It’s Been Quite a Year

This week, my blog turned one.  And as a mother to an infant (my blog), I feel so proud and humbled to watch it grow in front of my eyes.  That has to be one of the most profound feelings as a writer; to see your work better itself, day after day.  Of course it’s not magic, it’s work.  It’s hard work.  But I see the benefit of practicing my craft.  I see it with the engagement with readers, with my heart.

As I plan to grow my blog to the best of its abilities, I can look back on a full year of posts, interviews, vocabulary words, and motivation.  I set out to write a blog that would entice and inspire others to travel to New Zealand and beyond, and now that my stories of New Zealand are coming to an end in the next few months, I can’t wait to introduce everyone to my stories on Australia.

I have big aspirations, both for my business, but also for this writing sanctuary I call a travel blog.  I’m excited to see where this year goes.

Thank you for joining me in the journey.  Stay tuned for amazing stories, interviews, and pictures of some of the most beautiful places in the world.

A little preview of the next step 🙂

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My First Annual Review

I’ve done a lot this year.  I’ve started this blog, a company, and am in the beginning stages of writing a book.  It’s been insane.  I’ve also been the most emotionally unstable I’ve ever been, unemployed at some parts, and … Continue reading

Traveler of the Month December Edition

Travel takes on all types of people from all parts of the world. Each traveler who escapes to the unknown has a unique and beautiful experience to share. With that said, I thought I would highlight a traveler each month who has taken advantage of the Working Holiday Visa, and let them introduce you to their story of travel. I hope this motivates you even more, and as you will see, I’m not the only one who has had life changing moments from it! Enjoy getting to know others from all around the world as they let you in on their experiences. If you have anyone you would like to nominate for “Traveler of the Month” please contact me.

Ladies & gentlemen, meet Brittany. Brittany cannot be contained in a description, nor can her personality be contained in a box.  She’s a free spirit to the max, a beautiful young lady, and a hilarious adventurer.  I met her in Dusnborough, Western Australia while we both lived in the same hostel and worked tremendous hours at a resort on the beach.  She’s a social butterfly that everyone wants to be around, the ray of sunshine that everyone needs, and the friend that makes you feel loved.  You can find her dancing, smiling, and as described below, at her favorite spot, the ocean.

Here’s her story:

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Name: Brittany Thiel

Age: 22

Hometown: Shellbrook, Saskatchewan Canada

Why did you decide to use the WHV? I actually arrived in Australia on a visitor visa intending to only be there for a month, and when I arrived, I realized within the first two weeks that I wouldn’t be leaving anytime soon…The Working Holiday Visa was the next step to stay and make some much-needed moolah for the rest of the year.

What was one of your favorite memories traveling?  Swimming naked in the ocean, the ocean being a two-minute walk away. The ocean in general.

What advice to you have to someone who is thinking about applying for the visa?  Stay in one place and makes lots of money, and plan out a nice trip for the rest of the year or whatever. Maybe even spend the entire year working, or most of the year! I hopped around a lot, and sometimes it was stressful to find new jobs or to try to make enough money for the next trip in a short amount of time. The Australian dollar is strong too, so don’t stress too much about making a bunch of money before you leave (unless where you live somewhere your dollar is stronger than the AUD!). However, I would recommend saving up $1200-$2500 so that you can spend the first month or two not working, and taking in all the new exciting things for a while. I found that I could start up in a new town, and find a job in time with $1000. If you are going to festivals, it is cheapest to volunteer. Volunteer BEFORE the festival (when you apply they will have the option to set up instead of work at the event) so that you can fully enjoy yourself at the festival. Also, buy a car. SO handy. and trust me, you can sell it after. Usually there are some car savvy people in the hostel you can take to look at cars with you if that is not one of your fortes. One more thing, when possible, rent a room outside of a hostel. If you stop to work somewhere, go rent a room in an apartment or house, it’s so much cheaper than a hostel and much nicer. Hostels are amazing for meeting people, and hanging out with everyone, but if you are saving money for another trip definitely go rent a room somewhere. Sometimes employers will even offer you a room for cheap – I knew a guy who was renting from his employer for $50/week! Most hostels are $100-$200/week!

What was your favorite place in OZ? NZ?  In Australia, I definitely loved Dunsborough on the West Coast. The town is so small and quaint (get a car for this one! There is so much beautiful countryside to check out!). There is plenty of work, and you end up living and working with all your friends. The hostels are both right next to the ocean, and wine and beer country is just a skip and a hop away. There is some awesome snorkelling and spear fishing a short drive away, and giant manta rays live in the bays there while regular sized ones live near the hostel. It’s magical.

I didn’t see much of New Zealand, only Auckland and a bit of Wellington and the surrounding country side which was beautiful. Literally, you are in Lord of the Rings. I would have to go with Wellington and the countryside – I stayed with a friend and his friends family about two hours out of Wellington in a farm house. We also went snowboarding, and stayed in a cabin up on the mountain which was interesting since you don’t really do that in Canada. We had to plow and shovel through the snow to get to the door and they took us up on a giant bobcat thing. The snowboarding weather is very finicky there since it’s an island and we ended up waiting for some good weather – luckily we got two days out of three.

What would be the soundtrack to your experience overseas? One track that particularly comes to mind is “Across the Universe” by the Beatles. I remember reading the first message from my brother where he expressed that he would miss me for the long while I was gone, and that song came on through my headphones. Neither of us expected me to be gone that long, so we weren’t really ready for it. Anyway, when that song came on, I cried, and it became the anthem that made me feel slightly better when I missed anyone from home.

Explain a time when you knew you knew you were experiencing something great? After I had spent my first week in Cairns, I was on the beach at night with two friends, talking by candle light and watching the ocean. I was debating not going back home, and realizing it was a possibility. I had this feeling, like I knew I had to stay, and that was where I belonged in the universe at that time. I felt reality shift as I made my choice, two extremely different paths on either end of my decision. I wrote a letter of withdrawal to the school I was supposed to be attending in two weeks time the next day.

What do you miss the most? I miss the ocean, the sunshine, the road trips, and living with so many friends.

Where’s your next destination? Cuba for Christmas, maybe the east coast this summer, definitely BC and maybe the states. My next big calculated trip will be Hungary though, and of course other parts of Europe. There is a tattoo artist I want to get a piece from in Hungary.

Favorite quote/life motto? “Live simply, so others may simply live.” – Mahatma Ghandi

What was one thing you couldn’t live without on the road? Water bottle.

What type of work did you do with your WHV? The first job I had was tomato picking.  I worked as a cocktail waitress at a strip club, and a regular waitress at a burger joint. My favorite job(s) was in Dunsborough at the hotel, I worked in the early mornings to do some minor grounds keeping maintenance around the resort (cleaning pool area, gym, garbage cans outside, etc), then in the afternoon as a maid. On some evenings I worked at a bar in town as a waitress/bartender, and on weekends I’d pick up any events that were happening and do some catering.

Introducing…Travel Tales!

Welcome to my new project, Travel Tales!

As much as I love to write about my journey, I want to have a platform for others to share their stories who have experienced greatness on the road, just as I have. I will feature a new story each month, from all around the world.  They will be personal, informative, funny, sad, happy, heart-warming, lessons learned, new perspectives, great memories, and so on. Join me as a reader or writer, and continue to spread the love of travel.

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Thanks for reading everybody!

Cheers,

Jen

Why Some Travel Plans Stick and Others Don’t

Oh travel.  Why must you bite us like you do? Looking up new flights every day is a bit of a habit of any world traveler.  You just can’t help it.  Where do I want to go next? What’s the cheapest flight I can get anywhere?  These are just a couple questions that you ask yourself when researching flights…well I do. I was talking to a fellow traveler-turned coworker-turned friend the other day about his next move after Australia.  He mentioned he’s going home to Ireland, then possibly on to Canada to take advantage of the Working Holiday Visa.  In the midst of his pseudo-travel plans, I mentioned I live on the West Coast, so if he comes to Canada, he better come visit the states and myself.  From there, we made a full-blown plan that he was moving to Canada, British Columbia to be exact, then bussing it down to Oregon to visit me and from there we were going to road trip around the Pacific Northwest.  Things escalated quickly to say the least, and this was just over Facebook Messenger.  In the span of 10 minutes, we had ultimately changed the trajectory of our near future.  We took a second to laugh about the ridiculousness of our plans, but we both didn’t rule it out.  Why? Because we’re travelers that’s why.  We’ve been to places that have changed us, met people who have changed us, and ultimately, became a citizen of the world. IMG_0081   But will these travel plans stick? I guess only time will tell, but I’ve come up with some ideas that I believe makes or breaks our travel decision making:

1. Money

This is an easy assumption.  Money can make or break a trip, and the cheaper the trip, it’s probably more likely to happen.  For example, I’ve been looking into going to Iceland, and saw a killer deal on a ticket to Europe and immediately bought that bad boy.  Plans change that fast and easy.  Iceland, I promise I’ll get to you someday!

2. Peer pressure

“Please, come you know you will have the best time.  It won’t be the same without you.  You know you’ll regret it!” Sound familiar?  You never want to be the odd one out, and in this day and age, technology loves to brag about your awesome times with your awesome friends.  There’s no hiding from your missed experience.  You have to go, and at the end of that trip, you’re so glad you did. Even if you’re missing your dignity and a couple thousand out of your savings.

3. Feelings

I can’t even begin to count how many times I would’ve flown around the world and then some for some guy I liked at that moment.  Heightened emotions are part of the traveling world, and when you’re in the moment, anything can happen…including buying a ticket to Bora Bora to see your South American lover.

4. Timing

Yes, timing sucks.  But it also works in our favor even when you think it’s ruining your life.  If you connect the dots of your past moments backwards, you will see you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.  Could you imagine your life now, without some very important people that are now main characters in your story? I bet not.  And sometimes, timing gets in the way of buying a ticket, or going on a road trip, or missing a flight that makes you change your plans.  Then again, timing aligns with the stars and the moon and you get that $300 roundtrip ticket that will take you around the world to experience a new adventure and meet those people waiting for you in your next chapter of life.  Either way you look at it, timing changes everything.

5. Planning

This actually works for some people.  Planning months or even years in advance, has helped many travelers save money, check places off their bucket lists, see the unexplainable, and change their life forever. Unfortunately, I do not process that way.  I did try and plan one trip in advance, and by day two, I was on my way in the opposite direction I had intended.  It doesn’t matter how you travel, it matters that you DO travel.

6. The Real World

Wrong documents, visas denied, a death in the family, or a job offer are just a few cases that can drastically change your travel plans.  As much as we like to live in Never Never Land, reality has a way of sucking us back in, for the good and the bad.

7. Who the f$#k knows

Honestly, sometimes there are just times where an explanation isn’t needed or can’t be found.  In the last month I had plans to go to Bali in March then go on to Southeast Asia for a bit, then they changed to Iceland in April and Europe for a few months after that.  Then I found a sweet deal to Dubai to go visit a friend, and planned to go there on my way to Bali, which I had now moved to September, where I will travel to Australia afterwards for a wedding.  See that clusterfuck of a plan? Well that’s what I’ve been planning or not planning in my head. I’ve changed my mind more than my underwear, and I the only way I stopped the Tasmanian Devil in my mind was to book a flight to Europe…for $460 roundtrip I might add! image   Maybe those who travel will never be able to settle fully.  I don’t blame them when there’s daily flight deals like $200 roundtrip to India.  I have been back in the states now for almost a year, and I’ve been on two trips already, about to be on my way to the next three.  Maybe we crave the adventure in being vagabonds and that ever-changing environment, rather than the stability of life back home.  I don’t think it will ever be pinpointed exactly, but a big reason we have a travel bug is because we invite it in, accepting its bites, and our only symptom is to keep going. Safe travels everybody,   Jen

Have a Great Travel Story to Tell? Great! I’m Looking for Writers

Hi All,

As much as I love to write each week about my travels down under, I want to open my blog up for others.  This is a great opportunity for those who don’t have a blog but want to write about their experiences abroad.  My goal is to highlight a new story each month from faraway places, told by you!  I love hearing other’s travel stories and how they handle situations and new experiences while on the road.

Requirements

*At least 2 photos of your experience

*A little description of yourself (What you like, your favorite place in the world, where you’re from, etc.)

*Share on your social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google +, website, etc.)

I’m not worried about length, so feel free to write as little or as much as you want. Like I said before, the goal here is to show other people’s versions of travel.

So let’s get writing!  Everyone has a story, and everyone can write.  It’s time to get creative and show other readers how amazing and important it is to experience this great big world we live in.

If this sounds like you, please contact me through my blog.

Cheers,

Jen

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Jennifer Heuett, Founder of Travel + Trust & Wanderlust

Interview with Be. Magazine on traveling solo, starting a business and empowering women to do the same.

BE. Magazine

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When Jen Heuett left Oregon for New Zealand in 2011, she thought she was taking a year to travel abroad and figure things out. Recently graduated with an unused marketing degree and a thirst for travel, Jen headed down under on a year’s working visa. She didn’t come back for three years.

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Words of the Week #49

I just recently went on a road trip back home for the holidays with my parents and on the trip we loaded the car up with snacks and drinks for the long haul.  But something felt strange this time, like … Continue reading

Words of the Week #48

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The Craziest Travel Story You Will Ever Hear Part 2

…as I lay there in my bed staring at the man in front of me, I would’ve sworn I was still dreaming.  Was he really wearing a diaper?  Why was his friend wearing one too?  I slowly opened my eyes … Continue reading

Words of the Week #47

I love getting inspiration from conversations I have throughout the week.  This word stems from a convo I had with a friend about whether or not this food is a feminine breakfast item or not.  It was a hilarious chat, … Continue reading

Travel Tales with Sarah Dorsey

This month’s Travel Tale comes from an old friend I met while living in Boise. She was going to school to be a nurse and I was saving up to move to New Zealand. We worked together, drank together, and dreamed together. It’s great to see some of her dreams are coming true. Enjoy.

 

Don’t Allow Fear to Change Your Plans

I’ve been a Registered Nurse (RN) for four years, specializing in Labor and Delivery. I’ve also been a Travel Nurse since May 2013. What that means is that I go to hospitals around the US that are understaffed and work short contracts (typically 2-3 months) on their Labor and Delivery units. Travel nurses go to new cities and receive a shift or two of orientation to the unit before they’re expected to hit the ground running and take the same patient load as regular staff nurses. It can be chaotic, frustrating, and stressful at times. But the flexibility in where I choose to work and the ability to take weeks (sometimes months) off in between contracts, has allowed me to work at some unique jobs. Also, with some planning and saving money ahead of time, I have been able to volunteer overseas with a fantastic medical nonprofit called Preventing Cervical Cancer when I’m in between jobs.

Looking back at my time so far as a travel nurse, I’ve noticed a couple common themes in how people react to my work. Some people say to me: “I am living vicariously through you/I wish I had traveled when I was your age/etc.”

Other people tell me something that is usually along the lines of how crazy I am for taking a particular assignment or traveling to a destination. Some examples of what people have said to me are:

“You are nuts for taking a job near Phoenix in the summer.” (That was my first travel assignment: 13 weeks in Chandler, Arizona from May to August).

“You’re going BACK to the Bronx?” (I did four travel nurse contracts there on a very busy unit).

Or to my Mom:  “Are you really going to let Sarah go to Kenya?” (To which Mom replied, “Well yes, she’s an adult, and she researches the places she goes beforehand, and again – she’s an adult.”)

“Aren’t you scared to fly now because of Ebola?” (This was on my October trip to India. NOT West Africa. India. The absurdity of this statement never ceased to provoke an eye roll from me.)

“You’re staying with strangers in London? WHY THE HELL ARE YOU STAYING WITH STRANGERS IN LONDON? You’re going to end up as somebody’s lampshade.” (This was when I decided to rent a room from two guys on Airbnb who had 50 five-star reviews from previous guests).

“Don’t you know that it’s COLD in Nome, Alaska this time of year?” (I’ve lost track of how many people in the lower 48 have voiced that concern).

Sometimes, the same person will tell me that they wish that they had traveled more at my age AND THEN they will give me negative feedback about the places I’ve chosen to go. I understand the critical comments, though.

You see, the thing I think holds a lot of people back from going on these adventures is this: The fear of change, the fear of the unknown, or maybe just anxiety about possibly being uncomfortable.

Like I said, I can empathize. I’ve been there. Traveling is NOT nearly as glamorous as it might look from a person’s blog or Facebook posts. There were nights in Nicaragua where I lay naked on my bed underneath a mosquito net, with a fan blasting on me, drenched in sweat and crying because I couldn’t sleep due to the heat. My mom and a couple close friends received some tearful phone calls when I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed out in New York. Sometimes I was lost in a city, exhausted, hungry, etc. and trying to seem confident enough not to attract unwanted attention as a solo female traveler. It can definitely be nerve-wracking showing up in a city where you don’t know a soul and be expected to work the next day, and have to be the “new guy” every few months.

But you know what? The last year and a half of traveling almost full-time has been one of the most incredible, rewarding experiences of my life, in spite of the challenging stuff.

That summer assignment near Phoenix? Yes it was hotter than hell some days, but I enjoyed my time at the hospital I was working at and made friends with coworkers I still keep in touch with.

The tough job in the Bronx? I saw more “out of the ordinary” things there in eight months than I would have seen in several years of working at a facility with a less diverse patient population, and I became a stronger Labor and Delivery nurse as a result. And as an added bonus, my proximity to Manhattan allowed me to enjoy many Broadway shows on my days off!

The guys I stayed with in London were phenomenal hosts (Enda made me fresh juice EVERY DAY) and they gave me excellent tips for exploring a new city.

I worked overtime shifts on my travel contracts so I could afford to go on volunteer trips with Preventing Cervical Cancer. With some planning and saving enough money, I got to go on a Masai Mara safari in Kenya, explore Nicaragua, and got to see the Taj Mahal in India after my volunteer service in each of those countries was done.

And now, I’m in Nome, Alaska which might be the most random and “different” place I’ve ever traveled to. YES it’s cold/windy/snowy/icy. And because I researched the heck out of this place ahead of time, I made sure I had the right snow gear before I arrived. So far, I have not minded the weather. If I had let the weather deter me from coming to the Alaskan bush this time of year, I would have missed out on an amazing opportunity to see a place most people will never visit and learn about the culture and way of life here.

So if traveling is your dream, don’t let fear prevent you from going! By stretching my own limits of comfort, climate, culture and geography, I’ve grown as a nurse AND as a person. I still feel anxiety about travel—even after all the travel I’ve done. But I think that anxiety is a good thing: it spurs me to do the things I need to do to be safe, well-prepared, and an expert global citizen.

I think that the main point of my experiences traveling is this (because it bears repeating): If traveling is your dream, don’t let fear prevent you from going! And don’t limit your destinations to those places that make you feel comfortable. That unsure/anxious/uncomfortable feeling you feel is the main component of personal growth. Of course, I encourage everyone to research your destination ahead of time and take necessary precautions that all travelers should take. Then go, explore, learn something new about yourself, enjoy the privilege and opportunity of being able to travel in first place. And when things go wrong, remind yourself that “travel disasters” make for personal growth, and entertaining stories afterwards.

Cheers!

 

 

About the author 

SARAH DORSEYSarah Dorsey – a seasoned traveler for both business and pleasure, Sarah wants to leave no stone unturned.  She spends her downtime catching up with friends all over the world, which most definitely involves drinking wine. 

Words of the Week #47

Everybody loves a nice night out drinking with your mates.  It’s even better when someone decides to pay for a round.  This week’s word is all about having rich (or nice) friends! Happy New Year everyone! Word of the Week … Continue reading