Rottnest Island Glamping

Most Rottnest Island visitors come for day trips and as a result there aren’t many accommodation options. Hotel Rottnest is currently being redone so we were limited to the only other hotel or a unique option – glamping. When I saw the glamping option whilst researching I was stoked, but I wasn’t sure my mom would go for it. To my surprise she did, so Discovery Rottnest Island here we come. 

Everything about the property online looked awesome and we decided to book three nights. At the time of booking there was only one type of tent option and that was the accessible tent, which can accommodate four people. The set up is one large king bed and a bunk bed. This would be perfect for a family, but a little too much room for my mom and me. There’s an en-suite full bathroom and a kitchenette also within the tent. It is very very nice and not “roughing” whatsoever. The walls besides the bathroom and the front are a thick canvas. You can’t roll them completely up like a normal tent, but there are window areas that you could roll up for extra light. The front wall had a sliding glass door and two full windows. 

We enjoyed our overall stay and I would recommend this property to anyone looking for a unique holiday destination. It’s important to be transparent so I’ll also go over the cons of the experience. The website is a little misleading and not clear. The way specifications were written it seemed like there was also laundry en-suite, in the tent. This is actually not the case at all. You can have the cleaners do your laundry for a fee or walk pretty far on the island if you wanted to do it yourself. Obviously, this wasn’t a deal breaker, but it was more like false advertising.

The second thing was that they should have been clearer at check in about how things run. They didn’t mention that there wasn’t a cleaner daily (only if you stay 5 or more nights) and more importantly they didn’t mention that all the towels that are in your room are meant to last your entire stay, this included beach towels. So regardless if you stay one night or three you’ll have the same towels. Not a huge deal for the bathroom towels, but a bit annoying for the beach/pool towels. Either way it wasn’t mentioned to us at check in, and we only had one type of towel in our room so we didn’t realize we had to ration our towel usage. On the same caliber they also didn’t say that about the toiletries they put in the room. One bar of soap, shampoo, conditioner, etc. for your whole stay regardless if it’s one night or longer. We had our own so it wasn’t a huge deal, but still it should have been mentioned in an email beforehand or at check in.

The third “issue,” and this one was actually an issue, – wen realized the first night our door’s lock was broken. When we informed reception they couldn’t do anything about it that night. Not a huge deal and we placed a suitcase in front of the door while we slept. The island feels pretty safe so we didn’t feel an immediate threat. The second day when maintenance came to check it out they didn’t think they could fix it that day due to lack of parts on the island. This would mean another night without a locked door, but more significantly leaving our belongings in a totally open room during the day as they didn’t have any safes in the tents. We weren’t really cool with that. After much deliberation we were offered to change tents, but we really didn’t want to have to pack up and move everything again. They ended up working their magic and fixing the door so all was well.

Now comes the last and final complaint I had about the property. Our second day when we were going through the issues with the door, we had the absolute rudest, disrespectful, and condescending front desk staff member ever. Honestly, I travel a lot and have been in many hotels, hostels, resorts, etc. and I have never encountered such a spiteful worker. She was young, probably around my age, obviously didn’t like her job and thought she was above it. I’m really not sure what her problem was, but she was terrible. And fine hunny if you want to be rude to me I will give it right back to you, but don’t you dare disrespect my mom, which was what she was doing and in front of other guests too. It wasn’t a good look for Discovery. I really don’t want to dwell on it because once we spoke to the Assistant Manager, Maddie, everything was smoothed over, fixed, and compensated over. Maddie was seriously a godsend and great at her job, but it is a shame that she had to get involved in the first place. 

So those were the woes of the property, but everything else was pretty great. They are located right between two beaches so you can take your pick or hop around. Substantial breakfast buffets were included with our stay. The tent itself was really nice, but one night was stifling hot even with the fan on – so maybe earlier in the summer is a better time to visit. I think my mom’s favorite part of the property was the food at the restaurant for dinner. The chef made a fantastic menu with great specials daily. Quokkas were plentiful around the property. You could find them around and under the tents during the day and at night they came out in packs everywhere. I would highly recommend staying here if you come to Rottnest Island. 

Hotel Review – Perth

Our first stop out of the Outback was Fraser Suites in Perth. After the full on desert experience this was a shock. The lobby was huge and modern and our room was on the 16th floor. I don’t think they have buildings that tall in all of the Northern Territory. The room was really nice with lots of light and a very comfortable bed. Sidenote: my mom was very impressed by the crisp sheets everywhere we stayed. The fitness center and pool were also above normal hotel standards. There was also a little kitchette in the the room equipped with a microwave, sink, refrigerator, etc. Our first night in Perth we ate at the bar onsite. The food was good and you can get the full restaurant menu at the bar for a more casual setting. 

Location was very convenient as you could walk easily into the bustling areas or take a bus. We booked our stay via HotelTonight and got a pretty good deal. Our one and only negative was the bed’s positioning to the air conditioning. It was too hot not to have the A/C on, but when it was on it blasted on you directly making it really freezing. 

I would recommend the Fraser Suites for anyone traveling to Perth. 

Hotel Review – Hunter Valley

In true Sylwia fashion I waited to the last minute to book our Hunter Valley trip. In my defense I was waiting for the weather and thought that since we were going on a weekday there wouldn’t be any issues. I was in contact with one hotel, but never actually made the reservation. When we finally decided to book, our first choice actually ended up being sold out so we had to go for a plan b. That took form as the Crown Plaza Hunter Valley. Not really sure what to expect we were blown away when driving up to the property. It was huge! Even including a golf course, two onsite restaurants, a fitness center, two pools, and more. The property itself was gorgeous. 

We were booked into a standard room, but were upgraded to a villa. However, this was a bit too much space for two people for one night (and it was also away from the main building and its amenities) so we opted for a normal room instead. The room was spacious and clean. The bed was super comfortable and they also provided a deep sleep pillow spray – what a cute little touch! 

Both on-site restaurants were yummy and our dinner at Redsalt was fantastic! Lovedale is a slightly more casual and has a sports bar feel, this is where we had lunch the next day and again it was delicious. They even had the option of making a pizza with vegan cheese and/or a cauliflower base. Two thumbs up for the food. 

I utilized the gym, but with the weather I wasn’t able to make the most of the onsite pools. There was also a spa and on weekends they have a brewery tour. If we stayed longer we would have made use of everything available. 

The amenities were nice, food was great, room was above average – what else could you ask for? Well the staff and all the workers were so professional and we were impressed by how friendly and efficient the reception staff was. They really were the icing on the cake for the entire experience. 

I would highly recommend the Crown Plaza in Hunter Valley if you were to stay in the area overnight. 

I Went to a Festival?! Rhythm and Vines Rundown

One of the main reasons for coming to New Zealand was to attend Rhythm and Vines. So what is Rhythm or RnV? It is a three-day music festival situated on the East Coast of New Zealand and coined for having the “first sunrise of the New Year.” It has been a bucket list item for me to attend for over four years and I’m so glad to have finally checked it off my list. There were some great acts in the lineup, but let’s be honest festivals and big events like this are better with friends and I was going totally solo. If this festival was in Australia I maybe would have been able to convince some of my new friends to attend, but it was in New Zealand, a country I just entered a mere three weeks prior.  That being said I was going solo so I decided to volunteer. 

I thought volunteering would be an easy way of making friends at the festival and also give me something to do (because I cannot party 24/7). I am so glad with this decision and I had a great experience. So what does volunteering at RnV entail? Basically you work a couple of shifts to earn back the cost of your ticket (and camping if you are camping onsite). I was camping so my shifts were to make up 24 total hours in the days of the festival to get the refund of almost $400NZ. The shifts mostly were made up for four 6 hour shifts or two days of doubles (working two 12 hour days). Honestly, I saw this as a win-win; I would earn the cost of my ticket back (and at the time of purchasing the campsites were already sold out and staying in the surrounding area wasn’t an option either) and it was a chance to meet new people.  You could be doing anything from guiding guests, customer service, being stationed at the Artist’s house, picking up cans, doing surveys, etc. Based on my application/qualifications I was placed in customer service and eventually was engaged in logging lost property. In hindsight I had an easy job, it was out of the sun and my shifts although they started early, 8am, ended in time to not miss a thing festival-wise. I really enjoyed being helpful and using my brain/working again. The volunteering part of the festival was a complete positive. I ended up working more than my mandatory 24 hours, but I really was enjoying being helpful.

RnV is a three-day/night festival officially starting on the 29th. If you are camping and have a three-day pass you can enter the site on the 28th, which becomes a pre-party night. If you are a volunteer you can stay even earlier or later depending on your shifts, and so my camping experience started on the 27th and consisted of five nights (I actually could have stayed another night, but decided to re-enter society on the 1st and go to an Airbnb). It amazes me that I enjoyed camping as much as I did. I think the most I ever camped was for three days and that was when I was in my early teens. This was full on camping for five nights and although it was cold at night I think I slept better in my little tent then I do in hostels.

I obviously don’t carry camping gear with me and had to go on a search on my one spare day back in Auckland for gear. I ended up getting really great deals (thank you extended boxing day sales) for a sleeping bag, tent, air mattress, and pump. I think I spent around $35 USD for all of that and that was okay with me. I ended up giving all my gear away at the end of the festival to fellow volunteers so I didn’t feel wasteful and I hope it serves them well in their future endeavors. 

Now to the actual festival…again I loved it. I loved that people from all around the country, both nationals and working holiday visitors, came for the festival. It seems like the fest life is really big in NZ with multiple festivals going on back-to-back and simultaneously around both the South and North Islands. The majority of the crowd was a little young for my taste and I feel like in the U.S. you can more easily see the difference of above 21 and under. At RnV everyone is legal and it seemed like the attendees were skewed towards the younger end of the spectrum. I didn’t make it out very late any of the action nights (28th-31st) because I had early shifts, but I did make it later and later each night.

Seeing so many artists in one set of time was totally overwhelming. My favorites included: Ziggy Alberts, Disclosure, Sachi (omg they were so good – I may become a super fan), Culture Shock, Dave Dobbyn, Mako Road, Drax Project, Theia, Leisure, and Dom Dolla. Also, Alice Wonderland, Jauz, and Wilkinson were fantastic at keeping the party/energy going. I truly loved the whole experience, but it is a bit (no a lot) exhausting. I can’t wait for my next festival, but I will take comfort in small luxuries like actual showers/running water, beds, and microwaves until then. 

Happy New Year!

I’ve been on a bit of a blogging break for the last week. I was fully in the moment of enjoying Christmas and the end of 2019. I spent Christmas up north on the Northern Island of New Zealand in Paihia. On the 26th, I ventured back to Auckland for a night. The next morning I was off east to Gisborne (“Gizzy…” I’m not kidding). 

I spent 5 nights camping, obviously without Internet, and rang in the New Year 18 hours before my friends and family on the East Coast of the U.S. Yep, I was in a new decade/future for a while. Currently, I’m chilling out in Gizzy for a couple more days before heading south and continuing on my adventuring. 

I’ve had a good amount of reflection on the past year and thinking about the year ahead this last week. 2019 was a big year for me and I feel so lucky and blessed (sorry I know it’s corny, but it’s true!). So much has happened it doesn’t seem like it all could have been in the same year! 

  • I started off the year in Arizona (a new state I hadn’t visited before). I was there for a UCF Bowl game (which unfortunately was a L) with a big brother like figure and fellow UCF fans. 
  • I tired and hated snowboarding for the first time.
  • I Marie Kondo-ed my possessions. 
  • I had an epic 26th Miami birthday trip thanks to incredible friends.  
  • Saw a few of great productions (Pretty Woman, Hamilton, My Fair Lady, Frozen, The Network, Sea Wall/A Life, Heartbeat of Home, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Sylvia, and The Nutcracker). 
  • Became a Game of Thrones fan. 
  • Saw Hillary Duff IRL filming Younger
  • Had a Disney day with my Chi O family like the good old days. 
  • Witnessed Jordan and Chandler get married. This was also a chance to reunite with a lot of Chi O sisters I hadn’t seen in years! 
  • Had a trip of a lifetime with my mom to Costa Rica. 
  • Participated in an event at the Kennedy Compound. 
  • Saw Blink 182 with one of my oldest friends much like we did back in 2009 so this was the ultimate “good old days.” 
  • Welcomed puppy Milo into the squad. 
  • Participated in all the wedding celebrations for the Redferns (bridal shower, bachelorette, and of course the beautiful and super fun wedding). 
  • Went on the annual Hamptons trip with the NYC squad. 
  • And then I quit my job. 
  • Traveled to Croatia with Surf Yoga Beer and met the most incredible group of humans. 
  • Stopped over to Vienna and London afterwards with my mom for a much needed and appreciated quality time trip with her. 
  • The rest has been pretty much highlighted in the previous posts, but I guess to highlight:
    • I finally realized my dream of over 5 years and moved to Australia. 
    • Traveled around a bit on the East Coast and met some wonderful people along the way. I also reconnected with a good friend from college and I’m excited to have our friendship flourish further. 
    • I had sushi for Thanksgiving. 
    • Became really interested in Climate Change/the environment. 
    • Started exploring New Zealand. 
    • Tried surfing and loved it (much to my surprise, re: snowboarding at the start of the year). 
    • Spent my first Christmas away from home. 😦
    • Camped and attended my first full on multi-day festival. 
    • Watched the New Year fireworks with 25,000 other people and danced into the new decade. 

Honestly, I am so thankful for 2019 and I don’t know how 2020 could possibly beat it. Everything I’ve been able to experience and see has overwhelmed me with gratitude. My friends and family have also experienced an abundance of happiness this year (engagements, marriages, babies, new houses, new pets, graduations, moves, etc.) There have been a few hardships, but I’m annoyingly optimistic and don’t care to dwell. I am very thankful for the current health of all friends and family.

I have to pull myself back on my excitement for the New Year and live more in the moment. Similar to when I first moved to Australia my mind constantly wants to make plans months in advance and I want to pull back on that. I do know that the majority of January will be spent traveling the South Island of New Zealand and in February my mom will be coming to Australia. I’m so terribly excited to see my mama I can’t wait for February. I also think (and hope) a few friends may be making their way over, but beyond that your guess is as good as mine so keep on reading along. 

New Year’s Resolutions? I haven’t thought much into it because I’ve really just been reflecting on the wonders of 2019, but I think I can come up with a manageable list: 

  • Be kinder in every situation/encounter. 
  • Eat less meat and maybe eventually try being vegan (I pretty much already don’t eat meat, but I want to be more conscious of it; becoming vegan and cutting out milk products, mainly cheese and ice cream, will be the bigger challenge). 
  • Be more green/environmentally friendly.  
  • Reach out to friends and family more and be better in general at communicating. 
  • Read more (well at least the same rate as I have been since coming across the world). 

Yep, I’m pretty much satisfied with that list and I actually have a couple of goals in mind too: do more yoga (and teach more maybe?), finally like red wine, earn more “perfect months” via my Apple watch, hold more koalas/animals, see more live music, and be home for Christmas in 2020. I hope that writing it down will keep me accountable in any event I want to make sure I wish everyone a Happy New Year and Happy New Decade!! Lets make it a great one!! 

My First Rafting Experience

I think I’ve tried almost all water activities except white water rafting. I’ve always been interested in going, but for some reason I just hadn’t gone. Being in New Zealand, the “adventure capital of the world,” I figured it would be the perfect place to start.

The rafting trip was through Kaitiaki Adventures. We traveled down the Kaituna River through 14 rapids and down three waterfalls. This trip was classified as Grade 5 rafting. One of the waterfalls, Tutee Falls, is classified as the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world at 7 meters tall. It was pretty sick first time rafting conditions.

We really lucked out on the group in the raft as it was randomly assigned, but it ended up being five early to mid-twenty year old women and our hilarious guide, Cauzo. When we weren’t going down the rapids we had nice chats and the time flew by.

Rafting in general was SO fun! We all survived the big waterfall and didn’t fall out of the raft. I was volunteered by our guide to sit off the front of the raft on one of the falls which was such a cool feeling. The entire experience was fun and made so memorable by Kaitiaki. I highly recommend this experience if you are in the area – my favorite activity to date.

Overwhelmed in Rotorua

Thursday Night Market Treat

Rotorua is the first stop I will be spending a longer chunk of time – four nights to be exact. It’s known for the highest percentage of Maori (indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand) and having a sulfuric (rotten egg) smell.

If you know me, you know I am a major participator. This made Rotorua very challenging for me. There was too much to do and see and not enough time. I had to keep telling myself to chill out and really pick and choose my activities. There was no need to do everything and still plenty of New Zealand to see. So I definitely missed out on some things, but it’s an excuse to go back, right?

Redwoods

Here are some of my highlights from Rotorua:

Redwood Forest. I haven’t been to the California version so I can’t compare them, but it was really magical. The trees somehow grow and mature 20 years faster than in California. It’s actually not “somehow” it’s totally because of the volcanic soil, but they are massive. I went with our whole group for a short loop on our first day, but then I returned and did a longer loop myself. They have a treetop walk with suspension bridges (for a cost) and in the evenings they are lit up with lights and projections. It was absolutely beautiful and worth going.

Hobbiton. Not in the city, but an easy bus ride away. A must for all Lord of the Ring fans, but being a fan isn’t a requirement.

Rafting. Sooooo cool! This was my first time rafting and I’m obsessed. Such a cool feeling and the company did a fantastic job making everything run as smooth as possible.

Polynesian Spa. A geothermal hot springs spa with natural pools and spa therapies. I went on a rainy evening and enjoyed jumping between the mineral hot pools (four alkaline and one acidic between 36-41 degrees Celsius). It was truly a relaxing experience.

Ready for her close up

Cat Cafe. Yep, I went to a purebred cat cafe and I don’t regret it. I would say I’m definitely more of a dog person, but it was still a nice experience. These are resident cats so not up for adoption and they thrive here. For $15 NZ (under $10 USD) you have a choice of a coffee drink and an hour with the cats.

Night Market. I am a sucker for markets/fairs/festivals – anything outside of the traditional shop. On Thursday nights there is a night market in town complete with tons of food vendors and music acts. I couldn’t have asked for a better first night.

Waitomo Caves. You can do a day trip to the caves if that’s something you’re interested in.

Rotorua is a must stop while on the North Island. Just prepare yourself for the smell.

Rotorua YHA Review

YHA is Xmas Ready

I’ve become pretty familiar and comfortable with YHA’s so I pretty much knew what to expect going into it with this one. Spending four nights at a hostel you better like it. I walked into my room and there was an older gentleman on one of the beds….umm okay I thought I was in a female dorm. Guess not. He didn’t realize either and actually commented and then said he didn’t speak much English. Okay let me sort this out. Well I went downstairs and asked nicely if there was another female coming into the dorm or if there was a female only dorm I could move into. The reception worker says, “you’re in luck” and hands me a new key. Well I was moved to a glorious double bed private room. Thank you!

When we returned from Raglan I stayed at the YHA again, but alas no private upgrade this time. One of the best parts of this hostel is the central location and the fact that almost all buses pick up directly from here so no schlepping your stuff. The kitchen/hang out area is also really nice. Even though I’ve had a top bunk (which I hate) for three nights I’m still enjoying my stay.

I’ve mostly heard horror stories about the other hostels in the area. I don’t know firsthand so I won’t name them, but from what I hear the YHA is the way to go in Rotorua.

New Zealand – First Impressions

I’ve had “ring in the New Year in New Zealand” on my bucket list since 2015 when I met a Kiwi (someone from NZ) in London. She marveled how awesome the festivals and celebrations were for New Years. Given NZ’s location it’s one of the first places on earth to ring in the New Year. Rhythm & Vines is a known music festival that has the first sunrise of the New Year. So I knew that during my time in the Southern Hemisphere I wanted to spend some time in NZ. I was so looking forward to some adventure. With the bush fires going on in Sydney/New South Wales (“NSW”) I also couldn’t wait for the fresh, open air.

My flight was from Sydney to Auckland, and unfortunately around the time of my flight the volcano erupted about 150 miles off the east coast of the North Island. Beyond a little delay I wasn’t impacted whatsoever, but my friends/family were not at ease. My thoughts go out to everyone who was directly impacted and hope families get answers soon.

I arrived in Auckland in the late afternoon and after checking into my hostel I went out to walk around a little bit. I noticed how small of a city Auckland was and although over 1/3 of NZ’s population lives here it wasn’t overtaken by huge skyscrapers. The city still felt open and when looking out into the distances you can see hills and bodies of water. Here are some other things I’ve noticed:

  • Strangely enough there were so many American fast food chain restaurants/stores that are even missing from Australia (Dunkin’ Donuts, Wendy’s, actual Burger King, PitaPit, The Body Shop, Carl’s Jr., etc.), but the chains do not make NZ feel at all like the states or anywhere else I’ve been.
  • I think it’s very quiet even in the busiest places at the busiest times (like business district during rush hour). I think that’s because there aren’t that many people living here. More people live in Sydney or NYC compared to the entire population of NZ (~4.78 million).
  • The rolling hills, beautiful beaches, and so many adventure activities have already won me over. There’s so much to do and see.
  • Compared to NYC and Sydney I find that New Zealand is less expensive so far.
  • The drinking laws aren’t as strict here as in NSW. Everyone is so nice.
  • It’s chillier here than Australia because it’s closer to the equator, but the sun feels stronger.
  • People are really nice. Like kind of catches you off guard by how nice they are.

Travel Plans

I have booked my travel in NZ through Stray Travel. It’s kind of a hands off, hop on/hop off tour company. Their main purpose is to get you from Point A to Point B. Then you choose where you want to stay, for how long, what you want to do, etc. It let’s you be flexible with your travel and totally customize your trip.

New Zealand is made up of two islands (North and South). I’m doing North Island before New Years and ending the year at Rhythm & Vines music festival. Then I will embark on the South Island in January for a few weeks before heading back to Australia.

Hotel Review – Hotel Bondi

Hotel Bondi is located right on Campbell Parade right across the street from the iconic Bondi Beach. It’s one of the popular places to go out for happy hour or at night in the area. When I was staying in Bondi I wanted to stay here for a couple of nights before traveling onwards. Their website isn’t the greatest and the only way to book into the hotel is through a third party site like Booking.com.

I booked my stay pretty last minute so I was limited on the room options. I was booked into a “deluxe room,” but really it was just a queen-sized bed with a small couch. The room itself felt very stale and outdated, but I didn’t mind because the location of the hotel was my main motivation for booking here. You are right in the center of everything here. The staff was very attentive and professional throughout my entire stay. They also provided a shuttle to the airport for only $20! My room led out a shared balcony. It was lovely sitting out there looking out at the water in the morning with a coffee. Another small perk were cookies that were provided in addition to coffee or tea in the room – a nice little touch.

I think this hotel is a win with its location. The staff does the best it can with the property in the current state – renos are needed. If you could get a deal for your stay then it would have a better value. Even if you don’t stay here definitely check out the bar one afternoon/night.

Christmastime in Sydney

Christmas is by far my favorite holiday and unlike Thanksgiving I have never spent a Christmas without my family. Thanksgiving this year on the other side of the world was difficult mostly because it’s not celebrated at all in Australia. I had a very anti-Thanksgiving; including a HIIT class in the AM, some beach time, sushi for dinner, and cake at Kurtosh with a friend to round off the night. The only thing that made it remotely feel like Thanksgiving was that it was significantly colder that night than the others that week – just a tiny piece of the fall weather. It wasn’t traditional whatsoever and that day was my first real dose of homesickness. The bright side is that for what Australia lacked on turkey day they are making up for it with Christmas tenfold. Decorations like in the Westfield mall in Bondi Junction were up before Halloween! Seemingly over night both large and small touches went up all over the city and suburbs and everyday more and more is added. Sydney is beginning to look a lot like Christmas even if it’s been consistently in the 70s.

Things to do in Sydney to get into the Christmas spirit: 

  1. Listen to carolers – there’s pretty much someone caroling any day of the week, it may be the rotating groups at Martins Place or in your neighborhood.
  2. See the Nutcracker – a classic ballet at the opera house currently running until December 18.
  3. Visit the Christmas Market at the Rocks – they are running Thursday, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays (I would recommend going on Saturday or Sunday to get all the vendors).
  4. Grab a holiday cocktail at the Push Bar.  
  5. Send Christmas cards home – during November and December stamps for cards are at a discounted price of $2.20 from the usual $3.20 AUD. The catch is that it must be an enveloped letter.
  6. Volunteer or donate to local charities. The Red Cross is always looking for gently worn donations. If there’s one in your area drop off any unwanted items (spring cleaning, right?). Volunteer opportunities are abundant as well you just need to have a direction in mind (animals, soup kitchens, nature, etc.) and then do some research or reach out in local Facebook groups for some direction. I recently saw an experience on AirBnb that was cooking class “transforming rescued surplus food into restaurant quality meals that are then delivered directly to local disadvantaged communities. It’s a social impact experience where 100% of the fee goes to the organzation.
  7. Watch Christmas Movies – Being in Australia doesn’t reduce the amount of Christmas movies there are available on Netflix so binge away. I haven’t seen it yet, but Last Christmas in the theaters is supposedly really good (if you go to Event Cinemas there’s a Groupon for discounted tickets).

It’s going to be a weird Christmas for me, but at least now I know I won’t make this a habit. I’ll try to be home with my family this time next year to celebrate properly. Just know if you are feeling lonely or like I keep hearing that, “it just doesn’t feel like Christmas,” you’re not alone. Reach out to other travelers and attend an event or go see a movie together.