How To Pack Like A Pro- Under 7 kilos

As a musician, I’m regularly asked how I pack for long stints on the road. I now consider myself a bit of a pro when it comes to packing my bags lightly when traveling.

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Whether it be that I’m traveling on a plane somewhere , jumping on a train or traveling in my van, it’s never convenient to have a lot of luggage. I love souvenirs so it’s important to me to still have enough room to pop those in too without having to throw things out or pay extra.

Packing for gigs and travel is a little tricker but this time, I’m only packing for travel so I’ll have to do another post on how to pack light when needing special occasion clothes. I remember my first trip to Canada… Let’s just say that I was lucky I had my Mum and my Dad to help me with my bags! Let me tell you how I’ve gone from lots of bags to traveling light while still have everything I need.

The trick is to eliminate our initial thoughts of needing all that stuff- the irony is that you figure that out when you get back home. I’m going to run you through a few strategies I have when packing – I’m actually heading out in a couple of days to South East Asia for a week so I’ll show you what I’d pack for that, which will be lighter than 7 kilos– perfect for overhead luggage and not having to have that big wait after your flight for your bags.

1. Suitcase or backpack.
You’ll need a light and sturdy backpack or suitcase. I purchased this suitcase back in 2014 from Big W. It came as a pair (One large and this small one) and was around $90. The reason I picked it is due to it weighing under 2 kilos. I wish I could tell you what the brand is but it’s bad marketing on the suitcase company’s side- there is not even a tag on or in it saying their brand.
The main thing you should look for when buying a suitcase is the weight when empty. You don’t want one that weighs 5 kilos as then you can only fit 2 kilos in. If you’re worried about soft case ones (which are generally lighter) than try to hunt down a hard case like mine. Be sure to check your specific airline’s carry-on size specifications before your trip.
You’ll also need to consider where you’re traveling to as if you’re going mainly rural, there may be areas where a wheely suitcase just wont work and a backpack would.

2. Gathering up your essentials.
I prefer to always have my important things on my body

IMG20171026135813[1].jpgso I bought this little backpack for $8 in Kmart which I use for my money, passport, tickets and things I want with me. You don’t have to have one but I like to use it rather than taking a handbag with me. It fits more in it too and is very light. Your essentials may vary but these are mine:
I always take my ear phones with me to listen to music or

IMG20171026141214[1].jpgwatch a movie on the flight. Sun glasses are a must. I had a flight the other day in the morning and the sun was shining through the window the whole way. If I didn’t have my sunnies, I would have had very sore eyes. I love to have a pair of socks just incase it cools off. Eye drops are necessary for bright white eyes after long, red-eye flights and my lips get dry so having lip balm is nice. My phone charger- wall plug in and pre charged back up power. Passport of course and my waterproof camera. A small roll on deodorant. I also always buy a water bottle or two before I board. Oh and can’t forget mints- they go a long way after a big flight!

3. Packing the suitcase.
Frame out the bottom of your suitcase with your shoes, then create two neatly folded stacks with heavy-weight jeans and jumpers on the bottom, more delicate items on top. Since I’m going to a tropical place, I’ll pack my thongs in the suitcase and wear a real lightweight pair of slip on shoes. Now I haven’t been to this part of the world yet but everyone keeps saying ‘Pack less, buy more’ due to the huge decrease in price for clothes over there. Personally, without thinking about purchasing clothes, I would usually pack five shirts, two shorts, a pair of jeans, usually a skirt, a couple of dresses and a jumper for a week. With this in mind, I’m going to pack four light weight shirts, a pair of jeans, two shorts and a jumper. If I want anything else, I’ll just pick something up over there.

Any clothes that are left, like socks and undies, can be rolled and tucked around the edges. If you need even more room, rolling some of your essentials like dresses and tees helps save some space, and keeps your stuff (mostly) wrinkle-free.

Of course going to a tropical place, I have to bring a pair of swimmers, sunscreen, a beach shirt and a hat. I have also got a small and lightweight towel that I usually use for the gym. This will be perfect for when I need a towel.

Here’s a funky rule I just found when researching what other people do-  You can follow the ‘Rule of 3’ if you want to pack suuuper light – 1 set of clothes to wear x 1 set of clothes to wash x 1 set of clothes for an emergency. Wear, wash, repeat. I’ve never used this method before, but it’s an option if you’d like to try it.

If you can’t bring yourself to packing thattt light and you want to pack more clothes, go right ahead! Just remember to sit down and plan how many clothes you’ll actually need for your trip. I usually just bring a few colour coordinated clothes that I can mix and match for a weeks worth of outfits. My bottoms are usually black or blue which I can match with pretty much any colour on top so I have white, blue, flowery and red tops which I can move around.

4. Toiletries.
These to me are the hardest to keep light because I love cream. To have it allowed in your carry on, each container of liquids, aerosols or gels must be 100 milliliters or less- So don’t make my mistake of bringing a nice big bottle of moisturizer and having it thrown out. Here’s the thing. If you want to pack light, then things like hand lotion and scrub have to go. They add unnecessary weight to your load. After learning the hard way, I now have a super light toiletry bag!

If you’re feeling minimalistic, then just bring your tooth brush, toothpaste and face wash. You can buy travel-sized versions of the rest of the things you need at your destination. Most places offer basic amenities like soaps and towels so save your money and space.

Tips on toiletries:
1. Use small 50 ml – 100 ml refillable bottles to store your liquids like face wash
2. Buy travel sized everything!
3. Use a contact lens case to store items like makeup or small vitamins so you don’t have to carry full sized containers
4. If you’re bringing make-up, pack less miscellaneous items

5. On the plane.
The smart thing to do is wear all your heaviest clothes on the plane. So since I’ve packed pretty darn light, on the plane I’ll wear my jeans, have my jumper (even if I don’t need it), wear my slip on shoes and one of my thickest tops. On the way home, I’d probably wear the same outfit.

So let’s quickly run through a dot point list of THINGS TO PACK:
These are not compulsory; only my advice. You choose what relates to you and what doesn’t.

*Passport
*Printed off Flight tickets and Travel itinerary
*Travel Insurnace
*Cash
*Cards (identification, credit, business, insurance, etc.)
*Driving license
*Wet wipes to use for face/hands
*Panadol
*Small mirror
*Water bottle
*Pen (You never know when you’ll need one)
*Phone, charger
*Camera, charger
*Sunnies
*Sunscreen
*Toothbrush/Toothpaste
*Hat
*Swimmers/towel
*Underwear/socks
*Shorts, Shirts, Jumper, Jeans
*Shoes (I forgot shoes once)

First picture- mesh part for dirty clothes. Inside is one jumper, underwear, four shirts and two shorts. 

Second picture- tiny black toiletry bag (You can do it) and even smaller poca-dot makeup bag (yes you can!!). Face wipes, toothbrush/toothpaste (in pink bag), hat, swimmers and a small gift. 

And there you have it. How to pack 7kg or less for a 7-day trip. Think you can do it? Go ahead and pack light for your next trip! I hope this helps you a lot. I always go ahead and weigh my bag on a scale just to double check- it usually comes out around 5-6 kilos which is great. As I said earlier- the trick with having a small bag is that if you get stuck, you can put some of your other stuff in the bag too.
I hope you all have a great adventure. Let me know how it goes and let me know in the comments if this helped you.

Bye for now,
Sami xx

 

 

 

 

Captivated by Byron Bay

To me, there is no better feeling than the first big, early morning stretch in my van as I slowly wake up and take in my surroundings. When I peel back that curtain to take my first look of the morning, and the place I woke up in. Traveling is something I was born to do and experiencing new places is definitely a massive bonus of my work.

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On this particular morning, I woke up in the well known “hippy town” of Byron Bay. I instantly felt at home in this place. As I stepped out of the van, I was greeted by the sounds of Lorikeets flirting in the Red Gum trees above. The street was lined with bananas trees which gave the place the typical tropical essence that you usually find on the coast.

Once I got dressed into my halter neck, beachy dress, I was ready to soak up the Byron culture. I drove to the end of the main street and parked. I had three options; to walk up and down the street window shopping, grab a bite to eat at a popular cafe or walk to the park and check out the markets. I chose option number three. I walked through the markets scanning through each store and admiring what was available. There were a large amount of eco friendly, tie died and/or hand made clothing, lots of freshly squeezed and organic juices and drinks, and one place even had vegan dog treats. I was impressed and almost immediately the “hippy” term crept back into my mind.

I fit in pretty quickly with the locals though as every second person was driving a van and every other person was riding a vintage bike. For the first time since I bought it, my van didn’t really stand out…..20170827_141655[1].jpgor maybe I just felt like it didn’t!

After I spent over an hour in the markets, being consumed by the interesting items each store held, I decided to peel back before I spent my savings and head towards the street to grab something for breakfast.

To my surprise, the cafes were extremely busy. Being from the country, I guess I am impatient as I’m not used to having to wait a while for food so I changed my mind and went for a walk to check out their shops. Obviously Byron is a tourist destination but I did think their prices for clothes would be cheaper. That’s not completely a bad thing as I did save a lot of money. The styles they sell are really great and the attitudes of people in the stores and on the streets are so happy and polite. I couldn’t help but walk around with a permanent smile.

When my stomach started to rumble, it changed my direction back towards the cafe I had my eye on earlier. It quieted down a little. I had a delicious breakfast but couldn’t help my urge to discover more before I left for Port Macquarie mid morning. After I thanked them, I crossed the road and walked up a nice little alleyway, past a surf shop, which led me to another couple of cafes. I found that the best and quite ones are those that are tucked away so you need to discover them. I’ll be sure to visit those ones next time!

The clock was rushing me but I had to obey so I dawdled back to my little van that was tucked away in between a combi and a ute. I tracked back through the town one more time before finding the road towards Ballina. On my way out, I had to make one more stop. There were numerous garage sales that day right across town. I slowed down many times but there was one that I had to stop at. I found some really nice pre loved clothes, paid about $20 for all five pieces of clothing, then hopped back in my van with a big smile on my face.

Byron Bay really hit the right place for me and while I was driving away, imaginations of myself living there kept floating around in my mind.

My Advice:
If you haven’t been to Byron, be sure to make the trip. Pack your surf board and your dream catcher then head off to a great adventure. The main thing I took away with me from Byron’s culture is to enjoy the little things and soak up all the goodness around you.

 

10 exercises for a full body workout outdoors

The weather is changing and we are loving being outdoors in the sun again. With the spring weather here, it is a huge reminder that bikini season is starting so skipping your gym session to go out with your friends won’t get you any closer to reaching your fitness goal.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
If you’re like me and you have two very active pups who need to be walked at least once a day then you know the difficulties of finding time to do your own exercise (besides walking and the occasional tripping over their leads of course). Walking is a great way to exercise so don’t get me wrong but I’m talking about focusing on the areas I want to work on other than cardio.

I am very lucky that when I walk the boys, I take their leads off and throw the stick- this will keep them both active for hours. They both love the water so I know they’re getting a major work out when I throw it in the water which makes them run and swim.

I usually found myself sitting down and throwing the stick to them which gave me a good arm exercise but nothing else so a couple of weeks ago, I decided to make it work for me too.

I packed my camera (of course), a small towel and my skipping rope. I throw the stick and while they are swimming out to get it and bringing it back (around 30-60 seconds), I would use that time to do one set of a particular exercise. This will give me 30 seconds of exercise and around 10 second breaks.

Quick disclaimer- These exercises and times are what I find work for me. They are only an idea for you- not a guide. Don’t push yourself too hard and be sure to continue breathing in your nose and out your mouth. Do not hold your breath. If you feel light headed, have a break and drink water. Exercise, mixed with healthy eating is how you see results. 

Below is what I like to do- all lasting 30 seconds each. Repeat twice.

  1. Run. I start and finish this exercise with a run. Thanks to the textured, uneven terrain around the lake, or in a park, I have to work harder with every step, making the run a lot more intense and effective.
  2. Crunches. I aim for 30 in 30 seconds. On average I get around 25 which makes me challenge myself next time.
  3. Push ups. If you get a chance to find a park bench of something similar then you can do this exercise instead of the normal push ups otherwise stick to the usual push ups. First, put your feet on the park bench and your hands on the ground, belly down. Do 10 push-ups this way. Then switch and put your feet on the ground and your arms on the bench. Do 10 more this way.
  4. Sumo Squats: Stand up with your feet wider than your hips and your toes slightly turned out as you sit back into a squat.
  5. Burpees: I love and hate this. They start out fun but push yourself to not slow down your motion. This is hard but very satisfying. Start with a jump, and then squat down, place your hands on your mat, and jump out into a plank position. Jump feet back towards your hands, pop up into standing position, and finish with a clap at the top. Then repeat.
  6. Lunges. I aim for ten each leg. Get down low.
  7. Plank. Make sure you keep your back straight and tighten your abdominal to keep your support.
  8. Bicycle Crunches: Lie on your back and bend both knees into your chest, hands clasped behind your head. Find a focal point to the left and right of your body. Look at those two focal points as you twist and crunch to each side, reaching your right elbow to your left knee, and vice versa.
  9. Mountain Climbers: Start in a plank position and alternate driving your knees into chest, keeping your hips flat and parallel to the ground. If you can find a bench, try this one: Stand a few feet away from a bench, placing your hands on the seat facing the bench. For 30 seconds, do hill-climbers against the bench, driving your knees to your chest as you run like you’re heading uphill.
  10. Skipping rope. Grab the skipping rope and count 50 jumps. I do this five times- with each time, try to add at least 5 more in the same amount of time.

    Don’t forget to have a big stretch afterwards.

It’s a bonus to have a great view when working out! Finish with a smile knowing that you have completed a great exercise. I hope this routine helps you. Don’t forget that you can create your own workout plan, focusing on what works for you and how you see your results.

Thanks for reading! SAMI x

Dog Beaches & Parks in Newcastle

When I have my two best friends with me, my day is complete.

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The one thing that attracted me the most to Newcastle are the beaches. Growing up in the country, it’s incredible to live so close to this much water and sand. Whenever I drive along the coast line to the city, the walking track is always filled with people and their puppies so it’s obvious that I am not the only one who feels this way. The views are spectacular so it’s really nice to be able to share this with my boys; Texta (black & white) and Sunni (wheaten).

When I first moved here, I wasn’t too sure on where my pups were allowed to go so I thought I’d make it a little easier for anyone who wants more information before driving or walking around.

OUR PICK:
The four of us (Alec included) love the doggy beaches at:
* Redhead Beach– This is our go to beach. It is so spread out which makes it great for running along the water. There are always other dogs for the pups to play with and big waves that help tucker them out (Especially Texta). There is also a small lagoon that helps calm them down and wash the sand off before getting back into the van. I’m not kidding when I say that they sleep well that night.
* Horseshoe Beach– This is the only beach in the Newcastle city that allows your pups to run free off a leash. When we come here, my boys will disappear in the water, playing with all the other happy pups for hours. I chill out and only need to get up to throw a stick here and there. Texta is crazy for sticks but usually adopts random kids to throw them to him in the water! Sunni loves other dogs so this is a really good beach for him to mingle.

If you’re interested in more than beaches, then I have included all the parks that are all doggie friendly too.

In Newcastle:
* Nesca Park (Just off Bar Beach and Darby Street in Newcastle)
* Braye Park Waratah (Timed- Sunrise to 9am then 5pm to sunset)
* Carrington Foreshore
* King Edward Park Newcastle– This is a great place! I love walking the dogs along the paths, grab a coffee then head over to the off leash section.
* Islington Park
* Maryland Drive Reserve
* Elermore Vale Park (Timed- Sunrise to 9am then 5pm to sunset)
* Dixon Park Reserve Mereweather (Timed- Sunrise to 9am then 5pm to sunset)
* Acacia Avenue Reserve in North Lambton
* Upper Reserve Wallsend
* Michael St Reserve Lambton
* Ballast Ground and Pitt Street Reserve – Stockton Dog Parks – My uncle and cousins took us to both of these parks not too long ago. They’re right on the water and have plenty  of space to run around so perfect for the puppies.
* Purdue Park Mayfield
* Tarro Recreation Area

In Lake Macquarie:
I live in Lake Macquarie and take the puppies for walks along the water all the time. Lake Macquarie is very well designed for fitness and pets, with parks all along the water front, walking tracks and specially designed areas for the dogs to run wild. A few are:
* Speers Point and on to Warners Bay (This walking track follows the Lake almost right around. It’s perfect for sight seeing while walking the dogs and stopping along the way to let them play. I take my boys here all the time.
* Thomas H Halton Park & Croudace Bay Park
* Booragul Foreshore Reserve

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I think it’s really wonderful to have so many areas for the pups to run and I believe it’s important to continue opening up more animal friendly areas. As long as the owners take responsibility for their dogs; have control of their pups, make sure they’re friendly with other dogs before letting them off the leash and pick up after them, then there wont be any issue. I know that personally my pups encourage me to stay fit as I want to walk them to keep them happy and I know a lot of people are in the same situation.

I hope this helps you all! Now, get your buddies and head off to your closest dog beach or park and have some fun!!

 

How To Stay Motivated Without The Gym

Want to quit the gym but worried about making yourself motivated to workout without it? You are where I was four weeks ago. Don’t get me wrong, gym’s are great but they are also costly. If you added up the $70 month then think about what you could use that money for if you weren’t paying for the rent of the building and equipment. I’m sure you’d start reconsidering your membership.

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I was a gym member for three years (Wow, that’s a lot of coin). My main reason for using the gym was, of course to get fit and toned, but to use it’s motivation benefits. The payments coming out each week was a big motivational tool but also the wonderful atmosphere I found from my first step into my local gym. The trainers there are always encouraging which made me feel bad if I missed a day- because I believed they’d notice.

I was a little afraid to quit the gym a month ago. I went in there really nervously and said; “I need to quit”. To my surprise, there was actually no pressure. He got the paper work out and told me that they would be sad for me to leave but he understood and that I can always come back. That made the whole process really easy.

My next struggle was trying to motivate myself without the gym. I had no one who was going to give me a dirty look for missing a couple of days. I had no encouragement and I had no money to make me feel bad for loosing if I didn’t workout. It was hard BUT I started.

Here are the steps I took:

STEP 1:
My first step was clearing out the cupboards of junk food, making lots of healthy meals to freeze and focusing on my diet. I do have my cheat food (Honey, Caramel, Macedonian ice cream) but it really depends on what you’re trying to achieve. I always start every meal with a glass of water. I am also obsessed with teas so each day, I’ll have a different one- whether it’s green tea, herbal tea, flavored flower teas. They’re all great.
My main issue is the snacking so I searched it and found out that it’s best to have three good meals-lunch being the biggest and a couple of small healthy snacks in between like fruit, a handful of nuts of a boiled egg.

STEP 2:
Make a goal. My goal is just to stay fit and toned so a little junkiness in moderation is acceptable in my routine- as long as I jog a little longer the next day. Yours may be that you want to stop all sugar cravings. There are some pretty cool websites that explain what your body is lacking when you crave something specific so that may be helpful. http://eatwiseteens.org/food-cravings-what-your-body-is-telling-you/
I also take photos weekly to see my process which is encouraging to myself.

STEP 3:
A few days into my routine, I started using trusty Google to search for 30 minute workouts to do at home and I did them while I was watching TV. They would still make me sweat and I’d want to give up half way through but the more I did it, the more I’d hold that stance a little longer. I find that I am beginning to become tougher on myself like I was when I was at the gym. Challenges are exciting.

STEP 4. 
Plan your workout. I wake up each morning and walk outside to check the weather. I can’t afford to get sick as I perform each weekend so I ensure the weather is sunny before I plan to do a workout outside. I have two border collies so they need to be walked which is a big motivation advantage. I have a few different tracks I can take them on.
*CHILLED OUT- I live 20 minutes to the beach and the dogs love it so I try to take them there weekly. They play while I get a good arm exercise by throwing the ball to them. We will also go for a jog along the water. I can make this an easy or difficult exercise.
*EASY- 40 minutes- I am a block away from the beautiful Lake Macquarie so if I want to do a short/easy walk then I take them down to the lake and walk around and back.
*MEDIUM- 1- 1 /12 hrs- I like to explore my neighborhood so I will time myself to make sure I’ve walked minimum an hr around different suburbs.
*DIFFICULT- 2 hrs- If I want to do a big workout, then I’ll mix up a walk and jog from home to Marmong Point and back. This trip takes me on roads, dirt roads, grass and the lake so it’s a really good leg workout. It is also very hilly so we are all buggered afterwards.

Having the meals already made up make it so much better to just zap it in the microwave for a few minutes rather than having to make something up after a workout.

STEP 5:
Plan fun workouts with your friends. Working out with other people will give you friendly competition to achieve your goals and motivate you to get out and do a workout. I have two friends who both like to exercise so I have teed up days with both of them to workout. One of my friends likes to jog along the lake so we have planned to do a ground workout then go for a jog afterwards. My other friend is big into sports and fun fitness exercises so we are planning on doing surfing lessons, paddle boarding and hiking. This will all kick off in three weeks (when I get home from QLD) so I’ll be sure to write about each of those too.

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If you read through my stories (Canada, snowboarding etc) then you can get some other ideas for workouts. A few months ago, I tried my hand at dancing. That was a great and very enjoyable workout! If you’ve got some moves, check out your local dance scene. Big W also has some brilliant workout from home equipment so it’ll be worth to go have a look at.

The best way to motivate yourself is to get off you bum, put some workout clothes on, get some tunes pumping and just do it. The only thing holding you back is yourself.

Good luck everyone!!

Snowboarding in Thredbo

Taking my first step out of the car in the Thredbo resort, it was pure magic to look up at the heavy white clouds and watch the delicate snow flakes fall. I don’t think we could have raced across the car park to the check in area quick enough!

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More people than you can imagine have never experienced the rush of making their way to the white mountain; bodies covered from head to toe in layers of clothes, feet in bulky boots, snowboard on their hip. The exhilaration you get when the snowboard is strapped onto your feet and you take your first ride. It’s a feeling like no other.

What Is Thredbo?
Thredbo is an alpine village and ski resort in the Snowy Mountains of southeastern Australia. Thredbo offers the best skiing and snowboarding in Australia. The mountain is perfect for all ages and ability. Beginners will love the purpose built area designed to progress skills in a safe environment. Intermediates can enjoy Australia’s longest runs and the wide variety of terrain on offer. The Advanced will find endless on and off piste challenges, powder bowls and natural features.
https://www.thredbo.com.au/

Our First Day in Thredbo
My partner Alec and I went with our close friends Jesse and Tehla to celebrate Alec’s 23rd birthday. Myself and Tehla had never been snowboarding before but the boys went the year earlier so they were very confident! Te and I started the first day with lessons to learn how to stand up and not fall over- well just not as much as we would have without lessons.

Granted, after the first day, we sat around the fire exchanges stories and examining bruises but it was worth it! We were all so tired that we crashed early. That worked well as we all woke up bright and early the next day and quickly prepared ourselves for the new adventure that awaited us on the snow fields.

A Little Trick
For those who need a little extra hit of confidence, We all started our mornings around 10 am with either a shot of Tequila, Fireball, A Schnapps made in the local brewery Wild Brumby http://www.wildbrumby.com/, or a warm Apple Cider. It made us not worry too much about falling over- which is one of the tricks to snowboarding.

Our Second Day in Thredbo
When us girls got the courage on the second day, we caught up with the boys again. They decided that it was time for us to move from the beginners section to the intermediate section by taking a new chairlift up to the top of another mountain. The view was indescribably beautiful. We took it all in over a couple of Steins and over sized pretzels.

There was nothing better than finishing the three days the way it began with snow. It was the perfect time for us to leave- before the roads got too slippery and still watch the snow fall. We have all agreed that every year, we’ll be teaming up and going snow boarding together.

Some Advice
If you have some amazing friends, gather them up, book a motel room together and go snowboarding. It is expensive but if you save up over the year or months then you’ll be fine. The best way to find deals is by booking early. So grab your friends, pack your jacket, gloves and googles, and next year, make your winter a snowy one!
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Relaxation on the Sunshine Coast

There is nothing better than packing one bag, finding the cheapest and earliest flight, and heading up to the Sunshine Coast for five days.

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As I write this, I am sitting back home on my little couch, laptop resting on my lap, tele quietly on, the pups asleep on the floor, reminiscing about my previous week spent in one of the most beautiful areas on the Australian East Coast; Coolum Beach.

To kick off:
It was an early start for me, especially not being a morning person but I was lucky to have a great friend of mine; Bobby, make me a smooth, creamy porridge for breakfast and rush me to the Newcastle airport at 4:30 in the morning. I thought I’d surely sleep on the plane but there is nothing more indescribable than being above the clouds at 6am, watching the sun rise, revealing the beauty that is down below. I was captivated. (Featured image)

With my eyes fixated out the window, the flight went very quickly. I found it generally relaxing to have an hour and a half without technology; just my thoughts and the view. After I took this photo, I switched my phone back off.

Arrival:
I arrived in Brisbane, with very little knowledge about the distance from Brisbane to Coolum Beach but I was inevitably about to find out. Growing up in the country, I am not very familiar with trains and how to read their schedules so I really felt like a tourist as I walked around the station asking people which train goes where. I caught my train then didn’t know I had to get off it to board another one when I hit Caboolture. I must have looked ridiculous as everyone got off the train while I stayed on the stationary train for a good 20 minutes. It wasn’t until the conductor finally announced that this particular train was heading back to Brisbane, when I got the message and realised I was waiting on the wrong train. I quickly raced across the bridge to the other terminal where my train was 2 minutes away. Lucky!!

The last time I was driving through this area was in 2014 when I lived on the road with my Mum for ten months, touring the Eastern Coast of Australia. I really enjoy living out of a suitcase, traveling full time but getting paid for it through my gigs. It was the best year of my life!

I sat on that train for another hour and a half, reminiscing about the times that we were in these areas. When we went past the impressive Glasshouse Mountains, I remembered this time that I was on the way to a gig but my NavMan took us the complete wrong way and we ended up in the middle of a pineapple farm only ks away from the mountains.

When I finally got off the train, I was met by two of the most beautiful people; my partner Alec and his Nan; Jan. It had only been three days since I saw Alec but it always makes my heart smile when I see him again. He works in WA as a drillers offsider so I am very used to him being away but I much prefer him being with me.

We drove around sight seeing a little on the way to the apartment we were staying at, right across the road from the crystal blue Coolum Beach. Here, I was met with the rest of the family.

While we were there:
Have you ever had a time where you literally shut your mind off. You focus on the company around you, the view in front of you and that’s it. I scrapped my money worries, my work thoughts and just relaxed. We all hung out here, listening to some great tunes; Eagles, Creedence, Beatles, Jimmy etc, eating incredible food, drinking, overlooking the ocean waiting for dolphins and whales to make an appearance, and just catching up with each other.

There was one day when we all decided to separate as the boys went out on an early fishing charter and us girls went sight seeing and shopping in Mooloolaba. This was a really fun day. We all met back at the apartment around the same time. One of Alec’s cousins; Corey, is a chef at a hotel just down the road so when the boys all got home, he cooked up a storm with the fresh fish, salt and pepper squid and salad. Top that off with some of Alec’s Uncle Terry’s home brew and that was perfect.

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Time to leave:
As the old saying goes; “Time flies when you’re having fun”, it really happened. I felt like we were only there for a day or two.

My advice:
If you’re in need of a good break, or you want to catch up with family but you’re not sure where to go or not sure of a nice central place… I would highly recommend to rent an apartment or two at one of the blocks right across the road from the beach, over looking the ocean. You have enough room for the family, you have an incredible view and you feel like you’re at home as you still can cook, watch tv, sleep in, etc. Plus, you can never do better than relaxing each morning and afternoon on the deck watching the water.