Finding the Best Transportation Methods to Get Across Australia

Thursday, 25 June 2020
It’s no secret that Australia is a massive country. While this place is large, though, the vast majority of it is covered with land that very little has been done with. You can travel for hundreds of miles without seeing another person, and most tourists choose to stick to the coast when they are in the land of Aus. Of course, though, you may not want to do this and will need to figure out the best transport methods to get yourself across the massive piece of land. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring the best forms of transport to use when you’re travelling across Australia.

For most people, cars will be the most obvious choice when they are looking to cross a country like this. Being able to drive will give you a lot of freedom, while also making it possible to stop to see the sights along the way. Of course, though, driving will be a long process, and it could be quite dangerous if you’re not prepared to survive in the Australian outback. Companies like Burswood Car Rentals can help you to choose a vehicle that will be sensible in this sort of terrain. Just remember, if you're driving out in the bush be sure to pack some spare petrol just in case.

Taking to the sky can be a great way to make good time when you’re in a country like Australia. Helicopters have become common across this country, with their use being very popular in farming. This makes it possible to find tour companies wherever you are, and you can even think about chartering your own flight if you want to travel over a long distance. You will be able to see loads from the cockpit of a helicopter.

If you've travelled down the Great Ocean Road, you might want to consider booking a helicopter tour over the 12 Apostles. This will give you a once in a lifetime view of the gorgeous coastline. Uber has even gotten in on the helicopter spirit. If you're wanting to make a grand entrance into the Melbourne Cup, why not book a helicopter Uber with your friends! It will definitely beat the long cab and train queues.

If you look at a map of Australia, you’ll quickly notice that most of the large cities and towns are dotting the coast, rather than covering the inner reaches of the country. This can make travelling by boat a great way to see everything in Australia, while also getting to enjoy a unique experience on the water. Yacht and boat rental is popular in Australia, and there are plenty of large companies that have pickup and drop off points across the nation.

Public Transport
Are you trying to travel Australia on a budget? Public transport might be the best option for you. There are train lines in more major Australia cities with trams and buses operating to get you pretty much anywhere you need to go. Whilst flights to and from the major cities can be quite inexpensive, if you're wanting to maximise your Aussie experience, taking overnight trains or buses from the major cities might be your best bet. 

Getting your way across a place as large as Australia can be a challenge. A lot of people struggle with this, finding it hard to know what they need to do when they’re attempting this feat. Of course, though, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out what needs to be done before you set off, and taking some time to plan it all will make it even easier.

And until next time...
Stay Curious!

What to Do to Relax Your Mind and Body

Saturday, 13 June 2020
Relaxing sounds like the easiest thing in the world, right? But most of us know only too well than when you try to do it in practice, it’s anything but. There are so many things going on around you in the world and lots of pressures and responsibilities that pile up. And with all that on you remind, relaxing your body and your mind becomes very difficult indeed. Here are some of the tips and ideas that might help you to do this better.

13 Misconceptions Americans Hold About Australia

Friday, 27 March 2020
A few weeks back we tackled 13 Misconceptions Australians Hold About Americans. So naturally, it's only fair we address the reverse. Whilst, albeit, the misconceptions towards Americans lean in a more negative tone, this list will show that Aussie stereotypes are not without fault. We're putting some of the most common misconceptions to the test and finding out just how true they are. 

1. There's a Really High Chance You're Going to Die Whilst in Australia
We've got funnel web spiders, redback spiders, brown snakes, magpies, great white sharks, saltwater crocs, sea snakes, blue-ringed octopus, platypus, box jellyfish and the list goes on. So naturally, you're going to die if you visit Australia. FALSE!

There are definitely some dangerous animals here in Australia, and if you're not careful, the sun will probably kill you too, but it's not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. We've tackled this topic before on our post Is Australia Really That Deadly? So if you're curious what your odds of survival are, go check it out. 

2. Everyone Is Blonde And Surfs All The Time
Growing up, any time Australia was shown on TV, it was always gorgeous blonde surfer dudes. Even Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen totally played into this stereotype with their movie Our Lips Are Sealed

But Australia has an incredibly diverse population and most the Aussies I know, don't know how to surf. Don't get me wrong, there are many beautiful people here in Australia, but it's not limited to blonde surfers. Chances are, you're not gonna land a Hemsworth. 

3. They Ride Kangaroos To Work
Not sure why, but I frequently get asked if I ride a kangaroo to work. I'm sure most people are just taking the piss, but there are a few snuck in there that are dead serious. Other crazy questions that get asked, "do Australians have electricity?"; "Is everywhere the desert?"; "Do people just like live in tents or something?".

I think I may know where this misconception came from. When Americans are shown photos of Australia its either surfers and the beach or the Outback with heaps of roos and no civilisation. So naturally, they just assume it's not there. I know when I hear people talk, it's like they talk about Melbourne and Sydney being like separate entities from the rest of Australia. But honestly, who knows. 

4. Everyone Has A Pet Koala
Just like riding a roo to work, pet koalas are a frequent misconception. Again I think this stereotype falls back to images of Australia that are shown worldwide. Think back to the recent bush fires, a lot of the photos being spread around the internet were of people helping koalas and other wildlife. It would be an easy leap to assume that koalas are just everywhere. 

Sadly, we do not have pet koalas. Although I'm sure, Archer would love to have a koala best friend to keep him company during the day. 

5. Australia And New Zealand Are The Same Country
That and Australians and Kiwis have the same accent. Y'all come on. That's like saying someone from California has the same accent as a New Yorkers. They're the same but also drastically different. I'm going to take a stab in the dark and assume this misconception stems from the similarities in the accent, ANZAC forces, and that both countries are islands. 

6. Australians Are Welcoming As
Australians are a pretty friendly bunch...unless you want to stay in their country. Immigrating to Australia is definitely a challenge. It's widely known that Australia really isn't keen on immigration. The visa standards are strict as, the visa prices are ridiculously expensive, so unless you're planning to come on a Working Holiday or Tourist Visa long term stays in Australia can be a major struggle. 

7. They're All A Bunch Of Convicts
So back in the day, the British monarch decided it would be a fantastic idea to ship all the convicts and criminals to the remote island that is Australia. There they would serve out their time, and Britain wouldn't have to deal with their mishaps anymore. But y'all... get this... some of the most common crimes were petty theft, stealing clothes, and stealing food. You know basic necessities to live. 

Whilst some data shows that 1 in 5 Australians can trace lineage back to the convicts (I'm looking at you Stolen generation policies for this high prevalence), assuming all Australians came from criminals completely negates Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders... you know the original owners of the land. You're missing out on some deep, rich culture with this assumption. 

8. Fosters... It's Australian For Beer
Growing up in America, there were constantly commercials for Fosters Beer on TV. With the brilliant slogan, "Fosters it's Australian for beer" so why wouldn't Americans think that all Australian's drink Fosters?

It wasn't until I moved here that I realised Fosters was, in fact, NOT Australian for beer. If you're in Australia and ask for Fosters, you'll be laughed out of the pub. Stick to VB, Coopers, Carlton Draught, XXXX, etc. and no one will know you're an American tourist. 

9. Everyone Gets Hella Drunk And Fights Each Other
Australians do love their beer. Sh*t Australians just bloody like drinking. They also, for some unknown reason, really enjoy a good pub brawl. Yup... this one is unfortunately pretty dang true. 

Suburbs in Sydney have had to give restrictions reducing the hours pubs and bars can stay open. In Melbourne suburbs, be prepared to have your ID scanned and your picture taken. This way, if you cause any issues, you're not only banned from that bar... chances are your banned from all the bars in that area. So maybe don't be a d*ck and fight randos at the pub?

10. Everyone Is Racist
Maybe it's just a white people thing, but there is the stereotype that Australians are hella racist. Again, this one sadly has some truth. Unlike the closeted American racists, Australians are pretty blatantly racist. You don't look Australian, be prepared to have some racist thing spat towards you. You don't sound Australian, you're still not safe from the racist statements. 

To be fair, if you pass as Australian, you're going to have a much easier time whilst in Australia. If you're a tourist, you'll probably be met with a slightly different attitude than if you're an immigrant. This is definitely an area where Australians could use some growth. 

11. Nobody Wears Shoes, Regardless of Where They're Going
This one... semi-true. Especially during the summer and if you're near a beach. Aussies do not wear footwear. In the supermarket, she'll be right. At the petrol station, who needs bloody shoes, mate?! No shoes, no shirt, no bloody problem. 

I must confess, it was a weird thing to witness going into a supermarket in metropolitan Melbourne with no beaches or water to be found, and people were shopping without shoes. That would get you kicked out of the shops in the States. But not here. Fun summer tip. If your house doesn't have cooling, take a trip down to the bottle shop, forgo the shoes, and stand in their fridges for a bit. You'll survive summer no problem that way. 

12. They're Always Throwin' a Shrimp on the Barbie
If you wanna quickly regret your trip to Australia, make sure you tell an Aussie to throw another shrimp on the barbie. You will quickly be met with the following: 

A. It's prawns; and 
B. They aren't typically thrown on the barbie. 

I'm pretty sure this one originated from an old commercial in the States, but it sure has stuck throughout the years. This misconception is false. 

13. You Can Easily Travel the Entire Country in a 2 Week Holiday
Y'all, Australia is big! Could you travel all of the US in 2 weeks? Nope, not going to happen. I'm not even sure you could drive non-stop and see the majority of Australia. Flying from Melbourne to Perth (east coast to west coast) will take you about 4 hours. The distance from Melbourne to Syndey is similar to the distance from San Diego to San Francisco. Going from place to place will take some time. If you only have two weeks to spend in Australia, less is more. Pick a city or two and really explore that city. There is so much to do and see here you don't want to feel rushed. 

Were you guilty of believing any of these misconceptions? What are some misconceptions foreigners hold about your country? Share them in the comments below!

And until next time...
Stay curious


How to Beat the Quarantine Blues

Friday, 20 March 2020
With most countries around the world starting to go into lockdown, it wouldn't be unreasonable for people to feel anxious and apprehensive. The lack of control, the fear, it can get to anyone. So what happens if you're in one of the countries who has placed a "shelter in place" order? What in gods green earth are you supposed to do to pass the time? I mean, it's one thing to choose to remain indoors for 14 days. It's an entirely different ball game when you're forced to stay indoors for 14 days. Don't worry, we've come up with 31 ways to help pass the time and beat the quarantine blues. 

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small commission from each purchase at no additional cost to you. All opinions are 100% my own**

Create Your Mad Max Gang
The world has lost its bloody mind. Toilet paper is nowhere to be seen. Supermarkets are sold out of everything. Footy players are playing to empty stadiums. But don't you worry, Aussies have been prepping for this day since 1979. If you live in a sharehouse, it's time to start working on your gang attire. Prep for the impending apocalypse in style. Will your house be more like the Toecutters? The War Boys? The Buzzards? Or are you going to create something entirely new to protect your turf and little supplies of toilet paper?!

Read a Book
If you're anything like me, reading a book has become next to impossible. The only time I get to enjoy a good book is via Audible on my drive to work. Forced lockdown means that I can actually read a book. If your home is lacking a library, some local libraries are delivering books to people during isolation periods. It's a great excuse to binge read the Harry Potter series for the umpteenth time.

Book a Session with a Therapist Online
Just because you're in isolation doesn't mean mental health struggles immediately go out the window. Many counselling and therapeutic centres are closed for face-to-face sessions. However, that doesn't mean that you cannot still have a session. If your therapist is not offering online therapeutic services, check out apps like headspace or BetterHelp. Both offer affordable therapeutic services and allow you access to online counselling from the comfort of your own home. 

If you are in crisis and need to speak to someone immediately (within Australia), try:

This line offers confidential information, counselling and support services 24hrs to support people impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, or abuse.
Carers Australia at 1800 242 636
Offers short term counselling and emotional support for carers and their families.
Headspace 1800 650 890
Offers free online and telephone counselling services for people aged 12-25 and their families. 
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
Offers free online and telephone counselling services for people aged 5-25. 
MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78
Offers telephone and online support for men. 
MindSpot Clinic 1800 61 44  34
Offers online and telephone assessments and treatments for adults with anxiety and depression
QLife 1800 184 527
Offers online and telephone supports for members of the LGBTQ+ community. 
SANE Australia 1800 18 7263
Offers information about where to go for supports if you're unsure where to turn. 

Mari Kondo the Heck Out of Your House
Don't lie, you've been putting off cleaning your house since 1994. Being stuck at home, in a messy home, can do bad things for your overall wellbeing. Take the now copious amounts of time you have to clean the house. Don't want to tackle everything in one day? Schedule one room per day to clean. This way, by the end of the week, your home will be sparkling. That or you'll have to start all over with the first room you cleaned!

Create Your Own Tasting Room
Supermarkets have been limited, to say the least. This might mean that you've had to get different foods than you usually eat because the hoarders took all the dang food! Even if you did get your normal stash, this doesn't mean that you have to give up the fancier things in life. 

Create a romantic date for you and your partner with a charcuterie board and some beverages. The bottle shops still have heaps of wine so grab a few you've never tried and create a beautiful, romantic tasting. Just don't hold us responsible if 9 months from now you have a new lil' quarantined. 

Utilise Your Creative Side
Do you like painting? Writing? Drawing? Underwater basket weaving? Your quarantine time is perfect for getting in touch with your creative side. Spend this time being productive. Who knows, you might even be able to turn your artistic creations into a nice little side hustle. Which who doesn't need a little extra money with the shutdowns right now!?

Have a Netflix Binge Session
Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Stan, all of the lovely stream services are there for our binging pleasures. It is ok to have a lazy day. With all the craziness and the constant bombardment of bad news, it is ok to want to dissociate for a little bit. Schedule yourself a binge day, grab a good blanket and some yummy comfort food and binge your favourite series. 

Create a Workout for the Netflix Series You're Binging
Ok so maybe your binge day turned into a binge few days. That's ok too. But how do we make sure you're staying active and not putting yourself at risk for any of the sedentary health complications? Create a small workout challenge for the series you're binge! You could even share it online and get your friends to join in. Think stuff like "do 10 situps every time Jim pranks Dwight". 

Join an Online Fitness Challenge
You'd think with workplaces closing it would give you more time to get to the gym... wrong! Gyms too are affected by this here virus. But that's totally ok. There are a ton of online fitness challenges going on. Find one that's right for you. There are some like One Moore Rep's fitness challenge that is offering some cool arse prizes. Other challenges are free and provide a range of workouts you can do in the comfort of your own home. 

Clean Your Oven
No one ever cleans their oven until its time to move house. And let me tell you, it's probably feral as. Use this time to clean that baby, you've got nothing else to do. 

Try Out New Recipes 
Shelter in place warnings means no eating out. Which unless you have disposable income, UberEats will get old super quick. There are a ton of simple to follow recipes on different blogs and on YouTube. I personally LOVE the Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey videos. Use this time to experiment with new recipes. Your cooking skills will become next level after this shutdown. 

Give Yourself a Spa Day
Pour yourself a nice bubble bath, add some bath bombs or Epsom salts, cleans that face and add a sheet mask and relax. Utilise this time to treat yourself. Heck, utilise this time to master your skincare routine. We're going at least 14 with minimal sun exposure. It will do the aging process some good. 

Become a Master Makeup Artist
There are some incredibly talented makeup artists on YouTube. Spend some time mastering the art that is makeup. Try some of the cool makeup challenges going around TikTok. You'll be able to unleash your creative side and help pass the time. 

Become a Master Masseuses
If you're lucky enough to be quarantined with another human, utilise this time to work on your massage game. That way, when we're all released back into the wild, we'll be relaxed and ready to fight for what's ours. 

Work on Your Flexibility
Look, we're all going to be less mobile during this quarantine. We don't want to increase muscle aches and pains. Spend 30 minutes a day stretching or doing an online yoga class. This will help keep you moving and who knows maybe you'll master your long time goal of doing the splits. 

Have a Facetime Dinner Party
Just because we're sequestered does not mean we cannot interact with one another. Create a virtual dinner party where you and your friends can chat over a meal and some wine. It might not be in person, but at least you don't have to eat your microwaved mac and cheese alone. 

Spread Some Kindness on Instagram or Other Social Platforms
With all the uncertainty and craziness going around, why not shed a bit of positivity and kindness. Find one of the kindness Instagram templates and spread some love. It's a great way to shoutout some awesome people and just generally remind the people you care about that they're hella cool. 

Beat That Video Game You Haven't Had Time to Play
Let your inner gamer be free this quarantine season. Whilst I'm new to the gaming world, I fully intend on mastering Final Fantasy and possibly replaying Fallen Order. Whether you only have games on your smartphone, computer, or a gaming station, let your inner gamer unleash. Who knows maybe you'll become one of the top players. 

Play (and Attempt to Beat) Pandemic
Board games are a great way to pass the time. Why not take the piss out of the situation and give Pandemic a crack. It's definitely one of the more challenging board games I've ever played. If you're isolated by yourself, some games such as Catan are offering online versions so that you're able to play with your friends virtually. 

Do Online Professional Development Classes
Does your profession require you to do PD? This may be the perfect time to get it all done. Several online sites allow credited PD courses for professionals. Who knows, since you're technically working you may even be able to utilise PD's as billable hours! 

Start a Side Hustle
A lot of people are getting laid off from their jobs because of the isolation process. If you're not privileged enough to have annual leave, sick leave, or even some savings, this is going to hit incredibly hard. Look into starting an online side hustle. 

Do you have a bachelors degree? Maybe teaching English online is the side hustle for you. Are you good at photo editing? Try and put up postings to get editing work. Have you managed to stay healthy throughout this process? Maybe look into food delivery positions. Places like Woolies and Coles are hiring a TON of extra stock people because of how quickly stock is flying off the shelves. There are other ways! 

Do Your Taxes
Y'all taxes are due soon. Might as well get them done. If you're eligible for a refund, your wallet will thank you. 

Take a Virtual Trip
So you can't leave the house, no problem. Take a virtual trip! Places like the Melbourne Zoo are offering live stream videos of their animals. It will help you start to figure out where you want to go on holiday once this all levels back out. 

Start Planning Your Next Holiday
Better yet, while you're virtually touring the world, start planning your next holiday. There are so many incredible travel bloggers that detail heaps of useful information for holiday travels. If you want to travel to Australia, we've got you covered! Chances are, flights will be incredibly discounted to make up for the lack of sales. Take advantage of that!

But not right now... seriously. Don't put people at risk for a holiday. Wait until we have a better understanding of how long this is all gonna last. 

Support Small Businesses
While major corporations might have the means to survive a prolonged shutdown, small businesses do not. Instead of ordering online from Amazon or any of the big supermarket chains, reach out to local and small business and see if they're offering delivery during this craziness. If you had contracts booked with freelancers or independent contractors, please still pay them or see if they can provide other services. They're hurting bad atm. 

Practice Some Mindfulness and Meditation
Too much stress is bad for the body. Utilise this time to practice some guided meditation and mindfulness. There is still heaps to be thankful for. 

Take a Class Online
Time to upskill baby. Did you know that some major Universities offer free online classes? Why not enrol in one? It's a great way to pass the time and expand upon your skills. 

Learn a New Language
In addition to taking a class online, why not learn a new language. Did you know that most companies offer higher salaries for individuals who can speak multiple languages? Download an app like Duolingo or, better yet, hire someone to teach you another language remotely! You'll be supporting a freelance worker and upskilling yourself! Win-win baby!

Send Postcards to Your Friends and Family
Yes, we have Facetime and Facebook and Instagram to stay in touch but why not have a little fun. AusPost has a postcard app (and I know there are others out there) where you can create and send your own postcards from images on your phone. Take some crazy isolation photos and send them to your friends and family. You could even create little games and secret agent postcards. It will definitely help pass the time. 

Do a Puzzle
Puzzles are a great way to pass the time. Make it some crazy impossible one, and you'll be entertained for hours. 

Remember We're All in This Together! 
Please, PLEASE, remember this is a crazy time. We've never really experienced anything like this before. Please be kind to one another. Stop being selfish. Think of others besides yourself. Give back in whatever means possible. Share one small act of kindness each day. It will help. 

It is a little easy to go stir crazy when stuck inside, but remember, we will get through this. Utilise your time to upskill yourself, reach out to friends and family, and stay active. If you have friends or family who struggle with mental health or physical health challenges, make sure you're keeping in touch. It's easy to become socially isolated when we have to...well physically socially isolate ourselves. What are you doing to help beat the isolation blues? Share it in the comments below!

And until next time...
Stay curious!

31 Tips for Surviving Shelter in Place

31 Activities to Keep You Entertained While You Self Isolate


13 Misconceptions Australians Hold About the US

Friday, 6 March 2020
When you hear anything about the US, what images pop into your mind? The past few years, the US hasn't exactly had the best reputation internationally. But I'm not going to dive into that can of worms in this post. Instead, I'm going to try and break some of the misconceptions Australians hold towards US citizens.

I always love having conversations with people about my home country. It can be quite entertaining to hear some of the things they think happen in the US. We as people are swift to judge and it doesn't always paint places in the best light. So let's tackle some of these misconceptions and try to understand where some of these myths came from. 

1. It's Easy to Get From Major City to Major City
Most people are aware that the US is quite a vast country. However, many people underestimate just how large some of the individual States are. Unless you're flying, getting from San Diego to San Francisco is one heck of a feat. If you're planning on getting there via public transport, it's going to take a long time, and it can get quite expensive. I would definitely recommend hiring a car or flying if you're planning on visiting multiple cities across multiple states. 

2. The US Does Not Have Public Transport
The US does have public transport, but not every city has a robust public transport system. Bigger cities MAY have a metro or train network, but it definitely lacks in comparison to other countries in the world. Smaller towns probably won't have a public transport system other than buses. Make sure you do your research before travelling. San Diego has a tram network, but it does not come very frequently and only has a few stops. Again, it may be worth your time to hire a car or call an Uber. 

3. All Americans Are Stupid

Look, the media doesn’t always present US citizens in the best light. Late-night talk show hosts frequently run segments where they survey average citizens with all those shown getting the question wrong. Doesn’t always help our international image.

But just like the myth all blondes are dumb, there is a good portion of the population that is highly educated. I mean, look at me. I hold multiple advanced degrees. I may not be able to walk and chew gum at the same time, but I can tell you who holds significant positions in both the Australian and US government along with various other current events tidbits. Open up a dialogue with most Americans, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the wealth of knowledge they hold. 

4. Everyone Only Speaks English
Again, I think the media perpetuates this misconception. The media and the rise of White nationalism have contributed to the misconception that if you come to America, you best speak English. 

But the US is so freaking multicultural it’s crazy to think that everyone only speaks English. Growing up in California, everything was written in both English and Spanish. There are pockets of the US where many citizens are bi- or multilingual. You may find that Americans will expect you to speak English when visiting, but you’ll definitely find multilingual Americans throughout your travels. 

5. Americans Only Eat Fast Food
Our obsession with fast food, along with its convenience, does not help this misconception. If you've ever visited the States, you'll have noticed that, regardless of the city, there is always a fast food restaurant roughly every block. The convenience, in combination with the fact that fast food is dirt cheap, means Americans eat out quite frequently. It's no wonder that everyone assumes we only eat fast food. 

However, there are definitely pockets of the US where fast food is not the norm. Look at many of the coastal towns in California, and you'll see a completely different side to American eating. If you're only eating at fast-food restaurants whilst you're in the US, you're going to miss out on some incredible food. On your next trip to the US make sure you try clam chowder, bagel and lox, southern bbq, deep-dish pizza, biscuits and gravy, and the iconic apple pie. 

6. All Americans Are Obese
I personally think this misconception strongly ties into worldviews on the types of food Americans eat. TV shows and the media also help perpetuate this misconception. Current statists claim that over 70 million US adults are obese with an additional 99 million overweight. With roughly 327.2 million people residing in the US, this is a substantial portion of the population. 

While a vast majority of the population is overweight, there is still a significant portion within a healthy weight range. Again, diet and exercise play a significant factor in this. Places with better public transport promote more movement among the population. If you have to drive everywhere to be able to achieve basic daily living tasks, it's only natural that you'll expend fewer calories. But there are so many Americans who are super active and pride themselves on being fit. Just look at how big the obstacle course community is. 

7. Every American Owns a Gun
It's no secret, Americans love their guns. I had a professor who used to joke that Texas gave them out in the Happy Meals at McDonald's. Blame it on the media. Blame it on the US's 2nd amendment. Blame it on the number of shootings that happen per year. Whatever the reason you want to believe, this has led to other nations assuming every American owning at least one gun. 

However, different states have different regulations making it either easier or more challenging to own a firearm. Current statistics show that 30% of Americans own a gun with 43% report living in a household with a gun. To many, that number is absolutely shocking. Heck even as I write this, I was shocked at just how high the number was. 

Here is the challenge I found when trying to tackle this misconception, depending on who wrote the article or who was funding the research, you would find different numbers. The other challenge was WHO was researched for the data and how questions were worded. This also drastically changed the reported percentage. 

I guess maybe this misconception is a bit truthful and a bit false. Check the states concealed carry laws if you're worried about coming in contact with an individual that might be carrying a gun. But I would have to assume that in most states, you'll be alright. 

8. You Will Get Shot If You Travel to the US
Again this one probably stems from Americans inability to part with their firearms. There seems to be at least one mass shooting per month and America is frequently labelled as dangerous. And with the statistics listed above, it's no wonder people are afraid of this. 

Look, unless you're actively looking for trouble, it's highly unlikely that you're going to get injured by a firearm. Just like in other parts of the world, use common sense when travelling, make sure you're not flashing around the amount of money or valuables you have on your person, and stay quiet. You'll be alright.

9. Everyone is Super Religious
"And on the third day God created the Remmington bolt-action rifle, so Man could fight the dinosaurs". 

American adults are far more religious than adults in other wealthy nations. Over half of Americans pray daily and believe in a higher power. However, as the US is an extremely multicultural country, the actual representation of that higher power significantly changes. 

Yes, you may find certain religious groups that will push their religion on you. Yes, you will notice that most Americans default to Christianity and assume most people they come in contact with are also Christian. But, you'll also find Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Atheists, and Agnostic individuals all over the country. Not everyone will jump straight into a religious talk or ask you to go to church with them. 

10. Everyone is Overly Patriotic 
Until about 2001, the US was patriotic but not over the top patriotic. And now that I've lived in another country, I can understand why for some visitors America's patriotism is quite extreme. But I also have learned a lot of the patriotic images that come out of the US tend to be from the 4th of July. Not everyone screams 'Murica. 

When you visit, you'll find your pockets of overly patriotic individuals, you'll find pockets of people who are grateful to be living in the US, and you'll find pockets of people who go through the patriotic motions without ever really understanding the depth or meaning behind them. The higher multiculturalism of a city, you'll find the population to be not so in your face about loving the US. 

11. Everyone Knows Someone Famous
The US has Hollywood, Broadway and some of the biggest movie stars the world has ever seen. So obviously everyone must have met or known someone whos famous, right? Wrong. Every time I meet someone and tell them I grew up in California, I get asked how many famous people I know. Y'all, the US has 327 MILLION people. Unless you're super lucky, this myth is unfortunately false. 

12. People From the US Don't Travel Internationally
Whilst it might be true that less than half of the population does not own a valid passport, US citizens are starting to travel more and more. With the explosion of Instagram and travel influencers, travel has been made much more achievable to people.

Growing up, I never thought I would travel to another country outside of Canda and Mexico, let alone live in another country. But thankfully the internet can make travel so much more financially achievable. Plus, travelling abroad really isn't as scary as we Americans are meant to believe. 

13. Everyone is in Debt
Y'all, going to university in the US will literally cost you a kidney and your firstborn. It's expensive, and student loans are not the bee's knees. The US also has a culture of needing the newest, best thing. This means people will sometimes overspend on cars, trips, tech gadgets, etc. However, there has been a new debt-free trend which is absolutely incredible. People are tired of being tied down by debt and have found creative solutions to either get themselves out or ensure they don't go into debt. It's pretty dang awesome to watch the US become more financially literate!  

What were some of the misconceptions you held about the US? What are some of the misconceptions people hold about your home country? Share your stories in the comments below so we can bust those myths!

And until next time...
Stay curious!

7 Weight Loss Tips You Should Avoid

Friday, 28 February 2020
It's still relatively early in the year, which means some people are still on their weight loss journey new years resolution. It seems like every time you open social media, there is a new weight loss product, a new weight loss diet, or changes to what we know about food in general. With all the misinformation going around, it can be hard to know what in the world we actually should be doing. 

Now, let me preface this post by stating, I am not a nutritionist, physical trainer, nor do I hold degrees in biology, kinesiology, or anything relating to physical health. The tips I'm sharing are solely on my own health and wellbeing mistakes as well as information that has been given to me by actual professionals. So take it with a grain of salt or trust my word, it's up to you. 

Trying to up your overall wellbeing but have no idea what advice to listen to, I have some times on what weight loss advice you should absolutely avoid. 

1. Miracle Weight Loss Pills
I'm not sure why we still believe that any diet pills are actually going to work. Sure there are medications prescribed by a GP that do assist with weight loss, but these are not the products I'm talking about. 

We're talking those products you find when you go to the chemist that claim to help burn away the fat. Or those posts you see from people from high school who have joined an MLM. Or even those 'skinny lollies' and 'skinny teas' that you find being promoted by celebrities on Instagram. There are just so many issues with these products.

If you follow Jameela Jamil on Instagram, you are well aware of the dangers of these products. Never are the side effects discussed, none are FDA approved, and the people trying to sell you these products are only showing you a slice of the picture. Most celebrities are also given personal chefs and trainers in collaboration for promoting the products. But you damn well know they're not sharing this information with their viewers. Just stay away. It's a waste of money. 

2. Cleanses
Cleanses are another big seller in the weight loss industry. There are big promises that a cleanse will restart your system, cleansing away all the harmful toxins and junk from your body. Now I understand that some people do find cleanses super helpful, especially to jumpstart a major health change. But please be cautious. Whilst cleanses typically tend to be natural fruit and veg juice, there are a few issues. 

First, depending on how long the cleanse is, it can be highly restrictive. This means you have a higher chance of going on a binge once the cleanse is finished (if you manage to finish). So all the cleansing of toxins you just did, quickly goes out the window. 

Cleanses can also strictly have a laxative effect. So you're not really removing toxins from your body instead you're lucky if you manage not to poo your pants. You need to make sure you're pumping your body with water to ensure you do not become dehydrated. And carry an extra pair of pants with you if you choose to go out in public. 

3. Fad Diets
It seems every year there is a new fad diet. Paleo, keto, 5:2, fruitarian,  the list goes on and on. Now, whilst some of these have a fair bit of science behind them, others not even close. Often people start these diets and report either no weight loss or, in some cases, weight gain. Why? Probably because they're not in a calorie deficit. Most people start a fad diet but then neglect to account for their caloric intake. Regardless of how much science backs the benefits of a diet, if you're not in a caloric deficit, you're going to either maintain or gain weight. 

4. Give Yourself a Cheat Day
When people start their health journies, they'll often be told to allot for a cheat day. This is supposed to help ensure they're not restricting themselves too much. When there's too much restriction, there's a higher chance you'll stuff up. However, when you give yourself a cheat meal or a cheat day, it can be quite easy to go way over the top and way over your caloric intake. 

Rather than scheduling a cheat meal or a cheat day, adjust your viewpoints on food. Ensuring foods aren't 'off-limits' will lessen the likelihood you'll stuff your face with 8 servings worth. It also creates a more positive outlook towards food and the way it interacts with our body. 

5. Certain Foods Have Negative Calories
I remember being in high school and only eating celery for a fair bit of time because I was told it had negative calories (I had a very unhealthy relationship with food, but that is a story for another day). There is a myth that some foods have negative calories because it takes more energy for your body to digest than the food actually has. Yea that is a big fat lie. All foods have calories, some foods are just more calorie-dense than others. Nutrient-dense foods typically have lower calories meaning you usually can eat a higher volume of these foods. But keep in mind, there are still calories in these foods, so you need to account for them in your daily caloric intake. 

6. Using a Food Log App
Ok, ok, hear me out. I have nothing against food diary apps. In fact, I use one pretty regularly. But I do have one major issue with a food diary app, it doesn't always accurately reflect your actual caloric intake. This is where you have to be very real with yourself. If you're not accurately logging your caloric intake, you may find yourself struggling to lose weight. 

It's easy to search the food and just select the generic option. But what we think is a serving size is not always an accurate serving size. This is where weighing your food to help become a bit more conscious about what you're eating can be beneficial. You may also start to notice trends. Are you snacking while you're cooking? How much oil are you actually using to cook your foods? Are you tracking the drinks you consume? All of these little things can add up. 
7. Waist Trainers or Wraps Will Shrink Your Waist 
Waist trainers, wraps, or even lotions that claim to shrink your waist are going to just shrink your wallet. Unless you've invested in a proper corset (which has its own health risks and dangers), you're not going to change the shape of your waist. Waist trainers may temporarily decrease bloating, there are health risks associated with them. Wraps and lotions really aren't doing much of anything. They may temporarily dehydrate the skin giving the appearance that they've done something, but in actuality, they haven't. 

Diet and exercise are really the only safe ways to shrink your waist. But also remember that every body is built differently. Don't strive to achieve an hourglass figure when we damn know half the celebrities and influencers photoshop their waist to look that way. 

With so many social pressures to look a certain way, it's no wonder the weight loss industry is a billion dollar industry. Social media and photo editing apps do nothing to help promote body positivity and being comfortable in our own skin. We are literally being shown unachievable standards of beauty. 

How many of these 'tips' have you fallen for? In the comments below I would love to hear everyone's body positivity journey. 

And until next time...
Stay curious!