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.
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.
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.
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 💕
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).
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.
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).
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
A few days before we were set to fly, the Australian government announced what they claim is ‘necessary’ to stop the spread of Coronavirus here. Every international arrival is sent into forced quarantine – somewhere, like maybe a hotel, motel, student accommodation or caravan.
We’ve found it interesting that family and friends think this is fine. No questions asked.
“It’ll probably be a hotel”.
“You’ll be right – it’s meant to be 5-star.”
“I assume you’ll have internet.” [for not just fun, but we work for ourselves!]
Interesting, that so many have an attitude about it being ‘fine’ – as long as we’re back on ‘Aussie soil’.
If only we could touch that soil. If only we could get some fresh air during this Coronavirus Australia mandatory quarantine. And what is in the food that I’m eating, since I do have allergies?
An unacceptable lack of information
This policy rolled-out all too quickly, allegedly because “80% of the Coronavirus cases in Australia have come from abroad”.
Funny, we now know six people in Brisbane who believe they have had Coronavirus (experiencing everything from very mild to very bad symptoms). None of them were tested. One of them had been overseas. Some went to work and grocery shopping across the space of a couple of weeks.
Many countries have already enforced strict ‘stay at home’ policies. That’s absolutely not the case yet in Australia. The response to target incoming travellers would be reasonable, if everyone was treated the same here. It’s not happening – and we know how this works. It’s our third Coronavirus quarantine in five weeks. Aussies have no idea what lock down really means, and consistently disregard the rules.
The government’s response here, typically, is to target anyone stepping off a boat or a plane. Keeping in mind these are all residents – with ‘rights’ – because no one else has been able to enter the country for weeks.
The policy announcements came with zero information on what incoming travellers should expect. On the plane there was no information on what to expect. Brisbane airport was FULL of federal police and the army, to ‘welcome’ a flight of just a few hundred who had boarded internationally. Everyone was silent. We filled in several forms and finally Cooper and I had confirmation that we wouldn’t be separated.
Then we were told to wait:
“…the police will pick you up soon”.
It was about two hours after all passengers had cleared immigration that we were all herded onto a bus. Still no confirmation on what was going on. Everyone diligently packed their suitcases under the bus, boarded, and finally our coach full of masked avengers left… to go somewhere.
After a 25 hour commute of two flights, and a three hour wait at the airport for everyone to be processed, Cooper and I were on the road again. We spotted the exit signs and figured we were headed to the Gold Coast, just over an hour from Brisbane.
Half way down the highway, one poor young woman begged the bus driver to pull over – she was desperate for the loo.
“We weren’t told anything at the airport, I assumed we were staying in Brisbane. I wouldn’t be asking if I wasn’t desperate – I can’t wait another half hour,” she pleaded.
So, our coach driver flashed his lights in the dark at our police escort in front (I know, really?!), and we were all happy to see that this poor chick wasn’t going to pee herself in the bus!
But that’s how little information we’ve been given. We’ve not even officially been told when check-out is.
Yet, most people we know think this is fine.
If it was your partner or your child in this situation, wouldn’t you want to know what the plan was for them?
Forgive me for being anxious and really pissed off about the whole thing.
Meanwhile, there was a lot of traffic on the road between the Gold Coast and Brisbane on this random Wednesday evening. Who exactly is prioritising staying at home then?
Basic human rights and the Coronavirus Australia mandatory quarantine
We ended up at the Voco Hotel on the Gold Coast. It’s nice enough and staff are doing their best. The windows don’t open though. And we’re confined in one room for the next 14 days. A legion of police and army were here to escort us to our rooms and ensure we didn’t run. For God’s sake – I would understand why someone would want to. And, we’ve heard reports of solo travellers threatening to self harm because of this isolation experiment.
Plenty of people still out and about in the street though, from what we can see out of our window.
Smokers here in quarantine are allowed to go out on an escorted break for ‘fresh air’. How ironic.
For those of you who say or Tweet, ‘”Oh wow, quit moaning, you get a free two week holiday”, find some empathy. And quit ignorant trolling!
Even if you’re self isolating – as we have been in England following getting caught in Italy’s lock down – we bet you’re in a place with more than one room. You’ve probably got a garden you can go out to, yes? Or a door or window to open for fresh air, right? You can go for a walk and choose the food you want – or need – for your own wellbeing.
Do you suffer asthma from air-conditioning like I do? We’ll be requesting time outside. Let’s see what they say.
Go shut yourself in your bedroom for 14 days, lock the windows and then tell me how reasonable this is. Tell me that’s good for your mental health and physical wellbeing, or that of your kids?
Since when did we become prisoners?
We’re not the only ones picking up on the problem with this rushed-through government policy.
Most of us aren’t even sick, and don’t have Coronavirus, let alone have criminal convictions.
This BBC video shows another recent arrival to Australia – she highlights really well that a ‘five star’ room isn’t any bigger than your bedroom, and since when should we have our basic rights like moving around (responsibly), fresh air and fresh food taken away in 2020?
What we’d say from this experience is please be careful what you’re consuming from the television and governments.
THINK about how others are impacted before saying, “you’ll be right”, or posting how great you think a free holiday would be, or how much you love working from home (when you’re not really working from home). Someone you know is having a tough time because of this world crises.
Live from Coronavirus Australia mandatory quarantine
We’ll do our best, and we’re refocusing every day, using tools like yoga, gratitude and keeping in touch with family and friends. We know this is far from the worst situation anyone could find themselves in, but at this difficult time, we expected more consideration from those in charge.
If you’re struggling with Coronavirus anxiety, especially if you’re travelling or a digital nomad, our key tips on dealing with all of it are here.
We genuinely hope Australia – and the world – can get on top of this quickly, so we can all get on with our lives. But this Coronavirus Australia mandatory quarantine policy for residents entering the country feels very narrow minded, and like something that serves as more of a ‘popular vote’ for the prime minister, than anything that takes proper care of Australian citizens. All of them. Would it not have been cheaper simply to test us for the disease?
The Australian Red Cross is now involved in liaising with state health bodies, like Queensland Health, to lobby for better conditions for thousands of returning travellers like us. A representative made contact with us yesterday (8 April) on rounds calling all people in hotels on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane. They confirmed that there is a serious issue with people not being allowed fresh air, exercise and fresh food. In some cases, the government has been required to make changes at hotels because the food being provided was of ‘unacceptable quality’. Maybe people coming ‘home’ from now on will be housed in accommodation where windows at least open – that would be a good start, and it’s reasonable to expect in Australia.
Always happy to hear your stories or perspective though – drop us a line in the comments. And please – wherever you are – stay inside and stop the spread!
👉Subscribe on Youtube and Facebook … you don’t want to miss us going live from our ‘free holiday’ 😆
It’s with a heavy heart that this proud expat blogger writes one of her last posts from our adopted home of England. London has been such a wonderful adventure. It’s not been without ups and downs, laughter, tears and lessons.
But, we’ve lived our motto here: life is about experiences.
Expat blogger – future uncertainty
I had wanted so very much to settle in England. We’ve produced plenty of blogs for expats and travellers here on Travel Live Learn. And as a reader on this site – to you I say thank you 🙏 I am grateful.
As an ‘expert’ expat blogger, I started out getting together guides on living and working in London. Cooper developed our videos too, that showcase fun, travel and tips. We’ve been lucky to be recognised for content on this site with a couple of awards, and have covered wonderful destinations while living over here.
As I look over it all now, I have to admit to fighting back tears. It’s hard to let go of one life and go back to another – or start yet again. That’s risk we take though, forging a space for ourselves in a new country. You either get to stay or one day must leave. But we must not forget: life is about experiences.
Difficult decisions for expats all over the world
We’re at the end of March 2020 and as I type, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is changing the face of the planet. It was completely unexpected, and it certainly is not discriminating in who is impacted. The world has been dealing with this public health crisis since January, although then most people outside of China where the disease originated, never predicted the impact that’s unfolding.
I type this while on ‘self-isolation’ in the English countryside. We were lucky to get out of Italy when things shifted from ‘manageable’ to ‘catastrophic’ overnight on 10 March. Cooper and I found it very difficult to get a flight out to leave.
Just as we made it back to England though, lock-downs and strict measures were imposed. With the threat of airline closures and restricted international flights, it feels like we’re heading back to the days where travel was far less accessible and much more expensive. The UK has already seen one major airline go into receivership over the past week. Which other airlines will follow?
As we come to the end of our work sabbatical which was covered in major media, I fear our story about inspired action is turning into one of retreat, back to ‘our’ official corner of the world. We are set to renew visas for the UK in July, but with so much uncertainty around the future, I am sad to say it seems like that that dream will no longer become a reality. As these shocking events continue to sweep the globe, I doubt very much we are the only travellers, digital nomads and expats forced to reconsider our paths. Borders are closing. People are worried. The tourism industry and way we travel will look different on the other side.
How it feels to leave ‘home’
As I type this I remember the little things about life in the UK. Old church bells chiming. Work bus commutes when I’d to listen to new music that would become the soundtrack to special moments. My favourite walk around London Fields where I’d feel so happy sometimes I’d almost burst. Dog spotting on the tube; identifying wonderful old buildings amongst innovative new ones. Swifty at Wembley! Swifty at BST Hyde Park, for that matter 💕
I remember ‘stairwell lunches’ with my friends when we’d laugh so much and be told off for being too jovial; and impromptu after-work pub runs that would last ’til 11:30pm mid-week, with the sun just down not long before that. Just ‘popping over’ to France, or Spain, or Italy on the train or plane. Pride, festivals, fairy lights and Christmas markets, dining in igloos by the Thames, fireworks night, bank holidays spent in the park and at the loveliest markets in the world.
Only in London.
There were moments I helped people get through tough times. They became my good friends. And other times when people here would show up for me, just as I needed them. I call them too, my best friends. Sunny park days in summer – oh the joy of sunshine 😀! And snow days of course – always gleeful for an Aussie in London. We made a mark, got a special invite to Buckingham Palace, covered royal weddings, and mostly just enjoyed life in the big, mad, historical, beautiful, wonderful city that London is. I’m sad [understatement] to leave. This has been our home. It is a home of ours.
But after six years, and because of this pandemic and situation, the best version of a ‘goodbye’ we could do with all our friends – our UK family – was on WhatsApp.
What to do when the world is ending
Maybe a bit dramatic, but you’d agree if you saw Heathrow as we did today – like an eerie mall, all closed down, lifeless – another planet. As an expat blogger who now needs to find a new niche and start another life, you get where I’m coming from, I hope. Everyone has been impacted by this, and will be for months, if not years to come.
But we’ve been hit hard.
Our life as we embraced it was ripped away today.
We’re working on new projects already though, like this venture into wellness travel (podcast launching soon); but when can those who value travel, safely and freely travel again?
We left here once before and I consoled myself with the idea of bringing adventure back home. I’d spoken to another expat friend too and discovered there is a mourning process around leaving somewhere you love, somewhere you’ve invested heart and soul into. Having two homes – I’ve always maintained – is a blessing and a curse.
Coming to terms with change
This time when we leave the UK, I don’t know, maybe it’s for good? That’s not how we feel right now though. This is a ‘trial’ separation 😉
We know we’re lucky to have options, and family and friends who are happy to see us (and we to see them). But, I’m only at a ‘2’ on the change curve, which you can probably guess from the tone of this post – in a state of disruption I’m feeling anger and fear.
It all goes too quickly, is the old lesson. Wasn’t it just yesterday we arrived back mid-2014, to pick up where we left off in 2011? Isn’t it all so delicate, just hanging by a thin thread that can break at any time. Like now.
If you’re impacted by the fallout of borders closing or difficult circumstances brought about by being based in another country, being a digital nomad, or the change that’s been thrust upon you now, let us know about your experience in the comments. We’d also love for you to join us in our Facebook group – come say hi today!
Welcome to Travel Live learn, where we are passionate about living a life full of great adventures. We are Sarah + Cooper, and here we share our advice and stories about expat living in the UK; pet and house sitting around the world; wellness travel and creative living, no matter where on the planet you are. We have worked in media, communication and creative roles for 20 years, and have spent over 10 years living and working abroad. We hope you find value in our content. Please do connect by leaving a comment or find us on social media.