Category Archives: Travel

9 reasons why working from home can feel like a holiday

I’m one of those travellers who also has a full-time job, so I have to fit travel into my annual leave and settled budget. Even though I’m lucky enough to love my day job, I still have those days were I just don’t want to go into the office.

My solution? I can work from home on days where I need more focus and have no meetings. And you know what? It’s so revitalising! Here’s why I found out that working from home can feel like a holiday:

More sleep

I nearly always walk up without an alarm, but I sent one Monday to Friday ‘just in case’ I over sleep. Working from home? No problem, you can get up when your body naturally wants to walk up – which means you get the sleep you need and you’re in a better mood when you do wake up.

Less grooming (read: no grooming)

You know one of the things I hate most in the mornings? Putting on my makeup and straightening my hair. Omg, so time consuming. I wish I could be one of those women with amazing skin and hair that doesn’t frizz out and look big, but I’m not one of those people so I need to put in some effort in the morning. And honestly, I’m pretty basic in my routine. When I work from home I don’t have to do my hair or put on makeup, and I can just wear casual clothes (or PJs to the ‘office’ – though I do make myself get dressed to put myself into ‘work mode’).

No commute

One of the biggest time killers for the 9 to 5 worker is the commute. We live only 8 kms from the city, so really, my commute is about 25 minutes each way, but I only really have 10 usable minutes which is when I’m on the train (provided I can get a seat). The rest of my commute is driving 5 minutes to the station and then walking ten minutes from the station across the city to my office. When I work from home my commute is from one room to the next. Which actually means I usually start my day earlier, like checking emails over my morning coffee.

Natural light

Most office workers I speak to hate that they have limited natural light all day. I work in a cubicle farm, and my cubicle is in the middle of the floor which limits how much natural light I get. In my house, every room has a window, and my home desk faces the window, which looks over the back yard. So that means I get to see blue sky and sun while I work (I also get to see what my neighbours get up to during the day). And not to mention…

Fresh air

How many of us get sick from being in recycled air-conditioned spaces? And I’m reminded every time our office air-conditioning system breaks down, that our windows do not open and we get no fresh air. Queensland is currently going through this time of year were it starts cooling down for winter, but it’s still beautiful sunny clear days – so I had a crisp breeze licking at my face while I worked. It just really made me feel good about my space and my work.

Proper meals

While we’re talking about things that are better for our health, let’s talk about how awesome it is to have all day access to your own kitchen and food. I love that I can make a proper meal for lunch when I work from home. I have use of the oven and stove rather than just what I can reheat in the microwave. I can take time out and sit at my dining table and have a real break rather than eating at my desk.

Regular breaks

You know what else I got done while I worked from home? My housework and washing. Before you get upset that I was ‘working from home’ and doing my chores, let me explain. To dust my whole house takes maybe ten minutes… I use that as a reason to take a break and get up from sitting. Then do another hour of work before stopping again to say vacuum, or empty the dishwasher, or scrub the bathroom sink. None of these jobs takes much time, but we always seem to never find time for them, right? The best job is washing because it takes two minutes to stick some clothes in the washing machine, then you have a solid half an hour before you have to hang it out. Felt like I had a win in my work life and personal life that day!

More productivity

So despite my regular breaks to do chores, I also got way more done then I would have in the office because I didn’t have people stopping by my desk and sucking up my time. I had the quiet and space to really focus on tedious tasks that take a lot of time to complete. I try to reserve working from home days for those big fiddly jobs that really need some focus and quite time. This also set me up for the next day in the office where I felt like I had gotten some of those tasks done that had been nagging me in the back of my mind.

Less spending

Okay, so this one is probably the opposite of being on a holiday where you actually spend more money. BUT, the fact that I don’t have to spend money on public transport, fuel, a morning coffee or my lunch (and sometimes breakfast), means I can put that money right back into my travel fund.

Do you ever work from home? How do you find it?

Havana, Cuba – photo diary

I’m loving that the doors have really opened up to Cuba in the last couple of years. For a country that has fallen behind due to political sanctions, I see how it’s blooming now and graces travel blog after travel blog.

Havana, Cuba

I was lucky enough to visit Cuba back in 2008 and I’m glad I got to see it before the doors opened up. Every time I see a post about Cuba I get a little smile on my face. It definitely wasn’t the easiest country I’ve ever travelled through with the dial up internet and no toilet paper and 15CUC calls to Australia for five minutes, and I’ve never felt more cut off from the western world in all my travels.

But I look back on it fondly.

Here’s a few photos from my time there.
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Have you been to Havana, Cuba? Were you there a while ago or more recently?

Relax and recharge in Mooloolaba

We’re pretty lucky here in Brisbane to have two nearby coasts with beautiful beaches. Unfortunately it be difficult to find time to visit, but it’s important to remember the amazing locations we have right on our doorstep. So when I saw that Easter was early this year and my work project was pushed out, I jumped at the chance to back some of my annual leave onto the Easter break. This gave me 17 luxurious days off for the cost of only nine leave days.

After spending a few days up in Mackay visiting my parents, we decided to spend a week in glorious Mooloolaba – one of the more lively locations on the Sunshine Coast.

Getting around

The Sunshine Coast isn’t the easiest place to get to without a car, however if you’re coming from Brisbane public transport is workable. Once you’re in Mooloolaba, there’s buses that travel between the towns, otherwise if you’re staying on the Esplanade like we did, most things in the area are within walking distance.

Where to stay

You’ll be spoilt for choice accommodation-wise at Mooloolaba, with many self-contained apartments right on the esplanade looking over the water. It can be noisy on Friday and Saturday nights though with restaurants spilling over with weekend visitors. If noise bothers you there are hotel options a street back or towards the quieter ends of the esplanade, alternatively you can always request a upper level apartment.

View from Mantra Sirocco

We stayed at Mantra Sirocco with a spectacular seventh floor view in a two bedroom self-contained apartment. All rooms have ocean views and if you’re staying for longer than a weekend, a self-contained apartment is the way to go. There’s also a grocery store one street back within walking distance.

Things to do

Beach

Mooloolaba Beach

One of the major reasons to visit the Sunshine Coast is purely for the beach! There’s plenty of surf and swimming locations (swim between the life saving flags for safety) and you can also hire boats, jetski and other water sport equipment.

If you’re looking to change up your beach location, there’s plenty of others up and down the coast, two of my favourites being Dicky Beach and Shelly Beach.

Underwater World

Underwater World Sea Life

If you’re into education and looking at pretty fish and seals, Underwater World Sea Life is a great place to visit. Weekends get pretty busy, but during the week it’s less hectic. They also have shows throughout the day and a cafe on site if you need a break part way through your visit. It’s bigger than it looks, so take some comfortable walking shoes.

Hiking

Point Cartwright

Point Cartwright

If you’re staying in Mooloolaba, Point Cartwright is the closest walking track, stretching out to the lighthouse point with ocean on one side and river/habour on the other. This is an easy walk for all  abilities and the top gives you beautiful views back to Mooloolaba Beach.

Down on the harbour is One La Balsa Cafe, conveniently located at bottom of the hill with views over the harbour and La Balsa Park. The cafe serves breakfast and lunch, making it the perfect way to start your morning and to reward yourself for your bit of exercise.

Buderim Forest Waterfall

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A 45 hectre rainforest filled with walking tracks, bridges, waterfalls, rivers and plenty of bird life, Buderim Forest Waterfall is challenging enough to get your heart rate up. There is a short walk from Quorn Close entry that brings you out to the falls and then you can loop back around. Or there’s a longer walk which will bring you out to Harry’s Restaurant.

The walking tracks are probably suitable for most fitness levels, but there are stairs at some sections and most of the path is natural, so good walking shoes would be advised.

Kondalilla Falls

About a 30 minute drive inland to Montville, is a beautiful rainforest trek at Kondalilla Falls. There are different walks to suit your fitness level and timeframes and also a picnic area and facilities for when you’re done.

You’ll be able to see a variety of native animal and plant life if you keep your eyes peeled. And if you feel like more than a picnic, Elements on Montville Tea House is just a short walk up the road and serve both lunch and delicious buttermilk scones.

Mount Coolum

Unfortunately it was pouring with rain the day we wanted to climb Mount Coolum, so I can’t testify for this one myself. But it gets good reviews as being a solid 30 minute walk with 360 degree views, along with other local walks.

Where to eat

You’ll be spoilt for choice on the Mooloolaba Esplanade for places to eat. Here are some of my favourites:

Augello’s

If you love Italian (and I do), you can’t go past Augello’s. They’re right on the corner so you get a view of all the foot traffic and also the ocean. The service is really friendly and fast, there’s a great selection of wines and you’ll want to come back more than once because the menu choices all look so good (we went back twice).

Hot Pipis

Don’t underestimate this little pocket rocket, it packs a punch when it comes to tapas food. They’ll tell you it’s small serves of everything, but the servings will definitely leave you feeling full and in need of nap. Hot Pipis has a lot going for it with it’s ocean views, comfortable atmosphere, good food and friendly staff. The lunch crowd on weekends will be enough to convince you to give them a try.

Lemon and Thyme

Looking for a simple but good breakfast? Lemon and Thyme won’t disappoint. It has a bit of a focus on the healthy and organic, but it’s really good simple foods. We ate here for both breakfast and dinner and were very happy with both the food and the price.

Do you have a favourite Sunshine Coast location, restaurant or hiking trail? 

Last leg: Parks and Coonabarabran

An unfortunate decision to get Chinese food on our first tired night in Parkes meant that I was up at 2am and most of the morning with food poisoning. Though I desperately wanted to lay down and just stay in the room, we had to get on the road, Continue reading Last leg: Parks and Coonabarabran