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

The danger of #begpacking

city man person people
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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.

photo of children forming line lane
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 · 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

Australia · Travel

Buderim Forest Walk

IMG_9696The Sunshine Coast and South-East Queensland is home to an absolute plethora of family-friendly activities. From Noosa Heads, out to Toowoomba down to Warwick and then south to Mt Warning, South East Queensland has so much to offer. I am a strong advocate for South East Queensland being more than theme parks, beaches and Brisbane CBD.

My sister is one of the most incredible mothers I know and I work / know many other incredible parents who will go out of their way to ensure their kids and families experience everything our beautiful corner of the world has to offer. So in the spirit of finding activities which everyone is able to participate in, I decided to take myself on a road-trip during the School activities.

As I had only headed South on the Wednesday, I decided North was my destination for the Friday. The Buderim Forest Waterfall Walk is a 45 hectare oasis, on the northern side of Buderim. It is a welcoming rainforest with tall trees, ferns, waterfalls, beautiful bird calls and cascading water.

I chose to enter from the Lindsay Road via Harry’s Lane in Buderim and there were plenty of parking spots. There is a beautiful area of electric barbecues and picnic tables and as you start your walk, it commences on an elevated wooden boardwalk. I made my way through the forest, crossing over the impressive Martins Creek at several way points. I made my way up to the Buderim Falls, however once I got there and set my gear up, we were met with polite yet persistent rainfall. This quickly escalated into moderate rainfall and I fund myself packing up my gear and making a very wet (yet fun) journey back to my car.

Here is a fun fact bout the bridge, it was actually lowered into place by a helicopter after it was built offsite! Swimming is ill-advised given it is a spring fed source which has weaved its way through many urban developments by the time it gets to the falls.

I live on the Southside of Brisbane and my journey took around an hour and twenty minutes to reach my destination (with rainy weather and slower traffic). The drive way beautiful and I could not recommend this destination enough for an easy and cheap adventure with the family.

IMG_9683Where is your favourite bush-walk in Queensland? Anything you can recommend to others?

For more amazing activities you can do on our beautiful Sunshine Coast – please check out the below link:

https://www.visitsunshinecoast.com/What-to-do/Things-to-do

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 · Love and Happiness (and all the fun bits in between)

Beautiful Boonah, a place of warmth and simplicity.

“They want me. I want them. I want this place. I want everything to be simple and beautiful and warm.” Jackson Pearce (Cold Spell)

I live surprisingly close to the city, which is pretty affordable and means I can get in and out of the city within an hour for the total trip. I love my proximity to the city and the heart of Brisbane, as much as I love living near the river and having pretty much anything I need right on my doorstep.

Day in, day out I start to feel just a little too claustrophobic. I work in the CBD as well and seriously, by the time the weekend rolls around I just feel trapped and want to hibernate in my bedroom and hide away from the world.

Scenic Rim 12

Given the chance to escape the city and get out into the country, I grabbed it with both hands and ran with it. So excited was I to be hitting the M7 and heading far, far away from my house, I barely remembered to pack a jumper or even stop for a coffee on the way. Coffee is my morning elixir, so this provided to be a costly mistake. I had no idea where I was going, how far I would travel or where (even more troubling, when?) I would get my coffee. I drove from Brisbane out through Ipswich and it was not until I reached the very gorgeous Boonah (over an hour south-west), that I stopped, got out of the car, and realised I had no time frame. There was no reason to rush…*SIGHHHH*.

After a bacon & egg roll and a coffee the size of my head, I decided I would make my way out to the Kooroomba Vineyard & Lavender Farm, a place which I have wanted to check out for quite a while. Given it was not open until 10am, and I was up with the birds and had finished my breakfast by 9am, I decided to get back into Scarlett and just drive (Scarlett is my incredibly cute 2010 Mazda 3).

Scenic Rim 11

There is something about the country that calms my mind, gives my heart butterfly kisses and makes me feel at home. For a girl who had no real home and was moving every 2-3 years, I don’t have a ‘home-town’, I do however have a connection to the land. Where the skies are long and blue and the ground is brown – I am at my happiest. I don’t know why, it just is. I feel at home. I feel like I can breathe and I am more than happy to spend some time on my own.

I made my way out to Maroon Lake, set my tripod up and thought I would do some exploring. As I had my tripod in its place and not another soul insight (seriously, it was 9.30am on a Wednesday!), two cars rolled in and in a completely empty area – parked exactly in front of the tripod and stared at the camera. It was, strange? Let’s go with strange. So I hauled my gear to the other side of the lake but didn’t get the shots I was after. Not to worry, it was passed 10 and it was Lavender Farm time!

Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm is a little over an hour from Brisbane and has a spectacular view across the Great Dividing Range. I arrived far too early for a meal or a wine, I did however try the lavender tea and some lavender scones and they were absolutely delicious! There is a stunning chapel where I daydreamed having our vowel renewals one day (a girl can dream, right?) and I spent a healthy amount of time weaving in and out of the beautiful rows of lavender and just enjoying the beautiful spot I was in.

Kooroomba has many award winning wines and host a five-star restaurant on site. It certainly is a location I am keen to return to soon. Once the lunchtime crowd started to roll in, I knew it was time to head home.

For under three hours of travel in total, I felt renewed by the time I got back home to Brisbane. The fresh air, the incredibly friendly people, amazing views and large blue skies and deep straw-coloured fields. It just feels like home, every time.

For more information on Kooromba Vineyard and Lavender Farm click here.

Queensland’s very own Scenic Rim is something really special, to see all of the wonderful things you can see and do, click here.

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

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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