The Happiest Place on Earth

A few weekends ago, I was lucky enough to take a trip to the happiest place on earth – DISNEYLAND!

We were unsure as to whether we should actually go. Disneyland during the summer holidays in California is mayhem! But I think we got lucky. Maybe everyone thought it was going to be busy, and did not go?

Disneyland really does seem like the happiest place on earth at some points. Everyone there has smiles on their faces.

Although I had been to Disneyland in Paris before, I had no idea about the “Hidden Mickeys” that are hidden around Disneyland and on/in the rides.
A Hidden Mickey is an image of Mickey Mouse (the shape of a head and ears silhouette, i.e. one large circle with two smaller circled on top in the appropriate place) concealed in the design of a Disney attraction.
We had loads of fun trying to find these throughout the amusement park.

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Venice Beach, Los Angeles

The first thing I noticed when we arrived in Venice, was the extravagant colours. On the main promenade down by the beach, most of the buildings are screaming out for customers with vibrant colours.

Venice is known for the many performers that feature on the boardwalk. I happened to come across a dance/breakdancing performance by a group which was spectacular.
{Click here to watch performance}

Venice Beach promenade is also known for it’s “Muscle Beach”. Located here is an enclosed area with weightlifting equipment, and a sand box with gymnastic, rope climbing, and acrobatic bars.

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Huntington Beach, California

This town is so beautiful. My first day to myself – I decided to bike around and explore Huntington Beach. Having been told Main St was a good place to go, I chose to go there first. Main Street is the ‘main street’ going towards the beach from inland. It is filled with shops on either side, and plenty of spots to park yourself up and relax in the shade and/or sun. At the end of the street you are met by the HB Pier. To me this was stunning. It has amazing views of the ocean and you can see how far the beach stretches down each side of the pier, both being completely packed with people. Almost every day the sky is cleared of clouds.

Every Tuesday night, Huntington Beach puts on a night farmers market – with music playing, plenty of stands to check out, and if you’re hungry, there are many options for eating.

Since being here, I have almost spent every day down by the beach. It has such a calming, enjoyable atmosphere here and I’m definitely not ready to leave yet. Glad I still have three more weeks to go!

Huntington Beach + Pier

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Tuesday Night Farmers Market

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Fresh Strawberries at the Market

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5 Packing Tips For A Year Overseas

  1. Make a packing list
    This is one of the most important rules when it comes to packing your bags for that big OE your about to embark on. Not only can you tick it off to make sure your items are in your bag, it helps not to forget the important things like a toothbrush and underwear!
    I tend to either write up a list on my computer then print it off, or I use the iPhone app ‘Packing Pro’ – it’s been a major help in actually reminding me things I need to take or do, and you can check things off when you have placed it in your bag.
  2. Packing Cubes
    My saving grace – these are a recent discovery to me, but man do they make a difference in my packing. If your like me, after one minute of looking through your suitcase, it soon looks like a bomb as hit your bag and your clothing is everywhere. Packing Cubes are the ultimate travel organisers because they help you maximise the space in your bag so you can fit all your belongings in an organised and efficient way using minimal space.
  3. Facing Reality
    You know that dress you’ve had in your closet for almost 5 years now? the top that has been your favourite since you were 15 years old and you just can’t bring yourself to throw it away? It’s time to face reality, because these ‘precious’ items we have had since we can remember, wont be making it into your suitcase.
  4. 3 Month Rule
    If you haven’t worn it for more than three months, you most likely wont wear it while your away.
  5. If you can get it at your destination, don’t take it with you
    When it comes to things like toiletries, or your favourite shampoo and nail polish, you can most likely purchase the same items at your travel destination – this will save you loads of space and take off a few kilos from that heavy suitcase.

A Sweet Celebration

With just a week until my departure, It was time to have a celebratory leaving lunch with my closest friends. A new camera in hand, I couldn’t not photograph the delicious sweets that we provided. The idea was to ‘transport’ us all to Paris. Whilst listening to french music, we devoured the wonderful french pastries, drank champagne and laughed our heads off.

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T Minus 17 Days

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like time has been flying by lately.
After a stressful past few months, I can finally say I have everything organised for when I move to Paris. I can now relax and actually start looking forward to all the exciting opportunities coming my way.

However, trying to pack my whole life into one suitcase has proven difficult. I know i’ll get there and wish I had something that I did not take with me, but I guess thats just part of the journey of moving overseas. But let’s not forget Los Angeles. I asked myself the question “Will I buy things in LA?”, what a silly question. For those of you who know me personally, you should know that I like to shop. And what happens when you take someone to LA who likes to shop? They buy things. This means that I have to leave New Zealand without a full suitcase to allow room for all of the items I buy while i’m in America. Wish me luck!

June has been a cold and gloomy month, with constant rain, and sunshine only peaking through the clouds for only a few minutes a day. This type of weather calls for coffee dates with my closest friends. Maybe a bit too much coffee, but a coffee a day keeps the doctor away, right?
I’m longing for the Californian summer sun – where my days will be spent on the beach. 17 days to go.

Travel Planning

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As my departure is coming closer each week, I am dreaming of picturesque places to visit during August.

Flicking through the pages of my Lonely Planet travel guide for France, I am falling in love with so many places I didn’t even know exist.
Despite the fact I am going to be on a tight budget until I start work in the fall, I am determined to visit a few of these magical towns I have discovered.

#1 on my list being COLMAR

To me this town looks breath-taking. It may be a small town, but the architecture of the buildings is grasping my attention and making me want to go and photograph this marvellous place.

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#2 MONT ST-MICHEL

An ancient castle on an island in North-Western France, who wouldn’t want to visit this?

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#3 CHATEAU DE CHAMBORD

This castle looks like something of a fairytale. It is the largest Chateau in the Loire Valley and was built in the 16th Century.

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#4 GIVERNY

Here you can visit Monet’s Garden, where he painted his famous painting of “Water lilies and the Japanese Bridge”.

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#5 STRASBOURG

Another charming town that has caught my eye and only a 2 and a half hour train ride from Paris.

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California, Here I come

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Today I booked my flight to Los Angeles. It’s hard to believe that in less than two months, i’ll be spending half of summer in Los Angeles, and the second half back in Europe!

I’m trying to decide what to do for the month of August. I’ll be flying back to Paris around the 3rd, but unsure what to do for that whole month! I’d love to be able to do some more travelling around Europe, it just depends on how my saving goes before I leave New Zealand.

I’ve started going through all of my things-  trying to decide what I can sell. I feel like i’m a clothes horder and I don’t want to get rid of anything 😦

Trying to get everything organised for my visa for France now, fingers crossed it all runs smoothly!

Wanderlust

It’s funny how one word can describe my exact feelings. The strong desire to rove or travel about. Wanderlust.

For me, it started in August 2012, when I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to move to Paris, and live and work as an au pair.
Coming from New Zealand, I was opened up to an entirely different part of the world.
Different lifestyles, different food, different languages, different architecture.

Living in Paris gave me the chance to visit a few of the close countries to France.
In the early period of November, I disembarked on my first adventure to the city of Milan, Italy. During the christmas period I explored London and Amsterdam. In May I travelled around the South of France with my parents. Then during the summer, I took part in a Contiki tour around Italy, and met my friend afterwards on Santorini Island in Greece for some rest and relaxation.

When the excitement of returning back home after one year abroad had worn off, I began to go “crazy”. Where I live in New Zealand, there aren’t many things to do. I had come back to the same job, moved back home with my parents, and tried to fit back into my friends lives that had continued on without me there. I began to feel like I was in a bit of a “funk” and wanted change.

After some hard work and dedication, I managed to save enough money for a trip back to France, to visit my friends and host family in March.
I spent most of my time in Paris, but I couldn’t resist a quick stopover in London. Despite being extremely jet lagged – as New Zealand is 13 hours ahead of the UK, I was up bright and early every morning, ready for some exploring and/or shopping. It was hard for me to refrain from shopping, as every single shop in the UK and Europe does not exist in NZ. Image
After 3 days in London, Paris was just a 3 hour train ride away.
Greeted with beautiful weather and some delicious pastries, I remembered my love for this city and realised it felt like home. I think after spending so much time in such a wonderful place last year, I had started to take it for granted. I spent my 3 weeks in Paris discovering all it’s beauty’s, and devouring too much unhealthy – yet delicious food.

I have come back from my trip, more certain than ever, that I, not want, but need to move back to Europe.
I’m not sure when or where, but I hope sometime soon.
It might be working as an au pair again in Paris, It might be picking fruit on an orchard in Italy, or I might be working in a hotel in London.
Whatever it is, permanent or temporary, I can’t wait to start. I’m ready to see and explore more of the world.

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