6 Tips for Staying Healthy While Travelling

Tips for Staying HealthyWhen travelling, maintaining your health is usually the last thing on your mind. Who would say no to gelato in Florence or croissants in Paris? After all, enjoying authentic, local food is one of the best aspects of travelling, along with taking a break from your usual routine. I’m all about balance, so here are a few easy things that can help you keep your health in check without sacrificing your enjoyment.

1. Lemon Water to Start your Day
I recently started drinking a glass of water with the juice of half a lemon first thing in the morning. Hot or cold, it’s incredibly refreshing, as well as cleansing and hydrating. No matter what you got up to the day before, this easy elixir acts as a little restart for each day of your travels.

2. Always Green Tea
It’s no secret that I’m a tea drinker, specifically green tea obsessed. I know green tea is an acquired taste, but the benefits cannot be ignored. This is another great way to start your day, ultimately kick starting your metabolism, and balancing out any of those bad habits from the day before.

3. Walk and Take the Stairs
Choosing to walk and take the stairs when possible is probably the easiest adjustment you can do on your travels. You won’t even notice the calories melting away, as you explore new neighbourhoods and towns. For example, I only fit into my skinny jeans when living in London, not because I watched what I ate or worked out religiously, but because I walked EVERYWHERE.

4. Local Activities that Get you Moving
Depending on your trip, there might be some activities available that get you moving. For example, walking a section of the Camino de Santiago in Spain, snorkeling in the Caribbean, or rafting the Colorado River. These activities would balance out any relaxing or attraction heavy trips.

5. Rest Days
I would advice taking a morning, afternoon, or full day of rest at least once per week on your travels. Whether it’s a sleep in, afternoon nap, or a full day in bed ordering room service, it’s important to take some time out so you don’t get burnt out.

6. Mint Leaf Tea to End your Day
This is another easy elixir to cleanse and balance out any bad habits. When out to dinner and the time comes for dessert and coffee, ask for some mint leaf tea instead. Usually restaurants have some mint leaves lying around, making them an easy addition to hot water.

And don’t forget to stay sun smart!

The Day I Realized I am not Invincible

Healing

Sparkly toe nails and Claude cheering me up!

Some of you might have noticed I took a little break from jaunt and flaunt. The following will explain why. I was feeling a bit off recently, summer had arrived early in Brisbane, with it allergies, creepy crawlies, and blistering heat! I promised myself I would make adjustments this year to deal with my least favourite season in Australia, and luckily they were working. Then I visited my dermatologist for my annual skin check, a necessity while living in Australia, the skin cancer capital of the world.

It had actually been 18 months since my last skin check, you could say I was putting it off, mostly due to the cost (don’t get me started), as I had to see a specialist for the large amount of moles that I have. I was concerned about one mole in particular, but to anyone else, including my dermatologist, it looked like any other mole on my body. My dermatologist explained what she looks for to indicate melanoma:
A – Asymmetry
B – irregular Border
C – uneven Colour
D – Diameter usually over 6mm
And the most evil of them all…
E – Evolution

When I told her a mole on my leg quickly appeared during the past year or so, she decided to take a biopsy. Since it didn’t qualify under any of the other characteristics, she thought it was just a non-melanoma skin cancer that we would monitor or easily remove. I’m also hypersensitive to all that medical stuff and have a low pain threshold, so you can imagine the biopsy was far from pleasant. But I left the office, hoping for the best.

The next day everything changed when I was informed my biopsy results indicated stage 1 melanoma. My initial reaction was fear, scared of what all of this meant. But ultimately I realised I was no longer the invincible, youthful person I thought I was. I was just like most people out there who thought it could never happen to me. Though, I’m lucky I paid attention to my body, trusted my instincts, and caught this early.

The one thing I never said was “Why me?”. I knew why it was me; just like a smoker diagnosed with lung cancer, I embraced the Sun and reveled in my sun-kissed golden skin like many other people in my life. I have Mediterranean skin tone, which made me low risk, but I also have a lot of moles, which made me high risk. I will never know exactly what caused my melanoma, but I can assume what it might be from. It could be when I was sunburnt as a child, as I threw fits when my parents would put sunscreen on me, I hated when they wouldn’t rub it in all the way and I had to wait to go swimming. It could be when I used tanning beds a handful of times and tanning oil instead of sunscreen as a teenager. It could be when I binge tanned on any warm vacation I took. Or it could be when I was very sun smart while living in Australia, but couldn’t avoid the strength of the sun here.

During my 28 years I learnt to love my moles, as each has an identity. I know which mole is my boyfriend’s favourite one, a mole on each palm of my hands makes me incredibly unique, and sometimes I match the moles on my forearms with constellations. However, this mole’s identity wasn’t as charming.

My next reaction was, “Get this thing out of me, I don’t want anything to do with it!”. I have since had my melanoma quickly removed, which was a big deal for me. I’ve never had a broken bone, stitches, or even a bee sting (thankfully). I look at my bandaged leg now and try to look past the scar forming underneath and think about my plan for the future.

Living in Australia makes it impossible to avoid the Sun, but there are still steps I can take to ensure a healthy future for myself. The day before my surgery I bought a wide-brimmed hat, now I’m on the look out for a long sleeve sun shirt. I’ll continue to walk, stand, and sit in the shade when possible. Applying sunscreen to any exposed skin will become part of my daily routine, as I only applied sunscreen to my face daily to combat my fear of wrinkles. And I will have to get frequent skin checks for the rest of my life.

Believe it or not, I consider myself lucky now that I caught my melanoma early and gained a new perspective on my health. Though the initial blow was shocking and sad, it was what I needed to hear to make healthy changes in my life. I was like many of you, who don’t see the harm in a little tan every now and again. This is why I’m sharing this with you, as I hope it can inspire you to evaluate your relationship with the Sun and make the adjustments you need to stay healthy.

First and foremost, know your body, like many women are taught to give themselves breast exams, monitor your skin and moles. Next, talk to your doctor about regular skin checks. Also, trust your instincts, you know your body best and are your best advocate. Finally, be sun smart, as cheesy as it sounds, SLIP on a shirt, SLAP on a hat, and SLOP on sunscreen.

For more information about melanoma, check this out.

100 ml or Less Please

Travelling with 100 ml or Less

Shampoo and conditioner containers from Daiso, perfume container from Sephora, and travel size container of argan oil for hair.

It might be obvious these days, but here are a few things to consider when traveling with liquid products. No matter the destination or length of my trip, I ALWAYS carry less than 100 ml containers of all liquids. I’m constantly surprised by how long 100 ml can last, usually anywhere from two weeks to two months. Not only does it abide by airport security policy, but it also saves on space and weight.

Travelling with 100 ml or LessWhen I travel domestically (Australia), I usually fly with just a carry on, so my liquid allowance does not need to be in a clear baggie. But when I travel internationally, I usually check my luggage, taking a few, select products in my carry on. However, to make the security check a breeze, I put my liquid products, which usually belong in my makeup bag, in a clear baggie before hand, so I can easily pull it out of my handbag at security. Keeping organised like this makes flight travel not so stressful anymore.Travelling with 100 ml or Less

More on the specifics of my carry on to come!

4 Tips for Travelling with your Partner

Travelling with your PartnerAlex and I first met while traveling in the Greek Islands (fun fact). We automatically bonded over our shared passion for travel, having travelled extensively individually before we started dating. Now we mostly travel together, and while I like to think our combined expertise makes us a travelling super couple, there still was a learning curve. Here are a few tips I’ve learnt throughout the years that I hope will help you and your partner on your next adventure.

1. Create a Solid Base
When abroad and out of your comfort zone, being able to trust and rely on each other is essential. So before you attempt any extensive travel together, ensure your trust is uncompromising. Weekend trips and weeklong getaways are good opportunities to test the water.

2. Leave the Drama at Home
When travelling, it is not the time to bring up when your partner left the toilet seat up or didn’t wash the dishes after dinner. By living in the present, those trivial arguments will just float away.

3. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
This almost goes without saying and can be applied to everyday life as well, but you would be surprised how often we expect our partner to read our minds. Express what you want to do on your travels, what you need, and how you’re feeling. But ensure you listen to your partner as well. Speaking from experience, your trip will run much smoother once you master communication.

4. Sharing is Caring
a) Share Responsibilities
Usually, when Alex and I travel, he books the flights and navigates routes, while I book the hotels and scout restaurants. We cater to each other strengths. But it’s just as important to equally share the responsibilities of travel; so one person doesn’t feel more pressure and begins to resent the other.
b) Share the Load
It’s simple, share toothpaste, phone chargers, even luggage; whatever you can share will lighten your load (figuratively and literally) and possibly avoid any arguments about lugging bags up and down stairs.
c) Share Interests
Your partner’s interests might not entirely align with yours; so it’s important to compromise and find ways that meet both your interests. It might mean visiting a museum in the morning and scotch tasting in the afternoon (I speak from experience). You’ll find sharing in your partner’s enjoyment will make that scotch taste so much better!

An Epic Tasmanian Road Trip

Pieman Heads, Tasmania, AustraliaI’ve been meaning to write about my road trip around Tasmania during February 2013 for a while now. You might notice my blog is full of photos from Tasmania. There’s no denying that it’s working its way to the top of the best travel destinations in the world. It’s still a bit of a mystery though, as my mom keeps asking what all the hype is about. Well I’ll try my best to show you what an incredible destination this forgotten island at the bottom of Australia truly is. I was lucky that my boyfriend attended university in Tasmania, so he was able to plan the best route; we covered the entire island, literally.
Tasmanian Road TripStay
By far the best way to see the state is by 4WD (aka a heavy-duty SUV), which is outfitted for camping with a propane powered cook top, water tank, power stations, a bed and fridge, along with all the fixings. We have nothing but fond memories of our home on the road; we ate like kings and slept like babies!
The state caters for campers, as some of the best spots in Tasmania can only be accessed via camping, ranging from popular campgrounds to secluded oceanfront hideaways. Reserve camping spots in advance (they fill up), for a small fee per night. Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife Service manages most of the camping grounds.
Derwent Valley, Tasmania, AustraliaLake St Clair, Tasmania, AustraliaQueenstown, Tasmania, AustraliaSee and Do
Day 1: Strahan
Starting in Hobart, we made our way west through the Derwent Valley toward Lake St Clair to pick up our National Parks passes. We then drove to Queenstown, where the diversity of the Tasmanian environment is evident. Picture walking on the moon in this mining ravaged town. Finally, we arrived in Strahan and set up camp for the night at Macquarie Heads Camping Ground overlooking the entrance to Macquarie Harbour. Arrive before sunset to snag the best spots for a small daily fee.

Macquarie Harbour, Tasmania, AustraliaWest Coast, Tasmania, Australia Pieman River, Tasmania, AustraliaDay 2: Corinna
The next day we tested the 4WD along the coast, arriving at Corinna’s wilderness experience. This outpost provides access to the most beautiful hideaways on Earth, but also is historically rich, in the heart of the Tarkine and one of the few remaining towns established from the gold rush during the late 1800’s. Camping sites can be reserved for $40 per night, but the Pieman River barge crossing from the south costs $20. The on site hotel includes a great restaurant and bar, along with public washrooms with hot showers. And the cruise down the Pieman River isn’t to be missed!
Corinna, Tasmania, AustraliaPieman Heads, Tasmania, AustraliaPieman Heads, Tasmania, AustraliaDay 3: Cradle Mountain
The following day we made our way to the world-famous Cradle Mountain National Park. We set up camp at the Big 4 Holiday Park, which was surprisingly private for its large size. It was a short drive from here to the Dove Lake Circuit. This was the perfect morning walk to marvel in the views of the Cradle Mountain.
Pieman Heads, Tasmania, AustraliaCradle Mountain Big 4 Holiday Park, Tasmania, AustraliaCradle Mountain, Tasmania, AustraliaDay 4: Walls of Jerusalem
We packed up our backpacks, said goodbye to our 4WD, and started our overnight hike to the Walls of Jerusalem. Alex has always wanted to hike this trail, but unfortunately I rained on his parade, as I found the walk too difficult. We only made it half way for the night. Though, after the initial incline, we couldn’t ignore the beauty and creatures around us. But the giant mountain possums brought back childhood nightmares and I almost stepped on a black tiger snake.
Cradle Mountain, Tasmania, AustraliaDove Lake Boathouse, Cradle Mountain, Tasmania, AustraliaWalls of Jerusalem, Tasmania, AustraliaDay 5: Devonport
We then drove to the North Coast of Tasmania to visit a friend. We checked out the small towns along the way and made sure to catch sight of the Spirit of Tasmania (the ferry between Melbourne and Devonport). Devonport isn’t much of a cultural centre, so head to Launceston instead if you don’t mind seeing the North Coast.
Walls of Jerusalem, Tasmania, AustraliaDay 6: Launceston
Located at the base of the Tamar River, this charming town offers riverside treats and expansive valleys views. Our timing worked well, as we attended Launceston’s food and drink festival. We also took in the sights of Cataract Gorge, where the Tamar River and South Esk River meet. Finally, we celebrated our friends’ wedding at Joseph Chromy Vineyard, on the outskirts of Launceston. But I regret not visiting the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery.
Cataract Gorge, Tasmania, AustraliaBay of Fires, Tasmania, AustraliaBay of Fires, Tasmania, AustraliaDay 7: Bay of Fires
Next, we made our way east through St. Helens to the Bay of Fires. This was by far my favourite stop on our road trip; setting up camp on the beach. The area acquired its name from an explorer who saw the fires of the Aboriginal people on the beaches, contrary to what I thought of the orange coloured granite boulders. The turquoise water and white sand brought me back to Caribbean vacations, although the water temperature was a bit cooler.
Bicheno, Tasmania, AustraliaFreycinet National Park, Tasmania, AustraliaWineglass Bay, Tasmania, AustraliaDay 8: Freycinet National Park
We continued south along the East Coast and set up camp overlooking the Hazards, a mountain range located between Coles Bay and Wineglass Bay. We cooked up fresh, local scallops at our beachfront campground; it doesn’t get better than that. But we came here to see the famous, Wineglass Bay, which is accessed by a trail through the Hazards. The walk was worth it to bask in this pristine cove.
Tessellated Pavement, Tasmania, AustraliaEaglehawk Neck, Tasmania, AustraliaPort Arthur, Tasmania, AustraliaDay 9: Port Arthur
Finally, we drove farther south to our last stop, Port Arthur. Along the way, we stopped at the Tessellated Pavement (what happens when you date a geologist), Eaglehawk Neck, and the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park. But Port Arthur was the highlight, perfectly documenting Australia’s brutal convict history. The Bronze ticket, with a walking tour and harbour cruise, gave us a great overview of the vast site, but I enjoyed the Ghost Tour the most, as Port Arthur is said to be the most haunted place in Australia. We set up camp at Fortescue Bay Camping Ground, once again overlooking a beautiful beach.
Echidna, Tasmania, AustraliaDay 10: Hobart
We then made our way back to Hobart, ending this adventurous and memorable road trip! But since this trip we visited Hobart again and I feel it deserves its own post, as it’s perfect for a taste of Tasmania if you’re short on time. Stay tuned…
Eat
I credit my friend for her Australian road trip tip: grab lunch at local bakeries. They’re usually the most affordable option and it’s fun to try all the different meat pie options. Other than that, don’t miss out on all the local seafood while on the road!
Go
Fly into Tasmania’s largest hub, Hobart, direct from most Australian cities, and easily pick up 4WD rentals at the airport. Give yourself about a week or two to see most of the state, as most of our drives averaged four hours each day.