Counties I’ve visited

This is a list of the countries I’ve visited and how many times I’ve been there.

My brother and I decided to do this for a bit of fun.

 

Here goes:

 

  • England x 6
  • Scotland x 4
  • Japan x 2
  • Germany x 5
  • France x 4
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Canada
  • USA x 4
  • India x 5
  • Nepal x 2
  • NZ x 2
  • Bali x 2
  • South Africa
  • tanzania Kenya
  • New Caledonia  (possibly 3 seperate destinations)(Loyalty island, Devine island, isle of pines)
  • Austria x 2
  • Denmark
  • sweden x 2
  • czech republic
  • spain x 2
  • Mexico
  • Singapore x 2
  • hong kong x 2
  • malaysia
  • thailand

 

I have been to 28 individual countries as we counted it.

 

But I have visited countries, i.e. entered a foreign country 58 times. hahha

 

This years plan:

  • Bahamas
  • St Maartens
  • St Thomas
  • Bangladesh.

 

competing with my dad for most countries visited!!

 

How many have you been to?

 

Top 5 Countries I miss the MOST

There is a time for travel, and there is a time to work . The time now is work time.

Don’t get me wrong! I love living in Sydney and being here with friends and family and exploring my city. But there are also some countries that are in my heart that I miss terribly throughout the year and CANNOT WAIT to get back to.

1. INDIA

India has not just been a place I have visited. It is  a country that now rests in my heart. I can honestly say I think about it every day and I’m just so excited that I get to go back again in December this year. To taste the curries, to party in Goa and to laugh again with the wonderul, warm and kind people of the country.

Sunset in Goa

2. MEXICO

Mexico, tu eres en mi corazon. This is very wrong. haha This in literal translation says Mexico you are in my heart, but they don’t say it like that. Mexico is fun, vibrant, interesting, complicated and diverse. It’s rich in culture and extremly proud of it’s heritage. The people are fantastic and I really felt at home when I lived there. Quiero ir a Mexico pronto. I want to visit Mexico soon.

3. ENGLAND

England will always be my second home as my family lives there. I feel a strog sense of self when there and can really relate to the country. I love the history of the country as it is so much older than my baby country Australia. Whenever I hear a pommy accent, my heart instantly melts and I become nostalgic and longing. Ello ello ello!

4. GERMANY

Ich liebe Deutschland. I visited Germany in 2006 for the first time and subsequently reuturned twice more in the one year. I was lucky to have good friends spread out in many cities in Germany but I really found the people I met there to be so friendly. The food is amazing and I crave it constantly. It’s carb heaven! Prestzels, Knudle, Liebkuchen, Stollen, Magenbrot, Weiss wurst and the best breads you have ever tasted. Oh and of course, BEER!

5. USA

I know this may seem like a funny one to add as some people think that the USA is a lot like Australia, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Our cultures are completely different, as are the histories, the diversity of people and the food. I must admit, I don’t miss the kilos that I piled on there whilst eating the junk food. But I do miss the interesting and surprising places that I visited. USA is HUGE and there is so much more I need to see! Also, one of my favourite people in the world, my Cuz Bill lives there!

So my Top 5. I hope to get back to all of them this year.. but we have to wait and see!

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

Melvin from Germany of Traveldudes.org

Melvin from Germany is this weeks Travel Profile. Melvin and I met through Twitter after I found some of the amazing tips of his website http://traveldudes.org. Anyone can sign up and pen their very own travel tip. It’s great! Everyone is a travel expert. It’s so nice to hear about REAL travel experiences from the people who live and breathe them.

Melvin and I have a shared love of the fabulous German City, Köln. This city has an amazing cathedral, it’s by the river and it has some of Germany’s best beer! The Christmas markets are a delight and the tasty treats on offer are sure to have you visiting over and over again. Ich Liebe Deutschland! Learn why Melvin does too!

Name
Melvin

Occupation
I’m a travel agent, but right now I just help out in an agency once a week. I’ve just got too much work with Traveldudes.

Country of Residence
Germany

Country of Origin
Also Germany

contact/ website
http://traveldudes.org/

http://www.facebook.com/traveldudes

Why do you love Travel?
There is this one quote, I really like: “Who lives sees much. Who travels sees more.”
I’ve traveled all my life. First with my family, later with friends or alone and now with my wife. With each single day I’ve traveled, I’ve experienced/learned something special, which made the day worth it.

Favorite place in your home country and why?
That’s Köln (Cologne). Most travelers visit Berlin, Munich, Hamburg & Frankfurt (of the bigger cities), but they should visit Köln instead of Frankfurt. The people in Köln are much more laid back then in other cities. If you go out for a beer, you could do it easily alone. It won’t be long and you’ll meet others and have a drink with them. If you go to a brewery, mostly crowded, you’ll share your table with strangers. In other cities (like Munich), people will look really strange at you, if you do it there.
Here are some travel tips for Köln:
http://traveldudes.org/traveltips/europe/germany/west

Best place for tourists to visit in your country?
I would recommend travelers to visit Berlin, Köln, Hamburg & have a nice ride through the valley where the river Rhein (near Koblenz) flows. That’s one of the famous areas in Germany, where all the great wine grapes are growing on steep hills.

What other country would you life in if you had to leave your country?
It really depends on the reason why I would have to leave. Normally I wouldn’t leave. If it would be critical politcal reasons and I would have to leave Europe, I think I would choose New Zealand. It’s so far away from everywhere and not really of international political interest. That means: Safety! The Kiwis are really nice people and a bit laid back. They take things easy. But if I could stay in Europe, then I would live in Portugal. I could imagine to have a nice surf hostel at Portugal’s Atlantic coast. I also know a nice place in Spain (north of Tarifa), which would be just my thing.

Best travelling experience anecdote in your own country?
Wow… that’s tough. Actually I haven’t traveled in Germany for some time now. I told myself that I would travel the world first, as long I’m a travel agent & I’m fit doing it. Sure, I’ve been traveling through Germany and know some nice places, but not really an anecdote… Sorry!

Favourite activity when around your city?
Tourist activity? Climb the Cologne Cathedral! Or walk across the railroad bridge to the other site and keep left. There you’ll find a nice beer garden and a fantastic view of Köln.

Do you feel you know your country well, or is more exploring of your homeland needed?
I think I know my country well, but there is still so much more to see. I haven’t really been to Dresden and the surrounding area, which must be really beautiful, too.

Any warnings for travellers visiting in your country?
Yes, don’t drink and drive! Having a glass of beer or wine is a cultural thing here. So it’s actually meant a bit serious. There is no other country in the world with so many breweries compared to residents, but I’m sure that the British gets close.

Must see movie featuring your country and Why?
There are many great german movies, but not international known. Perhaps “Der Untergang”. Another stupid world war II movie. Ok, that one is actually quite good. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downfall_%28film%29

The best book to read before visiting your country?
http://www.amazon.com/Deutshcland-2007-2008-MaxiAtlas-Germany/dp/3826418034/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1264114331&sr=1-4
LOL

The must eat dish or delicacy of your country?
There is so much and it depends on the region. I love the Pommes Frites with Currywurst. Forget about going to typical fast food chains. In Germany you will find many small and independant fast food “shacks”. Otherwise try Reibekuchen. That’s also very typical german. There are many restaurants with german cuisine & special menus with meals of the region.

The top three sayings to make travellers stay in your country easier?
Kölle Alaaf! (Cologne carnival saying)
Ich bin ein Berliner!
Hallo, wie geht es Dir?

Best time of year to visit?
Spring is nice (around May) as there are many flowers and all the trees got that really fresh green. Summer (July till mid September) is great for long nights in beer gardens. Autumn (September, October) is great for the wine regions & the winter (December till March) is great for snowboarding in the Alps.

The 4 words that best describe your country:
Great landscapes & friendly people!

Make sure to get more Travel tips from Melvin at http://traveldudes.org and Follow him on Twitter  @traveldudes

Don’t judge a Traveller by their Backpack

The old saying “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” is equally applicable to the everyday backpacker. Don’t look at another backpacker and immediately discount them as someone you don’t want to associate with, who knows, they might be a lifelong friend in waiting.

This is exactly what happened when I was in the culturally rich city of Munich in 2006. I had been staying with a friend in a town called Raubling and now I had the day to myself to explore the big city. I decided to take the free walking tour, which I had heard so much about, to get to know the history of this very pretty European city. But before I ventured out with this new group of travellers I made a promise to myself….

“Today, you will not meet another Aussie. You have come all this way from Australia. You have spent the week with German people only and you are learning so much. Get to know the locals. All Aussies are the same overseas and you want to broaden your horizons.”

And off I went!

We wandered around the great monuments and churches listening intently and snapping photographs of everything. I did want to share my experience though and decided to chat to the gentlemen next to me. A lovely German man (Yes! A local) who I had a lovely conversation with about exploring your own city… for all of 5 minutes! Well back to the tour it was.

As we walked through a lane, we stopped at a peculiar sign, doggy parking? Yes. I kid you not. Doggy parking. I had a bit of a giggle and shared a smile with the fellow traveller next to me. He took this as a good time to start up a conversation and what came out of his mouth….. well I don’t remember the words, but they were in an Australian accent!

Great! Exactly what I didn’t want to happen today. Ok, so I would be polite, have a quick chat and get back to my cultural exploration. Until! He mentioned where he was from…… 15 minutes down the road from me. Of course. Is this not always happening in Europe? Turns out we know the same bars, went to schools near each other and have one or two mutual friends. And this was how I met my good friend Adam.

Next thing we know, we’re joined by a lovely bubbly girl, also Aussie, Nikki. We’re virtually the three musketeers…. or Bush rangers…. or something Australian. We spent the afternoon together after the tour and had an absolute ball!

Who was I to deny a possible friend purely based on their country of origin. Especially one that is my own. I could have missed out on a really great day in Munich as well as someone I now treasure as a friend. Adam is still in Germany but I swear we talk more than I do to my friends who live in Sydney.

Moral of story – Don’t judge a traveller by their backpack!

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 😉

Pre Departure Stress

There is always a few times before a trip that you start to doubt the nutty idea you are having to trek all over the known world. And with good reason!

Undertaking an overseas trip is a big thing! It’s exciting, scary, emotional, fun and daunting. You are set for totally new adventures and new experiences with every step you take. For some this sounds like heaven, for others this sounds just horrible. For me, it’s the dream!

BUT! And that’s a big BUT! It does not mean that I don’t worry, feel scared, anxious or nervous before trips. I mean, there is so much to do!

I have over the last few days had a number of “I can’t do it” moments when thinking about my fast approaching trip to India. I have decided to go to not only India, but whilst I’m out the country and spending loads of cash head to another few destinations. I would like to go to Nepal then come back into India to visit another 7 cities before I head to England just in time for Christmas. For New Year I am toying with the idea of Scotland and then on to Germany to visit friends in 3 cities.

Approximately 8 weeks all up. Mostly staying with friends and family. However, it is now dawning on me that I need visas, money (and lots of it), contacts, trip planning and least of all flights!

I started to think… perhaps best not to go. Or I could go to Delhi, India, for the wedding and then just potter on home. I can’t even imagine going on such an adventure now. But then I will get there, see the beauty, feel the bug, and regret greatly the decision.

So, although we have these minutes or hours or even days of doubt, ultimately the experiences we have abroad will reward us in so many other ways that these fears will be long forgotten.

After much fretting and worry, I know I will take this trip and you will read about the many adventures! If you have fears or worries then just acknowledge them, contemplate the various options and decide what is best for you!

The rewards for taking the risks and taking the adventure far outweigh these worries and concerns. Trust me!

Happy travels!