June So Far: Eight New Firsts

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When was your last “first time?”

I’ve been at my new job for nearly two months now, and life has definitely slowed right down. I’ve actually managed to chill, and spend time on the low-key things I enjoy – blogging, reading, playing video games.

So now more than ever, I’m making an effort to mix things up – because holy wow I’ve learned to relax and isn’t it amazing?  If I don’t get out and about I might become one with my couch and cat (joking – Scout doesn’t like me that much).

If there’s one thing that will throw a spanner in the works it’s doing, eating, or trying something brand new – no matter how small. I’ve said it before – if you feel like your life has gotten a bit same old, same old, doing something for the first time can be the difference between routine and rut that will stop your brain turning to mush.

Here are a few things I’ve done for the first time in the last two weeks:

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7 Affordable Things To Do In Port Vila, Vanuatu

Things to do in Port Vila
Blue Lagoon, Port Vila

7 Affordable, “Off The Beaten Track” Things To Do In Port Vila

7 of my favourite things to do in Port Vila, brought to you by a few too many very short trips.

I have a confession to make.

I have an embarrassingly high number of Captains Circle points for someone my age. Or in other words, I have somehow, through the influences of my grandparents and B’s family, become a “cruiseling.”

Reputation as an oldies way to travel aside, cruising gets a bad rap for not allowing you to truly “experience” the places you go, but I’ve actually found that it gives me a better appreciation for the time I spend in each port – even if I do that by running around like a headless chook. With plenty of time to drink cocktails and lay by the pool when you’re on the ship itself, you become an expert in pushing past the “island resort” face of the places you visit and seeing as much of the culture/architecture/food as possible in your 12 (or less) hours on land. One place where I have managed to nail this thanks to repeat visits (and to B’s dad, who has cruised there umpteen times and lived there for a while) is Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu.

The beaches, the underwater post office and the always-packed Mele Cascades are all well worth a visit, but there is so much more to Vila than people realise. So if you’ve got a day in Vila lined up on your cruise itinerary and want to get away from the other 2,000 passengers, or are staying for a week but looking for a break from the resort, here are 7 of my favourite affordable, mostly off the beaten track things to do in Port Vila.

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Santorini in Too-Few Hours

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I’mma be upfront with you all.

You know all of those beautiful cliff-top images of white washed walls and blue domes that we all expect from Santorini? Yep, none of that here. We didn’t make it to the village of Oia – pretty much a traveller’s sin, if the guide books are to be believed.

BUT GUESS WHAT! You can still find stunning views, cute stray cats, overpriced glasses of wine and opportunities to take awesome photos of yourself looking out over a cliff (i.e. have an awesome time) all over the island. Read on for photographic evidence of this, as well as a few of our volcano-hiking, sunset-viewing, donkey-dodging adventures in our 8 short hours on Santorini.

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Photo Diary: Rome

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And here it is, the first instalment from my recent getaway!

My time in Rome was really special for two reasons:

  1. I hadn’t mentioned it on the blog, but B had been working overseas, so we met over there after 5 months apart. Going on adventures with your favourite person is always amazing, but the reunion added to it, and there was something romantic (if cheesy) about being able to say “I’ll see you in Rome” and then meeting up on a cobblestone street.
  2. Until B arrived, it was my first time travelling alone overseas, and I loved exploring and wandering at my own pace. Even if the first day I was stupid enough to head straight out from the airport in jeans – no one told me Rome would be so hot!

We weren’t in the eternal city for very long (and we didn’t lug around the camera, so excuse the image quality – the rest of the trip was done properly!) but I did learn to always dodge ladies with budgies, that badly speaking Italian will still get you extra gelato just for trying, and that I have an impeccable knack for travelling to attractions when they’re under maintenance. I’d also like to note that these photos make it look like B didn’t change his shirt but I promise he did!

Below are some images of the incredible Piazza Venezia, failed selfies, Colosseum, a big ass seagull, Roman Forum, food and other loveliness, and below those are some quick details on what we saw, where we stayed, the food we stumbled on and more.

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Family Wine Adventure: Stanthorpe

For the past few months my younger brother has been doing labour work on fruit farms in Southern Queensland. He did a few weeks picking the next-big-superfood, Queen Garnet plums, one day at the vineyards of Symphony Hill Wines, and is now two weeks away from finishing a stint at a strawberry farm.

He works long hours at least six days a week, and never knows when his next day off is. This suits him fine as all he wants is as much money as possible so that he can go and live in Cambodia again, but was a royal pain when we were trying to plan a big milestone birthday for Dad. So instead of tentatively booking a weekend away on the Gold Coast as per original plans, we brought the party to Jonny.

Cue family adventure to Stanthorpe.

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