Old Mate, Saint Mark

If you’re heading to Venice, whether or not you’d planned on it, you’ll almost inevitably visit the famed St Mark’s Square. St Mark’s Square (or piazza san Marco to the Italians) is the main public square in Venice, named as such for the cathedral down the Eastern End dedicated to old mate, Saint Mark. As one of the main “attractions” in the city, it was imperative that when we visited Venice, the square was on the list of things to see.

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Monkeying Around in Ubud

If you are heading to Indonesia, one of the best ways to get wild is to experience the wildlife. Specifically, the monkeys. Bali has three main monkey forests regulated so that tourists can visit the areas, with the most famous one being located up in the North, in the beautiful historic town of Ubud. The monkey forest was right down the road from our hotel, as if we needed more of an excuse to visit! We were very fortunate to get the inside scoop on monkeying around in Ubud, including how to handle the forest before we went there from our super-handy guide, Kiwi, and boy did his tips come in handy…

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The Terrible Taxis of Seminyak

Catching a cab is one of my least favourite things to do, they’re smelly, slow and nine times out of ten, a complete rip-off. An uber devotee, I was slightly lost in Bali without their service, and without a clue as to how the taxi system here works.

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The Forgotten Facts of Venice

Venice, the famously romantic Italian city, is renowned for the canals that wind through the city. It’s not even remotely surprising that the city is absolutely flooded with tourists, estimated to average 50,000 new visitors each day (pretty significant amount, considering the “permanent” population is only around 70,000). While these tourists flood to Venice to observe the gorgeous architecture, art and the famous canals, for me, the history of the city turned out to be the greatest attraction.

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Thank you, Technology

It always seems that there is an app for just about everything these days, and travelling is no exception. While there isn’t yet an app that allows us to just apparate to the remote areas of the globe that we may like to explore, there are certainly a lot of apps out there that can help you out when you’re on an adventure.

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A World Full of Mates

When I first went travelling solo, everyone said that it is so easy to make friends, and that I’ll make the best friends ever while travelling. And this is 100% true, everything happens for a reason, and the situations in which you meet people travelling are so precarious, I find those are the situations where you meet the people that will have a massive impact on your life.

 

Sometimes your encounters with people are so short, but they’ll always be intense, you might spend a week with someone, for them to become one of your best friends. When you think about it, it makes sense you’ll have an instant connection with those people you meet travelling; they are the same sort of person as you, who get the feeling that there is so much world out there to discover, and who are dead set that they’ll discover it.

 

I met some absolutely amazing people travelling, and most definitely left bits of my heart scattered across the globe with them, and my trip most definitely would not have been the same without them. Whether it is a great group on a tour, a great tour leader, or sometimes the girl at breakfast who you catch also stealing extra muffins for later.

 

So you can put your mind at ease when travelling solo, that you will make friends, and they’ll take your trip from great to unforgettable.

 

I’m pretty sure everyone knows how to make friends in general, but it is different when you’re not actually obliged to have contact with other people for an extended amount of time; and so without further ado, here are the best tips I have for making friends while abroad.

 

1) Don’t be scared

This might be easier said then done if you’re a little on the shy side, but really, if you’re the kind of person who psyched themselves into travelling alone, you’re probably not that shy. Don’t be worried about looking like an idiot if you just strike up a conversation with someone in the common room. It is a little scary, but realistically, even if you’re unlucky enough to be talking to a grumpy pants, they’ll probably be gone to their next destination in a couple of days, so who cares.

 

2) Do the hostel activities

If your hostel has an outing for a hike, or a trivia night or whatever, go to it. I went to a lot, and never saw anyone by themselves for very long. Everyone goes on those things to socialise, that is kind of the point of them. Plus, the tour guides have been told where to go by locals, so you usually see some pretty cool stuff.

 

3) Go to breakfast.

Apart from the fact that it is the most important meal of the day, I made a LOT of friends by just going to breakfast in the hostels. There is usually pretty limited seating, so you almost always have to join someone else’s table, but even if it’s not necessary, do it, sit down, chat to people, and next minute you’ve got a little crew joining you on your adventures. (Or, like Helen and I did in Vancouver, just pretend to be tour guides, then you’ll have an even bigger crew)

 

4) Respect different cultures

To some of you, this might seem like a pretty obvious one, and yet, I still heard a lot of people taking the mickey out of someones accent, or the way they spoke. Don’t be a dick, no-one likes a dick. You’ll meet a lot of people who do different things to you, who might be a stickler for religion, may speak little english, who might have a very different dress sense. You don’t have to convert your life to match theirs, but at least respect the difference.

 

5) Ask questions

You’re travelling to discover stuff aren’t you? Don’t go into a conversation thinking you know everything, you’ll learn so much more if you learn to listen to people, instead of sticking to a pre-conceived idea of how the world is. Plus, you might find out about some pretty amazing places that you didn’t even know you HAVE to visit.

 

6) Watch for stragglers

If there is someone at an activity or anything standing on their own, go and talk to them. Chances are they will be fully up for a conversation, and are just a little too shy to go up to people. Plus, if you are nice to people who need it most, the universe will give you some good karma, probably in that you’ve just met an awesome person.

 

7) Meet your roommates

If you are staying in a dorm room, it is a no-brainer way to make friends to be nice to the people in your dorm. I had some wicked roommates while I was travelling, and we went on many an adventure.

 

This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the ways to make friends abroad, but hopefully it will give anyone planning a solo trip a bit of peace of mind that it is easy to make friends, and you definitely will.

 

Remember too, that we’re lucky enough to be part of a world where it is super easy to stay in contact with people around the globe, grab peoples Facebooks, Skype, Email and whatever other methods of communicating online that you have and stay in touch with them! Because saying goodbye really sucks, but it is a lot easier when it is a “see you later” as opposed to a finite goodbye.

 

Enjoy these pictures too, of just some of the incredible people I met travelling, all of whom I shared adventures, the occasional drunken D&M, and many a laugh with.

 

The Amazing Anna of NZ
The Amazing Anna of NZ

 

Libby of NZ, Hollie of Geelong, myself of Nindigully, and Anna of NZ
Libby of NZ, Hollie of Geelong, myself of Nindigully, and Anna of NZ

 

Myself and Helen of Leeds with a couple of smoking hot lumberjacks after doing the Grouse Grind (and surviving, somehow)
Myself and Helen of Leeds with a couple of smoking hot lumberjacks after doing the Grouse Grind (and surviving, somehow)

 

Kim of Germany (greatest roommate ever)
Kim of Germany (greatest roommate ever)

 

The two best guys in Switzerland: Nils and Kevin
The two best guys in Switzerland: Nils and Kevin

 

My two favourite Americans, Mike and Mitch of Dallas, Texas
My two favourite Americans, Mike and Mitch of Dallas, Texas

 

The most amazing group of people ever to Contiki together
The most amazing group of people ever to Contiki together

 

The Beautiful Barbalia's of Cavallirio, Italy
The Beautiful Barbalia’s of Cavallirio, Italy

 

There are so many more people who could have been up here! But a special mention to two of my two favourite backpackers in Australia, Martin, who we lost to Portsmouth before I returned, and Becca of Kent, who leaves today for her next adventure.

 

England better stop taking my friends away: Becca of Kent and Martin of Portsmouth, formally of Brisbane, Australia
England better stop taking my friends away: Becca of Kent and Martin of Portsmouth, formally of Brisbane, Australia