#redmondtraveldiary18 · Europe · Travel · United Kingdom

Travel Diary (Day 2) – London

Is there anything more exciting than waking up in a new destination?! The answer is no. Waking up on a beautiful Autumn day in London, ready to start our adventure (now our 28+ hour transit was out of the way), in our beautiful hotel room was heaven! You miss having the simple pleasure of laying down after international travel!

We only had one full day in London before we chose to choof off to Paris, so we took advantage of the free breakfast and vintage bus tour around London and on the Thames River – which was a lovely little perk included in our booking with The Grange hotel.

We were out the door by 7am and to save any confusion or at risk of missing our bus, we caught an Uber for £9.57 to the Victoria Coach Station, where we met out adorable little Vintage Bus and our excellent tour guide, Steve. The way I see it, anyone who looks down on you for doing kitschy tourism stuff, can get stuffed. There are people and companies out there doing amazing things to pile together so much in only a few hours. This tour came for free with our hotel booking and I am SO glad we decided to take it up!

We saw sights old and new including Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, St Paul’s Cathedral, London Bridge, The Shard, Tower Bridge and the London Eye. We also got to watch the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace which was really cool. Then we had a cruise on the River Thames which took us passed Shakespeare’s Globe, Cleopatra’s Needle. London Bridge and The Shard.

We managed to see so much and all before lunch time! In a complete fluke, we also were able to see the Changing of the Guard and it was amazing! Though watching the crowds sort of taking over the entire road and jumping the barriers, despite securities best efforts and very clear warnings, really reminds me that Darwinism is really doing it’s best.

We ate some pretty rubbish lunch in a fast-food chain type scenario, though we also had wine and beer, so that significantly improves our lunch star-rating! We were right next to the London Dungeon, and I had a cheap entry for the two of us, so why not?

I went to the London Dungeon around 9 years ago and some parts are the same and some are new altogether – either way it is worth a visit. Sure, it’s touristy and campy and all that, BUT it is phenomenally educational. Hot tip though, if you have a six year old with you, and she is terrified, do not proceed to laugh at her with your entire family for an hour and a half through a pretty scary theme attraction, You are a bad parent, best start saving for some counselling!

For the evening we headed across to the London Eye for our turn around the circle and views out on London. Our booking was for 5.15pm, which was not too bad of a turn-around to get home, get dressed and head back out. It is amazing that by day two in any new place, you have just about got the metro/tube/underground sorted!

The line was massive but it moved pretty quickly! Again, I think being in the presence of any rude/pushy people just gets my blood pumping, I know I would be happier if I could learn to ignore rudeness and stupidity, but just quietly, some of us should be pulling people up on their rubbish behaviour?

After our London Eye experience, it was time to head over to the incredibly beautiful Apollo Theatre Victoria to see Wicked. We saw the Lion King in New York so it was only fitting we saw something in London. The first half was absolutely amazing, the set-design, costumes, the movement and those beautiful voices were simply astonishing – I highly recommend it!

IMG_0910

Now our time in London, particularly at the start of our trip was always going to be a bit pricier than most, but we stayed within our daily budget, which was excellent! I am pretty sure we were both asleep before our heads had even hit our pillows that night!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

 

 

#redmondtraveldiary18 · Europe · United Kingdom

Travel Diary (Day 1)- Brisbane to London (via Hong Kong)

IMG_0723It’s here!!!!! Day one!!!!

As someone who prides themselves on their ability to plan and execute travel arrangements like it was their job, imagine my relief when G asked me back in July, ‘so are we flying out the morning or evening of the 20th?’. ‘Evening’ I replied, without a second thought. ‘Are you sure?’ he said, mid-eye roll I realised he was right. 00:50 Thursday meant Thursday morning and not Thursday night. Oh. My. God. I got something wrong.

We were able to have dinner and drinks with my parents before they dropped us at the airport and then we cooled our heals for three or so hours at the airport, which was fine. Brisbane International has had a total revamp since we last flew out of there!

Being the worry-wart I am, it threw me that I had completely misjudged this one. So, how did our first travel day go? Well. Departure was scheduled for 00:50 on Thursday morning. We were in the air by 1am and on our way to Hong Kong.

img_5170A few things I’m not overly proud of occurred on our flight. First of all I developed a mild strain of Tourette’s and nearly screamed at the woman behind me. The screens were touch screens, but she seemed to have confused this with one of those rooms you go into and break shit. My head jerking forward every time she got her claws into it.

The guy in front of me dropped his seat as soon as he possibly could, the guy across the row from me was licking his fingers (repeatedly) after each morsel of food that made its way to him. Oh and the guy one up, kept staring back wistfully at the women sitting in front of me. They were not together.

Once we were on the flight I started my normal routine of getting ready for sleep. It was after this that it all went terribly wrong. First of all, my restless (or, ‘busy’) legs felt like two electric eels. The pain and buzzing sensation was awful. Secondly I could smell the behind of the man next to me (no, seriously). They served dinner which I wasn’t expecting, given the time of night, but I foolishly decided to eat. It was within half an hour of eating that I started to sweat. Now, to be clear there was nothing wrong with the food, but I felt like with the anxiety I had about the length of the flight and my stupid legs, it just set me right off. I ran to the bathroom and thanks to an exorcist-style power-chuck, the flight was left with one less toilet for the remainder of the flight.

I then spent the next six and a half hours going back and forth to the toilets feeling like I wanted to die. I skipped the breakfast run and nurses my orange juice like it was an oxygen tank.

Our flight was certainly better than the last, there was a delay for take-off, but we had relatively decent seats for economy. I timed my sleep attempts with whenever my eyelids felt heavy. 12 hours and 12 minutes later, we were landing at Heathrow!!

Our travel agent had booked us a transfer to our hotel with City Transfers UK. Normally we would make our own way, but at the end of a long-haul international journey and living Groundhog Day, I am all for someone taking me to our hotel. This would have been great if we then did not need to wait a further 2 hours for our pick-up. I rang the company provably 7 times and they only picked up one of those and said the driver would be with us in 10 minutes. 50 minutes later, still no driver. Then when we were patched through to the driver, he basically lied and said he had been ‘in the car park for a long while waiting on a call’. Except eagle-eyes Grant saw the carpark card he put in and he had literally only just gotten there. Ah well.

Half an hour later, we were checking into our beautiful Grange Strathmore in Queens Gate Gardens, showers were had and heads hit the pillows with extreme force!

IMG_0731

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if youclick-through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

Australia · Contiki · Courtney's Travel Tips & Tricks · Europe · North America · South America · Travel

On the hunt for the perfect day/backpack!

 

Yesterday I shared with you a post about my new backpack for my upcoming trip. Today I wanted to cover my daypack choice. I have laboured over this like it is my job. I currently have a very trusty and loved Blackwolf 25L Tempo pack which goes with me everywhere. I also have a gorgeous Manfrotto Windsor camera/laptop bag which I love.

Now is also a great time to make it clear that I love bags. Not handbags, but bags, backpacks, travel bags, camera bags. Bags. Totally nuts for them. My Husband would light up like a Christmas tree if I told him he could give most of them away (he cannot, by the way).

However, I need another in-between daypack. Something which is easy to grab and go and is weather-resistant and secure, without needing to pull out the backpack-raincoat.

A new company, Livingstone Brand based in Calgary, Alberta (think Bannf, Lake Louise and Watertons) have recently confirmed that their new bags will soon become available on the market and have offered several bloggers the opportunity to purchase one with a discount to share our findings of the bag and its ability. I have been in contact with Livingstone Brand and have found out that they have a dedicated focus on ‘giving back’ to the National Parks across the globe. With the launch of their back pack they have in turn  launched the Packs for Parks Campaign.

Through this campaign a portion of all sales of each and every backpack, will be dedicated to your favourite National Park. I had to know more about this and honestly, I am blown away by such a unique and dedicated idea.

So in addition to my heart exploding with all of the good-feels (who doesn’t love National Parks?!), it was important to know that the bag was in-fact functional.

unnamed-8_370x

The Livingstone Alberta Pack (25L) is the perfect daypack sixe. It comes in at less than half a pound and only 7 inches long – for those of us playing along in Australia it weighs less than 300grams and under 18cm long when reduced.

It is durable, made with both tear/water-resistant nylon, YKK zippers and is for all weather conditions. The zipper lining is also water resistant. It comes with breathable mesh straps, to relieve any shoulder/back stress and stays at a comfortable temperature.

Aside from this, this amazing daypack comes with a lifetime warranty against all manufacture defects.

I hope to get this bag by mid-late August 2018 and will trial it hopefully before we head off on our next adventure and if possible, will take it along with us as we head off on our five week adventure!

I’ve ordered the above bag and am beyond excited to get a hold of it and test it out, watch this space!

Is there a day pack you swear-by? Does it give you the warm and fuzzy feeling to purchase items that have a cause behind them?

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post. I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

 

Courtney's Travel Tips & Tricks · Europe · Travel

Will I break my back(pack) on my next trip?

Have you ever travelled over 36 hours internationally, only to reach your destination and realise you have packed a bag of rubbish (tags and receipts from your pre-vacay purchases), into your suitcase instead of a bag of undergarments? NO? Just me. Weird.

My first solo international trip I had a bag which may as well have been the same size as me. Which was an absolute hoot to drag up and down old European hotels which did NOT have elevators (now is a good time to let you know I was absolutely not prepared for international travel in 2009).

Let me show you the monstrosity I thought was suitable, for those playing at home – a bag this size is never appropriate. Ever. If you notice, there are additional bags because releasing two Aussie girls and a Kiwi girl into America was quite literally, letting loose in a candy store. Yep. Those bags are mostly filled with snacks. #noshame (okay, maybe a little shame).

giant pink bagI’ve tried soft bags, hard bags, bags with internal ribbing, bags with locks, bags without locks, bags wrapped in plastic (thanks to Mum who was not at all okay with me going to Thailand in 2012). I have tried the vacuum packs, the packing cubes and also separating clothes and accessories into their own situation. Guess what? It changed nothing. I am a mess of a person when it comes to contained, constrained and appropriate packing.

Fondly known as a ‘Court-nado’ (thanks Jem), my ability to take a beautiful new space and absolutely cover it in the remnants from my exploded bag within thirty seconds would be (if not hideously annoying), a marketable skill. bag explosionG and I are heading on a different trip this time, we are not guaranteed footpaths or lifts or even paved ground. So it was time to succumb to the backpack. I’ve often put it off because I am not overly sure I have the skills to lug a backpack around let alone pack it correctly. G was pretty excited to get his as it matches his smaller daypack I bought him for his birthday. So I ummed and ahhhed and then in a typical copycat-Wife fashion, bought the exact backpack (but in pink, obviously).

So far it has sat in the cupboard, staring aggressively at me. I think it knows I have no idea how to bond with it. This poor backpack could have been the property of an equipped backpacker and yet it has me. I’m sorry. I am going to try my very best to not ruin you, also I don’t want to ruin my back because then G will have to carry both of our bags and me and I think we all know how that is going to end (G will raid my bag for anything he wants, put it into his bag and leave me and my pink bag on the side of the road somewhere).img_2930So, my question to you all (and please feel free to give me all of the help and all of the advice) is, WHAT EXACTLY DO I NEED WITH MY BACKPACK?

Is there some kind of packing separators? How do you pack it? Are they good or are they bad? Are there any recommended accessories you can recommend? We have 73 days to get this show on the road and I don’t want to appear as obviously out of my depth with a backpack as I probably look now….

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post. I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

 

 

Australia · Courtney's Travel Tips & Tricks · Europe · Lifestyle · New Zealand · North America · South America · South Pacific / Australasia

Dear Captain Planet Generation…we are failing

https___blueprint-api-production_s3_amazonaws_com_uploads_card_image_590555_d3393e87-9da0-40ad-b34d-ef4154894d65

Captain Planet….if you grew up in the 90’s you would remember him and the Planeteers (Kwame, Wheeler, Linka, Gi & Ma-Ti anybody?). These guys were the reason six year old me understood environmental disasters & devastating destruction long before I ever learnt it in school! We were the generation they were after, they were talking to us – we were going to be the ones to turn it all around.

Except…Did you know that since 1993, we have lost an area of ‘unspoilt’ places twice the size of Alaska? Or that humans have destroyed a tenth of Earth’s remaining wilderness in the last 25 years?

With ecosystems being lost there is no ability to reverse the damage and although there is still approximately 30m sq. km of wilderness across the globe, that only equates to 23% of the world’s land mass. In saying that a large portion of this is Australia’s deserts and western woodlands.

For those of us in Australia, our environmental movement really hit its peak in the eighties and the Australian Labor Party began capitalising on national conservation and soil conservation.

We are incredibly fortunate in that Australia has over 6000 Landcare and Coastcare groups nationwide. We are respectful of climate change, sustainability, animal protection and of course environmental care as a whole.

As we continue to experience the effects of the damage we have caused to our beautiful planet, a sustainable economy is more important than ever. We need to live within our means and try to use natural assets rather than depleting them and work to bring pollution to a level that our environment can actually handle, rather than damage it beyond repair.

Sadly, Australia is surprisingly one of the lease sustainable countries in the world. The AEGN confirmed that we as a nation have an ecological footprint which is 2.8 times the work average & our carbon emissions are four times the world average.

So how do we, as Generation Y try to give back to the environment which is home? How do we respect and care for all of the beautiful places which has given us land, rain, clean water, incredible ecosystems, animals, fresh air and healthy oceans (AEGN, 2018)?

Our oceans have the highest marine biodiversity in the world and our native plants and animals are found only here, in Australia. Along without carbon footprint and carbon emissions we have the highest rate of animal extinction and our extreme and dangerous weather events are increasing each year. Whilst there is natural attrition, we humans are responsible for almost all of the damage.

The AEGN is working hard to provide marine sanctuaries, to stop large-scale land clearing, to set up wind and solar farms and provide education around climate change, to protect biodiversity and restore land and to advocate for the proper use and protection of our fresh water supplies. We rely on grants and groups to get this done. So how can you help? Well, have a look at the following tips which I either follow or will begin following and see how you go. I would also love to hear what you do, let’s be the generation Captain Planet thought we would be and step up to the challenge of protecting Earth for the next generation.

  • Walk & bike to local destinations, rather than taking your car
  • Use a refillable water bottle and avoid buying/using plastic water bottles. Did you know that there are 370 million bottles going to waste every year & that these will take over 400 years to break down (ProAcqua, 2014). Australia’s use of bottled water generates 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year!
  • Dry your clothes using a clothes-horse or clothesline instead of using your dryer (these bad boys are one of the biggest energy-sucking appliances in your home).
  • Use a keep-cup for your coffee (it is estimated that Australians use 1 billion disposable coffee cups each year. That’s 2.7 million paper cups thrown out every day! (University of Melbourne, 2018).
  • Use reusable bags when you do your groceries (Greenpeace found that Australians use over 9.7 billion single-use plastic bags annually) (Greenpeace, 2017).
  • Use cold water for your washing machine
  • Unplug your electronics at night to stop them using electricity
  • Use digital documents and avoid print-outs
  • RECYCLE, recycle, recycle (the average Australian produces 1.5 tonnes of waste per year and much of this is avoidable!) (Greenpeace, 2014).
  • Buy products with the Energy Rating which is high, this is a mandatory scheme for most appliances and the higher the star-rating the better the appliance (Australian Government, 2013).
  • Adopt a water conservation strategy (fix your taps, use a water-saving shower head, keep your tap water in a bottle in the fridge, use your washing machine when you have a full load and on cold, install a water tank, don’t overwater your lawn etc.,) (Nature Australia, 2018).

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post. I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow OURSEQld on Instagram click here – Our SE Qld

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x