Friday, 5 May 2017

Korean Bucket List

* This use to be listed on it's on page, but since are no longer in Korea I decided to move it to it's own page. It seemed sad to delete it. I've replaced it with our world bucket list. Hopefully we will be as productive with that one as we were with this. Our time in Korea was incredible. We miss it every day BUT we are loving our new life in Australia. We can't wait to think of a whole new list to get us adventuring all over again*

Since arriving in Korea there is a definite feeling of wanting to do everything right away. A new job can be a stressful time. Combine it with moving abroad to a country you more than likely dont know the language of as well as moving house and you are in a bit of a tizzy.
Its sometimes hard not to just jump at every opportunity and wiz about every second trying to absorb the new sights and sounds but I think there are definitely benefits to remembering that you do need to rest too.
On the flip side a year can disappear so fast. Ive already been here two months. So I dont want to fall into a trap of lazing about every weekend.

A friend of mine, Katherine has a great blog and she made a fantastic list of all the things she wants to achieve while in Korea. I wrote one while I was finding an excuse not to pack while in the UK but I thought Id share it here. My hope is that having the list will let me see what Im achieving and drive me to do more as well as rest up when I get exhausted just reading about all of my adventures.

So here is my Korean Bucket List:

.Order a meal without knowing what you are asking for.
. Drink Makholi
.Try Soju
.Go to a Cat Café.
. Have lunch on a beach in Busan
. Go dancing in Seoul
. See the Busan Aquarium
. Go to an Orphanage
. Try Shaba Shaba
. Nora Bang with Jess (my uk friend) in Korea
. Use the photo booths
. See Asias biggest Budda (luckily located in Daegu)
. Climb Apsan
. Volenteer at a childrens charity
. Spend Christmas day with my friends
.Spend a summer weekend in the park
. Visit Jeju island
. See Sokjoe in the Autum
. Eat Jim Dak in the home of Jim Dak
. Try K-pole (Korean pole dancing class)
. Go to a charitable dog walk.
. Kick leaves in the park in Autum
. See the Cherry blossoms.
. Watch Christmas films in a DVD Bang with friends.
. Cook a meal for friends.
. Have cocktail in a bag
. Make crafts for my class
. Take my camera out into Daegu (This is a year long achievment!)
. Stay in a Buddist temple
. Put my feet in the Ocean
. Join a Kpop dance class
. Try Taekwondo
. Norabang!
. Make Kimbap at home.
. Eat in Kim Pasa
. Learn to like beer
. Travel to a random place on the subway and explore
. Jump from Duryu tower (not something they do anymore but I did climb it)
. Participate in a tea drinking ceremony
. Sit on the floor in a restaurant
. Visit a Korean families home.
. Go to Holi
.Go to Mudfest
. Dance all night in Pacha
. Have a phone conversation in Korean.
. Find a Korean Mentor.
. Learn Hangul.
. Learn enough Korean to order food, use transportation and buy things.
. Have a Korean Haircut.
. Go to a Korean beauty salon.
. Have a summer Korean BBQ.
. Eat Dak Galbi.
. Get a phone. FINALLY have one after 5 months
. Learn my address.
. Order McDonalds to be delivered.
. Dance to Gangnam style in Seoul (Gangnam preferred).
. Buy a Konglish t-shirt.
. Make a Korean friend.
. Visit a random place in Korea on the train.
. Sleep on the floor.
. Stay in a love motel.(recommeded , it was really comfy and so funny)
. learn to like Chap Sal Duk. (as long as I have milk with it)
. See Japan.(Only Tokyo so far but I want to see it all)
. See Malaysia.
. See Thailand. (this might be my favourite thing i've crossed off yet!)
. See China.
. See Indonesia.
. See Vietnam.
. See Taiwan 
. Watch Lee swim with sharks in Busan.
. Get eyelashes fitted (?)
. Learn at least 7 students names.
. Draw every day. (doing well so far)
. Put a lock at the top of Seoul Tower.
. Do yoga (even though its not a Korean thing)
. Cook a Christmas dinner for friends.
. Have a film/games night at the flat. 
. Try writing for a magazine
. Try getting paid for my photography work
. Ride a roller coaster.
. Go to a Korean wedding
. Get my class to Skype with my Mum.
. Start Roller Derby
. Feel Ive really helped at least one student.
. Go Skiing
. See the DMZ
. Travel on the KTX
. Stay up until the first subway
. Make Welsh cakes
. Try an out door gym.
.Ride the duck boats in Susung Lake 
.Drink a cocktail from a coconut.
.See the sunrise on the beach.
.See a 4d movie
.See a big korean fireworks display
.See live music in korea.
.Go to a dog cafe
.Teach elementary school 
.Fly to an exotic location for holidays
.Do fancy dress in Korea 
. See the Tripataka Koreana

Thursday, 4 May 2017

How to celebrate Australia Day
On the 26th of January, only a month after we have started to recover from Christmas, Australia takes a national day off to celebrate Australia day.
Australia day is traditionally a day to celebrate the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales.  Today the day is considered more of a celebration of the entire nation including its beautiful and diverse population and indigenous people* There is some controversy about the day which you can read more about below.
The first time we experienced this holiday, we were thrilled to be invited to our friends house. While we were there we took the opportunity to ask the group what traditions we had to experience for it to be a real ‘Australia day’.

Here is what we learnt:
. Have a BBQ – This one won’t come as a surprise. This day is at the height of Australian summer (my northern hemisphere brain will never get use to these hot Januarys) so it makes sense to spend the entire day outside and throw another shrimp on the Barbie (sorry not sorry for saying that Aussie friends). Burgers , hot dogs and steaks all around on this day as well as some delicious homemade salads. australiaday2
. Eat Pavlova – Pavlova’s exist in the UK , but they aren’t a big part of our diet. Coming to live in Aus has opened my eyes to the joy of a good fruity Pavlova. The one we tried last year was chock-a-block with beautiful fresh fruit and caramel. It helps that the tropical climate of this place makes it very easy to smear coconut , pineapple and kiwis on everything.
. Drink Beer – Lee and I were very surprised to discover what a fantastic beer culture Australia has. It’s packed full of craft beer bars and home brewing stores. Lee has been bitten by the home brewing bug and has already fermented 5 ciders and 4 beers. The reasons for this countries love of beer may come from the heat, which makes it very easy to keep the yeast warm to ferment your own ale. Another reason may be out of necessity. A beer in a pub (or ‘hotels’ as all their pubs seem to be called due to licensing rules) would make you want to run back to London to buy a round. Don’t panic too much though because wine is dirt cheap. Woohoo! This country understands the greatness that is beer. It feels like it is an absolute fact that you must consume beer (and plenty of it) on Australia day. We aren’t complaining. australiaday4
.Find a Pool – It’s going to be boiling so most people find a pool and don’t get out of it unless it’s to head to the Eskie (Aussie slang for cooler) to get a beer.
.Play backyard cricket – because there is so much space in Australia it has become tradition that families head to the garden and play a little friendly game of backyard cricket. We took this to the next level and played water bomb cricket, which I highly recommend.
This cutie wanted all the sausages
This cutie wanted all the sausages
.Listen to the Triple J radio show – The Triple J radio show would probably be the item on this list that our Australian friends refuse to miss. The Triple J show asks Australia to vote for its favourite songs of the year. The people vote and on Australia day the radio show plays a countdown from 100 – 1. It sounded really lame when I first heard about it (who’s still listening to their radios?), but it was actually really fun to listen to and have a recap of the years music. It was the perfect soundtrack to the day. The songs are normally not what you would call ‘mainstream’ songs so you get some gems in there that you wouldn’t normally catch while you’re listening to the radio in the car. I mocked you guys last year, but my work playlist still has quite a few songs on it that I discovered last year on the Triple J’s radio show. I’m on board.
.Wear the flag somewhere on your body – painted on your face, thongs (flip flops), hats, towels, diddly boppers, bikinis, pants…you name it. If it exists then you can find it with an Aussie flag on it for Australia day. It was fun to cover ourselves in excessive Aussie merch and be part of it all. Lee bought a cork hat especially for the day and was ordered to take the corks off of it so there are limits.
lovely Aussie plants
lovely Aussie plants
. Play Goon of Fortune – I have to admit we haven’t done this year, but it seems like a big deal. A goon bag is a bag of wine that comes in a box. It is normally not the best of brands and comes in a bag that fits about two and a half bottles of hooch. The silver bag has a tap at the bottom and the bag is attached to a spinning clothes line (from what I can gather from being told second hand). People then stand around the clothes line, spin it and if the good bag ends in front of you…then you are drinking! Bag-o-wine. Drinking…sign me up J
Overall it’s a day that gives everyone an excuse to get out of the boiling offices (or freezing offices if they love the air-con) and celebrate with friends. Enjoy the day off guys and remember to ‘advance Australia fair’….or something along those lines ???

*I really wanted to add an extra note here. In recent years it has been brought to light by a lot of the indigenous population that celebrating the day that your land was taken over and invaded is hurtful and insulting. This has led to many movements wanting to move Australia day to another time so that it is a celebration of the country as a whole rather than a day just to celebrate the anniversary of the English coming to steal it. I can completely understand this argument and I think it’s great that Australia, from what we’ve seen, is really starting to embrace its aboriginal people and their culture, even more so than in the past. This may be a bias view because we have mainly been around creative young people who are passionate about their countries original origins. It’s hard to tell.
While being here I have met Aboriginal Australian’s who have had mixed opinions on the 26th of January. Some feeling it should be changed as a mark of respect. Others feeling that it is fine to stay the same, others thinking they should keep the day but change it’s name and meaning. As an outsider I have no idea what Australia’s solution to this problem of ‘Australia Day vs. Invasion Day’ is, but I hope they can come to a conclusion that celebrates all aspects of this fantastic country. To read more about this important issue please read both sides of the argument here:

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Happy 2017 Everyone

Happy 2017 Everyone

Happy 2017 lovely people. So this website has been very quiet for a while. We have been busy bees.
2016 saw us FINALLY get our Australian visas so we are going to be putting ‘another shrimp on the barbie’ for a while longer.
Now we are allowed to travel outside of Australia we are hoping to bounce around a bit more.

Some travel is already booked. Lucky Lee is heading to the UK for two weeks to see his family. I’m unable to escape because I’m busy making cartoons at work (yes, I get paid to be a nerd). So he has been given a long list of things I want him to do and see for me. I’m going to live vicariously through the tall man.
Other than that we are moving house in Feb. An actual house that we can decorate. I’m so excited.
My bro & my favourite sister-in-law are coming to visit Australia (sqweeeeeee so excited) so we will be forced to explore with them…woe is us. Hugging koalas and looking at gorgeous beaches. How ever will we cope.
We have an Easter trip booked to the place voted ‘best beach in the world’ countless times. Whitsundays. We have lots of airmiles to use up so it’s the perfect opportunity to roll in some white sandy beaches and gawp at the best azure blues that Queensland has to offer.
We still have some airmiles left so The South Pacific is calling. It would be rude to live in Australia and not see Vanuatu or Fiji, wouldn’t it?
Lastley, we want to go home for next Christmas. This Christmas was surprisingly incredible. I was terrified of being so far away from home without or families and friends but we loved it. That being said… Next Christmas I WILL be home. I’ve started saving already. I am hoping to squeeze a Europian adventure in there too. It’s sacrilegious to be a Brit and to have not been to Amsterdam or seen a lot of Europe. I need to right this wrong.
So that’s the hopes and wishes of 2017. Now I just need to save as many pennies as possible to make them a reality.
Happy new year lovely people x

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

When Travel Goes Bad

girls6 This is a very hard, ‘punch to the face’ post for me to write.  Today I have had to face up to the fact that the holiday I booked and paid for , that my friends are flying from the UK to Indonesia for, the holiday we’ve talked about since we were 14, is not going to happen.
Us at 24
I was hoping to avoid this and I have even written bumbling posts to try and stay positive , but the visa hell that Lee and I have been living for the last few months has finally caused me to raise my arms in defeat. Our visa has not been processed for 7 months now (it is meant to take 40 days) and it means we can’t leave the country until it is finalised.
I realise that in the grand scheme of things not being able to go on a holiday is NOT a problem. Out of all the problems we could have in our lives I’m aware this is a very small one, but it still kind of stings like icy slap to the face. It also probably hurts more because it is the cherry on top of a lot of other issues.
These two ‘sisters’ at 21
I’m not going to bore you with the mundane details but to summarise; Lee and I are on a working holiday visa , which is a year long visa. My company is trying to sponsor us (which is incredible!) and switch us to a 457 Visa so that we can stay in the country for 4 years.This seems to be due to a myriad of issues from a lot of places. We have had times when we thought we had a few days to get out of the country, we’ve had times when we weren’t allowed to work until it was sorted (this was a painful time that had no end date) , we’ve had lost passports, broken souls and a lot of paperwork. Luckily we are at a place now where we can work while we wait for a decision, which is an incredible luxury that we are hugely grateful for. Now we just have to wait for the final result…but we can’t leave the country, even for cocktail fuelled girls holidays. Does the Australian government not understand the importance of cocktails and dancing (!)
My lady and me in the toilets because we are classy. (19 years old)
I am an optimistic person, and I’d love to tell you I booked my holiday and convinced my friends to travel the world hoping it would all be ok…but even I’m not that optimistic. We just so happened to book our holiday 24 hours before we were told there was issues with the visa and it wasn’t plain sailing. Grrrrr fate can be a beautiful yet horribly cruel mistress sometimes.
On the plus side, my two friends still get to have the most incredible time in Indonesia (you can read about the planned trip here) . I know they will see beautiful things, drink far too many cocktails and live on endless cheap massages in paradise. I , on the other hand, will be sat here buying far too much junk food to ruin the bikini body i’ve killed myself to try and get over the last few months…all in all I’m not sad that I have an excuse to eat chinese and be lazy , but the sentiments still there.
Steph , our first Mrs and a lady worth travelling the world for.
Things could be so much worse. We could not have even had a chance at getting a visa and would have had to leave this beautiful country a long time ago. We’ve had a lot of troubles back home with family that we are trying our best to sort through and our flat has been fighting against us at every turn. On the bright side, there are a million ways this situation could be worse.
I suppose one of the worst parts of things like this is the uncertainty , we are still waiting every day to find out if this is our home now or if we need to start a new life in a different country. We have friends, jobs  and a home here that we don’t want to leave. I have moved 13 times in 13 years and I was hoping this might be my first two year stint in an apartment …alas it looks like I’m destined to be a wandering nomad. (This isn’t the worst thing , is it!?)
21 year old pouty faces before pouty selfies were a thing.
For me the worst part has to be missing my friends. This post may sound like  I am sad I’m not going on a holiday, but what I’m sad about it not being in the airport when they fly in from the UK , not running at them and hugging them silly and not being able to laugh , drink and chat for 10 days…who knows when I’ll get a chance to see them now. Living abroad is an incredible adventure, but it has its heartache and for me that will always be missing people terribly.Luckily Skype is the greatest invention of all time.
girls3 girls1
If , by some MIRACLE our companies sponsorship, nomination,  and visa comes through in the next 10 working days then I will kiss the nearest person to me and dance in the streets. If it doesn’t I’ll take comfort in the fact that two of my favourite ladies are in one of my favourite places in the world and that they are almost close enough for me to dance with them….almost.

Monday, 1 May 2017

How to Plan a Girls Holiday – Indonesia edition

There is only one thing better than planning a holiday, and that is planning a girls holiday. (Sorry boys but it’s true).
If this was a film script this story would start with three teenage girls watching romantic comedies during a sleepover. Mouths filled with jelly babies. All snuggled under one duvet on the floor. These three girls would be (delusionally) talking about their lives as 30 year old millionaires and how magical it will be. They would make a pact to go on a big holiday together when they are finally grown up.
But this isn’t a film, otherwise at this point of the film i’d go and slap young Tania for thinking 30 is old and tell her I am definitely not a grown up . The story is true though. My two oldest friends and I have always planned to go somewhere together when we got to our dirty 30’s . We all have busy lives, crazy jobs and live in 3 different countries so the real question wasn’t if it was going to happen, but how the hell were we going to organise something like this.
To start off with our process involved lots of whatsapp-ing and numerous links to pretty pictures on Instagram. After a few months we were still no closer to a location or time so I came up with a list of what we needed, the kind of holiday-ers we were and what we want to gain from this trip. Here is my criteria to help all you lovely ladies out there find the perfect trip abroad:
*What type of traveller are you?
To me this is the most important question. The kind of traveller you are will determined whether you want a beach, to go skiing or spend your time in a city. We are three very different types of travellers. One of my friends is a very busy director in a company. She works mental hours and long weekends. So when she goes on holiday she wants to relax, let her hair down and have as much indulgence as possible. She also wants to see magical things she couldn’t see at home. Our other friend is an incredibly talented accountant who has recently taken up the country life. She didn’t want to go anywhere on her husbands bucket list (understandably) , but wanted to have an adventure and go somewhere far and distant. Then there was me, the friend that lives thousands of miles away and who (after dealing with months of horrible visas) couldn’t spend too much money and wanted to see and do everything with her girlies. So our criteria was an exciting, active, relaxed holiday. Somewhere far off and exotic where we can indulge in luxury , but that doesn’t cost the earth. It was a tall order. The answer to me was Asia. Exotic yet cheap. Lots of activities, temples and scenery . Lots of nightlife as well as massages galore. It was a good starting point.
* Weather –
Sunny but not scorching. We are all originally Welsh girls so our bodies don’t even know what vitamin D is. Nice weather was a must. The other thing to worry about is that I burn faster than a marshmallow on a campfire (I shared my beach pain here) so if we could avoid the height of summer it would be good. In Asia, summer can vary a lot by country so it was more important to find out when we could go on holiday and find out what countries suited my transparent skin and our need for heat.
Kyoto - Japan
Kyoto – Japan
* Price –
As mentioned earlier I am the weak link in the chain. A few years of travel, visits to the UK from Australia, imposed house moves, family issues and Visa issues have meant that my bank account has forgotten what money looks like. Lee (the super budget wizard) has helped us get back on track , but I knew that to make this holiday happen it would have to be on a smaller budget. The main worry for me was that I didn’t want my friends to suffer because of my budget so I aimed to find a place were we could all live the high life, but for less. This meant that unfortunately places like America and Europe were out for me , but South East Asia was calling our names . The other plus point was that none of us have kids yet so we could go on holiday out of season when the kids are in school and reap the benefits of not being quite grown ups yet.
* Girl friendly –
When three girls are travelling alone it is unfortunate that you have to consider things such as safety. At one point we were considering India or the Middle East , but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to relax if we went for a drink. I’d spend the whole time scared we were being scammed . This isn’t to say you can’t go to India on a girls holiday. In fact I have some really close friends who have done that very thing and loved every second. But it isn’t the place to go for a fun care free catch up. More of a location for a beautiful adventure. I have heard of quite a few scams that have happened to friends who visited, and as weird as it sounds we wanted to not be on our guard ‘twenty-four-seven’. Obviously everywhere you go has an element of danger and you should always be aware of that ,but I knew I’d go into ‘mum mode’ in India. It is still very high on the bucket list , but this time around I think we were searching for the lazy ‘Bounty chocolate’ advert experience.
* Location –
I gave the girls a few options. We narrowed it to:
I’d been to the first three so I thought back to previous trips . Lee reminded me of our time in Indonesia and how I spent the entire time telling him that Jess and Steph would love it. This is something I do for most places I visit , but he was especially right in this case. I did fall in love with this country. I made some rough itineraries for each country to try and squeeze in all that we loved doing and Indo won.
From there it has been relatively easy. We used to make bookings that can be changed and cancelled if we decide to do different things last minute. We could see volcanoes and jungles, beaches and rice paddies, have massages every day and still party like we were ten years younger so it seems like the right choice.
We are  doing:
5 nights in Ubud – for the yoga, temples and tranquil part of our stay
3 nights in Gili air – For the stunning beaches , sunset cocktails and snorkeling
2 nights in Seminyak – for a bit of a city vibe and a party before we head home
We have made the roughest of rough plans to accommodate the endless chatter  and catching up that is needed and I cannot wait. I’ve been here before but I didn’t get to experience hardly any of it so I’m super excited to do almost everything for the first time.
Let the #dirty30 holiday begin.

Have you been somewhere that you’d recommend for a girlie holiday? Where would you recommend? Is there something we should definitely do in Indonesia?

Sunday, 30 April 2017

A China Travel Video

I realised today that I haven’t shared our video of our first trip to China on this site (what?!)

I needed to rectify this wrong instantly. I imagine I didn’t share it originally because I was ashamed of my disgustingly cheesy choice of music to accompany the video.
Enjoy a few highlights of our trip to Beijing & Shanghai, where we completely walk passed the forbidden city, almost die on the Great Wall and dance up a storm.

Our trip to China from Tania Vincent on Vimeo.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

A Weekend in Byron Bay

IMG_6458 We had some important tasks to complete last week. We needed to try out our new Gopro. Yep, see I told you it was important. We decided that the only way to do this was to take a road trip so we hit the road and headed South. If you come to Australia and you are searching for crystal white beaches and pure azure waters then look no further than Byron Bay. It helps that Byron Bay is in New South Wales. As Old South Walians we wanted to see what it had to offer.
IMG_6483 springbrook We set off from Brisbane and drove to Coolengatta where our hotel was. This little area  lies on the border of two states; New South Wales and Queensland. It literally does . To get to our hotel we had to zig-zag over the border a few times. We didn’t do much on the first day other than hop along the coast and eat delicious food. We squeezed in a trip to Springbrook , which is an impressive mountain range that I’d recommend. From here you can see Mt Warning (which for the geeky ones of you is the setting of the animated film Fern Gully). We also ‘happened’ to stumble upon the Springbrook fudge shop and tried all they had to offer. It was divine. If Lee, the fudge connoisseur was impressed you know it was good.
IMG_6481 That night we stayed in Coolengatta and ate at the number one burger restaurant in Queensland called Ze Pickle. It was much fancier than expected. It had a classy bar vibe, which did worry me. I’m used to the good burger places looking slightly more down to earth and greasy, but I was pleasantly surprised. The ‘Kanye Cheese Sticks’ burger won me over, and not just for it’s South Park reference name, but for it’s layers of deliciousness . If you are in the Gold Coast and like juicy burgers I’d give it a whirl.
The next day we headed to Byron Bay. We were both blow away by the breath taking views. It seems like Hawaii to me. I’ve never been there so I suppose this is based purely on episodes of Lost and Lilo and Stitch , but still I think that’s solid research, right? The place was stupidly busy so sights like the lighthouse were impossible to see. We would have been upset ,but the views we saw on the drive up to the lighthouse were worth queuing in, even if we didn’t get to go in the lighthouse itself.
IMG_6433 IMG_6482 We headed home after our trip to the beaches,  but squeezed in one more stop to Mynion falls.  Unfortunately we were knackered and still needed to get home for work the next day so we didn’t get to do the trek to the falls, but we did get to go to the look-outs and see the falls themselves. Lee saw them too , just from very far back on the viewing platform because although he’s the tallest man I know, he’s very scared of heights.
IMG_6510 Overall it was a fantastic two days. We got to see forests, jungle, mountains, waterfalls and beaches. It is such a beautiful place here in Australia with every type of terrain. We still haven’t quite got our heads around how pretty this place is , even after a year. We’ve liked it so much that we’ve decided to stay a bit longer.