Tuesday, September 30, 2014

3 tips for living in a foreign country

As someone who has spent a little while living in different countries, I have learnt a few things that are important to settling in a new country. Some of them may be obvious, however some of them you simply wouldn't think of before packing up and heading off on your new adventure.

1. Don't expect to get the same food you got back home

Despite moving to London from Australia, there is so much food from home that I had no idea they didn't sell here. I could talk about the obvious Twisties and Tim Tams but no I'm talking about things like puff pastry. Puff pastry sheets are nowhere in the UK. They only sell weird rolled up puff pastry or blocks just to make it that little bit more difficult for us. Good luck trying to find Angostora bitters as well. I managed to find a bottle in a tiny town in the middle of England, but aside from that they are nowhere to be seen.

Be prepared to get used to another country's food, and learn to embrace it.

2. You will face cultural differences no matter the country

I have lived in Ireland, England and of course my home country Australia, but they couldn't be more different. Each country has a completely different mindset, sense of humour and a way of going about things that can take some time to get used to. My favourite phrase to hear in Ireland when asking for directions was, "well if you want to be going there, you wouldn't be starting from here!" Now that phrase just didn't make sense to me. I felt like saying, "well I'm here now so I need to get there!" But to the Irish, it seems to makes perfect sense.

Learn to enjoy a new culture, and try not to constantly think, "back home things were done this way!"

3. Your home country will (most likely) always be there

When moving to a new country, you are probably going to miss it. But if travel is really important to you, don't give it up just because you're worried about change. It is likely that you will change so much more than anyone or anything back home. 

Don't hold back from travel because you are worried about what you are leaving behind, real friends will be waiting for you whether you are gone a week or a year.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Dubrovnik - a city worth seeing

I have visited quite a few European cities. I found Rome intense, Paris beautiful and Venice magical. But to be honest, Dubrovnik tops all of the above.

As soon as you arrive in Dubrovnik's Old City it feels like you are stepping through history. There are no tacky shop signs, rather they are painted on lanterns hanging above the door. As there are few vehicles allowed in the old town, you can wander around freely without worrying about crazy drivers running you down. There are a lot of tourists, so to get the best experience try to walk around in the early morning or in the evening at least once to really take in Dubrovnik.

I only got to eat one meal out here, but from what I saw and tried there is a lot of seafood and a specialty of cuttlefish risotto (or black risotto). At one restaurant I tried this along with fried squid and octopus salad. The risotto was a little overpoweringly salty, but I can see the potential if I had tried a different restaurant. Definitely worth a try though, even for the novelty of eating black rice!

What surprised me most about Dubrovnik is lack of evidence of the war. I really had to try hard to spot patches on the wall where it had been damaged and the first time I saw a crumbling and badly damaged building was from high up on the city wall. There are a few signs around about what happened and where, but aside from that it seems the Croats have put it all behind them.

Finally, a must do in Dubrovnik is walk along the city wall. It costs 100 kuna (around £10/$19) for adults and 30 for students and kids. Make sure you go 1 - 2 hours before sunset so that you can watch the sky turn orange as well as escape the boiling sun. There is not much shelter up there and it really is beautiful seeing the buildings change colour as the sun sets.

Dubrovnik really is one of the most beautiful and relaxed cities I have been to, and I could go back time and time again.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The awkward first post

So I guess for my first post I should tell you a little about myself. I am an Aussie currently living in London who loves travel. My quest is to visit every country in the world and hopefully not be that oblivious tourist walking around in circles with her camera in the air. I love to learn what it is like to be a local and as such I have lived in 4 countries in the past 5 years with length of stay ranging from 3 months to 3 years.

I hope to bring you honest information about the places I have been, because I find that reality never meets your expectations regardless of whether that turns out to be good or bad!