Monday, December 26th 2016 – Neverland

Once upon a time, in a land not too far away, a magical land of snow and ice castles existed. This place was known as Neverland.

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Living in this magical land, were people who had come from all over the kingdom. Far and wide, creatures would come and stay. Some for a short while, to work and make magical coins and then return to their home land to continue on their journey. Others stayed for a longer period of time, and would eventually begin to make themelves at home.

Everyone would come with their own stories to tell of how they ended up in the magical land of Neverland. But regardless of how everyone got there, everyone had atleast this one thing in common; a free spirited and adventurous personality.

Some of the creatrues were known as ‘Peter Pans’ of the world. They had come from far away, had flown from across the sea to be there, go on adventures and help out the other creatures of the land. Others were ‘Tigerlilys’, native to the area. They knew the secrets of the landscape and how to avoid creatures such a wild bears and could easily navigate the rugged land without getting lost or hurt.

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The Darlings would often visit and stay in the wonderful magical palace, to have little adventures of their own. The Peter Pans and the Tigerlilys would show them around the land, serve them with local delicacies and most of all, make them feel right at home.

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Every now and then, a new magical creature could be found in Neverland. A creature that goes by the name of Tinkerbell.

This creature was a mender and a fixer. Finding its way in the world by helping others. Most Tinkerbells that ended up in Neverland, usually wanted to stay to help all of the Darling’s and the other creatures run the land. Tinkering about, fixing things here, mending things there.

Sometimes a Tinkerbell would have so many feelings for one small creature, that they often struggle to balance their emotions and find themselves torn between staying in Neverland with the other creatures and flying to across the sea to help other creatures in other little kingdoms.

But the one thing for sure about Tinkerbells, is that where ever they went, they would always leave a trail of fairy dust behind to help the other creatures fly and always think happy thoughts. And even though Tinkerbells had big personalities, that was sometimes diffucult to understand, they always just wanted to help others and inspire them with a little fairy dust and magic.

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One of the little Tinkerbells felt it was her time to eventually move on and continue spreading her magic around the world and continue to share her fairy dust with not only the creatures of Neverland, but other people who needed the magic and fairy dust a little bit more.

Near the end of her time in Neverland, the powerful creatures of the land were throwing a party to celebrate all of The Darlings that had visited and to thank all of the Peter Pans and Tigerlilys for everything they had done.

Of course Tinkerbell knew she must attend to sprinkle just a little bit of her fairy dust to complete the magical scene of the evening.

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Friday, December 9th 2016 – Help! I think I’ve lost the travel bug

For a couple of weeks, I had gone into panic mode. I though I had lost the travel bug!

For the longest time in my adultish life, I had always had this itch, this feeling that I had to keep looking for something. Like I was always missing something.

After my surgeries in 2012, I was finally free of the medical demons that had been holding me back so I began travelling.

I have been told that I am one of those Millennial Travelers, who takes advantage of the ease, convenience and low cost of travel. I had the travel bug for sure! I needed to see as much as I possibly could. The more you travel, the less scary it actually becomes to be in a foreign country.

I am always in search of something that was always missing. I can’t tell you exactly what it is. Travel? Success? Career? Husband? I actually couldn’t tell you the right answer. All of the above? haha

I also felt I needed to travel, because well, I could. This may be a selfish statement, but I actually see it as the complete opposite. I am fortunate. I have been raised with fortunate opportunities. I am blessed to have a life, and the life that I have. So,  I travel to make the most of my blessed life at this point in my life, before I do have the house and the mortgage and the husband.

A couple of weeks ago, I went into panic mode and lost the travel bug completely! I just wanted a normal life again. I was beating myself up about being that ‘selfish’ person that has to travel. I needed to know why in my head, I felt that I no longer needed to travel the world, when it was something that had been on my mind for so long.

Well fear not followers, the bug has returned! I sat down one day and pulled out a world map and looked at the countries and destinations that I wanted to visit next.

England, Peru, Costa Rica, Spain.. You name it, I had it on the list. I then started prioritizing where I wanted to go first, and how much each destination would cost me.

(Mind you, I can’t actually afford any of this yet, but making lists and organizing my thoughts helps me focus and know that it is achievable in the long run!)

So after I looked at costs and other things, I pulled up about 5 different travel companies to make comparisons. Contiki, G Adventures, Gecko’s Adventures, Live Before Work and Intrepid Travel. I figured out which tours would be the most affordable and practical and gathered my mind back to where I needed it to be.

I never want to have to apologize for being a traveller. It’s something that will always be there.

via Daily Prompt: Missing

My love hate relationship with my nomadic life

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I absolutely love living in the Canadian Rockies. It is an amazingly beautiful part of the world, but sometimes I find myself getting stuck in a rut.

Lake Louise is isolated so some days I do get cabin fever, or depressed when I’m stuck with nothing to do but to go to the pub or sit at home and watch Netflix.

Yes, there is amazing hikes, canoeing and just simply the magnifying mountains that stand before me. There is simply no reason why I shouldn’t feel healthy when there is a staff gym as well as our own outdoor playground.

But, in my quiet times, I look at people at home who are getting married and having families and have networks of people who also have their own little families.

The most amazing little miracles happen everyday, more amazing than planet earth itself that I am beside myself that in the coming weeks, I am going to have my very own beautiful little nephew. I am so unbelievably excited about this. 

With that, I am now 25 years old, and one day recently, that fact actually caught up to me. I want a family one day too, I want the house and the picket fence and my dog, and it gets me down sometimes that my life isn’t there yet. So, I work and I travel.

Travelling, has always been my first love. And finding myself and my place in the world comes after that and today I finally felt myself have the epiphany I needed to break out of my rut.

The breakthrough.

I spent some time with my friends and realized, I know where I belong in the world and who I am. What my strengths and weaknesses are. What kind of people I need around me that support the positive energy that floats from within me.

I love my work but I hate the dangerous vortex of the Lake Louise pub lifestyle. I love my friends and the supportive network of a sisterhood we have created but I hate how depressed I become when I have a moment where I feel lost or alone. I love the fresh mountain air and the most breathtaking scenery that lays before me everyday, but I hate the fact that sometimes, I can feel trapped by it. 

I don’t need real or metaphorical mountains to tell me where I belong. 

I just know I belong in the world that is continuesly evolving and to not be afraid of it. I belong in a world of writing and inspiring. Which is why I blog.

I also belong in the world where I love my job and the way I can make someone feel better about themselves. I know that I have that and I feel blessed for it everyday.

I don’t necessarily need the house with the fence just yet, because I know one day it will be my turn. It’s okay to have bad days, I just need to remember to talk about them instead of letting things stew in my mind. I may need more of a sense of normalcy at some point, and that’s okay too.

But for now, I am enjoying the wonder of the world that is the Canadian Rockies. Because the day I look back when I do have the house with the fence and the dog, I want to know that I made the most of my time out here. 

Contiki 2014 – Grand Northern USA

For a while, I’ve wanted to write about my contiki in 2014.

I hadn’t started my blog yet when I traveled then but I definitely want to do a review on the tour. So I what I think I’ll do, is an over all overview of the contiki, then another blog of each of the place we stopped in at!

The tour started on a rainy morning in downtown New York at the Doubltree By Hilton, Chelsea. The night before, most of us met in the lobby for a quick meet and greet and exchange paperwork of insurance and passports with our contiki manager Craig, a typical American with a very strong southern accent, which threw me at first. Christ, what am I doing? Why on earth did I book this trip, everyone is terrifying me!

My anxiety of new people went into overdrive and I was stuck in the middle of a tiny cramped lobby with 30 or so other people introducing themselves to everyone while I managed to back my way out of the group after I had given my copies of the paper work and nudged towards the elevator and back to my room to try to get a good nights sleep after an extensive day of trying to get over my jet lag and the fact that I thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life by coming overseas.

I missed home, my family and my friends already and I had only been out of the country for no more than 48 hours and I still had 30 something days to go!

Mel, pull yourself together, you are going to enjoy this trip no matter what!

The next day we all jumped in the bus and spent the next few hours playing ‘get to know you’ games before reaching our first destination, Boston. We did the touristy stuff in Boston for a couple of days then headed up on the bus to Canada!

We explored in Quebec City, Montreal and of course Toronto where we hit up way too many bars and drank way too much vodka to have our last trip in Canada at the beautiful Niagara Falls.

Before we crossed the border back into the States, we stopped in at the duty free store to stock up for the rest of the trip with more alcoholic goodies.

Next stop, Cleveland Ohio! We only spent one afternoon/night here. We ventured through the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame then spent the night ten pin bowling.

Over the coming days we stopped in at Chicago Illinois, Madison Wisconsin, Sioux Falls South Dakota, the incredible Badlands’ National Park, the tiny historic town of Walldrug and Mt. Rushmore. I got to go to my first baseball game and check in at the Spam Factory (needless to say, like most days we were hung over and the spam tastings were an interesting experience to say the least).

One place I remember fondly is Keystone, a town next to Mt. Rushmore that   I loved the little old town and I was caught it wanderlust of it all. A few of us spent an evening in the most amazing bar I have ever seen.

It was a cross between an old wooden small town bar, and a thrift shop. Yeah I’m serious, and I’ll go into more detail about it in my other blog and review about each town.

The next day would have been my favorite part of the bus trip by far!

We drove from Keystone through to the Wyoming Mountain Ranges, where for the first time ever, I saw snow. The forty or so of us proceeded to have a snow ball fight then return to the bus with blue frozen fingers and toes. It was totally worth it though 🙂


That afternoon we arrived to the small rodeo town of Cody, Wyoming. We all brought out our cowboy boots and hats and headed off the to rodeo for the evening!

The following days were spent in numerous national parks and time for some fresh air! We visited Yellowstone National Park, went on a horse ride through a local ranch, hiked through Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park and finally, the one and only Grand Canyon!


We finished off our trip by spending three amazing days in Las Vegas where, like usual, we drank too much, spent too much and partied too much. It was the final hoorah for the contiki trip so we made the most of Las Vegas before everyone parting ways in Los Angeles, not without several tears and hugs and exchanges of phone numbers.

Coniki’s are infamous for that, creating bonds and friendships like no other. Not only are you traveling to incredible places for the first, and potentially one and only time, but you are sharing that experience and wanderlust with 49 other travelers.

People who are inspired by the world and want to achieve so much. Some already have achieved so much which inspires everyone else even more.

Thank you contiki for creating life long lasting memories and friendships for me with like minded travelers and world seekers.

 

 

 

Wednesday May 11th 2016 – The Canadian Fairmont Bucket List

Since having started working for this company, I have decided to make a-

‘Canadian Fairmont Bucket List’ 

A list of Fairmont Hotel’s that I want to spend at least one night in at some point for here in Canada as well as the United States (since its just down the road)!

  • Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise ✔️

Monday April 18th 2016 – The stayover

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  • Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel ✔️

The reason I want to stay here, and honestly I already have twice, I just haven’t written about it yet, is because it is only 45 minutes away from Lake Louise. Having a passion for spa, the iconic Willow Stream Spa is one thing I certainly will be checking out! I will potentially stay here with my parents, will see 😉

  • Fairmont Palliser, Calgary ✔️

Tuesday, March 15th 2016 – 48 Hours in Calgary

  • Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

I will be staying here in September with my parents when they visit! So I shall keep you informed 🙂

  • Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, Edmonton
  • The Fairmont Waterfront, Vancouver

Again, in September, my parents will be lucky enough to check this place out with me!

  • The Fairmont Pacific Rim, Vancouver

I would love more than anything to be able to stay here!!! They have by what I have heard, the best high tea next to The Savoy in London! They also have a Willow Stream Spa 😍 The only reason I couldn’t book here is because the staff rate wasn’t available for when my parents are visiting 😦  Doesn’t mean we can’t pop over to check it out!

  • The Fairmont Waterfront Vancouver

Here I will be staying with my parents!! Woohoo

  • Fairmont Empress, Victoria

Victoria is a stone throw away from Vancouver and the hotel sits right on the waterfront. It is also home to another Willow Stream Spa

  • Fairmont Chateau Whistler

It’s Whistler, need I say anymore? And yes I will be staying here in September! 😁☺️😆

Americas-

  • Fairmont Southampton, Bermuda

Palm Trees, Beach and Willow Stream Spa. Ah, sounds like heaven! This place is very high up on the bucket list for a holiday getaway!

  • Fairmont Mayakoba, Mexico

I nearly made it here in January when I went on my Mexican trip with G Adventures! Friday January 15th 2016 – Cancun. There were no staff rates, so I didn’t book. But next time!!!

  • Fairmont Copley Plaza, Boston

I honestly love Boston! I was here in 2014 when I went on my first contiki trip, the Grand Northern. (I am yet to blog about it by the way. This trip was before I started blogging!) The historic city of Boston honestly fascinates me and I would go back there in a heartbeat to visit again. The Fairmont Copley Plaza is also recognized as one of the Historic Hotels of America, since its grand opening in 1912.

  • Fairmont Dallas

Dear god, I will never be able to explain in words how much I loved visiting Texas! Take me back!

Day 22 Monday 31st August- “Things do not happen, things are made to happen” JFK

Day 23 Tuesday 1st September – “Brace your backbone and forget your wishbone”

  • Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii

The Fairmont Orchid is home to The Spa Without Walls. Imagine laying there getting a facial with the sound of the water trickling from the waterfall and stream only meters away. And stepping out of the door from your room straight onto the beach. Sounds like heaven to me. And I’ve never been yet to Hawaii.

  • The Plaza, New York

Day 4 Thursday 13th August- Sex and the city

New York is without a doubt my favorite city in the whole world! Not only was it the starting place of both of my contiki trips, which literally changed my life both times, but the city itself is so incredibly diverse and cultured. You walk in one direction to one neighborhood to see Wall Street and skyscrapers, and in another direction you are in the middle of suburbia eating local cupcakes in the park that looks like something out of the “Forrest Gump” movie.

And The Plaza, well is speaks for itself. Do you remember watching ‘Home Alone 2 Lost In New York’ as a kid? Yes, this is the same place! Central Park is right next door (and no its not as scary as the movie makes it out to be) And for those Australians, Crocodile Dundee when he arrives in New York ( you know the scene) his hotel suite is bigger than my whole apartment!

I won’t go on any further, we all know The Plaza.

  • Fairmont Grand Del Mar, San Diego

Even though I had 2 trips to the United States, San Diego is one destination I am yet to get to.

  • Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Arizona

This place is also very high on the bucket list. If I am to one day able to work in the States and get a working Visa for there, here is the place to be! Home to the Well & Being Spa, a holistic overall wellness spa with a fitness center and the works. Right in the middle of Arizona where it is nice and warm, just how I like it!

  • Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Seattle

I will be meeting my parents in Seattle in September when I see them for the first time in a whole 12 months! I tried to book here with the staff rate, but with no luck. We may just have to pop in for a visit though during out day in Seattle.

Eventually I will make my way to all of these incredible destinations. I know it won’t be any time soon, but one day in years to come, I will look back on this list and know just how achievable it really is!

Thank you Fairmont for being such an incredible place to work 💜

 

99 Sleeps to go- Double Digits

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EEEK!

Down to double digits now 🙂

Pretty exciting.

As the days creep up closer and closer, it becomes that little bit more real.

For the last 9 months since I booked the contiki, it really hasn’t felt like I am going. I even went to a tarot reader who told me I was going overseas and I was still doubting myself!

Then recently when I decided to add the working holiday on, it’s just been a process applying. Which I understand all good things take time.

Like yeah, its just one of them things that I am spending all of my money on. Every Thursday, my pay comes in, and most goes straight back out again, its what being an adult is about right!

The piece’s of paper with my name on it, well at the moment, it is all just that, pieces of paper.

I guess it won’t be real until i board the plane..

Til next time 🙂 x

100 sleeps to go- Happiness is a journey, not a destination

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I know that it is exciting for me counting down to the biggest adventure of my life, but I believe it is important to remember that means there is a countdown for the days left to enjoy the most of my time here at home in Australia with my friends and family before I leave.

100 days to catch up with my friends from school, 100 days to continue learning new skills at work, 100 days to spend time with my family, 100 days left to treasure the proud fact that I am Australian living in an amazing and fortunate country.

“Happiness is a journey, not a destination”, is a quote used by many authors, written in several different ways, but still at the end of the day having the same meaning.

I like to put it this way- “On the road to happiness and success, there is no destination, but a great view to enjoy the journey”

For a while I was focusing so much energy into planning and saving for the trip overseas, and forgetting to enjoy my time as it is now. Enjoying the current moments.

Yes it is great to have goals and ambitions, and to be able to reach them, but if you focus on one thing, you forget that life passes you by as it is happening..

Just food for thought..

Til next time x

101 sleeps to go- My Blog 101

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Hi Everyone 🙂

So today’s post is about the goals of my blog and what inspired me to begin a blog.

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far away..

Haha not really, but about 14 years ago, when I was 10 years old, i was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a common childhood bone cancer.

One day, out of nowhere I began limping and having minor pains in my left leg. Being a kid, my parents though nothing of it, that is until about a month later, when although the pain and limping hadn’t got much worse, it really hadn’t gotten any better either.

Very long story short, I was taken for x-rays, scans, blood tests, an MRI, and finally came back with the results of having cancer.

After 9 intense months of chemotherapy and surgeries, I came out alive on the other end.

Returning to school was difficult, and much different to what I had expected. As for me, I didn’t think I had changed much, but everyone else began to see me differently.

But school went on, then I went into high school when I was told I would need a procedure on my left leg to lengthen it as it had stopped growing. This procedure could not happen until I had finished growing and was ready to take it on.

Many years later, when I finished school and was ready, (so to speak) to put my life on hold, again I went under the knife to fix the difference of 5 cms in my leg.

The operation involved placing a rod in my femur, and by the own mechanics of my bone moving, the rod would lengthen along with the bone 5cm, and in a time frame of 8 weeks, the bone would grow in between.

Well of course, theory and practical do not always match up…

About 2 weeks after the surgery, I woke up at 3am in excruciating pain and was rushed to the local hospital.

There an x-ray was taken where it was discover that the rod had managed to expand 2.5 cms basically overnight.

I was given very strong pain killers and waited for the air ambulance to fly me to Sydney to see my surgeon.

Once I arrived in Sydney, for another week, I was administered very strong painkillers while the rod continued to expand the remaining length.

After the week in Sydney I returned home and was able to start walking again on the leg in the following weeks and even begin another job.

Fast forward 3 months and everything is going fine.

Until one day when I began to get pain but kept pushing it to the side.

I let the pain continue for another couple of weeks until it couldn’t be pushed to the side any longer.

Back to Sydney I go to see my surgeon.

Now, if anyone has ever been in a situation where it was possible to laugh and cry at the same time, you would understand the following scene.

My surgeon told me that my metal titanium rod in my leg, well it was broken.

Yeah, snapped, in half, in my femur.

I literally had no response but to laugh, which turned into tears of laughter, which then turned into tears of shock.

After I got over the shock of the news, a very soon date was booked in to fix the problem and to be told I needed another 6 weeks off work. (I had just started working in retail and it was a month before Christmas)

On the upside, this is when I had my inspiration, my ligth bulb moment to start my book 🙂

I’d always wanted to write a book, and now that I had another 6 weeks off and one hell of a story to tell, and with that, I began my book!

Well that was over 2 years ago now and I still haven’t actually finished the book.

It is still a work in progress. I have the end finished, there is just a couple of parts in the middle I’m struggling to finish.

But no hurry!

I will finish it when the time is right.

Then 10 months ago, I traveled to the United States on a contiki tour.

I spent 4 weeks on a bus with 49 other crazy travelers, some having had lots of travel experience, and others who had never been much further than their own front door.

It really opened my eyes to the fact that yes, there were other crazy people out there like myself.

People who thought outside the box, people who could look at life with a glass half full.

And the lucky part was, I got to see half of the United States with these people!

And I have to admit, I fell in love with traveling!

Seeing things and places and experiencing cultures and seeing different communities ways of life.

I knew after those 5 weeks, I had to travel more.

I had to see more and experience more.

Every single person on that bus inspired me all in their own ways.

The Walkers.. The Travelers..

Thank you fellow travelers for letting me realize my dreams.

This lead me to deciding to travel further and even go on a working holiday 🙂

Now, to follow my journey for not just others, but myself, I combined my passion for writing and traveling= BLOG

Why not..

And in the words of Fitz and the Tantrums- “Ooh crazy’s what they think about me, ain’t gonna stop cos they tell me so”

Love from Little Arrow

xx

103 Sleeps to go- The checklist

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Hi All!

So the days are going by very quickly at the moment. I made a checklist of essentials for the trip to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything!

Passport- Check

Canadian Visa- Check

Canadian Money- Check

Flights Booked and Paid For- Check

Contiki Booked and Paid For- Check

ESTA Visa Updated- Check

Global Work and Travel membership- Check

Travel Insurance- Check

GoPro- Check

Suitcase- Check

EMERGENCY Credit Card- Check

American Spending Money- Hmm still saving and waiting for the dollar to improve 🙂

Phone contract changed- not yet

I feel like I am forgetting something very important..  Not sure, it will come to me!

Til next time 🙂 x