Sunday, January 14, 2018

New Year, New Adventures!

Happy 2018!

(Japan - New Years 2017)

 It's already half way through the first month of the year and I'm already plotting my trips for 2018! Well, actually, I decided on the locations months ago! But the planning and saving starts now! 

(Australia 2017)

Last year trips were so much fun, but I'm always looking forward to the next plane ride or booking the next accommodation and exploring a new environment! Travel is truly addictive :) My 2017 adventures were either solo trips or I travel with one other friend. 2018 will be very different! I have two major trips and they are both group trips! I'll be going to Europe, which  will be a girls adventure, and Nicaragua, which will be AWESOME! I'm very excited about both travel opportunities and sharing it all on the blog and on the Youtube channel (Wilde Child Travel)! 

(Albq, NM 2017)

Make sure you subscribe to the Youtube Channel and follow the blog to come along on the next year of adventures! You can also come along with me on Instagram (Wildechildyup) for more photos and stories! If you have big travel plans this year, I'd love to hear about them! Let me know in the comments below! 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Sydney: Walking tour & Sweets!

I still have a few more goodies to share from my trip to Australia! Today I've posted a video to my Youtube Channel (Wilde Child) about my first day in Sydney! It's at the bottom of this post, so don't forget to check it out! Amie and I traveled back to Sydney after a few days at Port Stephens, which was a blast! Now it was time to explore a new city!

On my first full day in Sydney we had breakfast at Petal Met Sugar, which was a cafe and a florist shop. After eating we joined a free walking tour with the I'm Free Walking Tours! The walking tour is a tip based tour and our guide (Indigo) was a history student who really made the tour fun by mixing convict history with iconic tourist spots and the architectural history! She was really fun, energetic, and truly informative! You'd be lucky to get her on a tour!

After our tour we went to Glebe Market. There's a jewelry line that I follow on IG called Haus of Dizzy and, since I was in Sydney I wanted visit the stall in person! Glebe Market has so much to offer. It's a mix of small business goods (clothes, food, jewelry, skin care) and flea market finds! It's a great way to spend a lazy afternoon. We got there late, unfortunately, but we still got to see a lot of what the market had offer in terms of the different vendors:)

After the market, Amie allowed me to drag her around Sydney for a little bit longer! There was a cafe I really wanted to check out called La Floraison💮

They sell these really cool looking flower jellies that I wanted to try. Let's just say that it looks better than it tasted! It was supposed to be coconut flavored, but I didn't taste any coconut flavor. It was kind of tasteless, but it was beautiful! I also got a back up treat! A mermaid cupcake and a latte with a unicorn design on top. I would suggest this cafe, I just wouldn't suggest the flower jellies.

When we were done at La Floraison it was dark and we were tired from trekking all of Sydney! We really had a full day of walking and went back to relax for a bit on Amie's roof top! The views were 360 and amazing! You could see the Harbour Bridge and the Opera house all lit up in the darkness! You can see the awesome view in the video below! Check out our day around the city and, if you've tried the Flower Jellies from La Floraison, let me know what you thought about this dessert!

I'm going to try to get the rest of my Sydney videos up before the end of January, so I can start the year off right! Follow the blog, subscribe to the YouTube Channel, and Follow me on IG (Wildechildyup) to come along on my adventures and get updates on new videos! Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Port Stephens: Marine Park & Lighthouse

November and December are always the worst blog months for me because I'm usually doing NANOWRIMO and there are lots of family birthdays and holiday events. And now I've started a second job! Although I'm not writing as much as I want, I do still have a backlog of videos! Don't forget that I do have a Youtube Channel (Click HERE), a home for all of my trip videos, as well as travel tips and conversations with some of my favorite travel buddies! 
Here is the latest video I posted; more footage of my Australian adventure :) 

We spent our last day in Port Stephens and Nelson Bay buying postcard and wandering around the Marine Park working our way to the Lighthouse. It was a on-and-off-again cloudy and rainy day, but the views were still worth standing in the chilly air and a little rain.
At the top of the incline, where the lighthouse and lighthouse museum is, there's also a little darling cafe! It's called the Inner Light Tea Rooms. (I'm telling you, Australia has some of the most charming and unique cafes). You can sit, have food, and simply look out over the water and the birds are really bold, they'll get so close to you for a bit of food. 

If I lived in Sydney, I would defiantly make some routine trips to Port Stephens/Nelson Bay and Salamander Bay to escape for the weekend. It's close enough to drive to, and yet far away enough that you feel as if you're truly on vacation - although you're only a few hours away. 

 Connect with me on Instagram: @Wildechildyup

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

ABQ International Balloon Fiesta 2017

For the longest time I've been dreaming of going to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. This year I just decided to knock this item off my "Travel List" (you know, the list of places and things that inspire you to get up and go). I put the balloon fiesta on my list for a reason, so why not go? There's a point in time when you get tired of dreaming of something and want to see it in real life, up close and personal. 

Don't forget to check out the video below. It brings to life all of the colorful beauty that is the fiesta!

I bought a ticket online before leaving, they were $10 each (but there are various packages and offers on the website). Honestly, it's more expensive to catch a ride the balloon park than to get tickets. 

Seriously, transportation to the park was THE WORST part. If I wanted to catch a ride on the coach buses near my hotel it would have been $45 round, no thanks. The International Balloon Fiesta is a very big event in Albuquerque and luckily my hotel also offered a transportation deal. Leaving from my hotel I paid $10 each way, so the total was $20 round trip. This was such a great saving, I would always make sure you know what your hotel is offering before putting down money for a taxi, Uber, or coach bus.

I arrived at the Balloon Park around 5 am. It was still pitch dark and freezing. There were shuttles transporting people from the parking lots, camp ground, and museum to the launch field and vendor stalls. The day I went was "Canon Day", which meant that the day was sponsored mainly by Canon. In the Canon tent I got to borrow one of their many great cameras for free, and the bet part was that I got to keep the memory card! I picked an easy point and shoot HD camera, which was great for all of the pre-dawn photos and capturing the laser light show - which I my other camera couldn't pick up. 

(Dawn Patrol)

There are two sessions per day; the morning session and the night session. I went to the morning session. Around 7 am Dawn Patrol starts, which is a few balloons standing ready to take off  and illuminate the dark. The sun starts to rise and other balloons start to get laid out and ready to go up in the air. Loading up on hot chocolate, I was ready for the show!

Once the sun starts rising all of the other balloons begin to take to the air. Some of them are competition balloons and some are paid rides. I didn't get in a gondola for a ride, but a couple did tell me that their ride was $400 - pretty steep for me! I was happy enough to watch them repeatedly take off and land around the launch field.

No matter where I went I was surround by these giant colorful balloons and I didn't really get an idea of exactly how many there were until I saw them all in the sky.

There wasn't any wind when I was there, so the balloons were able to just hang above us and not drift too far until the maneuvered away from the launch field. The morning session ends around 11 am and the balloons spend the morning floating all over Albuquerque, the next day I could see them all over downtown and Old Town. 

Once the launch field was cleared and most of the balloon drifted away I went over to the International Balloon Museum, just up the hill from the field. The outside roof of the building was shaped to look like a balloon. 

Inside is the history of weather balloons, hot air balloons, a bit of space exploration, and a gift shop. It was nice to look around, but that wasn't why I was in Albuquerque. The hot air balloons were the high point of my trip to New Mexico and, although I almost froze out there in the pre-dawn temps, I don't regret a second of this trip. I think it will always be one of my favorite solo adventures and I wouldn't hesitate to go again.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Port Stephens 4WD Sandboarding & Camel Ride

As you know, my flight to Australia was delay for a whole day, which meant I lost a whole day of fun. Once the plane touched down in Sydney Amie and I rented a car and drove to Port Stephens to catch up on the time we lost. One of the best ways to get through jet lag is to fight through it. Don't go to the hotel and sleep, get out and get moving. Do stuff. That's exactly what I did. First thing on my list: sandboarding! 

Birubi Beach is a was not at all what I expected. It was a little difficult finding the designated location for the Port Stephens 4WD check-in. Once we found the little road leading down towards the water we found the paved parking lot, two sandboarding companies (4WD was one of them!), and a service that gives camel rides. 

We jumped into the 4WD vehicle for a bumpy ride over the dunes to the designated sandboarding location a few minutes away from the parking lot. From this spot we could still see the car lot and the beach area, but if you looked with your back towards the ocean all you'll see are sand dunes as far as the eye could see. Birubi was a lot larger than I expected and I know that there is also a "Tin City" tour there (11 kilometers of beach driving to "Tin City", a small makeshift fishing village that emerges from the dunes like a mirage" - 4WD website), but we didn't take advantage of that activity. 

My TOP TIPS for sandboarding: 

#1 Do NOT put your phone in your pocket. You'll be finding tiny granules of sand around the case edge for the next seven days; a weird little annoying souvenir. 

#2 Don't wear socks, there's no point since they strongly suggest you take your shoes off - and who wouldn't want to feel the nice warm sand between their toes? Socks would just collect sand.

#3 Leave the purse in the trunk of the car. Or if you're worried about leaving important things in the car park, bring a backpack-type bag so you can keep your things clean and with you at all times!

4WD provided water, which was great. Although we went in August (which is winter in Australia), it was still pretty warm with the sun shining bright overhead and climbing to get to the top of those dunes takes a great deal of energy. I felt like I was on a StairMaster. Between the strong winds blowing the sand around and the steep dunes, it was a total body work out just getting to the top. 

If you want to see all of the action for yourself, I've inserted a video I made about the experience. Take a look ⇊


On the way back we were going to head to the Airbnb, but Amie talked me into checking out the camel rides. Oakfield Ranch was set up near the car park, so there's no need to search them out, they're very easy to find. We actually first saw them when we can into the parking lot. 

After sandboarding the camels were resting and waiting for the next riders. Fortunately for us, we were the only people around at that time and we got all of the camels to ourselves - which meant we had the pick of the litter.  I'd never ridden a camel before and I was a little nervous, but it turned out to be something I was very glad I experienced. 

The ride was another great way to see the sand dunes and we veered towards the beach and got to ride among the waves coming up to the shore.

 At Birubi point the ride lasted about 20 minutes. Online I saw that there are other rides you can take at other locations, like the hour long sunset ride at Anna Bay. I think 20 minutes is the perfect amount of time to spend in a camel saddle. 

The camel ride was fun and not something I ever expected to do in Australia (when I think of Australia I don't typically think of camels...). Now that I've done it I don't believe I would ever do it again. It's a one and done type of activity. However, I would definitely go sandboarding again!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Australia Bound - Dallas Layover 😱

I was racing to make my connection from Dallas to Sydney when I got to a very empty gate. The Qantas representative at the desk smiled and handed me some papers and explained that my flight to Australia has been delayed for 24 HOURS and they were putting us all in a hotel with food vouchers. This was the last thing I wanted to hear! But there was nothing anyone could do but go to the hotel, sleep in a bed, and eat hotel food until we got more information and a departure time. 
I appreciate that Qantas put us up for the time we were delayed, but what I did not appreciate was that  there were no notifications or emails ahead of time to inform us that our flight was not going out on the date and time intended. Also, there was no one helping us at the hotel. They did not send representatives to inform us about updates. The only information we received was that the check-in desk would open at 6 pm. All day my fellow Australia-bound voyagers and I stood at the arrival and departure boards in our hotel lobby checking to see if there was an incoming flight and to see if our flight would mysteriously show up with a gate number. There are somethings in which Qantas excelled, however their customer service leaves a lot to be desired. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Off to Australia!

It feels so good to be off on another adventure! I'm visiting my friend, Amie, in Sydney and she's going to show me the locals live in this beautiful city. I've never been to Australia and I'm very excited to make some lasting memories, write new blog posts, and film new videos! Make sure you subscribe to my Youtube Channel, follow the blog, or even connect with me on Instagram (Wildechildyup) to keep up on the updates, adventures, and fun times! 

Get to know my good friend Amie in this video we did a while ago (before she even left for Australia) about our different traveling styles: