Canggu the lawn

Year 3 of Our Travels

I can’t believe it’s been a year since our two year travel-versary and 3 years since the start of our irresponsible first year of travels. A lot has happened in year 3 of our travels, a lot of which was not planned. But it’s amazing how you can turn the challenges life throws at you into positive experiences.

Besides a few pre-planned trips, our travels over the past year have purely been based on the status of Will’s Australian (partner) visa application, which I’ll explain further into this post.

So this is what we’ve been up to in Year 3 of our travels (both together and apart), and why…

1. La Herradura, Spain

So starting where we left off…we celebrated our two year travel-versary in Will’s auntie’s luxurious villa in La Herradura, a stunning part of the Costa Del Sol. Check out the video of our trip here.

travels la herradura

2. Liverpool, England

From Spain we needed to get back to England and the cheapest flight connection from Málaga airport was to Liverpool, so we thought why not spend a couple of days there before catching a bus back to Sheffield. We happened to get there just in time for the vintage festival at Albert Dock!

Welcome to Liverpool 🤗 🚌 Arrived just in time for the Vintage festival 🚎

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3. Dublin, Ireland

Our original plan was that next we’d go to Dublin to volunteer in a hostel for a couple of weeks but unfortunately we had to stay in England to sort out documents for Will’s visa. I however had already booked flights out of Dublin to meet up with my dad in Poland so a couple of days before my flight I flew in to Dublin alone to do a bit of site seeing. I was surprised by how different Ireland is to England; read my post on Things You Didn’t Know About Dublin to see what I got up to.

Travels Dublin Temple Bar

4. Warsaw, Poland

I had always planned to meet up with my dad when he was over from Australia visiting relatives in Poland. Will and I were hoping to travel through Poland together this year but due to our funds I went alone this time. It was great to spend a week catching up with family and putting together my Local’s Guide to Warsaw.

Travels Warsaw Stare Miasto

5. Ljubljana, Slovenia

The next stop was Slovenia for a pre-organised all expenses paid press trip in Bela Krajina and we had to travel via Slovenia’s capital city Ljubljana to get there. The only way for me to get from Warsaw to Ljubljana on time (due to lack of flight connections) was to arrive 24 hours before Will’s flight from the UK. I took this opportunity to explore this gorgeous city of Ljubljana solo, and had no regrets.

Triple Bridge Travels

6. Bela Krajina, Slovenia

Will and I got picked up together from Ljubljana for the start of our press trip with Big Berry. We had such an amazing time exploring the Bela Krajina region of Slovenia and staying at the Big Berry Glamping site. Although we had a lot of fun, this was a business trip (our first sponsored travel opportunity through this blog!) so we spent a lot of time afterwards writing about our first glamping experience and putting together a video from our Slovenian travels that you can watch here.

7. Back to England, UK

Our plans from here were to head back to Australia to apply for Will’s permanent Australian visa onshore, and find work (as we had literally used up all our savings). We borrowed some money, booked our flights and were very excited to get back into the Aussie lifestyle for a while. But then we were hit with a major set back when we found out Will had to apply for his visa offshore, which meant he couldn’t enter Australia until it was finalised (up to 15 months!!)

Travels England

(Autumn in the English countryside)

Long story short, we managed to find a migration agent who guaranteed she’d get the visa approved within 6 months! So I ended up going on the flight back to Australia alone and we made the compromise to endure 3 long months apart and save money to be able to reunite in Asia for the remaining 3 months.

8. Brisbane, Australia

After a long journey to the other side of the globe I had finally arrived in Australia after a year away. The next couple of days were spent in a hostel recovering from jet lag and working on some online freelance work to financially get through the next couple of weeks. The priority was to meet up with family and friends around the country before finding a temporary job to save for Asia, while Will started working at a temporary job in England.

Travels Brisbane

9. Hamilton Island, Australia

The next stop was Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays where I met up with my brother to catch up on his boat for a week. One of my favourite places in the world.

Travels Hamilton Island

10. Adelaide, Australia

After that I flew to Adelaide, my home town, to catch up with the ‘rents and some friends from high school. It was really nice to re-connect with old friends again, despite being anxious of not fitting in anymore.

Travels Adelaide

(Brighton beach, where I grew up 😊 )

11. Melbourne, Australia

Luckily my brother offered to host me in his home in Melbourne for a couple of months so I wouldn’t have to go through a long-distance relationship alone. I ended up getting a job at the Melbourne River Cruises and asking for as many shifts as I could. I also started picking up extra clients for freelance work and on days off explored Melbourne. I really tried to make the most of the situation but was literally counting down the days, hours and minutes until I’d get to see Will again.

Travels Melbourne

Meanwhile Will was busy working full-time at a warehouse and bar tending on weekends to save as much money as possible for our next move…(we were very committed to make our plan work!)

12. Brisbane, Australia

It really was hard to be apart for so long but after 3 months had passed we were reunited at last! Will luckily managed to pull some strings and get a short tourist visa for Australia while the permanent visa was being processed, so we got to spend a couple of days together in Brisbane.

Finally got my Brit back after 3 months apart!!! So happy 😁😁😁 #Brisbane #couplegoals

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13. Ubud, Bali

All our hard work and sacrifices paid off because now our reality was that we had 3 months to spend together in Asia, while we waited for Will’s Australian visa to get processed. Not a bad situation to be in hey? We used this ‘waiting time’ as the perfect opportunity to tick off a bucket list dream of ours; living in Bali! The first stop was Ubud, and it was magical to spend a month surrounded by mountains, rice fields and rainforests. Read my Budget Traveller’s Guide To Ubud as well as my post on Best Restaurants In Ubud for all our budget-savvy tips.

Travels Ubud

14. Singapore

Since we could only stay in Bali for 30 days at a time (and didn’t apply for a visa extension beforehand), we had to do a visa run out the country every 30 days. We actually preferred to do this though as it gave us an excuse to see more places in South East Asia. The cheapest flights we found out of Bali were to Singapore, a country we’d never explored before so we booked them straight away! We were then coincidentally given the opportunity to collaborate with 5 Foot Way Inn Boutique Hostel in Singapore, a hostel we highly recommend staying at if you’re travelling to Singapore on a budget.

Travels 5 foot way inn skydeck

15. Canggu, Bali

When arriving back to Bali this time we chose to stay in the South of the island as we were missing the coast. We didn’t want to be based in the hectic Kuta or Seminyak so we chose Canggu, an expat/surfer community about 15 minutes drive North of Seminyak. There’s a lot of things to do in Canggu, and places to eat {check out my guide to restaurants & cafes in Canggu} We also explored other regions of Bali like Uluwatu and Nusa Dua while staying here.

Travels Canggu

16. Borneo, Malaysia

We left it a bit late to organise our second visa run and flights were getting expensive to the parts of South East Asia that we wanted to visit, but luckily we found a cheap connection to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Since we already spent some time in KL in the second year of our travels, we took this opportunity to head to the other side of Malaysia, to the Island of Borneo.

Hint: If you don’t already know, Borneo is a big island in South East Asia divided into three parts; one belonging to Malaysia, the other to Indonesia, and the third to a small country called Brunei.

We stayed in the Sabah region on the Malaysian side of Borneo, and there we experienced island hopping as well as having our first encounter with proboscis monkeys and fireflies on a river cruise. The city itself though, Kota Kinabalu, I really didn’t like due to witnessing men highly disrespecting women on the street (maybe I’ll share this story in another post some day). On a positive note while we were there we found out Will’s permanent Australian visa had been granted!!!

Travels Sabah snorkel

17. Back to Ubud, Bali

Since we already had our flights booked we came back to Bali to enjoy the last stint of this part of our travels, and start preparing for life in Australia. After a busy month in Canggu previously, we missed the tranquility of Ubud so we decided to go back there for a week with plans to take a couple more trips around Bali before our departure date. But after a scary white water rafting accident we chose to stay put and spent the rest of our time in Ubud recovering from the accident.

Travels Mount Batur

Photo above from when we conquered Mount Batur, an active volcano in Bali!

18. Gold Coast, Australia

So after a 6 month delay we had finally arrived back in Australia (the original plan), yearning to have a place to call home for a while in between short trips around the country. Will got a job at the Marriot Hotel and was very keen to get back into work to pay off this visa (do you think $10k is worth it? comment below…) but my wandering heart was still not fully ready to face ‘reality’ yet. But you know, the law of attraction is a powerful thing, and I happened to attract the best of both worlds. I was offered a job as a travel agent for Peterpans Backpacker Travel Agency and had the opportunity to see some of the most amazing places around Australia through work!

Just another day in paradise☀️ #visitsurfersparadise

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19. Fraser Island

The first trip I did was a tag-along-tour of Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world (1,840 km2) and one of the most popular places on the Aussie backpacker route. A couple of Dutch friends and I spent a few days 4WDriving around Fraser Island to all the stunning freshwater lakes and camping at an authentic Aboriginal camp site. So much fun!

Travels Fraser Island

Travels Lake McKenzie

20. Spot X Surf Camp

The next trip was with my German friend Miriam who was another staff member. We took a bus to the Mojo Surf Camp located in a secret/not-so-secret beach in New South Wales (near Coffs Harbour). It was such a cool place to be with chilled surfer vibes all weekend. We even learnt how to surf and used muscles we hadn’t used in a long time.

Surf Travels

21. Airlie Beach & Whitsunday Islands

Next up I had the opportunity to work at the Airlie Beach store for a couple of weeks, the gateway to Whitsunday Island, and it had actually always been on my bucket list to experience working in The Whitsundays. During this time I went on a 2 night backpackers sailing trip around the Whitsundays and to my surprise the third time there didn’t have much of an impact on me, even though I love that part of the world. It’s a problem many travellers before me have faced…seeing so many amazing places regularly that it takes a lot to be impressed (might have to write a blog post on the topic).

Travels Whitsunday Island

The coolest thing though about doing an organised group tour was the awesome people I got to meet from all over the world.

Travels Whitsundays

22. Marriot Hotel, Surfers Paradise

After 2 weeks away staying on boats and in hostels, Will surprised me with a night at the 5 Star Marriot in Surfers Paradise. It was so nice to stay in luxury at a private Marriot Vacation Club suite, even though we were only a 10 minute walk from home.

Travels Marriot

Travels Marriot Hotel

23. Noosa Everglades

The following week, Will and I made plans to spend a few days in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast to visit some of Will’s family. While we were there we did a full day tour of the Everglades National Park. For those of you who don’t know, the Everglades are often described as a grassy, slow-moving river and there are only two in the world. The other Everglades are in Florida U.S. which is full of alligators. It was pretty cool experience the only Everglades in the world that you can kayak on.

Travels Everglades

Tip: If you ever do the Everglades kayaking tour in Noosa, ask to go with the first group to avoid being in the group that has to paddle against the current. It was a work out!

24. Northern Territory

Just after thinking I was all ‘travelled out’ for a while, an opportunity that would be crazy to say no to came up. Miriam and I were offered to go on a 12 day trip to the Northern Territory of Australia at an unbelievably discounted travel agent rate at last minute! I said good bye to all of the little funds I had managed to save, and it ended up being the most amazing tour I think I’ve EVER done. Especially the Red Centre of Australia, it blew my mind, and it made me happy to know that new places still excite me. I highly recommend experiencing the real Australia on your next trip here, especially if you’re Australian and have never been to Ayers Rock/Uluru before.

Travels Kings Canyon

(Kings Canyon, Northern Territory)

25. Byron Bay (Skydiving!)

Recently Will and I took another weekend away, and this time to Byron Bay. We ticked another big goal off our bucket list while we were there…skydiving! It felt so crazy, especially when we realised we’d never been on a plane with the door open before! Such a cool experience, and one I recommend everyone to have at least once in your life.

Travels Skydiving

Travels Sky Dive

26. Gold Coast, Australia

We are back on the Gold Coast now, and as of very recently I stopped working as a travel agent. The experiences I was able to have over the past few months were incredible and I’m oh so grateful for them, but the work itself was starting to become stressful, inauthentic and was no longer serving me. I feel blessed for the memories but now it’s time for a new chapter of the story. Will and I are super excited for the adventures the next 12 months holds!

Travels Gold Coast

We’re very thankful for our families generous support to get us through such a transitional year. And we’d also like to thank YOU so much for following the journey. We hope that by reading our stories you’ve gained at least a little bit of inspiration to see more of the world.

Happy Travels!

Sandy x

Have you been to any of the places mentioned in this post? Leave us a comment below…

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20 thoughts on “Year 3 Of Our Travels

  1. That’s a lot of travel! Is Will from Sheffield? I lived there for a while, and yes, I think the Australian weather after Sheffield must be a paradise!

  2. It looks like you’ve had some amazing adventures, especially the surf camp and skydiving! I’m dying to visit Ljubljana and Bali, so I’m so glad you enjoyed them both. You’ve clearly seen some incredible sights in the last year.

  3. What a whirlwind year! Love that it’s all about your love for Will and your love for travel 🙂
    Southeast Asia is on our list for 2018- and maybe one day to your beautiful country.

  4. You had such a busy year, but it looks absolutely incredible. Scrolling down your list, I kept having to stop to go back and read some of your related posts! Can’t wait to continue reading 🙂

  5. Wow you guys have visited so many great places. I really want to go to Poland and Slovenia! I would also love to explore more of Australia!

  6. Wow, what an exciting and challenging year! I love that you guys were able to power through long distance, it’s so tough.

    My husband (an Aussie) and I (a Canadian) are living in Brisbane for the next while.. Next year I have to begin the daunting task of forking over all that $$$ for a spouse visa and doing all the paperwork! Not looking forward to it.. Any advice??

    1. Yeah very tough but we did it! 😁
      Best advice we could give is to not wait and start the process right now even if you plan to complete the application a year from now. Because when you get to it there may be sections of the application where you think shoot if only we knew a year ago that we needed to collect that evidence, or apply for that certificate or put both our names on that letter, etc…good luck!

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