#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!

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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

 

 

Australia · Courtney's Travel Tips & Tricks · Lifestyle · Travel

The danger of #begpacking

city man person people
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Wherever there is a human in need, there is an opportunity for kindness and to make a difference ~ Kevin Heath

I have often said that if you cannot afford travel insurance, you cannot afford travel. I work my arse off to save and pay off my trips, sometimes this means a lot of sacrifice and sometimes it can result in two years between trips. Do you know why I don’t deserve your pity or empathy on this one? Because it is completely my choice.

That being said, I want to talk about “beg-packers”, entitled Western travellers who head overseas with no more than a flight and maybe enough money to carry them through their first week in whatever hostel they are staying in, who then have the audacity to sit in the likely third-world country they are in and beg for money to continue to fund their travel.

When you have had the luxury to fly to another country for travel, this actually puts you in the top 1% of the world, financially. So to sit in a country in which you should be contributing to the economy and then beg for money is, ridiculously tone-deaf and ignorant. Let’s not minimise the actuality of poverty.

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Photo by Denniz Futalan on Pexels.com

It goes along with GoFundMe pages for generic things – I once saw a lady asking for a bowling ball, gym shoes and a treadmill – perhaps GoFundMe was in her eyes, the grown up Santa-list?

The ethical implications of being a guest in a country without any financial security or means to support yourself, is further damaging that countries economy. How do you set up outside of an airport and beg for money with your gear and passports and camera/phone (to put your #begpacking on social media, obviously), in a country which has 1.2 million homeless children (Philippines), 180000 people living in informal settlements (Cambodia), 78 million people -0 including 11 million children (India), 30 000 homeless (Mexico City) & 15000 homeless people – 4500 of which are children (Buenos Aires); is….disgusting.

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Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

Your international travel is not the responsibility of others. We are living in a time where we are far too quick to put our hands out and say “help me”. Please do not travel if you cannot afford it. please do not make your financial burden become that of your host country. Give YOUR money to those who need it. Be prepared. In case of emergency, make sure you have travel insurance. If you cannot afford to stay abroad and need to come home and start again, then that is what you need to do. Our world needs our help, if you are reading this – remember we are the top 1%. You may not think it, but we are the most fortunate people in the world. It is our job and luxury that we are in a position to help.

To donate (every dollar helps!)

Australia – StreetSmart – Action Against Homelessness – https://streetsmartaustralia.org/donate/

WorldWide – Homeless World Cup Foundation – https://donate.homelessworldcup.org/au-en

Cambodia – Habit for Humanity – https://www.habitat.org/donate/?keyword=header

Bali Children’s Project – registered non-profit in Bali, helping children escape poverty through education – https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/BCP

If you see any of Australia’s friendly ‘Big Issue’ distributors and you have cash, please purchase one of these for $7. For every magazine sold – the distributor keeps half. Say hello to them, they all have a story to tell – they’re people like you and I. Give where you can & be thankful for how fortunate we are.

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

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Australia · photography · Travel

Barefoot Farm Byron – Our Camping Adventure

Very little is needed, to make a happy life – Marcus Aurelius

Sometimes you just have to escape, am I right? Honestly it has gotten to the point where I am sure that G and I really only have quality time together at the end of the day, when we eat dinner and before we go to bed. I am incredibly thankful for everything we have and everything we continue to grow, but I have to tell you, I miss my Husband. So very much!

IMG_0329With only five or so weeks to go before our trip of a lifetime, and faced with our first weekend together in six weeks (seriously!), we woke up last Saturday and we just knew that sitting at home was not going to cut it. It just was not how we were going to want to spend out weekend!

The weekend I went hiking with my friend to watch the blood-moon, she told me all about YouCamp, an amazing Air BnB type platform, but for camping on private properties. Seeing as G had only just bought his new toy (the double swag), and faced with a particularly warm “winter” weekend we decided to hit the road.

G has gone camping many, many times before and as a man, he is quite comfortable just jumping in the car and going. I on the other hand, am really struggling to learn the art of ‘minimalism’. My Mazda 3 was packed within an inch of her life (her name is Scarlett by the way) and we hit the road. We had found the Barefoot Farm Byron, which is a gorgeous working pecan farm with a stunning Pantry on its property.

It only took us around two hours to get to our destination, that was with heavy traffic along the Motorway. We were warmly welcomed by Ash and Matt and shown around their property, honestly our excitement levels to be staying on such a beautiful property, for such an affordable price was beyond. To think we had thought of paying for a hotel somewhere for the night instead!

G had the swag up in a matter of minutes and then went off to prepare the firewood. I decided to take the drone out for a spin, which was all well and good before we lost lighting and I somehow landed her in a tree. Soooo, hopefully any day now my new blades and the blade protectors arrive in the mail! Practice makes perfect I suppose and better I crash her while we are in Australia and before our big trip overseas.

We spent the night by a beautiful fire, enjoying the Aussie version of s’mores and drinking whiskey (he) and wine (she). Having no electrical distractions (no reception) beyond our already downloaded music and the calming sound of the fire in front of us was perfection.

As for the stars, of my goodness – the stars! They were absolutely incredible and we were right under the path of the milky way. We had our first attempt at shooting star trails and it has given me enough confidence to try and work on it a little more before our big trip overseas.

I definitely could have packed a tenth of what I did and could have gone with the clothes on my back and maybe a beanie, but like I said – I would not know how to pack lightly if my life depended on it. I suppose the only reason I did not take more, was because my little hatchback was filled to the brim already!

We had one of the best sleeps we have in weeks, no barking dog next door or little girl across the road who is constantly yelling at her neighbours to play with her. No cars, no planes (we live super close to the airport and right under the path for landing). No doors slamming or fire alarms going off. Just the sound of nature, a couple of cows in the distance and the crackling of the fire. Absolute bliss!

IMG_0420I woke up to a beautifully cooked breakfast and fresh orange juice and the most beautiful morning breeze making its way through the swag. Coming home was incredibly disappointing, but having spent such a beautiful night away with my Husband, without distractions was unbeatable.

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

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Australia · Health and Wellbeing (mental, physical, emotional & spiritual) · photography · Travel

5 beautiful sunrise quotes <3

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“When you do something beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad. For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps.” – John Lennon.

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“Come sit with me, and we can watch the sun stretch in the sky as our city wakes, ever so slowly, into a beautiful day.” – R.J.L.

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“Forever that girl that gets really excited when the sky is in pretty colours.” – Word Porn.

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“It was sunsets that taught me that beauty sometimes only lasts for a couple of moments, and it was sunrises that showed me that all it takes is patience to experience it all over again.” – A.J. Lawless.

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“The sun is a daily reminder that we too can rise again from the darkness, that we too can shine our own light.” – S. Ajna.

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

 

Australia · Courtney's Travel Tips & Tricks · New Zealand · South Pacific / Australasia · Travel

Cruising Holidays: Pro’s & Con’s

After all of these years, I refuse to be a travel-snob. I get no satisfaction in entering some tireless debate about whether 5✩ or backpacking is ‘real’ travel. Hostels v. hotels. Taxis or the local bus, so on and so forth. Travel is an incredibly personal experience, I just don’t think it is fair to compare your preferred travel with others.

What I do support and encourage however, is sharing knowledge! Let’s foster a community where we share what we know and support everyone in their own chosen method of travel, yeah? Great!

My first cruise was on 2010, I was excited because my brother had just turned 18 and we wanted to go on a trip together. So a couple of friends and my brother booked a 7-night cruise to the South Pacific. It was a great escape during the winter but here is why it was not so great:

sharing a quad room with four adults, none of whom are in a relationship with one another, gets…cramped.

having a quad room down in the bowels of the ship and not checking whether or not anyone gets sea-sick, can be problematic.

↑ being stuck on a boat without an escape and having the same places to drink / party every afternoon / night.

↑ Four people having the inability to decide what they do / do not want to do.

↑ having your room down on the party-level of the ship and not partying = sleep can be tricky.

Basically my clearest memory of my first cruise, was feeling like I was in a washing machine when we hit high swell and feeling rather violated (personally and financially) when I paid nearly $200 to cop a needle in the backside to stop my sea-sickness.

In 2016 my fiancé and I headed out on a new cruise and boy, it could not have been any more different to the first one! We had a balcony room on the beautiful Pacific Aria. We were on deck 10, near the coffee shops. We had pre-paid most of our activities and had scored a complimentary drinks package. We spent seven nights cruising up / down the beautiful Queensland coast. We visited Hamilton Island (a place close to both of our hearts), and Cairns. The cruise was amazing, the staff excellent and the experience itself turned me into a total cruise convert!

My top five reasons as to why I love cruising:

  • Everything can be pre-paid. Including sail-away inclusions. Want champagne and strawberries for your sail away party? You can have it.
  • The day of the Bain Marie’s where you self-serve eating areas are gone. Instead you line up and have pleasant and good-safety aware people serve you. There is nothing more repugnant than watching someone stand at the Thai beef salad / prawn salad area and pick all of the meat out, leave the place in a mess and sneeze all over the uncovered food. So for me, I think ta wonderful that P&O have changed the way they serve food.
  • Activities for days! Unless you are completely ignorant, you are able to fill your days with a variety of activities. Sure Bingo isn’t cheap, but it’s worth it for a bit of fun. If you aren’t playing yourself, get to the area early and watch the bingo die-shards go in for the kill! It’s amazing!
  • Tricia and game shows are also great. They also show movies up at the top deck with the pool.
  • You don’t need to pack and unpack at are such destination! You just grab what you need for the day and take off! Its amazing going to sleep somewhere out in the ocean, being gently rocked to sleep and waking up against the incredible backdrop which is Cairns!
  • If you’re after an adventure packed holiday, then a week at sea on an all-expenses paid cruise may not be for you. However if you need a break and you want to board a boat, unpack your stuff and then have everything organised and paid for ahead of time, then I cannot recommend a cruise highly enough for you.

Some tips:

  • Your travel insurance may not automatically cover cruises. Double check the fine print and know that there is cruise-specific travel insurance out there.
  • Drinks packages are worth it, if you are planning or drinking more than three or so beverages a day. Keep in mind they are normally capped at $12 or $15. If you purchase a drink above this amount, the total cost will go against your account. Keep that in mind.
  • The water package is worth it. Buy your six bottles, keep them in your room and I guarantee you will value it.
  • Tea and coffee from the barista is worth it.
  • Tip your stewards. We tend to go with around $5 a day for the cabin stewards and leave a rounded tip at the end of the trip. Don’t pinch your pennies.
  • Be friendly! Talk to your stewards. Get to know them. Know that anyone serving you spends up to eight months on these boats. Away from their friends and families. Kindness is free. Don’t be ignorant. I spent a good half hour shaming a guest on our last cruise, whose stance was “they don’t mind being away from home, it’s a great privilege to work on these boats”. Okay. Ignorant much?
  • The restaurants on board, aside from usually one or two are included in your fare! Try them at least once. Your out of pocket is usually drinks and a tip. Want a date night with table service? Give it a go. You won’t be disappointed.
  • Have fun! Relax! Sleep in. Enjoy it and go with the relaxed vibe there is. Things take a little longer. Remember the other people on the ship also paid to be there. So just avoid unnecessary aggression and if the line is too long where you are, then move on to the next!

P&O have a sale at the moment and seeing as you can book and pay off your holiday years in advance, you really have nothing to lose!

To check out their current offers click here. They currently have $1 deposit sales with free room upgrades. We have been on four of them and quite honestly, I cannot wait for the next one!

I have never bought a cruise holiday when it wasn’t on sale or didn’t have some amazing additional perks thrown in (on-board credit, drinks package, dinner credit etc.,). The beauty of this is they are on sale all the time!

Here are a few links to get you started!

P&O Cruises

Travel Insurance Saver

Trip.com

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