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Posted By: Liam on 6th Jan 2013 20:51
I remember packing my bag just over one year ago. I was 19 years old and I had just finished my 2nd year at college. I was saying goodbye to my friends, family, routine and studies for a full year.
My first of 20 flights for the year was from Cape Town to Johannesburg, before making the long haul to Washington D.C. I spent a lot of time waiting in airports during my trip. I amassed about 60 hours of sitting and waiting for...
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STA Travel, OR Tambo, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Thailand, Nakhon Pathom, Travel
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 10th Dec 2012 08:15
My first couple of nights out in Sydney were with my Contiki tour group, in the King`s Cross area. Our first night on the town started at a place called The World Bar.

I enjoyed The World Bar for two reasons, firstly, they play an awesome set of blues tunes early on in the night and secondly, one can buy teapots brimful of alcohol.

Needless to say, The World Bar was a fitting location for pre-drinks that led into my first big night out in Sydney.

After sampling a few variations of teapots a friend of ours dragged us off to a karaoke bar that was mc`d by a rather large transvestite.

A few songs down the line, and i`d had enough. A couple of my mates were feeling a similar way ...
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Base Hostels, Sydney, Contiki, The World Bar, The Scary Canary, Kings Cross
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 3rd Dec 2012 07:21
Cairns - Whitsundays - Fraser Island - Noosa - Surfers Paradise - Byron Bay - Coffs Harbour - Sydney
7am: Alarm clock rings…I roll around, rub my head, and wait my turn for the shower in our multi-share hotel room.
7:30am: I take a stumble down to the hotel restaurant for a free buffet-style breakfast. On my way down I recall the events from the previous evening. Once I have stacked my plate with a carefully configured mix of breakfast treats, I take a seat alongside my fellow travelers. Conversation is like a problem solving session, as everyone tries to piece together last nights events.
8:15am: Bags to the coach! Contiki coaches are always clean, safe a...
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Australia, Beaches and Reefs, Conitki, Cairns,Whitsundays, Fraser Island, Noosa, Surfers Paradise, B
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 24th Nov 2012 00:51
The Australian leg of my journey marks the final stop of my WorldExplorer year. Today (24/11/12) is the one-year anniversary of me leaving South Africa. When I left South Africa one year ago I landed in a cold, snowy Washington D.C. Twelve months down the line, I now find myself in a warm, sunny, coastal city called Cairns, on the East Coast of Australia.

STA Travel have booked me on a Contiki tour called Beaches and Reefs. The tour starts in Cairns and ends in sunny Sydney. One of Contiki`s many trademarks became very clear to me soon after starting the tour in Cairns.

The people are awesome, the transportation is comfortable and best of all, the optional activities are top notch. I ...
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Australia, Contiki, STA Travel, Cairns, The Great Barrier Reef
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 12th Nov 2012 06:09

Day 1 
Marion and I met with some members of Andaman Discoveries and went for a lovely breakfast at the local market. 
There was such an awesome vibe at the market place. We sat around a large table under the shade of the market roof. We ate an assortment of Thai pastry snacks, rice porridge and sipped on strong coffee with condensed milk.
Shortly after breakfast we made our way to the pier where we would catch a ride to Koh Prah Tong. The tide was low, resulting in us having to walk through k...
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Thailand, Volunteering, Koh Prah Tong
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 5th Nov 2012 04:17

Bicycle, motorbike, long tail boat, barge, elephant, tuk-tuk, taxi, motorcycle taxi, van, 4x4, train, and hiking! For much of the tour,  the journey was just as great as the destination. 
The Northern Thailand Experience ended up being the most awesome trip that has made me fall in love with the Northern regions of Thailand. 
The trip would not have been such fun if it weren`t for our tour guide, Bowling! Together, Bowling and I made up the male contingent of the tour. The remaining ten members of the crew were all women. I now have 10...
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Thailand, Koh Prah Tong, Chiang Mai, Bangkok, The Norhern Thailand Experience
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 30th Oct 2012 08:40

I`m in a hotel room in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand.
I`m sitting on a comfortable double bed; air con on full blast, stomach full with delicious Thai food, sipping on an ice cold coke…
This wouldn`t all feel so good if I hadn`t just experienced the incredible four days that I have. The simplest comforts feel like gold right now.
Our tour group was taken on 3 day tour of the surrounding mountainous regions of Chiang Mai.
Each one...
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Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand, Mae Sariang
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 6th Oct 2012 05:57
Teaching English abroad has been the greatest way of immersing myself in local culture and practices. I`ve lived in a Thai style apartment with a cold shower, bucket flush toilet and had a mat-style picnic blanket as a bed. I haven`t had a movie cinema or McDonalds to go to. Instead, I have had the time to learn a new language, fish, talk to strangers in broken thai/english and enjoy the small joys of living in a Thai farming community. This lifestyle has been more fullfilling than any other I have experienced.It`s taken me three months of living and working in Bang Luang to reach the point where I can say I got into my groove. It`s a s...
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Teaching English, Thailand, Bang Luang, Mc Donalds,
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 10th Sep 2012 04:35
The day I moved into Bang Luang I turfed out my alarm clock. The chants from the temple opposite my home would wake me up precisely on time.
I stumble out of bed at about 6:00am, flick the switch on my budget style `Tesco Lotus` kettle, and take a cold shower. By the time my shower is over, I find the kettle has boiled and our cat, Terry the Terrorist, has turned my room into more of a mess than it already was.

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Teaching, English, Bang Luang, Thailand
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 26th Aug 2012 04:29
 
Travel is a common aspiration of many. Why is this? Why do people feel the desire to see new places and experience new things? I often ask myself these questions.   
For some, the aspiration might be driven by the desire to see a place they have been dreaming about, for others it’s to get away from a situation and gain a new life experience. 
For whatever reason one travels, a common dominator is that travel results in change.
It takes you out of your comfort zone. It puts...
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Travel, Change,
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 13th Aug 2012 15:40

The Islands, Beaches and Weather - What`s a trip to Thailand without visiting one of the many islands? Whether you want to head down south and take time out on Koh Sumui, Koh Tao or Koh Phangan, or take the short trip from Bangkok to Koh Samed, Thailand`s islands offer that instant feeling of "I`m on holiday". The beaches are spectacular and the weather is always warm - you can`t go wrong!


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Koh Sumui, Koh Tao, Thailand, Bangkok, Koh Samed
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 7th Aug 2012 09:33

When one thinks of teaching English in Thailand the thought of working in small town seldom crosses your mind. When I arrived in Bangkok, three months ago, I had the idea that I would be working somewhere down south on an Island, sipping Mojito`s on the beach after a long day of work.

When I finished my TESOL course I was offered a placement in the small district of Bang Len, in the Nakhon Pathom Province of ...
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Bang Len, Teaching English, TESOL, STA Travel
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 18th Jul 2012 15:58
 
I am living in the small district of Bang Len. Here are the statistics: three 7/11s, two petrol stations, a post office, one road side bar, one DVD store, numerous all you can buy mini marts (most of them specialising in chicken eggs), an Isuzu dealership, two hair dressers and a night market. In total there are three foreigners in Bang Len; my flat mate and I being two of them. The other foreigner in the area is Frank. Frank is a retired IT specialist from the UK who has decided to spend his days teaching English in the surrounding areas of Bang Len. 

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Bang Len, English, TESOL, Thailand,
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 9th Jul 2012 10:08
 
A first date, a final exam, a tense game of rugby, that phone call you don`t want to answer…they all give you butterflies in your stomach. The moment I stood in front of a Thai class for the first time brought on the same churning feeling.
It`s a feeling that can only be cured by the smile and laughter of a Thai learner as you start your first ever lesson as a teacher.

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TESOL, Bang Len, Hua Hin, Thailand, Teaching English
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 25th Jun 2012 04:44
Warm weather, beach soccer, tubing, rim-flow pools, night markets with delicious food, the freedom and safety of walking the back streets of Hua Hin without a worry in the world, the intrigue of learning a new language and discovering the Thai culture, reminders of home in the form of the occasional braai and weekend rugby games - Thailand has given an awesome mix of new and the occasional hint of the familiar. 
The one-month TESOL course that I have been taking part i...
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Thailand, Hua Hin, TESOL, Sushi, Teaching English
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 14th Jun 2012 10:20
Bags packed, passport in hand, online check-in complete - You can`t beat the excitement of heading to a new place! 
As I headed through the London Underground bound for Heathrow Terminal 4, a warm smile came to my face as I began reading Lonely Planets guide to Thailand. Eastern Adventures can`t possibly be short of any excitement!
I`ve traded ...
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Bangkok, Chilli Adventures, TESOL, Chang, Carslberg, Thailand
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 31st May 2012 16:53

Choosing to go on tour with a company that has been in operation for 50 years inspires a lot of confidence in one`s decision. Contiki has a great reputation and a wealth of experience behind them. Knowing this, I went into my first ever Contiki tour with high expectations. 
After visiting 12 countries with 25 great new friends I can safely say that my experience with Contiki lived up to my expectations! 
...
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Contiki, Paris, Pamplona, Pompeii, Barcelona
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 21st May 2012 09:39
 
 
The Easy Rider is one of few Contiki tours that spend a solid four days on the Greek island of Corfu. 
An immaculate coastline, rocky beaches, warm waters, friendly people, great food and entertaining nightlife - Corfu has it all. It comes as no surprise that our time in Corfu is said to be the vacation within our vacation. 
The best part about our time in Corfu is...
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Corfu, Georges Boat, Contiki
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 10th May 2012 08:47
Flicking through old photographs is a great way to remember awesome times and places visited whilst traveling. The past ten days of my Contiki tour have resulted in my hard drive taking massive strain - not a single day has gone past where I am not in absolute awe of each and every destination.
As an aspiring photographer I have had my work cut out for me. It`s been an awesome line up: Paris, Bordeaux, Pamplona, Barcelona, Nice, Florence and Rome…and to top it off, the tour is not even at ...
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Contiki, STA Travel, Paris, Pamplona, Barcelona, Nice, Florence, Rosme
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 28th Apr 2012 18:02
 
It`s a household name that shouts `good times, late nights, and city by city mayhem`. I`ve heard it leaves you with the worst case of the travel bug around - I can`t wait to get bitten! But what is it actually all about? 
That is what I was most excited for when I signed up for a 32-day tour called the Easy Rider. I wanted to experience first hand; the people, the guides, the modes of transport, and what kind of madness actually happens on tour. 
The Easy Rider is a camping trip that spans 17 cities across 12 different countries. If the first few days in Paris are anything to go by, it is going to be a month that I ...
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Contiki, Easy Rider, Western Europe,
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 18th Apr 2012 00:28


I arrived at Heathrow Airport at roughly 8am on Thursday the 12th of April. Rushing through the morning masses on the London Underground was a pretty good wake up call. I reached Hammersmith station in no time and boarded the 220 bus bound for Wandsworth. (gotta love the British names!) I hopped off at Harbord street and rang what I hoped was the right bell. Jackpot - I was greeted by my cousin Ali and her nine month old miniature schnauzer. I am staying with my cousin Ali and her daughters Emily and Ella for the two weeks that I am in London. It sure is great to be spending time with family - it`s a great break from hostel living. 
...
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London, Heathrow, Spitalfields Market, Brick Lane
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 20th Mar 2012 13:39
Waterfalls, Drug Smugglers and a Tropical Island 
Iguassu Falls is undeniably one of the most breathtaking wonders of the world. As hard as one tries to capture what you see in a photograph it will never be able to represent the experience of being there. There are 275 falls across 2.7km of plateau with an average waterfall height of 70m, resulting in 62, 000 cubic feet of water falling every second. The noise is deafening and the spray of water is exhilerating. The fa...
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Paraty, Iguassu Falls, South America
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 7th Mar 2012 04:50
Twenty-two hours in a bus sounds daunting…the thought of spending nearly an entire day of your life crammed into one seat is not the greatest prospect. Fortunately for our tour group, a $25 upgrade landed us in the comfort zone; fully reclining seats, two onboard meals, a good selection of movies and whiskey served just before bedtime. Before we knew it we had covered the 1400km between Bariloche and Buenos Aires. Big ups to the South American bus system once again. 
Buenos Aires is a massive city wit...
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Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Colonia
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 28th Feb 2012 03:31
 
River rafting, paragliding, a volcano hike, hydrospeed, hot springs, mountain biking, canopy cable gliding, 4x4ing…that was the list of optional activities presented to us upon arriving in Pucón. Oh, the choices!
Since we are traveling as a relatively small group we decided it would be best to choose three activities to do together. Looking back on the discussion of which activities to chose brings a massive smile to my f...
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Pucon, Villarrica
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 20th Feb 2012 07:35

A big part of traveling is flying and the experiences that come with the process. Everyone has their own `long and awful` flight story that they love to tell. Four flights, thirty-six hours and a four am arrival have given me the right to tell mine. It is hard to describe the feelings one has when arriving in South America, on your own, with a massive bag and only an address written on a piece of paper. Lets just say I was dazed, confused and in major need of a bed. On top of that, trying to understand the Chilean currency, communicate with a less than basic understanding of the Span...
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STA Travel, The Great South American Journey,
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 5th Feb 2012 22:50
After leaving Austin, Texas bright and early on the 28th of January we drove through five hundred miles of what I like to call Texan repetition. It is the kind of scenery that numbs your brain. Odd sparks of visual pleasure come from the occasional oil pump or road sign but other than that it is pretty much a brain dead drive. Seven hours later and we rocked up in Carlsbad, New Mexico. I wasn`t sure what to expect in Carlsbad. Upon arriving the strangest sense of excitement came over my body as I realised there was no cellphone reception, wifi or Mc Donalds…only open land and breat...
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Monument Valley, The Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, Suntrek
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 30th Jan 2012 07:28
 
I had become very accustomed to the lifestyle, culture, sounds, weather, accents, pace and state of mind in the cosmopolitan areas of the east coast. Two days down the line, a few hundred miles later and I felt like I was in a new country. Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans and Austin popped up and ticked all the right boxes. 
The South takes you in like a carefree godmother. She cooks you pork ribs and re-fried beans, tells you naughty stories, plays you t...
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Austin, Memphis, New Orleans, Nashville
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 22nd Jan 2012 04:58
This morning I set off bright and early on a coast-to-coast tour of the States, an obvious highlight of my year! After having an action packed time in New York City I ended up only hitting the sack at about 4am. After 3 hours sleep I woke up and met the crew of travelers that I will be touring with for the next 3 weeks. Our team consists of myself, Georgia, Choi and Kelly. Georgia is from a small town just outside of London. Choi is from Seoul in South Korea and Kelly is the Intrepid Tour guide who dons the status of be...
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Intrepid Tours
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 22nd Jan 2012 04:17

After two nights in Brooklyn I packed up my bags and cruised towards Manhattan in search of brighter lights. A friend Christoff and I checked-in at one of the most impressive hostels I have stayed at thus far - Hosteling International NYC. Here we enjoyed great facilities and activities including a fully equipped kitchen, cinema, pool tables, numerous chill out areas, free pub crawls and hilarious comedy shows. It was a great feeling walking around the hostel and hearing different languages being spoken in each corner of the room. The most social and festive place at the hostel was d...
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New York City, STA Travel, Urban Adventures
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 22nd Jan 2012 03:49

A very kind friend of mine let me stay in his apartment in Brooklyn, New York. It is just me here for the weekend...I am so glad to have some time and space to myself as I attempt to take on New York City. She seems like a real beast.
Today I was overwhelmed by the fast paced nature of the people and amount of over-population. From a psychological perspective it is rather interesting...One could write an interesting paper about what big city living like this does to ones brain! 

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New York City
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 15th Jan 2012 22:34


After arriving in Washington not so long ago it felt like the end was not even in sight. A fast paced two months later I found myself sitting at a bus stop about to depart for New York City with all my possessions in 75L backpack and stacks of great memories fresh in my mind.
As a student, the Winter Work Travel program that Chilli Adventures offers has been a great way to experience the USA. Flights, accommodation, visas, and job placement all secured through one program, allowing you the freedom to focus on the good times.
For two months I have had it all; a fully furnished apartment in ...
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Road-trip USA, Chilli Adventures
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 28th Dec 2011 05:41
Christmas has come and gone and one wishes that the rush would die down. People in Washington seem to be in a constant holiday rush that is characterised by an ‘I want it all, and I want it now’ buzz.Back in South Africa we usually spend boxing day lounging around the house enjoying left over Christmas ham but I guess over here people are more concerned about Boxing Day savings specials and return policies on recently acquired gifts.

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Redskins, Fedex Field, ICE, Pentagon City, D.C., Christmas
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 23rd Dec 2011 07:56
 
It has been a while since I have put my thoughts down in words. I have fallen in love with photography and videography; the 550D that STA Travel has generously supplied me with has been a major contributing factor. It is definitely time for a good old blog post.
I have had a rather eventful couple of weeks. There is a great variety of things to do in Washington D.C. The key is to do something new every day-off from work and most importantly meet the locals! As with any travel experience...
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Washington DC, Chilli Adventures, STA Travel, Police Patrol
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 7th Dec 2011 04:06

One seldom finds a city that is not fused with Eastern Culture in one way or another...D.C. is no different. The other night I caught the metro out to Chinatown to meet up with some new friends.

Chinatown is a visually pleasing experience that is characterised by beautiful archways, unique restaurants, a quaint night market and the out-of-place sound of a live country and western cover bands.

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National Gallery, D.C. China Town
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 2nd Dec 2011 08:43
One of the real gems in D.C. is the National Harbor upon which the Gaylord National is situated. Its a great place to work and awesome to explore after hours...Especially when cruising in a V8 Mustang!
Take a look at the American muscle, bright lights, mythical creatures and the GIANT Christmas tree!
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Gaylord National, National Harbor
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 30th Nov 2011 05:45
For the sake of brevity I will cut right to the chase, put the numbers down and let you imagine for yourself the time that is being had in the small city of Arlington just outside the nations capital, Washington D.C. Over one hundred South African students, sharing apartments in the same complex, working at the same hotel, at the same time...Its a recipe for...well you tell me?
After much hard work and preparation Chilli Adventures have successfully placed 120 South African students at the Gaylord National Hotel. The hours and stress involved with visa a...
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USA, STA Travel, Arlington, Washington DC,Student Travel, ICE, Gaylord National, World Explorer
Posted By: Liam Kelly on 28th Nov 2011 10:19
So I’ve been in the US for less than 4 hours and I have already spotted some vital signs of US territory...some expected, some not!
Below are the top 5 reasons you will know you are in the States when you arrive:
1.     The ‘bakkies’…they really are trucks!2.     There are American flags everywhere!
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Washington, USA