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Let’s escape to Paradise. If you’re sitting at your desk daydreaming of your next getaway, let Wanderlife help your imagination with our top 5 collection of Paradise Islands starting with an Island called Paradise…

Yes Paradise Island is a real place!

1. Paradise Island, Bahamas.

Yep the name says it all. Paradise island is a thing, a real island that can be found in the Bahamas and is best known for being the home of Atlantis resort. A mega hotel complete with it’s own casino, beach, dining options, shopping and more. Modelled off the lost city of Atlantis, the island is also home to the largest marine habitat in the world and is bursting with life!

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credit- Photo 1 www.marriott.com & 2 bestbeachvacationsin.com

2. Qamea, Fiji

Wanderlife can vouch that Qamea Fiji it the definition of paradise, complete with white sand, crystal blue water, amazing locals, fresh fruit cocktails and those lone low hanging beach palm trees that you only thought existed on your computer screen saver! Yes Qamea in Fiji has it all. Check out our full review of the Qamea here.

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3. Maui

This Hawaiian island is the second largest in the Mid Pacific and is bursting with life and endless activities, with hiking, biking, diving, snorkelling and windsurfing all on the cards. Maui is known for it’s breath taking natural beauty and scenery which makes Hawaii so special.

IMG_4905maui_island_romantic_getaway_honeymoon_wallpapersCredit- Photo 1 Personal & Photo 2 Dovely Blue

4. Boracay Island

This is the smallest island of the Philippines, but don’t let size fool you, this island is pure magic with milky blue waters and a 4km long picture perfect beach front. Boracay has fast become one the Philippines top tourist destinations and has come in close to winning the best land designation by Travel & Leisure magazine.

boracay-island white-beach-boracay-islandCredit: photo 1 Lonely Planet & Photo 2 Tropical Destinations 

5. Gili Islands

The Gili Islands in Bali Indonesia can be found of the coast of Lombok. Each island is beautiful and kept in a near natural state with a car and motorbikes ban, meaning the islands remain tranquil, laid back and not overrun with tourists! Check out our Express bali guide for some Bali destinations!

Sunrise-Gili-Trawangan.-Image-by-Jos-Dielis-CC-BY-2.0 Ombak Sunset Gili Trawangan

Credit- Photo 1, Photo 2

 

In 2015 I decided to make a big leap into the unknown and embark of my first year of following my Wanderlust and Wandering with Wanderlife into the world. My partner in business and in life Chris and I packed our suitcases, gave away the lions share of our material possessions to friends and charity, said goodbye to our master bedroom in our shared Darling Point apartment and got on a plane to Europe with no set plan or intention of when we would come home or settle properly again.

‘Wanderlust;

“a strong desire to travel. “a man consumed by wanderlust”‘

We hadn’t saved much money, if any really, when we got on the plane, I had not more than two thousand AUS in my personal account. Upon boarding we were five months into running our first real business together and had poured all our time, energy, money and savings into making our dream of ‘iamu premium metallic temporary tattoos’ into a reality. Chris had said farewell to his past freelance graphic design clients, which used to pay the bills, to instead work completely on iamu. I then took the chance of juggling what modelling/influencer work would come my way while we where on the road.
It was scary, weird, slightly insane. but the best thing I’ve ever done in any year of my life. So, with this blog post I’d like to share my thought on traveling gypsy life and everything it’s taught me thus far.
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Regrets

You’ll regret it if you don’t. I’d love to say I’m someone who doesn’t regret anything, but if I am honest with you I regret a bunch of things in my life, thankfully taking my chance of travel isn’t one of them. I’m yet to meet someone that regrets their travels, sure, travel like life isn’t always full of 100% positive experiences, but you learn so much in the process and isn’t that what this whole life thing is about?
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Learning

I’ve learnt more traveling in all aspects of myself, physically, emotionally, spiritiually, intellectually than I’ve learn from anything else in my life up until the point that i left. Including the 7 years at the over priced private school my Dad put me through (legend). Travel has and still is my biggest teacher, the personal growth I’ve enjoyed through my experiences traveling have been profoundly beneficial and I’m so grateful for every lesson.

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Gratitude

If you want to find happiness, find gratitude. Until  following my wanderlust in 2015 I never truly understood gratitude. It’s always been this thing my elders and teachers nagged me to feel, “be grateful for this, be grateful for that, blah blah” the word had lost it’s meaning.
The appreciation, understanding and feelings of Gratitude i now experience have been 2015’s biggest realisation for me personally and it’s through my travels that this new found understanding of what gratitude is and what I really have to be grateful for has come to be.
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Experiences

There is a great study by Thomas Gilovich, a professor at Cornall University, who states that people who spend their money on experiences are happier than people who spend their money on material things. I personally could not agree more. This past year I’ve lived for the most part out a suitcase, I’ve chosen to spend my money on experiencing things, doing things, going places, seeing the world and while I’m yet to own a house, a car or walk in wardrobe to boast about, I’m the happiest I’ve felt. Thinking about it, everything i really need fits into my suitcase.
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Happiness

The ultimate goal. I’m not going to write here and pretend at 25 that I’ve yet full understood or figured out happiness, the definition, meaning and my general thoughts around it change almost daily. One thing I can tell you though is if you’re searching for happiness you’re sure to get closer to it if you travel. My advice on Happiness is if you have Wanderlust follow it and create your very own Wanderlife.
You are the master of your fate, the captain of you soul.
MEMORY: Our day on a slow boat in Croatia, re live the memory with me here.
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So if you’re lost, unfulfilled, confused, seeking, searching, wanting, yearning then I truly believe a year filled with travel could be the best thing you’ll ever do. As a person my life has become more and more about the journey and less about the destination. I don’t always know where i’m going, but i do know it’s going to be one hell of an adventure.
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Oh and an update, I still don’t have a ‘home’ or permanent address or any plans to stop moving in the near future for that matter, I’m living and breathing, creating my very own Wanderlife every day and I wouldn’t want it any other way at this point in my life.
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P.S For some visual memories and vibes of my year check out the below
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  • January 22, 2016

How can I spend more than 90 days in Europe?

What are the Schengen Visa loop holes and tricks?

These were just a couple of the questions I’ve found in my google search engine history from my travels in 2015. For any non European citizens traveling to Europe on a Schengen Visa for an extended period of time, maximising the time on the continent is a high priority. Once you’re there, it’s unlikely you’ll want to leave anytime soon and who can blame you. Europe is awesome and the European summer stretches a lot longer than 90 days.
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During my 2015 travels I was faced with the challenge of staying in Europe for more than three months without breaking the law. There are very few if any loop holes in the EU/Schengen zone rule book, but there is one that isn’t going to be around much longer which I’ve personally tried and tested with much success.
Croatia, one of Europe’s most picturesque countries is also one of the most recent joining members of the EU, and have been a little slow at joining the Schengen zone. In other words, loop hole!
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Incase you’re not up to speed with EU visas, here’s the lowdown. The Schengen zone is made up of a collection of countries within the EU that have decided to participate in the Schengen zone visa system. This creates a single visa option that allows non EU citizen to spend a total of 90 days per 180 days of the year in Schengen zone countries (which is basically all of Europe) with the exception of England, Ireland, Romania, Bulgaria and right now Croatia!
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So therefore non EU citizens can spend 90 days hopping across Europe and then still enjoy up to another 3 months in Croatia, which technically means you can be in the EU for up to six months. I personally used this trick and spent a month enjoying the croatian coast line, visiting the island of Hvar, Bol and Croatia’s second biggest city Split. My month in Croatia was incredible and by far one of the biggest highlights of my trip to Europe.
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So if you’re looking for ways to spend more than 90 days enjoying the European summer, some time seaside in Croatia at any of their amazing Croatian islands is one way to do it. Our advice is don’t wait, because Croatia will soon join the long list of Schengen zone countries within the EU and this sunny loop hole will be no more!
All the more reason to book a ticket and just go! 🙂
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Location
Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Keywords
Suave, amazing views, great location
Our Room
We were treated to a top floor corner suite, with an incredible view of Melbourne city scape, park lands & various sports arenas. The bed was very comfortable, the room layout interesting & the bathroom was huge. The decor had this old-school meets new-school, classic yet suave vibe to it, lots of wood print finish.
Food
Upon arrival we were greeted by a gorgeous tasting platter in our room, which included strawberries, little chocolate treats & macaroons. There is also a mouth watering breakfast buffet that starts at 6.30am. It had everything one could want for a quick up and go meal to start the day.
The Hotel is also located just a short stroll from the city center where there are ample food options available.
Service
The hotel staff were absolutely lovely, well spoken, helpful & friendly. We felt very welcome by all, be it the porter, receptionist or room service staff. Good vibes all round.
Wifi
The wifi worked great, we downloaded a movie in about 15minutes for a night in, so no complaints at all.
Cost was around $10 per day with no mention of a data cap.

 

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10 Reasons why Bol, a little Croatian island fishing village should be on your travel list.

During our month long visit to Croatia this Summer, I found myself spending a week in the magical little beach side town of Bol, situated on the island of Brac. ‘Magic’ is a strong word, but it’s the best one i have to describe what my time in Bol was like. It was nothing I expected and everything I wanted, but I didn’t know I wanted or needed it before i got there.

Here are 10 reasons why Bol should be on your to travel list!

1. Chilled Vibes. Bol is mega chilled, no cars around, cobble stone streets, street vendors, very chilled. Everything you need is in walking distance, which makes exploring easy and instantly makes you relax during your time there. A holiday destination without traffic noise if something we all need, but don’t often consider when booking our destinations. Bol will get you out of the rat race and into island mode in no time!

2. It’s home to Croatia’s most famous beach, Zlatni Rat (Golden Horn). It’s an incredibly unique place, a cobble stone beach, creating incredibly light blue water over a long shallow. The sunsets here are amazing.

3. The water in Bol looks like it’s dropped from heaven. Bol boast some of the most majestic looking water you will ever see. Not only is it crystal clear, but it’s not just isolated to one swimming spot. Literally anywhere you decide to swim in Bol will take your breath away, with it’s shallow beaches, that create that much sough after sapphire blue, there’s no place I’ve been to quite like it!

4. The silence, Bol’s quiet, but not in a boring way. There’s great places to go out, have a drink and a dance, but you won’t find a ’pumping nightclub’ or loud pub which makes it the perfect place to escape and enjoy the Croatian coastline in it’s natural atmosphere away from rowdy tourists.

5. There’s a 7am-11pm fresh fruit and vegetable market on every day. The struggle is real when it comes to travel and finding fresh healthy food, but Bol allowed us to avoid the usual fresh food scavenger mode. Just up from the mini market are three thriving market stalls, run by locals with anything and everything you could want. After a week of partying in Hvar, Bol’s fresh fruit and vegetable stalls provided us with a week of nourishment and amazing fresh produce, we literally made huge salads everyday and enjoyed snacking on fresh fruit and locally grown figs.

6. The Locals. There’s a small town community energy in Bol that embraces you upon arrival and stays with you during your stay. Unlike a lot of European hot spots, Bol has managed to keep it’s authentic feel, without yet becoming a highly sought after tourist destination, giving you a real feel of what life is like on the Croatian coast line.

7. The mountain backdrop. It’s rare to have such a unique mix of Crystal clear water, waterfront village living & a mountain backdrop, but it has magical effect as you look around exploring.

8. It’s close to the rest of Croatia. From Bol you can take a ferry for about an hour to Split or further up the coast towards Dubrovnik. It feels cut off, but it’s not, which is perfect 🙂

9. No big hotels, high risers or commercial buildings.
Finding accommodation in Bol is best taken care of through sites like www.airbnb.com, where locals rent out small units and apartments within the town to tourists. The lack of commercial accommodation further enhances the local feel of the town and keeps the number of tourists at any one time staying in the centre on the manageable side.

10. Witbit water park. If you like the idea of a blow up inflatable jumping castle in the middle of crystal clear water, complete with a trampoline, waterslide and monkey bars, then Bol is your dream come true. Just off the famous Zlatni Rat beach, you’ll find Witbit water park and for around 10 Euros, you’re in for a good hour of laughs. I highly recommend bringing a GoPro like we did and filming your adventure, as you’re sure to have some hilarious falls, making for awesome YouTube/Holidays videos.

  • October 14, 2015

YouTube is an amazing, engaging and exciting platform, that’s only just getting bigger and better by the day.YouTube has been growing momentum for some time now, and as has serious players on the vlogging scene with millions of subscribers eagerly waiting for their favourite vlogger to press post on new content, so they can stream it on demand. I’ve been an avid YouTube subscriber and viewer for some time and wanted to share with you some of the best travel Vloggers on the scene, that have inspired me to start my own YouTube adventure as well! If you don’t know or subscribe to these guys, I suggest you give them some Love, because they are all kick ass creators and will surely add some quality viewing time to your life.

Fun For Louis
– Louis is a British born, but worldwide based daily Vlogger, (yep I said daily), who travels the world and records it all for his subscribers viewing pleasure. Watching Louis daily is inspiring to say the least, his high vibe yet chilled approach to life and all of it’s up’s and down’s is what has kept me coming back to see his world and witness the adventure that is his life.

Mr Ben Brown
Ben is another awesome daily Vlogger that also travels non stop around the world, splitting his home base between Cape town where his GF is based and the UK. Ben’s vlog is an intimate account of his daily life that’s never boring. Ben has an inspiring attitude towards daily Vlogging and I personally love this quote by him – “You know what happens if you stop, but you don’t know what happens if you keep going.” Which is an awesome attitude and perspective to have in this game.

The Vagabrothers
I found these brothers and non stop travellers via Louis and Ben’s channels and was hooked instantly. The brothers are super informative and follow a different format to most the Vlogs I follow, as their videos are a lot more informative and information based, which has made their vlogs a really great source to check out before I go somewhere they have already been.

Brooke Saward OR World of Wanderlust
I found Brooke’s YouTube channel through her incredible and inspiring site ‘World Of Wanderlust’.  Brooke is a 20 something world traveler, that no only Vlog’s but also runs a comprehensive and informative site on Travel (www.worldofwanderlust.com). Brooke’s Vlogs are super informative and give a great insight into her travels and act as an online tour to her world wide adventures. I personally love how hands on Brooke is and admire that she mostly travels Solo. You go girl!

Casey Neistat.
If you don’t know Casey, well stop reading and start watching. I discovered Mr Neistat only this year and i wish I had found him sooner. With an incredibly inspiring work ethic and attitude to live by, Casey Vlogs daily from where ever he may be. 2015 has been a massive year for him as he juggles marriage, a new baby, a new Technology company ‘BEME’, daily vlogging and everything else that comes with life. I’m a daily addict of Casey’s blog and I am sure you will be too.

  • September 19, 2015

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No you’re not dreaming, this blow up magical jumping castle/trampoline/obstacle course exists and I’ve been there and face planted off it to prove it! When Wanderlife traveled the island of Brac in Croatia, we decided to stay in Bol because we heard it had something pretty special, something that we thought only existed in our childish dreams… Introducing the Wibit water park in Bol! This massive water park is situated just off the mainland of Croatia’s most famous beach ‘Zlatni Rat’ and it’s absolutely HUGE. Officially known as a ‘water park’, this attraction has everything an adrenaline junkie like me could hope for.

While we were there, I decided it would be a good experience to film my first ever Vlog ​about ​is, so I did. Some would think making​ ​your first ever  YouTube clip​ should be​ a little more glamorous, but since I’ve been so nervous to even start this Vlogging thing, I figured 2 minutes of me and Soll failing and faceplanting was a good way to break the​ vlogging​ ice.

  • September 12, 2015

MinosBeach2 (3 of 3)Minos Beach Art Hotel, Crete, Greece.

Location
Agios Nikolaos, Crete, Greek Islands
Keywords
Waterfront, beautiful gardens, perfect for foodies and couples.

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Our Room
The private villa we stayed in featured a large bed, big bathroom, amazing balcony with table setting, private pool, TV, bar fridge, daybed & more. It was incredibly spacious inside & very comfortable. Though we spent little time indoors with the incredible setting surrounding us.

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Perks
– There are Villas & Bungalows available. Each Bungalow has it’s own waterfront pier with 2x private reserved sunbeds for you. There is a small ladder into the water, the perfect way to start your day, swimming in the clearest water we’ve ever seen.
– The Scenery. Minos Beach Art Hotel is picturesque in both it’s design and it’s location. We’ve never been somewhere with such incredible turquoise water, while enjoying a view of rolling mountains in the distance. The grounds are also scattered in various artworks, which is what gives the Hotel it’s ‘Art Hotel’ title. There’s always something to look at.

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– Nature. The focus of Minos Beach Art Hotel is on the element of Water and the hotel stretches along the seaside making the grounds lengthy and vast. The hotel itself is large enough to go for a jog within and walking through the incredibly well kept gardens that are bursting with colour will put anyone into instant chill out in nature mode.
– The Art. There’s a reason for Minos Beach being named an ‘Art Hotel’. Throughout the grounds there are countless Art installations, some permanent and others that change from season to season. The Art is an element that kept this hotel visually stimulating day after day during our stay, because we’d constantly find something new.

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Food
The Blue Gr group out do themselves when it comes to their dining experiences. Eating at Minos Beach Hotel will spoil your taste buds and leave a lasting impression. The breakfast buffet is incredible and has a mix of classic english breakfast options and local cretan produce and dishes to try as well. Aside from the buffet there is also a cook on stand by, ready to make you a fresh omelette or crepe! For those that like to try new wines, each week the hotel puts on a local wine tasting using various local wineries. The hotel is also part of a group of Hotels each with their own incredible dinning experiences which are worth checking out. One evening we treated ourselves to the 7 course ‘Timeless Dinner’ at Minos Palace, which is Blue GR’s 360 degree Seaview restaurant, which we definitely recommend.
Outside of the Hotel it’s a 10-15 minute stroll into town along the water. In town you will find several restaurants, cafes & ice-cream parlours. Our go to restaurant during the trip was Karnagio, Agios Nikolaos, run by the super friendly George. Beware, you will leave stuffed and tipsy from Creatan Raki, which is a locally brewed spirit given complimentary after meals.

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Things to Keep in Mind
The hotel is so beautiful that we hardly left and felt we had everything we needed and more within the grounds. While that’s not a bad thing, we missed out a little on all that Crete has to offer, as it’s such a special & diverse island. We suggest making sure you pull yourself away from the hotel at least once and book a trip to any one of Crete’s other famous beaches. (look up Elafonisi Island & Chrissy Island, it will blow you away)

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Wifi
The wifi worked fine for our purposes. As always, you cannot expect the same speed as a capital cities, but for email & social media it will do just fine.
http://www.minosbeach.com/
https://instagram.com/bluegr_hotelsandresorts

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Ubud Monkey Forest (2 of 12)Ubud Monkey Forest (1 of 12) Ubud Monkey Forest (8 of 12)Ubud Monkey Forest (3 of 12) Ubud Monkey Forest (4 of 12) Ubud Monkey Forest (9 of 12)Ubud Monkey Forest (5 of 12)    Ubud Monkey Forest (11 of 12)Ubud Monkey Forest (10 of 12) copyUbud Monkey Forest (7 of 12) On Wanderlife’s trip to Bali this year we ventured to Ubud. Ubud has made a name for itself as one of Bali’s ‘spiritual centres’ and over the years developed a thriving tourism industry for travelers wanting to see the ‘real bali’. Within Ubud amongst the rice paddies is Ubud’s famous sacred Ubud Monkey Forest Sanctuary of Padangtegal. A protected area for the local monkeys where they are fed, cared for and worshiped by locals.

Like many sacred spots in Bali, the Ubud Monkey Forest has become a booming tourist attraction and for 30,000Rp (2-3 USD) you can go and explore the forest for yourself. After having our own slightly scary experience in the forest, here are our Wanderlife Travel tips to keep in mind when visiting.

Wanderlife Tips for Ubud’s Monkey Forest

– Monkeys are wild animals. Sure, these monkeys have become accustomed to human interaction, but this doesn’t make them any less wild, you can’t pat or play with wild animals.

– Ubud’s monkeys are very smart. The monkeys here are renowned for stealing anything and everything, cameras, phones, food you name it, given the chance they will nick it. If possible we suggest to leave your bags in a locked car, keep your camera straps on and only enter with empty pockets.


-You can feed them, but we would not suggest it. One of the biggest buzzes around the monkey forest is that you can feed the monkeys, but we highly suggest you skip doing so. There is a stand selling small bananas within the sanctuary, where you can buy food for the monkey. But watch out as they hand around near the stand looking out for people buying the bananas. Expect to lose 3 out of your 5 bananas in the first 10 seconds. The monkeys don’t wait patiently for you to hand them a banana like you would hope, they’re wild and unpredictable and feeding them is risky business.

– Monkeys bite! There are many accounts of monkey attacks and bites from visitors coming to the Ubud sanctuary. Not surprisingly most occur from those feeding the monkeys and resisting to let the food drop when they come up. While you’re not likely to get attacked unless you have something they want, if you do have something and you resist giving it there is a high chance you’ll be attacked.

– Water bottles are a no no. Your humble water bottle is a prime target for Ubud’s monkeys and is more than likely going to attract thieving monkeys looking for water. Yes the Ubud monkeys know how to unscrew and drink from a water bottle and so it’s best to avoid brining one into the forest. 

– Watch what you wear, I made a rookie error here and wore a long flowing Camilla Kaftan. It was great for photos, but a prime target for trickster monkeys that wanted to grab and pull at it. I would suggest wearing simple clothing and little jewellery. 

– Have a healthy respect for the people of Padangtegal who own and run the forest. Remember that the Ubud monkey forest is not a zoo, it is a sanctuary and scared place of worship for locals. Respect the area, the people and the animals. We feel if you go as an observer and keep these tips in mind when visiting, you’re likely to have a positive & memorable experience.

If you’re interested in reading some personal accounts of the monkey forest check out, Our Big Fat Adventure and Nerd Nomads for some pretty scary stories!

Good Vibes,

Rochelle Fox