of rural tour. Don’t just go wandering out by yourself. 

Research beforehand and see if there’s ways you can experience some of the rural areas of the place you’re visiting and be sure to take advantage of it if you can.

With all of that said, the really important thing to remember is the fact that how you travel is entirely up to you. If you like just hopping from city to city then that’s fine, that approach has its own merits. But taking a slower, more deliberate approach is definitely worth a shot. Try it, it could be a revelation for you.

 

Guest post supplied by Amy Rhodes. If you'd like to write for Travel Live Learn, drop us a line using the 'contact us' link on this page.
Finding hope in uncertain times

Finding hope in uncertain times

I’ve been living in fear and anger lately, without much hope in uncertain times. We’ve had to leave our home in the UK, only to be treated like we don’t belong ‘back home’ in Australia. We couldn’t say goodbye to any of our friends or even to our life of the past six years – just had to jump on a plane and hope for the best. It’s been very sh!t.

COVID-19 has impacted a lot of people in many terrible ways. Some people don’t understand, they remain lucky and unscathed; the most they have to complain about is that the gym is closed. Others find themselves in situations where they can’t see sick or dying family in hospital or at home. Cooper and I had our lives torn away from us, and I haven’t seen light or hope, if I’m honest. Grief.

Finding hope in uncertain times

I know I don’t want to live like this. So, as we sit in mandatory 14 day isolation in a hotel in Australia, I’m finally getting to a point where I feel like I want to make the best of it. Acceptance.

This has been many weeks coming though. If you’ve followed the stories on this blog, you’ll know we’re now in our fifth week of isolation.

We got caught in Italy when lock-down was announced on 10 March.

Then we witnessed the health crisis unfold in the UK, although we were watching from a distance in our beautiful little corner of Bedfordshire with our friends Andy and Helen who we met through house sitting adventures.

 

Hope and acceptance amidst impossible decisions

We found ourselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. If we stayed in the UK, we did have accommodation and I had employment. But, Australia is harder and harder to access now (closed borders, very few international flights in), family is here and we seem less affected by Coronavirus (so far). Is it a better bet? After what we’ve witnessed, we worry that many here are too complacent – that Coronavirus will explode after Easter. I hope that prediction is wrong.

A friend recently gave me some advice about dealing with impossible decisions. She said, “sometimes you just have to make the choice, commit to it and make it work“.

Now that we’re here, we’ll make the best of it, even if ‘it’ means taking things month at a time.

There’s also a school of thought that my friend Leanne (publisher of Get it Magazine) and I have been focusing on. Time is something we have gained through Coronavirus isolation. Read our April Get it e-news for our tips on the ways you can use your time to improve your business and your life 😄

We have to hold onto this 👇

“Now more than ever, hope can actually become our power source.” -Deepak Chopra

 

Finding hope in uncertain (and isolated) times: our fave tools

No matter what’s going on in your life, in the end, hope comes from within. And it’s something we have to practice accessing – we can’t take it for granted. (just like you shouldn’t take your time, fresh air, fresh food, nice bed, and HEALTH for granted – think about that today 🙏).

So, from within the confines of our forced lock-down in Australia, here’s what we’re leaning on:

Hope in Uncertain Times, 21 day meditation experience (FREE on the app at time of publishing)

Gratitude practices

– Yoga – we love Adriene and Benji on YouTube

Home fitness classes including Barre, Pilates and Boxing on Popsugar Fitness TV

– Positive social media, like content coming from pages like this one from our friend Madonna Williams of Zen Soul Life

– Gabby Bernstein’s ‘Miracles Now’ card deck

Finding hope in uncertain times - Gabby Bernstein Miracles Now cards are helping our sanity

Find out more about what we are and importantly, are NOT doing, in this post about managing Coronavirus anxiety.

 

Helpful advice

Throughout this disaster that we know will end, although no end is in sight, I know more than just Cooper and I have retreated ‘home’. A wise friend and lifestyle coach Linda Stewart-Brown, reminded me that going back to your roots isn’t a bad thing, and to not feel like I’m peddling backwards. She says:

There are some things that need clearing up and finalising, in one way or another. Doing this, one step back, as you might see it, also means the next step is definitely forward! A strategic retreat and then transformation and clarification to be able to move ahead more quickly and with greater success. It is difficult to see right now, however, in 18 months, or less, this will all be 20/20 hindsight for which you will be very grateful.

 

I learnt a little something in this mental health and life coaching training too, that talks about a nice evening ritual. The course mentors encourage us to visualise our future at night. If you’ve got a partner, talk about it before bed. No worries if you’re on your own – pull out your journal and write as if you’re in that future moment.

Feel the health, travel, fun, freedom and abundance that’s on the way.

 

We hope you’re doing ok in these uncertain times. Let us know in the comments about your experiences, or find us on social media to say hi. We’re in isolation, after all – happy for your company 😉

And if you have any helpful ideas or resources to share, do feel free to link them below.