Shorts & Gold top: Lenni Label
Bikini: Lux Noire
Shorts & Gold top: Lenni Label
Bikini: Lux Noire
We make it over the border to mexico. Tijuana to be exact.
Michael gave some advice along the drive. "Stick to revolucion, avoid walking strange places at night"
After a couple nights in a hotel in revolucion we decide to find an airbnb to see how a local lives, right now were about 8km out of the area, its 9:35 and iv been waiting for Alexis to return from the store.
10 minutes now, i try and calculate in my head how long it would be to walk there and back....
We flex the rules a little bit maybe. I try not to worry too much, there was 40 good reviews im sure its fine in the area, but the guy at the restaurant though felt the need to warn us leaving me feeling a bit conflicted and wary.
We spent some time at revolucion the first few nights but it definitely has a unique vibe. We have a little party but find ourselves questioning the safety of wandering around aimlessly late at night, then we begin googling things.....hmmm both more affordable & safer to travel by plane, after rearranging flights for a while we lock in Cancun>Bogota.
Were somehow really getting short once i finalise it, oh well we figure the way out later.
We found ourselves in the dodgiest stripclub earlier where everything was on sale.
I wonder if these women are happy with their lifestyle. Clubs like this in Thailand i could always see the emptiness in their eyes, these girls give a warm smile to each guy that walks through the door. It takes an average of 10 minutes before they proceed to the back room. They dont mess about, i take note of her taking every opportunity she can to tease him. They arent quite as subtle here and they wobble around on their too high stilettos and go straight for the dick grab. Its entertaining to see how well they have perfected this transaction. No time wasted.
The women were exotic yet somewhat disappointing, I am in awe of their ample ass and start to feel insecure at how many squats iv skipped in the past few months. I feel irregularly thin and weak.... i try to scratch the thought in to be more mindful of looking after my body. I walk into a shabby bathroom with a large clear cylinder of water in the corner. I question myself on the quality of the hygiene to wash my hands in it, i decide against.
"Baby" i look up to the single bathroom stall and accidentally lock eyes with her through the largish crack between the doors. Its the woman who was dancing just 10 minutes prior. "Is that your boyfriend out there? You want a lapdance for you two?"
Im not against it but politely decline, shes not my type, lazy dancer, something about asking me through a toilet stall really took the mystery out of it all as well.
We down a couple more coronas but ok its time to go.
Im not drunk or lost enough to vibe with this scene and im still figuring out this area.
The next morning my mind is a fuzz, the buzz of the street makes me feel unsure.
We cross a guy who mentions he can show us the smoking bar.
In the mistyness of our minds we follow, the further away from revolucion we walk i start to reassess whats happening. When we get to the bar he buys us a beer. I note that its open, i can see Alexi giving me the heads up with a quick moment of direct eye contact. Im glad he noticed. The local has a bottle of water. Your not drinking we ask jokingly, as if to call him a pussy. He blames it on starting work soon but im not oblivious to the fact its 3pm already. Stranger behavior.
I pour a glass but pretend to sip it, after about 5 i play off my inability to drink as a hangover. He asks all the usual questions, anything too much we tip toe around. At one point were questioned on which hotel we stay in, up the road we reply.
I start to observe my surroundings. Im not the only white woman here actually, but i am the only one who is completely unfamiliar with her surroundings, that is clear. One woman in a brown dress at the bar must be around 50. I wonder what brings her here..... She looks soft and gentle but her hair is brittle and wirery, Before i look up again to check the bar shes out the door.
I like it here, the music is some of the best Spanish rap iv heard so far. Wish my phone wasnt fucked so i could shazam it. Fuck.....
Something doesnt feel right. I wouldnt say this guy comes across instantly untrustworthy but i keep my guard up anyhow. When i return from the bathroom to stash away my belongings in my underwear Alexis gives us the excuse to leave. Perfect timing, Im not sure if its the weed or i feel a little extra light headed. Must be placebo effect i think, i must have only drunk about 5mls with my very subtle fake sipping and its only been a few minutes, regardless we check behind us a couple times for any followers. Nope, clear. I start to feel as if maybe i have my guard up too high here but im slammed back down to reality the next morning when i réalise we lost 3,000 pesos during our little smoke bar journey, thats $200. A lot of money for this part of the world. Fuck. This has put me in a foul mood, i had some shit stolen back in Thailand this trip too. Never anything before this, im frustrated i became the victim again.
That sneaky motherfucker i think to myself, I want to punch him in his smug little Mexican face, i try to remind myself its just money. Block it out of my mind as well i can.
More bad luck comes our way the next day, the bank card is lost. This was the onlyone we had left to access funds between us. I start to get a headache as i begin to even try and comprehend how to fix this problem right at this moment. Both of our phones are broken, how will i contact family or the bank..... in my pocket 100 pesos. This will be fun i think. We lay low until we can resolve the situation, we will wait until Cancun to sort things out. Nothing we can do now but wait.
We spend our last night in Tijuana speaking shit on the roof until early hours of the morning, its bright by 2:30am yet incredibly smoggy, im confused. Maybe its the lack of sleep thats got me out of wack. Soon were wondering where were headed after all this. Australia seems incredibly out of reach at this point. I start to research where its possible to get working visas for both of us, im soon sitting there in shock at how complicated this is going to be to achieve. It shouldn't be this hard surely..... twelve month processing period. I dont even know where im going to be next week let alone an entire year..... I feel overwhelmed. I wonder where exactly the freedom exists anymore in this systematic world. Why are we continuously forced to plan a future which may never come.... everything is against living life in the moment.
Time to sleep, Once i arrive on the plane en route to Cancun im exaughsted.
Tijuana drained many parts of me......
I could go back to the beginning and detail the events of this trip so far or I could describe how I ever even got to this position in the first place but everything was so intricately mentally planned for that period it almost bores me so let me just give you a 5 second rundown of our whereabouts in the past couple months and we will snap straight back to the now. December 2016 we left Australia. Alexis and I together off we set to Bangkok for 3 weeks followed by Paris & Nice, France for 4 weeks (I saw Alexis's home in Nice for Christmas), London for 6 weeks, Berlin and now finally fast forward a little and we're currently standing in the middle of Los Angeles. Honestly nothing past France was planned. It became a mess, it cost way too much and no planning means more expenses. As soon as a window opened to leave UK we were gone.
See, when I set out on this adventure I envisioned myself getting a lot of things done and being extremely organised but backpacking life certainly has a way of throwing interesting curve balls at you so in reality money is becoming tight and my inability to plan forward more then 48 hours due to multiple and incomplete lists of fuckery in the way that's very unlikely to change sooner then a fortnight. Although let's also keep in mind Iv been trying to get my creative shit together since Bangkok. Both me and Alexis have a way of following the wind as well which means distractions happen often and take us on the completely wrong path. No, we must focus focus. But one plus one equals two. And two unable to stay...... No.
I write this blog now because I sense a great adventure coming on. The best are those that are completely unknown and this is the epitome of it. Today we will arrive in San Diego to see my friend Michael and when we next set foot in front of the other we begin our mission to get to Colombia, we plan to do this without using the air and with as much kindness and generosity the universe will serve us. Why? Who knows. Seems like a good plan at the time. Colombia is cheap and we can lay low for a couple of weeks while I reorganise my brain and let's face it - if I can create something while quite literally walking an unknown path thousands upon thousands of kilometres then I have mastered organisation at its most prime level.
I have not worked consistently for almost ten months now and practically not at all for the past three, we can go another two if we play it right. I'm sitting on a bus right now from LA to SD. It cost us $50 for 2 tickets. As I look out the window of this greyhound bus I imagine the movie Spring Breakers over and over, I laugh at the thought of serious situations or committing crime to make it out but it's a very real possibility when you give yourself completely to the will of the universe. I'm joking to myself of course but my mind wanders to the thought Its a very real possibility things could go bad for whatever reason, robbery whatever. But it would be a story. This will be interesting.
There is a few people on this bus who could only be described as the Greyhound LA starter pack. There is a guy called Pablo who had to ask to use the Greyhound stations phone to ring his "moms" up in SD. He mustn't be older then 17 and he sits there on the table like he has something to prove however when I see him load onto the coach several hours later he takes time to help on an elderly lady. Who could blame him though? I don't know her name but she expels charisma. She's wearing a dark blue ensemble with her perfectly greyed hair pulled back in a pony tail. She smiles as if life still excites her at every moment and she laughs graciously after an older gentleman accidentally opens the toilet door on her. I wonder where her husband is or if she ever had one. I remind myself to check her ring finger when I next pass, I'm interested to know what keeps her in such unnatural high spirits. Is she just expelling this awesome as a side effect of old? Couldn't be, most people riding a bus on their own at 70 odd are hating on life.Lastly the driver this time around is female. Latino and probably aged somewhere between 35-40. She speaks Spanish sweetly but fast, I can't help but wonder how long it will take me to understand basic words of Spanish, Alexis can already speak a handful. I find myself filled with both anger and jealousy at his ability to converse with almost anyone, this is something I need to figure out.
40 minutes into the bus trip and I find myself dying to be able to smoke some weed. I'm a bit disappointed at myself because I managed to quit for 15 days back Bangkok. I didn't crave it anymore. Quitting wasn't hard without any access.
Everything keeps fucking me on this trip. The wifi on this bus won't work. I get off quickly at our brief stop and smoke. One,two, six puffs. I pop it back into the air tight container to go out. Ok, back to the bus. I dropped my phone back in Sydney about 3 months ago but more shards of glass fall out of it and I can't type numbers anymore, almost useless. Another thing to figure out.... I never got to see a club in Berlin or Los Angeles. I wonder if I'll ever find clubs I find as good and homely as Australia. Probably not, but I think those days are finished there too. How will we actually ever deal with this? I remind myself there is more to life then fun but is there really? Isn't my whole life dedicated to running away from normality. I ponder for a while.
My throat is raspy and I want to cough, I get sad at the thought I don't have throat lollies. There is a giant bottle of water here I dedicate to sipping in 3 minute intervals. This is like a cough lollie I guess, I look at Alexis. Asleep.... Always asleep. I wonder what he dreams about
I can faintly hear an elderly woman's voice whispering pardos, pardos. I look up to see that smiling face in a blue ensemble, I check her hands as she walks by. No ring.
A couple of hours later we arrive in San Diego. Michael the amazing motherfucker is waiting joint in hand and takes us to In n Out. It's a lot easier to find good music on the radio here, im reminded once again why I love California so much. I met Michael about 2 years ago now through Airbnb, he was such a rad host we became mates and caught up again in Australia and New York. It would have been twelve months since I saw him last and he's still just as enthusiastic with life. I vibe off his high energy. We head downtown and check out San Diegos bar scene, I wake up with absolutely no memory following a couple of Jamieson shots. There's a couple of really drunk photos of Alexi against a police vehicle. I'm confused. This is classic scenario when I see this big kid. After hitting up a warehouse party the next night we decide it's easier to head straight over the border. Yo Mexico......
I'm sitting on a comfy crisp white bed that I regret not shooting on before millions of peices of ash slowly collected and marked the White doona from the numerous joints smoked cosied up from the cold. The heater is broken and doesn't turn off, it's a perfect temperature between that and the 2 Windows opening up onto the private balcony. In the mornings you hear squirrels scuttle along the collecting whatever little peices of food have been left behind from the night befores shenanigans. The Airbnb I am staying in is situated perfectly in Shoreditch, London with tesco right across the road and the tube only about 4 blocks up the road. Iv begun to adjust to the cold now, although I'm sure my few months in Melbourne last year I can thank for that.
I left Australia back in December and my life has been such a happy little spontaneous mess I haven't kept myself organised at all, reached any goals or even posted a single thing on the blog. Oh well, little bit of a late start on the new year, new me I guess. Fuck it...
After cutting my trip short and coming back to Australia last July I ended up staying a long time so when Alexis asked me to come back with him to Nice for Christmas I made the crazy decision to sell everything I could again and set out on my original plan of being a full time wanderer again. It was always the intention of course - I iust never expected it to be with someone I would fall stupidly in love with and so soon, but life has a weird way of delivering the very best when you least expect it.
So the apartment is gone, my stuff is gone and I'm now in London.
The music here sucks, the people are awesome, the party so-so. I guess not everything can be perfect but as I look accross the room at the guy I felt so confident to just drop everything and leave with time and time again on all these crazy adventures I don't think Iv ever experienced anything that feels as close to perfect as this....
No idea where to next, no idea what will even happen tomorrow. In a perfect world.
(These shots were very cheekily taken by my amazing friend Christopher while he so kindly allowed us to stay in his home when we first arrived in London. A gorgeous little 2 bedroom in Kings Cross with the most magical little patio (although we won't mention the unfortunate events that happened there during our stay 😂) Thank you Christopher for everything like delivery cheese to us at 9:30pm like if we had more people like you in the world I'm confident we would probably have less conflict on this planet)
Back in July I took a major move and decided to leave everything behind. I broke up with my boyfriend of 4 years, sold a lot of my stuff and got rid of the apartment. The idea was to travel around for the next 12 months and get myself fully submerged in my clothing label and building my business. First stop was Singapore and Bali - I came up to Queensland to see my family and friends, say my goodbyes and off I went.... I had a night stop over in Sydney to connect over to Singapore and decided to head out for the night, I met a boy, had some fun.
I remember that morning the sun started to seep in the window. When do you leave? he asked with his eyes still dazed and drifting between sleep and reality... "Tomorrow" i whisper softly. He looks me directly in my eyes, that was striking from the moment I met him that he seemed to look beyond so comfortably, it was as if talking to someone you had known for years but there was something also so vicious about it, I look away quickly. "That sucks, I'ld like to get to know you more" as he brushes the hair from my face.
Its funny - I had avoided Sydney so long to see him again but in my mind was the same thought...... I snapped a blurry photo and became annoyed at myself. This was a soul I wanted to collect in my memories, I was so intrigued.... Yet it was time to go.
This wasn't my first time to Bali, I had been a year prior to shoot a lookbook but work is work and it was brief, I really didn't get an idea of what Bali was really about. I meant to work a lot during this period but really I think I just worked on discovering myself for a good week.
I partied, I explored and I made a lot of new memories and amazing friends. One of the models I had in for my label was in town so I got in touch.
Jasmine had always had this special aura about her from the moment I met her. Down to earth, funny. I enjoyed studying the small tattoos she ingrained on her skin, they always had a certain quirkiness to them that I could really on describe as her personal swag and I digged that.
Like anyone you dont really know though I was hesitant and really only had the forethought to catch up a couple hours. We met down at Potato Head because it was literally the only spot I knew but before we knew it we were tipsy and on a typical Bali adventure. Zipping around on scooters, shopping, laughing and talking about life. We sat down at a cute beach bar for dinner and this guy started going past with the Lanterns, me being a giant kid I bought us a couple and off we went. It kind of has a magic to it that kind of thing though doesn't it? I felt it and I think she did too because after that we got a bit drunk. It was like the vibes were rolling in and we were all on for the ride on the same wave. By the end of the night we were in some pool bar with Long Island Iced Teas singing at the top of our lungs. Jasmine managed to walk through a glass door though so by that stage I decided to call it. Off we stumbled home wet and intoxicated (and poor Jasmine bleeding - ouch!) but knowing we had both just made a new friend and memories we would always remember... the best.
She really is a darling that one, I remember the next morning when I woke up and saw her getting her stuff together. So gentle just like the soul inside..... there's people like that everywhere but you never really notice until you pay close attention.
I do wish I kept my word and took my camera out on these adventures but I really got a bit busy living in the moment.... next time. For now, something was calling me back to Australia. A crazy idea, a sense of adventure around the corner. I chased it.
I'm fortunate enough to be in an industry which requires me to travel and opens up income opportunities pretty much wherever I go but it doesn't mean I don't have to be smart with my money. In fact the smarter I can be with it the more travel opportunities I can take up! It gives me the opportunity to travel for fun as well as work and reward myself with such much earned time off. Whether it be for events, work or just play. Here is some tips iv picked up along the way that help me keep costs down and just have fun along the way!
Air Fares: I'm a big believer in frequent flyer points because I have a lot of business and personal credit cards with frequent expenses. I don't let myself go overboard and get hit with any fees or interest I just pay it off weekly as I go before 30 days sets in. It takes a little while to get some miles but its well worth getting a few free flights just for spending money as you usually would!
I also check travel deals frequently and well in advance when I can. You can really get a good price if your prepared and shop around a few months beforehand. This is a must for any holiday or event seasons where flights get scarce leading up, the less available the higher the prices drive. The good thing is too that theyre usually that much in demand if you cancel, you can always sell it on.
Another trick is always playing around with your flight path - pariticularly if you are flying to a few destinations that are close together. It doesn't always mean you get the quickest path ever but if your open to spending an extra couple of hours between it may just save you a few $100's.
Accommodation: This can be the kicker when travelling and that's why I'm so so happy AirBnb is now a thing. Catering to every traveller you can go el cheapo and take some share accommodation, rent a cosy spare room in someone's household or take it next level and rent an entire home. I always usually give myself a few days in a full property for a few days just to really get the vibe of what its like to call that place "home" but if you don't really know anyone and keen on making some friends share accommodation is great for that! I usually always find someone to buddy up with within a couple hours when I opt for the share option.
The best part as well is its not commercialised, your staying in a place which hasn't been styled room to room in corporate attire and really has that "homely" feel about it. There is everything from sleek and modern to shabby chic as well so if your feeling like doing some photography projects renting out a full space is a great option for that too. Two birds, one stone.
Eating Out: I get around this expense by just being smart about it. When I'm travelling its pretty likely I'm going to be eating out a few times both socially and on the run. I just try and be conscious of this and buy a handful of groceries when I first arrive. Small things like drinks, handbag snacks like nuts and fruit and lastly some breakfast food. This way I can make sure I'm not walking out the door already hungry and can keep myself going while I'm roaming out and about. This stops me not only from spending a lot of money on eating out but also from eating copious amounts of junk. I also find its good because it justifies checking out that incredibly expensive celebrity restaurant - behaving means rewards!
Getting around: I like to experience the area for what it really is so due to this ill take a train or tuk tuk over a cab most time when time allows and this keeps cost down but if I'm getting to work or an important event you can go wrong with Uber!
Much cheaper then a cab and its so simple to just operate and keep track on your phone rather then messing with cabs, figuring out what address you are at and waiting around wondering how far away it is. Different countries obviously have different apps as well though and many hotels will have promo codes for travellers. Its worth while taking note when you can. I think Lyft for example gave me a free $50 credit when I signed up in LA.
Shopping: Its so easy to lose control of your budget when it comes to shopping overseas. New stores, markets, hidden boutique gems and lets not forget possibly your favourite brands headquarters or sample sales along the way. To try and keep control of my finances in this department I often write out a list of stuff I really need or have been looking to find for a while and keep my eye out of those items. Granted a lot of things are cheaper overseas as well for example if I'm going to the USA I may splurge a little extra on electronics. Or perhaps a tailored suit in Thailand or China..... be smart and you'll find yourself collecting a lot more for a lot less everywhere you go. I'm also a sucker for cute ornaments and traditional items don't forget to buy something that applies to where you were as a keepsake.
Making Buddies: A big part of the experience is making new friends along the way. If you haven't travelled before or in a country where the first language isn't your own it can be a little daunting but my tip is just to be open to the moment and put yourself in situations you wouldn't usually. It may not be your thing to go out for a drink on your own but when your travelling you should. It may end up being a standard time or it may end up being the time of your life. I have made countless lifelong friends in my travels... its only going to make your trip more interesting! You may as well take the risk and put yourself out there :) Just stay safe in the process.
Weird Expeirences: Make sure you put yourself out of your comfort zone and don't just stick to the tourist destinations! Talk to the locals, get a drink in a dingy bar, spend some time talking to the homeless and handing out your leftover change. Sometimes I challenge myself to ask the most odd person I can find what they would do on a perfect in their city and just follow their intinirary.