Time for the non-filtered bits


Time for the non-filtered bits.

I feel like I need a nap. A like, 3 day long nap. Let me please preface this by saying that I realise how incredibly fortunate I am to have this opportunity to travel to even sit here and write this thing. I receive that message loud and clear in a humbling daily reminder that many of the people in the countries I am visiting will never even leave their home town, let alone their country. I am also very aware that my home town of Melbourne is wickedly freezing atm and everyone’s toes are teeny tiny icycles. So this blog does not come from a place of ungratefulness, it doesn’t even come from a place of unhappiness. It just comes from a place of tiredness. But how could I be this tired? How could I have the feeling that I need a holiday from my holiday?! But what kind of travel blogger would I be if I only allowed you all to see this experience through an Instagram filter (I don’t even use Instagram filters but that’s not the point).

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The Marvelous City (Rio de Janeiro)

Sunset over Rio from the cable car

The Marvelous City

Total Days Travelling: 126

Countries Visited: 8

I’m a little behind on blogs after a busy two months of full-on travel but I’ve decided to utilise my ‘Rio-buzz’ to write this blog first and I will catch up on other destinations later!

Living and learning in Guatemala

Girls in my school

Living and learning in Guatamala

Number of days spent travelling: 97
Number of countries visited: 4

In total I will have spent 2 months travelling through the colorful jungley mess that is Guatemala, but I have decided to divide my blog in to two sections, one about actual travel and adventure, and one about my time in San Pedro La Laguna, which was simply about living and learning.

Spanish school with a view

Spanish school with a view

Take me to the April Sun in Cuba..



Havana Sunsets

Havana Sunsets

Is anybody Havana good time?

The time had come to tackle the mystery and intrigue of old-world communist nation Cuba. We were flying from Mexico to meet one of my previous travelling buddies, Lisa, who I met in Delhi and travelled through India and Nepal with fresh from the Bahamas. Armed with loads of advice from fellow travellers we set off excited but somewhat unsure about what lay ahead. We barely had time to turn off the seatbelt sign before we were descending again and the overhead announcement stated that ‘the government requires that all passengers be sprayed with a non-toxic substance before arrival’. The hostesses literally strolled up and down the aircraft spraying something that resembled in nature and smell, bug spray. I again found myself wondering what on earth lay ahead. We later found out that this spray was ‘fumigation’ for Zika virus, and trucks would drive through spraying entire towns during our time in Cuba, leaving the streets covered in thick black smoke and a bunch of tourists running for the hills and covering their mouths. In the tiny airport in Havana we were greeted by personnel in white lab coats and long wait times. In Cuba the typical accomodation is ‘Casas’, the Spanish word for houses where most tourists stay over hotels. This type of accomodation is not only cheaper but also gives you a more authentic local experience. Most of them will have everything you need, will cook meals and do laundry for you. We found our Casa without too much hassle and decided to get out and explore Old Havana. Our Casa owner had a few words of advice for us, the most interesting being ‘there are many large holes in the road and footpath, do not fall down them’, he was not wrong, there are literally human sized holes everywhere.

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You have to see it to Belize it

Image from Google

Overland Distance Travelled: 2218kms

Days Travelling: 45

Number of Countries Visited: 2

Belize was a time-filling side trip from Southern Mexico as we wait to fly out from Cancun to Cuba. We only spent around a week there mostly due to the cost but let me tell you, Belize is a place that has inspired me to write more than any other destination we have visited so far on this trip. It is truly the most unusual destination I have ever visited. As you travel around trying not to have your jaw hit the floor you can’t help but wonder how this place even came about. Firstly it remains part of the Commonwealth, so the official language of Belize is technically English, however I learnt from attending a trivia night at the sports bar as well as through my own research that less than 10% of the citizens actually speak it as their first language. Secondly, the majority of the population in the areas we visited were Creole, initially of West-African descent, which seems quite a unique concentration of this population when Central and South America is comprised of such a large hispanic culture. Belize is land locked between Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala, all Spanish speaking hispanic countries. It became more evident during our time here that the Creole people identify heavily with their Caribbean neighbours, particularly Jamaica. Despite being run by the British monarchy, the American influence in Belize was immediately noted, with use of the US dollar, phrases and foods. The women are sassy and the men are aiming to charm anyone who comes their way. It became evident within a few hours that Belizeans are very proud of where they live and it’s unique qualities.

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Do you want to go to the seaside? The Yucatan Peninsula Mexico

Playa Paraiso

Overland Distance Travelled: 2018kms

Days Travelling: 40

Countries Visited: 1

The Yucatan Peninsula

Three weeks of immersing ourselves in Mayan and modern Mexican culture and eating a lifetimes worth of Tacos it was time to answer a calling, white sandy beaches, turquoise water, cenotes and tequila, it was time to head to the Caribbean. The Carribean side of Mexico is the most frequented by tourists and comprised of an area called the Yucatan Peninsula. The first stop seemed inevitable: Cancun.

The Mexico behind the beaches.

Palenque Mayan Ruins

Overland Distance Travelled: 1391 KM

Days travelled: 20

Countries visited: 1

After dipping our toes in to Mexican culture in the capital, we headed south on a bus to Oaxaca, the food capital of Mexico. We decided to head inland to some of Mexico’s colonial towns before heading to the stock-standard beachy destinations Mexico is renowned for. Overland travel within Mexico has been quite easy, albeit a little expensive. However, the service you are paying for is worth it. The buses are first class services, more comfortable seats than a plane and often with a movie or powerpoints etc. The buses are able to be booked online which makes planning ahead easy. Travelling overland is also a great way to see a country, as we wound in to Oaxaca we had the most incredible views of the canyons which I will talk about later. It is quite common for vendors to be selling items such as gum or souvenirs on the side of the road at major intersections. Much to my bemusement, on this leg of the journey, one cheeky vendor was holding up armfuls of bouncing puppies trying to catch a tourist’s eye. Lucky Brendan woke up at this point or I may have ended up with an unexpected travel companion.

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