A day in the life; Beaches and Reefs tour, Australia!

IMG_2715

Cairns - Whitsundays - Fraser Island - Noosa - Surfers Paradise - Byron Bay - Coffs Harbour - Sydney 7am: Alarm clock rings…I roll around, rub my head, and wait my turn for the shower in our multi-share hotel room.7:30am: I take a stumble down to the hotel restaurant for a free buffet-style breakfast.  On my way down I recall the events from the previous evening. Once I have stacked my plate with a carefully configured mix of breakfast treats, I take a seat alongside my fellow travelers. Conversion is like a problem solving session, as everyone tries to piece together last nights events.  8:15am: Bags to the coach! Contiki coaches are always clean, safe and comfortable. Our coach driver, Ralph, made sure we … [Read more...]

Australia!

IMG_5094

  The Australian leg of my journey marks the final stop of my WorldExplorer year. Today (24/11/12) is the one-year anniversary of me leaving South Africa. When I left South Africa one year ago I landed in a cold, snowy Washington D.C. Twelve months down the line, I now find myself in a warm, sunny, coastal city called Cairns, on the East Coast of Australia. STA Travel have booked me on a Contiki tour called Beaches and Reefs. The tour starts in Cairns and ends in sunny Sydney. One of Contiki's many trademarks became very clear to me soon after starting the tour in Cairns.  The people are awesome, the transportation is comfortable and best of all,the optional activities are top notch. I met my tour group at a … [Read more...]

Goodbye Bang Luang

IMG_7810

Teaching English abroad has been the greatest way of immersing myself in local culture and practices.  I've lived in a Thai style apartment with a cold shower, bucket flush toilet and had a mat-style picnic blanket as a bed. I haven't had a movie cinema or McDonalds to go to. Instead, I have had the time to learn a new language, fish, talk to strangers in broken thai/english and enjoy the small joys of living in a Thai farming community. This lifestyle has been more for-filling than any other I have experienced. It's taken me three months of living and working in Bang Luang to reach the point where I can say I got into my groove. It's a sad goodbye.  Some of my friends back home have asked if its easy … [Read more...]

After 9 Months…

IMG_5165

Travel is a common aspiration of many. Why is this? Why do people feel the desire to see new places and experience new things? I often ask myself these questions.   For some, the aspiration might be driven by the desire to see a place they have been dreaming about, for others it’s to get away from a situation and gain a new life experience. For whatever reason one travels, a common dominator is that travel results in change. It takes you out of your comfort zone. It puts you in a new place with new challenges, new experiences, and new opportunities. It gives you the chance to experience the feeling of ‘living’. Hopping on a plane puts yesterday’s problems aside. The grass becomes greener. Not … [Read more...]

Thailand’s Top 5

IMG_6145

  The Islands, Beaches and Weather - What's a trip to Thailand without visiting one of the many islands? Whether you want to head down South and take time out on Koh Sumui, Koh Tao or Koh Pangya, or take the short trip from Bangkok to Koh Samed, Thailand's islands offer that instant feeling of "I'm on holiday". The beaches are spectacular and the weather is always warm - you can't go wrong!  Bangkok - The city to be explored! As if the beautiful islands are not enough, Thailand has the metropolis of Bangkok. It's a bustling city that offers world class dining, shopping, entertainment and a taste of what a real Asian city is like. Bangkok also acts as the national and international … [Read more...]

Butterflies…

IMG_4764

  A first date, a final exam, a tense game of rugby, that phone call you don`t want to answer…they all give you butterflies in your stomach. The moment I stood in front of a Thai class for the first time brought on the same churning feeling. It`s a feeling that can only be cured by the smile and laughter of a Thai learner as you start your first ever lesson as a teacher. The past month has been a great build up to this single moment. Hours of lesson plan preparation, studying, classroom management courses, exams and mirror side practice. The TESOL course I have just completed puts you in the best possible position to push through these nervous feelings and come out on top.  One of the ways in which we have … [Read more...]

It’s all coming together in Thailand!

IMG_3748

Warm weather, beach soccer, tubing, rim-flow pools, night markets with delicious food, the freedom and safety of walking the back streets of Hua Hin without a worry in the world, the intrigue of learning a new language and discovering the Thai culture, reminders of home in the form of the occasional braai and weekend rugby games - Thailand has given an awesome mix of new and the occasional hint of the familiar.The one-month TESOL course that I have been taking part in has turned out to be a great mix of fun and hard work. I've often wondered how on earth one actually teaches English to a student without having any knowledge of their native language. After a couple of weeks I am beginning to understand the methods behind the … [Read more...]

I’ve been Bangkok’d!

Bangkok2

    Bags packed, passport in hand, online check-in complete - One can't beat the excitement of heading to a new place!As I headed through the London Underground bound for Heathrow Terminal four a warm smile came to my face, as I began to reading Lonely Planets guide to Thailand. Eastern Adventures can't possibly be short of any excitement!  I've traded the familiar Carlsberg for Chang and parted ways with the cold air for humidity and warm showers. Bangkok hit me like a freight train. Not knowing when I would be able to return I decided to make the most of my two days in the city. In one night I managed to enjoy the fruits of Bangkok's promiscuous tree, without over indulging of course; great … [Read more...]

Contiki – Do it for the experience!

Isle of Capri

  Choosing to go on tour with a company that has been in operation for 50 years inspires a lot of confidence in one`s decision. Contiki has a great reputation and a wealth of experience behind them. Knowing this, I went into my first ever Contiki tour with high expectations.  After visiting 12 countries with 25 great new friends I can safely say that my experience with Contiki lived up to my expectations!  At the end of the day it boils down to those who chose to travel with Contiki. It`s the people you travel with that can make your travel experience the best one possible. If the group of people I travelled with are anything to go by; Contiki certainly attracts some awesome people. I would do it again in a … [Read more...]

The Greasy Greek and His Love Boat

IMG_1748

The Easy Rider is one of few Contiki tours that spend a solid four days on the Greek island of Corfu.  An immaculate coastline, rocky beaches, warm waters, friendly people, great food and entertaining nightlife - Corfu has it all. It comes as no surprise that our time in Corfu is said to be the vacation within our vacation.  The best part about our time in Corfu is attributed to our campsites proximity to the beach. Unlike South African beaches, Corfu beaches are rocky. Large rocks line the outer rim of the beaches and progressively get smaller and smaller until you finds tiny pebbles where the small waves break. The little things in life are significant when traveling…this was one of those little things I … [Read more...]

Chilli Adventures Contiki Tours G Adventures Suntrek Adventure Travel