Yosemite National Park - tunnel view

Yosemite National Park, California, USA: A Photo Post

Joined with two of my best girlfriends, Abbie and Dawn, last month in September I embarked on an epic two-week trip of the USA. We covered New York, various parts of California, and the hedonist’s ultimate dream spot, Las Vegas. Now in the depth of chilly autumn, it’s fair to say the holiday blues are still niggling away at me.

One of my favourite spots we visited was the unbelievable Yosemite National Park in Northern California, so here I am to spam away with lots of photos and some details on our experience at the park.

I would have loved to spend a couple of days in Yosemite National Park as it’s so huge, but unfortunately, due to time constraints, we only stayed two days and one night. Here’s what we got up to.

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Lake Geneva in Lausanne, Switzerland

A Long Weekend in Lausanne and Montreux, Switzerland

With a limited number of days off work in a year, I love to make the most of the bank holidays with prolonged weekends away. For the Early May Bank Holiday last month, I decided to do exactly that, heading to Lausanne in Switzerland.

My close friend Morgane, who I lived with in Australia, is studying in Lausanne, a city in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. This brought up the perfect opportunity to visit a country I had never been to and to reunite with her and another friend of ours, Charlotte. It was nice because Switzerland was never a country that I’d been desperate to visit. That meant heading over I felt relaxed, with no pressure or high expectations.

However, I would soon become utterly impressed with the stunning scenery of Switzerland.

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Six of My Favourite Spots in Sydney, Australia

As my time in Sydney, Australia slowly draws to a close, I’ve already started reflecting on my life here. All in all, it’s been an incredible and memorable year, full of wonderful highs as well as some heart-breaking lows (which usually involved me having to say goodbye to some of the amazing people I’ve met out here.)

I moved to Sydney, Australia straight from travelling around Southeast Asia for eight months. I was knackered from the non-stop moving about, and I wasn’t entirely convinced that setting up in a city on the opposite side of the world from London, my home, was a great idea.

The friends I were travelling with in Southeast Asia were going back to England, and this also made me feel a bit funny about the move. Plus, I had some health issues towards the end of my trip. All these factors together meant I wasn’t in the mood to start afresh in a new country and make new friends.

Yet the opportunity was there, and I didn’t want to have any regrets. I swallowed my doubts and powered on.

It turns out it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve met some special people and my year here has been one of the best I’ve ever had. As I write this, I feel slightly sick to the stomach that soon I’ll be leaving this beautiful country.

Sydney has been my home in Australia for ten months now, and I’ve fallen in love with it. The city is full of lively suburbs, dreamy beaches, and memorable spots that I’ll always hold close to my heart. Here are some of the places that stood out for me.

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Mount Bromo, Indonesia

Java, Indonesia: My Top Five Places to Visit

Indonesia was one of my favourite countries to visit when I was travelling in Southeast Asia. That’s mainly because there was so much to do and with so much variety. From dreamy beaches to postcard-perfect scenery to thrilling activities, Indonesia seems to have it all. Fortunately for us, we spent a good chunk of time exploring the culture-rich country.

Java, Indonesia, home to the Country’s capital Jakarta, is a real treat to explore. We spent almost two weeks discovering as much of the land as possible.

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Boracay beach

Beach Time and Beers in Boracay, The Philippines

I was extremely excited to head over to the Philippines six months into our travels in Southeast Asia. The Philippines seemed to be off the Southeast Asia ‘banana pancake’ trail, and I’d heard that it was a unique country to visit. But I had been warned that our first stop, Boracay, is known as the party spot of the Philippines and is extremely busy and touristy. So, I mentally prepared myself for the ‘Brits abroad’ type of tourist or a similar crowd that frequent Thailand’s full moon parties regularly.

However, I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, Boracay is a tourist hotspot. But, it seemed to be a buzzy holiday destination for those living in the Philippines and other countries in Asia, which was new to me. After settling into our hostel (MNL beach hostel – which was pretty good), I was keen to grab a beer and get to know some of the locals.

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Perhentian kecil

Pristine paradise in the Perhentian islands, Malaysia

Our time spent in Malaysia consisted of visiting some really cool places, including the likes of the lush jungles of Taman Negara and the bustling atmospheric city of Kuala Lumpur. However, my favourite spot in Malaysia were the idyllic Perhentian Islands, hands down. Why was this, you may ask?

To put it quite simply, the small grouping of islands situated off the coast of Northeast Malaysia are absolute postcard perfect paradise.

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Sunset in Bagan

Two weeks in Myanmar: An itinerary

Whilst planning my Southeast Asia trip, I have to admit that the idea of visiting Myanmar hadn’t even crossed my mind. I didn’t really know much about the country and in all honesty, my initial perceptions of it was that it was quite dangerous for tourists to visit. Of course, I was completely wrong.

However as I became more familiar with travelling Southeast Asia and I met more and more travellers who could only sing Myanmar’s praises, I became increasingly keen to visit this country that sounded so fascinating, so intriguingly different to anywhere else I’d heard of. I had been told that now is prime time to visit, as it is one of the few countries in Southeast Asia that isn’t teeming with tourists, fast food outlets and commerciality. And being the curious little explorer that I am, I sure didn’t want to miss out!

I toyed with the idea for a while. It wasn’t originally part of my plan, so my time there would be limited, or I would have to sacrifice plans in other parts of Southeast Asia. As well as that, my friends weren’t willing to pay for the extra visa costs and flights to get there, and one downfall of the country being so uninterrupted by tourists meant that it would be harder to meet other backpackers.

But when did that stop me? With good timing, I made a plan to go with someone I had met back in Laos and we decided to go for 2 weeks. I usually spend about 3-4 weeks in each country in Southeast Asia, so I knew it would be a challenge to see everything I wanted in just 2 weeks. Here’s how we crammed it all in.

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Mui Ne fishing village

My Mui Ne, Vietnam itinerary

Mui Ne is a charming little spot in Southern Vietnam, mostly known for its unlikely sand dunes. We stayed for a couple of nights, although I feel that Mui Ne can be easily and thoroughly explored in just one day and night, depending on how jam-packed you like your days to be!

Where we were staying, Mui Ne Backpackers Village, you could join a tour for $7 to take you to the best attractions in the area. However, we very cheekily decided to copy their itinerary and do it ourselves on rental mopeds. This allowed us to explore at our own pace and was also more cost-efficient – bonus!

This itinerary for us was in fact spread throughout a couple of days, but here’s how I would fit it all into one day and night.

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Mui Ne White sand dunes

Photo post: Vietnam compared to other countries

I’m not sure exactly what I had expected before visiting Vietnam on a one-month tourist visa. Clichéd visions of beaming locals donning rice paddy hats and the stunning limestone islands of Halong bay sprung to mind perhaps. All I really knew was that I had heard many great things about the country and it had rapidly risen to the top of my list of countries to visit in South East Asia.

What I was not expecting was just how different parts of the country looked from one another, and how often I felt like I wasn’t even in Vietnam at all! So I thought it might be quite fun to do a little comparison photo blog post likening some of the different countries I felt Vietnam bore some similarity to.

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Kampot's river

A one day itinerary of Kampot, Cambodia

Kampot, a charming riverside town in Southern Cambodia is a spot I wished we had longer to explore. Realising back in Sihanoukville that we would be limited on time for Kampot due to our visa for Vietnam starting imminently, my travel buddies and I decided to make a quick beeline for the quaint little city. We had one full day to make the most of our visit – here’s what we got up to.

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