Tokyo

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Starting off 2018 with a post from overseas. Japan!

I'm in Japan for a couple of weeks with a group of friends and so far, Japan has treated us well! We've gotten cold, crispy days in Tokyo. Coming from Perth, you'd be right to assume that we are freezing our butts off. We are not used to this kind of weather, so layers of jackets and heat packs are the way to go. Not to mention the vending machines with hot drinks in them (That's definitely one thing I'll miss greatly about Japan).

It doesn't take much to fall in love with Tokyo. From the busiest crosswalk to the quaint streets. It's reminiscent of every asian country I've been to before, but better. 

 

You've probably already heard everyone tell you how clean the streets are, and yet there are no rubbish bins everywhere. Also, that Japan is a country that doesn't accomodate to tourists by having a lot of english signs, or english speakers. But what Japan does have is a rich culture in countless, various aspects. The huge anime and gaming area in Akihabara. The red light district, and the famous robot restaurant. The animal cafes, like the adorable hedgehog cafe. And the temples within the most populated city in the world.

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Studio Ghibli Museum

Shibuya Crossing is considered one of the busiest intersections in the world. My friends and I crossed it backwards and forwards a couple of times just for the fun of it. I would recommend going up to the Starbucks and trying to nab a spot at the window to watch the people down below. It's surprisingly mesmerising and I'm sure you'd be able to spend hours watching the world go by.

If you're a Studio Ghibli fan, you can't go to Tokyo without going to the Studio Ghibli Museum. You can't take any photos inside so you'll just have to trust me when I say it's absolutely amazing. The architecture and interior design of it makes it feel like you're in a studio ghibli movie yourself!

The museum takes you through various parts of the creation of the movies from the evolution of animation to the animation of food. You get to watch a private screening of a short film and there are walk throughs where the rooms replicate how the creators would work, and where they got their inspiration from.

Ueno Park is reminiscent of central park in New York City. Around this park are countless museums and even the Ueno Zoo. We went to the National Museum of Nature and Science which was AMAZING and I'm sure the other museums are too. 

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It didn’t take long to fall in love with Japan and I’m sure I’ll be back. There are other places to check of the bucket list, but if I’m ever craving skiing, super friendly strangers are a busy city that’s intriguingly calming, I know where to go. 

Quinninup and My New Mantra

This is a few months overdue, but I just finished an assignment for my PR unit, so I need to write for my own enjoyment for a little bit.

Mid June, I went down south with Coralie (down south is what Perth people say when they go anywhere in the South west region). It was the day after my last exam for the semester, my first semester at uni, so I definitely deserved a little break. Going down south is definitely one of the best parts of living in Perth. A few hours of driving and you can end up in the middle of a forrest or at a campsite right on the beach. I always tell friends who aren't from Perth that when they come, I'll take them on the best roadtrips.

But, why Quinninup? Or you may be asking, where the hell is Quinninup? Well I'll answer both those questions. It's about four hours south of Perth, and my Uncle and Aunt have a farm down there. It's quite a small farm as far as Australian farms go, but I have so many memories of going down there. It had been so many years since I last went, so it definitely was a bit emotional being back there.

If you weren't aware, I spent 7 years of my childhood in France. I used to say that I "grew up" in France, but you're not really grown up at the age of 9 (the age when I moved back to Perth). But having spent that much of my childhood in France, I can't help but feel like I missed out on a bit of extended family bonding. I'm not saying I'm not close with my relatives, but I sometimes wish I was closer.

I think it has something to do with becoming an adult. You start realising that time is slipping away, and that you're soon going to be one of those people that say "where has the time gone?". I'm not ready to be that person yet. I don't want time to get away from me and realise that there are things I've missed out on doing, on people to see.

So going down to the farm, seeing my Uncle, my Aunt, my cousin and his kids, was the most precious thing I could have ever wanted. What was suppose to be a little break from city life ended up being so heart warming and almost awakening. Not only do I want to make sure I remain close with my extended family, I want to get back in touch with family and old friends.

I was recently talking to a stranger, now a friend. I was telling said stranger about myself, I told him that I'm often eager to meet new people and reach out to ask them to get to know each other better, either just by chatting online or organising a little brunch date. I told him that I've made so many new friends at uni because I just go up to people and start a conversation. And he the way he put my personality was "fearless of rejection". Which is absolutely perfect. It's something I'm going to make my mantra, because life is too short live in fear. What have you got to lose anyway?

So I challenge you: when you're not sure whether to do something or not, or if you're scared or embarrassed. Whether it's asking that cute girl out, applying for a job thats way out of your league, or just sitting next to that person in class, ask yourself "what have I got to lose?".
(please don't answer with dignity because I will slap you).

Also, I made a little video from my time down there (drone footage included)...

Mauritius and Coralie

One of my favourite places in the entire world is Mauritius. It isn't easy for a place to get up there on my list. But if you've been to Mauritius you'll understand why. I'm sure that from seeing these photos you can understand why.

But it isn't only the beautiful beaches, pristine waters and the fact that everything is instagram-worthy. It's also because it's my best friend's home.

My best friend, Coralie, is from Mauritius. She moved to Perth when she was 9 but everything about Mauritius runs through her. You can still here it in the way she talks, her mannerisms, the things she does and most of all, everything about her when she thinks about, talks about or is in Mauritius.

I've had the chance to be with her twice in Mauritius. Once in January 2015, when I stayed with her family and had the most amazing few weeks with her. And once again, recently, in April 2017. Now the main reason I went over last month was for her sister's, Valentine's, wedding. Let me just say it was absolutely beautiful. It's the first wedding I've been to as an adult and will definitely be one I remember forever. It wasn't a beach wedding, which is what you might expect for a tropical island. It was at a beautiful place called Domaine de L'etoile. It was everything I had imagined and more. Of course someone like Val would have all the essentials and of course all the cute ideas you see on pinterest (a polaroid for people to use, cute wedding signs and a sparkler aisle for the bride and groom to walk down during the reception, and so much more).

The other day was that an amazing day, if not, THE MOST AMAZING DAY EVER, was when we hiked up the Lion Mountain. Now, I've done hikes, but I've never done a rock climb up a mountain. It was so intense that at times I thought we were gonna lose someone on our expedition (and I don't mean by getting lost). However, I'm a little bit on an adrenaline junkie, so I enjoyed the slipping and sliding and monkey climbing. Not to mention that the view from our highest point was breath taking. Absolutely phenomenal. Again, something I'll never forget.

Also, have I mentioned how happy I was that I bought my drone? I was so hesitant to buy it, and so anxious after I had bought it that I'd crash it, or I wouldn't use it enough for the amount I paid for it. But in this trip alone, it has made it all worth it. The drone photos and footage is amazing. And definitely captures the beauty of Mauritius in a grander way than just a photo, and that's saying something.

But, not only was the wedding amazing and the walk was crazy unforgettable, I'll also never forget what it is like to see and be with Coralie in Mauritius. I don't even know how to explain it. Her happiness and carefree-ness just radiates off of her. Especially after hearing about her excitement for months before and listening to her reminisce about her wonderful childhood, I feel so honoured to be with her in the place that will always be her home.

La La Land | Los Angeles

Upon our arrival in Los Angeles it was pouring down with rain and flood warnings were heard. Our taxi driver nearly crashed due to "no one knowing how to drive in rain" and we got absolutely soaked while trying to get into our airbnb. It was not what I was expecting at all. I was ready for sun and blue skies, how every Hollywood show depicts LA.

Thankfully the weather cleared up quickly and we were welcomed with clear skies, only so clear after some good rain! I went to all the iconic Los Angeles tourist spots, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Venice Beach and the Venice Canals but my favourite place of all was Griffith Park/Griffith Observatory. On the walk up we stopped at a café called the Trails Café. A perfect way to start your walk up to the best view of LA.

We also went down to Irvine to meet up with some friends and along the way went to Laguna Beach and Huttington Beach, both of which were lovely, probably the nicest non-Australian beaches I've seen.

Another thing I thoroughly enjoyed was the Warner Brothers Studio Tour. I'd recommend going there if you're a fan of any of the TV shows and movies that they show (check their website). My favourites were seeing the Gilmore Girls house, the DC Comics (worth over $1 million) and costumes from the movies, the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts Props, and sitting in the Central Perk Café (the couched ACTUALLY used in Friends).

San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the most iconic cities in the USA. It is known for the Golden Gate Bridge, its silicone valley, and for having a lot of rain. And let me tell you, during the week while I was there, there was A LOT of rain. Regardless of the weather, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in San Francisco. I got to see many of the iconic sights, Lombard Street, the Coit tower, Pier 39 and much more. I also went on a Stanford University tour which made me want to go there desperately. Furthermore, I attended the women's march while I was there, which was such an amazing experience (you can see those photos here). Here are the photos from my time there.

The Coit Tower

Lombard Street

The Bayview Bridge

Inside the Ferry Building

 

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The Golden Gate Bridge

New York, New York

More than halfway through my seven week trip to the USA and I can confidently say that New York City has been the best part of the trip so far. I was there for 6 days. I decent amount of time to see the iconic NYC places, but no where near enough for everything I wanted to do. Not to mention it was super busy because it was during the Christmas and New Years Eve Period. But regardless, I had the most amazing time and I will definitely be back soon.

We caught a bus up to NYC from Washington, D.C. because it was a lot cheaper doing that than catching the train. I'd recommend doing that as it was less than half the price and the bus drops you right in the centre of Manhattan at Port Authority. First minutes in NYC and it started pouring down with rain, but the amount of congestion NYC always has meant that it would be a lot quicker to walk to our hotel in Times Square than it would be to try and get a taxi (or a cab as they call it here). So off we went, walking in the pouring rain through the streets of New York.

We were staying at the Novotel Hotel on Times Square. A perfect location if you want to be right in the middle of the most iconic tourist attraction for New Years Eve. Although most people say you shouldn't stay in touristy places and rather "live like a local", if you know what you're wanting to do while in New York, and you know the "local" things to do, it doesn't matter where you stay because the subway system is amazing.

First night in NYC we went to City Kitchen, a slightly fancy food-court near Times Square. We walked around Time Square and noticed that on the 28th of December, they were already preparing for the biggest New Years Eve celebration in the world. Originally, I was convinced I wouldn't go. Everyone who lives near New York avoids Times Square ESPECIALLY on NYE like the plague, and everyone told me it would be ridiculous. But at some point I realised I would likely never be in New York City for New Years Eve again, so why not? On the 31st of December at 1pm, I left my hotel room with layers upon layers of clothing and stacks of food in my bag, and made my way into the centre of it all. So there I stood, for the last 11 hours of 2016, waiting to watch the ball drop. Despite the fact that I was freezing cold, it was such a fantastic atmosphere and an amazing thing to be part of. I made friends with the people around me, they were all international students and even more prepared than I was. One of the girls brought cardboard to sit on and cards to pass the time! 11 hours passed like the wind when we were busy chatting with interesting people.

On other days, I made my way over to Brooklyn. However it was extremely rainy, so I think next time I come to NYC I'll have to come in late Spring for better weather and to see Central Park blossoming. We were to the top of the Rock; I'd recommend this over the top of the Empire State Building because here you get the Empire State in your pictures. We went down to the Financial District, along wall street and explore the lovely streets of Chelsea and Greenwich. I had also made my way to Upper East Side where I took photos on the steps of the MET (gossip girl fans HOLA), and then found the palace hotel (HOLA AGAIN).

I also watched a Broadway show! Honestly, I was really wanting to watch Hamilton. I entered myself into online lotteries every morning, checked online for tickets day after day and even scouted the ticket booths for last minute sales. But in the end I had to settle with Kinky Boots for $45, which might have been my best decision yet! Kinky Boots was ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC and I got to meet many of the actors afterwards (including Todrick Hall!). It was such an amazing show and I recommend watching the show to anyone! Another tip is don't be afraid to be the cheapest tickets, with such amazing shows in such renowned theatres, it's hard to ever get a true "nosebleed seat" (unless you're comparing them to front row tickets, but who can ever afford those?).

Overall my time in New York City was the most fantastic 6 days of my trip (so far). The hustle and bustle, the yellow cabs, the high rise buildings and the beautiful Central Park, was all plenty to make me fall in love with city.

See you next time NYC!

Wynwood Art Walls

Wynwood would have to be by far my favourite place we have been to in the USA. Art covering almost every wall and new paintings painted every week, it's no wonder it's considered the art hub of Florida. There are simply beautiful murals as well as thought provoking ones, and then controversial ones (*cough cough*, naked Trump *cough*). There are art galleries on every corner and picturesque cafés down each street.

I, of course, took photos of some of the popular and my favourites. I would highly recommend going to Wynwood if you are near the Miami beach area as it is not a place to miss.

(there was even a sneaky Stranger Things wall on the front of a coffee shop that I didn't have the chance to go into but its called Brothers & Brawlers if you want to see this :)

Amelia Island

After a delayed 15 hour flight, leading to us missing our connecting flight, and then our next flight being delayed by 4 hours, we finally made it to Jacksonville. Day 1 in the USA was a very sleepy, jet-lagged adventure to Amelia Island.

I learnt two things within the first day in the US, one of which was that cars here don't have number plates on the front, and secondly, that lots of people here really go all out for Christmas!

Scrapbook of My Europe Trip

img_6757 After being back for a month, my regular routine resumed, already bored of the day in day out working life, I decided to finally put together all the little souvenirs from my Europe trip. Over the course of the 2 and a half months that I was travelling, I did my best to keep and collect train tickets, restaurant receipts, business cards and brochures from places I had been to. Rather than scrapbooking on the road (and making a huge effort to be neat and artistic), while I was travelling I wrote daily journal entries, knowing that I would transfer it into a scrapbook. However the thoughts I wrote down were sometimes rather personal and I decided only include bits and pieces that I was happy to share in this scrapbook.

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I can only imagine this will be something I pull out in future years, perhaps showing it to my future kids, reminiscent of my gap year, my first trip alone, my magnificent adventure.

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I believe that capturing your adventures in a creative way such as scrapbooking or in video form makes the  trip more memorable and more magical to look back upon. I can only dread the times when I will no longer remember my trip as vividly as I do now, and no longer feel the longing pang of wanting to be back, like waking from a good dream.

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Although it's difficult to be back, I just try to remind myself of what I felt while I was there, and that I will feel like that again. Over the course of my trip I realised how much I love Perth, but also that I will continue travelling for the rest of my life. The feeling of discovering something new, or embracing being helplessly lost, are feelings you can only know after travelling to an unknown place.

The highlight of my trip was definitely fantastic new friends (shoutout to Lydia) and I can't recommend enough travelling solo to any young person. You learn so much about yourself and you are constantly forced to put yourself out there more.

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Don't forget to check out my youtube channel, I posted videos from my trip as well! https://youtube.com/user/raandomrach/

The Wonderful Brighton

Before starting my trip I was telling everyone "I am going to live in London one day", but after spending a week there, and a week in several other places, I've realised that might be the single biggest lie I've told everyone I know. What I didn't tell everyone before I started my trip was "I am going to live in Brighton one day", and right now, that's something I truly believe. DSC04190-2

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Brighton was a unique, colourful, bustling yet calm city with people from all different walks of life. There was the busy city center and lanes, the wonderfully uncomfortable pebble beach, and the quiet grassy country-ish sides. Everything about it reeled me in, wondering what hidden treasure is hidden around the next corner or down the next narrow alley. What street art was I going to find on the next wall? What hippie event was I going to experience next weekend at the hove lawns? What would life be like were I to live here?

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When my friend, Thalia, and I google things to do in Brighton there were multiple events ranging from a food and music event on hove lawns to a little garden charity party. By coincidence, and to our delight, we met Zoe Sugg, Alfie Deyes, Poppy Deyes and Sean Elliot at this charity event. A little exciting moment amongst our travels in the UK.

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Spending a week in one place is long enough to do many of the touristy things, as well as run out of those things to do and spend some time just living. I've realised that living in Brighton might well be something to write down on my bucket list.

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Le Marais

I'd been wanting to visit this area of Paris for a while, and was getting to the point where I thought I wouldn't have time to. But after making the train journey to the catacombs of Paris and being shocked by the queue to get in, I decided today was the day for Le Marais.

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Le Marais is maybe the most diverse area of Paris. Here you'll find the gay community, it's the Jewish quarter and has a lot of the Asian community here. There are plenty of museums as well as my favourite park of Paris.

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Step one was to fill myself up with lunch. And of course, that had to be done with a falafel. Le Marais is known for the falafels. That was one reason why I was pointed in this direction by other blogs. "L'as Du Fallafel" claims to have THE BEST FALLAFEL IN THE WORLD. I made my way over to there and, for the second time that day, was shocked by the queue. The fellow bloggers told me this was the place to be. But my grumbling belly told me otherwise.

Instead of queuing with the other delicious-Fallafel-seeking tourists. I decided to wander a little further down the road. It may not be the falafel place everyone raves about, but it was still a damn good falafel.

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I wandered further along. Making my way to Place the Vosgue park. The afternoon started of sunny and warm and I laid on the grass but the forecast proved right as the clouds rolled in and the rain began. All the park-goers left their no-longer-sunny spots on the grass (might I add, one of the only parks in Paris where you're allowed to go on the grass).

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But no matter how cold it is, or how full you are, there is always room for icecream.

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Le Marais has proven to be my favourite part of Paris. If I were to ever move to this city, the diverse Marais would definitely be my place to be.

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Europe Trip 2016 Thus Far

Although I told myself I would have time to write blog posts and edit youtube videos, it doesn't really come as a surprise that I have not had much time for either of those things. Between travelling on busses or trains and galavanting around cities I haven't even had much time for myself. Honestly, I haven't given myself much time to soak in my experience and the fact that I'm living the life I've only dreamt about for the last 10 years. Writing this now I'm realising how sad that is, and even how stressed I've been feeling these past few weeks, when in fact I should be enjoying every second of everyday. I miss my family. I miss my friends. It's difficult being predominantly on your own when you're so used to being surrounded by loved ones. But I'm learning things about myself on this trip that surprise me so much that I might even be in denial of some of them (I shall tell you about these discoveries post-trip, as I'm sure there are more things to learn).

Already I have broken a wheel on my suitcase (day 1 after my contiki) and converted to backpack. So now I'm OFFICIALLY a backpacker. And not a luxury suitcase-traveller. I have yet to travel with the backpack yet so we shall see if broken wheel becomes broken back.

The best part about my trip so far definitely has to be seeing snow again and having the opportunity to ski. I teared up a little bit at that unique, distinctive feeling of snow beneath your feet as it compacts down. Second best would 100% speaking french again. Speaking it everyday in my daily life here in Paris has lead me to feel like I'm forgetting my english!

Anyway, enough babbling about myself, here is what you all want: the photos.

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Don't forget to check back in soon as I'll try and make more of an effort to post on here from now on.

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Busselton (Leavers 2k15)

If you asked me a few months ago whether I was going on leavers (schoolies) or not, I would've said no way. But with two weeks until the leavers parties, and everybody raving about it, Elyse booked accomodation. At first I was iffy about the whole ordeal because of what I had heard about leavers, but it ended up being so much fun (other than the fact that I feel like I'm suffering from swine flu now that I'm home). I thought I'd share a few photos I took over the time I was there.

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Enjoy December x