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6 things I learned during my first solo trip as a woman

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6 things I learned during my first solo trip as a woman

I’ve travelled alone before but this particular week in San Francisco last year was really my first vacation from start to finish where I had no one but myself to count on for a a bit more than a week. San Francisco is quite a big city that’s not particularly unsafe and known for being very fun and interesting. So when I had the opportunity on going, I took it. And it just happened that I was going on my own and this was no problem at all.

However, to my surprise, this isn’t the first thought most people had when I told them I was travelling alone - especially as a woman. Family, friends, strangers, both men and women, were quite curious and interrogative on my solo vacation. How come as a woman I would like to travel alone? Did I not feel scared? Isn’t it dangerous? Wouldn’t I feel alone and bored?

Here are 5 things I’ve learnt during my first solo vacation as a woman and why you should totally go travel alone too - whatever your gender is.

1. It gives you a feeling of freedom

I already knew that going on a holiday alone, I would be able to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. But I didn’t realise just how free you would feel all the time. Want to wake up at 11am and take your time in the morning before visiting? Go for it. Want to spend 2 hours getting that picture you really wanted? Go for it. Want to spoil yourself with endless sushis for dinner? Go, go and go for it!

And the good news is that if you screw up something or miss a connecting flight or train, well there’s only yourself you can blame. But in the end you don’t care and you’ll probably just laugh at yourself because you know what? It’s your own holiday.

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2. You will actually not feel that alone

This is the one thing I didn’t really expect. In 2017, we are so into our virtual lives, we barely talk to strangers. Yet when travelling, it all feels like this feeling is mysteriously disappearing. Travelling alone doesn’t mean you cut yourself from all forms of social life - unless you are deliberately leaving for a deserted island.

I am not a shy person and chat quickly to people so making friends is quite easy for me. However, I’ve had people come talk to me all the time during this trip in San Francisco and during my little detour to Yosemite Park. There’s not one day I felt alone during my trip. In the plane, at my Airbnb, while waiting for coffee, in a shop, at a walking tour… So many possibilities to meet new people. If you’re looking for some serious solo time, you might even get annoyed at it!

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3. Either people don’t give a damn about you or totally stare at you

This is a weird one. I definitely think as a woman you get more stares, questions and people approaching you but when I travelled during that week in SF, it was really one or the other. Either people would barely notice me, either people would stare and sometimes approach me as to what I was up to, why I was alone etc. It was never threatening and if I felt like I didn’t want to hang around, I was just saying “sorry I gotta go” but most of the time people never noticed.

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4. You will have lot of me time and that’s so relaxing

Travelling solo also mean you’ll have a lot of me-time and time to think with yourself, which is, I think, quite pleasant! You’ll discover more about yourself, what you like to do, what are your travel and adventure boundaries.

This one I think is one of the most important things you learn when travelling alone, especially if you are not familiar with travelling in general. We all know we are a little bit bolder and crazier when travelling, so just be the new you and surprise yourself!

Another 24 hours flying solo in Seoul, Korea!

Another 24 hours flying solo in Seoul, Korea!

5. It might be more expensive unless you plan wisely!

OK, there is a downside of travelling solo: it is quite more expensive. The main difference of course is about accommodation. I couldn’t help myself thinking “if I was sharing this room with my partner, I would save that much”.

But fact is, there are ways for you to still go on travelling solo and not ruin yourself. The solo travel industry is booming and there are many many ways to plan for it. Maybe don’t look at hotels but look instead for Airbnbs and live the local experience. Book at a bed in a hostel and meet many new people. Don’t stay right in the main neighbourhood but explore off the beaten path…

And in the end, just treat yourself. Spending on holidays and experiences, even solo, is always more valuable than buying that brand new bag or shiny watch you-don’t-really-need.

6. It is safe to wander alone as a woman and totally worth it

Believe it or not, even if solo travelling is becoming more and more popular now, there is still a lot of stigma around women travelling alone. I really didn’t expect people around me would be so surprised and asking so many questions about my choice to travel solo on that week but they did.

Truth is I’ve never felt unsafe even going through what is said the least safe neighbourhood in San Francisco. As in any other situation or city, you just have to be careful. Sure, be prepared for people staring at you and asking you questions as I said earlier but you can also choose to continue to go your own way and ignore or politely (and firmly) respond those questions and then leave.

Now, why do I think everyone should travel alone - especially as a woman - at least once in their life?

Because you’ll push the boundaries of your travelling habits, you’ll know who you are and what you like and mostly, you’ll meet people or encounter situations you wouldn’t have before.

And there’s no way because you are a woman that it should stop you from travelling alone. There are so many ways and safe places to visit that it’s a shame to not encourage more women to travel alone nowadays. Mostly, ignore the stupid comments and reply why it’s important to you and those questions would certainly not be asked to your male counterparts.

I can assure you it will be nothing but fun, you’ll feel empowered to do more and to travel solo again.

So as they say, go your own way! I already can’t wait to plan my next solo trip!

Want to know more about my actual trip in San Francisco? Read my full itinerary of San Francisco with photographs here!

Disclaimer: this is my experience of only one trip and my opinion only and I'm sure everyone has had different experiences in different countries. Also I met a friend for the last two days of the trip but was still flying solo most of the time :) 

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How Sydney made me more active

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How Sydney made me more active

Without a doubt, I’ve never been so active and motivated to do sports than now. It’s been three years I live in Sydney, and lots of things have changed for me since, read here how living in Australia changed me, but one of them is definitely the level of activity I am doing.

If you’ve never been to Sydney, you’ll quickly understand this beautiful city is super outdoorsy, people live outside and exercise outside - a lot. There is a real beach body culture in some parts of Sydney too.

After those three years, I’ve realised that although I’ve always been active, I really wanted to up my game lately and become a lot stronger, fitter to be mostly a better surfer! Surfing has really changed a lot for me and my workout routine revolves a lot around it.

Discover below five sports which I think I really got into - more seriously - since living in Australia and I hope that you will too!

Cover photo of this article by Darcie Collington @darcieec

1. Surfing baby!

Surfing had been a goal/dream for me since a very young age but I unfortunately never lived close to decent waves and did only a couple of weeks of surf camps in France. Moving to Australia, this really triggered my willing to surf and I really started to take it seriously about a year and a half ago. I actually wrote a blog post here on how to start surfing in Sydney.

And I never thought surfing would bring me so much closer to nature, my body and my mind. I couldn’t imagine my life without it now and wish I could be in the water much more often (and that the conditions were good every day too!). Although I leave only 20 minutes driving away from a surfing beach (without traffic), it’s hard to get out there every day when working full-time in the city but I am grateful for every opportunity I get and have a ferocious will to get better at it and surf amazing waves with great style one day!

Bondi to Coogee walk 

Bondi to Coogee walk 

 

2. Walking and hiking kilometres and kilometres...

I remember the first few weeks in Sydney, I was quite impressed with how many hikes were available in and around the city. Whether it’s a 20 minutes water walk, an hour coastal hike with incredible cliffs views or a 4-hour bush walk at nature’s heart - there is enough for a decade!

I love walking because it’s just so easy, perfect to discover surroundings, take photos and just take a moment to appreciate what nature has to offer to us. The most iconic walks in Sydney are Bondi to Coogee, Split to Manly and Heritage Walk in Vaucluse but don’t hesitate to explore further and try new walks! Check my blog on 6 walks in Sydney that you must do.

Biking the harbour bridge in Sydney for the first time. Now something I do every day!

Biking the harbour bridge in Sydney for the first time. Now something I do every day!

3. Biking to work

This one is very recent. Since I moved to Sydney lower north shore this winter and my full-time job is now in the city, I decided that I’ve had enough of the bus and wanted to bike to work! I bought a $200 brand new blue bike from 99 bikes in Enmore and I was set! The beginnings were a bit hard as there are so many hills on my way (especially from work to home) but since doing it regularly, I am pretty much fine now.

I still haven’t done it 5 days in a row because of being too tired sometimes or having places to go after work. It takes me about 40 minutes instead of 30 minutes with the bus so not bad and a great workout + it’s free! My highlight is definitely biking on the harbour bridge and passing in some quiet streets feeling so free and happy! I’ve really noticed the difference in my mood and productivity at work after a few weeks as well.

I really want to research more bike paths now to just go biking on weekends too and mix exercise, fun and exploration!

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4. Zen vibes with Yoga and Pilates

I really got into yoga and pilates when I was in the USA, as I had free classes at uni (didn’t realise how good that was at the time), and decided to get back to it in Australia. There are SO many places to do both, it’s incredible. The price isn’t as fun though as it can get quite expensive but if you find a nice club you like, it’s worth the spend.

There’s yoga by the sea, acro yoga, yoga up to Sydney tower, even yoga beer I heard haha? I’m just loving the zen vibes of those classes and how relaxed I feel afterwards. I still need to find myself a new club as I haven’t found one since I moved. But I know that there are some great places that do it for free like the Buddhist Library in Camperdown - which I used to go to when I first moved to Sydney.

And you can always you know, just rock some youtube yoga video and do it at home or in the park!

The Sydney Botanic Gardens - a nice place to run!

The Sydney Botanic Gardens - a nice place to run!

5. Run, run, run!

Sooo running is still a very much work in progress for me. I’ve never been bad or good at it, but just hated the feeling after running for a while. Swimming is my thing, running not really. But I decided to get better at it because it’s still fun and free!

And when you have such an amazing scenery to run to, you cannot be tempted! The Royal Botanic Gardens, Eastern Suburbs water runs, the Northern Beaches, etc… So many places. Only little problem: the hills and the crowds! Some places can get really hilly very fast and is just a killer. And the crowds can be pretty insane at some times in the day, especially Manly on a summer day.

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If I had more time, I’d even love to pick up even more activities… I”d love to join a sailing club, do a surf lifesaving course, try ballet lessons at the Sydney Dance Academy… I’ve got endless ideas but not endless time unfortunately so will continue focusing on surfing and do what I love.

Did a city make you more active before as well? Do you have a favourite activity that you love doing no matter where? Tell me everything!

 

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Living in Australia after 3 years: How It Changed Me

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Living in Australia after 3 years: How It Changed Me

Today marks my 1,100th day of living in Australia or in short, a little bit more than three years! I can’t believe how fast those three years flew by, how much I’ve done (or how little as I sometimes think!) and how much I have changed as a person too.

I think I realised this when I went back from my European trip last June, that I was definitely quite different from when I left in 2014. I haven’t entirely changed of course but a lot of aspects of my life have and I think, in the end, my personality has changed a little too. We all evolve as we grow up but by moving to a new country, it definitely has a bigger impact.

I wanted to share a bit of this change with you as moving to a new country isn't the easiest thing to do but the most exciting thing you can do. Here are a few things that changed:

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I’ve had to adapt to a new way of living

This is an obvious one but you realise with time that you really adapt to a new way of living when moving in a new country. I’d say the first thing is definitely about food. Although I still keep my old habits of eating lots of bread, my tastes and food habits have changed so much since I left France. What I love the most is how I’ve learnt so much about Asian food and wouldn’t imagine eating or cooking it! Sydney has the most diverse and amazing food available and I feel super grateful to be able to try all of those. Oh, and yes, I now love Vegemite on my bread too!

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Sydney made me a lot more active

I’ve always been a bit active and did a bit of sport here and then but I think by living in Sydney, you really want to get more active. It’s a very outdoor city and lots of people exercise so it really encourages you to do it. Personally, I am so happy I can go surfing almost every week, I can now bike to work, I try to run more and more and sometimes I take some yoga classes (wish I could do more but it’s a bit pricey). And there’s so many more clubs or sports to do around here that there’s really no excuse to not do it and it’s an amazing way to meet people too! Watch out for my next posts on this topic soon.

Photo by Darcie Collington

Photo by Darcie Collington

It made me go out a lot less

I’ve been the real party girl before (oh, uni days!) and when I arrived in Sydney, I still partied a fair bit but not as much, and I’d say that I now almost never party. I guess as you grow older, you party less and you think about what’s priority on a weekend after a hard week of work!

I love a drink here and then but you’ll now rarely see me up after midnight or maybe 1 or 2 am maaax. The reason? I feel there’s so much more to do during the day in Sydney! I like to wake up early if I’m going to surf, go on an adventure, maybe sleep in and just be lazy, go see friends etc. But I don’t feel the thrills of going out right now. And let’s be honest, Sydney isn’t exactly the best city to party between the lock-out laws, strict rules, venues that are not super exciting and so many rude security guards or bartenders I’ve encountered. When I went back to Europe or even just partied in Melbourne, I really saw the difference and had awesome nights!

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Living in Australia makes me appreciate nature and my surroundings so much more

When I lived in France, I think I took for granted how beautiful and varied my country is. I wish I visited a bit more by myself rather than just stick to the places I knew. (well I was a student too so not exactly tons of money to travel!)

Since I moved to Sydney, I really realised how precious and beautiful nature is around here but also how much there’s to do (for free most of the times!) and how I should never take it for granted. There’s nothing more rewarding than discovering a new national park or take a walk on a new beach.

And the good thing is that after working in the city the week, I just crave going to different and greener places on the weekends and I just love it! Here’s to exciting road trips and exploring my surroundings!

Living in Sydney & travelling in Australia made me spend a lot more money

Living here is expensive for sure. And salaries are quite good but rent is also extremely high. Maybe it’s also the fact that I am not a student anymore where I had to be careful of my spendings but I would say by living in Australia and in Sydney mainly, you start to get used to the prices and then spend a lot more than originally planned!

Also, travelling in Australia is a bit expensive. Now, there are ways to keep cost downs like travelling/sleeping in a van, sleep in hostels, stick to the free views and activities. But if you’d like to go a bit further, generally air fares are not always that cheap, hotels are more expensive than they should be (especially in high season!) and extra activities can also be really over the top. But hey, it’s all worth it and possible!

Living Australia is now making me think about what kind of life I want...

Living so close to nature and the ocean really makes you think more about the environment, what you like in life and what’s important to you. I think surfing really has had an impact on me (I always knew it will) and I couldn’t imagine myself living in a place where I couldn’t go surfing regularly anymore. Same as exploring, I love the city but I also love escaping and discover or re-discover my surroundings. And these are so important to me, I don’t think I could ever spot doing both. I think this really makes a difference when thinking about your life and it definitely influenced me because I live here.

Sometimes I wonder if I stayed in Paris if my life would look different now? I know I wouldn’t have stayed anyway because as I always say I love visiting Paris but not living there. But what if I was in another city in the world? All I know now is that Sydney is my home now and I can’t wait again to see what will be happening next in this wonderful city.

Do you think living abroad has changed you in some ways? Or even if you are living in the same country, have you noticed changes by travelling a bit more maybe? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

And if you’d like to read more, I also wrote about my two-year checkup in Australia as well as my first complete year in Sydney.

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How to survive long-haul flights when crossing half the world

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How to survive long-haul flights when crossing half the world

Since living in Australia, I’ve started to become a specialist of long-haul flights across half of the world. Originally from France, I’ve done many many return trips to Europe and therefore many hours / days and nights in a plane.

I say I’m a specialist but in theory - I’m still struggling from time to time with surviving those countless hours of flying, transfers, waiting and the exhaustion when landing.

However, since a few months, I’ve decided to get better for several reasons: the need to maximise my time, the need to reduce my tiredness to the minimum because of a busy life awaiting for me as soon I land and just the need to stop “nailing it” by going into long flights without a strategy and failing it anyway.

Some views are just worth the plane ride... Somewhere over China! 

Some views are just worth the plane ride... Somewhere over China! 

When I was a teenager or student, I used to not care thinking I’ll be fine the day after. I still fall into those bad habits sometimes but there is nothing worse than not closing one eye during a long flight and arrive as alive as a zombie in a new place or back home.

I’ve even gone as far as the first time I visited Australia when I was 15 to not sleep at all during both of the 12 hours flights. Needless to say on my third flight from Sydney to Cairns and as soon as I arrived in Cairns, I was feeling super unwell. Believe me ten years later, I still remember the feeling.

So I’ve decided to put a stop to all the improvising during long-haul flights and go into “strategy” mode. It’s not often that I have many hours ahead of me to relax, work a bit, eat and sleep so why not use it? Let me talk you through it:

Find out a plan to set yourself on destination

Depending on where you stop and where you are going, make a plan on when you should be awake and asleep to set yourself right for when you arrive.

Tip: set your watch to your destination so you are already psychologically in the right time zone and can adjust your flight time according to it if possible.

Definitely sleep a bit in each of the planes

Don’t skip on the sleeping part, really. Even if it’s just a bit of sleep and if it’s not long, it’s better than nothing. It’ll save you when landing.

Tips: choose the seat you prefer prior to the flight - having a window seat gives you more option to rest your head on the wall whereas aisle seat might be easier to spread legs and get up for exercise. Take a sleeping mask to avoid light disturbance and earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones for a calmer environment.

Do a stopover if possible

So I only tried this strategy this year and it made a HUGE difference on me. I stopped in Seoul for 20 hours between Sydney and London and although I also did some sightseeing, I slept very very well for 5 straight hours in a hotel and it made the whole difference. I was tired during the day but not the same kind of tired and I didn’t feel the jet lag at all when arriving in Europe.

Tip: From Australia to Europe, If you have the opportunity, I strongly recommend one or two nights either in Asia or in the Middle East to combine rest and sightseeing between two long flights! Works for other kind of destinations following how long / where you fly.

My stopover in Seoul from Austrlaia to Europe, South Korea with Korean Air. 

My stopover in Seoul from Austrlaia to Europe, South Korea with Korean Air. 

Make your life easier on the plane

Being comfortable on a plane is key to relax. We all know how cramped it can get in economy class (lucky you if you’re flying business!) so better wear the right clothes, have all the entertainment you need and everything by your side to not go up and down looking in your bag.

Tip: Drink water, water and water! I am not a fan of drinking alcohol on planes - unless it’s a day flight, champagne is flowing and the flight isn’t too long - it sure can make you sleep but make you dehydrated and exhaust you faster.

I'm a big fan of French beauty products Nuxe and this mini versions were perfect for my plane ride!

I'm a big fan of French beauty products Nuxe and this mini versions were perfect for my plane ride!

Get some information about your connecting airport

It’s so precious to know little things like you can take a free shower between flights at your connecting airport or be able to relax in peace in a special lounge or just discover the culture of the country directly from the airport!

Tip: I found this website called Sleeping in Airports and it has some very precious information on many airports. Definitely worth researching before your layover!

And finally, just take time to sit back and relax

You have some many hours ahead of you, just enjoy those and relax! You’ll get to your destination in a breeze and will think it was faster than you thought when arrived. Congrats!

Tip: in our ever-connected world, sometimes it takes only a flight to get us out of social media and the internet. So enjoy those few hours being off-the-grid and watch that movie you’ve wanted to see for so long or finish this book that’s been hanging since three months. You have nowhere else to go right now…

What are your strategies to survive long haul flights? Let me know and I’ll try!

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Plan your 2017 travels around Australian Public Holidays

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Plan your 2017 travels around Australian Public Holidays

What’s best than the new year to plan a couple of holidays and travels? I love planning some in advance but also love the last minute rush of finding the perfect getaway. Unfortunately, we are not all that lucky to be travelling whenever we want. I try to travel as much as I can around Australia or worldwide but I still have a full-time job and with that four weeks of holidays (which is still more than in the US with only two weeks but still less than France with five to six weeks!). However, no need to cringe and panic thinking “how can I go travelling with just enough leave?” because, with a bit of strategic thinking around the holidays and public holidays, it’s possible to take real holidays in Australia and overseas!

Let’s do the math, there are:

  • 52 Saturdays in 2017
  • 53 Sundays in 2017
  • 4 weeks of holidays = 20 days off work
  • An average of 9 public holidays

So that leaves us with more than a 100 days of weekends (who said a holiday couldn’t last a weekend?) and almost 30 days off around the public holidays combined with being off work. Amazing, right?

Personally, I am taking only two days of leave around the Easter weekend to go to San Francisco this year! Combined with working offsite, I can leave for a full week overseas! I am doing a similar thing when going to Europe in June/July - so perfect to wind down and not exhaust all the holiday possibilities.

So where to now? There are so many possibilities but Health and Fitness Travel, a global luxury wellness travel company, calculated how to make the most of the public holidays and still enjoy a relaxing holiday! See suggestions and infographic below to plan your 2017 travels:

Australia Day Weekend: Australia or Bali

Take 2 days off for a 4 day holiday Book leave: 25 and 27 January Public holiday: 26 January Your holiday: 25 to 28 January

Where to go: Twelve Apostles Walk

The iconic Great Ocean Road is definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited in Australia! There is an iconic Twelve Apostles Walk you can experience, a 56-kilometre hike over 4 days through the last half of the coastal trail of the Great Ocean Walk. This one will definitely challenge your cardiovascular fitness as you traverse the terrain to explore the vibrant and diverse flora and fauna of the region and learn about the rich history of land and sea. To know more about my trip on the Great Ocean Road, you can read more here.

Or Bali Lifestyle Retreat

By living in Australia, Bali is really accessible for its price and closeness. Want to luxuriate in an overseas holiday instead? As they say, ‘Bali is always a good idea!’ Only 6h30 minutes from Sydney or 3h45 minutes from Perth, Bali is a good bet in spending your limited holiday time and find your calm with yoga sessions or pamper yourself with some spa treatments.

Great Ocean Road
Great Ocean Road

Easter Weekend to ANZAC Day: Vietnam or Caribbean Islands

Take 8 days off for a 16 day holiday Book leave: 18 to 21, 24, and 26 to 28 April Public holidays: 14, 17, 25 April Your holiday: 14 to 29 April

Where to go: VietnamI discovered Vietnam for the first time in 2014 and absolutely loved it. It was such a culinary and cultural discovery for me, I would be so happy to go back. From the spectacular Ha Long Bay in the north to the meandering Mekong Delta in the south, there’s so much to see. There’s also many places to recover on a wellness retreat where you can indulge in spa treatments and recharge with holistic activities such as yoga and meditation.

OR The Caribbean islands, St Lucia and Martinique

The Caribbean is just paradise on earth. So many islands, so many possibilities. There’s one though that’s pretty pleasant and relaxing: St Lucia. I’ve been there a really long time ago and honestly can’t remember so much about it but next time I’m going, I wouldn’t mind trying a few wellness programs to relax. Martinique is a French island and I remember all the happy times I had there, so relaxing to charge your batteries on beautiful beaches!           

Hanoi Vietnam
Hanoi Vietnam

Christmas Break: India or Switzerland

Take 7 days off for a 14 day holiday Book leave: 27 to 29 December and 2 to 5 January Public holidays: 25 to 26 December and 1 January Your holiday: 23 December to 5 January

Where to go: India

I love Christmas in Australia but I wouldn’t say no to a little escape to incredible India! There is so much to discover, it might be good to focus on only one region. I loved my time there when I discovered the Rajasthan region.

OR Switzerland and beautiful Gstaad

Switzerland is a magical place for a truly white Christmas. I’ve experienced it for numerous of my young years and felt the magic every time. Gstaad is also one of a kind, being one of the top ski resorts in Europe. If you really want to live the full experience, ski in the morning and Spa in the afternoon! Just make sure your wallet is ready because Gstaad isn’t cheap (nor is Switzerland!) but definitely the experience of a lifetime.

So no need to panic over the 2017 travels, there’s so much you can do! And don’t forget that you don’t need to fly hours and spend tonnes of money to have a good holiday. Driving next door to this lovely beach or beautiful mountain can also have the taste of a new discovery!

So tell me your holiday plans for 2017?

Infographic Wellness Travel
Infographic Wellness Travel

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The 2016 Travel Christmas Gift Guide with Aussie Brands

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The 2016 Travel Christmas Gift Guide with Aussie Brands

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I’ve selected 12 top local Australian brands for the 2016 Travel Christmas Gift Guide for the traveller, the explorer, the adventurer, and the outdoor lover!

Can you believe it’s only a few weeks to go until Christmas? This is going to be my third Australian Christmas already and still in Summer! I am slowly getting used to it but it still feels a little weird. What isn’t changing though is my ability to get presents at the very last minute…. So this year I thought I’d get some inspiration about what I love the most, travels! I’ve created this Christmas gift guide for travellers with some of the best Aussie brands.

To all the adventurers out there in Australia, in France or anywhere else in the world, discover 12 amazing brands and products which I’m sure will be on your Christmas wish list or help you to get something for your friends and family.

christmas-gift-guide-2016
christmas-gift-guide-2016

1. The Scrubba wash Bag

Going on an adventure is fun until you run out of clean clothes. Especially when camping or going into wild areas, it can get even harder. That’s what Ash Newlan understood in 2010 when he founded the Scrubba Bag after travelling to Africa to climb Mt Kilimanjaro with a mate. The Scrubba Bag is a pocket-sized washing machine which will also travellers to wash clothes anywhere anytime. It is super light (145 grammes), requires nothing else that just a bit of water. It can also use as a stuff sack or cushion!

You can find the Scrubba bag here for AUD$64.95 + free AUS shipping or USD$55 + free US shipping.

scrubba
scrubba

2. The Travel Bra  

For all the ladies, this might be one of the most useful gift ever! Created in 2015 by Dr Annie Holden, The Travel Bra is the alternative for solo female travellers to money belts. She wanted to feel safe and comfortable in particular when she needed to carry cash or was travelling in places where it was advisable to hide her passport. Made from organic cotton and bamboo, The Travel Bra has multiple pockets such as credit card sleeve, drop down passport holder, pockets in the cups to store cash and mini pockets in shoulder strap for rings and valuables.

The Travel Bra can be found here at a price of AUD$59.99. Alternatively for men, there are also the travel trunks.

purlingbrook-1
purlingbrook-1

3. The Kathmandu Backpack + Microfibre Quick-Dry Towel Combo

Founded in 1987 in Melbourne, Kathmandu is probably one of the most known Aussie brands to create awesome clothing and accessories for explorers, adventurers, travellers and most of all outdoor lovers. The Wayfarer Pack is a great 25L backpack combined with utilitarian style. Additionally, the Microfibre Quick-Drying Towel is a large and soft blue stripe towel that you can easily carry around as well. The quick dry feature is a must when taking showers on the go or after having a dip in a waterfall!

You can find the Wayfarer pack in cool grey for a discounted price of $108.98 and the large Microfibre Quick-Drying Towel in Soft Blue Stripes for $39.98

kathmandu
kathmandu

4. The Frank Green Smart Bottle

This Australian made and designed accessory is great to stay hydrated on a road trip and travels. It’s also a great environment conscious accessory as Frank Green wants to motivate others to live more sustainably and to reduce unnecessary waste. Not always easy when travelling abroad, but definitely achievable when on holidays nearby! With a clever push button operations; the Smartbottle opens and closes with a spill resistant lid. It’s also BPA-free and non-toxic. Not to mention the colours are super fun!

The SmartBottle is available here for $34.95.

frankgreen
frankgreen

5. The Honeybell Waterwear UPF50+ Shirt-Dress

Honeybell waterwear founder Annaliese wanted to create a piece of clothing that would be sun protective, comfortable, rashie-like and fashionable. All that you need when travelling in hot and sunny places like in Australia. Made with lightweight, quick-drying, and breathable fabric that is certified as providing UPF 50+ protection, the Honeybell Waterwear shirt-dress has the highest possible rating available, blocking 98% of the sun’s damaging UVA/UVB rays. Feeling like a rashie, this is also pretty good if you need to take a quick dip somewhere and don’t have a swimsuit handy.

The Honeybell Waterwear shirt-dress can be found here for $139.

honeybell
honeybell

6. The Regal Ultramarine Picnic Rug by Wandering Folk

Designed locally in Tamarama, Sydney, and born on a very muddy camping trip, this travel rug with many shades of blue is the perfect improvised picnic companion. Being a fan of road trips, a good travel rug is always a must for a break on the way or at the destination. It weighs 2 kilos and has a waterproof canvas to keep you dry from the damp ground. It is adorned with hand made tassels in each corner as well and it comes with its very own woven strap, so you can carry your new rug wherever you roam.

You can get the Regal Ultramarine Picnic Rug by Wandering Folk here from $180 + free shipping in Australia. Its size is 164cm x 147cm.

ultramarine
ultramarine

7. A’OK Espadrilles

You’ll think, why espadrilles in a travel gift guide? Well for me, it’s been one of the most useful shoes to carry around on travels. They are super lightweight, very easy to carry around and so comfortable while still stylish for day or night. That’s exactly why Australian Brand A’OK decided to launch in 2014 their own version of the traditional footwear seen in the town of St Tropez, France. A’OK Espadrilles are also all about the everlasting spirit of summer with a stylish and chic touch for every occasion while travelling. Each shoe is created from canvas with an inner sole made out of rope. For durability, the outer sole is made of rubber.

You can get the A’OK Espadrilles here for $29.99 in many fun colours!

aok_blue
aok_blue

8. The Australian Made Scarf by Love Merino

Sourced exclusively from a family-owned farm in Wellington, Western NSW, Love Merino have beautifully designed 100% superfine merino wool scarves. Lightweight of about 180 grammes and a size of 2m x 45 cm, these warm scarves are the perfect travel accessory for cold planes and air conditioning. I know I easily get a sore throat when travelling so always carry a scarf around! The scarves are limited edition (1 of 50) and can be traced right back to the flock of sheep on the farm. Love Merino has also embraced the “slow fashion” ethos by working in small scale production with local Australian manufacturers (Woolerina), artists (Manuela Strano) and design houses (Publisher Textiles and Shibori) to produce limited edition pieces inspired by the land they love so much.

You can find different colours and style from $170 to $190 dollars on Love Merino website. The Paper Daisy Scarf is my favourite!

merino
merino

9. Paper Planes earring by Fairina Cheng Jewellery

Crafted by Sydney jeweller, Fairina Cheng, the Paper Planes earrings are inspired by travel stories and wanderlust. Crafted in solid sterling silver or solid 9ct gold, their simple, geometric shape tells of tales scrawled in well-worn journals and postcards sent from across the seas. Much like their owner, they are happiest when travelling the world. I know while travelling I always want to keep stylish while not have too many jewels to carry so having one set of earrings that are so dreamy is perfect for happy travels.

You can find the Silver paper plane earrings here for $95 or the Rose/Yellow Gold for $329 here.

silver-paper-planes
silver-paper-planes

10. The Cord Roll by Afternoon with Albert

Afternoon with Albert Founder and Qantas Pilot, Shane Thompson decided to design a travel accessory based on his experiences of moving about the globe so frequently. We’ve all experienced the chaos of cable management for phone and music accessories and dreaming of a life untangled. The Cord Roll is a simple way to keep cords, cables, thumb drives and all of life’s necessities safe and organised in one easy-to-find spot. The Cord Roll comes in three colours, Jet Black, Tan and French Grey and fits into jacket pockets, jeans, backpacks or handbags. It is also made of vegetable tanned leather.

The Cord Roll is available in three colours for $75 each.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0178.
DCIM100GOPROGOPR0178.

11. Adventure Travel Turkish Towels by Sandy Cove Trading Company

Created in 2014 by Australian co-founders of Sandy Cove, Phoebe and Duncan, the adventure Turkish towels are perfect to carry on a sunny holiday. Lightweight and easily packable, the towels come in many colours and are wide enough for a break on the beach or a picnic in a city park. You can also wear it as a sarong! Sandy Cove is also donating 10% of all profits to selected environmental and humanitarian charity organisations. The Adventure Travel - Turkish Towels is made from 100% cotton, highly absorbent, lightweight and fast-drying.

You can shop the Adventure Turkish Towels in many colours on Sandy Cove website for $42.95 + free delivery in Australia and free delivery over $100 internationally.

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sandycovelookbook9

12. The Harlequin Belle Triangle Shoulder Bag

You probably understood by now that I am a fan of packable, lightweight accessories! The Harlequin Belle Triangle Shoulder Bag is just that. Founded in 2013 by Kellie, Harlequin Belle is an Aussie brand creating all kind of leather products as well as this lightweight bag with handless uses when travelling to carry beach products, food, books or anything else you would carry. It’s made from beautiful raw fabric with a soft leather handle. Not to mention that if you purchase any leather product by Harlequin Belle, you will get this bag for free.

You can buy the Triangle Shoulder bag for $39, its size is 60cm width and 65cm height.

harlequin-belle
harlequin-belle

Happy Christmas shopping!

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Discover my new Youtube channel!

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Discover my new Youtube channel!

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And the surprises go on! After the debut of my giveaway last Saturday (check it out here, you can win cool prizes until Sunday 24th) I am now announcing the launch of my brand new youtube channel!

I have to say I am a bit nervous about launching this but also very excited. My channel will aim to be documentary style videos about Sydney, Australia and the world. I want to share with you cool discoveries and adventures, where you can see a bit more behind the scenes!

So what do I want to film?

There's going to be a lot of videos about Sydney and its surroundings. I'll try to show you how I photograph, where I travel and how easy it is to escape your own city!

I'm going to New Zealand in about a month so it will also be super exciting - I'm sure I'll have a lot of content to share with you!

So don't wait, have a look at my trailer and subscribe to my new Youtube channel The Frenchie Escapes 

 

 

 

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Happy birthday The Frenchie Escapes

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Happy birthday The Frenchie Escapes

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16 April 2015, this is with excitement, fear, and joy that I was sharing for the first time my new project and blog called The Frenchie Escapes.

It was an idea I had for a while but been working on for several months until I was happy to share it with the world.

The Frenchie is now 1 and with more than 40 posts in both English and French. Few hundred of photographs and definitely thousand of hours of work.

I am so grateful and happy on how it went for the past year. I have to tell you it is very hard work after-hours when working a full-time job I also love but so worth it.

My favourite moments were definitely brainstorming with myself on new ideas, chasing for new adventures and more than ever sharing the most beautiful places Australia is offering.

As a throwback here is my top 3 of articles most read and liked:

  1. Vivid Sydney through The Frenchie’s lens
  2. Yes, you can ski in Australia
  3. 6 walks in Sydney you must do

So what's in store for 2016?

Many many things! My brain is literally bursting with ideas and I can't even keep up with myself haha.

I am planning on going on many more adventures, now I that I have a car it is much easier getting out of Sydney and exploring the surrounding as well as NSW. With a total of 809,444 square meters I have definitely enough lands to explore!

Beautiful and inspiring photographies as always. Day by day I am taking on new challenges and trying to do better higher stronger. Hopefully, my next big purchase will be a zoom and maybe an underwater housing case! (Gotta save a bit hum!)

Finally, my big new focus is my brand new YouTube channel! I already had a Vimeo channel where I like to showcase my traveling videos - in a more artistic way - but this new YouTube channel will be for me the opportunity to show a bit more of myself in action with adventures and photography in a documentary style channel. This is totally new to me so I can tell you I'm totally scared but I hope you will enjoy those videos. I love and will always love photography but videos are pretty cool too!

Stay tuned for many more new things coming up and don't forget you can win free presents! Check out here this amazing contest I am organising: The Frenchie Escapes GiveAway X Claire Tincey Design X Sandy Cove Trading Company to win one of those 3 prizes:

  • A watercolor A3 world map canvas
  • A traveler towel “nautical”
  • A photography print of Sydney Sunset by me

You can enter via Instagram or Facebook, very simple and you have a decent chance to win!

Don't hesitate to comment or you know, just say happy birthday to me :)

sunrisethankyou
sunrisethankyou

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Liebster Award Nomination: My interview

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Liebster Award Nomination: My interview

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I recently got the surprise that I was nominated for the Liebster Award! An award I had no idea about but which concept is pretty cool: nominate new blogs to get them to be discovered by new people. 

A big thank you to Sounds of Adventures for nominating me and ask me questions, which I’m sure will reveal a lot more about me and my personality!

So here’s an introduction about me in 11 points, answering 11 questions about my travel habits and 11 blogs I would recommend checking out.

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12370859_10153877875333159_6216167744703017658_o

About me:

  1. I am French but I live in Sydney with my Australian partner since a bit more than a year and half and I definitely don’t want to come back living in France.
  2. I am passionate about travels and adventures, I have visited more than 46 countries (mostly thanks to my parents!)
  3. I flew for the first time at three months old to Corsica
  4. My top countries I visited are the US, Argentina, Brazil, Vietnam and Canada.
  5. I learned English in an Irish and also American family while a teenager, then I also did a 6 months exchange study in the United States at University of North Carolina at Asheville. That’s also where I met my Aussie partner!
  6. I'm addicted to photography and surfing. Sometimes I combine the two together!
  7. I bought my first car 5 months ago and I love it! The perfect car for a road trip.
  8. As a typical Frenchie, I can not be without bread!
  9. I work in media relations and I also do graphic design in my work! I love everything creative!
  10. I played and learned music for 10 years, flute and guitar, but I've probably forgotten everything! I still am totally addicted to music and going to concerts.
  11. My favorite social network is instagram! Thanks to it, I met some fabulous people and with the same love for photography. Follow me @thefrenchieescapes
Loved my time at UNCA college and the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, USA.
Loved my time at UNCA college and the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, USA.

My travel experiences:

What is your best trip memory?

I think it is the day I discovered the Taj Mahal in India at sunrise when I was 13 years old. I was really impressed by the beauty of the place. Watching the sunrise made it even more magical!

Picture I took with my very own camera when 14 years old!
Picture I took with my very own camera when 14 years old!

Your favorite place?

Does it count if I say Sydney?? Now that I live there, I love this city more an dmore everyday for its best and its worse! I think if it wasn’t Sydney, I would probably say Vancouver as I absolutely loved this city when I visited it in 2010.

In which country did you experience a language barrier?  

It’s never been too difficult for me as I speak English and I always managed to find someone who could help me out. However, I had a  pretty funny and unique experience when I was 15 years old. I spent a week in a friend family who was Belgian from the Flemish side. Their daughter was the same age as me so we quickly became friends. The only problem was that she spoke nothing but Flemish and me it was only French and a bit of English! So for a whole week, the only way to communicate was by signs and lots of laughs! Eventually, we managed to communicate through a translator on the computer. It definitely left me very good memories!

Discovering the USA for the first time when I was 4 years old with my parents
Discovering the USA for the first time when I was 4 years old with my parents

What is the best food that you have eaten abroad?

Surely a pizza near Naples in Italy! The typical margherita pizza, neither too heavy nor too fine, just perfect!

What would you never leave without?

My camera, no doubt! I love to capture travel moments and share them later.

Your favorite quote ?

"But the true voyagers are only those who leave

Just to be leaving; hearts light, like balloons,

They never turn aside from their fatality

And without knowing why they always say: "Let's go!" - Charles Baudelaire, The Flowers of Evil.

12 years old and loving Rio de Janeiro!
12 years old and loving Rio de Janeiro!

What is the most WTF situation that you have lived while travelling?

Probably on a safari trip in South Africa, a huge elephant decided he was not very happy to see us so decided to get angry and load toward our 4x4! Thank god the driver managed to get away very quickly. Definitely an impressive and scary moment!

Which country would you never leave?

I think it's already done... Australia!

Living my surfing life in Australia at Bondi Beach
Living my surfing life in Australia at Bondi Beach

What story are you the proudest to tell? 

Probably having visited 46 countries! But there’s home for improvement, there are still so many countries to discover and everyone can travel nowadays so I don’t think I am an exception anymore!

Do you have a travel tip for us?

Learn some local language or sentences and two or three information on the country you are going to visit. It really makes the difference with locals and can facilitate the travel. Also making people laugh can really make the difference!

Making a new friend in Bali
Making a new friend in Bali

Your next trip?

I think it should be New Zealand! To visit my partner’s family but especially a good excuse to discover more about this beautiful country! All the landscape pictures make me dream…

Now here are 11 blogs I nominated  and I encourage you to take a look. If you are in this list, you can share your nomination and answer those 11 questions listed below. If you don’t have a blog in here, please comment and make yourself known :)!

Noise And Nuance / Beautiful pictures and poetry

Postcards from Sylvia / Travel and words

Always Sandy / Style and Music

Let’s be Wanderers / Exploring the world

On mets les voiles / Travel french blog

Couloirs ou Hublot / Transit tales

Sound Wave on the Road / Adventure via sound and video

Margari Tachi / Chic lifestyle and travel

Madame Bougeotte / Travel and ideas

Chictales / Three writers from around the world

Let me be free / Travel and family Questions for you to answer:

  1. Why did you want to create a blog?
  2. What is inspiring you?
  3. What is your favourite destination?
  4. What kind of traveller are you?
  5. Do you speak several languages? (If not, would you like to learn one?)
  6. Who would you bring with you for a trip?
  7. Is there a crazy adventure you would like to try?
  8. What do you like doing the most while on a trip?
  9. Is there a country where you would like to live in?
  10. Are you more a city, ocean, country or mountain person? Why?
  11. What’s your next adventure?

Don't hesitate to ask me more if you want to know more about me :)

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My photograph selected for the Sydney French Alliance photo competition

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My photograph selected for the Sydney French Alliance photo competition

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##UPDATE - I WON the People Prize! Thank you so much everybody for supporting and voting for me. The prize ceremony and exhibition is on 21st so more information to come soon!##  

This news makes me very happy and I hope I can get your help on this!

My surf photograph of Byron Bay has been selected part the “Tell me Ten Words”Photography competition by the French Alliance in Sydney in the jury’s top 10 photographs. This means my photograph will be exhibited in Sydney and I'll be attending the award ceremony where I might possibly win an amazing trip to New Caledonia (crossing fingers really).

AND there is also the people’s prize where I really need your help! All you have to do is to vote for my photograph via this link. You just have to click on my photograph and enter your vote via your email address. Don’t forget to check your email to validate your vote! This will make me super happy and I might win another prize!

For a bit of background behind my picture's choice: I chose one of the 10 words celebrated this year in the French-speaking countries. Mine was VIGOUSSE, a Swiss word which means being "vigorous, vivacious, full of life, alert."

And my description for the picture was:

"If I had a title for this picture, I would name it "The light comes out for surfers in Byron Bay". This was taken on Wategos Beach, Byron Bay, New South Wales. We were waiting for the sunset light and al the surfers started to appear, ready for an amazing surf. I saw this girl running on the beach and ready to jump in the water so I also ran the catch the perfect moment with the perfect light. A much needed vigousse attitude to jump in the water with a longboard!"

So please vote for me by clicking on this link below thank you so much! (4th picture, click on it to enter the vote)

Behind the scene of me shooting pictures of surfers.
Behind the scene of me shooting pictures of surfers.

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One Year in Australia

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One Year in Australia

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Yesterday, 21 September 2015, was the exact day I arrived in Sydney, Australia, a year ago. A year that flew like crazy. And every day I am reminding myself how lucky I am to live here.

This is also the opportunity to go back on this year full of adventures, emotions and discovers. Here is a general overview of my feelings after one year and hopefully this will inspire some people to move here or just visit this beautiful country! !

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IMG_1586

1. I adapted to a different lifestyle

Coming to Australia is adapting to a new life. I was already familiar with the Australian culture, I knew Sydney centre pretty well but I am learning new things every day. Being with my Aussie boyfriend, it sure made it easier. But still, my goal was to really immerse myself into the local culture and avoid speaking French or seeing too much other French people. It is quite crazy how many French people are living in Sydney! I still have few French friends but most of them are international or Australian.

I adapted to a different way of speaking English (aka UK way, not US way), to a new currency, to a new way of eating and even sometimes dressing (yes it gets to that point). Just a different way of living my life where I am still looking for myself (I’m still young eh.)

What’s funny is that Australians absolutely love french people and especially the Parisian style. But for me it is the opposite, I love the Australian way of life. In my opinion, I feel like that the lifestyle in Sydney is a lot closer to the nature and a lot healthier.

And I feel so fine with it.

Blue Mountains
Blue Mountains

2. I found work

Ah finding work in Australia! You hear everything and nothing about it as an expat: “this is paradise to find work compared to France,” “the economy is slowing down,” “it is impossible to find work now, too much competition.” And it goes on. There is no secret to find a job here, it can be hard like everywhere. But there are things to know and do.

All depends from what experience you had before and your visa situation. For me, I absolutely wanted to find a job in my field.

Except this amazing opportunity didn't fall from the sky. The first months were not the easiest as I had to apply to a lot of jobs before getting the right fit. I finally got a job in some administration company but it was no great interest. However, I still took it as a positive experience and it also gave me the opportunity and determination to get another job - which was the right one. It has now been seven months I am working in the same company and I am very lucky I got opportunities to progress.

To get there, I showed what Australians employers like: determination, quick, precise and quality work. The market here is very flexible, one can be hired or fired in a few days. You need to be able to show your skills and be bold. I also think that professional experience is more praised than studies (you still need to have at least a bachelor, but not necessarily a master's degree.) Then it also depends of the field.

What I would definitely say is that once you have a foot somewhere and you are motivated, this should be the beginning of a great professional adventure.

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Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

3. I embraced the best of Sydney - and the worst

Yes I confirm, Australia is an amazing and beautiful country to live in. To my opinion, Sydney is the perfect mix with the city, the coast with hundreds of stunning beaches, mountains in the west and many national natural parks around. I also think it has a great culture development and is getting more and more interesting with festivals and exhibits.

However few things are not easy. Accommodation in Sydney is very competitive and expensive. And the public transportation in Sydney can be quickly overwhelming and annoying - which is quite worrying for the future.

Trains are ok and usually on time - except in peak hour where you struggle to get in a wagon. But the worst are the buses, on time sometime, stopping sometimes… It depends which line but they are usually really slow. Driving with the traffic is not better but I think having a car here makes life a lot easier.

I really want to get a second-hand car in the next few months because I really don’t want to be dependant of the public transportation anymore. I want to be able to drive anywhere, whenever in the week or on adventures in the weekend. Not take 2 hours or bus when I can do 50 minutes. Even if I have to pay..

Other than that, food in Sydney can be expensive but is really good! The mix of food you can find here is amazing. All countries are represented. There are lots of cool places to go it in the day or at night and have drinks. Australians like to party but unfortunately since the lock-out laws in Sydney CBD, it seems like Sydney nights are not as fun. Australians are also starting their night very early - from 7pm to 2am generally.

Palm Beach
Palm Beach

4. I travelled - not enough

Travels and adventures are continuous in here. Only in New South Wales, you can find thousands of little and big trips. Even just around Sydney is amazing, there is always something to discover.

It is also for all kind of budget but you do have to know that travelling in Australia decently can be quite expensive. Especially for accommodation and transport. Distances can be impressive compared to other countries but here to drive 5 or 6 hours is not a problem. Even myself, I got used very quickly to it and I won’t mind driving for 6 hours straight - hopefully with someone else!

There is so much to discover around here that even Australians didn’t see half of their country. They love to travel around in Asia, Europe and USA. My next trips should be around NSW, the Great Ocean Road, Melbourne and Tasmania. I am very excited as it is not always easy to take days off from work! I also hope to visit next year New Zealand and more of Asia.

View of Sydney
View of Sydney

6. I made new friends

Australian people are very welcoming and open. They love French people, I’ve never seen an Aussie complaining about the french community as some would think. But Sydney is a very young and dynamic city, maybe opinions are different in other parts of Australia. Getting new friends is not that hard, as so many young people from all over the world are coming to Australia. We all have common points. But I think lots of internationals and mainly Europeans don’t know enough Australians. The best is to have a great mix of friends from Australia and all over the world. Multiculturalism is amazing, believe me!

Black Water Bay
Black Water Bay

6. I’m looking forward to the future

Here we go, one year in Australia gone and I can’t believe it was so fast. And the months are going faster and faster, it is almost scary! As I’ve applied for another visa with my boyfriend, I count on staying in Australia for a long time. No need to ask me “when I plan to go back to France” because I have no plans and I don’t know what will happen. One sure thing, I love it here and I think it is the beginning of a great adventure - professionally and personally. I still have lots to explore and to travel. I really want to continue travelling the world but I can say that I now call Australia and Sydney home.

I never got this weird feeling before of leaving a city but always wanting to come back to it. (Well, I had it since my first visit here in 2007!) I will of course always miss a part of France with my family, friends and GOOD BREAD haha. But I’d rather go back to my country to enjoy it as a tourist!

There is so much to say about this past year, I could make a book about it. This is of course just my general opinion. If you have any questions or need tips on moving to Australia, don’t hesitate to message me.

In the meantime, happy Australian anniversary to me!

The Frenchie - Marine

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Marine Coutroutsios, Paper Artist

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Marine Coutroutsios, Paper Artist

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If you live in Sydney, it is highly possible you saw the beautiful birds in the Telstra showcase on Georges St. I discovered her via the Art Pharmacy Website where I immediately loved her work. I wanted to meet the Artist in real and know more about those mysterious paper pieces. Meet Marine Coutroutsios, Paper Artist.

Marine et une de ses dernières créations
Marine et une de ses dernières créations

From France to Australia, what is your background? 

I studied Plastic Arts in Uni et then worked for two years in a sculpture workshop. I then went back to studies and got an interior architect diploma. I started working as an interior architect for two years in Paris but then left my job to follow my boyfriend in the USA.

I couldn’t work there so I was travelling between there and France et I started drawing again with what I had in my suitcase. I also had a scalpel I never used but I started cutting my sketches and I really like the 3D effect. I continued in this and wanted to launch my activity in France but we moved to Australia!

Once installed, I launched my website that I really specialized on Paper. I started in December 2012 with several ideas. I did a calendar before Christmas, I popped in Paddington and CBD stores for showcase decoration.T hey welcomed me really well and I had few positive answers. It was great and I gained in public credibility. I also started doing some live performances in four different cafes. I was sitting at a table and showing people how I was cutting. The last café asked me if I wanted to show my creations so once again I gained a lot in experience.

Then I also discovered a pop up show in Oxfort St with Art Pharmacy. I contacted the gallery as I already started my parrots paper series. She was really interested so I sold everything thanks to her! Instagram also really works well in Australia. All my commercial projects are thanks to Instagram. Two years after I arrived, the contacts I made from the beginning revealed when people saw I was doing real things and they started to recommend me. Network is what work best here.

Le mur avec 5000 ronds en papier à Melbourne
Le mur avec 5000 ronds en papier à Melbourne

How would you define yourself artistically?

I am working only with paper. It is funny how the words are different from country to country, culture to culture. Here I can say I am an “artist”, people like it where in France, I think this has a very elitist connotation. However what I am doing is very craft and approachable. I can’t say it in French but here I am a “paper artist and designer”. It is always hard to define yourself but I tried to with my project to get more precise in my presentation and so people immediately understand.

Les dessins avant la réalisation des perroquets ronds.
Les dessins avant la réalisation des perroquets ronds.
"I am very old-school, I do everything by hand. "

As a French in Sydney, do you feel a difference for work?

Yes, I really think that I am french and that my english is not that good really helped me. Australians love my accent and that they need to pay attention to understand really makes them listening to what I need to say. They also really like me treating about Australian thing with an European vision. They love when I get interested in their culture and that I get it in a different way.

What do you think of Australian culture?

I think I arrived at the right time because people always told me there wasn’t much culture in Sydney. However, I think the museum are really beautiful, there are lots of pop-up stores and people collaborating. It is growing a lot so I’ve never felt this lack. It is really developing culturally.

Le détail - photo credit: Marine Coutroutsios
Le détail - photo credit: Marine Coutroutsios

What’s inspiring you in Sydney?

I love the Art Gallery of NSW - a mix between old, contemporary, aboriginal and the interesting asian collection. In not much time you can see a lot. It is my favourite. I also love the Contemporary Art Museum but I find it more difficult to step back from recent things. I am very nature so I love parks to get inspiration. It amazed me when I arrived here to see parrots everywhere in the streets like the Parisian pigeons. I love walks like the Blue Mountains. I prefer being in the nature than the city.

"There were 85 piece of paper for each bird."
Les fougères. Photo credit: Marine Coutroutsios
Les fougères. Photo credit: Marine Coutroutsios

What’s your creating process?

For personal projects, I have few ideas that I’ll draw and write but without knowing what I will do later. It can take several months until an idea will suddenly become real.

For example the fens I did for the French Alliance, I really loved the idea of arboreal ferns with the sun filtering, it’s another dimension. I had the idea since a long time and I wanted to do something very graphic like my parrots with a round. So this time I chose the Triangle as a constraint.

Then I draw on the paper before cutting. For the parrots, I did a feather template. I am very old-school, I do everything by hand. For the Ferns, I used layers and I cut and glue. The drawing is long but the cutting as well. It is like being in a meditative state when you follow the line and you cut. It took me about two days full-time. I sometimes glue but also sticky tape which gives the 3D effect and doesn’t wet the paper.

For commercial projects, people came to me with a brief and I had to give an idea. It really differs from projects but I did a big one in Melbourne with huge wooden panels. I used 5000 small paper circles I had to glue. I also did the birds in Telstra. They came to me with a design idea from an animation. I did a prototype of the parrot and after approval, I created 10 of those. There were 85 piece of paper for each bird.

Les 10 oiseaux à Telstra sur Georges St.
Les 10 oiseaux à Telstra sur Georges St.
"I love creating something quick and easy."

What are your future projects?

I recently did an interesting collaboration with a photographer and models with a bunny paper mask I made. I am also working on another collaboration with He Made She Made for the InDesign Event in August in Sydney. We are creating installations for the showroom with strings with a carpet company so it is new. For personal projects, I am starting the 100 days challenge on Instagram. I love creating something quick and easy. All I do is very long so I want to start something quick and short. I think this is great to develop other ideas.

Marine et un prototype de l'oiseau de Telstra.
Marine et un prototype de l'oiseau de Telstra.

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My idea of travelling, escaping –

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My idea of travelling, escaping –

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Traveling is a commitment, a commitment to adventure, to take on a new challenge and experience a new life for days, weeks or months.

Each of us have our own idea of travelling: backpacking, improvising, planning everything, going on a tour or couchsurfing…

No matter how you do it, the most important thing is just to escape and see what’s out there. Escape the every day life and re-invent yourself in an unknown place. You can be the best of yourself; you can re-build yourself, or just enjoy this new and ephemeral life. A unique escape for a unique memory.

Travelling is a universal, it crossed centuries and we still cross continents.

Packing, leaving and exploring is just the beginning of a long sweet addiction. You will always want more. This specific taste of travels, taught or learnt, will last forever. And an escape will always be followed by another escape.

I highly think that going on a journey is the best way to discover, understand and love our world.

Trips enrich life with joy, discovery, tolerance, imagination and most of all, love. Once left, the only thing in your mind is to go again.

So now you know what to do….

The Frenchie Escape

Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh - I'm addicted to Spring Rolls now.
Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh - I'm addicted to Spring Rolls now.

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Welcome on The Frenchie Escapes

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Welcome on The Frenchie Escapes

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From the escape to she escapes... For those who followed me two years ago on my American student blog The Frenchie Escape, I hope you will follow me again in this new adventure. I couldn't resist starting a new project, but this time I wanted it to be more professional and creative. This is The Frenchie Escapes.

The Frenchie Escapes idea was born during a shaky night flight between Ho Chi Minh City and Sydney seven months ago. As I couldn't sleep, my mind was full of ideas that I was hesitating to let out. But here I go, taking my pen and notebook, starting writing all this.

It took me a while but this time, I don’t want The Frenchie Escapes to just be a blog about travels but a beautiful layout where you can escape from, your every-day life. Escaping with simple things as pictures, videos, tales and others.

From flying a plane for the very first time at only 3-months old to now, I really want to share interesting stories and show that escaping is more a way of thinking than to book a holiday on the other side of the world. That said, I live on the other side or the world myself (depends from where you look) – but I can’t go on a trip every weekend still.

Each month and week, I will share regular articles full of ideas, life and joy. Several themes will appear:

In Life in Sydney, I will get in details about how amazing my new city-home is. I hope this wl give you the envy to travel, live or re-discover Sydney.

With Photographs, I want to share as much as I can photography series and projects as well as a picture where the background is as important. Nothing is more unique than escaping from a picture.

With The Dream, I will each month share an adventure crazier, more beautiful and interesting than ever. A dream that I hope will become reality one day.

In Travellers Tales, I want here to share external experiences from travellers from everywhere – maybe they had an incredible experience, maybe they just took a long weekend somewhere. I just want to know their story of escaping.

In Videos, I will offer images full of live and escapes. Nothing is more real and close than live images.

Finally, in Weekly Ideas, I will introduce random things that can only open imagination and to more escape. Abstract or real, don’t take it too seroiusly !

And many many other ideas and surprises to come! The Frenchie Escapes is also available in French.

Enjoy The Frenchie Escapes and don't hesitate to comment, share and give new ideas.

Escape your way,

The Frenchie

Looking out the window is my favourite thing when I escape and fly away.
Looking out the window is my favourite thing when I escape and fly away.

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