Welcome to a new monthly series we are running on Flat Earth Magazine! Our weekly blogs only touch the surface of what we’ve been up to, so we’ve decided to dive in a little deeper every month so you can see what travelling and living abroad is really like.
Places Visited: Port Douglas (QLD, Australia), Brisbane (QLD, Australia), Singapore, Cape Town (South Africa), Hermanus (SA), Swellendam (SA), Knysna (SA), Prince Albert (SA), Stellenbosch (SA), England (UK)
Having our first lazy holiday in 5 years! We are not normally ones for relaxing around a pool all day, but for our final couple of weeks in Australia we decided to do just that. We jetted up the east coast to Port Douglas and spent a blissful 10 days doing absolutely nothing – with the exception of a few day trips. It was lovely to catch our breath and gain some focus for the barrage of changes coming our way. Port Douglas also happens to be one of the most beautiful places in Australia which was a definite bonus!
Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef with Wavelength Tours. A visit to the Great Barrier Reef is often on the top of any Australia bucket-list and we eventually ticked it off ours. We splurged on the most eco-conscious and educational trip we could find and headed off into the deep blue. We visited 3 fantastic snorkel sites, learnt about the recent coral bleaching epidemic and saw an unbelievable array of underwater life. An Australian highlight.
Sunset on Table Mountain. Watching a flaming sunset set the clouds beneath your feet on fire was an incredible experience. Standing on top of the world, glass of wine in hand looking out at the sun dancing off the sea has earned itself a place in my all time favourite travel memories.
Having lunch in a South African township. I’ve already gushed about the kids we met during our visit to Melven’s restaurant in Knsyna. But it wasn’t just adorable kids that made this meal special. Melven was trained in Cape Town and made fantastic local dishes. Between mouth-watering courses we were treated to some excellent slam poetry from Melven’s multi-talented apprentice and after dinner Melven told us how he wanted to expand his restaurant and offer training and jobs to others in the township. A truly remarkable place.
Being with family for Christmas. After a family-free Christmas in Bali last year it was great to be able to spend the festive season surrounded by loved ones both in South Africa and the UK. Although both of our Christmases couldn’t be more different there’s nothing more Christmassy than a big family get together!
Leaving Australia for good. Knowing that our Australian chapter of our travels is over is heartbreaking. Over this past year we had really begun to feel at home here, especially during our 8 month stint in Brisbane making this year one of our best. Our days will no longer be spent stretched out on beaches or drinking the best coffee the world has to offer. Instead the icy mountains of Canada await which we hope we will love just as much.
Being spread across continents. We spent the festive season on different hemispheres which was very strange. After spending literally every waking moment together over the past year being apart for nearly a month was weird, but most likely necessary for our sanity!
The longest journey. It took me over 40 hours to cross the planet from Brisbane to Cape Town, spending the majority of the 2 days wandering aimlessly around airports and keeping my eyes open with matchsticks. The only good thing about this epic voyage (apart from finally reaching my destination) was my layover in Singapore. During my 10 hour stop I took one of the city’s free tours which takes you from the airport and shows you a handful of the city’s highlights. It was a great way to break up the boredom and I would definitely recommend it if you find yourself with a few hours to kill at Changi!
Most Popular Blog Post
December was an awful month for the blog. As our month was so busy we completely neglected our slice of the internet so there’s not much competition between posts this month!
Nevertheless, our top post was Snap of the Week – Week 31, cute kids are always a winner!
Most Liked Instagram Photo
Fittingly, our most liked Instagram photo this month was our final posting from Australia. We spent our final evening watching the sun set behind Story Bridge at our favourite spot in Brisbane, Wilsons Lookout. With cold beers in hand we raised a toast to the most fantastic couple of years Down Under.
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Best in Culture
Book of the Month – Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
I received this book for Christmas due to our upcoming trip to Iceland where this novel is set. The novel revolves around the true story of the 1829 conviction of Agnes Magnusdottir and follows her final days before her death sentence is due to be carried out. I haven’t finished it yet but so far the book has completely grabbed me and pulled me into 19th century Iceland. As well as being a fascinating story, the Icelandic setting and culture is so unique and interesting to learn more about. It’s definitely peaked my interest in this remarkable frozen corner of the planet.
Film/Television Series of the Month – Happy Valley
On my 20 hour journey from Cape Town back to London, I binged on both seasons of Happy Valley. 12 hours later, I had fully immersed myself into the series, even taking on a northern accent. The crime series is set near Halifax and fronted by the immensely talented Sarah Lancashire. As well as being remarkably well written and fraught with suspense and heart-stopping twists, the series ticks plenty of boxes when it comes to its female dominated cast and thoughtful discussions about sexual assault.
Book of the Month – The Complete Novels by Franz Kafka
Having studied Kafka’s seminal novella Metamorphosis in my first year at University I couldn’t wait to dive into this edition, which compromises his three most notable novels, The Trial, America and The Castle. Each novel exemplifies Kafka’s themes of absurdity, existential dread and the infinite levels of unnecessary bureaucracy that define modern existence.
Kafka had intended for the manuscripts for these novels to be destroyed after his death but they were smuggled out of Germany against the wishes of his will and have been the subject of legal battles that have stretched decades. The very act of reading these novels themselves feels like a twisted Kafkaesque plot.
Kafka could see clearer than most the absurdity of our superfluously complicated existence in the 20th century and it feels more prescient now as bureaucracy manifests itself even deeper into our private lives in the 21st century.
Film/Television Series of the Month – Viceland
Now more than ever, the importance of alternative media platforms like Vice are vital for providing people with a nuanced view of world affairs. The launching of Vice’s flagship TV channel Viceland has been a welcome addition to the usual mundane programming of most broadcasters, offering documentaries on everything from food and drink, club culture to world conflicts and of course Action Bronson’s seminal food show Fuck That’s Delicious.
Coming up Next Month
Who knows! In January we should have made the move to Canada, spent a couple of days in Iceland and hopefully be in the midst of a successful job hunt. Fingers crossed!