MILES COVERS MILES
I'm a world traveller and I guess now I'm a blogger too.
I'm an Aussie, and a solo world traveller. I like skydiving, thrills, adventure... All the fun stuff that makes your heart race. I hate pickles and being stuck in one place for too long. The decision to pack up my things and travel the world was the best decision I've ever made. I don't think I'll ever want to go home.
TANYA & PICKLES
She made me do this.
I was raiding the communal fridge in the hostel I was temporarily calling home, in Lima, Peru. I was starving, it was 3am, and there were no eateries open in close distance.
Aside from slowly dying of starvation, I was also disappointed to find that almost EVERYONE had clearly labeled his or her food. I rolled my eyes as I saw assorted names and ‘DO NOT TOUCH’ warnings spread throughout the fridge. This was the fall out from yesterday’s fridge incident.
My empty stomach made very loud, very strange noises as I pushed the numerous containers and food items around the fridge, searching for something that wasn’t labeled. Surely someone forgot to label their goodies!
I was a little weary, 'cause last time I stole someone’s food from this exact fridge, I was caught. (That was the fridge incident, if you hadn’t already put two and two together...) I wasn’t too keen on having it happen again. I know I should’ve bought something for myself when I was in the town, but I’m simply not that organised.
I heard footsteps coming my way - quick, act natural! I encouraged myself.
“You hungry or something?” A voice called.
I froze immediately, my hand was awkwardly hovering over a jar of pickles that didn't belong to me. This strangers voice felt so familiar, my mind raced as I tried to figure it out. Don't you hate that? That moment where your mind is running a hundred miles an hour trying to figure out something? I sure do.
"Hey, I asked you a question…” The voice continued.
I turned around, slowly, so I could look at the woman who was standing just metres behind me in the kitchen, rudely demanding my attention. My eyes landed on her, and I realised instantly why her voice was so familiar. There’s simply no mistaking her wild, curly, brunette hair.
“Miles!” She shouted my name, before dropping her empty water bottle to the ground and running towards me. She jumped into my outstretched arms, and I hugged her back.
“What are you doing here?” I asked her. Or at least, I attempted to ask: my voice was a little muffled, I was being smothered with a mouthful of Tanya’s hair. Why does she always smell like peaches? I wondered.
I had met Tanya a month or so earlier, when I was in Argentina. We met in a small bar in downtown Buenos Aires.
The first thing we noticed about each other was that we were both Australian... An Aussie can spot another Aussie from a mile away. I’ve learnt that since setting off to travel the world.
After a few minutes talking, Tanya and I realised that we came from the same suburb, back home in Australia. We’d probably crossed paths a hundred times in our lives. Probably caught the same bus, went to the same screening at the local cinema and shopped in the same grocery store. We spent a week and a half travelling together before parting ways. Now here we were, again. It’s weird how the world works.
“I checked in today. I told you I was coming to Peru next! Do you remember anything?” She laughed, as she recovered her bottle from the kitchen floor.
“Oh yea, ya did too,” I replied, as I recalled the conversation. I was a little intoxicated when that conversation took place, perhaps thats why I’d partly forgotten. I usually don’t drink much at all, but Tanya convinced me.
“You aren’t supposed to be here though,” she pointed out.
“Yea, change in plans,” I told her.
She ignored my comment and launched straight into harassing me. “So, did you do what I told you?” Her voice turned serious.
“I don’t know if I can,” I admitted. Internally I groaned, I wanted to do it, but I felt like something was holding me back.
“Miles you have to do it! Please Miles, please!”
She was talking about blogging BTW. She wanted me to start up a travel blog. One night, when we were staying together, back in Argentina, she had a sneaky read of my travel diary. She hasn’t stopped harassing me since.
“Yeah but I don’t know where to start,” I told her, as I unscrewed the lid from the pickle jar and fished around for the largest pickle. I don’t even like pickles. Gross.
“Find a blogging platform, post what you’ve written so far in your travel diary, use lots of hash-tags.” She suggested.
I looked at Tanya blankly. I couldn't really speak, 'cause my mouth was full of pickle and my mind was full of regret. How can anyone enjoy pickles? I thought to myself. Pickles have gotta be one of the worst foods available. I think you're mad if you like pickles.
I forced myself to swallow. "What would I call it?" I asked her, I was fresh out of ideas, and I knew Tanya would already have it planned out.
“MilesCoversMiles,” Tanya winked at me.
“Hmmm 'kay,” I laughed, I was right. This girl was so keen for me to start up a blog she’d basically done all the work for me. “I’ll do it.”
"Okay good," she winked at me.
Yea, Tanya finally got her way... Mostly because I was sick of her harassing me to share my travel journal on this thing called the internet. I was super hesitant. I mean, who would want to read some random stories from a random guy about his random travels? Tanya seems to think people would. I'm still not so sure.
I'll be honest. I'm not gonna be the best person to come to for travel advice. I'm not gonna be posting in-depth blogs with all the traveller tips you might expect from a solo-world travellers website. I'm just gonna tell my stories, exactly how I would if I were telling you face-to-face. It’s gonna be plain and simple. If you're here for fantastic, informative recounts of locations; you'll be disappointed. But, if you're here to read some strangers travel diary, you'll be happy with the content.
Most importantly, remember this: I'm not a professional. So you'd better get used to the high possibility of spelling errors, grammatically incorrect sentences and bad punctuation.
My favourite place ever.
I’m not a planner. I don’t know even know what I am going to do after lunch, so I rarely plan anything ahead. I turned up in Bolivia, with no idea where I was going to go, or what I was going to see. I just make it up as I go along. It’s the best way to travel… I think?
I almost always stay in hostels, because it’s cheap and easy. It’s a good way to meet people too, which is one of the best parts about travelling. People are interesting creatures; I once met a guy who would collect his boogers in a sample jar. But... that’s another story entirely.
Anyway, I was sitting at the breakfast bar, when I realised that the bunch of blokes who were sitting around me had been planning a 4WD trip and had one space left. I put my hand up and offered, (or asked; whichever way you wanna put it), to go with them. I had nothing else planned, so why not?
Forty minutes later I was bouncing around in the back of a 4WD, hitting my head on the roof, looking out the window in awe, wondering where I was going with a bunch of guys whose names I’d already forgotten. Thankfully, one of the blokes filled me in on the way.
Salar de Uyuni, that’s what it’s called. The largest Salt Flat in the ENTIRE WORLD. Apparently, millions of years ago before we humans were a ‘thing’ there was a huge salt lake covering the terrain, and it dried up. Now its one of the best places in the world to visit. I guess I kind of hit a stroke of luck by choosing to have breakfast at the same time as these chaps, because now I was heading towards one of Bolivia’s best tourist attractions. I would never have seen this if I hadn’t chosen to have breakfast at that time, cause I’ll be honest, clueless me didn’t even know this salt flat existed.
Anyway, we got there, and I was glad it was the wet season. The tour guide, who didn’t tell us much about the area (that’s what happens when you pick a dodgy company) did tell us that if it’s the dry season, you don’t get to see the glistening reflection like we did.
I thought long and hard about how to describe it, but I realised that there isn’t much more to say, other than that it was like the ground was a mirror. It was like a giant mirror. When I looked down towards the salt and water covered ground, I could see the clouds and the sky. It was a perfect reflection.
I can’t even describe how perfectly this image was mirrored. Just go there and see it for yourself, please. I promise you, I am not joking when I say that I’ve seen a lot. I’ve spent three years on the road travelling solo. I’ve been to over 30 countries so far. But I have never, ever seen anything like this!
I’d tell you more, or upload some photos, but my flight just got called, and I'm a bad travel blogger.
Top Tip 1:
You probably shouldn’t get into a 4WD and go to an unknown place with people you don’t know. It could end badly. You could die.
Top Tip 2:
Go to the Salt Flats, now. It's worth it.
Cheers for reading, and cheers for the website hits, its funding this travel adventure of mine.
I nearly froze, not kidding.
I'm always unprepared. With just ten minutes to grab what I needed and get to the bus that was impatiently waiting for me. I didn’t take enough snow gear, and I knew immediately after seeing how rugged up all the other people were on that bus, that I was going to be cold. Bloody freezing cold.
I had a pretty good beanie, thankfully. And I'd recently decided that I no longer needed to cut my hair, so it was now around shoulder length, which helped to keep the back of my neck warm. I had a pair of gloves, but they weren’t too thick. I could still use the touch screen on my smartphone, which according to the German lass I was sitting with, means my gloves aren’t thick enough. Oh well. Thankfully I had the right shoes on, and the right type of snow pants and jacket, but I still knew it wouldn’t be enough.
The bus was heading to Perito Moreno Glacier, in the Los Glaciares National Park, near the small town of El Calafate, Argentina. Usually, I don’t plan ahead, but I planned this tour after speaking with a Canadian guy in the airport in Brazil, he said it was a must see.
He was 100% correct.
After the bus ride, we had to board a boat. I made better friends with the German girl from the bus, and a very tall girl from the Netherlands. She was as tall as me, which makes her very, very tall.
As the boat chugged along, taking us to the glacier, practical joker Miles came out to play.
“Look! A seal!” I called, and pointed outside the window of the boat, where a huge chunk of ice was floating past.
The tourists turned their heads quickly, only to see that chunk of ice floating by, and no seal in sight. I laughed at them all. A few rolled their eyes and continued taking photographs as we approached the glacier.
“Look! A whale!” I called and pointed, once more, outside the boat. No one looked this time; they just ignored me. No sense of humour these tourists, no sense of humour…
Finally, we were ready to get off the boat. I rushed ahead, because I like to be first. The German lass and the tall girl followed me quickly, it seemed I had made some friends that were prepared to stick around for the duration of the trip. Maybe they liked my jokes?
Joke was on me this time. I moved too quickly, ignoring the sign that encouraged slow walking. I jogged up the side of the wet rocks towards the top of the hill, where we would begin the walk to the glacier. I slipped, fell backwards on my ass, and sat for a moment whilst the tourists laughed at me. Ha ha ha.
Fast forward a little, and we were on the wooden walkway heading towards the glacier, I was in the lead, with Miss long-legs close second, and the other lass third. We moved fast, keen to get there and begin the true hike. Then we heard this loud, echoing noise; it sounded like thunder. We all stopped in our tracks, listening eagerly to find the source of the noise. It wasn’t a storm, it was a piece of the glacier ice breaking away from the edge and crashing down into the water. The three of us exchanged excited glances and moved a little faster, in hope that the next time it happened we would see the whole thing.
I was surprised to find that the base of the glacier was made up of mostly sludge. Our feet sank into the ground as we walked through the sludge with our crampons attached to our feet. Ten minutes later, our feet covered in mud, we found ourselves standing on ice. We were on the glacier! It was finally happening!
What do you think happened next?
It absolutely poured rain.
It always happens to me. Within seconds I was cold to the core. I started shaking; I couldn’t wait for everyone to get there so we could keep moving again. It was the coldest I have ever been.
Aside from the rain and the cold, the glacier trek was amazing, what an experience! I moved as quickly as possible behind the instructor, with my big ears wide open so I could listen to all he had to say. This guy was an expert at finding where to place your feet. Moments after he finished telling me that if you put one foot wrong, you will end up falling into a crevice, he held his arms out to stop me moving forward and quickly began moving the group in the opposite direction. I hate to think how cold I would’ve been if he didn’t notice the weakness in the ice. I probably wouldn’t have been here writing this blog right now.
Best part of the trek? I can’t decide if it was:
1. Drinking fancy whisky on the rocks whilst standing on the top of the only glacier in the world that isn’t receding. I mean, I don't even like whisky, but it was cool.
2. Hanging on to the instructor for dear life whilst I bent forward to look down a hundred meter deep crevice filled with water. It could've swallowed me instantly, and there would have been no more Miles. Too bad, so sad.
3. Hearing the sound of the ice breaking away from the glacier as it smashed into the water below. Tricky stuff, not to be confused with a thunderstorm.
The colours were magnificent, the views were sensational, and I promise you, if you go to Perito Moreno Glacier, and go for a trek, you wont be disappointed.
Paris is meh & people are weird.
Why does everyone love Paris so much? I honestly don't understand.. It's been three years since I became a frequent flyer. I've been flying solo, travelling all over the world. I haven't been home since I first left for London, and I have no plans of going home just yet. I've been here, I've been there. I've been to numerous countries, and have enjoyed some once in a lifetime experiences.
Paris was one of those once in a lifetime experiences. I say once in a lifetime, because I will never, ever go back.
Because it's not what I expected.
I won't even bother going into detail about it, because I don't want to deter all you wanderlust travellers from seeing it for yourselves. If you wanna go, go. But you won't ever catch me strongly encouraging it.
If you're still reading this because ya wanna know why I hated Paris so much, you'll soon be disappointed. I have no interest in droning on and on about something that will probably just make you all think I'm hard to please. Which I'm not, BTW.
Instead, I wanna tell you about something that I've found to be one of the best things about travel; people.
Ever since I mentioned the man who collected his boogers in a sample jar, people are forever asking me about the types of weirdos I've met. So I'm going to turn this complaint about Paris into a low-down on some of the weirdest and wackiest people I've had the pleasure of knowing.
First up we have Josef. I met Josef when I was trekking through India last year.
When we met, instead of reaching out to shake my hand, he kissed my cheek.
Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not a homophobe. This is fine. I have experienced some customs such as this in my travels, this isn't an issue. What made this weird was the height difference between Josef and I. Those of you who have met me have all been epically surprised at how tall I am. I tower over most people. It's annoying. I'm tall. Really tall. Josef is short. Really short. So when I held out my hand for Josef to shake, I was SHOCKED, STUNNED, CONFUSED, GOBSMACKED, when he basically jumped into my arms to kiss me on my cheek. Shaken and taken back, I let that go. We moved on, the past is the past.
Everything is going fine and later on, it's bed time. Josef and I are roomies. I didn't get much sleep.
Why? Well two reasons. Firstly, because I had to sleep on the top bunk because Josef is afraid of heights, and that meant I couldn't sit up in bed and I barely fit on the mattress. (Oh the joys of being tall... not). Secondly, because Josef is a whistler.
Serious question: Have you ever met someone who whistles in their sleep? No? Lucky you. I have. Good ol' Josef was a snore-whistler. All night long. Like ALL NIGHT LONG. I swear at three in the morning he started whistling the theme song from Australian soap drama Home and Away. It was almost funny. Except I was tired.
Next up, Cheese girl. Now she was strange, awesome chick, but hella strange. Her name was Brie like the cheese. She also only ever ate cheese. Not kidding.
We were in New Zealand together, she was staying in the same hostel as I was, and she seemed to have booked all the same tours as me. Basically, we spent a lot of time together. Over the span of a week I didn't see her eating anything that wasn't a type of cheese.
Sitting in the communal lounge room, she's munching on shredded cheese.
Dinner every night; Brie is having cheese!
Going out for desert with the tour group, most people ordered ice-cream, brownies, or cake. Not Brie, she had a cheese fondue. (It was pretty good actually, I'd never had one before but I would 100% have one again).
We went on a day trip, guess what Brie had for lunch? A block of cheese. An entire block. You know how you go to the supermarket and you buy a mega block of cheese because it's cheaper and easier? Well she had done that. A block. Smh. Even though she said the whole block should last her for a fair few lunches, she generously shared some with me. It was lovely of her...
Cheese girl will forever hold a place in my heart. I wonder if she's always constipated? I don't think I ever saw her near the toilets, maybe she just didn't go because she couldn't go? I should've asked.
Last but not least, the man you're always asking me about... Mr Bogey man.
So his real name was (is) David. David was a very normal man (at least I thought he was). I met him in London, which was my first stop on my world wide adventure. He was a pretty cool dude, we travelled through London and the UK together with a bunch of other 'lads' for at least 3 months before we parted ways.
Our friendship ended badly. Like a wife who had decided to leave her cheating husband, I ran into the night. I just packed my bags and bailed. Why? Because I realised what David had been doing, and I was totally weirded out by this.
David (Mr Bogey Man) was collecting his boogers. I often would find him hiding awkwardly in the corner or hiding under his bed covers. I always thought maybe he liked his space and privacy. That was, until he left his sample jar in the bathroom. It was labelled "David", and it was full of boogers. When I say full I don't mean there was one or two boogers in a jar. I mean it was FULL. Overflowing. Brimming. There had to be at least a years worth of boogers in this jar. I didn't stick around to ask questions, though I kinda wish I did, for my curiosity has never eased, and probably never will.
So, there you have it. I didn't like Paris, and lots of people are weird. I'm no exception. I reckon that somewhere out there, an old travel buddy is writing a blog about me, and how weird I was (am).
Oh well, thats my karma.
People on planes are like monsters from your nightmares
One of the WORST parts about being a seasoned traveller is having to catch planes pretty much everywhere... People on planes are like monsters from your nightmares. People on planes would have to be the most annoying people on earth.
I've been on a lot of planes. So I've experienced a lot of annoying people. I don't like to complain, but I'm in a bad mood because my flight was delayed and now I'm stuck in the airport in Germany and there's lots of annoying people in this waiting area... So here's a list of the types of annoying people I've encountered on planes:
People who are always farting
I like to fart. I think most guys do. But what I don't like, is people farting all over the plane.
Once, there was this guy who walked up and down the isles farting everywhere. It was rank. Totally rank. (Rank means disgusting if you didn't already know...) I swear this guy thought it was hilarious. He seemed to always be smiling as he wandered through the isles whilst innocent people were trying to watch their movies or nap. He would let a fart slip, wait for the smell to linger, and then wander off, with a smile on his face. I had to leave my seat at one point, because he dropped such a potent fart right next to my seat. Horrible.
Don't be one of those people who farts on others whilst on the plane. Save the innocent travellers from having to smell your gasses. Take the fart to the bathroom and let it pollute your own nose.
People who do burps that smell
Farts aren't the only thing that drive me crazy when I'm cooped up on a plane. I also don't like burps. Especially when everyone's just eaten their terrible plane dinner. Plane dinner burps smell terrible. No more needs to be said.
People who recline their chairs back when you're trying to eat
I'm a tall bloke, so I understand the need to recline your chair for extra comfort on a long flight. What I don't understand however, is why people think reclining their chair when I'm trying to eat is a good idea. I once ended up with orange juice all over me because the teenage girl in front reclined her chair so forcefully that it sent my innocent juice flying into my lap.
I pointed out to her that she had just sent orange juice all over me and the bloke next to me. Her response was 'Oh well'.
Bloody teenagers. I was livid, and wet from the orange juice.
People who chew very loudly
This is something that is annoying everywhere, not just on planes.
People who chew loudly sound like cows eating grass. It is a horrible, haunting sound. It is really one of the worst sounds to have to listen to whilst cooped into a tight space.
On my last plane trip I was seated next to a woman who would've been in her mid 40's. It was a short, internal flight, thank goodness, so there was no in flight meal. But this lady had packed a few items. She chewed like a cow the entire trip. She also kept her mouth open for the most part. She was a loud, open mouthed chewer. If I looked across to her, which I did a few times, mostly because I was so shocked someone could chew so loudly, I was able to see everything inside her mouth. Every bit of her saliva coated muesli bar was visible, it was gross.
People who don't use headphones when listening to music
I listen to music or audio books when I am travelling, it does help to block out the sounds of annoying people doing annoying things. But some people love music so much, they think it's great to share it.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Headphones exist for a reason people!!!
Hey, twelvie? Did you know, I don't want to listen to your Taylor Swift album? Now you do. Just like I'm sure that you don't want to listen to my audio book of The Kite Runner.
Be a saint, use your headphones.
Couples who are keen to join the mile high club
Maybe I'm a bit of a hater because I'm still yet to join the mile high club, but please, please, please, do not be one of those annoying, frankly rather gross couples, who walk down the isle of the plane hand in hand, giggling and carrying on as you head towards the toilet.
You cannot fit in there together. One person can hardly fit into a plane toilet cubicle, let alone two. How the hell do you think you are going to be able to manage to sneak in some sexy-time whilst you're cramped in there?
Anyway, thats enough cranky complaints from me.
Now I'm in a bad mood before I have to fly, maybe this blog wasn't such a good idea.... Oh well, at least I've warned you all that people on planes are the most annoying people on earth.