Apps That Help You Earn a Little Extra Money!

Thursday, 3 December 2015

It will happen to most at some point in a lifetime. The struggle to earn enough money. I feel this topic has become even harder for recent generations (including my own) to grasp. It has become an age of entitlement with little or no effort. We look at the exceptions to the rules as the actual rules. Frequently, when an individual works hard and makes money, their struggles are overlooked. I must admit, I've recently fallen into the category of "Why am I not making more money? I went to school/done my time". Realistically, I've been in my field for five years. FIVE YEARS! That is not sufficient time to earn my dues. After a lovely slap back to reality and a realisation that in my current job role I am not being challenged, I have been forced with the situation of:


"OH SHIT! I significantly decreased my hours at work, do not have a second job, and need to figure out how the heck to pay my bills!"

I've had to get a bit creative in earning additional income. I've been applying for jobs in a completely different field just to supplement income. <HELLO WAITRESSING> But as I have yet to be successful in receiving a call back from these external fields, I started looking into ways I could contribute more to my household. Here are some of the apps I've found:

Share the wealth, Pin this now!
**Please note these apps do not supplement an actual salary. They do NOT make you rich. But do aid in a little extra support each month.**

1. Inbox Dollars
I used to use this service back when I was still in Uni (undergrad as I seem to be constantly studying). Basically, you get paid for answering surveys. Years ago, this site was horrible. It was very difficult to qualify for surveys, and you would put in heaps of time for minimal monetary value. I must say, I'm super impressed with this app now. You still have to reach the $30 minimum before a payout but reaching this minimum is heaps easier! The more surveys you take, the more money you get offered. If you used this app religiously, you probably could make a decent amount of money per month. I tend to take surveys while on the train or relaxing in the bathtub, so I'm not making heaps.

2. Field Agent
This app is freaking amazing if you live within Australia (I'm not sure if its available in other parts of the world). Basically, you can accept different task around the city and get paid to do them. For example, a recent task was a Red Bull fridge audit. You went to a specific market at a specific time, snapped a picture of the fridge, and answered some questions. Once completed you get money! Pretty simple right?!? Again I do not use this app that frequently but often look at the tasks close to my location and complete them from there. I do not believe there is a minimum payout for this app and there are constantly new tasks being uploaded!

3. Rabadaba
Whoever created this app, you're a freaking genius! Rabadaba is a social media app which pays you to be social. You can earn credits for posting content or upvoting/downvoting/sharing/commenting on others content. You select what you would like your minimum payout balance to be, and on the 15th of every month, you get paid (pending you reach your minimum balance). I've experienced some issues on the iOS system, but they're minor difficulties like not receiving notifications. However, the app creators are super helpful and normally respond to your inquiries within a few hours. Seriously, who wouldn't want to use this app? 

4. ONGO Surveys
This app pays you a bit more money per survey than Inbox Dollars. However, there aren't as many surveys posted. I'm not sure if it's just my location that limits my lack of surveys or if they genuinely do not offer a lot. There's is a minimum balance of $10 before you get your cash out. But they give the option of an Amazon gift card or money straight to your PayPal account.  If they posted more frequent surveys, I would probably use this app more so than Inbox Dollars.

5. Acorn Hunt
This is probably one of my least favourites but hey every little bit helps right? On this app, you get paid for taking surveys, downloading apps from the app store and running them, and watching ad videos. You need 4,000 acorns before you're able to redeem any rewards. I don't use it that frequently so I'm not 100% sure they actually pay out. Once I reach the minimum will I update as to whether you actually receive a payout!

6. Movie Money
With this app, you're definitely not going to see rewards quickly. You earn points by watching different ad videos that range anywhere from 15 seconds to 45 seconds. Major downside: you need 1200 points to redeem a payment but are LIMITED to 20 videos a day. Reaching the 20 video limit takes about 5 minutes to do so you're really not wasting the day away. But still...its a long time before you reap the benefits of this app. Looking at it from a positive perspective: why the heck am I complaining? I'm literally watching TV and making money screw if it's just a small amount.

7. TAP$
Like other apps, I haven't received a payout on this app to date so I will have to update this once I do. This is the most straightforward app anyone could hope for. If you have small children, hand them this app, and they will make you money. You literally push a button to earn points to receive a payout. You must tap this button an obscene amount of times but push it enough and BAM! MONEY! Can't sleep at night? Tap a button until your little mind drifts of into dreamland! Have a friend who likes aggressively pointing at everything? Smack your phone in front of their finger and let them make you money! It's pretty damn simple people....let's just hope I haven't been poking my phone for no good reason!

When I first started using all of these apps, I got a bit frustrated that the payouts weren't easier to obtain. After a nice self-check-in I realised, I'm LITERALLY putting in minimal effort, WHY SHOULD I EXPECT TO BE MAKING LOTS OF MONEY?!?! It was a flawed thought of mine. I know I'm not going to become rich from these apps. I have no intention of using these apps as my sole source of income. It's simply a measure to help keep my finances stable for the time being. Feel like making a little extra holiday cash? Want some more spending money for a holiday? Give these apps a go. Some of them are actually heaps of fun! 


Have you used any of these apps before? Let me know about your experiences in the comments below. Have another app that you love to use to earn a little extra dough? Share it in the comments! 

And until next time...
Stay curious!

23

Adventures in Borneo


With the winter going on in Melbourne right now, the holiday getaway to Borneo was much needed! In case you didn't know, I'm pretty obsessed with any trip, holiday, or a regular day where there are warm weather and water. I had never been to Borneo and to be honest, I didn't know a lot about the island. I knew there was a big mountain which recently had an earthquake, and the locals blamed it on tourists stripping, and that there are heaps of orangutans.


The first portion of our trip was spent just outside Kuta Kinabalu. Staying at the Shangri-La, allowed me to relax from all the stressors of the prior weeks. I was in heaven! Our room had a beautiful view of the beach, the little kid in me silently (or not so silently) jumped up and down at the sight of the waterslide in the pool, and I basically lived off peanut sauce and chicken satay for four days.
I could live off peanut sauce for the rest of my life!
Jumping right into the relaxing nature of the trip, days were spent drinking pina coladas, walking along the beach, sailing, and reading.
The lovely view from the room.
If you're staying at the Shangri-La (or visiting the area) be sure to book the Orangutang viewing at least a day in advance because it does book out. I was super excited about being able to see the orangutangs. I wish I could say my excitement lived up to actually seeing them. Yes, all the proceeds go back to helping fund the orangutang rehabilitation program. 



When viewing the orangutangs, there is a huge group of people viewing at the same time. There are two platforms for viewing which gives you ample opportunity to see the orangutangs. But it was a bit of a letdown. It felt like I was viewing orangutangs at the zoo. If I ever go back to Borneo, I think I would volunteer at the rehabilitation centre on the other side of the island or book an eco-tour to walk through the Bornean forest and see the orangutans in the wild.  
Hello, cheeky orangutan! 
After a few days of being spoiled at the Shangri-La, we hopped on a flight to Tawau on the other side of the island. From there, it was just a short and exciting boat ride to Mataking Island. Seriously, it was a bit sketchy. I'm not sure if it was because we were so close to the Philippine border but halfway through the boat ride, we rocked up next to a large boat filled with armed men. My American nature slightly kicked in and instantly thought it was going to turn into a horror movie. Fortunately, I believe the only reason for the stop was to check visas and the number of passengers as the island has a maximum number of permits given per day. 
Welcome to Mataking Island!
I do not think I have words to accurately describe how AMAZING this island is. It was like a little slice of relaxation paradise. The room was right on the beach, there was snorkelling, scuba diving, and a baby turtle parade every night. I must say the staff was absolutely fantastic! Having food allergies can make banquet style dining challenge, they always came to ask if I had enough to eat or if I wanted them to make something different. They were lovely!
Best view to wake up to!
I'm slightly kicking myself for not bringing my underwater camera. While snorkelling each day, there was a sea turtle that swam around right outside the room and wasn't too startled when I would swim down for a closer look. Each night at the turtle parade, staff would take some of the baby turtles from the hatchery and bring them to the beach so they could make their way to the ocean. 
Baby turtles at the turtle parade. 
The only disheartening thing about the turtle parade was that some of the guests did not listen to the staff members. People would not pay attention to where they were walking, cross the line the staff had set up, and pick up the baby turtles after explicitly being told NOT TO! It was so infuriating! Besides guests not listening to staff, it was quite disheartening to see the amount of trash that had built up on the island. While on the boat, a guest, threw a plastic water bottle into the ocean like it was no big deal! I realise the holiday was set up for relaxation but if the resort had offered a beach clean up program, I would have definitely participated. 
So disheartening! 
The holiday was a much-needed distraction during a very stressful month. I will definitely need to go back to Borneo to thoroughly enjoy all the beauty the island holds! I'm curious to know how you cope with stressors whilst on holiday. Has stress ever taken over a holiday? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time...
Stay Curious!











23

Why America Needs Gun Control: An Expat Perspective

Friday, 9 October 2015
Today's post will not have anything to do with adventures in Australia. I'm almost 98% positive that what I have to say will piss off a good majority of my friends back home but honestly, I don't care. If you had asked me a year or so ago about my views on gun control, it would be very different from what it is today. Let's get one thing straight: I like guns. There, I said it. I like guns. I enjoy going to the range and firing off a few rounds. I always liked having guns and always felt that because I was a "responsible gun owner" I had the right to own them. I was a strong advocate for improving mental health and not limiting gun access. Fast forward a year, and now, I can live without them. I still like them, I still like shooting, but I also like the peace of mind that living in a country with strict gun control brings me.

I'm sorry America, but at this point, you've lost your privilege to have easy access to guns. I swear I hear about a shooting every other day in America. You can listen to the annoyance in the newscaster's voice when they report it here. You know in the back of their mind they're thinking "Seriously, again America? Kindly get your shit together so we can stop reporting on this crap. We did something about it, and we're still free". At this point, the ONLY valid argument for not amending the 2nd Amendment is "I LIKE GUNS", everything else is irrelevant.



  • "It goes against the 2nd Amendment": Ok first off, do y'all know what the word amendment means? Last time I checked, they're not ironclad. These things can be adjusted and...wait for it...amended! Remember that time alcohol was banned in the U.S.? That shit got amended real fast. Oh and remember that time there was slavery? Yup that amendment got amended as well. That's why they're amendments. It's so that they can be altered to fit with change. In 1776, the founding fathers were not running around with AK's on dinosaurs reeking havoc on the British soldiers. Muskets took a while to load. There was a nice, cooling off period before shooting people. Semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons were not a thing then. Time to adjust.
  • "Shooters will gain access to guns even if they're outlawed": I have to take a step back here and quote Jon Oliver. "There are laws against drugs, but people still gain access to them. Does this mean we should get rid of all drug laws?" So, since we cannot stop all individuals from gaining access to guns, there should be no gun laws. If we're going to follow this flawed logic, let's take it a step further! Not all deaths are prevented in hospitals. Until we can guarantee that all deaths will be prevented, there will no longer be any hospitals to give medical attention. 


  • "I'm a responsible gun owner, why should I be punished": Congrats to you for being a responsible gun owner! Seriously! I have massive respect for individuals who take proper care in storing their firearms. However, there are people who do not. And this is why we have rules. Not for the people who are responsible but for the few idiots who can't seem to use some common sense and have to go screwing it up for everyone else. Sorry.
  • "I need it for protection": If you're using a firearm for protection, chances are you're not a responsible gun owner. Normally, those who store their guns safely place it in a safe and without ammunition in the chamber. I'm not sure who you've had to rob your house or come shooting up a store, but chances are they're not going to wait politely while you unlock the safe and load your gun. If you ever find a criminal like that, well then you're a lucky SOB. 
  • "We should be focusing on increasing mental health services, not gun control": As someone who works in the mental health field, there definitely needs to be more attention to mental health services. However, when a mass shooting occurs, that is not the time to bring up mental health. First, it fosters the idea that people suffering from mental illness are violent. In fact, those suffering from a mental illness are at a HIGH RISK to be victims of violence rather than perpetrators (Appleby et al., 2001*). Increasing mental health services and support does not mean those who are going to go on mass shootings will seek that support. Unless the individual is on some form of mandatory hold, chances are they're not seeking the services they need. If the individual is not getting help, no amount of increase in mental health services will be beneficial. *But seriously, there should be a focus on increasing mental health services in the U.S.
  • "There's no way to prevent something like this": Ummm...YES! Yes, there absolutely is a way to prevent something like that. Make it incredibly hard to obtain a firearm. If there's a cooling off period when you purchase a home or a car, WHY IS THERE NOT A COOLING OFF PERIOD FOR PURCHASING A GUN?!?
America is a relatively new country. In the grand scheme of things, America's basically a rebellious teenager. America you have a perfect example of where gun control works... AUSTRALIA! People were just as upset when they were passing the legislation but ask anyone here, and everyone is fine with it. They're safer, there hasn't been another massacre, oh and guess what?... Australian's are still free, and the government didn't become a dictatorship. Why are the shootings in America not deemed terrorist attacks? Seriously, look at how we react to terrorist attacks. The same should be done within our own home.
Graph from Juan Cole

From what I've been reading, it doesn't appear that the American government wants to outlaw all guns, only change how easy it is to access guns. I don't think to require background checks and banning semi-automatic weapons is unreasonable at all! You would still be able to buy guns, it would just require a bit more effort. I feel like American's can be somewhat reasonable so doesn't that sound like a good compromise? Increased gun regulations=decrease in mass murders. Looks pretty good to me. 

America, I love you but please cut the crap.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my viewpoints? Let me know in the comments below! 

And until next time...
Stay curious!


*Appleby, L., Mortensen, P. B., Dunn, G., & Hiroeh, U. (2001). Death by homicide, suicide, and other unnatural causes in people with mental illness: a population-based study. The Lancet, 358, 2110-2112.

1

How I Afford to Travel

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Two of the most frequent questions/comments I encounter are “How do you afford to travel?” and “It must be nice to have so much money”. Truth be told, I don’t make a fabulous amount of money, my salary is pretty average, but I have a terrible case of wanderlust. I make sure my bills are paid, then everything else is saved for holidays (Do not fear, I am saving for the future. I include that in my bills). There really is no magic secret but here are my little ways that help me afford to travel:


Pin now, read later!
  •  Experiences instead of “things”: I decided a while ago that I would rather enrich my life with experiences than spend excessive amounts of money on materialistic possessions. While I do enjoy the finer things in life, I find I never got much joy after the purchase. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a massive shopaholic, but I’ve completely toned it down. Knowing fair well I will never be rich, I would much rather be broke and have seen the world than be broke and surrounded by a bunch of stuff.

  • Put effort into your search: I have found some pretty sweet flight deals in my searches. But I don’t rely on one webpage to bring me that deal. I follow the airlines on Facebook, get emails about promotions, and check the prices on a variety of sites. Google Flights is a good starting point as it lists the average price of the flight and you can see it months in advance. From there, I normally check the “handy” flight websites (Expedia, Webjet, Cheaptickets, etc.), as well as the actual airline's website that flies the specific route I want to go. Some of my best flight deals have come directly from the airline’s site. One slight warning: I was recently told I needed to search using the private/incognito browsing function. The logic behind this, if you’re searching for flights to a destination multiple times chances are you’re going to take the trip. You will not see as big of price drops due to servers accessing something or another.

  • Stop (or reduce) Eating out: I know this is sometimes easier said than done. A good portion of American culture revolves around food and drink. When we’re happy, sad, angry, celebrating, mourning, etc. we turn to food or drinks with our friends, family, and self. But put this into perspective: Say you go to Starbucks twice a week and order a coffee. Even just reducing the frequency to once a week, you are going to save $100+ per year (this all depends on what you order, it could be much more!). Trust me, I understand how tempting it can sometimes be. My job basically requires me to eat in the short space I have driven from one client to the next. Driving through the Macca’s drive-thru would indeed be easier, but planning and packing my lunch saves me heaps of money! One Macca’s meal here is like $8 minimum. That’s a lot of money saved by not eating out! I’m not saying stop eating out altogether. That’s no fun whatsoever. But maybe instead of buying that cup of coffee, throw the money you would have spent into a jar to help save for your next holiday!

  • Take advantage of frequent flyer miles: Since many have adopted a “use it or lose it” mentality: seriously, use your miles. Australia has amazing everyday rewards cards that give you frequent flyer miles (Someone should suggest this to American companies). Miles don’t need to be for a flight. Use it on a hotel or a rental car depending on where you’re travelling! If I find an amazing flight deal, I sometimes use my frequent flyer miles to stay in a nicer place.

  • Don’t be afraid to stay in hostels: I’m not sure why many American’s don’t stay in hostels. Maybe it’s because most in the US are just as expensive as a nice hotel. No clue! I’m sure there are horror stories about staying in hostels, but I’ve only ever had positive experiences. Staying in a hostel is a great way to save money and a great way to meet other people (especially if you’re travelling alone). Who knows, maybe one day when you travel to that person's country? You’ll have a couch to crash on or someone to show you the area!

  • The trip jar: I’ve adopted this practice for quite some time. All loose change gets thrown in a jar. When I go on holiday, the change from the jar is the amount of money I’m allowed to spend. This way I don’t build up heaps and heaps of credit card debt, and I stay on a budget. Change accumulates a bit quicker in AUS, so I’ve found I have a bit more to spend, but there are times I don’t end up spending it all! I then have more of a starting base for my next trips!
Who wouldn't want to wake up to this view?

There really is no magic trick to being able to travel. If you want to travel: TRAVEL! If it means skipping out on a drive-through meal a once or twice a week to save that little bit extra, don’t be afraid to do it! I haven’t had any regrets about traveling so far. The only regret I have had is that it took me so long to jump in and explore the world. 

Until next time...

Stay Curious!

2

The Adelaide Adventures: What to See When You Only Have 48 Hours in Adelaide

Wednesday, 29 July 2015
Sometimes I wonder how time just seems to slip away! I had been doing so well with my writing and then BAM! I spend a weekend away, get slapped with a little writer's block, and next thing I know I haven't written anything in over a week. Please tell me I'm not the only person to feel there aren't enough hours in a day and that this year has just flown right by. I'm hoping that with my upcoming trip to Asia in a few weeks that I'll be able to get back on top of my writing.



Anyway, I recently went on my first trip to South Australia. As stated in a previous post (Dragon Heads, Koala Cuddles, and Sick Days), I had been planning to go to South Australia to actually hold a koala. This is what sparked the initial plan to visit Adelaide. We planned the perfect weekend to visit because it was the Port Adelaide vs. Adelaide 'Showdown'! Holding cute, cuddly koalas and footy! Is there anything more Australian?

Camel is not impressed with my lack of time...

Adelaide reminded me a lot of Reno in the sense that it's a "big" little town. As the capital of South Australia (side note: why is it South Australia? There's Western Australia and Northern Territory so why South instead of Southern?), one would expect it to be comparable to Melbourne or Sydney. However, Adelaide was very quaint! Much like towns in the south, most shops weren't open on Sunday, and everything seemed to close early. 

Maybe a Pelican dancing in the spotlight?

Gorge Wildlife Park
This is where we went to hold the koalas. It's about 30 minutes outside the CBD but totally worth it! There is a zoo within the city of Adelaide. If you hold a zoo membership in Melbourne, you're able to use this in Adelaide as well. However, I do believe there is an extra cost to hold the koalas. At the Gorge Wildlife Park, it is only $15 to enter with NO ADDITIONAL COST to hold the koalas! Not only are you able to hold the koalas, but there are also quite a few other animals that you're able to interact with included in the price of admission. Although it was a smaller wildlife park, I must say this is my favourite I've seen in Australia thus far!

IT'S SO FLUFFY I'M GONNA DIE!!! 
Port Adelaide & Semaphore
Maybe it was because we went to Port during the winter, but it seemed pretty much like a ghost town. HOWEVER, do not let this deter you from visiting. The city was actually kind of cool, although almost everything was closed except the pubs. Be sure to keep a close eye on the water, and you're sure to see a dolphin or two! From Port, make the short trip down to Semaphore. Palais Hotel is a perfect place to catch a sports game or grab a quick bite to eat before watching the sunset over the ocean. 

LOOK! A dolphin!
Adelaide Night Life
Anyone who is everyone is out on Hindley Street on a Saturday night. Just past Rundle Mall, both sides of the street is lined with pubs, bars, and clubs. If you're unsatisfied with one venue just walk a couple of steps and try the next! Hindley Street has various locations to grab a bite to eat before partying the night away. We ate at the Black Bull Hotel. Honestly, the food was pretty good for pub food! The hotel also doubled as a nightclub. Once we finished eating, we just walked upstairs to hit the dance floor! Looking for a place where you won't hear "Doof Doof Doof" ringing in your ears for the next day and a half? Try one of the laneways. Peel Street had some pretty impressive bars that weren't too crowded and had a great atmosphere!

Adelaide vs. Port Adelaide 'Showdown.'
Two local teams always lead to a fantastic rivalry! After the death of Adelaide's Head Coach Phil Walsh, I was afraid the match would be quite a sombre event. Before the game, both Adelaide and Port Adelaide fans came together and marched from Rundle Mall to the Adelaide Oval to honour the late coach. The stadium was absolutely packed with fans (the largest attendance ever in the stadium). The game was one of the better I've ever seen! Both teams were playing to win, and it was friggin awesome! I didn't even care that Adelaide won and totally screwed my tips for the week (so close to a perfect week...so close!).
Adelaide goal!!
Although Adelaide is no Melbourne, it is still a great place to visit! Definitely planning to go back to Adelaide in the future and explore more of South Australia. If you've ever visited South Australia or Adelaide (or have heard of some excellent places to see there), let me know so I can be sure to add them to the list and write about them in my next Adelaide Adventure! 

Until next time...
Stay Curious!

14

What It's Like to Celebrate the 4th of July in Another Country

Thursday, 16 July 2015

It's a triumphant display of spirited, star-spangled, passionate, summertime, All-American honourfest! Beware travellers to our great nation as it will look like a Crayola factory exploded red, white, and blue over every citizen in this beautiful country. It's a site to behold! Firework displays light up the skies at night entertaining all the families and drunkies alike. During the day, you'd be hard fought to find a playlist that didn't include some sort of song referencing America, BBQ food so delicious just thinking about it makes your mouth water, pool parties, beach going, and all types of people getting star-spangled schmammered enjoying their freedom ('Murica!). At the very least, its a day to relax with friends and family (and if you're lucky, get the day off!). It's the holiday of all summer holidays! 

Fireworks and the American flag

But what happens when you find yourself in another country on this holiday? It isn't like Christmas or New Years. NOBODY outside of the U.S. celebrates the 4th (Does England have a sad memorial day for when they lost the colonies?). So what do you do? Prance around in an American flag t-shirt, drinking overpriced PBR and screaming "America! F*** YEA!!"? Chances are, you'd probably get smacked relatively quickly. Celebrating your culture isn't a crime, but people let's remember to be respectful of whatever country you're in. 

In Australia, its the dead of winter. Heaps of fun right? WRONG! You can't exactly prance around in a bikini, having a BBQ, in like 5 Celsius weather. So what do you do when you want to celebrate a day you've gone your whole life celebrating? IMPROVISE!! 

At first, I didn't really want to do anything for the 4th. Not because I didn't feel like I needed to celebrate my home country but mainly because I worked a lot during the week and was way too lazy to cook and party on the 4th. But naturally, my 'Murica kicked in and heck yes I wanted to celebrate my countries freedom! I thought we might be able to still BBQ, but unfortunately, it started raining, so it ended up just an inside gathering.
Happy 4th of July

What does one eat celebrating the 4th in another country? This one can be quite hard. I'm sure if I had actually put more than an 18-hour effort into the party I could have rounded up all the tasty fixings normally prepared at my 4th shindigs. Luckily, there are a lot of similarities between Aussie and American foods. We ended up making Juicy Lucy Burgers (my special award-winning recipe), hot dogs, ranch (from scratch as the bottles are crap here), and Kool-Aid! All the beverages of the adult variety were American as well. I almost cried buying a 6 pack of Coors Light at the Bottle-O from AUD 20... I could buy a slab for that back home. 

Outside of the fact that I was in another country, there wasn't a huge difference in the celebration. Most years I spent with friends just enjoying life. That's exactly what was done on that day! Puppy got heaps of attention, I got to cook (LOVE IT!), and we got to hang out with good friends. It was very similar to Australia ('Straya) Day just minus the sun and warmth! 
$5 Bottomless Brunch Champagne = Freedom

On a random side note, I was a little nervous to go out that night. We did wear red, white, and blue but nothing too flashy. Most people thought I was Canadian until they realised it was July 4th and then quickly understood I was American. It actually wasn't scary at all. I was mildly shocked as a lot of people wanted to talk to us (we even got some drinks bought for us! Score 1 for America!). Overall, fantastic 4th of July!

Have you ever celebrated the 4th away from the US? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments below! 


And until next time...
Stay Curious!





0

Great Ocean Road Adventures: Bay of Islands, 12 Apostles, & Cape Otway Lighthouse

Sunday, 12 July 2015
There is so much to explore along the Great Ocean Road that it can sometimes be overwhelming as to where to start. I wouldn't recommend trying to see everything in one day. It's impossible, you're going to rush, and you're going to miss out on a lot. One could probably spend a good week exploring the Great Ocean Road and still not be able to fully appreciate it. 

Luckily, I live in Melbourne which is almost a stone's throw away from the Great Ocean Road. There's no need to rush a trip! Depending on where along the Great Ocean Road your visit, it is roughly an hour and a half to 3 1/2 hours away from Melbourne. But where do you begin? 


My most recent trip along the Great Ocean Road was not my first. I've gone roughly a dozen times as Bell's Beach and Torquay Surf Beach are some of my favourite beaches to go surfing at. I absolutely love exploring here. Every time I visit (even if it's a place I've seen before), I'm always experiencing new things. A friend suggested taking a day trip to see the Bay of Islands, so we jumped in the car and drove to the far end of the Great Ocean Road.

Bay of Islands
First, a word of caution. Do NOT type Bay of Islands Coastal Park into Google Maps on your phone. If it's not trying to send you to New Zealand, the directions will end up taking you down this long dirt road that leads to nowhere. Although you will get a fabulous view of the ocean, you will have no view of the Bay of Islands. The road is filled with crazy potholes so if you have a little car (such as myself) do yourself a favour and just turn around! I have a feeling the locals are used to people getting lost down this road as we got a few smiles and chuckles driving back. 

Definitely not the right spot
You're better off just getting directions to Peterborough and following the signs. I'm euphoric we didn't give up after our 'slight' detour. I thought the 12 Apostles were impressive, but the Bay of Islands blows them out of the water. It's so breathtakingly beautiful! Plus you don't have to deal with the busloads of tourists. It's a bit quieter which makes the experience that much more incredible. 

Bay of Islands
There are two different lookout points: The Bay of Islands and The Bay of Martyrs. Both provide spectacular views of the amazing scenery. At the Bay of Martyrs, you're also allowed beach access (ocean tide permitting). Sadly, the beach access was closed when I visited, but I still got some fantastic views!

Bay of Martyrs

12 Apostles and Gibson Steps
Just a short drive south from the Bay of Islands is the 12 Apostles and Gibson Steps. Like the Bay of Islands, the 12 Apostles is a collection of limestone stacks created by erosion from the ocean. Not all 12 apostles currently stand. I believe only 4 are left standing. When visiting, be prepared for heaps and heaps of people. Even during the winter, there are always busloads of people. 

12 Apostles on a misty day
If you want a truly spectacular view of just how large these limestone stacks are, take a walk from the car park to Gibson Steps. It's about a 20-minute walk to get to the steps but well worth it! Make sure you're there during low tide as the steps close during high tide. Prepare to feel incredibly small as you walk along the beach admiring these natural beauties!

Gibson Steps

Cape Otway Lighthouse
After finishing up at 12 Apostles, we hopped back into the car and drove down to Cape Otway Lighthouse. From the 12 Apostles, it is about an hour and a half drive. There are other points of interest along the way, but we decided not to stop. Mainly, we wanted to see koalas in the wild. Guess what?! We found some!! After pulling the car over to the side of the road to see what people were pointing at, we found a whole heap of koalas sitting in a tree.

Koala in the Wild
It's a koala!
After our success with the koalas, we made our way to the lighthouse. I was under the impression that the lighthouse was free. However, there is a small fee for entry. Normally it is $12, but as we got there quite late, we received a bit of a discount (thank you to whoever was working that day!). 

At first, I found it strange that there was a fee to enter but quickly changed my outlook when I saw how much there was to do upon entry. Not only do you get to go inside the lighthouse but there is a cafe, different living quarters to explore, information about Aboriginal culture, and character actors that make the experience way more fun! 


Old Lighthouse house

Old Lighthouses

Lighthouses in Australia

Sometimes I wish there were more hours in a day or that I didn't have to work. I could visit the Great Ocean Road all the time and never tire of it. For a day trip, I highly recommend stopping at these three locations. I took this trip during the winter, but during the summer months, one can easily see these sites and finish the day up in Apollo Bay. Have you ever been down the Great Ocean Road? What are your favourite sites? Let me know in the comments below 

And until next time...
Stay Curious!

Looking for other adventures around Melbourne?





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Making Friends As An Adult

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Soooo... I realise most of my posts revolve around awesome stuff in Australia and around the world, but I've also wanted to use this platform as a way to express what I've learned about myself while living overseas. One of the biggest realisations: I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS!! 


Let's make more friends by pinning this article!


Seriously, as an adult, it's difficult to make friends. You're no longer confined to a classroom of peers or in multiple after-school activities. When I first moved here, I thought to myself, "I know a few people, so I'll have no problem making friends." Here's the problem, most of my friends were holiday friends, not close friends I had known for a majority of my life. Sure, there's the occasional get-together, but when it comes down to that close-knit group of friends I had in the states, it's just not the same. 


So no one told you life was gonna be this way (clap, clap, clap, clap)

I work in a very isolating profession. I pretty much only interact 1:1 with kiddos under the age of 8 (oh yeah, my best mate still picks his nose). Most people can make friends at work, but that just isn't an option for me. Also, I have horrible social anxiety. If you don't know me, I'm insanely shy. Unless I'm comfortable around someone else in the group, chances are I won't talk much. After I'm comfortable, good luck shutting me up! So really...How does one make friends as an adult?

Get Over the Fear of Rejection

Just like most things in life, sometimes you're going to fail at making friends. I'm not saying every time you go out you're going to make new enemies and eventually be so lonely that you turn into a super-villain and try to wipe out Gotham City. There are just going to be people you just don't click with. It happens. So just be bold! Walk up to someone with no fear and say, "Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but here's my number so call me because I'm new to town and we should totally explore together and become BFFs!" Worse they'll say no and have Call Me Maybe stuck in their head for the rest of the night. Which comes to my next point...

Put Effort into Your Social Life

Have you ever been in the "talking" phase of budding new romance and then it just started to fizzle? Was it possibly because neither party was putting enough effort into it? The same goes for your social life. To make friends, you have to continuously put yourself out there. Meeting someone once is not always going to turn into a best friend/soul mate that you could never live without. Like romantic relationship...hell like fracking everything in life... new friendships need some attention. You need to be open and vulnerable and, of course, you have to BE YOURSELF! Keep up with it, and eventually, friendships will start to blossom. 


Hit the nail on the head there Bill


Hobbies, Hobbies, & More Hobbies

What better way to make friends then by finding people that share similar interests with you. Do you love hiking? Dancing around like you're Queen-B herself? What about underwater basket weaving? Chances are, other people in the city share your similar interest! Hobbies are a great way to meet people who share similar interests. Be bold! Sign up for that wine and painting class, a book club, walking group, or whatever else might interest you!

Meetup.com 


There are quite a few apps that allow you to make friends. In Melbourne, I've found this was the best. At first, I was really hesitant to join this site. I swear everyone tells you about the horrors of the internet and how you should never do something alone...blah blah blah. Well when you live solo in a new city, you kind of have to do things alone. I gave this site a chance when I first moved to San Diego. After a few weeks of talking myself into going to an event, I actually had a bunch of fun! When I moved to Melbourne, I was definitely less hesitant to find some groups. You're able to select groups based on things you're interested in. It's brilliant! And after going once, you soon find out that there are plenty of other people in the same boat as you! 

The Cycle of Friends

Not all friendships are created equal, not all friendships last, and not all friendships are constant. Sadly, this is just a fact of life. Know that this cycle happens, and hopefully, you won't be so down on yourself. The positive to this cycle: it opens up the doors to meet plenty of new people and expand your horizons. 

The biggest thing I've realised is that you really need to PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE! It's scary and mildly terrifying especially when you're in a city where you know absolutely no one. But guess what you're not alone! The more I've put on my big girl panties, faced my fears and attempted to make friends, the more I've truly begun to appreciate and enjoy the awesome city I live in! So here's to making friends in a new city or new friends all over the world! 



And until next time...
Shout out to all my friends back home!
Stay Curious!

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