UK

Duck & Waffle London – what a view

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My gorgeous wandering gypsy friend Simone Smith came to London for a visit so we decided we’d go check out the mad view of London from Duck & Waffle located on the 40th floor of Heron Tower. Unfortunately my phone died and I didn’t get to take many pictures but you get the idea.

Later we ended up somewhere in Shoreditch drinking cocktails and dancing like absolute mentalists. Rad views. Rad people and all in all a wicked night.

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Simone, Alex and I at Duck & Waffle – note the Gherkin in the background.
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Cheers for the excellent view London!
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Where to Next? Working Holidays for Australians

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working-holiday-visa-expat-wanderlust-travel-live-abroad-adventure-travel-wander-wanderlust-jessica-nicole-griffithsWith my time in the UK quickly coming to an end I’ve been thinking a lot about where I’ll head to next. I love Australia and there’s a fair chance I’ll end up there in the long term but life is for living and exploring and experiencing.

Ernest Hemmingway said ” It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it’s the journey that matters, in the end.” I want my journey to be a grand adventure full of laughs and love and yeah – a few palm trees, beaches and ridiculous love affairs wouldn’t hurt either.

On that note – and because I like lists here is a list of countries that have a working holiday programs for young Australian adventurers.

Where is your next adventure wanderlusters? Have you lived in any of these places? I’d love to hear about your experiences so please get in contact and tweet me @jessicaswander.

x

**Keep in mind that the visa requirements are different for each country so you might not  be eligible for every one.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas (Apparantly)

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas apparently – but for me (being Australian) I’m still trying to get my head around the fact that it’s freezing cold and I’m wrapped up like a mummy for most of my waking hours.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Christmas recently – mostly because it’s December but also because last weekend was my annual family Christmas party. 70 of my relatives head to a caravan park by the beach to wish each other merry Christmas, celebrate the silly season, play volleyball, tunnel ball, beer pong, announce the winner of supercoach, and see how Santa makes his entrance for 2014 (previous entrances have included fire trucks, speed boats, Harley Davidson’s, tractors… the list goes on!). The family Christmas party is hands down my favourite day of the year. My family are completely mad in such a loveable way – functionally dysfunctional and the most loving, caring, kind, hilarious people I’ve ever had the good fortune of knowing and it was the first time I’ve ever missed it.

Christmas with the Pleasance family 2013
Christmas with the Pleasance family 2013

This will be my second icy Christmas in the UK – last year I spent it with the Pleasance family up on the North Yorkshire moors in a very sweet little place called Fangdale Bec. It was all so foreign to me. I’d never experienced cold like that before. I was out walking with my friend and his beautiful little sister and their gorgeous little puppy uno and I saw one of the things that makes my inner child smile more than anything else in the whole wide world ; a giant puddle. I was wearing borrowed wellies (gumboots for my Australian readers) and a Barbour wax jacket (they took pity on me for not having any idea just how cold it gets up there – it’s practically north of the wall you know) with a big grin on my face i did a big run and jump in to the giant puddle. I was very surprised to find that it wasn’t actually a puddle – maybe it was at some stage in its life – but it now was just solid slippery ice. I fell and slid across the ice and then stumbled around like an awkward baby giraffe until I made my way to the edge and back on to solid ground in a giant fit of giggles. We took walks through the forest and up on the the seemingly endless moores – it was a little bit of magic.

Christmas Day was everything I thought a British Christmas should be. It was cold, we had hot cups of tea, two open fires and were all huddled around the Christmas tree handing out gifts one by one and watching them open them. I love buying Christmas presents – it makes me so happy to see someone enjoy a gift that I spent time (weeks) searching for. I bought Ell a vintage film camera and film, a hand pressed flower necklace in resin for his mum, a turquoise ring for his sweet little sister, and a selection of craft beer for his brother. With the exception of Ell I’d not met any of them before – so it was nice to see them open and enjoy their presents. We all are our fill of Christmas food – and I ate Yorkshire pudding for the first time. I am so grateful that they took me in to their home and let me spend Christmas with them.

This year I’ll be spending Christmas with my cousin Cazz, her husband and their three little girls at their home in East London. Spending the day with family including three little sugar filled devils will be fantastic! On Boxing Day we are going to see the local Panto too. Such fun!

Stay jolly wanderlusters – sending love and happy Christmas vibes to you all x

Q&A – two weeks left in Melbourne.

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Only two weeks left now until I leave and It feels a little but odd. It doesn’t really seem real or different at all. It doesn’t seem like a big deal or like I’m actually doing anything special and that’s what feels odd. I’ve been catching up with heaps of friends and family and everyone asks me the same questions “are you excited?” “What are your plans?” “How long are you going for” and it makes me question myself quite a bit.

I mean firstly it doesn’t seem real yet. I’ve not been to England before so I don’t know what to expect so I’m trying not to really have any expectations. I’m open to everything and not connected to any particular outcome. This adventure for me is just time to myself away from my life in Melbourne to work out what it is that I truly love doing and what I want to do. I feel like my life should really be about something and I want to use it wisely to help people, to love people and just enjoy it really and I know my current actions aren’t really bringing me  to that outcome as much as I’d like them to. So I guess it’s a bit of a starting point to get to know myself better as who I truly am as opposed to who I think I am based on events and people and things I’ve just fallen in to.

As far as making plans and how long I’ll be there for… I just don’t know. I’ll be there as long as I’m enjoying myself and as long as I feel I want to be. It might be 3 months it might be a few years who knows. I just want to be free, to be happy and to make other people’s lives a little bit better.

I’ll work it out.

Jessica x