Why you should live abroad at least once in your lifetime

When I just turned seventeen years old, I moved to London. Why? Simply because I wanted to see what it was like. My plan was to live there for one year, and then explore the rest of the world. I ended up staying for 7 years.. I also lived in Los Angeles on and off for about 2 years. It was a great experience. It taught me so many life lessons. I came to London young and pretty naive when I look back at it but living abroad has made me into the women that I am today.

So, do you have any plans to live abroad? And is it for you? If so, these few lessons and tips may prepare you for one of the best decisions of your life. 

1. Stand on your own 2 feet
It’s about letting go of the save harbor and sailing away to a new experience. Yes, it might seem scary but taking that first step and just GO feels great.
You’ll be surprised how quickly you will become that independent person.

Living abroad made me stand on my own 2 feet and gain my independence.

2. Learn a new language and culture
Ok, I probably picked one of the easiest countries to live in because in The Netherlands we all speak a fair bit of English. 
But I must say, every city speaks it’s own language and with it, it’s own culture. I learned to speak “the London way” and even understood it when people told me they were “Lee Marvin”. (which means Starvin’  in cockney English.) If you learn about different cultures and habits you will also become more open minded, which I think is a good thing. If you don’t know the language at all, take a course. It will make everything 10 times easier.

3. Meet new people (from all over the world)
If you’re going to move to a big city, you’re probably going to meet new friends with different nationalities. I’m still in contact with people from Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Mexico, England, Australia and the States. Some of these contacts have visited me back home and the other way around. This way you broaden your network.

Meet new friends for life.

4. You will get to know yourself (really really well)
There’s no better way of getting to know yourself whilst traveling or living abroad. Learn from your mistakes and get back up. Always listen to your intuition if you’re unsure.

5. Make a plan before you go
So, what will you do when you get there? Don’t go there with empty pockets. Save enough money to last you a few months or even better, find a job or course before you go. 
Depending on which country you may fly to, you may need to arrange a visa and working permits. When I moved over to London, I worked as an Au-Pair. This meant that I needed to look after the kids, clean the house and cook dinner. Is a good starting job when you are young and you want to integrate quickly. For this you need some experience and it’s always a good idea to get some sort of a diploma. 
For more information on how to start to work as an Au-Pair, check this website.

Make a plan before you decide to leave your mark 

Let it happen and enjoy it

6. Fall in love
Whether it’s with a person or a city, you’re probably going to fall in love. Let it happen and enjoy it. It happened to me twice (I dated an English man for 5 years and a guy in LA for about 2,5 years) and although it didn’t work out, it helped me grow and taught me the life lessons we all need to know. Falling in love with a country, city or small town is a beautiful thing. Because you can always return and you will never forget the experience!

Falling in love abroad
Don’t be afraid to fall in love abroad..

7. You can make a new start
You may have fucked up a few times in your life. Or you may have done really good. It doesn’t matter because when you move to another country, you can start all over again! This is great. New friends, new habits, new food, new adventures. 

8. You will appreciate your home country
Homesickness. If you are a frequent traveler, you may have experienced this feeling before. Yes, I have called my mum up a few times, crying my eyes out because I didn’t like my job, didn’t have a lot of friends in the beginning or felt lonely. But I never gave up. At the end, you know you can always return. Nowadays we have so many channels that help us to get in touch with the home front that it is almost impossible to miss home! Living abroad makes you appreciate where you came from. Maybe you shouldn’t complain about the rain so much (sunshine everyday of the year can also get a bit boring believe it or not!) or you may appreciate your mothers home cooked dinners a lot more.

When I stayed in sunny LA, I loved it when it rained now and then.

So whether you want to move to England, Miami or Australia. Prepare yourself for the best ride of your life and always stay true to yourself.
You’ll be fine!



Isolabona, a new place to visit in Italy!

When I was a kid, my parents always visited Italy during the summer holidays. I always loved going there and after a few years it felt like my second home. We always went to the ‘Lago di Garda’ which is a very common and popular place for Dutch people to visit. Last year however, I wanted something different. A friend of mine told me about a similar place, where her parents bought a house and it was suppose to be stunning. It was called Isolabona. I had never heard of that place before so when she asked me to join her, I couldn’t wait! And let me tell you, it’s Italy’s hidden gem.

About Isolabona
Isolabona is a very cozy small city in northern Italy. It has its own picturesque feeling and it is not that touristic. This village is hidden between the mountains and has a beautiful environment for those who love nature! The village is not a typical summer destination for tourists because it is not a seaside resort. But don’t be sad if you are a beach lover because the sea is a 30 min ride away and nothing is more fun than to ride a scooter in Italy! The nicest seaside resorts nearby are called Ventimiglia or Bordighera. Isolabona also has a lot to offer for people who love to do sports.

Stunning views at Isolabona

Where to swim?
If you want to have a swim a little closer to Isolabona you can go to the beautiful mountain rivers. These rivers are very special due to the ‘water pools’ with crystal clear water. These water pools interrupt the stream and are very deep, which is why they are perfect for a swim! These pools are a little cold but when it is 35 degrees in Italy you would love to cool down like this! You can find these beautiful pools in Rocchetta, Pigna and Dolceacqua.


This city is close to Isolabona and the artist Claude Monet found his inspiration here for his painting ‘Le chateau de Dolceacqua’. The city is very adorable and bustling. The bridge towards the city runs over the river Nervia. This beautiful bridge is 33m long and connects Borgo, with Terra. Borgo is the old medieval part of the village and in Terra you can find cute shopping streets and terraces.


What else to do?
Besides the lovely swimming areas, most beautiful nature and the inspiring history, you can visit this area for Italy’s finest; FOOD!! Italy has always been popular because they prepare all their food with love. The best places to go to in this area are:

In Isolabona you have Pizzeria dal Vecchio Forno for the best pizza’s! If you are more of a pasta person I would recommend the Bunda Bar, where they serve homemade pasta. In Dolceacqua you will find Osteria Quattro Gatti The food is very nice but also the employees are very kind. They make sure you’ll have a typical magical Italian night. Even though their food is amazing, don’t order dessert there! I would recommend you to walk to the ice cream parlor next door, they serve the best ice cream ever! Inside Tip: Oh, and for those who really love to drink wine; Dolceacqua has its own wine (Rossese Dolceacqua), and it is delicious!

Conclusion: Isolabona is a great spot for your next summer vacation! Even if everything I mentioned before isn’t enough, the area has a lot to offer. For example, you could even go to Nice or Monaco for a day! Both cities are just about one hour drive.

So, when are you going to visit Italy’s finest?



*Michelle is one of our guest editors who lives in Amsterdam. She is a senior student on her way of becoming a media specialist. She’s got a big interest for design, writing and traveling. After exploring Amsterdam she wanted to discover more of the world. She’s not your typical typical tourist though, which is why she is always searching for the best local bars and restaurants! You can follow her on @michelle.debruin

How To Actually Compensate Your CO2 When Traveling

Because of the growing population and amount of people who like to explore and travel, our CO2 usage is increasing rapidly. Do you care about the planet but you are also caught with the wanderlust virus? Time to check how you can actually compensate your CO2.

Better holidays
Turn the negative into something positive. This applies to the destination but also to the local community. Thankfully, the travel sector is searching for alternative ways to compensate in infrastructure and accommodation. ANVR for example has developed an award winning online calculator that calculates your holiday carbon footprint. Not just from the flights, but also other ways of transport, accommodation and activities.

Staying at home is no option
Even though we use other ways of transport to travel around, and only 20% of that transport is by plane, flying still produces the biggest CO2 emission (a stagering 55%). There are several ideas about flying smarter and cleaner, but these are in the early stages of development and are taking too long if you ask me. Staying at home, is no option for most people, especially with the economical growth. Let’s also not forget that for many countries, tourism is extremely important and the number one income.

Did you know, that a round trip for 2 people from Amsterdam to Bangkok will spray 3.5 tons of CO2 in the air?

This is how you can balance your CO2 emissions.

CO2 compensation
The traveling consumer is now starting to get more attention for his holiday-footprint, in addition to recycling at home and water saving. In 2016, 1 in 800 travelers opted to voluntarily compensate their CO2 from flying. A good start, but too little to make a real big difference. Some travel companies are already taking measures, and a dozen travel organisations are starting to include the CO2 compensation in their package deals. They are also helping the consumer to make more conscious choices: do you want to travel by plane or by train, sleep in a hotel that takes the environment into account, long or short on holiday, compensate or reduce?

How it Works
There are several websites that can calculate your Carbon Footprint. The best ones are www.myclimate.org and for the Dutch market it’s www.greenseat.nl. These websites let you calculate your usage, but also give you a opportunity to compensate by bringing it back into balance. For example; if you fly to Bangkok and back, you use 1,6700 tons of CO2. This converted into cash is around €16,-. You can donate this amount to a good cause. This amount would provide 1 household in India, Cambodja or Uganda with renewable energy for one whole year!

Are you ready to compensate your CO2?



Brides-Les-Bains » Wellness and Ski

Wellness combined with an active lifestyle. That’s how I can describe Brides-Les-Bains, a town in the middle of the French Alps. I was invited to explore the area so you can make the decision whether this town is the best option for you.

While Méribel is more high end and can be quite expensive, Brides-Les-Bains is more affordable

Brides-Les-Bains is the first town you will find when you visit the Three Valleys ski domain and consists of several towns; Courchevel, Val Thorens, Méribel, Les Menuires, Saint-Martin-de Belleville, La Tania, Orelle and Brides-Les-Bains. While Méribel is more high end and can be quite expensive, Brides-Les-Bains is more affordable and also very suitable for families and couples. The town’s name was named after the many thermal baths in the area, hence the name “Les Bains”. Back in the day, the town was mainly used by people that wanted to get their bodies back into shape but the Olympic Games back in 1992, gave Brides-Les-Bains a big boost and people from all over the world started to show interest in both wellness and skiing.

Brides Les Bains, France
Stunning views in the Valley

How to get there
Always a good way to start an article because if you can’t find it..;-) Brides-Les-Bains is about a 2 hour drive from Genève airport, which is only a 1 hour flight from Amsterdam. I prefer flying to a skiing destination because it saves you so much time! (I remember the days when I sat in the car for 13 hours, feeling pretty exhausted and having no energy left to go skiing the next morning). Flights cost around 180 euro’s return and if you book early, you might get a better deal!

Staying in Brides-Les-Bains is for those who are clever enough to spend less money but still enjoy the same slopes and activities as the people that like to stay closer to the mountain top. The “Olympe” cable car will take you right on top of the mountain and makes 2 stops which takes around 20 minutes in total. If you want to stay in Brides-Les-Bains, you have many options but one of the nicest hotels in town is the Mercure Grand Hotel Les Thermes. Why? Well, it has a spa for one (including a sauna and steam room!) and offers spa treatments such as facials and massages. There is a large restaurant that offers typical French food with a healthy twist, and the rooms are spacious and clean. Oh, and the bed sleeps magnificent! (I know because I slept like a baby) A double room will cost around 150 euro’s but if you book well in advance you..well, you catch my drift.

Relaxing the the spa

Lunch on the piste is healthy and nutritious! 

To Do’s
Ok, there will be skiing involved, (I promise you), but hear me out. Brides-Les-Bains actually has a lot more to offer than meets the eye. I tried a couple of different activities and I really loved them all. Whether it’s winter, or summertime, the area is a healthy destination 365 days a year. Let’s take a look:

» Skiing & Snowboarding. During the winter you can discover about 600 km of slopes. Insane! It’s suitable for beginners or pro’s and you can even take the chairlift to ski in Val Thorens.
» Après Ski. La Folie Douce is the place to be if you’re looking for a great party on the pistes. With a panoramic view of the mountains, you can have a lavish lunch here (expect high end prices), and enjoy a show of dance, singing and fireworks. People end up dancing on the tables and champagne is flowing in the VIP. Don’t forget that you still need to make it down in one piece! 😉

Brides Les Bains

» Biathlon. You know the winter Olympics, where they cross-country ski in between the trees and then take out a big gun and manage to shoot at a tiny bullseye? Well, I did just that, minus the 20km cross country skiing. Laying down on the snow, I hit all the targets, but standing up was soooo difficult. Imagine doing that after an intensive ski course. I really gained respect for this sport, that was originally used as a military exercise!
» Snowshoeing. Yep, this is an activity that might seem a bit dull at first, but it’s basically hiking through the snow and enjoying some of the best views in the valley! I personally love that kind of stuff because we walked through the trees and discovered an igloo, animal tracks and a restaurant where they served freshly made gluhwein!

Biathlon shooting

The perfect stop after some snowshoeing

»Paragliding, for the daredevils, this is a wonderful activity. For me? Not so much.
» Helicopter Rides. There is a tiny airport at Méribel that is mainly used for hobbyist that own their own (small) planes but you can also book helicopter rides, with magnificent views over the valley.

Heli ride in maribel
Trying to look cool next to the Helicopter

Snowshoeing. Photo by Chris Konig

During the summer you can go hiking or mountain biking and most travelers come here to combine their active lifestyle with a chance to completely relax in the thermal baths.

This topic needs a separate section because Brides-Les-Bains is really known for its spa life. Most decent hotels will have one and if they don’t you MUST visit the thermal baths just around the corner. It’s used all year round and the town is especially welcoming to those trying to lose a few pounds. Thermal baths are known for helping people with their weight loss because of the warm and cold water which helps circulate the blood. Weight loss treatments are actually covered by the French health insurance and doctors send overweight people to the spa’s in Brides-Les-Bains to get them back into a healthy shape. Most hotels within the area also offer low fat meals such as the Mercure Grand Hotel Les Thermes.

To find out more about Brides-Les-Bains, visit their website
For more info about the French Alpes check here.

Review » Skiing in Kvitfjell, Norway

Skiing in Kvitfjell, Norway

I have been on the slopes since I was nine years old, and I’ve seen many snowy mountains in Austria, Switzerland, the French Alpes, Germany and even Italy. But I had never been skiing in Norway before. Why not? I wondered. Norway is only a short flight from Amsterdam and has many ski and snowboard options. I flew to Kvitfjell to find out.

The Olympic Town
Kvitfjell was build for the Lillehammer Olympics in 1994. After that, an investor bought the place and he made sure it continued it’s main purpose as a ski resort. But Kvitfjell is not just famous for the winter Olympics, the town is turned upside down for the World Cup ski competition. Every year people from all over the world come to Kvitfjell at the beginning of March, to watch the brave athletes ski down the famous black piste at 130 km per hour. It’s broadcasted around the world. 

Winter Wonderland

I was about to experience the actual black piste with a crazy steep decline of 64% at some parts. But first it was time to explore the rest of the ski area. Kvitfjell decided to expand last year so I was exited to see the newly opened westside of the mountain. With 1039 meter above sea level, you will reach the highest part of the mountain. In total there are 34km of ski slopes that vary from easy to advanced. It’s a great ski area for families with children from three years old as there are many nice green and blue slopes to learn the basics. I must warn you though, what they call blue at Kvitfjell, kinda means red in other countries!

A traditional Norwegian farm in the middle of the piste

The hotel
It’s a small town so there are only 2 hotels. The biggest and best hotel is Gudbrandsgaard Hotel. Prices starting from NOK 1190 up to to NOK 2190 per double room per night/2 persons, and includes a buffet breakfast. The hotel holds up to 79 guests and has a spa that includes a large swimming pool and a gym. After an intensive day of skiing, your body can use a warm jacuzzi, let me tell you! The hotel has a charming and traditional Norwegian interior and four floors. The rooms are quite spacious and look out on the piste or forest. It had snowed so much when I arrived, that the snow fell into the room as I opened my window!

There are several food options in the hotel. There is an exclusive wine cellar where you will find some exclusive wines plus you can book the place for a special dinner. The hotel’s main restaurant is called Prepperiet and includes a cozy fireplace. The food, again, was amazing. Best pumpkin soon and ravioli I’ve ever had. And trust me, I’ve eaten a lot of soups in my life. The breakfast and lunch buffet area is located on the first floor and is simple, yet inviting. The breakfast is for champions and the veggies during lunchtime are crispy. Happy Elke. 

I can honestly say, it’s the best food i’ve had around a skiresort!

One thing I MUST mention is the food in Kvitvjell. If you’ve been skiing before, you know that lunch on the slopes is usually greasy and fat. Fries, pasta, cakes and sausages are some of the dishes you will find at most ski resorts. In Kvitfjell it’s different. ients and I can honestly say, it’s the best food i’ve had around a skiresort! You have a few options; 

  • Fôr
    This restaurant is just 200 meters from the hotel and serves modern style Norwegian food. It’s run by a few cool dudes (if I may call them that, because they looked like die hard snowboarders). I was lucky to enjoy a five course dinner and although ordered vegetarian food, I didn’t end up with a simple pasta on my plate. From soup to the mushroom risotto, it was all beautifully set up and sooo tasty.

Dinner at Fôr, Kvitfjell
Dinner at Fôr

  • Tyrihanstunet
    This charming and traditional Norwegian place, is right on the piste and a great stopover to have a nutritious lunch. I ate the shrimp sandwich and it was huge! If you are a coffee addict, this is also the place because they serve the best coffee on the piste. 
  • Plaza Café
    Situated next to the skishop is the Plaza Café. Come here for quality burgers, spaghetti, salads and drinks. 
  • Koia
    For gluhwein, gourmet sausages and beer you come to this 300 (!) year old loghouse. 

Lunch at Kvitfjell
Lunch at Tyrihanstunet

Old log house in Kvitfjell
The 300 year old Koia house is perfect for a après ski

Ski Conditions (and my experience on the World Cup slope!)
Because of the heavy snow throughout the night, fresh powder was everywhere and made the ski conditions top notch! It was like sliding through soft clouds and even though the sun didn’t shine, it was such a great run to experience. There are a few options to go off piste but I recommend these to the more advanced skiërs. I had to try the infamous world cup piste of course, and although I was a little nervous, I managed to get down without falling. What a confident boost! The World Cup piste is 3,5 km in length, black and very popular with the skiers that I’d like to call; speedy conzales.

Stunning paths in Kvitfjell
Go a little off piste and find stunning paths like these!

I loved it! But skiing in Norway is a little different from what you might be used to in Austria for example. Après Ski is something they’ve definitely heard of, but it’s not the main objective here. People really come to Kvitfjell to enjoy the scenery, have a lovely family break or come over to improve their skills. People from Denmark, Sweden and Norway are amongst the biggest group of tourist that visit Kvitfjell but people from The Netherlands and Germany are also showing interest. In my opinion it’s the ideal place for families and couples because it’s perfect to combine with a weekend in Oslo, as it’s only a 3 hour train ride from the capital!

So if you’re looking for something a little different from what you are used to, enjoy a relaxed atmosfeer and great gastronomy, Kvitfjell is your town!



For more info about Kvitfjell and it’s surroundings, visit their website.

The top 8 Third-Wave Coffee places in Berlin

Last month I visited a friend in Berlin who told me a lot about her growing affinity for high-quality coffees in the city. They call it the ‘third-wave coffee’, which is a movement to produce high quality coffee and consider coffee as an artisanal foodstuff rather than a commodity. This movement involves the improvement of all the stages of the production of a coffee bean. As I do like coffee myself, I was curious about the specialty of this kind of coffee. So here are 8 of the best third-wave coffee places in Berlin.

1. The Barn, Kurfürstendamm
First up, is The Barn. While they are settled in four locations in Berlin, I like the one at Kurfürstendamm the most. This location is on top of a building and already exists for over 200 years. Not as the Barn as we know it now, but it has always been a lunch-room/coffee bar. Every Barn has its own retail concept, because they want to showcase the fact that they are specialists in coffee in different contexts. They have an extensive coffee menu and each brew is made with the best beans possible. Besides coffee you will find tasty pies and pastries and during summer you can enjoy your coffee on the terras, which is set up in a circle around the coffee bar. Find it here!


2. Five Elephant, Neukölln
The Five Elephant is a micro roastery, bakery and cafe in Neukölln, Berlin. This is the perfect place for a special coffee because they are passionate about quality. They search for green coffee beans and bring these to their roastery where they prepare them. It has the nicest employees and I would definitely recommend the pies, pastries and cookies. In summer you can sit outside on the terras but also inside you feel a great environment. The Scandinavian-style is simple but gives you a good feeling. With every cup of coffee you order you will receive a Wifi code, which makes the roastery a perfect place to work. Besides from business, you can also pay a visit for a relaxing afternoon with your friends. Find it here!

They call it the ‘third-wave coffee’

3. The visit coffee roastery, Kreuzberg
If you want to reinvent the bean you should go to The Visit. Creating a whole new coffee beverage is what they do best. They serve the highest quality beans, perfectly roasted. The people working over there are experts and are really passionate about coffee. They have four locations in Berlin but the one at Adalbertstraße is special because of their new way of seating their guests. In this particular bar you may find yourself sitting on the stairs next to a small table, where you can sit and relax and feel like home! This roastery may be a little hard to find but when you are inside, you will never want to leave again. Find it here!

4. Bonanza roastery, Kreuzberg 
If you are a coffee and plants lover you should definitely go to Bonanza. They are settled in two different locations in Berlin and Adalbertstraße is close to The Visit. The location is very unique, the interior is industrial chic and I would really recommend their filter coffee. What makes Bonanza special is their way of roasting the beans. Different than others, is their strategy to roast the beans as little as possible. This special coffee is a little more expensive but the experience is worth a try. There is also an outdoor seating here. Find it here!

5. Nothaft Seidel cafe, prenzlauer Berg
If you want to drink third wave coffee in a place that is in true Berlin style, you should go to Nothaf. The walls are not finished and the interior is made of old chairs, couches and used school tables. The decor is also pink and youthful. The baristas are there to impress you with some excellent grinds and brew that is locally roasted and served with flair. You will see people working at their laptops but you can also just grab your coffee and find yourself a nice place to chill. The baked goods are delicious and they even have vegan croissants. You can also enjoy their freshly blended juices outside in the sunshine. Anyone who is looking for Nothaft will recognize it immediately for its pink umbrellas outside which give you a little Hawaiian feeling. Check it out! 

Nothaft + Seigel Cafe

6. Populus Cafe, Kreuzberg
Populus Cafe coffee is formed by the people who are growing, processing, sourcing, roasting, brewing and enjoying it. It is a Finnish owned place which you might recognize in its interior. This scandinavian style with lovely plants and delicious coffee is a good place to dream away. Seeing the water outside makes it even more special in a city like Berlin. Their motto is sharing the same passion for coffee with people all over the world. Their coffee is fair trade and high-quality. Populus would love to let you discover all flavours of coffee they serve. The beans they serve are chock-full of sweetness and flavours of ripe berries, tropical fruits, chocolate, floral notes, nuttiness and pleasant acidity depending on variety, origin and processing. Find it!

7. Happy Baristas, Friedrichshain
As you can see in the name, ‘happy baristas’ are the only people serving you at this bar. The world of coffee doesn’t have to be black and bitter. It’s exciting; full of colour and bursting with flavour. Happy Baristas has one table where you can sit with your laptop, at the others you are not allowed. The best time to go here is during breakfast. They serve the most delicious pancakes. All the drinks are made in house. You won’t find any bottled drinks in the shop. The Happy Baristas will be at your service in every mood. They’ll have the classic drinks and some more adventurous varieties like milkshakes or espresso mixed with cola syrup, cherry juice or horchata, they go to considerable length to make the customer happy. Find it here!

The Happy Baristas serve honey processed Costa Rica coffee, omg yeah! Source

8. Orange Coffee, prenzlauer berg
Last but not least, Orange Coffee. A small not touristy coffee bar with only true berliners visiting here, makes this coffee bar a ‘must see’ at your to do list. Great coffee, delicious pastries and really good breakfast. Orange coffee has only one barista and six tables so you’d better not enter with a large group. Very intimate and cozy will describe this place the best. Check it out!

Enjoy discovering these third-wave coffees!



*Michelle is one of our guest editors who lives in Amsterdam. She is a senior student on her way of becoming a media specialist. She’s got a big interest for design, writing and traveling. After exploring Amsterdam she wanted to discover more of the world. She’s not your typical typical tourist though, which is why she is always searching for the best local bars and restaurants! You can follow her on @michelle.debruin

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12 x lesser known spots in Australia you should visit

Most backpackers and travelers will pay a visit to beautiful Australia once or twice in their lifetime. With 8.7 million visitors in 2017, it’s one of the most visited continents in the world. Rainforests, desserts, mountains, beaches, cliffs, reefs, dunes and more, Australia has it all. Down Under is by far one of my favorite places in the world and the perfect destination for traveling by yourself.

But we all know about Bondi Beach, Fraser island, The Twelve Apostels and the stunning Great Barrier Reef. We think there are a few roads less traveled you should know about..

Western Australia
Most backpackers fly directly into Melbourne or Sydney and travel along the Eastcoast but the Westcoast is something you shouldn’t miss out on. It’s the side of Australia where the sun sets into the sea, where you can swim with whale sharks and it has less tourists.

  • Coral Bay
    Coral Bay is a tiny town on the coast, 1,200 kilometres north of Perth. It’s a special spot because it’s full of marine life. Whale sharks come to the area between March and June and from June to October you can watch the migration of the Humpback Whales. It’s not a town full of restaurants and café’s so you should go here to unwind and enjoy the stunning nature.
  • Rockingham
    Another great lesser known spot in Australia is Rockingham. I swam here with wild dolphins. You simply head out to sea, jump in the water and watch them play. No pool, no touching, no trained animals. You just enjoy these beautiful creatures, A must do!
  • Rottnest Island
    Just offshore from Perth, you will find this small lesser known island. Go here for snorkling, swimming or sunbathing. You can rent a bungalow for the night and there is even a small centre. It’s also home to the quokka, a small wallaby-like marsupial.
  • Dunsborough
    I arrived in Dunsborough about 9 years ago but I still remember it as it was yesterday. I had never seen such a long stretched beach without people on it! The water is crystal clear and the people here are super friendly. You can also find the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park here, where you can spot some of the tallest trees in Australia. Enjoy coastal walks, whale watching and at night you can visit plenty of the pubs and wine bars. It’s a few hours drive from Perth and close to Margaret River. 

The stunning colors of Dunsborough, western Australia. Photo credit: @arigoestowonderland

Northern Territory
If you want to experience the real Australia, you should definitely visit the Northern Territory. Endless roads without seeing one person except for a couple of kangaroos. The spiritual and sacred land of the Aboriginals has more to offer than Uluru.

  • Devils Marbles
    The name is already cool enough to check these babies out! If you go to the Northern Territory you probably visit Uluru and Alice Springs but most people forget about the Devils Marbles. The round stone balls are a special sight and of spiritual significance to the traditional Aboriginals. The rocks are million of years old and due to erosion they have turned into giant boulders. It’s possible to camp on site and enjoy the unusual shapes at sunrise.

lesser known spots in Australia. Northern Territory
The spectacular Northern Territory

This spectacular natural sinkhole is something that reminds us of a scene from Avatar

South Australia
This part of Australia is famous for it’s wine regions, Adelaide and Kangaroo Island, but there are a few hidden treasures that are lesser known but certainly deserve your attention.

  • Lake Bumbunga
    This lake is used to extract salt from and turns pink during some seasons. It’s located in an area that is lesser known in Australia so you could say that this Instagramable pink lake deserve a spot on our list!
  • Umpherston Sinkhole
    This spectacular natural sinkhole is something that reminds us of a scene from Avatar. The Umpherston sinkhole as once a normal limestone cave located at Mount Gambier, that was formed by the corrosion by seawater waves. The sinkhole was naturally created when the chamber’s roof collapsed. It’s now home to a beautiful garden that you can visit.

Lake Bumbunga Source

The amazing Umpherston Sinkhole Photo credit: @dubstamatic

Australia’s Eastcoast
Visited by most, but some area’s are still overlooked. Here are 5 amazing lesser known spots in Australia’s East Coast that you will love!

  • Moreton Island
    If you plan to visit Brisbane, you might as well take a day trip to Moreton Island. This protected sand island is the smaller and lesser known sister to the popular Frasier Island. Known for it’s steep dunes, it’s perfect for sand-boarding and spotting shipwrecks.
  • Noosa Everglades
    When I arrived in Noosa, it immediately felt like I was in another climate. You will arrive in the tropics and you can enjoy some fantastic beaches and forest walk. One thing that not every traveler knows about, is the Noosa Everglades. One of Queensland best kept secrets. Take an adventurous canoe trip or camp into the wilderness. The everglades are gaining popularity fast, so be quick before it’s becoming a tourist attraction.
  • Brooms Head
    It’s one of those places you go to for total relaxation. It’s perfect for surfers and only an hours drive from Byron Bay! It’s often overlooked because of the popular destinations surrounding Brooms Head but this untouched paradise is worth the extra stopover and perfect for a few days camping near the beach.
  • Tin Can Bay
    This seaside village is tiny but has one thing that people come back for. The humpback Dolphin. Travelers and locals get an unique opportunity to hand feed and interact with these rare dolphins. It’s done with great care as they are a protected species. You can also enjoy the wonderful beaches, campsites and terrific seafood. You can also rent houseboats, take a beach drive or visit one of the lively markets. You’ll be surprised about the amount of backpackers that haven’t heard of this place. Don’t be one of those people 😉
  • Somersby Falls
    I’ve gotten this  inside tip from a local Aussi, so you know it has to be a hidden treasure! Somersby Falls is a picnic area with a stunning waterfall as your main view. Like all great parks in Australia, the location has several bbq’s lined up with picnic tables surrounded by rainforest and beautiful walking tracks. It’s located on the central coast just 1,5 hours from Sydney.

noosa-everglades. Lesser known spots in Australia
The Noosa Everglades

It’s more than you can ever expect it to be, one reason being, that there are so many new places to discover..

Enjoy it Mate!


For trips to Australia check www.travelessence.nl/australie and plan your trip!

More Australia & New Zealand here!

According to Google, these Destinations will be hot in 2018

Good old Google. They know everything about us, well almost. They monitor our behaviour, and know exactly what we clicked on, for how long and where they loose us. Whatever you may think of it, our behaviour can also predict the way we are traveling and will travel in the near future. Every year Google releases a Year In Search data report and when it comes to travel related searches, you can see which destinations are growing popularity.

While this year, destinations like Morocco, Iceland, and Bali took the lead, we have some new contenders for 2018!

1. Taiwan
Why the hell not actually! Taiwan hasn’t really come to mind immediately but thinking about it, this destination is totally stunning. The small island on the South East coast of China has national parks, cute teahouses and skyscrapers. Perfect for a couple of days exploring. Will this be the new Hong Kong for 2018?

2. Barcelona
Still one of the best cities in the world (we always go back there once a year!). There is a beach, the food is seriously addictive and it’s always warm. Even though there was a terrorist attack, it doesn’t stop people from going here. Next year, it will be populair once again.

One of Europe’s most popular city

3. Hawaï
More and more people are looking for paradise and Europeans are looking into Hawaï like crazy. We don’t blame them. Tropical forests, wonderful people and stunning beaches and reason enough to book your ticket.

4. Las Vegas
Vegas Baby! Maybe it’s hard to believe but people are actually looking to explore a little outside Las Vegas too. Did you know that there are some of the most amazing canyon’s out there? You can combine a few days of craziness with a couple of days roadtrippin’ and hiking.

Dreaming of Hawaii? Photo by @travelinhershoes

5. Hong Kong
People go here for the nightlife, food and impressive culture. Sarah is visiting Hong Kong this January and I have been there a few years back. 

6. Oman
We’ve seen Morocco, we’ve seen Dubai. People are ready for another beauty and next year it might be Oman.

7. Maldives
For all the couples out there, this is heaven. The economy is growing again (at least in some countries), and people want to treat themselves. The Maldives is the perfect place to do that.

8. South Korea
In early 2018, the Winter Olympics will be held here. Tourism will pick up and it’s no wonder that Google has tracked these numbers. But besides that, South Korea is diverse and the airport is close to town. The food is super innovative and goes from high end to briljant street food.

The food in South Korea is something special

9. Myrtle Beach
Sat whaat? This is a coastal town in South Carolina and popular with families. Why? Along its beachfront boardwalk are arcades, souvenir stands and restaurants and an amusement park by the sea that includes the larges ferris wheel of the country. This search was extremely popular for the States.

10. Hamburg
We’ve heard it many times last year; Hamburg is the new Berlin. With the new Elbphilharmonie building, this harbour city made a comeback and is here to stay in 2018.

Industrial and cool, hamburg will gain popularity in 2018

Destinations we think are going to be hot in 2018?
Well, a little bit different than what Google says but here’s what we think:

1. Mexico
This is because we’ve seen soooo many influencers going there the past year. They have planted the seed and have inspired many around the world to go here.

2. Malta
This tiny little island is located at the end of Italy’s boot and is perfect for a quick getaway. Mind you, Malta doesn’t have a lot of beaches but it certainly has a lot of culture to make up for it. To read more about Malta, check out this quick guide.

3. The Nusa’s
Our guest editor said it; she cheated on Bali with the Nusa’s and we think you are going to do the same. Get away from the tourist overload on Bali and check out these pretty islands. For pictures and tips check her article.

Cheating on Bali with the Nusa’s?

4. Georgia
We haven’t been but heard so many great stories about this hidden gem. It’s the kind of destination where you say; “wow, I didn’t realize it was this beautiful!” Mark our words.

5. Hawaï
Yes, we agree with this one! Like Google, we think this destination will be explored more than previous years.

So where are you heading in 2018?



Bye Bye Unwanted Hormones, We Tested The Ladycomp

When you are a young woman growing up, one of the first things you learn about is anti-contraceptives. When you start to be sexually active, you are told to protect yourself agains unwanted pregnancy. Very good, of course. But what the hell are we actually putting into our bodies? Elke tested the Ladycomp, a tiny computer that’s going to save you from unwanted hormones and discomfort.

Let’s start by saying that there are many options out there to protect yourself from unwanted pregnancy; The Pill, The Spiral(s), The Nuva Ring, The Condom. Most of these offer something that is uncomfortable and gives your body unwanted extra hormones. I was fed up with it and taking these extra hormones wasn’t an option for me anymore. I felt tired, bloated and stopped using birth control pills. I heard about The Ladycomp a few years ago but didn’t dig into it until now.

Side affects from birth control pills Source

What is the Ladycomp?
It’s a small round shaped computer that fit’s into your pocket, that you can take everywhere. It does several things but the most important thing it does, it measuring your body’s temperature. Not like thermometer that you use to check if you have a fever, no this little computer does it so precise that it knows exactly when you are ovulating or not. It basically calculates your fertility status in less than a minute per day with 99,3{8b669be72a7f340f9ef2d6d852585cd40ddf0e79ccf763f3ea93c1234c3d888b} reliability. Pretty damn save if you ask me! I needed to test this, obviously.


My first 3 months using the Ladycomp
I received the Ladycomp basic but there are 5 different computers available so check on the website which suits your needs the most. You start using the Ladycomp by charging the batteries and entering the right date and time. Ok, that was simple. Now you need to enter the dates of  the start of your menstruating cycle (if you remember the exact date) and you can do this as far back as 3 months. Now, this is where I got totally confused. I had the instructions booklet where it tells you what to do but somehow I didn’t manage to do it right. And because it only works if you do it right, I needed to call the helpdesk to guide me through it, just to be sure. With all the little options in the menu, it can look quite overwhelming at first so I advise you to read the instructions a few times. The Ladycomp needs a couple of months to get to know your body. The more period dates you have entered, the quicker it learns. I remembered my last 2, so I hoped this would speed up the process.

Red means: hold up, no unsafe sex! Unless you want a baby of course..

How to Use It
Measuring your temperature is the simplest thing. When you wake up in the morning, you grab the Ladycomp (leave it next to your bed), you grab the little thermometer attached to the Ladycomp and put it underneath your tongue for about 30 – 60 seconds until you hear a beep. You will now see a red, orange or green button which tells you if you are fertile or not. Red means: hold up, no unsafe sex! (unless you want a baby), Green means: Put on something sexy and go for it girl! Orange means: hmm, not sure, better safe than sorrow so use protection.

Wait For The Green Light
I was surprised to see a green light after only 2-3 weeks but I was too scared to take the leap of faith so early on. It’s still a computer you need to put your trust in, so I guess I needed some more time. After a few days green, it popped back to red n it has stayed red or orange for the rest of the month. When you are about to menstruate, you will see a blinking M. If you are not yet bleeding, just ignore the blinking M. If you started to menstruate, confirm M for at least 3 days in a row. Around the 10th of each new month, I got a green light, also in my third month so the Ladycomp must know my body a little bit right? I listened and so far so good! No unwanted pregnancy and I’m feeling good about this new way of protecting myself.

Compact & Easy to Bring
The Ladycomp is very small in size and fit’s into your toiletry-bag, no problem! If you travel a lot, this is a must because you don’t want to carry to much weight with you. When you buy it, it comes with a colourful cover to keep it save.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
When you order, you receive this cover so it’s easy to bring

Christmas Discount!
Ladycomp is celebrating Christmas and offers a 12{8b669be72a7f340f9ef2d6d852585cd40ddf0e79ccf763f3ea93c1234c3d888b} discount until the 21st of December! Besides this, they are also hosting a advent calendar where they will announce a new winner every day! For this you need to keep an eye out on their Facebook Page.

Are you ready for a change in anti-contraceptive? For more detailed info and prices visit the Ladycomp Website.



The Antwerp City Guide by Wander-Lust

If you live in the Netherlands, Antwerp is the perfect place to escape to for a city break, especially during the wintertime! We’ve been there many times and checked out some of the best spots for you to enjoy food, drinks and more. Here’s our Antwerp City Guide!

How to get there
Well, you have 2 options and they are both as easy. You can take the train or you can go by car. Both options take around the same time (2 hours) but we prefer the train because you can chill, look out of the window and you will arrive at one of the most beautiful and impressive trains stations in Europe. A  return train ticket from Amsterdam to Antwerp will cost around 30 -40 euro. If you go by car, you might arrive earlier but if you are unlucky, you will get caught in slow traffic and your trip might take up to 3 hours plus you will have to pay for parking.

“This Antwerp City Guide is for wanderers who love food, shops and exploring”

Antwerp City Guide

Where To Eat?
The most important question of course! Well, in Antwerp you won’t be short of food choices. Especially lunch! There are so many hotspots around that we can’t mention them all, but these are our favorites!
» Tinsel, some say that you can get the best breakfast in town here. Tinsel is located near the water where you will find tons of other restaurants. www.tinsel.be
» Native Bio Bistro, This hidden pearl is by far our favorite lunch spot in Antwerp. This bistro serves fresh, original, and good quality food. It’s organic, locally produced with sustainable ingredients, this is Native! Vegan and organic food lovers will love this place! During the summer they open a very nice terrace. www.native.bio
» Bubble Waffle, located in the Mercado foodcourt, this tasty waffle stand awesome! Go here if you feel like something sweet. www.bubblewaffle.be
» Divers, a smoothie-bowl bar for your healthy cravings. Great for some Instagram worthy pics, if that’s what your after. They are located in the Volkstraat 9.
»De Broers van Julienne, when we need to grab a quick and healthy bite, we go here. In a side street of the Kammenstraat – with lots of boutiques – you will find this small cute little restaurant. You can take away the best quiches, soups,  salads and other warm healthy dishes. Besides that, they sell oil, wine, coffee, juices and other delicatessen. They  also offer catering and cook workshops.
» Raw Salad Company, unfortunately they’ve closed their doors in Antwerp but they promised to be back soon with a new location. The name gives it away. Raw salads galore. The salads are extremely tasty and fill you up enough to get on with your day. They also sell juices, wraps, cakes and other healthy snacks. We will keep you updated if they open a shop.
» Umami
, fine dining Japanese style. They restyled not long ago and you can eat amazing Dim Sum here. www.umami-antwerp.be

» Il Famosi, this is by far the best Italian restaurant in Antwerp. Go here for a romantic dinner and if you want more than just pizza.

From left till right: Raw, Umamian and Il Famosi

Antwerp City Guide where-to-eat-in-antwerp
Bubble Waffle from Mecado (source) and Divers (photo’s by David Plas)

Where To Drink Coffee?
» Mirlo’s, the coffee is great and the location is cute. They also serve breakfast and lunch and it’s all homemade. www.mirlos.be
» Buchbar, surrounded by literature and stories, this coffee bar is different than others. Owned by actress Kim Hertogs, you can feel the passion for books, women empowerment and people. Find more info about this special spot on their website.
» Butchers Coffee, located in a former butcher, this trendy coffee bar takes the coffee business serious and are planning to create their own coffee blend. If the sun is out, you can sit outside on the benches. You can find it on the Kasteelstraat 57.
» Caffenation, self blended coffee and probably the oldest one in Belgium as they started more than 13 years ago. Besides the coffee it’s also a shop and a great place to hang out. www.caffenation.be
» Texas Coffee, for pink latte’s and coffee served in an ice-cream cone! 

Antwerp City Guide -mirlos
Coffee and brunch at Mirlo’s

Pink latte at Texas Coffee

Antwerp City Guide. The Buchbar
The Buchbar

Where to Shop & Stroll?
You have many options in Antwerp when it comes to shopping. No matter what type of person you are, there will be a shopping district that will suit your needs. We have selected 3 area’s that we love.
» Kammenstraat & Kloosterstraat, these 2 streets in South Antwerp offer vintage, exclusive boutiques, living and alternative shops. While most shops are closed on Sunday, the kloosterstraat is one of the only streets open from around 12pm.
» Het Eilandje, this is especially great during summer because you can find a lot of outside patio’s here. Worth mentioning is the MAS Museum where they have many exhibitions on display. The museum is set next to the little harbor and owns a large rooftop which has free entrance.
» De Volkstraat, go here for boutiques, concept stores, perfume and coffee.

» The Meir, this is Antwerp’s highstreet. Although it’s not our favorite place to shop, we need to mention it because here you will find all the shops you need. From Zara, Mango, Levi’s, it’s all here. The street is beautiful but always busy. Watch your purse and don’t stay too long!

MAS Antwerp
The MAS Museum at “Het Eilandje”. Source

Where To Sleep?
Somehow we always end up in the same hotels. Never change a winning team! These are our 3 favorite places to stay.

» Hotel Franq, is a new kid on the block and super cool! Just recently opened in October, the building used to be a bank and you can still find the big safe intact which is now being converted into a gym. When you enter the impressive foyer, you almost forget you set foot in a hotel. The rooms are stylish and have a large bathroom with rain showers. When it’s nice weather, you can sit outside in the garden overlooking an old victorian house. www.hotelfranq.com

Hotel Franq

» Hotel Les Nuits, we love boutique hotels and this hotel is one of the cutest ones out there! All 21 rooms are designed a bit different but have the same style and feature impressive en-suites. They have recently changed their reception area and removed their suites rooms which is a shame because I really loved those but this way the hotel is more compact and fits better together. Breakfast is great and the location is great! Book a room here!

Antwerp City Guide. Elke in Hotel Les Nuits
Breakfast in bed at Hotel Les Nuits

» Banks, another great hotel at a very central location. It’s modern and a great place to meet people downstairs. Oh, and they also have a rooftop terrace so this is a great option during the summer. Then again, you will be out exploring Antwerp..;-) Book your stay here.

So are you planning your next tip to Antwerp yet? 😉 



More City Guides? ↓

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