Cottesloe Beach - Stand Up Paddleboarding | Video

Hello, its me.

Not Adele, but me like.
I'm back
I may have accidentally neglected blogging for like 6-7 months but i'm back now and with ALOT to share!
Instead of blogging (mainly because I hate working off an iPad, which FYI has now been stolen, Wifi is hard to come by and I've been a busy bee) I turned to making GoPro videos of my adventures so people could see, instead of read my waffle of what ive been up to.

So apologies for my absence & hopefully I will start updating soon.

So, back to Perth ..... 6 months ago.

Image result for cottesloe beach

A visit to Perth is not one without a trip to the glorious Cottesloe Beach. 
The gorgeous white sand and clear water is perfect for locals and tourists with a range of activities available for the budding surfer, swimmer or stand-up paddleboarder. 

For $50 (5 hours) you can rent a SUP from Fun's Back Surf (120 Marine Parade) just opposite Cottesloe Beach playground. 
I tried this with Charis & Mark who I met at Billabong Backpackers Resort in Perth (read my review here soon) and we had a blast. 

Below you can watch a video I made using my GoPro Hero 3+ Silver.
All of my Australia videos so far are on my Vimeo channel! 

It couldn't be easier to get to Cottesloe.
From Perth Station you simply buy a 2-zone ticket ($4.50 one way), wait at platform 7 and board the train on the Fremantle line. In 20 minutes you will find yourself at Cottesloe.
Step off the train and walk right, at the end of the platform go left (right leads you into the town centre), cross the grass, cross the road and walk up the road in front of you (Forest St). Once at the top of the hill you will able to see the ocean and beach in front of you. 

Happy travels :)

Have you ever tried SUP? 
I'd love to hear where your favourite spots in Australia are to do this.  

♡ G

Come and join me on Instagram @gemwills
& Twitter @G_GoesGlobal

& follow my Australia Adventure! 
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First impressions of Perth | Western Australia

I have been in Perth for 3 weeks & am in love 

I am staying at Billabong Backpackers Resort and so far love it! I have been staying in a female 8-bed dorm and am to-date probably room 41's longest inhabitant & I've still got another 2.5 weeks to go.
The hostel has got a pool outside which you can use between 6am -11pm either voluntarily or forcefully depending whether you get thrown in fully dressed at night. There;s a line of sunloungers to soak up the sun but be warned the sun goes behind the trees by 2pm so you need to get out there early!
Billabong offers a free simple breakfast between 6-10am, useful if you're on a budget, not so useful if you can't get up before 10am. You've got a choice of 3 cereals, toast, jams, butter, peanut butter, tea & coffee. If you aren't up in time there is a big kitchen so you can rustle up you're own food & keep any extra ingredients in either one of the many fridges or shelves provided. 
Its a very social hostel with large seating areas outside by the pool is where pretty much everyone spends their evenings playing cards, having some drinks & singing along to Justin Bieber (& as mentioned the occasional throwing-of-someone in the pool .... its happened to me on a few occasions)
 Billabong is in a great location in Northbridge just outside of the CBD & takes me about 20 minutes to walk into the city centre, or even less in the opposite direction to the nearest bottle shop ;)

City Centre:
I already love Perth. Everything is close together and so modern. 
There are a lot of pretty outdoor spaces to enjoy and catch some sun. 
My favourite I've found this week is to sit watching the water fountains by the Murray St Mall and people-watch. It is an extremely modern city with free wifi coverage over the entire CBD & Quay area which is handy when I want to post pretty pictures to Instagram to make people jealous ;)
 Perth is bursting with shops & so many coffee shops & cafes I have to force myself not to go into because I'm a fatty at heart and could easily spend all my money on food. 
The entire area from The Bell Tower along to Elizabeth Quay is great! One of my highlights of the my time here was watching the beautiful sunset from there, I've never seen so many colours light up the sky!
Kings Park is just a (not-so-short) walk outside the CBD but is well worth the visit. The views of the Perth skyline and swan river are just beautiful. The park has so many different walks & gardens to view with a canopy-walkway over the trees. 

Another really handy thing about Perth is that is offer free, yes FREE public buses throughout the city; I think 4 or 5 different routes in total. There are so many normal bus services running with the main bus depot at Elizabeth Quay. If you want to go further afield or get there quicker the Transperth railway is great, you pick a location, see which zone its in and pay the flat rate fair. I've been to Cottesloe beach twice by train which is about 20 minutes journey outside of Perth & paid $9 return. Bargain.
Or if you're like me & want to see everything and explore different roads you can just walk. Ive never walked so much in the last 3 weeks ... im exceeding my 10,000 steps everyday. I think to date my personal best is 22,000 in one day. Its great exercise and a great way to see the city, just make sure you carry plenty of water with you (which you can refill from the hundreds of free water fountains within the city)

So what exactly have I done since I got here...

- Got burnt very badly 
- Walked ALOT of steps
- Tried goon* for the first time & vowed never to have it again
- Had goon again & swore on my life no more
- Had it again
- Had my first goon hangover ( including sick ) 
- Made big plans for the day after drinking; didn't see any of them through .... never make plans after a night out. 
- "I'm going to go for a run before breakfast tomorrow" Hahaha so naive 
- First night out in Perth with hostel friends (& almost refused entry because I was smashed on goon) 
- More nights out and ended up in a Strip Club because it was the only place left open!
- New love for lunch from Sumo Salads 
- Joined a gym 
- Ate too much at the Twilight Hawkers Market both times ive been
- Watch sunset over Elizabeth Quay
- Explored the city centre multiple times 
- Fell into the trap that is the Topshop 70% off sale 
- My fair share of sunbathing days by the pool 
- Resisted buying a boomerang, koala shaped pasta & a $500 didgeridoo 
- Day trip across to Rottnest Island; spent the day cycling, snorkling & chasing Quokkas
- Got my Quokka selfie
- Visited Cottesloe beach & tried stand-up paddleboarding & stayed to watch the sunset
- Explored every nook & cranny of Kings Park
- Zoo Trip 

3 weeks well spent. 
There are alot more daytrips & sights I want to do in my remaining 3 weeks, ive just been spreading them all out so I had plenty to keep me busy the whole length of my stay. 

*Goon you ask? ... It's a box of nasty wine destined to ruin your life. It comes in 2L, 4L, 5Ls, probably more. Alcohol is quite expensive in Australia so it's a favourite in the backpacking community as it's the cheapest thing you can buy. But be warned it tastes rank & gives you the worst hangover! 
For example I can buy a 5L box of goon for $9 if you know where to go! 

Thanks for reading & happy travels :) 

♡ G

Joinme on Instagram @gemwills 

&Twitter @G_GoesGlobal
Or just look out for the hashtag #ggoesglobal

& follow my Australia Adventure
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How to (probably not) pack for 12 months in Australia

I always pack too much. 
& so for this trip I spent a fair amount of time trying to find packing lists people have published online or packing guides on YouTube that I could base my list off for trips of a similar length / climate. 
My main issue with these lists are that the majority are surviving on 2 pairs of shorts, 3 tops & 5 pairs of knickers pretty much. Im all for washing on trips but I don't want to have to be doing it every single day! 
 I did get in touch with the great PyschoTraveller - she has amazing YouTube videos & blog about her world-wide adventures and she has a great packing video for Aus which you can check out here, but if you're like me & can't pack light to save your life no matter how hard you try then stick around here ;)  

So I have complied my own packing list of what i'm planning on taking to Australia for 12 months in the hope it helps someone who finds what to pack so daunting & that you can take a few extra luxury items ;)
(I leave in 3 days, I may panic and take some out, I may panic and add more but so far everything fits in perfectly with room to spare)

So this packing list is for my 12 months in Australia
I am doing a tour from Perth to Darwin for 3 weeks with Intrepid Travel (details here) which involves a lot of trekking & so i've had to pack some extra things for that which I probably wouldn't have normally packed. 

First off ... 

I am taking my North Face Base Camp Duffel Bag as my main luggage
Size M / 69L (35.5 cm x 64.5 cm x 35.5 cm)
& my North Face Jester 26L Backpack as my carry-on 

The following clothes & underwear all fit nicely into 3 compact packing-cubes leaving me plenty of room for all my miscellaneous items inside my main holdall. 

Underwear / Swimwear 
I have put all these into a small packing-cube (life-savers) to save on space & compress everything in nicely. 
- 10 knickers 
- 6 ankle socks 
- 1 thick socks for hikes
- 2 sports bras (keep the ladies under control) 
- 3 bras (1 I will be wearing to travel in) 
- 2 bikinis & 1 swimsuit 
- 1 bobble hat (needed for trek trip as can get cold at night when camping)
- 1 pair of gloves
- 1 buff 

- Nike Flyknit Trainers (I will travel in these) 
- Karimore Walking Boots (needed for trek) 
- Flip flops 
- Sandals 
- Pumps 
I have added another packing-cube to keep my walking boots covered from the rest of my luggage for when they get muddy. 

Jackets / Coats / Layers
- The North Face waterproof jacket (very thin & packs very small) 
- Black Zip Hoodie 
- Teal Fleece (needed for trek) 
- White flannel shirt 
- Stripe flannel shirt
- Blue pattern cotton blazer 

I love dresses, I find them so easy to take away with me & I like to pack versatile ones which can be used during the day / at the beach / can be used in the evening with a nice necklace etc.
- Denim dungaree dress
- Cream embroidered dress
Navy floral playsuit 
Tie-dye t-shirt dress (I may take this one out)
Aztec cami dress
Cream jersey dress (clearly needs an iron)

Yes I do think I am taking too many tops but they are all very thin and roll / pack into a cube very easily so why not :p 
- 2 cotton camis (black & yellow) 
- 2 jersey tanks (white & khaki)
- Tan tank 
- Red pattern 3/4 sleeve top 
- Monochrome stripe top (travel in) 
- Blue & white stripe crop tee 
- 2 x sheer camis (khaki & black) 

- 2 x denim shorts (1 slightly bigger than the other incase I let myself go) 
- 4 x pattern jersey shorts
- 1 jeans
- 1 Nike leggings (travel in)

I like going to the gym / walks / treks etc so I wanted to take some gym gear with me so I have zero excuses not to do exercise / go for a run 
- 2 sports bras
- 3/4 length capris 
- Nike running shorts
- Nike Pro shorts
- Nike sports vest

Now we come to all the miscellaneous items that will be going in my holdall...

Just your standard shampoo, conditioner, body wash, dry shampoo, first aid kit, extra plasters, razors, paracetamol, suncream, moisterizor, toothbrush & paste, bite cream, bug spray, perfume, deodorant.

- Towels: I am taking 2 microfibre body / bath towels (I need 2 for trek), as well as a small microfibre hand towel & a head turban. NEVER take a normal bath towel with you, they are too bulky & will take ages to dry. 
- Sleeping bag (for trek) & a sleeping bag liner 
- Bags: 1 fold-away shopper, 1 small black bag ideal for evenings & 1 tan handbag 
*I wasn't going to take a handbag but I realised i'd have to use my backpack all the time & i'd just look too touristy so wanted a nice light bag that folds away easily that i can use in the day when I'm just wondering around a city or heading to the beach :) 
- Padlocks & wire lock (good if you want to lock your bag to something stationary on a long bus ride so no one can run off with your bag)
- Headtorch (life saver)
- Penknife (all the tools i'll never use)
- Waterproof iPhone case (lets hope it works)
- 6 USB Charger port (if you're limited for plugs I'd recommend one of these, you can charge 6 things at once!) 
- Spare battery pack ( I am actually taking 3 in total)

*I forgot pjs - I am taking some, I promise ;) 

Hand luggage 

- Purse 
- Coin purse
- Currency in cash for first couple of days 
- Visa Bureau Platinum Card
- Passport / ID 
- Travel wallet with all documents in 
- USB with important documents & contact numbers on
- G zip case
- Map ticket & document holder 
- iPad (fully charged & full with books, films & TV programs)
- Travel notes diary 
- 2 x small Australia guides
- Phone & iPad chargers
- Headphones
- Pens
- Sunglasses x 4 
- Brush 
- Bobbles & hairpins 
- Make up

GoPro Accessories
- GoPro Hero 3+ Silver
- 6 Batteries
- 3 x 32GB memory cards 
- 1 Wifi remote
- Selfie stick
- Floaty stick
- Gorilla Tripod
- Red underwater lense
- Varies clips & attachments
- Headstrap & handstrap
- Case to fit everything in
- Battery charger & plug
- Memory card to Lightning port adapter (so I can view & upload my pictures straight into my iPad or iPhone)

Ive probably forgotten a few things but lets hope I pack them before Monday! 
/ its really not the end of the world as I can easily buy anything there I have forgotten / find I need extra of :) 

If you're going on a similar trip i'd love to hear about it in the comment section below! 

Thanks for reading & happy travels 

♡ G

Join me on Instagram @gemwills 

& Twitter @G_GoesGlobal
Or just look out for the hashtag #ggoesglobal

& follow my upcoming Australia Adventure! 

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2 weeks until Australia

I have officially left work *yaaaay
& now I have 2 weeks to get my shit together. 
This may come as a huge surprise to everyone, but I've not actually packed yet. 
Like not once. Not even a small test-pack,
Wtf is wrong with me.?
Im far too relaxed & its kind of scary.
I honestly don't think my brain has processed that I'm leaving yet so its just all chill & happy & going with the flow. 

I will do a post on what I'm actually taking, but since I've not packed yet I honestly couldn't tell you & it'd be all lies. 

I will say that I am ok, if not over-prepared, in terms of research. 
I am confident in saying that I could move to Perth today and I would be able to navigate myself around the city without the use of maps or phones and know exactly where I was and where I needed to go. I could locate a specific restaurant or cafe, know exactly what I'm going to eat without looking at the menu & know how much its going to cost me. 
Im sad I know
Its all Pinterest & Instagram's fault. 
It all started I was looking at pretty pictures on there of Western Australia & Perth and I found a picture of an awesome milkshake & it led to hours or finding out where it was from and then stalking & following that cafe on Instagram and reviewing their online menu & now i'm good to turn up and know what I want to order. 

So whats the plan?
Well I would have loved to plan every single day for 12 months but I felt I should leave myself some options for spontaneity so i've settled for the first 2 months.
No, not every single day, but a rough idea of what i'll be up to! 

I am flying from Manchester airport to Doha & then Doha to Perth 2 weeks on Monday!
I will be staying in Perth for 5 weeks & staying @ Billabong Backpackers Resort
Ive booked my accommodation for the whole month, but if I don't actually end up liking the place I can cancel free of charge and go somewhere else. 
Some of the things I'm most looking forward to seeing in Perth are ...

THE QUOKAS; i.e the happiest critters on Earth & its like a craze or something to get a #quokaselfie 
They are only found on Rottnest Island so that'll be an exciting day trip! 
COTTESLOE BEACH; apparently one of the best places to watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean
FREMANTLE; great markets & home to so many foods I discovered on Instagram.
PERTH ZOO & AQWA; I love a good zoo & aquarium 

After 1 month in Perth I will be taking to the road with 
'Adventure Tours Australia / Intrepid Travel
& going on a 3 week trip from Perth up to Darwin. 
The trip travels up the coast of Western Australia & visits some incredible places...

It then ventures into the Kimberley and the outback before arriving in Darwin. 
Just look at the map below, a lot of ground covered! 
It is a similar style trip to the one I did with G Adventures in USA in terms of camping / hostels, group activties, food included etc so I think it'll be a great trip. 
The trip details can be found here if you fancy a trip up the West Coast yourself ;) 
I am aware I could probably do this trip myself at a fraction of the cost, but as I don't drive it seems a lot easier for me to have someone take control of the driving & accommodation & food & I can just enjoy the sightseeing & journey! 
I am booked onto the 22nd April departure tour so can't wait to give it a review after and show you all the incredible places the West Coast has to offer! 

From Darwin its all yolo-go-with-the-flow

Have you done this trip before or know some good places to visit along the way?
 Comment below or drop me an email I'd love to hear all your tips!

Ready to book your own trip? 
Use the link to get 5% off your trip when booking through TourRadar 

Thanks for reading.

♡ G

Come and join me on Instagram @gemwills
& Twitter @G_GoesGlobal

& follow my upcoming Australia Adventure! 

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Top Tips to Save Money for Travel

If you want something bad enough, you'll make it happen. 
& its the same with travelling.

Its all well & good looking through Pinterest or Instagram of peoples travel photos and thinking I want to go there ... actually make it happen. 
With a few lifestyle-change choices and conscious actions to save, anyone can go travelling to that dream city or country. 

After I graduated from Uni in 2013 I went straight into full-time work and stayed there for 2 & half years, I wasn't earning anything special but yet I managed to get a month Inter-railing round Europe, a month roadtrip cross-country in USA and money saved towards my 12 months in Australia out of it without having to live like a hermit either. 
So good news; so can you! 

Here's some of my top tips for saving money for travel ...

1. Research, Research, Research 
Yes, its all very well saying "I want to go travelling round SE Asia" but first things first before you go booking flights you need to spend some time doing research. Where do you want to go, how long for, what time of year, how will you travel round, where will you stay, cost of food & attractions. It all adds up and its better to know beforehand roughly how much your trip is going to cost and whether you can afford it before you blow money on flights to then get there and realise you don't have nearly enough money saved to get by. One of my favourite tools on a laptop / iPad is the Microsoft OneNote app (free download), you can create different tabs and categories which I like to split into different aspects of a trip I'm researching (flights, hotels, attractions & costs etc). 
If you do the research before, it'll save you money in the long-run! 

2. Saving Goals
Once you've worked out if you can afford your trip & how much it will cost start setting yourself weekly / monthly savings goals. How far away is your trip? How much do you need to save in that time? I set up a standing-order with my bank to transfer money from one account into a separate one each week so that I couldn't touch it. If the money isn't in your current account, you can't spend it. After time its so satisfying watching the total increase and know that its going to be spent on an incredible adventure which you'll remember for the rest of your life instead of nights out you might not remember by the next day, getting your nails done that will chip within a week or clothes you had to have but the only wear once. 

3. Sell Stuff
Dedicate a weekend of sorting through your stuff. Clothes, shoes, accessories, books, old cds, dvds - the lot! Get yourself a box and fill it with everything in good enough condition to sell online / for a car boot and get selling. Any money you make put straight into your travel savings! 

4. Subscriptions
We've all got them. But do we need them? If you've not used your gym membership since when you bought it on Jan 1st maybe its time to get rid of it and save yourself the monthly cost. Go running instead, its free. Netflix? Get rid of it - im sure you can go without for a while to save yourself some pennies. Any subscriptions you have to keep, i.e phone contact, try renegotiating a cheaper deal. 

5. Cut down on the nights out
Do you really need to go out every weekend? Or accept every social invite you get? No. Yes it would be nice to be able to go to every night out your friends organise whether it be at home or in different cities, but those nights out all add up. Im sure your friends will understand that every time you're saying no, you aren't saying no because you don't want to see them, you have a goal and spending money on trains & meals out & alcohol doesn't quite beat able to spend it instead on travel adventures. In the last few months before leaving for Australia I had to turn down my share of social gatherings because I had my savings goal in mind. I know my friends will understand when they see the cool stuff I'll be able to get up to because I saved that bit extra. 

6. Go without the latest things
Do you really need to update your wardrobe every season? Will Topshop go bankrupt without your custom? Possibly, but I'm sure they'll bounce back. Or do you really need to buy the latest smartphone each time a new one is released? No. I was terrible with online shopping, i'd go on for a cheeky browse and before you know it I've got £100s worth of clothes in my basket & qualified for free delivery so it all seemed worth it. No! I can say I'm much better and the only parcels coming through my door as of things I actually need for my Australia trip! Honest ;) 

7. Change your eating habits
Guilty of spending far too much money on eating out? Or never having time to make your lunch for work or uni so always buy snacks and lunch out? If you give yourself an extra 10-15 minutes in the evening or get up a little earlier for work or uni to make yourself a sandwich or salad or whatever to take with you you'll save yourself having to constantly buy lunch & snacks out and even though the £3.50 meal deal seemed like a bargain, if you're having that every day thats £17.50 on lunch each week which could go towards a lot more exciting things on your travels. 
Or do you find yourself buying one too many takeaways in a month? 
I hold my hands up and say I am no angel when it comes to spending money on food, especially when I'm hungover. There is nothing more satisfying when you're dying in bed from too much alcohol than a delivery from Dominoes. But this comes with a hefty price tag! 
Try and plan your meals each week and buy what you'll need in your weekly shop so you don't stray into having takeaways or buying lunch out. 

8. Cut down on salon & spa visits
Now I'm not saying you should give up on your personal appearance altogether, just that there are still ways to look good on a smaller budget. Stretch out the time between haircuts & dye jobs. Do you really have to get your nails done every week? Can you not just paint them yourself? Do you really need HD brows & eyelash extensions every month? Are these things really going to make a difference to you when you're travelling? 
If you can go without, you'll save yourself quite a lot of money. If you can't, god help you & when 
you come to a point in your travels where you can't afford something, whether it be a bed for the night, food, a fun activity, just remember that at least you can 'nice' HD brows for a few months instead. HA! 

9. Make staying in fun!
This sort of goes hand-in-hand with limiting your nights out. If you want to avoid the cost of big bar tabs, taxis, post-club food then why not suggest a night in instead. Swap your friends dinner & night out & pricey cocktails for a night in with a home cooked dinner party with wine,  games nights, films nights. Whatever you fancy! You can socialise and save money at the same time.My friends were really great about this, they knew I was saving but also wanted to spend time together so they suggested home-cooked food with drinks at home with loads of games. It was so much fun and worked out at like £4 each. Bargain

10. Lastly remember how worth it it'll all be!
It might be hard along the way cutting things down or giving up on things altogether but just imagine how happy you'll be when you're on your adventure and you have all your hard-earned saved money to spend on your travels & to do all the things you've been dreaming of doing! 
Ive had so many times where I've looked at my travel-savings and thought how great it'd be to just go on a mad shopping-spree and spend the lot. 
But I've resisted because tbh a year in Australia on a wild adventure seems a bit more worth the money than a big haul round Topshop. 
Spend your money on making memories you'll remember for the rest of your life
rather than a dress you'll wear once. I promise you travel will reward you for your heard work, and the more you put in, the more travel will give out again and again. 

I hope these tips come in handy & good luck with saving for your adventures!
If you have any good savings tips that have worked for you pop them in the comment box below. 

Thanks for reading.

♡ G

Come and join me on Instagram @gemwills
& Twitter @G_GoesGlobal

& follow my upcoming Australia Adventure! 

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