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I came to the realisation not long ago that the travel content on my blog was rather limited and there is a reason for this. I have not travelled anywhere in far too long. University commitments and lack of funds just keep getting in the way. None the less, I thought I’d create some travel advice content whilst I wait for that day when someone will just pay me to travel the world and not look back. Any takers? I’m PR friendly… I promise! Anyway I thought I’d start the advice with 10 things you should never do when staying in a hostel. I haven’t seen all of these happen but you’ll soon gather why I don’t see them to be hostel appropriate!

Number 1 – Do NOT leave the lights on

Do not be that annoying somebody who is the last one in at night and then forgets to turn the lights off before getting into bed. No one wants to have to get up and turn it off, especially when you’re half asleep and laying on the top bunk! This also goes for turning the lights on in the middle of the night. FUN FACT: in most dorm rooms you will have a personal light that is more than enough for when you decide to stay up all night reading a book. This also goes for turning the lights on at an appropriate time. If you have to be up at 5 am to catch a flight, how about having your stuff ready the night before so you can go change in the bathroom, gather your stuff and leave? That’s a smart idea you heard first from EarthtoConnie. Believe me, this is revolutionary to some!

Number 2 – Pack your bags the night before

Following on from my last point, if you know you have to be up at a ridiculous time in the morning to leave the hostel -please, please, please pack the night before. Being woken up with the rustling of bags in the morning is not fun for anyone. I will curse under my breathe if you do this to me. You are allowed a reasonable amount of rustling in the morning however if I roll over and spot you with your whole case unzipped and you’re reorganising the contents, then you may also get some eye rolls too!  You probably are thinking I must be a nightmare to share a dorm room with, but I promise I’m not. I’m only passive aggressive, you’ll barely know I’m there.

Number 3 – Keep the music to a minimal

Travelling and staying in hostels are so much fun. You will meet so many people and to some extent it’s perfectly acceptable to play music in a hostel. The social area is perfect for this and perhaps during the day in your dorm room too. But… you do need to be considerate of other people when you decide to play music. Are they sleeping? Reading a book and minding their own business? Remember they may be staying in a hostel and visiting the city for different reasons to you. They’ve probably paid the same amount of money as you and so just be respectful.

Number 4 – Do not demand anything

This is a bit of a weird one, but I’ll explain. I’ve stayed in a hostel and was sleeping on a bottom bunk (because who really enjoys sleeping top bunk?) It was possibly my third night in the hostel and so I was settled and had a place for all my stuff. We had a new roomy that day and within five minutes of entering the room and introducing herself she essentially demanded that she have my bed and I take the top. I felt so uncomfortable and avoiding confrontation I just agreed to it. I know every culture can be different but with no please and thank yous, this is particularly rude and inconsiderate. We didn’t speak since this incident and what annoyed me the most was that she was only there for one night only. Could she not have roughed it on top bunk for one night?

Number 5 – Find an appropriate place to leave your stuff

There is an unwritten rule as to where you leave your stuff when you’re staying in a hostel. For the most part, it is common sense. Top bunkers have the priority of the space underneath their ladder, there is a reason for this. If they’re going to accidentally jump down then at least it’s only their stuff there that might get damaged. Also, it makes sense for the bottom bunkers to have their stuff laid next to them on the floor. When you sleep it will be right next to them, I dunno about you but I wouldn’t want to be climbing over someone else’s stuff to get out of the bed in the morning. I hope this makes sense, I’m far too lazy to draw a diagram of what I mean for you.

Number 6 – Do not leave your laundry in the washing machine

If you are travelling for extensive periods of time, you will have to do laundry. Most hostels have laundry facilities however chances are they will only have one or two machines. Therefore, when you do your laundry you need to know when it’s ending so you can get it out of the machine asap. There’s nothing worse than an overly polite person avoiding doing their laundry because there’s some wet clothes left in there. No one wants to leave the clean clothes to smell damp on top of the washer, but no one wants to be waiting for your return. If you’re travelling the last thing you want to do is wait by a washing machine all day.

Number 7 – Have some personal boundaries!

This shouldn’t need to be a thing that is written in this post but unfortunately it needs saying. This hasn’t happened to me but it’s happened to people I know. It’s been the middle of the night and they’ve been woken up by two people having sex in the same room. I mean, why would anyone do this is beyond me. So yeah, I think there’s nothing more to be said on this…

Number 8 – Do wear clothes… Please?

Again, another odd one but there are people out there who aren’t ashamed to sleep naked. I’ve not experienced sharing a room with someone like this, but yet again I’ve heard these people are out there. I’m all for embracing the human body, but there are just some things you do not want to see first thing in the morning – or ever at all!

Number 9 – Sleep on the floor and then scare someone

Okay, this one is from a personal experience and I cannot explain just how odd waking up to this experience was. I have actually written a separate blog post all about this bizarre experience which you can read here. It is the second episode in my travel seriesThis one time…‘ and I can honestly say it was one of the most bizarre things to have happened to me… This is probably not a common occurrence (I hope anyway) but I thought I would include it just in case you feel the urge to do this.

Number 10 – Be the know it all

We’ve all met that person in a hostel who proceeds to tell you how they left there home town decades ago to find themselves and has no intention on returning anytime soon. They know everything about everything, and even though you didn’t ask them too they decide to give you a complete history lesson of the city you’re currently staying in. Did you just find all that on Wikipedia? Honestly, everyone is just going about their travels and no one needs their trip judged to be a holiday and not ‘real’ travelling. These people are the worst. Do not be these people!

Apologies that this post has become rather long – I didn’t know just how passionate about this topic. Perhaps I have a lot of built up aggression to all these annoying people I’ve experienced in hostels. I promise you I will write something more positive about hostels soon, I didn’t realise how pessimistic I was being. Staying in hostels are fun above everything else and I hope this hasn’t discouraged you from budget travel. Comment below if you have had any horrible hostel experiences that are actually quite comical! 

Want to write a travel story for my blog, contact me and I’ll be in touch with more details! 

 

 

I have been blogging for less than a year now and so I would still say I’m relatively new to this community. Of course, I have been following other people’s blogs for a while and you get familiar with the common blog post ideas. One post I have read countless times is the ’30 things I hope to do before I’m 30′ post which I love! I think this is possibly because i’m extremely nosy! I find it incredibly fascinating that so many people want different things by the time they’re 30.  So, I decided to give it a go, here is 30 things I hope to do before I’m 30…

  1. Skydive for charity
  2. Bungee jump
  3. Working holiday visa Australia
  4. Write my own novel
  5. Rescue a dog
  6. Take my mum on holiday to wherever she likes
  7. Learn to ski
  8. Learn to surf
  9. Go back to Camp!
  10. Start my own business
  11. Graduate!
  12. Volunteer abroad
  13. Learn to drive
  14. Finally stick to a gym membership
  15. Complete a charity run
  16. Climb to the top of the O2
  17. Inter-rail round Europe
  18. Host Christmas one year
  19. Start a YouTube channel
  20. Be an Extra in a film
  21. Attend a baby shower
  22. Monetise my blog
  23. Learn to code
  24. Write a play and have it produced
  25. Begin to learn Spanish
  26. Be my own Boss!
  27. Own a property
  28. Scuba dive
  29. Write a collection of short stories
  30. See Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the West End!

Comment below some things you would love to do in future years! 

 

Nan and her maid

Welcome back to my new series, “This one time…” If you are new to the series then you can read the first episode here, which is all about the most embarrassing moment of my life that took place at Yosemite National Park, California. In this series, I hope to write as many comical and/or inspirational travel stories as I can. If you are interested in me writing up one of your stories then please, be sure to contact me and I can give you further details on the plans I have for this series.

Today’s story is inspired by my amazing and inspirational nan who – when she was just nineteen – travelled all the way from rainy England to the other side of the world with her husband. She stayed for two years because her husband was in the army and in that time it sounds like she was living the dream. Swimming in the morning and the beach in the afternoon – what more could you ask for?

Back in the day, it was custom that once you had found your man and got married than a baby would usually follow. Pamela was 19 years old living in Paradise, what a better time to ask for a baby? Living in army quarters she had an amazing housewife who took care of everything. The heat was unbearable for an English girl living in George Town and so Pam spent the majority of her time swimming and taking trips to the beach.

The other side of the world from her family, she soon began to become friendly with the maid, whom everyone called Nora although Pam suspect that was an English name they assigned her. Unfortunately, this friendship was challenging due to the fact that Nora’s English was limited and English was the only language that Pam spoke. Pam tried to show her gratitude by attempting to help her with the housework but she was pulled away all too often.

One of the unique quirky behaviours that the maid adopted was that every day she would always hand Pam a banana to eat throughout the day. When this first happened she was amazed at just how tiny the fruit was, they didn’t get them like that back in England. She thought nothing of it, perhaps it was what was grown out here.

In 1966 England won the football World Cup for the first time. It was a joyous occasion and all the Brits living out in Malaysia were over the moon. Everyone had a spring in their step. Not long after this triumph Pam happened to grab her neighbour who spoke both languages to ask her maid why the bananas were so small. It turns out it is an old wives tale for the locals that eating a tiny banana a day will help a woman fall pregnant.

Pam laughed at this and found it the sweetest of gestures. Of course, she was in no rush to have a baby but she was happy regardless. From then on, every time the maid would hand Pam a banana she would express that it was for the baby, usually by rubbing her tummy and articulating ‘baby’.

With no success, Pam left the Borneo jungle with only her husband. She came back to living a life full of housework and little money. Being back in England wasn’t quite the two year holiday like it was in Penang. It was just then, when she was drowning underneath a pile of laundry, that she discovered she was expecting.

“I guess the banana’s worked after all”, she smiled.

My beautiful Nan

 

 

Hello and welcome to episode three of the series ‘This One Time…’ If you’re unfamiliar with the series, every week a new travel related story will be posted either by me or a guest. In episode one I told the story of a time in Yosemite National Park when I almost had an encounter with a bear. This weeks story is all about This One Time in San Francisco when I had a very confusing room mate in my hostel. If you would like to keep up to date with this series then make sure to subscribe to my blog and if you would like to write for this series then be sure to email me at contact@earthtoconnie.com I welcome anyone with an interesting travel story to tell!

It was my last night in the United States, after three months of travelling and working on a Girl Scouts summer camp. The whole experience was more than anything I could’ve dreamed off. Being a lifeguard, tanning in the sun all day, was one of the greatest Jobs I had ever had. To top it all off, road tripping round California, Arizona and Nevada was phenomenal. A real dream come true.

But with everything in life, it was exhausting. The last couple of days I spent in San Francisco, I felt as if I was just waiting for my flight home. Of course, I saw the sights, spied on some sea lions at pier 39, but I was longing for that moment at Heathrow where I could just run into my mums arms. I was staying in a hostel close to Union Square. In a female dorm room, it was just me and this other girl, and for the most part something about this girl felt off to me. She never left the room, not once.

We avoided speaking, and she always preferred the lights off. So when I was escaping the lair at 7am I quite literally got dressed in the dark. I could feel her beady eyes upon me when her alarm startled me each morning. Was she judging me for waking up? I guess it’s safe to assume that this girl really

intimidated me. I kept my self to myself because I found I was quite weary of her. Not in the way that I felt unsafe, in the way that I felt awkward.

Anyway, I was only in San Fran for five days. The whole experience was bearable until 5 hours before my scheduled departure. Never had I ever felt my heart stop until that moment. Never had I ever felt real fear before. More importantly, never have I ever been so lost for words that I just ran. Ran to the bathroom, ran to reception, ran back to England…

When I had arrived that evening to my surprise she wasn’t in my room and her bag was sprawled open on her bed as if she had been packing to leave. I thought, this is great, my own private room for the last night of my travels. I could sleep for an extra hour knowing that her alarm and piercing eyes would not disturb me. I don’t remember much else, I think I fell asleep still in my clothes, no cover over me. All I can recall is the disorientation and possible hallucination that beheld me when I next awoke.

In early September, the heat was still unbearable. Your clothes clung to your skin and there’s almost no comfortable position to sleep in. The hostel’s air con was merely a fan that blew out warm air and I couldn’t remember how much water I had drunk the day before. When I awoke it was the middle of the night. My eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness and I noticed that the bed next to me was empty. Not a single item of clothing left in sight. She must’ve left.

I closed my eyes for a second and in the next, slowly from the floor she rose. She had been sleeping on the floor next to me and as she rose I gasped. In slow motion she turned her head and those beady eyes stared right into my soul. I jumped up onto my bed and shrieked. Somehow, she managed to lie back to sleep – if my shriek didn’t manage to wake her up I’m not sure what would’ve. I had bigger concerns, as I jumped upright I had forgotten that I was asleep on a bottom bunk. I swear I almost gave me concussion, but thank god for that because that was the only way I managed to fall back to sleep.

It doesn’t sound like much but picture this. You’re still half asleep and the moment you open your eyes there is just a face directly in front of you! Staring directly into your eyes – that’s enough to send anyone home on an early flight.

The strangest part of this whole experience was the fact that when I awoke, she and her bags were no where to be seen. Did I hallucinate her last night? Was she even a guest at all? I guess I’ve learned one thing from this whole experience. Drink your water! Being dehydrated can do funny things to the brain…

If you enjoy reading this travel series, be sure to subscribe to my blog to keep up to date! Or you can follow me on twitter/Facebook/Instagram for more updates!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello, and welcome to my first ever blogging series called, “This one time”. In this series, I plan to write a collection of posts full of different travel related stories. I promise you these will all be real accounts of my adventures, however, what I can not promise you is that they will be published once a week. It’s me. As extremely sarcastic and annoying I am, I do not hold the talent of being organised, and so, this time next week I’ll probably be munching away at some popcorn at the cinema forgetting I had even starting this series. I promise you I’m a good blogger sometimes.

Anyway, this weeks story is all about this one time I was at Yosemite National Park and I had a close encounter with a bear. That’s right, a bear! My inner Bear Grylls was summoned and if you would like to find out just how much I embarrassed myself then read on…

Working as a Camp Counsellor in the United States of America is simultaneously one of the most challenging and rewarding things you could ever do. By challenging, I am referring to the late nights and early mornings; the 40 degree heat and last but not least, the homesick children. You will not understand what it feels like to be completely exhausted yet feel completely at home until you’ve worked as a camp counsellor. It is in those challenges where the memories began. It is when you feel you’re at your lowest, most sleep-deprived self when someone going that extra mile for you, makes you realise what true friendship is. Most importantly, it is when you see a child face a challenge they never thought they could and you see the gleam on their face, that you realise you have the best job in the world!

Being from the United Kingdom, a land far away that hosts tea parties and croquet competitions, we do not experience the ‘Summer Camp’ phenomenon quite like the Americans. This being said, having always fantasised about going to one and meeting my long lost twin and reuniting my parents, I decided to make my dream come true. (If you did not understand my Parent Trap reference there, you need to re-evaluate your film choices). My point being, I always knew I wanted to experience ‘Summer Camp’ since I discovered what it was. For me, it was unrealistic to dream of becoming a camper, however, after hearing about ‘Camp America’ and how they send people from all different countries to camp, the dream began to seem viable.

I decided, that the best time for me to go on this adventure, would be whilst at University. This was partly because I wanted to know what it would be like to spend so much time away from home in England before venturing abroad. My application began the moment I could for 2017. I didn’t have any skills that I thought would be essential; I didn’t horse-ride, I couldn’t rock-climb and I certainly did not see myself as a lifeguard. But the world works in mysterious ways, and before I knew it, I was at camp practicing CPR on a dummy. (Training as a lifeguard was INTENSE and if you want to hear more about how I survived then click here. ) You will always have doubts about getting placed so why not just apply anyway? Chances are you will, even if you believe yourself to be skill-less like me.

A Day at Camp Grove Point

  1. Wake up. This was the hardest part of the day for me as I am not a morning person. If you’re like me in that sense, do not worry. Believe it or not, there are people out there who are not night owls like yourself and so you can choose amongst yourselves who does the night shift and who does the morning shift.
  2. Breakfast. We were given a set menu each week at our camp. My favourite breakfast was American Scones. OMG I would fly back to the States tomorrow for another one of those.
  3. First two activities. As a lifeguard, I would usually be at the pool or waterfront. However, there were a range of activities that would be held, and this all depended on the theme of the week and what the weather was like. Some activities were: sailing, kayaking, archery, swimming, arts and crafts, nature and Drama.
  4. Lunch. At home I don’t eat three meals a day but as a camp counsellor YOU WILL NEED THOSE CARBS!
  5. Me time. Now you’re probably wondering what the hell this is. Hopefully, the name did not discourage you to look further because it is not what you think, I promise. I referred to it as NAP TIME. A 60 minute nap makes the world of difference.
  6. Two more activities. 
  7. Dinner. I remember one week at camp, ‘Bangers and Mash’ came on the menu and all the Brits were over the moon. It was just the best blessing.
  8. Evening Activity.
  9. Bed time. If you haven’t had a kid vomit or cry because they were homesick, you are looking to be able to hit your head on your pillow at around 11. As soon as that happens you will be dreaming in minutes.
  10. REPEAT


My Favourite Moments

My favourite week at camp was prank week. Although it was mainly designed for the kids, us counsellors also lost many hours of sleep plotting and scheming. A few of us had planned to spider web the leadership office with wool, clingfilm their belonging and fill the room with balloons. We met at 1am to carry this out, however for the first four nights something stopped us. It’s safe to safe by night four, the one where we carried it out, we were exhausted. We found it hilarious! However what we didn’t realise was that one of the children was allergic to latex and so immediately after leadership found it, we had to take it all down. Luckily, it was only our reputation that was hurt and so it turned out to be one of the funnier moments of camp.

Another favourite  week at camp was Harry Potter week. The leadership team planned it so well that even the counsellors were just as excited as the kids. At breakfast the sorting hat came round and we sorted into our houses. Leadership designed the weeks activities into which house could win the most house points. I no longer remember which team won however I do remember the Slytherin team always being accused of cheating, I wonder why…

I could ramble on all day about what my favourite moments at camp but unfortunately, I would need a whole other blog entirely (should I make that happen? Hmm…) The most important thing I will remember from camp will be the life lessons and the friendships.

What I took from Camp

Although there are challenges, these challenges make you a more rounded human being. The most important thing I learned  was to not take life too seriously. I felt so detached from the outside world that all I had to worry about was putting a smile on the children’s faces and being myself. I had the privilege of being away from any boy drama and not having to worry about my appearance or impressing anyone. Every morning was a new adventure, and now a new story to share. I just love camp and I will always want to return.

To anyone thinking about working as a camp counsellor in the USA my advice is to just do it! Taking risks is what life is all about!

The Water front at Camp Grove Point
The Water front at Camp Grove Point