Travel With Bender

Uncovering the best family holidays

Who Are We?

Before the Blog: Leading Up To Travel With Bender

Before this adventure I travelled quite extensively. Sometimes alone, most of the time with my soul mate. So before you think how is this person just up and gone, realize there are many inspiring adventures behind the move.

1999

My first overseas trip. I was 18 and had just graduated high school. My parents decided they would take all of us to Bali. From Perth it was only a mere 3.5 hours and considering they had 5 kids, me being the oldest, the youngest being 7 it was quite a trip.

I hated the heat and never having experienced poverty or third-worldness before I was shocked and had no interest in every visiting again. Little did I know more then 13 years later I would live there for two months on my 8th visit!

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2000/2001

The day after my 20th birthday I booked a return open-ended ticket to London. My father is British so I got a British passport and with my parent’s complete backing, left my home in Perth, Australia very naïve and green.

I had a stop over in Hong Kong for one evening. I was so nervous and I will never forget how strange I felt being in a hotel room by myself and wondering now what? I ate McDonalds, as I wasn’t sure what was safe to eat and set up an organized tour the next day so I could see the sights safely.

Then I arrived in London. It was December. It was freezing. I’d never seen snow in my life, Perth is hot. There is rain and the temp might get down to the 15C in winter, but London was cold.

My Dad had relatives there and they were kind enough to pick me up from the airport and give me a place in their home. A bedroom, which was the size of a closet back home. I managed to get a job at Harrod’s immediately and after 6 days of working retail (never been done before) I packed it in.

I had a friend living in Belgium and she was like "what are you doing?" and I was like "well I just quit my job, I actually have some savings so I don’t need to work". So she invited me over. You must sit back and imagine how adventurous this is for a green 20 year old who just moved out of home (and was still living with parent like figures anyway). I jumped the train from London to Belgium and stayed with my friend for a week.

I believe that trip infused me with confidence. Her and I travelled around Antwerp and saw the most amazing places and I knew I had to get out more. I left her with a renewed mind about what I was going to do when I got back from London.

My trip to London was suppose to be 6 months and then come home. I moved out of my Dad’s families house into a home in Finchley Road and 6 months turned to 7, 8… 9. The house was huge and each room was set up studio style for the express purpose of girls living and working in London. It cost me 75 pounds a week including amenities.

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For this home I got temping jobs at well-known organisations such as Arthur Anderson and more. Between jobs I took the time out to see some of Europe.

I took a tour group to Amsterdam on my own. It was again an exciting thing for me to be going and doing things by myself. I made great friends and loved seeing the birthplace of my Mother.

I made great friends with a girl in London and in July we decided to take a 10 day trip to Italy. We spent 3 nights in Florence, 3 nights in Rome and 3 nights in Sorrento. I will never forget that trip. Being young, single (for the first time since 16), travelling with another young single and just enjoying every moment. It’s so different to travelling with kids or even a partner, complete freedom to be selfish and do whatever you like, whenever you like.  I will never forget that moment I stepped into the Colosseum, it changed my life. Knowing Christians had faced lions for their faith…. It truly impacted me and was a moment in time I will cherish always.

Eventually my “boyfriend” came to visit and asked me to please come home. While he was visiting we went to Paris, France. My first trip anywhere alone with a guy. We weren’t fans of Paris, could have been my English blood. Sure the Eiffle Tower was cool, but the rest to me was kind of like a copycat Italy. We did manage to get out to Versaille and that was absolutely gorgeous. Am a fan of history. 

The few visitors I did have in London had me doing the same bus tour all over again, but I really love that tour. We saw Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, The Eye, everything and anything. I even remember one day being with a friend bored so we decided to jump on a train and go see the Monopoly board…. Those cheap places on the board, certainly are cheap in real life too. 

Finally I promised my boyfriend I would come home, and certainly it was good timing because I didn’t want to head into another winter. So nine months later I moved back to Australia. My boyfriend proposed and we were married a year later.

2002

Newly married, hubby & I jumped a plane for our honeymoon in Phuket, Thailand. We stayed at the Thavorn Beach Village and the only way to our hotel room was up a cable car. The rooms were set in a cliff overlooking a beach. It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen and a honeymoon I couldn’t have topped. We rode elephants, hired a scooter & bought $1 DVD's. We loved Thailand.

2003 – 2006

We did some of Australia, visiting Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne. Thought we better get some home turf under our belts while building our own home and getting caught up in careers and whatnot.

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2007

The house had been built and it was time to do something big. Josh’s parents had moved to Israel and it had been awhile since we had seen them. But to get there was a mission, so we decided to book a round the world ticket that was going to last over 7 weeks.

  • First stop Hawaii. We were so jet lagged, but had arrived in the morning so it was time to just keep going. We stopped at Burger King (Hungry Jacks in Oz) and got a medium meal. It came as a large and we were so excited we knew it to be true – Things are Bigger in America!
    3 nights in Hawaii, snorkeling in flooded volcanoes, drinking from coconuts and eating things never tried it was divine.
  • Then onto Los Angeles. 3 nights in Hollywood, a town with so much contrast. Down trodden, barred windows until you reach Beverly Hills where all of a sudden the mansions are sitting on cliff faces and celebrities are walking around. We weren’t fans.
  • 3 nights in Anaheim. 3 days of just Disneyland. Having grown up in Australia, our amusement parks in Sydney/Perth could not compare. We loved every minute from 9am to midnight every day. Had to buy new shoes for that trek.
  • 3 nights in San Diego. The zoo, sea world, what a magnificent place. We fell in love with San Diego. It was a lot like Perth, but the shops were open late and on Sundays! We listed it as a place to come back.
  • We trained it back to the airport and made our way to Las Vegas. 3 nights in Vegas was not enough, but we crammed everything in: magic shows, Cirque De Solai, hotel viewing and buffet eating. Some of the best buffets we ever had. We also managed a trip out to the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam, an experience I will never forget. No matter what man made attractions you visit, there is nothing on earth that can compare to God’s natural attractions, wow. We will come back.
  • From Vegas to New York. We were blessed to have Josh’s mother’s cousin offer us a place to stay in the amazing, but expensive city of New York. Finally, 7 nights in one place and there was so much to see. Our hosts were so generous with their time and we made firm friends that we still contact regularly to this day, they became family. 
    During our stay in New York visitng the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Broadway, etc. we also managed to jump a small flight to Canada & Niagra Falls for the day. Again God outdid any man made attraction we had seen. We took the Maid of the Mist right to the fall and stood dripping wet in awe of this beauty.
  • 7921_138021811742_5081919_a.jpgMoving from New York to Washington DC for an overnight blur of seeing the White House, Capitol, etc. Those hop on hop off buses are the best!
  • Next we flew out of Washington and headed to London for a quick visit with my Italy travel buddy and a review of the historic places. It was wet and rainy and well, disappointing. We won’t be back in a hurry, I guess my time in 2001 was the best part and now, married and travelling with a partner, it was different.
  • From London we flew to Munich. Josh’s Dad is an American basketball player who lived in Australia and played for the Boomers in the Munic Olympics so it was such a moment for him to see the grounds and be part of that. We travelled to Neuchwenstein and fell in love with the castle. 
  • We also decided to take a train trip to Switzerland for the day and loved the day we spent in Zurich. Again we had a friend in Germany who took us in and we are forever in his debt. 
  • From Germany we had a flight to Israel, however there was a 8 hour stop over in Madrid, so we left our bags in the locker and made the most of our day in Madrid, before hopping back on the plane to Tel Aviv.
    We stayed near Haifa and travelled around with Josh’s parents. We visited most known spots, Jerasulem with it’s quarters and the Dome and the Wall, the Dead Sea and it’s renewing mud, Haifa, Jaffa, Ceseara, etc. To walk the same streets as Jesus is unforgettable, to see history as old as the Bible was a footprint on my heart I will never forget.

Finally our 2 weeks in Israel came to an end and it was time to go back to real life. To go forward you have to go back, so the journey home took a long time. Israel to London, London to Singapore, Singapore to Perth. Home.

Home?

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2009

Syndey & Singapore (including a side trip to Bintin, Indonesia) with our 9 month old baby. She won a competition and was voted one of the 5 cutest babies in Australia so they paid for us to go to Sydney and stay for the photoshot, etc. Then after that we had plans for Singapore, we absolutely fell in love with Singapore - gorgeous destination and then our mini holiday to Bintin after Singapore was just what the doctor ordered. 

2010

Bali again. Before the birth of our new son.

2011

Our son was now 1 and happy to stay with Grandmother so we made 4 trips this year – 2 with the kids, 2 without.

  • My husbands birthday- Singapore, no kids. 
  • July – a wedding in Bali with all my family, including kids. 
  • October – 9 year wedding anniversary to Kuala Lumpur & Langkawi, no kids. 
  • December – a 10 night cruise from Sydney to the South Pacific: Vanuatu, New Caledonia, etc.

It was during this cruise that we realized we had spent a lot of time in 2011 out of Australia and it was so expensive to keep coming back to Australia. It was so far from everything. It wasn’t like London where you could jump across to Europe at any time. It’s not like America where every state is different and unique and has amazing things to do and see…. And well wouldn’t it be good just to not come back for awhile…..

Thus started our plans for our Nomad 2012 journey…

Summary

Where Have I Been as of June 2012? (Depending which list you use over 150 cities & 24 countries)

  • Australia - Western Australia, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria
  • Bali, Indonesia
  • Hong Kong, China
  • United Kingdom
  • Belgium
  • Netherlands
  • France
  • Italy
  • Thailand
  • Hawaii
  • United States - Los Angeles, San Diego, Anaheim, Las Vegas, New York, Washington DC
  • Germany
  • Switzerland
  • Spain
  • Israel
  • Singapore
  • Bintin, Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • New Caledonia
  • Vanuatu
  • Loyalty Islands

Where are we going 2012?

  • Bali Indonesia
  • Singapore
  • Malaysia - KL, Penang, Ipoh, Johor
  • Borneo
  • Philipines - Manila, Boracay
  • Hong Kong
  • Thailand - Bangkok
  • USA  


Find out exactly where we have been to date...

And find out more about where we are right now:

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Here's what you have to say...

"I respond to every comment by private email. So please leave me comments, I love chatting to you" -
Posted by Chloe on
I love this. Especially as you've done SO much more than you even had on your 'where are we going list'. I love hearing what inspired people to travel- it's so interesting that your first jaunt didn't do it for you but you persevered and the bug set in! And the difference between travelling as a singleton/couple/family- whoa, they contrast!!

Also- as much as I love this article, I also love that your writing style has changed since you wrote it. You've kept your character in your writing but your more recent posts reflect how your view of everything changes I think. It's nice to compare to earlier posts like this
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