6 Things to Consider When Buying Your First Backpack

When it comes to travelling for the first time, other than maybe buying a plane ticket I reckon there’s nothing that tells you that you’re really ‘doing it’ more than going into the store and buying your backpack. Striding up to the counter, credit card in hand and a big smile on your face, proudly telling the poor shop assistant exactly what it is that you plan to do with your new purchase. “Oh, I’ll be carrying this for six months around Europe”, you happen to slip into the conversation. “I hope this is big enough to fit in everything I need for my round the world trip”, you proudly proclaim.

As with all important purchases, however, it’s vital to pick the right option. Especially when that option is going to be sitting on your back with all of your possessions in it for the next several weeks, months or years. Getting it wrong will almost certainly result in frustration and unnecessary expense, limit your options and probably provide you with a visit to the chiropractor to boot. Here’s a few pointers that I’ve come up with over the years that I wish I’d known when hitting the travel stores for the first time.

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Catlins Scenery

The Friday Photo #1 – Catlins, New Zealand

March 26, 2010 | The Friday Photo, Travel | 1 Comment

Welcome to a new regular feature, the Friday photo. Every week I’ll feature a photo from somewhere in the world, usually taken by me but sometimes by other travellers.

The photo this week is one that I took many years ago while travelling around the Catlins area at the bottom of the South Island of New Zealand.

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Airport departures board

Why do I do it?

March 23, 2010 | Article, Travel | 11 Comments

As I sit here in the departure lounge at Melbourne airport quietly downing a beer and contemplating yet another international flight, it seems like a good time to ponder the question that ultimately occurs to every long term traveller. Why do I do it? Why have I spent the last 12+ years in an endless procession of new cities, languages, homes, jobs and friends? When the people that I went to school with all seem to be buying houses, having kids and financing their next SUV, why am I not? Why is it that my friends and colleagues are busy planning for their retirement while I’m busy planning for another round the world trip? What has driven me to live my life like this so far, and what drives me to keep doing it?

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Sailing the Med – yachting holidays in the Ionian

March 9, 2010 | Greek Islands, Travel | 0 Comments

Long lazy days sailing around the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean with the sun on your back and the wind in your hair. Tying up each night in small fishing villages and chatting to the locals, sampling seafood that was caught only a few hours ago and washing it down with a few ice cold beers before being rocked to sleep by the gentle motion of the waves. Sounds like a dream, right? Something attainable only by the rich and famous? Well, it’s not! Gather a few mates together and prepare for the holiday of a lifetime…

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Tour group

Safety in Numbers: The Pros and Cons of Organised Tours

March 4, 2010 | Advice, Article, Travel | 6 Comments

If you’re looking to start a good argument in any hostel bar, discussing the pros and cons of organised group tours would be a great place to start. Some people love them, some people hate them and nearly every traveller seems to have an opinion on them.

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Article published: Roadtrip Tasmania

February 15, 2010 | Australia, Travel | 0 Comments

I’ve had another article published by Craig and Linda at – this time it’s all about roadtrippin’ round Tasmania. From the beautiful Cataract Gorge in Launceston, via the cosmopolitan delights of Hobart and history of Port Arthur to the beaches, forests and peaks of the east coast and Cradle Mountain, there’s something for everyone on this little island. Take your own car over on the ferry or hire one once you get there, and enjoy a fantastic roadtrip.

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Feet and ferries

February 9, 2010 | Australia, Travel | 4 Comments

Up and out early (I really didn’t want to spend any longer than necessary in the hostel) and on my way to Cradle Mountain. I knew this was apparently one of the ‘must see’ areas of Tasmania and it seemed a fitting way to spend my last full day here. As a result I was expecting some stunning scenery – what I wasn’t expecting was the stunning weather to go with it. It’s fair to say that this part of the state has a reputation for appalling conditions at times, but there were no sign of them while I was there. Blue skies, hot sunshine and gorgeous views – very much a recipe for success in my book.

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What a difference a day makes

February 8, 2010 | Australia, Travel | 1 Comment

The morning dawned bright and clear (unlike my head) and within minutes of leaving town I could see why the Bay of Fires was such a renowned spot. With the sun shining the place took on an entirely new perspective and I began to wonder what it would take to be able to have a holiday home in the area. A lottery win, probably. In any case I soon arrived at Binalong Bay, at the southern end of the Bay of Fires, and it was just stunning. In a wide sweep as far as the eye could see, the dazzling white sand and crashing aqua waves were a sure recipe to relax the soul (and reduce the hangover), and I spent over an hour wandering along the beach.

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