Thom and Sean Travel the GLOBE

This week is an exciting DOUBLE DOSE with the travelling duo – Thom and Sean from the UK.

I met Thom and Sean via their great posts on Twitter and by xploring their awesome blog, http://www.thomandsean.com. These two certianly know how to write. I can’t wait to follow the guys as they travel around the world and eventually arrive in Australia to party with me!

Here Thom and Sean reflect on their home country, England and share the best with you.

1.      Name

Thom and Sean

2.      Occupation

Theatre technician (T) and photographer (S)

3.      Country of Residence

Currently the United Kingdom

4.      Country of Origin

United Kingdom

5. Website

http://www.thomandsean.com

6.      Why do you love Travel?

I think for us it’s the opportunity to meet new people and experience new things, trying out the world and seeing what else it has to offer.

7.      Favourite place in your home country and why?

Sean: I think the favourite place that we both share is Brighton.  It’s a seaside town (technically a city) on the south coast of England and it is brilliant.  It has gorgeous Georgian architecture, friendly people, lovely little shops and vintage interestingness and then there’s the beach.  Although not a sandy beach but a pebble beach it’s still fantastic.

Thom: Definitely agree with Brighton, it’s a damn lovely city. I’d probably throw in Chester too. It’s where I went to university so holds lots and lots of good memories for me. The town itself is quite small and easy to get around but holds loads of interesting shops, pubs and restaurants within the (Roman) city walls.

8.      Best place for tourists to visit in your country?

If you accept that London is a given for every tourist, which it should be because it has so much to offer, then we would recommend WHERE????

Thom: I guess it depends on the tourist! The UK has got so much to offer and can cater to pretty much any taste! If you like the countryside and fancy yourself a bit of a rambler then head up to the Lake District and Northumberland or down to Cornwall and Devon. Both areas host stunning natural beauty spots and the very best of the English countryside!

If you’re a history buff, your in luck – we’ve got shedloads of it. From Tudor houses Roman ruins you could pick pretty much any town or city and have something to look at. For me, Edinburgh would be the pick of the bunch simply for the castle alone.

If you like you nightlife and consider yourself very much a city-based tourist, then it really does have to be London. Huge, sprawling and crowded it may be but you could spend weeks here without running out of things to do!

Sean: I think I would recommend London, you can’t avoid it, but once you have I’d pick somewhere like Bath, Bristol or Manchester. London gets a lot of stick from the rest of the UK for not being a true example of British life. So, mix it up and visit somewhere outside the south east of England.

9.      What other country would you live in if you had to leave your country?

Thom: Difficult one to answer this. I’d probably go for Australia. Good climate, good beer and good people. What more could you need?!

Sean: The United States. The older I get the more I appreciate the liberty and freedom of the USA. Also, I like the eccentricity. I know I’ll love Australia but I don’t know if I can live that far away from everything else that I know? Part of our year there is to find out if we can!

10.  Best travelling experience anecdote in your own country?

Sean: When me and my friends were 16 we went on a mini-holiday to Bristol where we were going out to celebrate a birthday (bear in mind the legal drinking age in the UK is 18). We walked through all of Bristol trying to find a guest house with vacancies and we finally found one that we named Toad Hall. There were statues, pictures and toys of frogs EVERYWHERE. The landlady was something out of a Hammer Horror Film who insisted: “NO MONEY, NO KEY, NO MONEY, NO KEY”.

Suffice it to say we told her we would go and get cash, at which point we legged it! We found a new hotel and 10 or more years later we still chant ‘NO MONEY, NO KEY!’

11.  Favourite activity when around your city?

Thom: Going down to the Greyhound Racing track in Wimbledon and putting on a few bets! Such a fun night out and very easy to pick up.

Sean: Photography. London is just absolutely amazing for photography, there is every conceivable kind of back drop or setting and I know that I’m really going to miss that flexibility and inspiration once we’ve left.

12.  Do you feel you know your country well, or is more exploring of your homeland needed?

Thom: I’d certainly like to do some more exploring as you can always learn something new about a place. Saying that, I think I know the country quite well. As a kid we couldn’t afford to go on family holidays abroad so I’ve been to many and varied places in the UK.

Sean: I definitely need to explore the UK some more, I’ve still not been to Northern Ireland (or the Republic) and the last time I was in Cornwall I was a baby. I think I’ve got a fairly good handle on my country though. The south is hard and stuck up and the north is soft and friendly. Luckily for me I like stuck up and I like friendly!

13.  Any warnings for travellers visiting in your country?

Thom: Um, not that I can think of. It’s a very safe place. Of course, city’s and towns have there dodgy areas, as they do anywhere, but nothing major springs to mind.

Sean: The UK is expensive, I think Japan is one of the only countries more expensive than the UK. You won’t get value for money I’m afraid. Visit now though because the £ is barely worth the paper it’s printed on so it won’t seem so bad!

14.  Must see movie featuring your country and Why?

Thom: Withnail and I. Possibly quite dated now, but a very very funny film. And very British.

Sean: Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The British are a sarcastic bunch and also quite leftfield in their comedic tastes. If you can’t get the sense of humour then a visit here is going to leave you stranded.

15.  The best book to read before visiting your country?

Thom: I honestly can’t think of a single book that’s worth reading set in this country.

Sean: Probablysomething by Dickens or Shakespeare (technically plays not books)

16.  The must eat dish or delicacy of your country?

Thom: The classic Sunday Roast. Roast beef, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, veg, stuffing, horseradish sauce and lashings of gravy. Perfection.

Sean: Yeah, Sunday Roast is the best!

17.  The top three sayings to make travellers stay in your country easier? E.g. How much? Too expensive or Hello.

Thom: Beer comes in pints or halves. “I’ll have a pint/half of lager please barkeep”

The Underground public transport in London is called the Tube not the Subway. (Sean: and it’s pronounced ‘Choob’ not ‘te-u-be’

Never try to use Cockney rhyming slang – you’ll just end up sounding like a tool.

Sean: If someone asks “You alright?’ when you walk into a shop or when you first meet it means hello, how’re you? It doesn’t imply that you look distressed or dissevelled. You should respond in kind: ‘Yeah, you?’

‘Quid’ is slang for ‘pound’, eg that’ll be five quid = £5.

‘A cuppa’ is what everyone calls a cup of tea – ‘I fancy a cuppa’, ‘do you wanna cuppa?’ British tea comes with milk and often sugar, if someone asks how you like it they’re not getting fresh. ‘One lump or two’ means one teaspoon of sugar or two!

18.  Best time of year to visit?

Thom: I’m a summer man myself. Always lots and lots going on over the summer – music festivals, fetes, outdoor concerts.

19.  The 4 words that best describe your country:

Thom: Eclectic, Historic, Contrasting and Innovative.

Sean: Old, quirky, sarcastic, beer!

Follow the guys on Twitter @thom_sean

or see their blog –http://www.thomandsean.com

Save Money on Postcards

Why spend money on Post cards home when you can simply hold them up and take a photo?

You get a lovely picture of a place you visited and all for the price of a snapshot on your camera – i.e. free.

When I did this in Munich, Germany, another traveller near by caught on fast and started picking up the photos and holding them up for a quick snap. I’m not sure the shopkeepers will be too happy, but hey, that was some coin back in the piggy bank for more BEER!

Another helpful tip from the traveller Em

5 Favourite International Phrases

Learning new words and phrases in another language is such a novelty. It is even more interesting for Australians living on a giant english speaking Island who would use subtitles in live conversations if they could.

 

I always try to learn Hello and Thank you when I am new to a country. I find that people open up so much more and are so appreciative that you made even the slightest effort.

 

So here are 5 of myfavourites that I have picked up along the way. Please feel free to use them at your leisure. (Sorry, they are spelt phonetically to a degree.)

 

1. DAS IST MEINE HAMBURGER
Germany       

Das ist meine....... Beer?

                                                                                                                                                                     We learnt this in year 7 German class from a hilarious text book and now whenever I meet someone from Germany I feel it my duty to say it.  It means THIS IS MY HAMBURGER. It is particularly funny when used out of context!

 

2. ESTOY PEDA, BESAMEPeda!!!
Mexico

A hilarious car ride in Mexico City with some random new friends and an impromptu language lesson has firmly imprinted this saying in my mind. My english speaking friend actually taught me this one, only to ask me what it meant a few days later when I repeated it to her.
It means – I’M DRUNK, KISS ME. You will have Mexicans rolling on the ground laughing when you murmur these words.

 

3. NO ME MOLESTES!
Spain

In 2006, I was a fresh faced traveller on my first trip to Spain staying in my first ever hostel. A lovely lady from Argentina and a girl learning Spanish from England decided to help me in my naivety and protect me from some of the more passionate Spanish men. They said ” You are blonde with blue eyes and you must learn this phrase- NO ME MOLESTES” What does it mean?
DO NOT TOUCH ME  or GET AWAY FROM ME!! I loved it!

This phrase came in particularly handy at the La Tomatina Festival in Bunol, Spain. At this festival there is a goal of ripping off as many people’s t-shirts as possible, so when my friend was wrestling with a feisty young man I simply said “No me molestes” and he said…. Lo siento…Sorry and left! VIVA ESPANIA!

 

4. JELDI CHELLO
India

I was in India in 2005 with my father for a business trip and on a rare day off we went out into the desserts of Rajasthan to see some incredible Forts and temples. For some unknown reason Dad and his friend wanted to stop on the side of the road to look at some shiny metal nestled in some of the rocks. It was 45 degrees celsius and we were in the middle of no-where…. so I asked our guide how do you say HURRY UP! Waiting by the roadside, but blessed with an awesome view

JELDI CHELO.
I now love using this when around my Indian friends as they just love to see the young blonde girl shouting at everyone to hurry up… and in Hindi none the less.

 

5.  I’M DRY AS A DEAD DINGO’S DONGER
Australia

I know this is one from my homeland but it is too good to pass up and the look you get when you say it to a foreigner is just priceless. It’s not a phrase I would use in my daily repertoire but it is a well know old Aussie saying. My Dad, being an expat from the UK, just loved it when he first heard it when they arrived here back in the 80’s and he loves to use it occasionally in front of visitors.

Simply means I’M THIRSTY. But the imagery associated with it is probably the true magic in the saying.

 

Enjoy these phrases next time you visit these countries or meet someone of that country. I hope you at least get a laugh…. preferably not a slap in the face 😉

Adventure Travel & Backpacker Expo Sydney

Today I went down to the beautiful Darling Harbour to check out the Travel mania that has swept through Sydney this weekend. My focus was on the Adventure Travel & Backpacker Expo but it was easy to get distracted with Mind Body and Spirit as well as two other festivals going on around there.

My greatest surprise of the day was to get into the Expo at around 3pm (closes at 4pm) and see that it was already time to start celebrating the success of the day. However, my sources inform me that the whole expo is like one big backpacker travel party. Good people, travel on the brain, beers and other beverages flowing and generally a great vibe throughout the whole place.

The expo is run by  http://www.myadventureexpo.com/and sponsored by Myexpotravel (http://www.myexpotravel.com/) aswell as TNT Magazine and YHA Australia. The goal of the event is for people interested in travelling in Australia and Around the World, who have a focus on Adventure and Backpacker style travel to connect and learn more about what’s on offer. And man was there a lot on show!

From overseas work to Incredible India, Bungee Jumping in New Zealand and Volunteering in schools in Africa. You had the latest in backpacker accessories, the best in accommodation and backpacking locations around Australia as well as the cream of the crop for Travel agents and guides. Throw in some competitions, live music, 1000’s of brochures, lollies and FREE giveaways and you’ve got the traveller’s dream day.

My favourite stand was definitely the crew from Cairns! They set up a bar and the tunes were pumping out all day. Win friends and influence people with FREE Beer, these guys are on to a good thing.  I was also very impressed with an up and coming group, DragonBus. www.dragonbuschina.com was launched last night and they will be offering a hop on/ hop off bus service in China. You also can’t miss the fun teams at TNT Magazine and TravelManagers for their down to earth vibe and great advice (Contact NickBowditch for all the best deals!)

I really took away from this Expo just how little I know about Australian Travel and the many wonderful places that this great country has to offer. I have been to some of the “must see” destinations in the world- Eiffel Tower in Paris, Taj Mahal in India, Pyramids of Mexico and Oktoberfest of Munich. Sadly though, I have not seen Australia’s Great Barrier Reef or Ayers Rock. I haven’t even been to some of our major cities like Hobart, Adelaide or Darwin. It was definitely a bit of home truth for me and Australia is now at the top of my travel list!

The event is on again tomorrow, 8 November 2009 at the Exhibition & Convention Centre (Darling Harbour). Grab a few mates, cool down with a beer and you can start planning your next big adventure!

For FREE ENTRY visit: http://mytraveladventure.com.au/free-sydney-expo-ticket/

Melburnian for a weekend

I like Melbourne. Yes I said it! I like Melbourne.

 

But please don’t tell anyone! I have kept up the pretense of disliking it for so long that it would be such a loss of face at this point in my life!

 

My Melbourne mate Ben actually sent me this article just after I left: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/tale-of-two-cities-vain-sydney-trumpets-its-supremacy-to-itself-20091025-hem6.html

 

Hilarious! About the great divide between Sydney and Melbourne and the ongoing rivalry. I think the best thing about the article was in fact the comments below. The residents of these two cities JUMP on the defensive when this topic is mentioned…. It’s rather amusing when you wish to ruffle some feathers.

 

I went to Melbourne to visit a number of friends, predominantly 2 of my best friends Sam and Adair who I met in Mexico. We basically lived in each other’s pockets for 4 months and then didn’t get to see each other for 4 months. A reunion was in order.

 

As mentioned in my earlier blog ( https://lovellyinc.wordpress.com/2009/10/27/airport-travel-with-a-broken-back-verdict-not-bad/) I was apprehensive about travelling with my broken back.  However, the alarm was for no reason and after touching down safely I was only filled with joy and excitement.

 

My lovely friend Ben picked me up from the Airport which was great to be able to catch up with another friend before setting off to see my gorgeous Adair’s house. It was incredible when I met her family as we had heard so much about each other that we really felt as if we knew one another well. Very strange feeling, but very comforting.

 

A quick change and then off to FITZROY GARDENS for a night of frivolity with the Melbournites that are Adairs circle of friends. We drank and ate in the park until the early evening then strolled to Brunswick Street for more…. frivolity. A quick duck into the incredible LITTLE CREATURES Bar, which actually more resembles a barn, where we witnessed an amazing fire dancing show and sampled their signature beer. Then it was off to PERSAVERENCE which was a mere hop, skip and a jump down the road. We danced, I sat ( back needed a rest by this time) and then we overpaid for our drinks – $12.50 for a vodka red bull is a joke regardless of the venue! Cab home and flop into bed. It was a big day out!

 

Adair was working Sunday so it was just a lazy day of looking at photos from Mexico, playing with the new baby kittens, and watching odd movies with Adair’s brother. An afternoon stroll took us through St Kilda to Carlisle street which is bustling with little boutique stores and trendy cafes.

 

We ducked into one cafe and decided to have an afternoon snack. It was 3pm on Sunday, I guess time was getting on, but really you would think a cafe would have a good stock of ingredients for their menu items…. well no, not always the case. All three of us asked for something on the menu, and all three of us were politely asked to choose an alternative as they had run out of that for the day. So, although we didn’t get what we asked for, we got what we were given… service in Melbourne is world-class I tells ya!

 

We continued our stroll to the Melbourne highlight of Luna Park and the lovely beach down at St Kilda. I was excited to see it as the TV series from a few years ago The Secret life of Us was filmed here. One of my faves I must admit. It’s a trendy, calm, relaxed place with some great venues. The sun was shining and the blue skies were all around- the perfect afternoon to grab an ice cream and sit on the beach. All visitors to Melbourne must go to TRAMPOLINE ice cream! Spiced chocolate, Caramel Pear and Violet rumbly just to name a few!

 

Sunday evening was a nice meal at home with my gorgeous friend Sam who I had spent so much time with in Mexico. The three amigas reunited! We told stories and reminisced for hours. A curry, some wine, good company and a lovely Spring evening. What more can a Sydney girl want from the Melbourne hospitality!

 

Monday was to be a busy day of sightseeing- MELBOURNE STYLE! But as I slept in til 10.30am ( apparently I looked angelic and peaceful in my slumber and was left to rest) it was a slower start to the day. We managed to cram in a lot though.

 

– Lunch with Ben near Elizabeth street… I don’t remember the name or exact location….I’m new to this city!

– Collected my Mexican friend JCarlos from the hostel on Flinders Street and proceeded to Flinders Street Station ( stopping briefly at my Little cupcake for a delicious little treat) and then on to watch a short street performance.

– Met Adair’s friend Steph and shopped in the lovely little lanes

– Rooftop – A very hip bar on a 7th floor roof terrace for Sangria and to meet another friend Vas who I lived with in London. Alarming how many people were drinking at 4pm on a Monday. Doesn’t anybody work anymore?

– Off home, with a slight detour to a political rally about the boat people and Tamil, whilst managing to collect yet another friend to add to our party.

– Home to Adair’s to make a 6 litre bucket of Sangria and homemade pizzas before retiring to the balcony to watch the sunset and enjoy each others company. 6 random people on a balcony on a Monday- I was in heaven.

 

A 5am start was required the next day and an after thought about the Sangria perhaps not being the best idea before an early morning jet setting adventure. We made it though! Got to the Airport in plenty of time but left feelingvery sad as I left new friends and my new love… Melbourne.

 

Melbourne. I hate it but I love it.

 

Thanks for showing me such a great time and I’ll see you again soon!

 Adair and I, together again. BUENAS AMIGAS

MIAMI – as Will Smith once sang “WE’RE GOING TO MIAMI”

Off to Miami to join my brother on the actual trip we had planned together. Well, actually it was meant to be from Orlando onward so squeezing in Miami, Key West, The everglades, Daytona and extra day in Orlando wasn’t such a bad side effect of ye olde Swine flu.

 May 12th 2009

 

MIAMI 

I decided to be the ultimate little sister and follow in my big bro’s footsteps, so off I went to Miami with him, it’s tough to be the younger sister. We met a couple of cool Germans Mario and Flo and they drove us out for a day at the everglades with air boat rides, alligator and snake talks and a lovely encounter with Mr. enormous alligator. Note to all– sitting on Alligators is risky, so make sure you can jump very high if you attend to sit on one like my good friend Mario had to do! Hehe. We hit the beach and the very warm water, didn’t see as many half naked women as I thought I would, hmmm stereotypes didn’t live up to standard.

 

Jamesie and I had a lovely day trip to Key West where we ate Key lime pie, sampled chili’s and went snorkelling on the rough Caribbean waters. A night out to a German restaurant where we tried to put our heads in Steins (1 litre beer mugs) and then on to the famous Clevelander bar… which led to 2 hours sleep and me boarding the bus to Orlando in my attire from the night before!

 
The trip continues….. in ORLANDO!