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Inside our Coronavirus Australia mandatory quarantine

Inside our Coronavirus Australia mandatory quarantine

So now we’re caught inside the Coronavirus Australia mandatory quarantine. Just brilliant 🤨

We were told we’d be better off coming ‘back home’, away from the UK where we’ve been residents for the past six years. They say the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has not yet reached its peak there. So of course we’re better off in Australia, right?

Australia, ‘the land of the free’.

We aren’t so sure.

Coronavirus Australia mandatory quarantine

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?

 

Inside our Coronavirus Australia mandatory quarantine - is Australia violating human rights by treating recent arrivals worse than prisoners? Our story...

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.

Guessing games

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.

Good time to take up smoking, I’d say.

We’ve read this evening that some people in Sydney even had their room keys taken away from them. What the actual f!ck?

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.

People in forced quarantine around Australia have made the same comments as us: prisoners are allowed exercise and fresh air, why aren’t we?

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?

 

Latest update

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’ 😆

Taylor Swift ‘London Boy’ guide to the capital 💕

Taylor Swift ‘London Boy’ guide to the capital 💕

“You know I love a London boy, I enjoy nights in Brixton, Shoreditch in the afternoon…”

It’s no secret Cooper and I are Swifties (the collective term for ‘fans of Taylor Swift’). He might not like me mentioning it too much in public, but trust me, we’re up there dancing with the best of them at her shows 😁

 

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You’re likely to know by now that she’s released a new album – the 7th studio album in her excellent collection. Taylor Swift London Boy – we love this track on Lover! Don’t get your hopes up about running into her in the UK capital though. The song tells a story about where she spends time with her ‘London Boy’ Joe Alwyn. And they’re known for not advertising where they are.

But you can still take a wander around places that are obviously close to her heart. (and if you’re a super fan, you might have heard about this odd theory that her lyrics actually map out a heart around London. hehe)

Must say, I’ve read some rather cynical accounts of Swifty’s London Boy guide to the city. But, as someone who is also rather in love with London, I kinda like her guide.

Taylor Swift London Boy city guide

We’ve compiled some travel info for any of you other Swifties out there interested in taking in the experiences and areas she’s mentioned.

Camden Market

In Taylor Swift’s London Boy she mentions “Camden Market in the afternoon”. Ok so Camden is pretty cool and you’ll find a lot of things (probably stuff you don’t need) at the market. If you get tired of big crowds though, don’t go in the afternoon.

We’d suggest going later at night, or early in the morning. Camden Market is well worth a look, but time it so you don’t get trampled!

Maybe try some halloumi fries while you’re there. With thousands of views, this is one of Cooper’s most popular videos on YouTube. Still can’t believe he visited and ate them without me!

FEST is also a nice spot that decorates according to the season. Nice to go for a drink away from the crowds.

 

Highgate and Hampstead Heath

Taylor’s spent a bit of time in the suburbs of North London. It’s known to be a bit affluent, posh even. Granted, we like it. We house sat in Crouch End recently. We also enjoyed a house sit near beautiful Hampstead Heath that boasts miles and miles of parkland walks, lakes and stunning views across London.

There’s a number of tube/Overground stops that will take you right up to one of the entrances to Hampstead Heath.

Leafy Highgate is best known for its cemetery. It’s an old one, and also the final resting place for many well-known figures including another one of our music faves, George Michael.

 

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West End and Soho

The West End is a catchall term for London’s central entertainment and shopping districts, like Covent Garden, Soho, Chinatown and Leicester Square.

 

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Like Camden, it gets very very crowded. But there’s some cool experiences to be had here. Most of ours include food 😆

Sketch, pictured above, is pretty special (don’t miss going to the bathrooms – just trust us). For a bit of craziness in Soho, you’ll find us digging for an afternoon drink deal at Bar Soho. (Swifty mentions ‘drinking in the afternoon’… sure, it’s a thing on a sunny day 🌞). There’s plenty of food joints, bars and pubs in the vicinity of Bar Soho, if you can get yourself down that way.

And when you need a snack (yup, you know what I’m talking about), go here:

Hackney, Shoreditch and the east end

aww, our ‘London home’ side of the city. For a large part of the last century the east end struggled. Much of it was badly hit during WWII, and the poorest Londoners resided here.

A lot has happened in recent years. Shoreditch and neighbouring Dalston are arguably ‘trendy’. No doubt there’s a cool energy, lots of boutique stores, arty experiences and a surprising side of London to see.

Taylor Swift in London Boy mentions Hackney as a place to explore, over “Louis V on Bond Street”. Agreed.

Broadway Market is our absolute favourite experience in the east. Head over there early on Saturday for one of the best, loveliest local markets in the city. Around the corner is a fabulous bar/restaurant/pop-up store space called Mare Street Market. Highly recommended. Then, take your foodie treats, sit in London Fields (park) and people watch.

You can view east London in all its glory from this excellent rooftop venue:

 

High tea in London Boy

I read a news item saying that ‘purists’ will be upset with Taylor Swift for calling ‘afternoon tea’ ‘high tea’. Weird – that’s how I know it. And that’s how it’s marketed. All tastes the same 😋

Top London travel tip: before coming to London, sign up for a discount site like LivingSocial or Groupon. There’s plenty of awesome deals on high tea or afternoon tea! Buy one ahead of your trip and indulge.

 

Brixton and south London

Down to south London now. Brixton is famous for music, cool markets and lots of new fun things opening all the time.

Jump on the Victoria line and head on over to this side of the city. Culture Trip‘s published a helpful guide on things to do in Brixton.

 

“Stick with me, I’m your Queen…”

Ok so you’re coming to the capital. You’ve seen The Crown, Victoria… Get amongst some Royal action while you’re in town. Why not.

Head to Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace and Windsor for highlights.

 

Bond Street and central London

In London Boy, Taylor Swift mentions ‘Louis V’ (the store), but implies exploring the rest of London outside of the glitz is just as fun (true).

You do need to explore central London though. Why? Because it is lovely!

From the historical buildings in Bloomsbury to stunning St Paul’s and Thames walks – find out why people, including us and Swifty, fall in love with this place.

 

Bonus: get yourself to a good old fashioned English pub

A quintessential London experience: the pub. They’re different in England than pubs in other places. Cosy, chilled, good times.

Careful in London that you don’t get dragged into a touristy pub – nothing wrong with them, but they’re often more expensive and lack the authentic charm that your local neighbourhood pubs have.

One of our favourites is in Angel, east London. Take a look.

 

So you see, Taylor Swift views the city like many of us do. For those who don’t like it, tough. The visitor numbers can’t be denied, nor our fabulous city’s millions of fans all over the world. I’ll take my rose-tinted view whenever I can 🌈

 

Please do add your tips or questions in the comments below. See you in London!

 

Taylor Swift London Boy, image: Dimitrios Kambouris/VMN19

 

 

How a dog hotel is helping find furever homes 💕

How a dog hotel is helping find furever homes 💕

This lovely story on how a dog hotel is helping to find furever homes popped into our inbox recently.

We were so inspired that we had to share. We’re embarking on pawesome travels ourselves, and one of our most visited posts here is on options available for your dog when you travel. So, we figured this dog hotel item is a good fit 🐕

A boutique dog hotel making a big difference

As this tale goes, in March 2017 Ashley Bush received a photo from a friend. The pic featured an adorable little dog called Chester who was ‘one of the team’ greeting guests in the lobby of a Florida hotel, the Aloft Tallahassee Downtown.

Chester was a rescue dog, recruited as part of the hotel’s foster dog program.

Curiosity got the better of Ashley. That’s how she ended up stopping in to meet Chester.

The Leon County Humane Society had placed the Pekingise/Chihuahua cutie at Aloft for his effervescence and abundant cuteness. They also figured he had a unique ability to thrive in the busy environment of a hotel lobby. If he got tired, they’d set him up with his own doghouse, a custom-built replica of the hotel.

Ashley said she felt an immediate connection with Chester (pictured below).

“I put him on a leash and took him around. He jumped up on the sofa next to me, very curious and sweet. Chester seemed very well-adjusted.”

 

How a dog hotel is helping find furever homes - Chester before adoption

 

Travel + dogs 🐶

Ashley and her partner, Walter, ended up adopting Chester 🙌

How many of us are likely to book a local hotel staycation, and leave with a furry friend? Cooper and I probably would!

Chester was the third dog adopted from the Aloft Tallahassee Downtown as part of their foster pet program. This excellent initiative was started by the Aloft Asheville Downtown and it’s spread to some of the group’s other hotels in America.

Each hotel partners with a top local animal rescue facility and hundreds of rescue dogs have found new homes through the collective program.

 

Chester before adoption - amazing work being done by this dog hotel

 

Where did the idea come from?

Seems serendipity was at play. Emma Ledbetter, director of food and beverage at Aloft Asheville, was flying to interview for her current job. She sat next to a man who worked at an animal rescue facility. They got to talking, and coincidentally ended up sitting next to each other on the flight back. That’s when she had an idea…

After securing her job, she brainstormed with the hotel’s general manager about having an ‘ambassador dog’ that would ultimately be adopted.

The first canine guest, Gabriel, was housed in the back office and it took just three days to find him a new home. Staff then moved their foster dogs into a contained area in the lobby, and had the custom dog house built.

“Even associates who aren’t really dog people got excited and helped make the program a success,” Emma says. “And the guests love it. It’s so fun to see businessmen come in and the first thing they do is greet the dog.”

 

Chester after adoption

 

Corporate culture and man’s best friend 💕

Ingrained in McKibbon Hospitality’s corporate culture is the opportunity for teams to undertake projects that will enhance the guest experience, lift employee enthusiasm and do good in the community.

“The foster dog project is a perfect example of how these factors converge,” says Randy Hassen, President of McKibbon Hospitality. “It checks all the boxes. And it’s a great example of innovative thinking about how to run a successful hotel. We’re not surprised that three of our other Aloft properties started their own programs.”

 

Chester is still living happily with Ashley and Walter. But, his new family haven’t forgotten where he came from. They frequently take him for visits. His hotel family still loves him too.

 

~

We’ve since discovered there’s a number of hotels around the world running schemes like this! Here’s 5 you might like to read about.

If you know of any other great schemes like this, or awesome animal tales linked with travel, let us know about it in the comments. 

 



 

Practical tips for the intrepid lone traveller: safety, storage and security

Practical tips for the intrepid lone traveller: safety, storage and security

Daniel Brown shares five of his best tips for the adventurous lone traveller. If you’re heading off on a solo journey soon, read on. Here we cover trip planning, keeping your important documents and valuables safe, battery power and tech, dining solo and more…

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Even though the trend of solo travelling is becoming more popular, it is agreeable that venturing alone without a companion is daunting. Luckily, there are clever tricks anyone yearning to be a lone traveller can make use of to feel more comfortable along the way.

I believe everyone can benefit from trying on the ‘lone traveller’ hat at some point in life.

Many swear that travelling solo can be likened to experiencing religious enlightenment!

 

Not only are you able to fully rely on your own judgements and ideas, but as a lone traveller, you can do whatever you please all throughout your journey.

A pretty liberating thought!

Of course, with all the freedoms of being a lone traveller, come the drawbacks. Some of these, concern safety and overall wellbeing.

To make things easier, following are my practical tips which will empower you to book your solo trip.

Lone travel magazine feature - Get it Magazine

You might also enjoy our feature in Get it Magazine on how to choose your own solo adventure, including interviews with two of our fave bloggers. Read it here

 

Plan ahead

The very first tip after you have decided to venture out solo, is to remember to take some time and extra effort to plan the whole trip as thoroughly as possible.

Spontaneous travel is great, but when a co-pilot is not there to help you out, you will want to have a plan to fall back on.

Make a list of all the must-have items you cannot travel without. But remember, you’ll need to pack light. Heavy bags and luggage will slow you down, and it may be uncomfortable to carry extra through a crowded airport or bus station.

Next, double check the bookings, such as the taxi, the means of transportation and accommodation.

Something I was taught is to try and memorise maps as accurately as possible. It’s helpful so you don’t have to be reading a map in public (potentially looking lost), or if Google Maps fails, as sometimes it does.

Plan, book, and get ready for the time of your life. You inevitably make friends, whether you’re heading off on long term travel, a wellbeing retreat or city tours.

 

Make copies of your documents

The most important thing you should bring with you when travelling is a case which contains all your personal documents. These will include your passport and photo ID. It is certain that there is nothing as stressful as getting your documents lost or stolen.

To make sure that your most important documents are safe and easily accessible, it is recommended to scan them before leaving home. The best way to do this is to make copies and store them online, for example, in Dropbox. Make sure your connections are safe though. In another article we talk about using a VPN to make sure your privacy is protected when travelling, surfing the web and accessing personal files.

If you know where document back-ups are, you can rest assured that in the worst-case, there is a quick solution to save the day.

 

Accessible tech

It’s important to invest in quality equipment to keep you connected and safe on your journey. Don’t forget local power adaptors for the places your’e visiting, a portable WiFi hub can be helpful, and back-up battery power is essential.

A new favourite of ours is the slim and sleek Zippo HeatBank that doubles as a hand warmer in cold weather. Pretty neat, and lasts for ages (choose three or six hour packs).

Zippo Heat Bank

 

Keep your valuables safe

Another common fear when travelling alone is getting your belongings stolen. No one can fully relax and enjoy time swimming, for example, without letting go of the fear that a stranger will slip away with your personal possessions.

You could carry with you quality waterproof containers that can go into water. These double as food containers when you’re travelling and saving on buying out all the time. Alternatively, you can leave your money and valuables in the hotel room, but use a safety deposit box if possible.

With hotels, it is important to take extra precautions. It is not uncommon for things to be lost even when they are in the drawers, seemingly safe. A smart tip to ward off thieves from your room is to hang up a “do not disturb” sign after leaving your room.

 

Coming to London? You might be interested in the chic but great value Point A Hotel in Shoreditch. Take a look at our review 

 

Also, by leaving the television turned on, anyone is able to trick potential thieves into thinking that you have not left in the first place.

The best bet to keep your money and fancy jewellery safe is to only carry enough money with you for food, taxi, accommodation and tours. Leave all the luxurious bling-bling behind.

As a matter of fact, it is best to not put on fancy necklaces, rings and earrings. Don’t attract unnecessary attention – better safe than sorry.

 

Do not be afraid of solo dining

Many people are anxious to dine alone. It’s common to feel like sitting solo in a restaurant makes you seem desperate or ‘sad’. But, it’s not uncommon to witness people sitting by themselves, enjoying a coffee or a meal and reading a book.

So, let go of the irrational fear and embrace solo dining! If it is too uncomfortable to go to a fancy dinner, consider a smaller coffee place or coworking cafe and opt for a counter seat or a seat at the bar.

To keep yourself occupied, take some reading materials with you or maybe a laptop to do some research about the local must-see things.

All in all, travelling alone can be a truly empowering and a unique experience. At the end of your trip, you will certainly feel like a changed person full of new experiences and interesting stories.

We’d love to hear your stories and tips – drop us a line in the comments below.

 



 

Guest post by Daniel Brown, image by Levi Bare
Future tripping – personal travel planning and inspiration

Future tripping – personal travel planning and inspiration

In the UK we’ve just come out of our summer months which for most, means we’re feeling the post-holidays blues and very much in personal travel planning mode for the months ahead. The day job, as much as it may be fulfilling if you’re lucky, still doesn’t stand up to sunny days and balmy music-filled nights on the Med.

Enter two lovely new books by Lonely Planet: Culture Trails and Everyday Adventures

 



 

Personal travel planning: two inspiring new guides

They say the only way to get through it, is to plan something else to look forward to. I’m an advocate of personal travel planning. I love the research and happily invest the time to find something that’s right for Cooper and I.

We are currently planning for four days in Lisbon at Christmastime. The gorgeous Portuguese city has been on our bucket-list for a while, and we’re making it happen this year, opting for a city-break rather than an island escape which we’ve enjoyed for the past two years, see Christmas in Mallorca and Ibiza.

It seems a shame to not live in the moment though, and I wanted to share a couple of resources that have come my way courtesy Lonely Planet, one being a gorgeous book that encourages us to create adventures in our own backyards!

Personal travel planning ahead for the ultimate adventure

This delicious coffee table book is brimming with 52 amazing destinations, including Lisbon. Culture Trails explores each destination by way of a theme like music, art, literature. It’s beautifully designed and filled with wanderlust-inducing images.

Taking a look at Lisbon, for example, Culture Trails explores its ‘artistry that speaks to the soul’ and has given us a glimpse into unique cultural experiences and top attractions we should pursue on our city break, in order to get a taste of the heart of the place.

Each destination also gives a taste of where you might like to stay, eat, drink and even a list of key celebrations or festivals that you might like to time your trip with.

Culture Trails is an aspirational hard-cover publication, just like the lovely new Wellness Escapes, also from Lonely Planet. It’s easy to browse, exploring destinations through the eyes of the authors and photographers. It would make a great gift too for others who enjoy planning their own travel too.

While it did cross our minds that ‘52’ might mean ‘one destination every week’, we haven’t figured out how to fund that without the day job.

Which brings me to Everyday Adventures

How to be inspired now: planning localised travel adventures

This book totally surprised me – it’s quirky, fun and full of lovely ideas on new adventures you can create for yourself in your own backyard (or, the city where you live).

We’re in London so spoilt for choice, but when you work hard all week and are tired by the weekend, it’s easy to let opportunities slip by.

Also, London is an example of a city that can be quite expensive, so if you’re trying to save then much can feel out of reach.

Everyday Adventures offers various styles of ‘travel’ for you to pursue, like active, eco-friendly, exploratory, meditative, romantic, group or solo adventures.

You can choose according to budget available and each activity offers a score on how complicated it might be to pull off.

One nice idea is to leave a little early for work and stop by a café you’ve never been to and enjoy breakfast there, for a change of scenery to break up the week.

Another I love, that we tried this past weekend, is called ‘puppy pursuit’ where you let a dog lead you around on a walk. Try this if you’re house and pet sitting! You go where their nose takes them, so to speak.

Filled with case studies, stories and loads of ideas to plan a day of ‘travel’ that’s far from average, this book seems the perfect antidote to post-holiday blues; following it as a guide and making a game of it, you’ll have an adventure on your hands in no time.

Living and working abroad: big life lessons

Living and working abroad: big life lessons

Guest contributor Rebecca Brown is a traveller and a translator who publishes roughdraft.eu – she shares a little insight with us on what living and working abroad has taught her about life.

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As someone who spends half of their time travelling and going on adventures, my life is surprisingly peaceful.

I’ve spent the last few years travelling more than I’d ever thought I’d get the chance, working as an interpreter and a translator in various countries and learning lessons that will last me for a lifetime.

Having spent most of my teen years and early twenties as a stressed, anxious person, I never even dreamed that this kind of wandering, busy adventure would give me such a fulfilling life.

Here’s what it all has made me learn.

Dreams are still important

When I was a teenager, my mom would often talk to me about the importance of education and getting the good old “steady office job.”

While her idea of steadiness was almost a nightmare for me, I wanted to please my mom and I managed to get some work right after getting my MA.

I now knew fluent Spanish and French, and it earned me a job in customer service. I longed for something else, but I tried to convince myself the idea was far too childish.

I pushed myself through several jobs that simply didn’t fit me, and stress became a part of my life.

From the moment I’d get up in the morning, to my last, exhausted thought before bed, I’d feel tense, strained, and unhappy.

The only work that I did enjoy was my freelancing, and the only thing that gave me some relief was my journal.

I’d write about the places I wanted to visit, things I’d want to do. I told myself that this was only a dream, a form of escapism, and that it didn’t mean much.

But that dream, however ridiculous it seemed even to me, gave me far more comfort than my steady office job.

It took me far too long to realise this, but as long as you’re willing to compromise and be flexible, even these seemingly ridiculous dreams and ideas are actually within reach.

Sometimes you need to push yourself to make a change

Stress changes a person. It turned me into someone grumpy and anti-social who complained all the time.

It wasn’t until I took a good, hard look at myself that I realized that I needed to stop pushing myself in this direction where I tried to please everyone, and ended up pleasing literally no one, especially not myself.

With my freelance translating, writing, and the large portfolio and connections I’ve made, the path became obvious to me – pack up my bags and accept all the job offers that I was afraid to accept before.

From human’s rights conventions and government work, to meetings and conferences, my job took me back and forth between several countries at a relentless pace. And you know what? I was never happier.

Being challenged will make you thrive

As soon as I started my new job, I knew that for the most part of the year I’d be living out of a suitcase.

I didn’t mind it, and while I became quite busy and always had a lot to do, I realised that being challenged is what made me actually work on myself and improve.

Sitting at home and being sad made me stagnate, it made me slow. Doing things that you love, however, will make you sharper, quicker, more eager to try new things.

One of the most transformative experiences I’ve ever had was when I decided to push myself to walk a part of the Camino de Santiago a year ago.

The Camino is a famed pilgrim’s path that has many starting points, and ends at the shrine of Saint James the apostle, in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.

I walked almost 500 miles on my journey, and I walked for an entire month from a little port town in France, all the way through Spain to reach my destination.

Does it sound crazy? I loved every moment of it. I brought my journal with me and I wrote in it every day. This time I didn’t have to imagine anything. I could see and feel and experience all of it.

Managing your time is key

I think that travelling can suit many careers, but to pull it off successfully, you really need to learn how to organize yourself well.

People think it’s impossible to keep everything in order when you’re abroad so often and aren’t quite sure where your job will take you, but I assure you, all you need is a good planner, organizational skills, and a good self-awareness about how much you can accomplish.

I know a lot of people with steady 9-to-5 jobs whose life is a lot more chaotic than someone’s who travels and knows that they need to keep their affairs in order.

Surprisingly, travelling for work meant I got more free time in my life than I ever had before. I simply stopped procrastinating and learned how to fill up the time I had with things I really wanted to do.

That’s how I got to walk the Camino de Santiago, and that’s how I use the time when I’m not booked for anything to travel even more.

People crave to be kind

One of the things we fear the most when going to a foreign country is the strange culture and the even stranger people who, we believe, are nothing like us.

From my experience, that’s anything but true.

Not only was I always welcomed everywhere, but people went out of their way to be kind and helpful to a stranger. Not everyone will be nice, no. But most people will be.

You will put things into perspective

When you travel, you get to meet so many new people and see so many different lives. Your problems become… different. Relative.

Your perspective on everything will change, and you’ll realise how meaningless it is to worry over small things, to be so constantly stressed and tense.

Having an open mind is essential for happiness

I did not agree with everyone I’ve met on my journeys. There are a lot of different cultures, a lot of different customs, and a lot of different mindsets than what I was used to. And when you’re sitting at home and complaining about people online, it’s easy to hate everyone that’s even a little different.

But when you see them, meet them, hear the reasoning behind their words, it opens you up. You embrace the diversity, you embrace the fact that we’re all so different and varied. It makes you happy.

Most of all, working abroad has taught me to relax and let things come my way.

Opportunities are all around you, but you need to open yourself up to them and take them. Being afraid of change won’t give you a better life, but taking that leap of faith usually will.

 

Feature image by Anete Lūsiņa, Unsplash.