Freedom Travel

Freedom Travel means no commitments, nothing to return to, no time restrictions and no worries.


I have travelled a lot over the past 5 years, but I’ve always had a purpose, a deadline, something that I must get back for or to or someone to go back to. This is the first time I’ve travelled that I haven’t had any thing waiting for me back home.

Before I left australia in December 2010 I sold my car, I stepped down or walked away from a few of my jobs, and I didn’t give a date of return. Although I have a return ticket, I have no extended that 3 times. I love this feeling.


I have now graduated University, I am free to choose any career I want and literally the world is my oyster. I can go anywhere and try anything. 23 is a great age to be.

I’m blessed to have so many people around the world supporting me- both emotionally and physically by giving me beds to stay in haha.


I hope I can have this peaceful feeling on more of my trips in the future.


Emma from Sydney, Australia

Emma Page is my charming, delightful and lovely friend from Sydney. We are both obsessed with travel and spend many hours a week planning our next adventures. Unfortunately, both of us have recently had our travels cut short by broken vertebrae during our travels. We are now on the mend and ready for frivolity and fun abroad!

Learn Why Emma Loves her country AUSTRALIA so much and her tips on what’s hot in the land Down Under.

Name: Emma Page

Occupation: Journalist

Country of Residence: Australia

Country of Origin: Australia

Why do you love Travel? To escape familiar settings and embrace discovery and adventure. There’s no better way to experience the world than to actually get out there and see it. You can read a one thousand page itinerary on Paris, gaze at photos of the Dalmatian Coast or watch a movie about La Dolce Vita in Rome but none of it compares with being physically present in a cultural landscape where you can taste, touch, smell and feel what it’s all about. I compel everyone to travel at least once in their life…no doubt you’ll want to go again!

Favourite place in your home country and why? There is no city I love more than Sydney. A born and bred Sydney girl, I think this stunning Harbour metropolis offers the best of everything. It combines spectacular natural beauty – craggy headlands overlooking a sparkling blue ocean and pristine national parks – with the best of cosmopolitan Australia. You’ll find the best international foods – from Japanese sushi to Persian fairy floss to Mediterranean degustations – at your fingertips. There is also a gamut of watering holes, an eclectic mix of museums and galleries, high-end and bargain shopping haunts and lots of free and cheap entertainment options. Sydney is Australia’s largest global city with a booming population but manages to retain a relaxed, chilled vibe amidst the Manhatten-esque pace of life.

Best place for tourists to visit in your country? I’d definitely recommend taking a trip into Alice Springs – the dry, dusty heartland of Australia – and spending time in Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock). Watching the rock at sunset as it changes from dull terracotta to blood orange to muted mauve is breathtaking. It’s easy to appreciate the spiritual significance this place has to Aboriginal people.

Also on the list is Kata Tjuta or The Olgas (a short drive from Uluru) and the breathtaking Kings Canyon.

Stay in Alice Springs town (Crowne Plaza recommended) to experience a unique and exciting melting pot of different cultures in the very centre of Australia. Browse the Friday night markets along Todd Street Mall, have a flutter at the Casino, nurse a python at the Reptile Centre and tour Desert Park (it’s about $20). The walk takes you on well beaten paths through the reserve where you’ll inspect waterholes with thriving bird life, see nocturnal exhibitions, cross river beds, explore sand country and get up close and personal with red kangaroos.

Here we go my sweet....
What other country would you life in if you had to leave your country? Either France or Croatia.
Everything in France is beautiful. From the opulent shop facades and finely-wrapped chocolates in Paris to the sublime Alps, romantic wine valleys and shimmering azure waters lapping the Nice coastline – France has an exquisite landscape for everyone.

My mum hails from Privlaka, a small fishing village on the northern Dalmatian coast in Croatia – about a half hour drive from Zadar and three hours from Zagreb. I have visited this village twice and I cannot wait to go back. The people are lovable characters who usher you inside their homes for homemade delicacies such as stuffed capsicums or prosciutto with Pag cheese. In summertime you can watch local lads display their incredible footsal skills, swim in sapphire blue Adriatic waters, drink Karlovacka beer at rustic bars and sing traditional pjesme (songs) to a classical guitar on the beach under moonlight. A highlight would definitely be celebrating Privlaka Noc – a summer festival with Croatian rock legends, klapa bands, food stalls, fireworks over the moonlit sea and hundreds of eager-eyed faces. Spend a summer in Dalmatia and you’ll return home with tears in your eyes because nothing can ever quite compare to that magic.
Best travelling experience anecdote in your own country? I remember visiting World Heritage Listed Fraser Island (located along the southern coast of Queensland) and being astonished that the entire island was made of pure white, fine grain sand. In fact, it is the world’s largest sand island. I travelled around Fraser in a four-wheel drive to behold spectacularly coloured sand cliffs and trekked through natural rainforests where centuries old trees had grown not from soil but sand. The island houses 100 freshwater lakes, the colour of aquamarine, which are difficult to float in without any salt content keep you buoyant. We spotted dingoes, goannas, lorikeets and an abundance of other native species roaming freely on the island. Fraser is a rare gem that ranks among Australia’s most prized natural landscapes such as The Great Barrier Reef and Uluru.

Favourite activity when around your city? If it’s hot I’ll make a beeline to the water. Yachting around Sydney Harbour is spectacular, as is finding the perfect sunny spot in the Botanic Gardens, flopping out on a picnic blanket and watching the passer bys/harbour life. Fish and chips at Watsons Bay, breakfast at Bondi, coffee at Balmoral and swimming at Cronulla are also favourites.

Do you feel you know your country well, or is more exploring of your homeland needed? I know parts of Australia well but there are still many places I’d love to explore such as Tasmania, Cairns, Darwin, the Great Ocean Road and Adelaide. Many tourists often know more about our own backyard than Aussies do!
Any warnings for travellers visiting in your country? Always swim between the flags at surf beaches. Australian waters are notoriously rough and for inexperienced swimmers, strong rips, large waves and sudden potholes in the sand can be treacherous (if not lethal!). Also, if bushwalking wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and boots if possible – we have many poisonous snakes and spiders here! Research is your best tool – read up before you go.
Must see movie featuring your country and Why? Baz Luhrmann’s epic romance ‘Australia’. It captures our beautiful but dangerous desert-country and voices important perspectives in Australian history, including the larrikin drover, the aristocratic English colonialist and the mixed race Aboriginal boy. The film is set against the backdrop of the bombing of Darwin during WWII.

The best book to read before visiting your country? May Gibbs’ ‘Snugglepot and Cuddlepie’ (a splendidly illustrated children’s classic), Bill Bryson’s ‘In a Sunburned Country’ (Audio CD) or anything by Tim Winton or Bryce Courtney – two bestselling Aussie authors.

The must eat dish or delicacy of your country? We have lots of international eats here but do try a pie or sausage roll from Harry’s Café de Wheels in Woolloomooloo. Opera Bar serves the best Sydney Rock Oysters – washed down with a glass of white wine, you can’t beat it!

The top three sayings to make travellers stay in your country easier?

– Cheers/ no worries mate (to thank someone for their help)
– Where is the nearest bus stop/ train station?
– How much does it cost?
Best time of year to visit? Spring/ summer

The 4 words that best describe your country: Vibrant, colourful, welcoming, diverse.

Room to Read, Nepal

Room to Read is a fantastic Charity initiative which is helping to change the world through education of children in third world countries.

The program runs in various districts and towns throughout Nepal and since 1998 has been changing the way people view education. Through sponsorship, scholarships, educational facilities and helpful teachers, children are now gaining the valuable knowledge to help them change their future.

Education is vital to the progression and development of countries such as Nepal. Educational and literacy programs are opening doors for these young people and giving them opportunities they may never have dreamed of.

The team at Room to Read are particularly concious of cultural differences and practices and they work hard to understand the best methods of implementation for each region. The organisations states ‘our team on the ground decides what programs Room to Read will focus on there, as they know the communities needs the best. They only work with villages that seek us as we want to know that they are committed enough to be proactive.’

After being contacted by the organisation directly, I will be lucky enough to experience this program first hand when I visit on the 10th December 2009. I hope to learn more about the efforts in Nepal and ways in which the group can be helped.

Room to Read Nepal – In Detail

Established 1998
Country Director Mr. Pushkar Shrestha
Number of Employees
(as of 9/29/2009)
Office Location(s) Kathmandu
Regional Presence Baglung, Bara, Bardiya, Bhaktpur, Chitwan, Dhading, Dhanusa, Kaski, Kathmandu , Lalitpur, Lamjung, Mahottari, Makwanpur, Myagdi, Nawalparasi, Palpa, Parbat, Rasuwa, Rupandehi, Sarlahi, Syanjha, Tanahu
Key Partners ASMAN Nepal, Global Action Nepal (GAN), Lions Club of Kathmandu Down Town, Nijgadh, Lalbandi, Butwal and Urlabari, Local Women Groups, Moti Pustakalaya, National Library Associations, National Society of Earthquake Technology – Nepal (NSET), Nepal Education Support Trust (NEST), Nepalese Society for Children’s Literature, READ Nepal, Rodec, Student Worldwide Partnership (SPW), Youth Clubs

Learn more about this great program at:

More information from a first hand experience to come soon after my visit in Nepal on 10th December 2009.

Delhi Delights – My Top 8

New Delhi is the National Capital of India and one of its most fascinating cities. Being the Political centre and having the second largest metropolis by population, the city has a strong effect on the people of India and the direction in which the country has developed.


I love Delhi for its amazing diversity and interesting culture. The markets, the temples, the bustling business, the stunning sunsets and the great night spots. I would be difficult to ever get bored in this city. Here are 8 of my favourite things to do and see when in Delhi:


1. Bahai Lotus Temple

This is a temple dedicated to the Bahai faith and is a more recent addition to the architectural jewels of Delhi. I have never been close to it but I have driven past many times and it is just as spectacular at night as it is in the day. Reminds me somewhat of the Opera House and the Waratah Flower of Australia, maybe that’s why I like it so much. It took me at least 4 sightings of this to finally get an understanding of what it was and it is always at the top of my list for must sees in Delhi!

2. Qutub Minar

The World’s tallest free standing brick Minaret. An islamic structure which has a number of beliefs surrounding it. The intricate detail and craftwork which covers the entire structure is worth a look alone. Entry here is cheap and there is a fabulous mix of cultures all marvelling at the magnificence of this unusual sight.

3. Dilli Haat Markets

Resembling the traditional craftsmen and trade markets, Dilli Haat offers the traveller a chance to experience a unique style of shopping . It’s the first permanent fair for regional foods, crafts and cultural activities. It’s a completely new experience and a great day out.

4.Red Fort

The Unesco World Heritage Site which could easily be mistaken for the Taj Mahal…. except that it’s red. I was very confused when I first saw it as it was so similar to the Taj Mahal in style, but once you see them in comparison, you understand the difference. This is where the Prime Minster addresses the people at the celebrations of Independence day, 15th August. If anything, it’s a beautiful building to see, octagonal in shape as is the style of such Islamic architecture.

5. GK1 M- Block Market

A trip to Delhi is not complete without visiting this more upmarket area and the great set of shops and stalls located at the centre. The areSouth Extensiona is called Kalisah and it’s where the wealthy come to do their lower end shopping (so my high end.) There is fabulous jewellery, great snacks, luscious hair and beauty salons and shoe stalls as far as the eye can see. You may even spot an Indian Celebrity (I saw the queen of Beauty and skin care products of India… well, you couldn’t miss her! Diamonds covering every spare bit of flesh- LOVE IT!

6. Shalom (Restaurant)

Amazing Mediterannean lounge bar with great decor and a very trance vibe. You can smoke sheeshah (hubbly bubbly) with flavours like apple and cherry and you can sip on sumptuous cocktails! Chill out sessions playing in the background with low lighting provide the prefect relaxing atmosphere for a great night out.

7. New Delhi Parliament

The Indian Parliamentary Buildings and India Gate are essential to the Delhi City Tour. It’s best to go here with a guide who can explain the area and chances are you will probably only see it from the car. Security is quite strict in this area and it can be difficult at times to get close. It was only in the 1920’s that Parliament was moved to Delhi from Calcutta and it has remained their since.

8. India Gate

A slow drive down the Rajpath will allow you ample photo opportunities of the India Gate. This is a war memorial to over 90,000 Soldiers who lost their lives serving in World War 1. It’s a magnificent structure and a testament to the Indian people and their contributions during British Colonialism.

I hope you are able to see some of these great sites in Delhi. I strongly recommend going on a city tour or hiring a tour guide for one day to really get a good understanding of the history of the city and the many facets which make it the wonderful city it is today. To find out about the best markets and where to eat, chat to a local. The Indian people are very friendly and always more than happy to stop and give some advice to visitors.

Royal Bombay Yacht Club

A 12 hour flight, a bustling airport, a sea of dilapidated temporary houses, an overwhelming stench and a blur of a car trip begin my second visit to Mumbai, India. This would sound like hell to most travellers but to me, it’s like coming home. Mumbai has a feeling, a vibe, an attraction which is indescribable and a familiarity that is as good as a warm hug from mum. My return to India through this Airport and to this city was very welcome.


I would only be in Mumbai for one night as I would then continue on to Delhi the following day. To assist me in my brief stay a dear friend had arranged for me to stay as a guest at the Royal Bombay Yacht Club.


Arriving at night I was unable to see the standard of my accommodation or the location but it was described in detail to me by my wonderful driver on the drive over. The friendliness and openness of the Indian people never ceases to amaze me. Upon first inspection the building seemed old and fairly run down and as it was night I had no idea of what the local surrounds looked like.


I was told immediately upon arrival that my friend Mr Vinoo was waiting for me and we would have dinner together. It was now 9pm. In India, this is an early dinner. As much as I love the Indian hospitality, after a long flight, all I wanted to do was sleep.


My Badipapa (Indian Grandfather), as I would now call him, had arranged my transportation, stay and return visit to the airport. I really do know how lucky I am to have such great connections in other countries as well as such kind and generous friends. An American woman on the plane had invited me to stay with her in her house in Mumbai if I didn’t have somewhere to stay but after informing her about my accommodation at the Royal Bombay Yacht Club and my friend, she recognised quickly that I was certainly not in need of help.


Seeing my dear friend was wonderful and the meal absolutely delightful, but I was exhausted and simply needed rest.


I was woken at 6am by my startling alarm and I was all but ready to pull the covers over my head and beg for more rest until my eyes were drawn to the window. There sat the most perfect circle of golden light I have ever seen. The sun was just rising over Mumbai and I think  I had the most incredible view of the whole city to watch this day begin. My stunning heritage framed windows allowed for the many colours of the skies early morning light to be framed perfectly and to reveal that just in front of my window lay the famous landmark, the Gateway to India.




The beautiful Royal Bombay Yacht Club is a heritage building which sits facing the Gateway to India with the Taj Mahal Hotel towering beside it. Behind these great structures still and calm in the early morning was the great Harbour of Mumbai. The The Bombay Yacht Club was founded in 1846 and was established after regattas were held there since 1830.


I could not believe my eyes and I simply stood at the window and watched the sun shed it’s light over this beautiful city. The photos speak louder then words, though they too are not necessary as the images in my mind are as clear and vivid as if it were only yesterday.



Though you must be a member or the guest of one of the members to stay at the Hotel, you can visit and admire the history of this wonderful landmark. The Harbour is lively and busy during the day with local markets, the famous Taj Mahal hotel and the tourist favourite, Gateway to India. The Bombay Yacht Club offers fantastic meals and a stunning view for a beautiful night out with a difference.


This has to be one of the most interesting and culturally rich hotels I have ever stayed in. I know how lucky I am to have been introduced to such a gem of India’s history. It’s a must see when visiting Mumbai.

For more information on this amazing establishment:

(This trip was taken on 25th January 2006)

Taj Mahal: Twice in a lifetime Experience

I would have thought seeing one of the seven wonders of the world and one of the most famous buildings in the world would be only a once in a lifetime experience. I have just been informed however that for me the Taj Mahal will be a twice in a lifetime experience.


The magnificent Taj Mahal is situated in Agra in the North of India. This sacred site is considered one of those must sees in one’s life and millions of people make the trip to see the great structure every year. It is one of the most recognised and identifiable buildings in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


As my second trip to the famous Taj fast approaches, I thought I would reflect upon my first siting in 2005. After a business trip to the amazing Udaipur and a quick stop in Delhi, my father arranged for us to fulfil one of his lifelong dreams of seeing the Taj Mahal in person. It was to be a long day trip from Delhi to Agra, but an unforgettable journey.


We started the day with a 6am ride on one of the famous Indian trains, though we of course took 1st class so I feel I was somewhat robbed of the true experience. Upon arriving in Agra we were met by our guide for the day and taken to the closest car park to the Taj. There are no cars allowed within 1 kilometre of the great structure and so the last leg must be done on foot or as we chose, by horse and cart.


The trip leading up to the Taj Mahal is incredible with the typical indian life of markets, farm animals and busy people bustling about the streets. There are tour guides and souvenirs as with any popular tourist site but it all seems to be more cultural and relevant here.


Once up close you must walk through a series of red buildings and courtyards before you are met by the four gates. You then turn to face the Western gate which leads to the site you have travelled so far to see. My father could barely hold in his excitement but I wasn’t feeling the same way. I know it’s important and it’s so very famous but I had seen so many pictures so I wasn’t expecting to be dazzled or overwhelmed. The lead up and suspense to actually seeing the structure really does help the experience and I would be lying to say that I was anything less than speechless once faced with the Great Taj.

 First view of the Taj

The experience begins as you walk through an enormous gateway with indian styled architecture into a dark middle section where the Taj Mahal is first framed in a natural window.



This is the typical photograph everyone has seen. As you continue forward, the gardens and  the enormity of this site are revealed to you. Once you have walked all the way through the arch and stand directly in front of the Taj with all it’s splendour laid out before you, you can but simply gasp at this amazing spectacle. I didn’t think it would affect me that much but I felt a shiver down my spine and a sense that I was experiencing something spectacular.

That famous Image


We spent a good 2 hours there strolling around the gardens, taking the mandatory 100 photos, viewing the river that runs out the back, seeing the muslim mosque and replicated temple which stand to either side and entering the Taj Mahal itself. Once close to the building you can see the true expense that went into it’s construction and the 17 years for which it took to be constructed. It is made of white marble with semi precious stone inlay both inside and out. The tombs of the great Maharaja who built the temple and his wife lay at the centre as a reminder of what the building was originally for, a final resting place of the kings beloved Queen. I most certainly recommend a guide to walk with you through the site as there is too much wonderful history and questions to be asked for you to miss out on.


My experience at the Taj was further cultured by the wonderful Indian people who were also viewing the site that day. It was Indian Tourist season in June when we went so for a rare time there were actually more Indian tourists then there were foreign tourists. To the delight of many of the Indian tourists that day they not only got to see the great attraction of the Taj Mahal but they were entertained by something else new and intriguing, ME!


As I stood on the main viewing platform at the centre of the site I began to notice a crowd forming near me. But instead of viewing the magnificent structure ahead, all eyes were on me. Slowly one by one, people came up to to shake my hand and speak to the white skinned, blonde haired, blue eyed girl who said “dhanyawaad” and “Namaste”. I didn’t realise until my guide informed me that many of the people may never have seen a white person before as they were coming from villages and towns where tourists would never go. Before I knew it, a busload of tourists were there and I was posing in a photo with 20 odd Indian people all wanting to hold my hand and say hello. This went on for at least 15 minutes before I gave Dad the signal to come and take me away from the madness. For me it was a truly humbling and special experience. To have people be so excited to meet you and interested in you for simply being different was a joy. I’m glad I could share that special moment with them in such a wondrous location.


Walking out of the garden and looking back over your shoulder at the Taj Mahal for one last time is almost as exciting as the first glimpse. You feel as though you have accomplished something great and you now have this memory to cherish until the end of your days.


I cannot wait to make the acquaintance of the Great Taj Mahal again. They say that you could visit it every day for a year and it would never look the same because in every light it has a new and different beauty. I will also be going with an Indian family as part of a wedding ceremony and a cultural tradition which will add to the experience. I am interested to see how culturally important this site is to Newlyweds and how important this structure has been in the Indian way of life.


For more information on the history of the site and how to get there visit:

Quick history and background:

A beautiful story of love and Tragedy. The Taj Mahal was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is Mughal Architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Indian, and Islamic aarchitectural styles. Building began around 1632 and was completed around 1653, and employed thousands of artisans and craftsmen.

Soon after the Taj Mahal’s completion, Shah Jahan was deposed by his son and put under house arrest. Cruelly locked in a  tower in the nearby Agra fort, where he was forced to look at his beautiful creation everyday. Shah Jahan had previously planned to build a second structure identical to that of the Taj Mahal but in black marble. He wanted to be buried in the tomb which would face his beloved wife’s final resting places so that they could look upon one another for eternity. Sadly, due to his don’t intervention, it wasn’t to be. Upon Shah Jahan’s death his son buried him in the mausoleum next to the centred tomb of his wife, making it the only unaligned or symmetrical part of the entire tomb.

Since 1983 it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was cited as “the jewel of Muslim Art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.”

Nepalese Home Stay

When travelling to a foreign land and a new culture we can feel alone, scared and tentative about the experiences we are about to have. These feelings are greatly minimised when we have friends or family to meet or stay with in the new place.


I am lucky enough to have met so many wonderful people from around the globe and to now have a place to stay when I visit that country. Many people have this opportunity as well, they just don’t take the offer up. I am the “yes girl”. You offer me a bed, I’ll be booking a flight and seeing you there before you know it!


In 2 weeks I will be going to India and Nepal and there will only be 4-5 days, out of the 30, in which I will be needing hotel accomodation as the rest of the time I am staying with friends I have met around the world. This is not only great for the budget but it also gives you a great cultural immersion and a better understanding of the country you are staying in. You have a 24-7 tour guide and cultural expert.


When I went to Nepal in 2006, I was to meet my friend Sundar and spend most of the time with him. He wanted to have me stay in his home but unfortunately it was too small at that time so I was to stay in a hotel. That first night was the loneliest of my whole trip and I hated it. Luckily, I had met a wonderful Indian woman on the plane who offered me a place in her home she was renting for work for the duration of my stay. I really feel that my trip to Nepal the first time was so much better as I was able to iThe lovely people I stayed with in Tahmel, Nepalnteract with people of that culture and learn so much more from people living there.  Home cooked meals, playing with local children, seeing a wedding procession from my bedroom window and having lovely people to speak to anytime of the day was such a unique experience. I am just thankful that I was open to the experience and took on this once in a life time opportunity.


This time I thought I would be staying in a hotel which was perfectly fine until I recieved this beautiful message from my friend Sundar:

“During your stay in Kathmandu, If you like and comfortable you can stay at my house I am near to airport bit far from Thamel you can do tipical Nepalese homestay. Its like a fimily, In my house we: My wife, my sister-in-law and daughter Sourya,  so you may have to share the room with my sister-in-law.

At my house you will have LAN internet access 24 hrs, Hot Shower and self made tea coffee and my wife made meal (Nepali style). We will be happy to welcome you at our family”


I was excited before but now I can barely contain myself. To see another Nepalese family living their daily life and being taken around to all the cultural sites with my personal tour guide will be so magical.


If you don’t have a dear friend in Nepal, do not lose hope. There are many places that offer homestays and a true cultural experience in Nepal. Here are just a few:


Recommendations and reviews by past guests will be the best thing for you to look into. Also on many of the hotels are small and family run and are available for only A$6.00 a night.


I found Nepal to be very safe and friendly towards foreigners. Even in a time of political turmoil and trouble between the people, I felt safe.


If you are looking for a different experience then check out some homestays, I promise you won’t regret it. Also think about some of the friends and contacts you have and maybe someone has a friend or family member you can get in touch with in the place you are going to make you feel a bit safer.

View from the roof of the house I stayed in, Nepal