Category Archives: LA

11 lessons I’ve learnt whilst travelling

We’re coming towards the end of our trip (NOOOOOO) with only seven weeks left until we fly from Bangkok to Gatwick. I’ve recently become reflective and I was thinking about the things I’ve learnt and decided to write a post about it before I’m sat at home on the sofa and I’ve forgotten everything. So here it is… Eleven lessons I’ve learnt whilst travelling.

1) Trust people

99% of people are kind and helpful. As I’m writing this, nothing bad has happened to us, so TOUCH WOOD… But we’ve had so many situations where people have been like “You’re going to Hiroshima? You’re on the wrong train! Get off quick!”
There was that time where we hitch-hiked in New Zealand and we’ve stayed in people’s houses we’ve never met before. When somebody says “I need to take your passport down to road to get your boat ticket,” just give them the passport!

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2) At the same time, be sensible and look after yourself

It’s important to look after your valuables, keep your wits about you and if you end up wandering around somewhere dodgy-looking at 3am, just get a taxi!

3) If someone invites you to do something, say yes

When someone I’ve just met asks me “do you want to play a drinking game?” Or “would you like to have dinner with me and my family?” My inner introvert panics at the thought of an impeding awkward situation and my instinct is always to make some kind of excuse. But I’ve learnt that you should always say yes, and good experiences always come out of it.

You’ll meet some amazing people who are equally as poor as you, and you’ll end up having a Box/chicken party It’s cheap!

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4) You’ll have crazy highs and a couple of crazy lows
Sometimes travelling feels like you’re in a happy musical. (No really, I literally twirled around and cried with happiness in New York and screamed when we saw the Hollywood sign.) And to balance life out, you’ll spend a few hours crying on the toilet because you’re so ill, and you’ll scream “what am I doing with my life??!!” in torrential downpour wondering why you’ve found yourself at the top of a slippy ladder in a pear tree.

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5) A smile goes a long way
There are places in the world where you’ll get hassled a lot. When it’s hot and you’ve got your backpack on it’s easy to get your feathers ruffled and want to yell “bugger off, I’ve been walking for half an hour and I can’t find my hostel!!!!!!” But I’ve learnt that to smile and say “no thank you” is the best way around it, and you won’t feel as stressed.

5) Living out of a bag gives you perspective about things
I’ve never been particularly materialistic and I’ve always preferred a good book over shoes, but living out of a 65litre rucksack for ten months gives you a good perspective on the stuff you don’t need. It took me a month or so to relearn what my face looks like without make up, but think I’m actually happier with less stuff. I feel calmer and less cluttered. Okay, so I totally didn’t have a meltdown when my favourite dress got a stain on it…. But yeah. Less is more when it comes to backpacking. Oh, and Kindles are one of the BEST things in the entire world. (That’s a sentence I never thought I’d say)

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6) You’ll also get perspective on stress an it’s effect on the body
Of all the places I’ve been, the ones with the fastest pace of life and visibly stressed people are America, Japan, and the good old United Kingdom. I honestly think we all work far too hard to save money for holidays and stuff we don’t need so we can forget about the rubbish climate. (Massive generalisation…I know. Maybe I’m just a summer person.)
When we’d been travelling for around a month, I felt the muscles in my jaw loosening. My eczema that I’ve had nearly all my life has completely disappeared and those paralysing migraines I get about once every six weeks? Well guess how many I’ve had in eight months?… One.
I’m not writing this to make anyone jealous, but as a reminder to my future self that stress is terrible for me, and I need to work on staying chilled. When I’ve figured out how to do that one I’ll let you know!

7) Travelling will change you in ways you don’t expect

Those of you who know me will know that I’m fairly easy-going but I am also a big worrier. I’m a little bit more relaxed now, mainly about travel situations. For example, I no longer check my passport a million times before boarding a plane. And if someone doesn’t give me my change straight away, I can just wait, knowing they’ll get it to me. I’m a more patient now, and less easily flustered.

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8) But mostly, you’ll stay the same.
I have chronic insomnia. I thought travelling would cure me, and dorm rooms would be a kind of therapy and I’d come home with the ability to sleep anywhere. Well, the truth is I still can’t sleep anywhere! I thoroughly believe there is a special place in hell reserved for people who snore and have sex in dorm rooms. Dorm rooms are my own kind of personal hell actually. One of the main things I miss about home is that I can get up and roam the house and play with my cats and make a cup of tea at anytime any hour of the night. Plus there’s always a comfy spot for me to go with my book. Whilst we’ve been away I’ve done a lot of reading on the toilet in the early hours so that I don’t wake Tom up!

9) Always go with your gut
If a person, or a situation gives you a bad feeling in your tummy, or if you find your trying to talk yourself into doing something… DON’T DO IT.

10) You will adapt to anything
When we arrived in Asia there weren’t any knives and forks. I’d used chopsticks before but found them fiddly and they made me eat incredibly slowly. Fast forward a week and I finished a plate of food and say “Oh! I didn’t even think about the chopsticks!” When we first went to Japan, the whole nude bathing thing terrified me. A week later I was strolling around naked happy as Larry.

11) push yourself, but also know your limits.
I can jump out of a plane at 15000ft

I can bungee jump off a bridge .
I will never drive a scooter/motorbike in Asia.
I will never go scuba diving.

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Never say never though. The scary things are the best challenges.

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I will talk and Hollywood will listen.

Well hi there, I’m coming at you through the cornflakes of Los Angeles!

LA has been our first AirBnB experience and it’s been great! We found the apartment no problem, and weren’t sure which room was ours so picked one and dumped our bags. Turned out the room belonged to Ben, who when we apologised, said “don’t worry, you’re in California now, we’re all friends here!” Ben is actually from Melbourne, Australia, and kindly gave us a lift to the beach true Aussie style – barefoot and with his surfboard in the front seat. It was lovely to get some info from someone who lives locally so we followed his reccomendations and went to check out the canal and Venice Beach. image

The lifeguard stations on Venice Beach are true baywatch style!

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Feet in the Pacific Ocean for the first time…

imageEven the seagulls are surf dudes in Cali.

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It was a super duper sunny day. In the evening we walked along the pier to watch the surfers and the fishermen as the sun set. It was so lovely!

Today we got up early to get to the Hollywood walk of fame and sign. I must admit I did a lot of squeeling when we first spotted the Hollywood sign, so bloody excited!

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I knew I’d make it to Hollywood one day, haha!

The walk of fame was pretty cool too, and as we were there fairly early, it wasn’t too busy.

imageMr Spielberg look just what you’re missing!

We then decided to spend the rest of the day at Universal Studios. I really enjoyed the studio tour where you could see loads of sets and facades of buildings that they use in films.

imageI was super excited by the Bates Motel and house haha!

Overall, it was a really fun, jam-packed and expensive day. Off to Hawaii tomorrow!

Things that made me laugh:

-Eating our tea in a Mexican fast food place sat next to a Charlie Chaplin impersonator.

– Tom knocking over an enormous stack of trays in said restaurant.

– A dog dressed as a lady in the animals from the movies show at Universal.

Things that surprised me:

– There are vast amounts of homeless people in LA.

– The public transport is absolutely appalling so we’ve had to use Uber cabs to get around.

– For the three taxi rides so far, all the drivers have been women.

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Dreaming of LA

Ever since I was little, I’ve always dreamed of driving down Sunset Boulevard in an open top car. There’s just something about Los Angeles that has always drawn me. Having said that, most people I’ve spoken to have said it’s a dump!

Hmmm. We shall see. I’m going to Hollywood baby!!

lsWe’re only actually in Los Angeles for two nights. Enough time to sing Caaallifooorniaaaaaaaa a few times and that’s about it. I have no idea where we’re staying as of yet, but I think we might try out Air B n B?

Here are some things I’d like to do:

1) Find the Hollywood sign.

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This is obligatory. I want a stupid selfie in front of it. My brother went on a similar quest for the Hollywood sign and said it took him hours to find it, and several locals when asked had absolutely no idea where it was. The Hollywood sign will eternally remind me of the earth-shattering ending to the reality TV show, The Hills. (hey linz)

Hahaha. Linsey and I used to watch this show a lot as teenagers and then the ending was like a massive WTF!!!!!?? The most postmodern happening of my life so far. Deep.

2) Go to the walk of fame

wof3Because it’s cool!!!

3) Universal Studios

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Again, because it’s cool. Might be pricey, so unsure if we will go or not. But Tom’s been before and the Desperate Housewives set was there! OMG Wisteria Lane! Also, the original house from Psycho is there. Oh hi Norman Bates.

4) Pretend to be Marissa on the beach.

All together now. CAlllforrniaiaiaaaaaaa.

 

Getting quite excited!

46 days to go. I repeat. There are 46 days remaining!!!

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