Expectations Versus Reality: Minimalist Traveling

After catching up with my family in California, it was time for me to hop on a plane to start my working visa in New Zealand. I packed up my little 28L Cabin Zero backpack and headed to the airport.

I’ve seen so many fashion bloggers get that epic travel photo in front of the airport with their suitcase and their long legs. I decided to try out my own version, because Michael had a suitcase and I thought I could look refined.

This is what I usually expect to look like at the airport as a minimalist:

Expectations versus Reality: Minimalist Traveling

But in reality, I have a backpack, a purse, a water bottle (which is always out), a camera, a jacket, and sometimes even more miscellaneous things.

This is usually what I end up looking more like:

Expectations versus Reality: Minimalist Traveling

The wind seems to always be blowing, I never put my hair up when I should, and though I could pack everything in my backpack, I always keep things out to be accessible. It’s a miracle I haven’t lost my head yet.

Though I feel like I’ve mastered minimalist packing, I haven’t yet mastered the suave airport entry.

Expectations versus Reality: Minimalist Traveling

I am proud that I was able to fit all of my belongings into a 28 liter backpack.

Stay tuned for a post all about what I packed!

 

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Day Trips from Melbourne: Great Ocean Road & Twelve Apostles

On a cloudy Wednesday morning, I woke up, packed a lunch, made a to-go coffee, and hopped in the car. A friend and I were off to drive down the famous Great Ocean Road!

Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Australia

The drive was estimated at 4 hours, so we planned to be at the Twelve Apostles by 3 PM, after leaving at 11 AM. We had snacks, we had water, I had a large supply of black coffee. We were set.

Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Australia

We took the long way, driving to Torquay, along the ocean. The cliffs and beaches reminded me a bit of home in California, but the color of the ocean here is so much lighter.

Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, AustraliaGreat Ocean Road, Melbourne, Australia

It’s fall in Melbourne right now, and as typical of Melbourne weather, we had a bit of wind, a bit of rain, and a bit of sun. Luckily, we were able to get some sun at all of the places I had wanted to stop off.

Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Australia

Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Australia

We drove past Torquay, through Anglesea, and along the jagged cliffs of the ocean. The road was beautiful, though it could be a bit rough if you are prone to car sickness. Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Australia

Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Australia

We stopped to take photos at a few places, and ended up cutting our time pretty close. The sun sets at 5:30 PM in Melbourne during the fall. Luckily, after a bit of stress, a bit of car dancing, and a lot of snacks, we made it to the Twelve Apostles at 4:45 PM – just in time for the sunset! Twelve Apostles, Australia

Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Australia

Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Australia

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It was freezing cold and super windy, but the view of the cerulean ocean and the steep, jagged cliffs made the long drive completely worth it. I was blown away by the natural beauty of this magical place.

Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Day Trip from Melbourne

We took the shortest way possible home, singing in the car, dancing, and eating potato chips all the way back to Melbourne. It was a wonderful ending to an unforgettable day.

Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Day Trip from Melbourne

Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Day Trip from Melbourne

Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Day Trip from Melbourne

Let Me Know!

  • Have you ever driven the Great Ocean Road?
  • Would you add it to your list?

 

 

 

 

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Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand

If you are considering a trip to Thailand, you can’t leave out a visit to play with elephants outside of Chiang Mai. I’ve been to Chiang Mai twice, visiting the elephants both times, and each time that was the highlight of my trip. Elephants are the sweetest and most playful creatures, and spending a day with them is guaranteed to become a memory you’ll never forget.

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Chiang Mai Thailand

The sad truth about elephants in Thailand is that so many places will torture and abuse the elephants to make it possible for the elephants to be ridden. An elephant’s spine is not naturally strong enough to carry a little hut for humans to ride in, and they have to go through so much pain and abuse to be able to carry those.

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Chiang Mai Thailand

If you’d like to visit and play with elephants without contributing to their abuse, I would highly recommend visiting a sanctuary! I’ve visited two elephant sanctuaries, my favorite being Elephant Jungle Sanctuary.

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Chiang Mai Thailand

When you book a trip with the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, you’ll have the opportunity to play with elephants in a loving and caring environment. You’ll have the chance to feed them bananas and sugarcane (their favorite!), pet them, bathe them, and take loads of photos with them. These elephants have been rescued from the abusive environments of parks, and now have a loving home.

You get the option of many different tour packages with the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, the most common being a half day or full day. You can even stay multiple days if you have the time! I opted for the half day, but that quickly became a regret, as I only was with the elephants for a few hours (the park is about an hour and a half drive outside of Chiang Mai). I would recommend splurging on the full day tour (still only about $70 USD). The tours usually include a ride to and from the park, and a meal, plus a couple bottles of water per person.

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Chiang Mai Thailand

The elephants at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary are well taken care of and happy – you can see it on their faces. If you’re planning a trip to Thailand, I highly recommend booking a tour with the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary!

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Chiang Mai Thailand

For more info on Chiang Mai (and to see why I made it my home for three months!), check out my Ultimate Guide to Chiang Mai.

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THE BOOK IS HERE

Happy New Year! It’s 2017 and I hope that everyone is looking forward to the New Year. I love the energy that a new year brings. Fresh beginnings, a clean start, all of the opportunity that we can create this year – let’s do it!

I can’t wait to see how this year unfolds. I have loads of personal and professional goals lined up, along with a LOT of travel goals! Speaking of which…. Remember a few months ago I mentioned that I was working on an ebook?? Well, it’s finished, and IT’S HERE.

I’ve been working on an ultimate guide to traveling the world – this baby contains all of the answers to the questions I get asked so often, plus lots of tips and tricks for traveling. I’ll give you a sneak peak – here is the table of contents.

  1. Why I Chose Long Term Travel over the American Dream
  1. Preparing for your trip: What to do immediately
  • Bank accounts
  • Credit Cards
  • Savings Plan
  • Travel Insurance
  • Planning Your Trip
  1. How to Pack Only the Necessities & the Gear You’ll Need to Do It  
  1. How to Find the Cheapest Flight & Are ‘Around The World’ Tickets Worth It?
  1. Booking Accommodation
  • Which type of accommodation are you looking for?
  • Long Term Accommodation: How to Find The Best Apartment
  • How to Keep Your Stuff Safe While Travelling
  1. How to Get Around
  • Figuring out Local Transportation
  • Safety on the Road
  1. Saving Money on the Road
  • How to Get Free Tours
  1. So You Want to Travel Long Term
  • Work Visas vs Tourist Visas
  • Making Money Online
  • Getting Your Stuff Together at Home – Opportunities

9. Sample budgets from Thailand, South America, Europe and Australia

 

As you can see, I’ve covered a LOT of information. This book is 40+ pages full of insight on how to save money to travel, how I used travel hacking to get free flights (and how you can too!) and even tips on keeping your stuff safe while traveling. It’s pretty jam packed!

I know you guys will love the book. I created this because my mission is to help people travel more. Travel has changed my life in the best ways possible and has helped me grow into a better person. I hope that I can help you achieve your travel goals in 2017! Click here to get your copy – I can’t wait to hear what you think about it!

xoxoxx

Amanda

 

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Unexpected Encounters: Killer Wildlife in Singapore Botanic Gardens

I needed a chill out day after two full days of touristing through Singapore. I thought I’d head over to the Botanic Gardens in Singapore to relax with some greenery. I arrived at the gate of the garden. I walked a bit. It was serene. There were butterflies fluttering around my head. The birds were singing, along with a couple of hippies that had a guitar. It was more serene than I ever imagined a botanical garden could get. But then it turned bad. And dangerous.

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About half way through the garden, I basically turned into Steve Irwin after spotting a massive killer lizard. By “I turned into Steve Irwin”, I meant that I bent down and snapped some pictures. No way was I going to touch that thing.

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Okay, he isn’t a killer lizard. It’s a monitor lizard. Harmless. He looks pretty serene, right?

I would be lying if I said I didn’t automatically assume that he was a hunter. He looks a bit scary. I looked up monitor lizards when I got home and apparently they are carnivorous. Not necessarily for humans, though. He mainly eats turtle eggs.

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I also had some nice, serene moments before (and after, shockingly) this near death experience. I experienced total relaxation in a foliage garden. You really haven’t experienced life until you’ve been in a foliage garden. You can see the relaxation and pure bliss in my face below.

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I was feeling so giddy and full of sunshine and nature that I decided at this point that it would only be fitting to hug a tree.

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I believe this tree hugging experience really brought everything together. I think if you visit a botanical garden, you really can’t leave without hugging a tree. It was just the cherry on top of a wonderful, garden filled day. Here is me walking out of the garden, alive and mostly well (in case you wanted proof).

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