Everyone tells you not to plan too far in advance when you travel. Of course, when planning our trip we completely ignored this advice and scheduled our New Zealand itinerary in precise detail before we left London. It’s only now that we’re actually on the road that we realise how important it is to be flexible; as I type this we’re sat in Taupo, which has the hugest lake in Australasia, plenty of cute bars and cafes and a relaxed atmosphere – as soon as we arrived on a random afternoon trip we loved it and wanted to stay. Luckily we were able to check out of our extremely average hostel in smelly Rotorua and head back here, despite our rigid itinerary.

As a secondary school teacher in the UK sometimes you feel like there are nothing but targets; “you must do more of this and include less of that in your lessons”. Any UK teacher will tell you how a visit from the school inspectors is one of the most stressful things you can be put through, even if they don’t end up actually viewing one­­­­­­ of your lessons!

I can hardly believe that we left the UK just a week ago; since we touched down in New Zealand we haven’t stopped exploring. Each day has been crammed with new sights and experiences; from night kayaking and fishing to bathing on a hot water beach and trekking to the top of a volcanic island. We’ve driven 1,100 Kilometres, slept in five different beds, cooked in three different kitchens, got injured (Amy) and sunburned (both of us) and overall, had an amazing time – here’s the story of our first week on the road in New Zeland’s North Island.
After a pretty hideous 23-hour journey we made it to New Zealand. So what were our first impressions of Auckland? That it looked very similar to England; it was almost as if we’d been on a plane for hours but hadn’t really gone anywhere. That first day and night we both felt a bit shell shocked as we slowly realised we were literally on the other side of the world without a home or job to go back to, which made me question: ‘What the hell have we done’?  Thankfully, after a good sleep those fears disappeared and as we headed up to Paihia for our overnight Bay of Islands cruise, we were excited to finally be starting our adventure.
This time next week we'll be in the air en-route to New Zealand! Lately we've been so wrapped up in finalising travel plans and visiting family and friends that we've almost forgotten to be excited about leaving. To get us back in the mood for travel, our friend Patti wrote about her time in New Zealand.
It’s finally arrived, my last evening in London. As I type this I’m surrounded by a flat full of stuff that needs to be sorted and packed but all I really want to do is absorb everything. For a few weeks now I’ve had the sensation that everything’s out of my control, like we’re hurtling full speed towards our departure date and I’m most certainly not the person in the driving seat. We may have finished work and said our goodbyes, but I still feel like I’ve yet to come to terms with leaving my city.
I grew-up in Wales, my parents still live in the same house and when I speak to my siblings we always refer to it as ‘home’; even though we haven’t permanently lived there for years. Whenever I think of Wales or go back there it invokes happy childhood memories of having no responsibilities and playing football until dusk. All that changed when I moved to Bristol for University and then on to London to become a teacher. Although I haven’t lived in Wales since, I will always think of it as my childhood home and would recommend visiting.
Guess what? It’s snowing!One of the things we’re looking forward to when we travel is escaping the dreary British weather; we’ll definitely be glad to see the back of all the lukewarm summers and soggy grey winters. There is, however, one type of weather we love: Snow.
On a cold Wednesday night almost exactly eight years ago, I was dancing away with my housemate Kelly in our usual student haunt, an 80s themed nightclub in my beloved University city, Bristol. Drunk on £1 bottles of apple VK and deliriously dancing along to Wham, Madonna and the Dirty Dancing sound track I spotted a long-haired (equally drunk) 21-year-old Andrew across the dance-floor and the rest, as they say, is history.
There are certain places in London that feel almost magical to me – the river is one of them. Whenever I walk along the South bank or across one of the bridges I feel how ancient London is; I see all the old and new buildings winding alongside the river, all the tourists and office workers milling about and it’s like I’m seeing everything for the first time, even though I’ve lived in London for three years now.