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So I have been home for almost 2 weeks now, and after months of pining to be back, I can’t wait to go again! 

The inevitable dread of starting back at work, at having to live at home with my parents again, of having to balance my social life and do all the other adult things is already wearing down on me! 

The only benefit: the fact it’s summer. The hot weather and promise of a holiday in a couple of days is the only thing dragging me through the harsh reality of being back from my travels.

Holiday blues are real, and they are punishing. 

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Not as good as I thought

So I have come to the end of my travels, they will get a seperate post! 

But what have I learned about myself? The cliche that travelling helps you find yourself, helps you develop and grow as a person. I guess in my case is very accurate. 

1. I am not as much of a good person as I think I am 

2. I can solo travel

3. I can put myself out there and make friends 

4. I like attention, in fact maybe I actually need it 

5. I am adventurous 

6. I am brave 

7. I overly mother people 

8. I try to justify everything, even when it shouldn’t be justified 

9. I feel like I missed out on certain experiences

10. I am not the person I thought I was. I am not the person I think I am. I am becoming a person I didnt see coming. 

Day 1 

THE ADVENTURE HAS BEGUN! 

So at the delightful hour of 6:35 I started my journey, I boared the commuter train back into Wellington. I was anxious and excited, about to undertake the most challenging 2 weeks of my life. So South I traveled, crossed to the South Island by the ferry to start my first ever solo traveling experience. 

I was praised by the beautiful view after the 3 1/2 ride, Picton glowing in sunlight reflected off the sea. I made some friends on the crossing, I haven’t managed to fully put myself out there, there is something hooding me back. Thankfully, everyone has been very welcoming and inclusive, which has made the first day a lot easier. 

What the plan is for this evening I don’t yet. But I am sure it’ll be an adventure. 

The worst part of travelling 

Travelling is always played as this beautiful, fun and worthwhile exercise. And while all of that is true, it does hide the rather dark and gloomy side. 

For me, that side is homesickness, loneliness and an ever growing feeling of being lost. Not the nicest feelings to dwell on, but I think important to address and acknowledge. 

I thought homesickness would only be brief and passing but unfortunately it seems lingering and consuming. You end up missing the simplest of things, like celery sticks. You never even knew they were important to you, but suddenly you can’t find them at a supermarket and you get an overwhelming feeling of needing to go home, and how much easier things are at home. 

You miss family and friends and even though you meet people who you end up adoring, they don’t quite hit the same spot as a chat with your  bestfriend or your mother. You want to tell them about your everyday stresses, about painting your toenails, about buying a snickers bar, about seeing something funny on the street. And you can’t. You are 13 hours apart, and have to wait till early morning or late at night to speak, and obviously you are too busy at those times of day for a proper chat, and the time you really need them is at 1pm when you are bored, stressed and lonely. 

You need to make basic decisions, like which pair of jeans to buy or whether to reply to someone’s message, and yet you can’t get the response in time. 

Overwhelmed and lonely, those are the prevailing feelings you get late at night or while walking around in the afternoon after work. You don’t have anyone to call to vent, you don’t have anyone to drop in to, you have to take comfort in scenery and yourself, but they can’t always consul you. 

So travelling, as great and wondering and adventurous can also be lonely and hard. 

Why you should visit – London

Obviously i am biased! This being my hometown, but that doesn’t make it not a spectacular holiday destination. As the UK’s largest city and England’s capital, it is a thriving hub of places to explore and things to see.

Notable attractions: Big Ben, Parliament, London Eye, the Shard, Tower of London, St Paul’s & Westminster Abbey, Buckingham & Kensington Palace, Tower Bridge & London Bridge, Cutty Sark and of course Trafalgar and Leicester Square.

So although they may be the most notable things to see while wandering the old streets of central London, they aren’t the only appealing things.

For a culturally entertaining day; the countless museums and galleries. For example the Victoria and Albert, Science, Natural History and  British Museum are worth a walk around. If you fancy a more artistic day, the National Portrait, Tate Modern, Tate Britain or National Gallery might appeal a bit more.

For theaters and shows, you have endless choice in the west end, or shows at the O2 or Royal Albert Hall. For a slightly different and cheaper approach i cant recommend enough a fiver standing ticket at the globe, your legs might ache a little by the end and you are exposed to the elements, but the rustic, traditional shakespearean productions will make a fan out of anyone.

If you want to walk around some markets, you are in the right place! From the delicious selection on offer at Borough Market, to the antiques at Portabello road, to the fabulous little stalls at Spitafields, you can have a whole day out exploring the little stalls of London markets. Another recently saved and soon to be fully restored indoor market is Smithfield market, brings you the crop of the day and the finest meats London has to offer. If you want something a little more alternative and a bit further out, a trip to Camden Market cant go a miss, the array of pubs and bars, mixed with food stalls and independent shops makes an eclectic but beautiful mix.

If you are more of an outside person and just want to explore the green spaces of London, you can walk from St James Park into Green Park and then through Hyde Park, and along to Regents park and up onto Primrose Hill with relative ease. Hyde Park in particular is a hive of activity from music acts through the summer months to Winter Wonderland in the winter, and of course home to Kensington Palace. Primrose Hill is a particular favourite and home to a delicious and stunning little cake shop, aptly named Primrose Hill Bakery.

Fancy seeing some famous little spots; Baker Street, the famous home of a certain detective, Mr Sherlock Holmes. Or, Abbey Road Studios, where a very famous band, The Beetles recorded an iconic album. Maybe a walk through Whitechapel on a Jack the Ripper experience is a little more your thing? In which case, with the London Dungeons not a stone throws away you can have a whole afternoon of creepy! Maybe you are a little more of a romantic and would rather have a walk along the canal in Little Venice? Or fancy more of the orient in China Town?

Not to mention of course, one the major appeals of London is the shopping. The busy rush of Oxford Street from Primark to Selfridges! Or the technology center of Tottenham Court Road and Regents Street. To lovely Carnaby Street slightly more hidden away but still rammed full of inviting shops. Notable shops are of course; Selfridges, Liberty, Hamleys and Harrods.

I could go on forever of things to see and places to go in London, but instead i’ll round it off here with a few of my favourite little spots. Brick Lane, the best place for an Indian in the West. Hampstead Heath, endless fields and foresty areas to get lost in, and if you are brave enough some ponds to swim in. Notting Hill at the end of August for Carnival. And finally, Haringey Green Lanes, the only place to get a Turkish, Kurdish or Greek meal in the country, Kebabs that aren’t just for 2am but for a gourmet dining experience.

 

Why you should visit – Wellington

Lonely planet dubbed it the “coolest little capital in the world”, and for good reason!

Not only is the city surrounded by a picturesque hilly-mountainous backdrop, but its array of bars and pubs with multiple live music options every night and countless easy going quirky inhabitants only add to its appeal.

From Cuba Street; a cool road in the center of town lined with cute independent shops, amazing cafes and coffee shops and countless pubs and bars. Some of my favourites being midnight espresso (coffee shop), bad grannies (pub), Ekim Burgers (food van, cant have the food but can kill the milkshakes!) and minerva (independent book, stationary shop)

To Courtenay Place; one of the main roads in Wellington for bars and ‘clubs’, some of my suggestions being Danger Danger (DJ always takes requests and plays all the major hits from the 1980s onwards), The Residence (nice chilled pub), Establishment, and if you fancy a slight heading off the main road Dakotas (a cowboy inspired bar with a mechanical bull!)

For more cultural activities the city is thriving, it has Te Papa, the best museum i have been to in a long time! It has 5 floors of New Zealand history, from Maori history to cultural and social changes in the more modern era. It has also a lot of natural history and filled to the brim with interactive and well put together exhibitions.

The city has a set of botanical gardens, admittedly not the most extravagant or most beautiful set the world has to offer, but the option to head up there via cable car which has a fun light-show attached makes it a much more exciting and fun day out.

If you fancy more of a walk you can head up to Mount Victoria lookout, not too much for a hike and the views over wellington and the harbour are to die for. Or you can walk along the harbour from the train station down to oriental bay, a nice sandy beach.

Or, if you fancy your walking more routed in shops and city life Lambton Quay is the place for you. A thriving curved street that goes from the train station and parliament (which does several free tours a day by the way) right to the end of Willis Street another shoppers paradise.

Wellington always has some sort of activity going, it has weekly food markets, to stock up on fruit and veg and grab a delicious meal from one of the stalls (every Saturday and Sunday), or the late night eatery that is the Friday food market on Cuba. It also plays host to lots of cool buskers, pop up entertainment and city organised events like ‘Welly Christmas’

It has all the classic things you expect to find in a city: Cinemas (most being independent, so slightly more comfortable and classy with the added fun of a bar), Laser tag (unlimited play from 6pm till close on a Thursday or Friday for just $15, including free arcade games to fill your time between games) and of course bowling alleys.

Any day of the week there is something going on, and most of the time you don’t even need to know where to look. A beautiful, chilled and bustling little capital city that will steal the hearts of anyone who comes to visit her.

My 1 year suitcase – a packing guide for a working holiday

A working holiday is a big commitment, even more so is working out how to pack your life into one suitcase. So here is my essential packing list based on what i wish i had brought and what i wish i now didn’t have to lug around.

  1. If you never wore it at home, you wont wear it abroad. The reality is you live in the same clothes week in week out, because they make you feel happy, comfortable and confident. You won’t want to wear that skimpy red skirt that you’ve had in your wardrobe for a year and only worn twice because every time you put it on you feel a bit self-conscious and end up changing. You will not want to experiment.
  2. Bring more shoes. I only brought 3 pairs of shoes with me, a pair of heeled boots, which in the 4 months i have been here have been worn a maximum of 12 hours in total. A pair of trainers, which i lived in while on the actual travel portion of my working holiday so far. And, finally, a pair of brown ballet flats, which since i have stopped travelling have been my go to. I wish i had a pair of waterproof flat boots, or brogues, or had the insight to bring a black pair of shoes when i got myself a little job.
  3. Bring a canvas shopping bag, you know the ones, they are always giving them away free. They will be a god send, they make the perfect day bag for a little walk, a beach day, to transport your book or some snacks rather than lugging your big holdall bag.
  4. Black clothing, seems boring and dreary for the fun-filled adventure of your life, but the reality is at some point you will run low on funds, maybe even completely out and need to get yourself a retail or waitress job to tide you over. They seem to always require you to wear black trousers or a skirt and either a black top or a white one, so save yourself having to buy them out here and then work out how to stuff them in your suitcase to get them home again and pack them before you go.
  5. And, on that note, remember to bring an interview outfit
  6. Warm clothes, now i sound like your mum nagging you about the all important coat and jumpers, but i guess sometimes we forget that hot countries have winters too and that it still gets cold at night.
  7. Cosmetics, stock up on all your beauty essentials as they will have to last you the year, all your ‘cannot live withouts’. They most likely wont stock your favourite brand or if they do it’ll cost a bomb and you’ll end up begging your family to pay extortionate fees to ship them over to you.
  8. Don’t forget your laptop and make sure you stock it up on TV shows to binge, wifi can be sparse and expensive, so having a catalogue of things at your disposal will be a godsend!
  9. More than one towel… i made that mistake and always had nightmare trying to wash my hair with nothing to wrap it in, most hostels at a price will loan you a towel, but to save those precious $$$ just bring an extra
  10. And finally, socks and tights, they always go missing, you always need them and they are the most boring thing to spend your money on!