As I approach the end of my final year of school, the idea of travelling after graduation hasn’t been mentioned as much as I would have thought. It seems like only a few in my class will take a gap year and travel. To me, travel is extremely important. It opens the mind to new opportunities and experiences; it helps you gain independence, and changes your values and opinions; it helps you meet new people, and so, so much more.

Travel changes the way you look at life. I began travelling alone when I was fifteen years old. I travelled to Sweden, and lived in Europe for a year. Since then, I have travelled back to Europe and to Indonesia, and I won’t be stopping any time soon.

Travelling opens your mind. The way I thought about the world beforehand is completely different to the way I see it now. I grew up in a small town, and it wasn’t common to travel abroad while young. I had a tough time imagining the different places and opportunities that existed outside my comfortable little town. My parents relocated our family to a big city when I was ten, and although this changed my outlook, it didn’t really change my thoughts about the world that very much.

Moving across the world when I was fifteen changed everything. There were so many small things about life I had never thought about. I was able to experience the different ways that people communicate, the different relationships people have, learn the language they spoke, see their different daily routines and so much else. Travelling made me appreciate how easy it is for me to communicate at home as there’s no language barrier, and it also made me realise just how important language is.

If you don’t travel while you’re young, unimportant things may influence you and create reasons why you can’t. The desire to get out on your own lessens, because all you’ve ever known is to be in one place. There are no thoughts about the kind of future you may have in another place, and of being a different kind of person. Only the everyday thoughts are there, such as “what will I have for dinner tonight?” or “I need to do laundry today”.

Finance can sometimes become an issue but part-time jobs are there for a reason. It is possible to save up money at a young age, and I’m a prime example of that. I have been working the same job since I was fourteen. I’m now seventeen and working two jobs. When I was sixteen, I travelled to Europe, a trip I paid for with my own work money.

Travelling opens a door; a door where new people stand on the other side. When you’re at home, that door is often closed, because it’s too much effort to try open it. All travelers have at least one thing in common: travelling itself, which makes it so easy to communicate with each another. I’ve met most of my closest friends while travelling. No language barrier or cultural difference can prevent a true friendship from developing.

Travelling makes us appreciate the small things in life. We often take our lives for granted. One day we’re all going to die; it can happen any time, whether today, tomorrow or twenty years from now. I, like most people, don’t want to die without doing the things that I want to do. No-one can control death and when it will come, but you can follow your dreams while you’re young, and experience the things you want to before it comes. In that way you’re beating death.

If you’re like me and don’t yet know what you want to do with your life, travel is always an option. It’s the best first-hand education you can get. When you’re outside your comfort zone, it’s easier to discover your true desires. You might discover a job you never knew existed; you might fall in love with a new city and decide to move there, or you might even find your future partner. The opportunities are endless, and real. They’re out there right now, waiting for you. So save up your money, forget your fears and worries and just go.

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Rome is the capital of Italy and one of the oldest cities in Europe. With such rich history, architecture and good food, the city is a very popular tourist destination. At the end of 2015, I was lucky enough to spend 1 week with one of my closest friends Elena who lives in the city and I instantly fell in love with it. Here are 7 tips and tricks to ensure you have a safe and cost-effective time in Rome.

1. Eat outside the city centre as most restaurants in tourist places are overpriced and expensive, the best restaurants where the locals eat are located away from popular attractions and are much cheaper. Don't eat in a restaurant that has someone standing out the front, asking you to eat there, as it usually means that they do not have enough people eating there, which could be the result of a bad restaurant.

2. Many public museums and archaeological sites offer free entry for people under 18, always ask before paying to enter.

3. Bring a water bottle with you and fill it up for free at any nasone (one of many drinking fountains scattered around the Rome). Use this website to find the nearest nasone to you.

4. Avoid purchasing anything from food/beverage vans or stands in the middle of popular parks or streets. As a tourist, you may be overcharged and can end up paying €4 for a bottle of water water instead of the €1 that locals may pay. You can also buy water bottles for as low as €0.20 in grocery stores so stock up before you leave your accommodation!

5. Avoid people on the streets who offer to sell you or even “gift you” knock-off bags, scarves, “free” bracelets, and “free roses”. Rome is full of scammers who are professional scam-artists who will scam you or demand money for something you don’t want to buy.

6. Always keep your bag close to you, and never out of sight, as Rome is known for it's pickpocketers and bag-snatchers. A money belt is a good investment when it comes to travelling Rome, as it a safe way to keep your money, credit cards and passport on you without the possibility of them being stolen.

7. Enjoy Rome but always keep these 6 tips in mind, for a safe and cheap trip!



Who wants to spend their schoolies absolutely drunk to the point of not even remembering it? I sure don't! Wouldn't you rather travel to some exotic country? Well with Unleashed Travel, the opportunity to spend your schoolies abroad is just around the corner. From only $2349 (AUD) you can spend 7 days on the beautiful Mana Island in Fiji! The price includes return economy airfares, 7 night accommodation, return transfers, daily activities, nightly entertainment, unleashed crew, red frogs crew, extra security and buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. Don't miss out on this amazing deal!

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Here is the trip!



In just 13 days my journey as an exchange student will come to an end as I board my plane back to Australia.

''Are you sad about going home?'' Has been a recurring question lately, a question that produces a mixture of both excitement/happiness and sadness/heartache within myself. Change is good but change is also hard, and that is something I have learnt throughout my exchange.

My thoughts have become a huge mess of both English and Swedish, I find myself thinking in Swedish more than English.. Even dreaming in Swedish! Jag are en mess.... :D

I will miss waking up to the view of the harbour on Smögen.. I will miss listening and speaking the beautiful language that is Swedish.. I will miss the beautiful mountains and forests I see on the way to school.. I will miss all the amazing people who I see each day.. I will miss everything about this place.

The past 10 months I have lived in beautiful Väjern and Kungshamn and on the lovely Smögen, these places will forever be in my heart. I just have to thank all of these people who have opened their homes and their hearts to me, Henrik and Linda Damgaard in Väjern, Mariette and Marcus Johansson in Kungshamn and last but by no means least Micke and Jennifer Oresten on Smögen. Although we have had many ups and downs, I have so much gratitude towards you all, thank you from the bottom of my heart for that. Tusen tack!!!

I have made so many friends for life here in Sweden, and I will definitely be returning soon, you're all in a very special place in my heart and I would even refer to some of you as my family. You're all welcome to contact me if you come to Australia, I would be so glad to meet up! I have met so many different people from all over the globe, meeting new people has become my favourite activity.

This exchange has been a rocky experience full of both happy and sad tears, excitement, regret, passion and many more.. These feelings are unfathomable.. But this is not goodbye, this is just ''I'll see you later''.

Jag älskar dig Sverige <3

Vi ses igen <3



My Swedish Easter took place on the 4th of April at our beautiful home on my beloved Smögen, a small island located on the west coast of Sweden. My host family and I spent most of the day relaxing and preparing the food and house.

At 17:00 my lovely host aunt and uncle and my host cousin came over for Easter dinner.

My host mum and I cooked a variety of different foods: herring, salmon, clams and mussels, roast pork with crackling, a variety of salads, homemade bread and more.

At 19:45 we all left for the bonfire which began at 20:00 at Hasselösund.

Fire rose towards the sky and the smoke colored the horizon black. The warm heat of orange and yellow swirls hit your skin as you stood and admired is warmth and beauty.

Every Easter Eve many large bonfires are lit in Sotenäs Municipality and in the Gothenburg archipelago. Last Saturday night, on the 4th of April, hundreds gathered around the large local bonfire on Smögen to celebrate "påskefyr", an ancient west-Swedish tradition. The legend goes that the flames from the Easter fire prevent the witches from reaching Blåkulla.

We spent the rest of the night at my host aunt and uncle's home and we didn't leave until late 00:50. I celebrated an amazing night with amazing people.



I cannot count how many times I have been asked insane questions about my homeland Australia since I arrived in Sweden. Apparently the whole world has this crazy idea that we live in the most dangerous and deadly place in the entire world. Where we walk outside and have to carry a knife in case a kangaroo wants to box us, where we can't go swimming because a shark or a crocodile will eat us or that a snake will strangle us in our sleep. It is the most hilarious thing, some people even wonder if we have internet or cities. People imagine Australia to be this big red rock where everyone lives in the desert among deadly snakes and spiders.

People are so intrigued and shocked that people actually live and can SURVIVE in Australia. These photos just prove how much of a hardship it is living in a country like Australia... Clear skies, perfect beaches that go on for hundreds of kilometers, large and populous cities, furry little creatures and even beautiful tropical weather? Yeah, everyone should probably give Australia miss.



There are so many amazing and exciting things that come out of being an exchange student. You get to travel to an entirely new country, meet new people, travel to exotic and unique places, experience a new culture and maybe even a new language. My exchange is one experience that has changed me in so many ways. I am so much more independent now, I feel like I can do anything and the world is in my hands.

But I feel like not many exchange students share their negative experiences and I feel as though it is important to not keep it all bottled up so that it doesn't suddenly explode. As I said, I have had an amazing exchange but there are still a lot of hardships, unwanted feelings and stressful situations happening with me at the moment.

I have changed host families once already and am about to again. I have so many regrets regarding me changing host families the first time, I feel like I took all the negative things happening around me and blamed them, for which I feel absolutely horrible about. I have never felt so down or full of anxiety in my entire life. I am not homesick but my heart is hurting and it yearns for a place where I can be myself and feel comfortable. Living in a host family where only one person speaks English is difficult, although I can understand a lot of Swedish and speak some, it is a really stressful situation. As well as when your host siblings argue and fight EVERY DAY and never want to speak with you. It gets to the point where you just want to be alone and shut everyone out because you feel so horrible.

I have had many sleepless nights of tossing and turning and even crying, just wanting to be out of the house and with the people who make you feel good.

However, with this being said I do not want to go home or leave Sweden early. Some things you have to just push through on your own until they get better. I am in the middle of finding a new host family and it is such a hard thing to find, especially when you only have 4 months left in Sweden.

I am trying to keep my head up and stay strong but I think it is good to share how I am feeling, not just for me but also for other exchange students who may also be going through the same thing. ✌