Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Update on where I am and what I have been doing

I have so much to update you on, so take a deep breath!

Here I am back in London! Below are some crazy stats about my eight month Eurotrip (safe to say 'Scotty knows' now):
  • 221 days
  • 21 countries
  • 36,224 km traveled broken down into:
    • Hitchhiking - 74km +
    • Boat - 411km
    • Train - 1,945km
    • Bus - 9,892km
    • Airplane - 23,922km

Monday, November 9, 2015

Our day seeing the Anzac battlefields without a tour

A few days ago it was my 21st birthday and we were in Çanakkale to see the Gallipoli Anzac battlefields.  While some people may initially think this is a somber way to celebrate a 21st, I am so privileged to be in Turkey and to see and learn about one of the biggest events in Australian history. It was really special to experience and Julia and I had so much fun along the way.  Seeing so many memorials to ANZACS, British, Indian, and Turkish soldiers who were 21 (lots were younger) when they were killed, it really brought home how tragic the loss of life was and always will be - especially for the little or no gain achieved.  This post will be about our adventure seeing the ANZAC Battlefields as well as providing information to those who will go in the future.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Top 3 things you should experience in Istanbul

So here we are in Turkey! I am currently travelling with Julia, an Australian girl from Sydney who I met in Croatia while volunteering at Falling Lakes Hostel. Turkey so far has been fantastic: 4 nights in the bustling capital of Istanbul,  3 nights at Çannakkale, 2 nights at Selçuk, and now a night in Pamukkale.

I initially expected Istanbul to be busy, but I was very surprised at how I underestimated it. Can you imagine the population of Australia living in one city? At first, Istanbul reminded me of an Asian city like Bangkok due to the hustle and bustle, the wonderful and not so wonderful smells, and the insane traffic throughout the city. However, staying for a while gave us a great introduction into Turkish culture, food (yumm), and the cool vibe of Istanbul. Our four days ranged from exploring incredible alleyways and lanes, getting lost in the grand bazaar marketplace, sitting peacefully and observing prayer in the beautiful mosques, getting slightly lost in poor residential neighbourhoods, getting crazy looks during our morning runs, eating like a king and queen, and lots and lots of walking.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Crazy mountain biking near Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

A couple days ago, I had my first attempt at biking Pljesevica mountain to the abandoned airbase on the Croatian/Bosnian border.  Long story short, I didn't make it to the top but was determined to give it another go.  Unfortunately, the following few days were rainy and miserable and I had to postpone. Today, on my last day of volunteering at the hostel, I decided to bite the bullet and give it a shot regardless of the terrible weather.  The top of the mountain was covered in clouds, however I was doing it more for the challenge than for the view.

I am proud to say that I conquered the mountain!  I rode over 40km (24.8 miles) and climbed 1,463m (4,800ft) in about 4 hours.

Here are the main highlights of the day:

I rode a mountain bike all the way from the ground, to the clouds.  Those who climbed Pljesevica with me, remember that amazing rock?  The bottom left photo was my view from the top - the clouds were insane.

I experienced the beautiful colours of Fall for the first time:

I experienced some incredible history by taking a sneek-peek in the abandoned base:

And, I persisted and reached my goal.  This was one of the hardest physical challenges I have done, almost half a year in Europe isn't too crash hot for the fitness.

So here comes the end of my volunteering position in Croatia.  A huge thanks to Boris and Irena (the fabulous owners) on having me for much longer than we both expected.  I had a blast and met a whole bunch of awesome people.

What comes next? I'll keep you updated.  But in the meantime, I found this quote the other day and it is now one of my favourites.  It doesn't really need any explanation so without further ado, here it is :)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Up the creek without a passport

Before you read any further, make sure you take a deep breath because this gets intense.

After 5 weeks volunteering at the hostel in Croatia, I have decided to take a couple weeks and travel Bosnia before returning. I was feeling a little nervous about heading back out onto the road, maybe even a smaller version of what I was feeling before I left Australia. But what could go wrong? 4 months on the road had surely prepared me for everything. Think again.

The bus from Plitvice Lakes left at midnight and I was already super unprepared. That afternoon while starting to prepare for the trip, I realised that the night bus to Mostar was finishing for the season and that night was my only chance to catch it. So I packed up and hit the road.

After managing to get on the bus and laying in an hour long, uncomfortable bus coma that backpackers only know too well, I realised one thing... my passport, the one important thing to remember, was sitting safe in my locker back at the hostel. And I was headed to Bosnia/Eastern Europe/the Balkans. By this time I was in the middle of nowhere and could do absolutely nothing. So I layed in another uncomfortable bus coma for a further four hours imagining every eventuality under the sun.  I was still pretty calm but you can't not be stressed at a time like this. Do you know how freaking scary border officials are? If you don't, count your lucky stars.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Volunteering while backpacking

During the last three months, I have seen, done and experienced an inexpressible number of incredible things.  I have been to 16 countries, walked hundreds of kilometres, met a countless number of inspirational people, tried some of the yummiest food and drink that I have ever tasted, and made so many lifelong memories.

After a while however, it is inevitable that you will need a rest and crave something 'meaningful' in your travels.  Travelling is an exhausting feat, and spending two or three nights in each place before moving on will bear heavily on your body.  You will have never spent so many hours on buses, trains or planes, you will have never met so many people in such a short period of time, and you will have never gotten as little sleep day after day.  Similarly, your money position may become somewhat problematic until the point where you are trying to live off $25 - $50 per day.  Put simply, backpacking is a challenge.  But...

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

7 tips for the new hiker

In my last post I provided 7 travel tips for the new backpacker, so for this post I thought I would continue the trend.  Having done quite a few hikes now in my three months of travel, I have learnt some tips that should make your hike a lot more enjoyable and much less frustrating.  

These tips are outlined below, but first I would like to give you a call to action: if you haven't done much hiking or mountaineering yet, give it a go.  Hiking is one of the most rewarding activities you can do, both at home and abroad.  It is something that the benefit you get out of it depends on the effort you put into it.  Nature is something that is extremely precious and the natural wonders that exist all around the world are absolutely phenomenal. I firmly believe the quote: "The bigger the challenge, the greater the reward".

Saturday, July 11, 2015

7 travel tips for the new backpacker

I have almost reached my three month mark on the road so I thought I would provide some tips that I have learnt along the way.  These should make your life a lot easier and will allow you to make the most out of your amazing adventures!

1. Buy a digital camera
I'm not telling you to go out and buy an expensive SLR camera, but a simple digital camera will do wonders for your travels. Photographs will form part of your memories and will transport you back to those moments.

Before I left, I was debating whether to just use my phone overseas or whether to buy a digital camera. Luckily a friend convinced me to purchase one and it was the perfect decision. Quality, ease of use and functionality are generally all better than your phone. I still use my phone occasionally but I am stoked that I spent the money and bought the camera.  Tip:  If you buy a camera, ensure it has GPS tagging and WiFi.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Mauthausen Concentration Camp

As we headed from party crazy Prague into Austria and Germany, things got a little more serious. The historical significance of the places we went to such as Dresdon and Berlin were absolutely mind blowing and also quite confronting at times. This blog post is about our stop-off at one of the largest concentration camps used by the Nazis during World War II: Mauthausen. All the photos from this post have been sourced from Google images as I didn't take any of my own.

On the way to the concentration camp, we watched a movie called The Boy In Striped Pyjamas. For those who haven't seen it, it is set in World War II and is about a little boy's innocent view of humanity. His family is quite well off as his dad is quite a powerful part of the Nazi party, however the little boy recognises that people are inherently good and therefore ignores the lies he hears about Jewish people. He befriends a little Jewish boy and from there, a very moving friendship grows between two people who should not be friends. I definately recommend watching it if you haven't yet seen it.

Even though the movie had set the scene in terms of concentration camps, the Nazi attitude, and the disgusting way the Jewish people were treated and ultimately killed, nothing could prepare us for Mauthausen concentration camp.  Established in 1938, prisoners were initially sent to Mauthausen as slave labour for a quarry nearby.  While the Germans needed prisoners for labour, the terms 'return not desired' and 'extermination by work' were used by the Nazi party.  Not too long down the track, the camp became overcrowded and, even though other camps were built nearby, the Germans had too many prisoners and not enough space to hold them.  Initially, sick prisoners were sent to other concentration camps for extermination. However, from 1940 onwards, the prison system was becoming much too expensive for the Nazi party and by 1941, Mauthausen had its own gas chamber that had the capacity to murder 120 people at a time.  While the exact death toll is unknown, it is estimated that between 150,000 and 250,000 people were killed at the Mauthausen concentration camp. 

The gas chamber murders were also severely in-humane. First the prisoners were lined up, beaten, and told to walk toward the gas chamber building.  They were then checked for any gold teeth, which if found, were then ripped out of the prisoners.  They were then shepherded into the gas chamber to await their death.  Once murdered, their bodies were thrown into massive commercial crematorium ovens and burnt, often multiple bodies at a time.  When we entered the gas chambers and crematorium on our way through the Mauthausen camp, the air was so thick you could almost feel all the pain and fear that had gone through that room in the past.  

Many people were also murdered by the SS guards outside of the gas chambers and were made to look like suicides.  This included hosing prisoners down and then leaving them to freeze to death, or throwing prisoners into the electric fence and pretending that they were trying to escape. Unfortunately, this still wasn't a quick death for them as anyone on the electric fence would stay alive and char for 2-3 hours until finally a guard would shoot them.

Toward the end of our tour through Mauthausen, we walked through the Room of Names.  This is a room with incredibly large books recording every name that was killed at the concentration camp.  Each name was also written on dark tables that filled the room.

Seeing places like this has showed me how much history there is that I don't know about.  The things that happened are recognised in society as terrible things, however it is just impossible to fathom the events that took place and therefore many people kind of turn a blind eye to it.  After seeing this and other museums throughout Europe, I have decided to continue to learn about World War II and the terrible things that occurred during that time.  

Hopefully you have learnt something through this post.  If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments and I will endeavour to research and provide an answer.

Much love,

Catch Up

It has been a while since my last post so this is one where we can catch up and I can update you on what's been happening.

First things first, the Topdeck tour is over so now I am on my own.  The rest of the tour was absolutely amazing and I still stand by the tour as being one of the best things I have ever done.  Since the Croatia blog post, we visited:

  - Bruge
  - Amsterdam
  - Berlin
  - Dresdon
  - Prague
  - Ljubljana

Eastern Europe is all a bit of a blur so I won't be posting separate blog entries for each destination, however I am planning to write one about Berlin, a concentration camp that we visited called Mauthausen, and possibly one with my favourite photos that I want to share with you.

Currently I am in Paris again and having an awesome time doing some of the things we didn't get a chance to do on the tour. I leave on the 8th to travel to Madrid using my Eurail pass and then after that will be heading to Portugal.
Lots of exciting things to come so stay tuned :)

I just saw this photo quote that was shared on Facebook that really hit me.  Have a read when you get a chance.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Pag Island, Croatia

Croatia was definitely a highlight of my 28 day tour. We stayed at an island called Pag Island for 3 nights which was the longest stay anywhere on the tour.  Pag Island is a party island that is absolutely pumping in Summer. Unfortunately, we arrived about a month too early which meant it was still off-season and most things were shut.  Luckily, mountain bikes were still available to hire which suited me perfectly and we had an epic time riding around the island for 2 days straight.

Croatia is quite interesting because the scenery is unlike anything I had ever seen before.  Even though it is an island and there were beautiful pebbled beaches, once you go inland a bit, the terrain turns very rocky and becomes almost dessert like.  Coming off the barge onto the island was really weird because we truly could have been anywhere and if someone had of said we were in the Middle East, we would have believed them. This terrain turned out to be pretty awesome for mountain biking and we found a few pretty awesome tracks to get the adrenaline pumping.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Italy Part 1 - Pisa & Florence

Welcome to Italy!  The drive from Nice to Italy was pretty incredible. We were taken over mountains, over massive bridges and through long tunnels drilled directly through mountains.

First stop.. Pisa! This was definitely another tick off my bucket list. Photo's don't really do it justice because it is on an even bigger lean in person, however I have added a couple photos in case you have never seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  The square around the tower was also really beautiful which was a pleasant surprise.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Skydiving in The Austrian Alps!

This post is going to be out of order but I couldn't wait to show you this.  The video below is me skydiving over the beautiful Austrian Alps. 

Skydiving has to be one of the best things I have ever done. We had a 15 minute scenic flight over the alps to start with which was absolutely breathtaking.  The mountains were covered in snow, the grass the greenest I have ever seen and the Austrian houses looked stunning.

This jump is from 12,000 ft which gives us between 30 and 40 seconds of freefall.  My tandem instructor holds 6 world records for skydiving so I was definately in good hands.

Hope you enjoy!

As you saw in the video, I highly recommend you give skydiving a go. I can't explain the feeling of jumping out of a plane so all I can say is it is epic!  Surprisingly the only scary part is when you put your legs outside of the plane.  But once you jump, it is just the best feeling in the world. 

Another tick off the bucket list and I can't wait to jump again soon!  I will leave you with this picture, I think it explains itself perfectly. Good luck!

Nice and Monaco, French Riviera

This post is about my intense but awesome time in Nice and Monaco.

Nice and Monaco are very interesting because there are so many rich people around.  Before you start wondering, no, I unfortunately didn't find a rich lady in the French Riviera.  I did enjoy however the people, car, and private jet watching and it just blew my mind seeing how some people live.  Monaco, which is about a 40 minute drive from Nice, is so exclusive that celebrities like Michael Jackson and Elton John were both turned down on their application for residency there.  Most rich people want to end up living in Monaco because it is known as a tax haven, that is, no income tax is required.  I'm going to start preparing my application now so that it is ready to send off once I hit the big time!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


It's been a while since my last blog post so you have had lots of time to prepare for Spain!  Barcelona is our only stop in Spain on this tour so I thought it deserved a blog post on its own.  The plan is to come back once the tour is over and go to Madrid and then Portugal.

First impressions of Barcelona was very different to the other European cities that I had been to so far.  It had a beachy kind of feel and the roads seemed to be far wider than the cramped streets of Paris and Avignon.  

The culture of Barcelona is pretty incredible.  Parties, monuments, beaches and fresh fruit/seafood markets seems to be an awesome mix and we truly had an epic time.  In the free day, a mate and I hired bikes and rode from one end of the city to the other.  The idea sounded better in our heads because we found out the hard way that Barcelona is quite different to Paris in that it isn't completely flat!  And with eating and drinking what ever I wanted for a couple weeks, let's just say the fitness level has taken a hit!

Spain is well known for the famous architect Gaudi so we first rode up to Park Guella to see some of his work and to see some amazing views of Barcelona.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Switzerland was freaking amazing!  We went to a town called Lauterbrunnen and then went up the highest train ride in Europe called Jungfrau.  

I'm going to let the photos speak for themselves for this blog post.

And the craziest part:

With a small bit of ice burn..

I'm pretty sure my liver will be looking pretty similar soon!

The Swiss Alps was my first time seeing proper snow so I had a fantastic time!  This trip is teaching me that you should never not to do something because you are afraid you will fail or lose. Growth and learning can never happen if you don't challenge yourself so I challenge you to have a 'first time' as well this week. Do something you have never done before and even if you fail, you have still won :)

Scott out!

Monday, May 4, 2015

The city of love... Paris!

Paris has been a whirlwind but wow, what a fantastic way to start the Europe trip.

First impressions
To start with, I was quite surprised at France and Paris. The first thing we saw when we got off the barge on the French coast was a massive campsite/tip with immigrants trying to get to England.  The outskirts of Paris was similar and I was also quite shocked at how dirty and congested the area was and the number of homeless people milling about.  It kind of reminded me of an Asian country like Thailand or the Philippines.

The magnificent Paris
Once we started to see Paris however, I was instantly in love with the city. In my one full day in Paris, I saw:

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

My first two days in London

First things first, what an awesome couple of days! 

After travelling for 26 hours straight, I finally arrived at Heathrow airport. Long story short, after walking around in circles trying to find the underground station and then two tube rides later, I made it to the Hostel. After some good English snags on the barby (very aussie), I passed out in my room and woke up in the morning to realise I was sharing the room with three French girls! ...  All in all, first impressions of the Hostel life was a great one.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Packing for Backpacking in the European Summer

Having done all the hard stuff - getting a visa, bookings for flights, accommodation and the tour - I thought the easiest part would be packing the bag. Oh how I was wrong!

To start with, packing your bag means that the trip is definitely real and is hurtling toward you whether you are ready or not.  Obviously this is so exciting but can also be quite overwhelming!  

So without further ado, this will be my life for the foreseeable future:

The main items I am taking are:
   - Osprey Porter 65 litre backpack $180
   - Osprey Quasar 30 litre daypack $75
   - 2 x travel shirts, 2 x long sleeve shirt (skivvy), 2 x t-shirts, 1 long sleeve dress shirt.
   - 3 x shorts, 2 x long pants, 1 swimming shorts
   - Kathmandu fleece $70 and Kathmandu rain jacket $140.

Other items of interest are an exercise powerband which I will 'attempt' to use to keep fit, a sleeping sack for warmth but cheaper and smaller than a sleeping bag, and a saucepan/bowl/cup in case I am at a campsite or dodgy hostel.

All up it weighs about 12kg.

If you are travelling overseas yourself and are backpacking around the place, I recommend the following video link which has helped me greatly: https://youtu.be/XmxaA_BSWMU. The link to part 2 is in the video information.

This is me looking like a crazy tourist - UK and Europe better watch out, that's all I can say :)

Remember to always follow your dreams and love life along the way.  Next post will be from London!


P.S   This is my first blog post from my iPad which is all I will have abroad.  Hopefully it turns out ok.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Let's go on a trip

This blog is unique in that fact that we will go on a journey together. I am writing this from the very start of the journey and you will be able to join me on resigning from work, booking the trip, getting abroad, and then the best things I do in each country.

My background
I am an Australian male aged 20 and have just finished university in financial planning and finance.
I have been working at an accounting firm for the 3 years while I was studying and had a secure and definite future there. However, I always knew that the world is bigger than where you grew up! I always had dreams of seeing the world and the incredible places around this planet and then working in one of the thriving cities around the world.

What's the plan
I have just resigned from work and are in the process of getting my Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa so that I can work in the UK for 2 years.
I leave solo in April 2015 and have a couple days in London before hopping on a Topdeck tour for a month. This tour will take me to 13 countries in 28 days. After that, the world is my oyster!
So stick around, subscribe to my journey, participate, ask questions, whatever you want to do. But especially, follow your dreams and love life!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Applying for the Tier 5 Youth Mobility UK working visa

Before I did anything else with my travel preparations, I began the process of applying for the Tier 5 Youth Mobility working visa.  From online research and talking to other travelers, I knew the application process could take some time and can be quite confusing.

This post will hopefully help everyone else who wants to apply for the UK youth working visa.  If you have any questions, please leave comments and I will answer them for you.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Quote for you to travel by

This quote doesn't need an explanation.  If you ever find yourself stuck in a rut or bound by your individual circumstances, remember this post.

"It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves - in find themselves." Andre Gide.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Want to go travelling?

Current work is one of the biggest factors which can deter you from your dreams of travelling. Whether you are worried about money, job security, or letting clients and workmates down, don't let this stop you in your tracks.

In life it is so easy to be zoomed right in on a situation, rather than seeing the big picture. It is important in whatever you are doing to consciously remind yourself to look at the situation as a whole and to stop micro-analyzing things.