Tag Archives: traveling

The Beach Film

Latin America: The Journey Begins

Latin America, here we come!

We depart for Chile Monday morning from Melbourne, with a stopover in Sydney. From there, it’s a 12 hour flight to Santiago, and once in Santiago, we will be hiring bikes to explore the poetic capital by wheel! Some of history’s greatest ever poets resided in Chile, such as Pablo Neruda and Ruben Dario, who flicked their poetic prose down south in Valparaiso. This is where we will be celebrating Easter – Latin America’s street art capital:

Real street "art" - not substandard graffiti!
Real street “art” – not substandard graffiti!

 

After celebrating Easter in Chile, we will be catching a bus across the Argentina border into Mendoza – the world famous wine region. The weather is in the mid-20s everywhere we’re visiting, until we go “to the end of the world” a.k.a Patagonia, down South at the tip of Antarctica, where it will be below zero. We decided to prolong our stay in Patagonia, since Sam wants to climb the Perito Moreno glacier, and I want to hike Monte Fitz Roy – two amazing journeys that will take upwards of 10 hours to complete.

We’ll keep you posted with photos and travel stories soon! Leave comments or questions below :)

 

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Hook Island

Trust Me, It’s Paradise! Hook Island, Australia

“The Beach” film inspired this journey, I’m proud to say. My friends and I were searching for everything Richard was looking for in “The Beach”. It’s harder to find your own piece of paradise than you would think. There are two major components of the backpacker trail that contribute to its culture, and the discoverability of new hidden gems:

1. Being Around Other Backpackers

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2. Being A Lonely Backpacker

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3. Sharing Your Lonely Backpacker Experiences With Other Backpackers, Thereby Making Those Experiences No Longer Lonely

Some would argue that ironically, while the purpose of backpacking is to see places on a budget (and not waste money on unnecessary expenses, like a triple digit hotel room that you only sleep in for six hours a night and literally spend no time in), and to discover secrets that nobody else you know has discovered, the camaraderie nature of backpacking means that secrets are spilt, and places spoilt. Alas, it is a vicious cycle of staying ahead of the curb when you’re out on the open road.

Hook Island, Australia, offered us a remote location, our own perfect beach, not a soul in sight for the entire time we camped there, and the type of tranquility most people would spend a fortune for. This is what backpacking can offer you: The chance to go off the beaten path, and find your own piece of paradise.

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The part of Hook Island we stayed in was abandoned. Around the other side of the island were snorkelers and a couple of boats on day trips, but the part of the island we were on was isolated – nobody came here. At one point, we saw a boat pass by in the distance but other than that, the beach was ours.

With a white coral beach (that isn’t that comfortable to lie down on), bright blue, refreshing waters, large natural rock formations leading into the ocean (which gave us the perfect stargazing opportunity), and only a small fire to keep us warm at night, we were in paradise. The boat operator who dropped us off warned us that if we found ourselves in trouble, that “there’s no way of contacting anyone, but generally if you kayak out into the ocean and find a boat, people are pretty helpful.” A mild concern, but what could possibly go wrong?

Paradise

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For starters, on several occasions I would kayak into the shore with my friend, hop out of the yellow, plastic vessel, and see a shark circling behind us. On two occasions this happened. At night, sharks would regularly swim in as close as 1 metre to the shore, their fins cutting through the water like a wicked blade. Some of the sharks weren’t too big, others seemed a lot larger, but all of them were a decent enough size that they could rip a deadly chunk out of you. This is when we recalled that there is no help, and our phones were in a dead zone. If something were to go wrong, then in the middle of the night, one of us would have to bash through rough, open ocean until we found a boat. That would be impossible, as it’s easy to tip in a kayak in the open water from even the slightest of winds, or smallest of waves.

Luckily, nobody was attacked at any point, but it was unnerving looking behind us on occasion and seeing a fin pop up next to us. In fact, on the very first day within five minutes of getting dropped off, a large, black shark swam up and down the shoreline, only a couple of metres from the sand. We had been found out. We had intruded on its domain, and if we entered the water we risked our lives. This didn’t stop most of us from going swimming though, even though we had clearly seen a few sharks nearby. I stayed on the beach at times, since somebody had to protect all our belongings from being torn to pieces by two metre long goannas! It was strange waking up to a prehistoric beast resting next to the tent, staring at you, but it was the type of experience many people wished they could have, but often don’t. I’ve found with Australia, more so than any other place in the world, that you can really get up and close to some crazy-looking animals and fish. They just exist there. They aren’t too hard to find.

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After a few days of camping, stargazing, listening to Bob Marley while sipping on Jamaican rum, kayaking around the open ocean, and hiking up a dangerous, dry river bed (and being swamped by majestic blue butterflies), we decided to head back to Airlie Beach. The boat ride to and from Hook Island is very rough, so for all the travellers out there contemplating the journey, avoid standing up unless you want to become airborne like I did, and come crashing down on your face. One guy cut his head and elbow open on the fall, and the wounds didn’t look too good.

When we arrived back, the boat operator asked us if we had any trouble with sharks.

“No,” we replied, “we were stalked by a few, but nothing happened, how come?”

“Well, there has been a lot of sightings of large tiger sharks and bronze whalers out that way, up to five metres long. They were right where you were camping.”

This freaked us out, since anybody who knows anything about sharks, knows that those are two of the most aggressive species out there, which are regularly responsible for deadly attacks. Given the amount of people who have been eaten all around Australia lately, I wonder how close we were to joining that unfortunate list. Sharks are fast and it’s almost impossible to see them coming, so I would say that based on the facts, it’s a stroke of luck we didn’t swim into any trouble.

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All in all, Hook Island offered a remote camping experience, complete with interesting (but dangerous) hiking up rugged rocks into the mountain. As advised, it’s the sort of place where if something goes wrong, you’re out of luck and it’s going to take a combination of several good fortunes in order to get help; but the tradeoff is the type of tropical isolation that comes with castaway freedom, the knowledge that there really is no plan B if something bad happens, and that it’s truly up to you to make your new habitat work in your favour.

Between blistering hot sun, ocean predators, tropical perfection, and the adventurous mountain terrain, which contains ancient Aboriginal cave paintings, I suspect that if Australia were more marketable, or less Westernised, Hook Island would be a highly successful location for a sequel to “The Beach” film.

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BREAKING NEWS: PARADISE HAS BEEN DISCOVERED!

Have you ever wondered about the concept of paradise, and if such a place really exists? Is paradise real, or is it a subjective interpretation of perfection, according to one’s ideals and values?

Today I’m going to challenge the latter (against all logic), and tell you that paradise is a real place! While of course, all us travellers have a preferred destination that simply does it for us, I believe there is another place on earth which everybody can appreciate, and that once travelled, explored and experienced, leaves the person in question yearning for more. Paradise is real, believe me, I have been there four times! So where is it, you ask?

It is here:

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Santorini, Greece!

For me, after being around the world and seeing so many beautiful, idyllic places, I can’t see how this isn’t paradise! While I’m a new travel blogger on the scene, I’m by no means new to travel: Starting in 2005, I have travelled overseas every year in search of something mesmerising, flawless, and touching. I discovered it in Santorini, Greece, and I implore each and every one of you to go out there and do the same.

Sometimes I’ll share a great deal of knowledge about the places I’ve visited, and other times I’ll refrain from spoiling it for all the first-timers out there. This is a time when I don’t want to ruin Santorini’s many surprises for anyone, but if you’d love to know more about the hidden alleyways, the delicious cuisine, the remote taverns, and the beautiful hiding spots on this wonderful Greek island, get in contact with me and I’ll help you to organise an itinerary you won’t forget!

Is there a place you’ve discovered that holds true in your heart? A place that screams at you to come back, and never leave? Or have you been to Santorini, and love it as much as I do? Comment and let me know, I’d love to learn more about my fellow travellers! 

Check out the Santorini image gallery for more photos on the home page now! I’ve rounded up a few different shots of what I think conveys Santorini’s beauty, paradisiacal qualities, and liberating charm :)

Valparaiso

On Our Way to Chile! Stop One of South America 2014!

So the adventures continue well into 2014! 

And so they should. Ever since travelling overseas for the first time in 2005, my life has changed for the better: Seeing new places, having fun with new faces, and absorbing culture on a molecular level which has enhanced my mind and nourished my soul.

To all my fellow travellers out there, I know you feel the same!

In April, we will be flying from Australia into Santiago, Chile, where we will travel, explore, and experience everything the good Chileans have to offer! Valparaiso has really caught my eye, and for those of you who haven’t heard about this port side city, imagine a colourful plethora of street art that illuminates the buildings. Imagine true street artists decorating a quiet, Latin American neighbourhood, then picture yourself immersed in the southern city.

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There are very few places in the world I have visited, where a city has literally been painted with such artistic fortitude. I stumbled across this city by chance, actually: Originally we weren’t sure if we would tackle Santiago, followed by a few wine regions, and then thanks to the power of random Google entries and an inkling that Chile MUST offer more than well, wine (not that there’s anything wrong with wine, believe me…), this is what we stumbled upon:

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If that’s not enough to make all you backpackers take a second look at Chile, I don’t know what is! I’m excited to see this all for myself, immerse myself in the street art scene, and discover more great artwork that I can share with you all on Backpacker Adventures! 

Have you been to Chile before? Or have you almost skipped over a country you didn’t think was worth visiting, only to discover, like I did, at the last minute that something truly astounding was waiting to be explored? Let us know in the comments below, we would love to hear from you!