Rolling Peebles Hills

Birmingham

I personally think the best thing about travel is meeting people that you wouldn’t normally meet in your daily life. We hiked Machu Picchu with them in April. We really struck gold with Nic and Julie! A well traveled couple that have more wisdom than you could ask for. Just beautiful, kind hearted people!

When we reached Machu Pichhu

 

Beautiful Julie was waiting for us with such a smile! Hard to believe we were still on the same trip since seeing them last. They took us to their lovely home and we had a catch up cup of tea and delicious vegan cookies that Julie baked fresh in front of our eyes! Nic got the map out and showed us what was around the area that they could give us a tour of. Nic and Julie are like the best travel planners in the world. They are so detailed and thoughtful when planning. We created a game plan of seeing the Cotswold area on the Saturday and then to the National Memorial Arboretum on Sunday. We popped out for a little afternoon stroll around the pond very close to where they live with a stop at the station where we should have arrived into!

Nic made a delicious chilli for dinner and Julie made a beautiful apple and berry crumble. We were beyond spoilt. They both went above and beyond to cater to my vegan diet. Something that truly touches my heart when people make such an effort for me. Nothing beats a home cooked meal with incredible company and a glass of Marlborough wine.

Saturday morning we headed out with a lovely picnic in tow. First stop was Broadway with a walk around the village, all of the homes are built with the same Cotswold stone. It gave the village  such a theme. I believe it is a requirement to use the stone when building a house there. We then headed up to the Broadway Tower. It was a beautiful view from the top. You could actually go inside it for a fee. We chose to just walk around the outside and enjoy the view.

Broadway tower

 

We spent the whole day out exploring together. Nic and Julie are the best tour guides with bundles of information on so many different things. They are really beautiful role models to have in our life. Saturday night we got home a little late and enjoyed delicious soup for dinner with some wine. Rob and I shared some pictures of our journey with them.

PIcture perfect

 

Sunday was a much shorter exploring day, but a very moving day. We first visited the Memorial for British soldiers. It was so moving and very sad to see just how many names were up there, along with the empty walls where more names may join them.

Memorial Arboretum

 

I felt especially heartbroken when we seen the memorial to the soldiers of whom were shot by their own for deserting, most of the ages were 17-20 years old. I could not even begin to imagine what they had been through. Julie was doing a beautiful memorial for her uncle as it was just past his birthday. We felt very blessed to be there with her for such a wonderful gesture.

Memorial Arboretum

 

After the morning spent at the Arboretum we headed to the Lichfield Cathedral, one of the most detailed and beautifu that we had ever seen. It was over 800 years old and so well built. You could walk through and see the pure magnificent work from the inside. It was absolutely huge. The detail blew my mind and raised so many questions about how many people had helped to build such beauty.

Lichfield Cathedral
Inside Lichfield Cathedral

 

That evening we were once again spoilt by Julie for dinner. I could sit and chat with her and Nic for hours. They have so many wonderful travel stories along with so much wise information to share. We finished the night by watching the new serious of Blue Planet 2.

All in all it was a fantastic weekend with a wonderful couple whom are very dear to us. We can’t wait to be able to host them in New Zealand next time they visit. We have the best memories with them!

Rob, Julie & Nic Strolling

 

Thanks Nic & Julie you’re the best!! We miss you both already.

Hugs,
Aileen xx

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London

London is a fabulous City. Vibrant, diverse, fast passed and well organised. We arrived into Gatwick airport and made our way completely across the city to our air b&b all via public transport at rush hour. I admit the timing could have been better but the longer we spent in London the more I understood that rush hour doesn’t affect the public transport too much. It’s crazy all the time.

The air b&b was average. Pretty dirty, unorganised and in a bit of a sketchy neighbourhood. We literally just slept there.

Day 1
Our first full day we started by walking over the London bridge towards the Tower bridge. Which was absolutely fantastic to look at! We sat down at the waterfront and ate our lunch, happily people watching. Where we sat we got  a fantastic view of the London tower.

Tower Bridge

 

The workers were dressed in medieval clothes and looked fantastic! It felt so iconic walking across the Tower Bridge with the red double decker buses driving along side. The subway took us basically the whole way to Buckingham Palace. It was so beautiful. I never realised how out in the open it is! Right in the heart of the city! The guards were stationed right out the front of the Palace. We seen them move around and change positions, which was strangely amusing. We sat at the palace square watching the world go by. The police were on horses and had the cool hats on.

Buckingham Palace Guards

 

We spent the afternoon walking through St James park to get to Big Ben. The squirrels in that park are the friendliest that we had come across. They ran straight up to you, and seemed to get along with the many other birds living with them. They knew that they could get food from people! The closer we got to Big Ben and the more we seen, we realised it had scaffolding all around it. The first time in his history ( I think?) that he has been renovated. So I suppose we are the lucky ones who get to see him being upgraded!

Day 2
We went to the British Museum for the day. It was huge and had a lot of people going through. We managed to see the Chinese Pottery, extensive Egyptian area and the history of clocks. I’m not certain you would be able to feel your feet if you walked the whole way around! We had to adjust back to walking everywhere again after having the rental car and driving hundreds of kilometres a day. The legs sure get lazy!

Day 3
Friday finally came around meaning we were leaving the air b&b and off to stay with PHOEBE!!! Excitement levels were very high! It had been months since we had seen her last in Seattle. She was taking us in and letting us stay at her home with her! She even gave us her room and bunked in with her flat mate! She literally has a heart of gold. A once in a life time kind of friend. I also  adore that Rob and Phoebe have such a great friendship too. There aren’t many things better than your boyfriend and best friend getting along magically!

Windsor Castle

 

We spent the afternoon in Winser and seen the Queens castle. It’s such a beautiful area. We walked around the shops, seen the goose pond and got some sparklers to play with later! The evening flew by with cooking, eating and chatting! All of what Phoebe and I do best. We went vegan together and used to create magic in my Sydney kitchen. We headed out in an evening adventure to play with the sparklers! Rob took his camera and captured some pretty magical photos!

Must give Phoebe the credit for this one!

Day 4
Phoebe and I stared the day off with a walk that resulted in us getting absolutely saturated from the sudden downfall in rain. After breakfast and getting cleaned up all three of us headed into the city to check out the Science museum. It’s a fun, free activity in the city. Added bonus that Rob loves science, so he’s basically a tour guide!

Three Best friends

We spent the afternoon walking around Hyde Park. Absolutely beautiful with the autumn leaves and colours all around. The park is huge and is well taken advantage of.

Hyde Park

Day 5
Phoebe was on standby and got called away to a three day trip to Miami. Pure devastation, she was gone for three days!! Rob and I caught up on travel planning, washing and had a fantastic nap!

Day 6
With Phoebe still away we used the opportunity to go out of the city to Surrey Hills area of Outstanding beauty. The name pretty much justifies exactly what it is! We had to spend two hours on buses each way to get there, which was well worth it in my opinion.

Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Beauty

 

We walked along the tracks and just took a moment to appreciate the beauty of autumn, the silence of nature and the enjoyment of seeing animals in their natural habitat. We walked a total of 8km for the day. Leaving us a bit exhausted and arriving home pretty late. Bed was more delightful thsn usual that night!

 

Day 7
Phoebe arrived home very early in the morning after flying all night! She went straight to bed and Rob and I went out for coffee and to the supermarket to get some Marlborough wine for when we visited Nic & Julie later that week. We just spent the day laughing, watching movies and eating! I managed to get a Reiki session in for Phoebe too! This was so cool, now she would have more if an understanding of what I do. We also made some questionable brownies that Phoebe seemed to love!

Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Beauty

Day 8
Back into London City for us as we had bought tickets to London Dungeon. It was a theatrical performance of the history of London, including Sweeney Todd, Jack the Ripper and many other history events that happened in London. It was so well done, the actors were fantastic and the set up of the dungeon was just as amazing!

Phoebe on the Lion

After the dungeon we walked towards Trafalgar Square to see the huge lions and try get a picture by them! I was definitely too short for his activity but Rob and Phoebe nailed it! We had a few drinks in some pretty hip areas of London and finished the night with delicious pizza!

Day 9
Our last full day together in London! So sad! We just pottered about, going to the shops to cook and eat some more! Got some washing done and had some More sparklers at night time! This time round we had thought of better ideas and we had a game plan!

Being Silly together

 

Phoebe is just one of those friends that you want to sit in your pyjamas with and laugh all day with, I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful women in my life, supporting me on my journey!

Friends <3

Day 10
We all got up early and ready together as Phoebe had a flight and we were catching the train to Birmingham to see Nic & Julie, our lovely friends we hiked Machu Picchu with back in April! It was probably a good thing that we had to say goodbye on the bus because it could have been so much harder, but we knew we would see each other again in a few days time when we visited Glasgow!

London is a fantastic city with plenty to do! The public transport is easy to navigate although it does add up pretty quickly! We found that buses were cheaper although they do take longer to get to places.

Hugs, Aileen xxx

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27 Days in Ireland

Dublin 5days
We knew we would have to sort out the rental car from the experience that we had in the USA. We spent the first three days going to Avis conforming we couldn’t get the car and finding a new company to hire through. We found Indigo Car rentals that lets you hire with a Debit card if you have an exit flight from Dublin. Top tip; If you plan on hiring a car while traveling, make sure you have a credit card that you can use.
The debit card did work, but we paid a much higher rate as it was a debit card.
We then spent the next few days exploring Dublin. We headed to Jamesons Distillery and did a tour of the whole place.

Jamesons Cocktail

 

It was actually really cool we both came out feeling pretty tipsy. We had a complimentary cocktail of Jamesons, ginger beer and lime – really liked it! And then had three shots of different whiskey while tasting the difference. Dublin is a vibrant city! The public transport was fantastic and we were happy we had time to enjoy it.

Wexford 1 night
We drove Dublin to Wexford on our first day of road tripping. We stopped off at Wicklow National Park in the way down. The lake was absolutely beautiful and the autumn colours just made everything so vibrant. We took a walk around the lake and enjoyed the sound of nature as we stopped to enjoy the views.

Wicklow National Park

 

We arrived to Ferrybank Campsite with some sun in the sky! The perfect way to start our camping adventure! We were so much more prepared than the last time we had camped in Yellowstone! That was such a relief and a few giggles were shared as we remembered trying to cook on a open fire. This time around we had a small gas cooker that came with pots, pans, utensils and plastic containers. Literally the best cooker kit! I will post it home so we can enjoy it in New Zealand.

Ferrybridge campground

 

Duncannon 2 nights
The rain had been tormenting us as we drove, we managed to set up and get organised before the rain came that night. The campground had a kitchen which was an area for us to get dry and hang about. We enjoyed lunch at the local pub and then went on a lovely afternoon adventure to the lighthouse.

Light house

 

This is beautiful! It stood so strong and was magical. We parked looking at it in the car as the rain was not giving in! That evening we seen the most beautiful sunset, the kind that made you forget about the days of rain you just had. The next day we hung the tent on the fence to dry it out and put the whole inside in the concrete to dry the bottom! The things you do for a dry tent still surprise me!

Duncannon Sunset

 

Kilkenny 2 nights
We were staying in a beautiful farm campground. They had a whole range of animals! We spent the day walking around the town getting lunch and supplies. The town was so lovely, small stores and friendly locals. That evening we got to feed the two week old goats and hold little bunnies. It was so cute!

Rob & Bunny

 

The Killkenny castle was the biggest attraction to this area and I could tell why. The castle had been restored to its almost glory. They even purchased furniture from that era and similar items that had been photographed in the castle. The tour didn’t let you see all that much of the castle, but what we did see was just incredible. So worth the visit.

Killkenny Castle

 

We went to Thomastown for an afternoon café. We drove through this little town on the way to our campground and had to come back. Rob had said “My parents would love this place” I couldn’t agree more. It was the smallest little town, the gas pumps were in a car park on the side of the road. Completely untouched from modern life, absolutely perfect.

Blarney 1 night
The pure purpose for this stop was Blaney castle. The castle had a stone that you are to kiss to give you the gift of the gab! Although I feel as though I already have it! The castle had not been restored at all, the rain was dripping through and it was hard to imagine anyone living there. It was just the stone structure still standing from hundreds of years ago. The special thing about this castle was the Blarney Stone. It was in the highest level of the castle and you lined up to kiss it. Very strange activity but we had nothing to lose! This castle had a higher admission fee that others that we had visited, I think purely because it’s well known for tourists to visit. Fair enough.

Rob Kissing Blarney Stone

 

Killarney 2 nights
This little town was the hub of many things to visit. The first day we did some domestic duties and tried to drive to the Gap of Dunloe. Didn’t quite work out as they closed the road so you could only walk the 3km there or pay for a horse and carriage ride, which honestly I didn’t want to support. So we carried on to Ross castle. A beautiful building on the edge of the lake. It was so amazing. Very well kept. We didn’t go in but just admired from the outside. The castle had minimal windows which we decided would have been from the war times to the building would be stable in wars.

Dingle Peninsula

 

Day 2 we started by driving the Dingle Peninsula and then continuing on to the Ring of Kerry. This was simply because we wanted to see and enjoy as much as we could. Our first stop was Brandon, beautiful cliffside spot in the pouring rain. Honestly our rain coats have served us so much here in Ireland. We spent the next few hours driving around the top ring and admiring everything from the car as the rain was fairly heavy. The ring of Kerry started and it was so magical.

Ring of Kerry

 

The weather completely changed and turned into a sunny, windy afternoon. We just pulled off every time we flew we would get a beautiful picture or if we just wanted to stop and look. Henry ( the drone) got a few flights and captured some incredible footage! It was a long beautiful 600km day of driving. Well worth every kilometre!

Doolin 1 night
This campground was right on the coast. Just a twenty minute drive to The cliffs of Moher. We were very thankful that our tent stayed up that night, the wind and rain was crazy strong! We seen the most incredible cloud with a halo of sunshine coming out of it from our kitchen window, while cooking dinner! Such a beautiful treat.

Incredible Dinner View

 

After a quick pack up we drove to visit the cliffs of Moher. We seen the spectacular cliff minutes before the rain clouds hovered in to hide them. To see such a transformation in such a short amount of time was mind blowing.

Cliffs of Moher

 

Belcarra 2 nights
This stop allowed us to continue north and see more spectacular coastal roads and views. We spent our full day going right to the coast, visiting a beach for the first time in forever, having my feet in the sand is such an amazing way to be in the moment.

Stone Displays

Henry got some more gorgeous flights in. I took a sneaky picture at a castle on the way home, we are just not really looking to go in and see anymore but this one was beautiful I had to have a picture.

Lough Arrow 2 nights
Originally this was a one night stay on the way North. It was such a tranquil, well kept campground that I asked Rob to stay another night. It was almost right on the lake, with beautiful gardens and birds all around the site. There was a little campers lodge that gave us somewhere to get out of the wind and rain to cook and hang our towels to dry!

Autmn Walk in Ireland

This amazing quiet spot gave me some time to get my NYC blog done, have a face mask and relax in a quiet, clean space.

Wild Atlantic Campground 2 nights
This campground was basically the highest we could get to. This stop was purely to get to the top of the Republic of Ireland. It was well worth the adventure. We arrived to the top with rain pouring on us. We decided to drive further down the road to enjoy the view and the sun came out shining for us! Henry headed out for a quick flight and as usual got incredible images from an angle you only dream of seeing yourself. We even had the kindest young lady at the counter only charge us for one night as she said “Traveling is expensive, I hope you can now go further” So sweet!

The end of Ireland

Lough Rinn Campground 4 nights
This campground is right on the edge of a lake. Not a bad spot to relax for a few days. We have ended up here as we are making our way back towards Dublin. We fly out Tuesday and have a air b&b booked for two nights before we fly out. Simply to get everything washed, packed and accounted for. The camp ground was the perfect, quiet spot for us to catch up on photos, blog posts and just catch our breath!

Lough Rinn View

 

Dublin Air b&b 2 nights
We couldn’t have timed the stay better. As we were taking our luggage inside the rain sarted and the winds became stronger than we had seen the whole Ireland trip. I think I had the best sleep in weeks. I’d never over thought sleeping in a bed before, but after caming for weeks I was beyond grateful to have a nice, warm cosy bed to sleep in, listening to the rain and wind storm through. Before I knew it we were back at the airport ready to check in to take our adventure to London.

Ireland from Above

 

Ireland has definately ran to the top of our favourites list. The colours of green that the lanscape consisted of, the friendly people, the beautifully untouched villages, the incredible likeness of home.

Incredible Tree tunnel

 

Ireland will be a county I come back to explore more. It has such a special place in my heart.

 

Love and Blessings,

Aileen x

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Five days in New York City

NYC has always been on my travel list. I was so excited to go and explore the city, see all of the places that I’ve seen in movies and experience the city that never sleeps!

Day 1

Our day started by catching the subway to Central Park. The subway is the best way to get around the city and definitely has some characters on it! Central Park was beautiful.

Central Park

We just wandered around taking pictures and enjoying the beautiful park. There were so many people enjoying the park in many different ways. Watching the little motorised boats in the pond, children playing with a soccer ball, running around finding sticks.

Cetnral Park pond

We seen an abundance of squirrels running around playing with each other and eating nuts, they had the fluffiest, grey tails. There was also a beautiful bride and wedding party taking photographs, such a beautiful place to have those memories in. After a morning full of walking we went to Blossom, a lovely vegan restaurant close to Central Park. We had truffle mashed potatoes, fries and a vegan pepperoni pizza. I am so grateful that Rob fully supports me and my choices, he even suggests and finds places for us to eat.

Cute Squirrel

We started walking and ended up at Time Square. Very interesting and intense place. Literally every billboard in that area flicks and changes. We just sat up there for awhile trying to take in everything. Watching the billboards change and people watching. Time Square was very busy with people that we almost felt a bit overwhelmed.

Times Square

Last activity for the day was a Yankees Baseball game! Something we had wanted to experience while in the USA. We once again caught the Subway from Times Square.

Yankee Stadium

When going through security they told me I couldn’t take my drink bottle, as it was a metal reusable one. We had to go across the road and store it during the game for $5! Argh I am a water-holic so this was upsetting but not going to ruin our evening! When we went into the game the first 18,000 people got a free Yankees beanie. Another positive of being early, along with no lines for a pregame snack! The game was very cool to watch, the energy and passion that the fans had was amazing! I am also glad I had Rob as he was explaining the game to me! I did accidentally cheer for the other team a few times. Woops! We left at the 9th inning as it was fairly obvious that the Yankees would win and we had to collect my drink bottle before the store closed. Also the train was so packed I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like after the game had finished. We grabbed a pizza on the way home from Joe & Johns that was around the corner from us! Rob literally loved their pizzas, I think he had three or four while we were there!

Yankee Beanie

 

Day 2

To start the day off we headed to the 9/11 memorial. Which is incredibly beautiful and creative. Where the buildings once stood they have put in fountains with the names of the peoples lives who were tragically lost that day. We both thought it was a beautiful way to honour them.

9/11 Memorial

 

There were so many people along with a lot of loving energy. Behind the memorials stood the new trade centre building. It looks amazing! So huge, truly a beautiful addition the the NYC skyline.

 

New World Trade Centre

We walked around an hour to get the beginning of the Highline walk. It and old railway that was out of service for along time before the city came together to turn it into a beautiful park and walk way. The old train tracks are still there with plants growing from it. There were big paths and lots of grass areas, seats and drinking fountains along the way. A great free activity and a way to see the city from above and enjoy some fresh air!
We headed up to the Empire State Building in the early evening. There were a shit ton of people up there! So many that you almost couldn’t enjoy it because someone was pushing you, taking pictures on top of your head or standing on your feet! But that view from the 86th floor was magical. We stayed long enough to see the city during the day, at sunset and see the city come to life with the lights. Very cool experience and some amazing photos came from it!

NYC at night, from Empire State Building

 

Day 3

After walking nearly 20km the last two days we were both exhausted. We had a huge sleep in and then spent the day processing pictures, and researching Ireland. We went out in the afternoon and found a cool little café and enjoyed our coffee walking around the area we were staying in!

Day 4

After reading online about the ferries to get to Liberty Island, we had the impression that you can get tickets and just go basically where the Statue of Liberty is. That was our activity of choice for the day. We arrived to the dock where the ferries left to be instantly greeted with guys in purple shirts, trying to sell us expensive tours and private taxi boats. It was a pretty miserable day in NYC so we weren’t too bothered about walking around the island. We just kind of wanted to see it. After finally getting a way from the purple shirt guys, we went into the free ferry that goes across the harbour to Staten Island, that we were told by the purple shirt guys it would take hours to get on. We literally got on the first ferry, had a seat and a great view of the Statue of Liberty. So don’t trust everything people say to you!

Statue of Liberty

At Staten Island we just hopped off the ferry and lined back up to go back to the main land. We then had a quick lunch at the food court in the building across from the ferry and started walking towards the Brooklyn bridge. We almost accidentally walked through Wall Street which was pretty cool! Nothing like I had expected, more tourists than men in Suits and ties. That afternoon on the Brooklyn bridge there was a protest where there were hundreds if not thousands of people walking across the bridge! It was very cool to see but also made it really hard to be able to stop and appreciate the beauty of the bridge and skyline that you could see! We managed to get a few great pictures from the bridge and then made our way back home, via the subway of course.

Protest on the Brooklyn Bridge

 

Day 5

Our last day in NYC before flying to Dublin that evening. We spent the morning packing our bags before we went on our last adventure in NYC. Grand Central Station was our destination. This station is literally so beautiful. The architecture and details were something I hadn’t seen before. There was a beautiful gold clock in the middle of the station.

Grand Central Station

 

I was actually in awe of this place. The roof had the star signs on it, perfectly displayed out and the windows were grand and beautiful. They have a huge food court underneath with so many options to eat at. We headed back to our air b&b with a stop at our favourite little café! Grabbed an Uber and headed for the airport. Such a wonderful adventure to the big smoke and many memories to add to our ever growing collection.

If your heading to New York, I would suggest you make a plan of what you would actually like to see, explore and experience. The city has so much to offer that it can be overwhelming. We definitely missed a few things off our list, like possibly a broadway show but I’m very happy with what we got to see. Also you absolutely don’t have to pay and arm and a leg to stay in the city! The subway is fantastic at getting you to the places that you need, along with walking the magical city. We had seen many places on air b&b and stayed in a fantastic place. The best thing about air b&b is that you meet local people who give great advice on where to go and also the luxury of being able to cook a meal after eating out all day is something I don’t take for granted!

Love and blessings,
Aileen.

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Three weeks in Kansas

Roberts Grandparents Jackie & Mark live in Marion, Kansas. It’s been nearly four years since we last seen them, when they visited New Zealand. But I feel when people come to visit you it’s harder to spend proper time with them as you’ve still got to work, run your household and then fit in time when they are not on activities etc. I was well and truly looking forward to meeting and getting to know Robs American family and to just stop for a bit. We have been on the go for so long I was well ready for a stop with people who care about us.

We arrived to meet them in Emporia after 18 long hours of traveling on the Greyhound and waiting at the bus stations. They took us to Walmart to buy food for me as they had no idea what to feed a vegan, which was so sweet. We got a well deserved Starbucks coffee and we’re in our way to their home on the Marion Lake, a beautiful community called Eastshore.

Week 1

The first few days we spent around the house, catching up on sleep from traveling. Chatting with Mark & Jackie about our travels so far and meeting the delightful neighbours. There are so many beautiful people that live there and I feel so blessed to have met them! Everyone who lives here drives around on golf carts to get to the party’s. It was the coolest neighbourhood I have stayed in.

                                                                     Golf Cart parkup at Granmas Birthday!

 

During the week Rob showed off Henry (The drone) by flying it all around. Everyone loved it, the experience they had with drones was from Daniel, who was know for crashing them or the drone flying away and not coming back. They were all so amazed with how much fun he was and how many things Henry does on his own, taking off and landing with no help from Rob. Linda & Bob came out to visit us, Linda played cards with Jackie and I! She is also a card shark like Jackie! That weekend I got to meet and Rob got to see his Aunty Shelly on Saturday. We all went out on and adventure in the boat. It was so nice to be out on the water, with great company on a beautiful boat. Sunday we got to meet Robin and Tom. We played the best game with them, a form of golf where you had to throw the balls and wrap them around one of three poles to get points. Very cool game and a Sunday well spent, with more great company!

                                                                              Henry & Golf Game

 

Week 2

I found a Reiki Level 2 course in Wichita. I was so happy to find a course that worked in with our travel. I had told myself before we left that I would find a teacher if it was meant to be. The feeling of finding a Reiki Master and getting back on track with my energy healing was incredible. The course was wonderful and my teachers were Conrad and Donna. They were such beautiful, energy enriched people who have taught me some incredible skills that I can’t wait to use to help others. I did some practice with Grandma, Joanie and Jodi. Grandma was a little unsure of it, which is fine. I know it’s not for everyone. Joanie loved the healing so much that we did three sessions on her while I was there. Jodi was away for awhile so I only got one session on her but she sat up and said “That was fucking awesome!” Which was an incredible response.

Grandma and Grandpa took us for a day out in Hutchison to go explore the Salt Mine and Cosmosphere science museum. The Salt Museum was 600feet underground and was absolutely incredible. They literally leave everything down there that is not used anymore, for the sake of not having to take it back up. This was great for the museum part, all of the old machines were still down there. It was very informative showing exactly how they mined the Salt, what it was used for and how the process had changed over the years. We went on a couple of tours that took us into the dark parts of the mine that weren’t being used anymore.

                                                                                Selfie at the Salt Museum

The Cosmophere had so much to see. There was plenty of information and exhibits about the WW2 and the presidents involvement with NASA and space exploration. We also watched a super funny show of a professor doing experiments, making things blow up and catch on fire. Very interesting and fun to watch. Last thing for the day was the star room ( I’m not sure the real name!) it was a huge room with a roof that showed  movies and could display stars in the sky! It was absolutely beautiful! Liam Neeson was narrating a short film about black holes and the universe. There was a gentleman at the end explaining which star is which and we how we could see them in the sky that night. A very fun and informative day out.

Rob got his fishing license for 5 days. While him and Grandpa were out fishing Grandma thought me how to play Skip-Bo. This is how we spent most of our spare time! I loved this game. All the tricks and practice came in handy when we went to Girls card night on Tuesday! There were 8 gals there ranging from cousins, great aunts to aunts. It was so much fun to play Skip-Bo on such a big scale. Then came about Labor weekend. They have started a tradition of parking boats together and tying them up, so you can walk across the boats and mingle with everyone. This was so cool! I’ve not had very much experience on boats but this was a fun day of adventure. Joanie & Steve ( who may I quickly add, are the most amazing couple, I literally made such an amazing bond with these two that I will never forget or take for granted. Just the most gentle, genuine, friendly and loving people! Love you guys!) brought their jet ski out! It was a super charged fairly new ski. Rob took me out for a cruise and then I took him. It was so powerful and yet so stable at the same time! Was a pretty amazing first communion with some awesome people and beautiful weather!

 

Week 3

Our last week. Time sure flies when your having fun and being utterly spoilt. This week consisted of relaxing, playing lost of cards, Rob teaching Grandma how to use her new laptop, recovery from the cold that was hanging around us and getting little jobs done before we left and before the grandparents set off on their cruise, the day after we flew out. Grandma and I also went to stamp and up with Rita ( one of the neighbours) this is such a cool activity. You build cards from scratch! It was so much fun! Something I will definitely have to do when we get home. Grandpa, Rob and I went out and visited a Sunflower field, it was so beautiful. The Sunflowers were huge and such a vibrant yellow.

                                                                                               Sunflowers

 

That weekend a college football game was on, we watched with the super enthusiastic Darcy and Marvin. It was more fun watching them than anything else. Both so passionate about the game, very cool to see and feel the excitment with them. I also had a great time sitting around chatting to Joanie & Jodi both incredible inspiring women! One of our last days we went to the Kansas state fair! We met Linda, Bob, Wes and Sharon all for breakfast. Sharon had made us some beautiful embroidered tea towels. Some to take home as gifts for our families too. Such a talented woman! She really needs to start making them professionally!! The fair was fun, we met Robin, Tom and Shelly there which was nice.

                                                                                      Big Fair Pumpkins!

 

The day went by quickly! We seen 800 odd pound pumpkins, a butter sculpture, huge sunflowers, played trivia in the beer garden ( we won’t talk about the result haha ) It was a great experience to an American fair! The last full day we had in Marion was Grandmas birthday! We felt so grateful that we got to spend the day with her! We spent the day pottering around, riding Jodi & Dans tandem bike, along with a neighbourhood get together in the evening!

                                                                                                               Rob and I

 

                                                                                              Grandma & Rob

 

All of the neighbours are such a hoot! We drank margaritas and shared many laughs! Tom and Robin surprised us and came out to celebrate and say goodbye to Rob and I. The evening finished up with a lovely Skype seeing Jerry, Emma and even Ashley! Was so special and almost weird being on the American side of that Skype call. The next morning we headed to the airport and said goodbye very sadly to our beautiful hosts and Shelly who had come down to see us off! We sure will miss sitting in the porch chatting with them and watching the neighbours taking their dogs for rides on the golf carts!

Thank you to everyone who made our visit memorable, to all that shared stories and laughs with us! We will forever cherish them! Big shout out to Jackie and Mark for having us!! We had the best time with you guys!

Love and Blessings,
Aileen.

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Solar Eclipse

The August 21st eclipse has been something on our itinerary before  leaving Australia. We made sure that our plans worked so we could be somewhere in totality. That landed us on a little farm Air b&b in Grand Island, Nebraska. It was such a beautiful tranquil space, grass as far as you can see, red barn style trailers that you see on American movies and grand big blue skies.  The only noise you could hear were anmials going about their daily life.

Our Farm Air b&b

 

We arrived a few days early. Making sure we would 100% see it. The days were filled of preparations of the cameras, SD cards and flying Henry (our drone) to find the best angles  and to see how Henry flew in the Nebraskan wind.

I never really knew what to expect. I was excited and had been reading a lot about the energy side of the eclipse. A few days earlier I had this huge internal realisation of some feelings that I had been processing and it felt incredible to feel like I had an understanding.

The day of the eclipse we woke up to two beautiful couples from Texas who had driven up to see the eclipse. Along with our wonderful host Daniel.

Beautiful Grand Island Sunrise

We all sat around drinking traditional chinese tea for an hour or so before the partial eclipse began. I’m not going to lie, I got tea drunk. Yep that’s a thing. Apparently it’s the Chi, the flow of drinking tea in a circle of friends laughing and sharing stories. Being mindful of the flavours that your drinking. While the pourer is in a meditation like state while serving the tea and appling all the appropriate practices. Round after round we changed flavours of tea. It was a magical way to start the day. It was a truly wonderful experience.

Then the solar glasses busted out.  They have a Solar film and look just like the 3D glasses you get from the movies, except you can see no light apart from the Sun. Pretty incredible and mostly the only way to keep your eyes safe while looking at the Sun. Rob and I had found some when we were camping in Yellowstone. They were pretty cool. They had information about the changes of the sun in stages and the strip of visibility across the USA along the side of the glasses.

Solar Glasses

 

To see the sun slowly change into the shape of the moon was incredible. Just before totality I grabbed my crystals and set them out. I had in my mind what I was ready to let go of through this chapter along with what I am grateful for. As this was the perfect oppertunity to move forward with grace.

 

Crystals out before totality

 

When totality came about, the other couple sparked up a joint. We all had a puff or two while taking in the pure energy of the eclipse. The feeing of the moon completely covering the sun in the middle of the day. The wind completely stopped, the fire flies came out along with the locust bugs out chirping. The totality lasted over two minutes. The crickets and small animals seemed to be fairly confused. The chickens went to sleep and woke up so quickly. It was absolutely mesmerising sitting there, feet connected to the grass, to the Earth. Breathing in and out all of the new energy in this new change.

Totality

 

It felt like the winds of change were blowing through my whole body was tingling. It felt like I had been upgraded. New fresh energy to help us move towards a more loving Earth. I am excited for this next chapter and so grateful I got to experience it.

Aileen xxx

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What I learnt from losing my luggage

Lost luggage.

You always hear stories about people’s luggage being missed from a plane or even seen that poor guy at the bus stop at 5 in the morning, while the bus driver has no idea where their bag is. I honestly sympathised with the scenarios so much and hoped it was a smooth ride to recovery for their bags.

After traveling buses for over 5 months now I feel like we know the ropes of how buses work, where to catch them, how to ride safely with your belongings. But it happened to Rob and I after arriving in Seattle Thursday at 4pm, after one of the longest buses and stopovers that we have done. We had began our journey from Crescent City on Wednesday at 8:30am. We had a stop over in Medford from 12pm – 2am. Another bus change in Portland where we never got called to re board our bus, so it left without us and another family. We were told our Luggage would be waiting for us in Seattle and we would have to board the next bus that is just under two hours away. We were able to grab the few things we had left on the old bus as it was still there waiting to be serviced which was great!

Our big Kathmandu backpack/suitcase

I can not even describe the feeling that they didn’t have our luggage there. I was so confused as the family that had missed the bus in Portland the same as us had just collected their belongings before us but our two bags were not put on the bus? I had not had very much sleep, and all I wanted was to have a shower, get changed and make a quick easy dinner out of the pasta I had packed in my bag. Not a chance. The unfriendly lady told us to come back at 10:30pm that night as that’s when the next bus from Portland was due in that “may or may not have our bags on it” We had to travel at our own cost to and from our Air b&b. What a nightmare. Our host was completely amazing. She drove us to and from the local supermarket to get food and even offered us her car to travel back to the bus station. We kindly turned the offer down and just took an UBER. We arrived at the station just after the bus was due with it being a little late. The guy came and told us to walk out the back and see if we can see our luggage after the passengers were off the bus. No such luck. The bags were still not here, despite being only 4hours by bus away. The guy informed us that the next buses were due in the next day at 2:30pm and 4:30pm. We had to once again come back the following day hoping our bags were there. If they were not we would have to start the process of lost luggage.

We had the whole house to ourselves the next morning and quickly threw everything we were wearing into the wash so we could shower and feel clean! I am grateful that we always take our toothbrushes with us on the bus and had deodorant in my bag.

My little backpack that I take as carry on.

 

After going back to the station for the second time in hopes to get our luggage back, the nice guy from the night before recognised us and asked the security guard and other worker to take us out to see if our bags had come on the bus. We walked through the inside not seeing them, but they were OUTSIDE!! Wahoo! Pure relief. There were a few things packed in there that are not easy to replace and have special value to me. I was upset that they had cut a part of our bags in hopes of opening it. Possibly trying to find their owners. But with no common sense and a little un called for as we had been trying to communicate with Portland Greyhound with no reply.

But we got our luggage back and I have learnt a few lessons that I want to share with you. When traveling and going to be separated from your big bag, make sure that there is nothing in there that can not be replaced.

The list below are a few things that I now know I need to have so I can survive for a few days if it were to happen again.

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Deodorant and small Lavender essential oil
  • My mothers golden hair clip that I adore!
  • Reusable Watermelon bag
  • A spare pair of undies and socks when traveling on bus/plane
  • My diva cup! I absolutely adore it, will never go back to tampons, but also looking into Hannah pads!
  • Having a up to date picture on my phone of the inside of my bag.
  • Made me double check my travel insurance to see what I was actualy covered for. Greyhounds policy only paid up to $250 per person, for lost luggage. My bag on its own is worth $399 so this was a slight concern. Nomad isurance to the rescue.

 

My new carry-on  travel additions

 

I think loosing your luggage is a valuable lesson, that everything is always replaceable. What really matters is that you and your travel companions are okay and safe. This made me change the way I pack my bag when changing Cities and had helped me get a little more travel knowledge and patience.

Always make sure that you have your Passport, money and things you don’t want to replace if you had to.  Its a real peace of mind just incase it happens to you. Have you ever lost your luggage? Would love to hear your story!

Aileen
xxx

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Las Vegas

Las Vegas you are a bright, hot, busy hub of lights, fountains, activities and excitement.

Although I feel as we may have experienced Vegas different to most people as Rob and I are not big drinkers. We hired a rental car so we could drive ourselves to the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam. It was so wonderful being able to drive everywhere on our own terms, no ubers, buses or waiting. Our Air b&b was in North Vegas, so we  also got to sleep well.

Hello Vegas!

 

We traveled to both the North and South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It was absolutely magical, I couldn’t believe how big it was, how different the colour was to the pictures that I have seen or how dead silent parts were. We paid a $30 parking fee for 7days of use and happily explored, watched sunsets and soaked up the Canyon without huge amounts of people in areas, which made it more special I think. I honestly didn’t have a preference for what side is best, they were both just as beautiful.

North Rim of the Grand Canyon

 

South Rim of the Grand Canyon

 

The city of Vegas also dazzled us. We went in to watch the Balegio fountains. They have five different songs that have synchronized water shows. My gosh, they are so well done, the water shoots up to 400m in the air with such force. It’s an absolute must if you in Vegas.

Vegas at night

 

The high roller wheel was also a great view of the city. We rolled at the perfect time and had a whole pod just to ourselves. The strip of Vegas is bright colourful and entertaining. There were a range of characters dressed up to take photos with for a tip. Plenty of places to eat and drink along the strip, along with many shops and souvenirs. The strip heavily smelt of cigarettes and people were even allowed to smoke in the casinos!

HIgh Roller

 

Hoover Dam was so much bigger than I had thought. It was pretty cool to see both sizes and gauge how it worked. We didn’t have enough time for the underground tour, but we heard great things about it. The water was a gorgeous green colour. I thought the bridge overlooking the dam was such a great view too! Made you realise how big the Dam is. We found some free parking on the far side of the Dam, which was a bonus! You just had to walk a little further to the viewing points.

Hoover Dam

 

Hoover Dam

 

Also totally guilty of stopping at the famous Welcome to Vegas sign. Can you believe that the sign has its own parking lot? There was a line of at least 20 people waiting to get pictures directly in front of the sign, with showgirls. Many people were just sneaking to the side and still getting great photos. So we also did too, it was 41 degrees and we didn’t think we would last waiting in the heat.

Before returning the car we stopped at Ronald donuts. My gosh! They literally have two full shelves of vegan donuts that taste incredible! I got the plain raspberry filled, chocolate iced and a iced Cinnabon topped with walnuts. Not one regret for eating them all myself. Well worth the visit if you can.

Vegas is super fast paced, but is also a great place to be a middle ground to et the Grand Canyon. Definitely a great travel adventure for us.

Aileen xx

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7 Days in Los Angeles

We had the most wonderful week in LA. My little sister Grace flew in from New Zealand the day after we did. I was ecstatic to see her! I waited out on the steps for about twenty minutes, and ran to the taxi when she finally arrived. I absolutely adore my sister and felt so blessed that she had traveled so far to come and make some magical memories with me.

Grace & I

 

Day 1

We caught an Uber to Santa Monica in the morning to explore the Pier. It was a bit of a cloudy morning, we walked up the pire to  the top corner. Santa Monica had such a buzz about it. So many tourists and locals alike enoying the activities and views.

Santa Monica

 

We continued along the path and walked to Venice beach,  watched a little of the skateboarding and continued walking further to the Venice Canals. They were absolutely stunning! They have been in so many movies, they are almost a little hidden gem of Los Angeles, I would highly recommend you to check them out if your in the area!

Venice Canals

 

Day 2

The Hollywood stars called to us. We walked up and down Hollywood Boulevard looking at all of the stars, recognising only a small percentage of the to be honest.

Marilyn Munroes Star

 

The street was quite dirty, which disappointed me. It’s always so glam on the TV, but that is not the case in day to day life. We popped into the Chinese theatre and had a look at the foot and hand prints of the stars. Some dated back to 1927, the prints still look pretty good too! After a delicious vegan burger, we headed up to Griffith Observatory at the perfect time. We experienced afternoon, sunset and night.

Grifith Observatory

The best time to make the most of your trip and see all the different sky changes. Sunset was incredible up there, it lingered about for over an hour, as we watched the moon rise beautifully into the sky. They had the large telescope pointed out into Jupiter, even   seen a few of its moons around it. Absolutely incredible!

The incredible sky

 

Day 3

Today we headed to the science centre. This was a high priority on Rob’s LA list as one of the US space shuttles is stored there and you can view  it. We first headed to the the Body section that was the feature of the month. Grace and Rob were a bit creeped out by this and left with very sensitive stomachs. Everything on display was a real human. They had donated their bodies to science. We seen the inside of the body, like never before. The way your muscles sit in your bones, the inside of your brain, the nervous system and even lungs and heart. I found it to be so fascinating, that is actually what we look like on the inside, no cartoons or animal parts to represent our parts. Finally it was time to see the Endevor space shuttle. It was so big! We walked around the room filled with displays of mission control and some parts of the space shuttle including the wheels and toilet.

The Endeavour

We watched a video on how it transported it from Florida to California. Then into the room where the beautiful shuttle was on display! It was huge, and a completely different material than I was expecting. It wasn’t glossy it was made completely of tiles, that were all numbered and had specific places on the shuttle. We spent half an hour just walking around and admiring this beautiful shuttle that had been out to space 25 times.
We spent the  evening at the OUE sky space which is at the top of the US bank building, 52 levels above ground. It has a room filled with some pretty incredible views to look at and interactive lights.

Rob on the OUE Slide

 

We all went down the glass slide that wraps around and drops one level. The slide is very cool, although it was over in 1.5seconds, I wish it was a little longer. The incredible views that you could admire off the balconies on both sides of the building were amazing!

 

Day 4

DISNEYLAND!!! I hope the capitals let you know how excited I was. Grace was also excited, childhood dreams were coming true for us! Rob had been before but was more than happy to go again.

Such a cool day

We arrived at 8:30am as traffic was about already. Traffic is a real bad thing in LA, it’s there ALWAYS! The lines were huge! You had to line up, go through security where they looked at bags and then scanned your body similar to airport. Finally time to buy tickets and get to California Adventure park first.  Disney filled my heart with joy! The rides are magical and the vibes at disneyland are amzing! We went on Gardians of the Galaxy, Cars, California Scream, Mickeys fun wheel, swinging chairs, The silver bullet, Goofy’s Flying school before another quick two rides on the California Scream roller coaster before heading over to Disneyland! We went on Starwars, Space mountain, Finding nemo submarine, Wild West roller coaster, Indiana Jones. We also went and met Mickey Mouse, seen Minney Mouses house and shopped some Disney products. We missed the fire world as we were stuck in line for one of the rides which is definitely disappointing, but we couldn’t change that. We finally left the park at 11pm after arriving at 8:30am. It was a long, fun day. We spent aleast one hour waiting in line for each ride, except for Space mountain which was much longer as it broke down while we were in line. Disneyland was truly a magical day. I was really upset at the food and had wished that I brought lunch but other than that Disney filled my heart with joy! The rides are magical and the vibes at disneyland are amzing!

Day 5

We slept most of the morning away as we finally arrived home at 1am after a quick stop at Walmart and our long drive home. We spent the day just relaxing at the air b&b. Grace and I watched movies while rob was editing his photos. Day well spent after hours of standing and walking the days before.

 

Day 6

Universal studios. We were up fairly early to head out to the studios again, which I’m glad as the park was fairly quiet at this time. Making it really easy to get through security and grab tickets.

Universal Studios

We headed straight for the minions ride. It was a 4D seat ride and was amazing! Then onto the Simpsons that was just as incredible. Downstairs we did the Jurassic park, mummy and transformers rides before heading up to the studio tours. The tour was pretty amazing,.We went through the sound studio section, on to the buildings, which included the famous city hall from back to the future. On to the New York section. Finally we got to the King Kong part of the ride which gave us an incredible shake up and spray, while dinasours and King Kong were fighting around us. Amazing. We drove through the suburbs where we witnessed thunder and lightning, along with flash flooding during a hot sunny day. Onto the suburbs which were Mexico and Wisteria Lane from Desperate housewives. Before things got crazy with the fast and furious lock down. I don’t want to ruin too much of the tour for you but it was definitely a highlight of my day at universal studios. We did the Harry Potter section to finish our day off and headed to a dinner spot close to our home.

Minion!

Day 7

The morning was spent making and eating pancakes and packing. We then headed out for a walk to the local shopping centre for Grace to get the last gifts she needed before heading home. I was so sad to know she was leaving today. I absolutely love my little sister. We spent the afternoon drinking coffee and eating lunch before heading back to grab our bags for Grace to go to the airport and Rob and I to do laundry before Vegas. I cried for a good ten minutes after Graces Uber drove away. So sad to see her leave and so grateful I get to have her in my LA memories.

There was an endless amount of things to do in LA that we had to choose what we wanted and stick to the plan. We did a tonne of walking and then used Uber to get to the places that weren’t in walking distance. LA has such a cool vibe to it. Was definitely a place I would visit again.

Aileen xxx

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Cancun

This was our last stop for leg one of the world trip. It was such a bitter sweet feeling. It meant that we had overcome all of the challenges, frustrations and fears that had come about during our travels. It also meant that we had seen and experienced many wonderful adventures.

Cancun From above

Upon arriving into Cancun we instantly felt the heat and humidity. We were staying quite far away from the Zona Hotelera, which was a two and half hour walk away. Yes we thought it was a good idea to walk that. Three quarters of the walk we gave in and caught a bus. It was like 35 degrees and we were dying! The beach was well worth it. I had never seen water that blue or clear before. So much like the movies or what you see in pictures. The water was pretty rough in the area we first went to. After lunch we found a great spot that had sand banks so you could stand up in the water and feel much safer.

Playa Chac mool, in Zona Hotelera

Day 5 in Cancun we took the boat to Isla Mujeres and fell in love. This was the most incredible little island. The weather was incredible the beach was breathtaking and our apartment set up was the best that we had on this trip. They had bikes, beach chairs, balls, books and even sunscreen for personal use of all guests. This was such a bonus. I guess it was because the bike had a basket that it made me want to bike everywhere. Also the island is total of 7km long and 650m wide, making it extremely accessible to bike everywhere. Although Rob had many encounters of his chain falling off it was so much fun.

Isla Mujeres

We spent the next four days enjoying the sun and beach, snorkelling, swimming everyday and watching the sun set on the beach. Typical island life.

Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres

We fell in love so much that instead of leaving on Sunday back to the main land we decided to stay the whole rest of our time on the island until we flew to LA. I know that Mexico has so much to offer and explore but it just felt right to enjoy the beach and time of relaxation before we get so busy sight seeing in the states. When we booked the Cancun trip is was meant to be a two week break in between the legs of traveling and that’s what we made it.

Robs cute bicycle shot

Although it rained everyday after Sunday until we flew out we had the time to get things booked and ready for the states and rode our bikes in the rain. The island life is really the best kind.

Aileen xx

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