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10 Bucket List Travel Destinations That Aren't in Europe

Like most individuals, I have an insatiable case of Wanderlust. I'm frequently googling new and exotic places to visit and explore. Hell as I'm sitting in the airport waiting for my connecting flight, I'm looking at where I could travel on my next holiday. It's not that I'm ungrateful to be on vacation, it's really more a means to pass the time before my next flight. However, every country I visit, every new town I explore, I want to learn more about the world around me. 

A few short years ago I would have never dreamt that I would travel to Asia. European countries were always at the top of my travel list, but after a work trip to Bali, I discovered I wanted to see more of Asia. Seeing as I want to see as much of the world as possible before I die, this list is a Sparknotes version of some of my top must-see destinations, in no particular order.

1. The Great Barrier Reef
How have I not been here yet? I've lived in Australia for over two years now and still have not managed to take a trip up to Queensland. Yes, I did have a flight booked for this year, but life gets in the way and just messed that trip up. I think I need to just plan a long weekend and go! This should be the most attainable destination on my list.

2. Sri Lanka
I've had a few friends travel to Sri Lanka. When they've returned, its nothing but amazing stories about how lovely the experience was. Great beaches, amazing surf, fantastic food, and charming locals is everything I could ever want on holiday. Until recently, I did not have a good understanding of Sri Lankan culture, but now I want to learn more! Sri Lanka is definitely a must see on my travel list. 

3. Antartica
Antartica is the polar opposite of everything I usually look for in a holiday. It's freezing cold, the beaches are ice, and there's lots of snow. But there is something about Antartica that has been drawing me to visit. One day I would love to travel there to do conservation or research work. Maybe I'll even summon the courage to dive the Antartic waters. It will not be a luxurious vacation, but that is what I'm seeking. I want a trip that will challenge me and expand my horizons. 

4. Ecuador
Narrowing down the countries, I want to visit in South America was no easy feat. Ideally, I would like to visit all the countries in South America, but Ecuador is highest on my list. Ecuador is littered with incredible historical sights and breathtaking landscapes. Nature and history are two big selling points for me on any holiday excursion. Sightseeing on Easter Island and the Galapagos would be an incredible experience. Exploring the historical sights such as the Ingapirca Ruins or the gorgeous landscape at the Swing at the End of the World are definitely high up on my list. Please excuse me while I go pack my bag right now. 

5. New Zealand
I'm still unsure how I have yet to visit New Zealand. There are always so many fantastic flight deals from Australia too there, and yet, I have not visited. I mean New Zealand is home to Hobbiton and some of the best adventure sports in the world. Next time there's a flight deal on I Know the Pilot, I need to book a trip. 

6. Tanzania 
For those who do not know, I am a massive animal lover. I've driven to Adelaide simply to cuddle a koala (it's illegal in Victoria). Anytime I have a chance to see amazing animals in their natural habitat, I'm even more excited. I've done a lot of research on where to visit in Africa and have found Tanzania seems to be the best country for animal safaris. Not only is there incredible wildlife in Tanzania but there are also unbelievable hikes and waterfalls. Everything I love wrapped up in one beautiful trip!

7. Brazil
Not only do I have some amazing friends in Brazil, but there are also so many incredible things I would like to see in Brazil. Hiking in the Amazon, exploring Rio, enjoying the superb beaches. Brazil has so many amazing things to see and explore. I may have to take a long trip to Brazil just so I have enough time to see everything. 

8. The Maldives
I have wanted to go to the Maldives for years now. For a long time, I only viewed this as a honeymoon destination. But the Maldives doesn't need to be just for couples. Whether you want to relax and detach from the virtual world for a while or experience some incredible scuba diving and snorkelling, the Maldives seems to be the perfect place for anyone wanting a detox from society. 
9. Peru

Peru is filled with outstanding geographical and historical sites to see. With three different regions that offer three different terrains, there is definitely something for all types of travellers. Machu Picchu is high up on my travel list. How incredible would it be to see one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World? There are hot springs, incredible hikes, ancient historical sites, and beautiful beaches. Plus, I could get my fix of Inca Kola (if anyone knows where to find this in Australia, please let me know)!

Honestly, who wouldn't want to visit the Great Pyramids? Seeing the ancient Pyramids of Egypt has been on my travel list since I was young. There is so much history, so much culture. One could easily spend months in Egypt. Hopefully one day soon, I will get to visit. 

Have you visited any of the countries on this list? What was your favourite part of your visit? What does your travel bucket list look like? Share it in the comments below!

And until next time...
Stay curious!

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Adventures in Aussieland's Most Memorable Christmas

We've made it to the final day of the 12 Days of Blogmas. First, Merry Christmas to all of my lovely reader! I wish you a magical day, and I hope all your Christmas wishes come true!

Throughout the last 12 days, I've been reflecting on Christmas past. I've analysed the challenging aspects of the holidays and tried to created fun solutions to make them more memorable, but I haven't really shared any past Christmas memories. 

Today, I'd like to take you on a little trip down memory lane to my most memorable Christmas. In a family as large as mine, it actually was quite difficult narrowing down just one unforgettable Christmas. 

Would I choose a funny memory like when my best friend and I lit the wall at my dad's house on fire trying to curl our hair before my dad took us to a play? Or the time my granny started dancing on top of the bar? While they were pleasant memories, I've chosen a simpler one...

To grandmother's house we go...

My family is originally from Michigan, so I was lucky enough to pretty much always have a white Christmas. While back in the Mitten, we would split our time between my dad's family and my mum's family. 

On this year, we had spent Christmas Eve with my dad's side of the family and would be spending Christmas Day with my mum's side. The drive to my Granny's house is literally something out of a Christmas movie or postcard. You drive through a tiny, snow-covered town before turning down an unpaved back country road. After driving for about 20 minutes, fearing you're completely lost and will never see civilisation again, you round a corner, and a long driveway appears. 

As you ascend the driveway, there stands a picturesque snow-covered house surrounded by forest. I never truly appreciated it at the time, but my Granny's house was incredible. This year, the entire family was going to be staying in the house at the same time. To put this in perspective, my mum is one of six. So there were a lot of people staying in this house. 

My family, God bless them, are all incredibly strong-willed and opinionated. We're all loud, a wee bit hyperactive, loving, and love trying to embarrass each other. You could see how this quickly would turn into arguments and frustration. 

While I do remember a few debates taking place during this Christmas, we quickly moved passed them. The weatherman stated that a big snow storm was due to hit soon. We didn't care. We were all sitting around a big table playing CLR, laughing, and enjoying each others company. 

Snowball fight anyone?

Well, we managed to get snowed in. With Granny living so far off the beaten path, her street would be last on the list to be plowed. We lost power for a while, and it was cold as outside. You would think this would be enough for the first annual hunger games to break out inside the house. While I'm sure it crossed a few peoples minds, we somehow managed to escape the 38ish hour snowed in entirely in one piece. A few people did end up sleeping on the stairs, but we made out alive. 

The family spent time shoving the long driveway (who's brilliant idea was that?), having snowball fights, dancing like nerds, and just enjoying each others company. And while we were all longing for some solitude, by the end of the stay, we were sad to see each other go. We knew it would be a long time before we would see each other again. 

I may be slightly romanticising this Christmas in my head. I'm sure there were many more arguments, tears, and anger throughout those few days. But amazingly, that's not what I remember. I remember all the fun we had. But I guess that's what makes Christmas so amazing, we choose to remember all the good times and the fun we have with our family and friends. 

Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone! Wishing you a memorable holiday season! 

And until next time...
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Healthy Holidays: Stay Fit & Healthy

The holiday season can be a difficult time to remain in peak physical fitness. It's easy to overeat, binge on unhealthy snacks, and completely neglect your workouts. If you're looking for some fun Christmas workouts, click here before finishing this post. But if you do not want to bust out a holiday workout, here are some playful tips on how to stay fit and healthy this holiday season:

Engage with Your Younger Family Members
Nothing helps burn the calories faster than trying to keep up with a rambunctious toddler. I swear, the younger the child, the better they embody the Energizer Bunny. They keep on going, and going, and going, and going. Playing an exciting game of Tiggy or What's the Time Mr Wolf will get the heart pumping. 

Don't have younger kiddos in the family? Convince the family to join in a game of touch football or any other sport. No matter the weather (unless it's raining fire), it's always fun playing some kind of sport with your family. At the very least, you'll be able to tackle out any built up anger you have towards your family members. 

Spontaneous Dance Parties
These are always a winner any time of year, but Christmas makes them slightly more socially acceptable. Turn up the Christmas music extra loud and dance till you're little heart is content! 

Feeling extra inspired? Gather a group of friends or family members and choreograph your very own Christmas dance. Perform it for the family or record it and shamelessly share it on the internet. You'll eventually look back, laugh, and cherish these Christmas moments. 

Christmas Workouts
I know I already made an entire post about holiday workouts, but they're a fantastic, quick way to burn a few extra calories. Do you have a competitive family? Turn the workouts into a competition. During the HIIT workouts, see who can do the most reps in the allotted time. On the 12 Days of Christmas Workout, see who can get through the ladder the fastest, with the best form. Your body will thank you later!

Be Mindful of What You're Eating
It is so easy to overeat during the holidays. If you've ever looked at most US families Christmas dinner, you're looking at a table of butter. The amount of butter that ends up in all the dishes is mind-boggling. It is very easy to quickly consume a high amount of calories. So how do you enjoy your favourite holiday foods without eating a year's worth of calories?

First, portion control. Unlike the workout and sports suggestion, who can eat the most is NOT a competition you should partake in. You are more than welcome to eat whatever you would like just be mindful of the portion size. 

Second, you can always opt for healthier options. Instead of loading up on high carb, high starch foods, make a majority of your plate roast veggies. Still eat the more savoury dishes, just limit the amount you do. Gravy has an insane amount of calories. Instead of slathering your entire meal in it, place a small amount in a small bowl and use sparingly (or not at all). You'll be less likely to end up in a food coma and won't have a massive sugar crash the next day!

Stay Happy and Positive
During the holidays, it is inevitable that there will be some mishaps. People are bound to disagree, the turkey may catch on fire, and you may end up spending the holidays alone. That's ok. Don't focus on the negative. Keep yourself in a happy, healthy mindset. 

If a problem does occur, think about the things you can do to fix the situation. If there are no options, let it go and move on! Is the problem a little more complicated? Use some of the strategies mentioned in How to Cope with Holiday Stress to help you get back in the holiday spirit! 

Most importantly, enjoy this time. It may be the only time of year all your friends and family get together. Treasure this. Be silly. Laugh. Make some precious memories. 

And until next time...
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Holiday Traditions You Can Keep No Matter Where You Are

It can be difficult being away from loved ones this time of the year. But just because you may not be spending the holidays back home, doesn't mean you can't bring a little bit of home to where you are. Here are 4 simple, (somewhat) free traditions you can keep no matter where you are.

One of the simplest things one can do throughout the holidays is be thankful and grateful. It doesn't cost anything to reflect on all the beautiful things that have happened over the year. 

Whether it's travelling the world, having a job, having friends and family, or merely the fact that you woke up this morning, there are always things in our lives to be thankful for. Take the time to say thank you today and share a little holiday cheer. 

Another fantastic way to get into the holiday spirit is to volunteer. I realise this is the time of year where everyone offers to volunteer but that doesn't make the act any less important. Unfortunately, there are people in the world who are not that fortunate. There are many reasons they may need a little extra help. If someone is in need, do the right thing and help out. 

Volunteer activities don't have to be limited to helping people. Volunteer your time at an animal shelter helping little doggos, and kitty cats find their forever home. Work on an environmental conservation project. Or help clean up a local beach. When volunteering, find something you're passionate about. It's definitely in the Christmas spirit to give back. 

Technology is incredible these days. You can get from one side of the US to the other in approximately 5 1/2 hours, we have entire computers in our pockets, and we have the ability to video chat with anyone, anywhere in the world. Just because you're in a different country or state doesn't mean you still can't be with your family. 

FaceTime or other video messaging services are a great way to keep the tradition of being with your family alive. Since I am unable to be with my family this time of year, I always make sure to FaceTime them so I can at least feel present for the holiday festivities. 

Lastly, sending Christmas cards is a fantastic holiday tradition! It can be a lot of fun sending a card to friends and family from your holiday travels. It's a great little way to let them know you're thinking of them and keeping the Christmas spirit alive. 

This is one of my favourite Christmas traditions. While I may have slacked this year, I feel there is something incredibly personal and special about sending Christmas cards. Next year, Archer will totally be decked out like Santa's little helper for an adorable card photo. 

No matter where you are in the world, it's never to far to keep the Christmas spirit alive. Even if you're alone, do not let this time of year isolate you. Embrace the freedom to gain a deeper understanding of yourself and push yourself to give back. 

*If you are feeling isolated this holiday season, do not be afraid to reach out for some additional support. In Australia, you can call Lifeline at 131114. In the US, you can call 1-800-273-8255. Or text 741741 from anywhere to get connected with a counsellor*

What are some of your favourite holiday traditions?

And until next time...

Stay curious and Merry Christmas!

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