JATW Monthly Recap: February 2016

Well the shortest month of the year has come and gone…

At least this was the lucky year we had a leap day.  Does anyone else think that should be a public holiday?  I mean c’mon, February 29th only happens once every four years, and I spent the majority of it inside an office.  I don’t know why, I just feel like it should be considered a bit more special, haha.

BUT anyways, it’s honestly crazy how fast time goes when you are working full-time– especially when you are scheduled the night shift.  I’ve caught myself in the motion of life, just working 40 hour work weeks, and enjoying my weekends off.  I’ve had a couple crazy weekends, and couple weekends where I did absolutely nothing — which I think I really needed.  February definitely had its ups and downs.

So let’s talk about a few of the highlights of the past month.

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Contract Extension

So the job I’m working at right now in Sydney was originally supposed to be a 3-month casual contract.  They told us that as the beginning that there was a possibility of extending it.  They ended up telling us we definitely were extending until the end of January.

Then at the beginning of February– the company said they would be extending us on a week-by-week basis. WTF?

That wasn’t the news I was hoping for.  I understand we are casual employees on a temporary contract, but only giving us a week’s notice for an extension didn’t seem too fair.

WELL — Fortunately they must have been feeling the same way, because mid-February they extended us another 7 weeks to April 1st.

This gave me a lot of peace of mind.  I really like my job.  It’s an easy commute, decent money, and allows me to work on my travel blog when it’s not busy.  (Yes, I’m writing this at the office).

They would actually probably extend my contract even longer — but I’m coming up on the 6-month mark, and on the Working Holiday Visa, you can only work for one employee for 6 months.  : (

My Birthday

Yeah, February is my birthday month.  I’m not quite sure how I feel about turning 27…even writing it makes me feel old.  YES, I know I’m not “that old”, but I’m definitely a bit strange about getting so close to 30.  I’m still figuring out my life (aren’t we all…?), and it’s made me realize that I need to get some of my shit together.

So what did I do for my birthday…?

My friends cruised down to my place in Randwick for an old fashioned house party / pre-game.  Beer pong, electronic music, and amazing people.  We cruised down to Bondi Beach for some free club event, but it ended at 1 A.M and had a pretty early night.

The following day my friends threw me a nice little B-day BBQ down at the beach.  Solid day with heaps of delicious food, soccer, beers, and afternoon swimming.

Overall, an amazing weekend with the Sydney squad.

Highlight — receiving a 1 KG tub of Hummus as a birthday present.  Thanks Rosiey!!  : )

Yacht Social Club

This was hands down one of the best days I’ve had in Sydney.  It was a last minute decision, and it was worth every penny!

Read all about The Yacht Social Club – “Sydney Harbour is Our Playground”

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Website Re-Design

For those of you who haven’t noticed, Jones Around The World looks completely different now.  I was really unhappy with my old website, and I think I finally got it looking decent!  It looks 10x better on the mobile / tablet platform, and is much more aesthetically pleasing.

Take a look at some of the other blog posts I’ve written this month:

20 Instagrams That Will Inspire You To Visit Laos

The JATW Playlist: Top Ten Tracks of February 2016

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What’s Coming Up Next…?

Well, a few things have changed in the past month.  I’ve been really keen to stay in Australia for an indefinite amount of time, but now it’s not really looking like that’s going to happen (long story).

All I know is that I’m continuing to work my ass of saving up as much money as possible here in Australia. 

My contract ends at the end of this month, so I’ll just be continuing these 40 hour work weeks before I begin to look for a new job.

I’m going to Return to Rio which is going to be insane!  I’ve been desperate for a 3-day festival, and it’s finally coming.


THANKS FOR READING!!

Like this post?  Follow me on Facebook & Twitter for more adventures Around The World… 

 

JATW Monthly Recap: January 2016

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Well I’ve been in Australia for over 4 months now, and I’m happy to say that I’m thoroughly enjoying my life here.  I’ve written a decent amount about this in other posts though, so there’s really no need to dive into too much more detail.

For my followers who have been reading my blog since Day 1, you might have realized that I had stopped doing these monthly recap posts.  I remember I missed it one month, and then it kind of just stopped.  One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to change that.  I really like these monthly round-ups, and sharing what I’ve been up to.  So here we go.

New Years Eve At Mrs. Macquaries Chair

New Years Eve in Sydney is a BIG DEAL.  The firework display over the harbor is viewed by millions of people every year, and I was very happy with my decision to join some friends at one of the best vantage points of the display at Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair in the Royal Botanical Gardens.

It was a solid day full of drinking and catching up with some friends from Kuala Lumpur.  We were all a little disappointed with the lack of entertainment in the actual park though.

We had to go into the venue pretty early just to guarantee entry (as everyone told us that if you try to later it would hit capacity).

Luckily I managed to smuggle in a decent amount of whiskey, because they were charging $8 per beer!

The fireworks were absolutely amazing.

Field Day

During my 4+ months in Sydney, I’ve been to a several music festivals.  It’s pretty much the only time I go out and party.  On New Years Day, there was an incredible festival called Field Day, and had one of the best starts of 2016 I could have ever imagined.

Due to financial problems, I honestly didn’t think I was going to be able to go.  Tickets sold out really quick, and people were scalping their tickets for ridiculous prices.

I applied for a media-pass to write a festival review for Jones Around The World, but unfortunately did not heard anything back from the press office.

Fortunately for me, my friend Cass randomly posted a link to a MTV Australia VIP ticket giveaway.  I followed the link, entered in my email address, and completely forgot about it.

Then one morning, I woke up with an amazing email!

I won TWO FREE VIP TICKETS + 6 FREE COMPLIMENTARY DRINKS

The whole festival was a a blast.  Golden Features, Flight Facilities, Disclosure, and Boys Noize were amazing to see live, and had a solid time with the squad.

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Working Overtime

I came to Australia with a purpose in mind — MONEY.

The high wages in Australia are pretty awesome, and I found a job that I’m enjoying and making decent cash doing it.

I was originally on a 3-month contract, but they keep extending it which is awesome, because I really hate interviews.

In January, my work was offering heaps of overtime hours on the weekends.  I’m talking $45 per hour to come in on Saturdays & Sundays!

So yes.  I sacrificed a couple weekends and nearly killed myself working so many hours.

But it’s been great to feel a bit more relaxed when it comes to finances.

Wedding Crashers

In the middle of January, my friend Rachel cruised over to my place for a relaxing Saturday night.

We drank some beers, ate some hummus, and had some nice conversation.

Then — we heard music coming from a venue close to my house.  We thought it was some random party, so we decided to cruise over and  crash (in search of free booze).

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Follow me on Snapchat: JonesATW

We found out it was a wedding, and decided to crash.

Everyone was absolutely hammered, and didn’t even notice us, haha.  

Electric Gardens

Hands down the best festival I’ve attended so far in Australia

Read all about it here:  Electric Gardens Festival Review

Favorite Instagram

P. Sherman. 42 Wallaby Way. SYDNEY.

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

What’s I’m Listening To

Every month, I’ll beginning to write about the top 10-15 tracks I’ve been listening to during the past month.

Check out my blog post titled:  The JATW Playlist:  January 2016

But here’s a song that didn’t make this list because I just discovered it.

This makes me want to go camping, stargaze, and think about the meaning of life. haha.

Check out my other blog posts

8 Things I’ve Learned from 4 Months in Sydney

Top 50 Instagram Posts of 2015

10 DJ Sets To Get You Stoked For Electric Gardens

5 Reasons Why I Want to Visit Iceland

10 Fun & Awesome Things to do in Malaysia

What did you get up to in January?

Thanks for reading everyone!!

The JATW Playlist: Top Ten Tracks of January 2015.

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One of my many New Years Resolutions has been to start focusing on music again.

A lot of people probably don’t know this, but I actually started out my blogging career by launching an electronic music blog.  After spending the majority of 2015 traveling, I realized that I have really lost my passion for researching, downloading, and sharing new tunes.  It was simply too hard to stay on top of music with bad-wifi connections, and always being on the road.

I’m no longer a nomad, and I’ve had more and more time to find new tunes, and music I want to share.  So each month I’ll be sharing my top 10 tracks that I’ve been listening to.

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Flume – Never Be Like You feat. Kai

The first track released from Flume’s new album is absolute fire.  Seriously, it gets better and better after each listen.

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Jade Blue & Frequency – Lately

So this song came out early 2014, and  I just head for the first time.  It’s a BANGER.  This is the type of song I would lose my mind to at a festival.

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Riton — Rinse & Repeat

“Time to make club go up, time to shut the club down”.  Really fun track.

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Alok & Sevenn — BYOB

Really fun deep-house / electro tune with a wicked minimal drop I can’t stop listening to.

PACO, Return of the Jaded – Nights Watch (Original Mix)

I’m obsessed with this dance floor ready deep house groove.  This would be perfect for a summer day open-air party.

Jack LNDN — All I See

This down-tempo house track is groovy and oh so sexy.  Rainy day vibes.

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Golden Features — Tell Me ft. Nicole Millard

Take me back to Field Day!

Tale of Us & Mind Against – Astral (Original Mix)

Meet me at the warehouse party.

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Sidney Charles- Black Sun

This is the sound that makes me want to move back to Barcelona.  Don’t stop that tech-house until the sun comes up.

Hermitude – Ukiyo

My friends introduced me to Hermitude when I first got to Australia, and this tune is still on repeat.

**Bonus**

Golden Features —  No One Ft. Thelma Plum

I can’t stop listening.

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Mix Of The Month

Nic Fanciulli presents Worlwide Sounds (10 Years of Saved Records)

Download this 90 minute mix of incredibly blended tech-house and techno.

Real dance music.

2015: A Year In Review

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As I sit here in my room in Sydney writing this post, I honestly can’t believe how quick 2015 has flown by.  This has been the craziest and most epic year of my life for sure.  While my travels have slowed down quite a bit in the past few months since moving to Sydney, looking back on 2015 has brought back nothing but incredible travel memories.

This is the perfect time to reflect on everything I’ve done the past year, and I’m so thankful I’ve been able to follow my dreams of living, traveling, and working abroad.  It’s hard to express how influential the past 365 days have been on my life, but I know I’ve learned a lot about myself, about the world, and what I want out of my future.

Take a look at what I got up to this year, and leave a comment down below with any questions or comments.

January

This month would be best described as split between extreme polar opposites; partying and detoxing.  I spent my first week in January on Koh Phangan, Thailand.  I attended the New Years Eve party, and ended up extending my stay for the Full Moon Party on January 5t (my 4th FMP in total).  This week was full of neon colors, playing with fire, electronic music, Hong Thong Thai Whiskey, and 7-11 Ham & Cheese Toasties.  I even skipped over to Koh Samui for a couple nights of continued debauchery, before being forced to leave Thailand to avoid visa problems.

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After a wild a crazy start to 2015, I decided it was time I needed an extended detox and relax.  I had been doing a lot of traveling, and moving around pretty quickly.  I was in desperate need to stay in one place for longer than a week, and wanted to focus on my health a bit.  Thanks to my friend Danielle in Kuala Lumpur, I got an extremely comfortable room in the Regalia Condominium.  This was absolutely perfect for me.

I had just started my last term of Graduate School classes, and really needed a comfortable place to focus on my studies.  I stayed here for 20 days in a row, and this was definitely when I fell in love with the Regalia Condominium in Kuala Lumpur.  I was eating extremely well, excercising, and was working diligently on my studies.  It was just what I needed to begin the upcoming year…

Kuala Lumpur study break...

Kuala Lumpur study break…

February

After a week or two in Kuala Lumpur of relaxing and studying, it was time for me to time to hop on a plane to continue my backpacking travels.

Thanks to a $42 dollar ticket on AirAsia, I hopped on a plane over to HONG KONG.

I was honestly blown away by Hong Kong…

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For some reason, this city was never high up on my list of places to visit.  I have no idea why.  I only went because I found a really cheap flight during one of the best time of the year to visit.

“What better place to spend Chinese New year than in Hong Kong…?”

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The city was absolutely stunning, the food was delicious, and the nightlife was bumping.  The best part about Hong Kong is just simply walking around the city at night.  I’ve never seen a city like it.  If there’s one word to describe Hong Kong — it’s vibrant.  I had one week exploring different parts of the city, but I easily could have spent a full month there.

After my week in Hong Kong, I hopped over to Macau for a one-day exploration before my flight to the Philippines.  I spent the last few days of February primarily in coffee shops in Manila, writing my final papers for my Master’s Degree.

March

Quite possibly the best month of my entire life.

I spent almost the entire month of March backpacking through the Philippines.  From island hopping in Palawan, finishing my Master’s degree, and exploring Cebu & Boracay — March 2015 was one for the record books.

I fell in love with the Philippines, and can’t wait to explore more of the 7,107 islands there!

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April

After finishing my time in The Philippines, I flew back to Kuala Lumpur for a short 4-day visit, and then headed back to the airport to fly up to Vientiene, Laos to continue my backpacking adventures.  At this point, I had been traveling in Asia for almost a full year in total, and still had not visited Laos.  I have no idea what took me so long, but my 16 days in Laos were incredible.

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  • Spending 5 days on Don Det relaxing, partying, and meeting fellow backpackers.
  • Motorcycle adventures around Pakse & the Bolaven Plateau was gorgeous.  We saw 7 Waterfalls in one day.
  • One full week of drinking and tubing in the Laos party capital of Vang Vieng.
  • And a couple relaxing nights in Luang Prabang seeing the sights, bowling, and shopping.

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Tubing in Vang Vieng

2nd Half of April — Chiang Mai & Pai

One Word:  SONGKRAN.

In April 2014, I was at the end of my first backpacking trip in South-East Asia.  I wanted to stay in Thailand for the Thai New Year celebrations, which is basically a week long country-wide waterfight, but I had to fly back to California for a wedding.

After seeing pictures and videos from friends who were still traveling, I vowed to myself that I would be there to experience Songkran for myself!  Too be honest, this was the only reason I stayed in Asia so long.  I actually had plans to go to Korea, Japan, and then book a one-way ticket to Central America to continue my backpacking travels.

I’m definitely happy I decided to extend my time in Asia, because Songkran exceeded all my expections…

Definitely one of the best experiences of all my travels..

After an amazing Songkran experience, I took a 4-day motorcycle trip to Pai, Thailand.  I fell in love with this backpacker / hippie paradise.  Spent some time with some quality backpacker mates, ate incredible food, and had a couple good nights out partying.  I honestly would have lived in Pai for a month over Chiang Mai, but I know that for next time.  I do see myself moving back to Thailand again later on in life, but who knows when that will happen.

May

I moved out of my studio apartment in Chiang Mai, and boarded a flight back to Kuala Lumpur.  I had a week in Malaysia to hang out to relax, hang out with friends, and plan for the next couple weeks before boarding a plane back to BALI.

One of my good friends from California (Shoutout to Rashad), messaged me back in February and discussed meeting up with me in Asia.  I asked him what he wanted to do and see out here, and he replied “I wanna surf, I wanna party, and I wanna see some cool stuff”.  Well, out of all the places in South-East Asia, Bali was the perfect place to go.

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I had already visited “The Island Of The Gods” twice before, but was stoked to get back for a third time, and even more stoked to show my friend some of my favorite parts about traveling in Asia.  These two weeks were awesome, and we definitely lived it up.

  • Amazing sunsets, epic parties, and beautiful beaches down in Uluwatu.
  • Renting an AirBNB and keeping it semi-classy in Seminyak.
  • Moto rides and resort crashing in Ubud.
  • Spear-fishing on Gili Trawangan

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Cocktails in paradise...

June

Living in paradise.  I found myself a nice homestay on Gili Trawangan, a “job” working at Gili Backpackers (probably the best hostel in the world), and met a ton of amazing people.  This is easily my favorite island in South-East Asia, and I definitely see myself living there again someday.  This month was full of swimming with turtles on a regular basis, eating amazing food, and seeing the best sunsets during all my travels.  I’ll never forget my time on Gili Trawangan.

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July

On the 1st of July, I was on one of my favorite trips I’ve done in South-East Asia:  Sailing from Lombok – Flores through the Komodo National Park.  The whole trip was amazing with beautiful views both above and below ground, incredible group of backpackers, and good vibes throughout the entire trip.  I eventually made my way back to Gili Trawangan for another week before flying back to Kuala Lumpur.

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After exploring Bali, living in paradise, and an incredible 4-day sailing trip — my 60 day visa in Indonesia was about to expire, and I booked a flight back to Kuala Lumpur.

Another one of my friends from California (Shoutout to Gina) decided it was time for a trip to Asia.  I met up with her in Kuala Lumpur and had a couple crazy nights before we woke up one morning and decided to book a last minute flight to Langkawi.

I had been to Langkawi on two seperate occasions before, but I really love it there, so I had no problems heading back to show Gina around.  The island hopping tour is a blast, the nightlife is fun, and we had an epic week!.

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August

August was spent primarily traveling around new parts of Malaysia.  I had spent a lot of time in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Langkawi before — but it was time for me to explore more destinations.  This was actually when I realized how stunning Malaysian Islands truly are.  Pulau Kapas was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, and I spent 10 days on the Perhentian Islands living it up with an amazing group of people.  I look at my time on the Perhentian Islands as a “farewell to my backpacker life”.

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September

I spent the first half of September in Kuala Lumpur.  All this time was basically just time for me to unwind, plan, and prepare for this upcoming move.

From being a care-free long-term backpacker, to a full-time working-holiday visa manin Sydney, Australia.  It was a massive change of pace for me, but I can’t even begin to express how glad I am that I decided to do this.

The first two weeks in Sydney were interesting.  I was getting to used being back in a Westernized society.  Luckily, I had a place to stay at my mates house, so it gave me the perfect opportunity.  During these first couple weeks, I was just trying to get settled in Sydney, and also have a couple really crazy party nights.

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Cheers to you Sydney

October & November

I’ve put together these two months because this was when I began working a full-time 40 hour work week.  After staying at my friend’s house in the suburbs, I finally found a place I felt comfortable to stay at for a full month.  These two months in Sydney  went by so incredibly fast.  I slowly began to get adjusted to a “normal life”.  As much as it sucks, working full time has been nice.  It’s given me a routine, and some decent money coming in.  I even worked 13 days in a row, and got paid $45 an hour for several shifts.  This is also when I realized something very important — I came to Australia with a purpose to make some money.  I worked extremely hard in October & November, and was able to pay off some credit card debt I had accrued during my travels.  It’s definitely been a “reality check” going from a care-free long-term traveler lifestyle, to a 9-5 weekend warrior, but I think it’s been really good for me.

October and November wasn’t just all work though.  I had some crazy nights out in city, and an epic time at both The Afterlife & Stereosonic.  Sydney is such an amazing city, and there’s always something to do.  Which can be hard when you are trying to save money.  It’s definitely the most expensive places I’ve ever lived, but I’m loving it.

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December

At the end of November, I saw a post on Facebook that Tourism Board of Indonesia was looking for travel bloggers for a press / media trip.  The start date was 4 days from when I saw the post, so I figured all the positions were already taken — but I figured there was no hurt in applying.  To my surprise, they accepted my application, and emailed me within a couple days with flight details.  I couldn’t believe it.  For the first time as a travel blogger — I received an all expenses paid trip!  All I had to do was take pictures and write about my experiences. 

This one week trip to Indonesia had me hopping around Bali, Lombok, and Komodo National Park with 9 other amazing travel bloggers.  Not only was it a ton of fun, but it provided me with a much needed escape from my crazy work life in Sydney.  This was definitely the highlight of the month.  I have to give a shout-out to those other bloggers on the trip!  You guys were so much fun to travel with, and I look forward to working with you all again someday!

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After returning from Indonesia — I moved into my first house in Sydney.  It’s been incredible to not share a room with anyone, have some privacy, and live in an actual house.  My roommates are all really chill, and I’m very content with my current living situation.  One step closer to becoming fully settled here in Australia.

My Top 5 Experiences in 2015

If you took the time to read this lengthy post, you’ll have a good understanding how epic this year was for me.  But if I had to choose my top five, this would be them:

1 )  Songkran Water Festival I can’t express this enough.  This was one of the most fun experiences I’ve had in my entire life.

2 )  Island Hopping Tours in Coron & El Nido, Palawan Arguably the most beautiful place in the entire world.  #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines

3 )  Living on Gili TrawanganDefinitely my favorite place in South-East Asia.  The beaches, the snorkeling, the parties, the people, the food, and the sunsets.  Everyday was spectacular.

4 )  Sailing Through Komodo National Park I’ve had the pleasure of completing two different sailing trips through Komodo National Park, and both trips were definitely top highlights of 2015.

5 )  Moving to Sydney If you had talked to me during the months of July & August, you probably were sick of hearing me talk about how “I have no clue what I’m doing with my life”.  I was a long-term traveler without a plan, but was in desperate need to start making some money.  Fortunately, I received a sign from the travel Gods, and there were some tax law changes in Australia.  I always wanted to do a Working Holiday Visa, and this forced me to do it ASAP.  I’m so glad I did.  I can’t even begin to express how good moving to Sydney has been for me.  I’ve learned so much in the past 3 months here, and I think it’s been really great change of pace for me.  I’m loving life in Australia, and think I might be based here a bit longer than expected.

Travel Plans for 2016…?

At this point, I don’t really have too many plans for 2016.  My main goal right now to focus on work, save up some money, and see where life decides to take me.  I see some big changes coming up this next year, and I’m really excited to see what happens.  With that being said — I do have a couple travel ideas.

February 2016:  If you haven’t seen my recent blog post, I’m applying to be apart of this epic 2-week road trip through Southern India called Kerala Blog Express.  This would be the experience of a life-time, and I’m really hoping I get selected to participate.  There are hundreds of amazing applicants, so we’ll see what happens, but I’ve got my fingers crossed because it looks amazing!

March – June 2016:  Eventually I got to find some time to actually explore Australia!  I’ve barely left Sydney as I’ve just been focused on work, but I’m definitely keen for some adventures in Oz.

June / July 2016:  While I’m down here in Australia, I’d feel like an idiot if I didn’t make it over to New Zealand.  I’d love to see NZ during the winter, and hit the slopes while I’m over there!

July / August 2016:  Potentially a mini-Euro trip…?   Then I need to fly home to California.  I’m really hoping I’ll have enough money saved up to attend Burning Man 2016.

Conclusion

This has without a doubt been the most incredible and influential year of my life.  I see a lot of big changes happening in my future, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what 2016 has in store for me.

I want to say thank-you to everyone I’ve had the pleasure to meet along my travels this past year.  I’m a firm believer that the people you meet make the destination, and I’ve met so many incredible people during my backpacking adventures in 2015, as well as some incredible new friends here in Australia.  If you’re reading this, please keep in touch!  And if you ever come down to Sydney — first round of beer is on me!

Thanks for reading!  Happy New Year everyone!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

February 2015: A Month In Review

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The 28 Days of February came and went by extremely quickly.  The first half of the month, including my birthday on the 14th, I spent entirely in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  As may or may not know, I’ve been living there on and off for the past few months.  I got a great deal on an amazing room in the best condo’s in KL, and love when I get to go there and relax.  What is funny, is that my pace of life changed drastically from the start to end.  In Kuala Lumpur, I live very leisurely.  I have a nice comfy room, fast wi-fi, an an awesome rooftop pool.  It’s relaxed.  But right when I got to Hong Kong, things changed quickly.  I was out and about doing something new everyday, staying in very cheap dirty dorms, and went back to my “backpacker roots”.

Where I Went:

February 1st- February 15th – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

February 16th- February 23rd – Hong Kong

February 24th – Macau

February 25th – 27th – Manila, Philippines

February 28th – Coron Island, Palawan, Philippines

Highlights:

1.  My birthday was definitely a great night out in Kuala Lumpur.  Unfortunately, all my friends who live in KL were either traveling, or having date nights (as my birthday is also Valentine’s Day), so I journeyed out into the city alone.  Lucky for me, as a solo traveler, it is not too complicated for me to meet people.  I actually posted something in a FB group about going out in KL, met a guy who said he was in the same situation, and we met up at the popular backpacker’s hostel, Regge Mansion, and partied at their rooftop.  It was a great night, met some cool ass people, and celebrated my 26 years of being alive.

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2.  The Hong Kong Lunar Year Firework Display was one of the most incredible fireworks shows I’ve ever witnessed.  My entire week in Hong Kong was very memorable, but that was definitely a highlight.  Going to Disneyland was great as well, along with seeing all the major sights in the city.

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Favorite Instagram

In the past month, my instagram game has improved so much.  It’s all because I got my a new Nikon D3300.  All I’m upset about is that I didn’t buy it earlier.  Having a nice camera has given me a whole new purpose for travel.  I’m obsessed.

Yeah. Hong Kong is definitely one of the coolest and most vibrant cities in the world. Walking around at night and exploring is absolutely breathtaking.

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Overall, February was a solid month.   A good mix of relaxing, and recharging my batteries, and seeing new places, and feeding my wanderlust.  March is already in full swing, and I’m in the Philippines, and absolutely loving being back around beaches.  🙂

January 2015: A Month In Review

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DSC_0101Well, January has been a month of polar opposites.  I began the near year on Koh Phangan for the New Years Eve celebrations, which I would definitely not go back to.  I was only supposed to stay there a couple days, but found myself trapped on the amazing island full of nothing but the best music and best vibes.  I met some awesome people at Echo Beach Backpacker’s Hostel, and just couldn’t leave.  Until, I finally found my way over to Koh Samui for a few days to meet up with a buddy I met back in January at Wonderfruit.  After a lack of sleep, an exhausted body, and with my last semester of Grad School beginning, I decided I need to start 2015 with a proper detox. Read more

The Best Year Of My Life: 2014 – A Year In Review

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Looking back on 2014 brings me nothing but amazing and life-changing memories.  I don’t even know how to express how much year this has influenced my life, but I will always look at 2014 as the year when I got it all “somewhat figured out”.  I’m only 25 (for one more month at least), but I can honestly say that I have a general idea of what I want out of life.  Travel is my passion.  Travel is my future.  Whether that be working on a cruise ship to fund more travels, opening up my own hostel, teaching english, or becoming a popular travel blogger (doubtful).  I’ve got big plans in 2015, and I can’t wait to explore more of the world.  But for now, enjoy my little recap of what I was up to for the past year.  7.5 Months in Asia, 2 months back home in CA, and 2.5 months in Europe.  Enjoy!

January

Started out the year in Bangkok.  Got an apartment to call a “home-base” while I began my online classes.  I definitely thought I’d actually be living in Bangkok more permanently, but then discovered that with some time management, I could travel and study simultaneously.

Dave the Buddhist #bangkok

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Traveled to the islands for the first time.  Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, and Koh Samui.  All amazing in their own ways.  Was able to go scuba diving for my first time, as well as experienced my first full-moon party, which was quite an experience.

Scuba diving in the gulf of Thailand…CHECK #bucketlist #kohtao

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February

On the first of the month I began a short 12 day trip to Cambodia, beginning with an amazing couple days in Siem Reap exploring the Angkor Wat temples, and the famous sunrise photo.

Woke up at 5 a.m this morning to catch this famous sunrise #angkorwat #cambodia

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After Siem Reap I made a quick day stop in Phnomh Penh, but continued my journey to visit a couple friends in Sihanoukville.  Serendipity and Otres Beaches were both amazing, and I fell in love with Cambodia.  It was a short stay, but incredible.

Orange things in #Cambodia

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After my short trip to Cambodia, I hopped on a plane back to Bangkok to meet up with my friends on Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party (round two), as well as celebrating my birthday on the 14th.  My 25th birthday was still one of the highlights of the year for me.  My 26th is coming up in one month from now, and I have no idea how I’m going to top last years.

Throwback to sunrise after the full moon party #thailand

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After an epic birthday party in Koh Phangan, I decided it was time to head on over to the magical island of Koh Phi Phi.  I was only planning on spending a few days around Phi Phi, but got stuck there for a week or so.  I mean, how could I leave paradise?

Sunset boat ride back to Phi Phi #thailand

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Watching the sunrise after spending the night on Maya Bay, the filming location of the famous Leonardo Dicaprio movie “The Beach”.  Easily one of my highlights of the year.

What I woke up to this morning #mayabay #thailand

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March

This was easily the craziest and most fun-filled month of the year.  This was my last full-month in south-east Asia, and I lived it up to the fullest.  I began the month with an amazing trip to Hanoi and The Vietnam Backpacker’s Hostel Castaway Island tour to Halong Bay, which didn’t have the best weather, but met some amazing people, and had one wild trip.

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After an amazing / chaotic time in Vietnam, I headed on down to Bali, with a 24 hour layover in Singapore.  I really liked Singapore, and wish I had a bit more time there.  I ended up heading back to Singapore in October, so I got my fix.  It’s a beautiful city, but way too pricey for south-east Asia.

Spiral #bridge #singapore

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Once I landed in Bali, I had no idea what I was in for.  I had done zero research on what to do, and flew there just for 6 days to meet up with my travel crew.  They were posted up on the Gili Islands, so I cruised over and met them there.  I had an incredible day on Gili Air, and was easily one of my favorite days of the year.  Saw one of the best sunsets of my entire life.  It’s moments like these I’ll never forget.  The photo doesn’t do it justice, but it was a big highlight of my first backpacking trip in Asia.

The best day of my life #giliair #indonesia

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After a very brief stay in Indonesia, I headed up to Kuala Lumpur for Future Music Festival Asia.  It was a blast, but unfortunately the last day of the festival got cancelled.  The first two days were epic though, and had a blast exploring the city.  Ironically enough, I did not like the city too much during my first visit, and now I’m writing this post from KL, and love this city!

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After Kuala Lumpur, my travel crew Cathy and Ashley and I started island hopping around Malaysia.  We traveled to the beautiful Perhentian Islands, Penang, and Langkawi.  All of these places are amazing.  I think more backpackers need to visit Malaysia during their trips.  For some reason, this country does not get as much attention as Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos.

I'm on my way to heaven… #aboveandbeyond #perhentianislands #malaysia

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Travel. Just do it. #Nike #langkawi #malaysia

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April

With just a couple last days in Bangkok, (which ended up being pretty crazy), my first trip to South-East Asia had come to an end.  I flew home for a family wedding.  Congratulations to my beautiful sister Stephanie and my new brother-in-law Bryce.  Their legal last name is actually Jones, which is funny, because I’ve been going by Jones since high school!

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Oh, but wait.  What else happens in California in April…?  Hmmm….COACHELLA.  For years, I had been missing out on the best festival in States, Coachella, because I had been living abroad in Italy.  Not in 2014.  Coachella absolutely lived up to the hype, and I had the most epic weekend with a solid group of people.

Beauty of #coachella

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May

This was a pretty slow month, as I was trying to figure out travel plans.  If you remember, I had a trip to South America planned, that had to be cancelled because I had two groups of friends bail on the trip last minute.  The highlight of May was easily my road trip to San Francisco with my buddy Kevin.  I hadn’t been up North since college, and it was a great drive on PCH, and a solid time chillin NorCal style.

Foggy days in #sanfran #goldengatebridge

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Driving on PCH from SF – LA was quite a journey. Long drive, but completely worth it! #carmel #bigsur #california #coast #roadtrip

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June

After my plans of traveling to South America were cancelled, I decided to head back to my favorite city in the world– BARCELONA.  Found myself an apartment with some great Catalan guys, and began my summer classes and Barcelona shenanigans.

Look who I found in #barcelona #florencereunion #lionsfountain #unclejimmys #funkychicken

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One of my favorite things to do every Sunday was head to Piknic Electronik up on Montuic.  Amazing day party with lcoals, tourists, and expats.  Easily one of the best parts about living in Barcelona over the summer.

Piknic Electronik #barcelona

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July

Continuing an awesome summer in Barcelona.  From L’Atlandida, Sundays at the Picknic, beach days, and club nights.

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Tourist photo. #sagradafamilia #barcelona

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And I Finally made it to Montserrat, which was one of the best day trips I’ve ever taken.  I couldn’t believe how many times I had visited Barcelona / lived in the city, and never visited Montserrat.

Day trip for some Hiking in #montserrat

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August

After an epic 8 day “goodbye party”, it was time for me to leave Barcelona, and begin my travels.  The first stop was Milan and Trieste in Northern Italy.  I had never been to either of these cities, and really enjoyed my time.

Well that's pretty neat #milan #italy

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After revisiting Italy, I made my way over to a country I had been dying to visit; Slovenia.  This country is absolutely amazing, and I fell in love with Lake Bled.  I made the joke that if I ever wanted to relax somewhere for a few months to write a novel, I would choose Lake Bled.  It’s relatively affordable, and Slovenians are incredibly nice.

I could stay here awhile #lakebled #slovenia #jonesaroundtheworld

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After a short visit to Slovenia, I got picked up by two of my good Dutch friends, and we made our way to Croatia for SONUS Music Festival.  This was definitely one of the craziest music festivals I’ve ever attended (and I’ve been to quite a few).  Shoutout to Joost and Stijn for an awesome week of camping, drinking, and non-stop amazing techno.

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September

After an amazing summer in Europe, I was dying to get back to Asia.  So I jumped right in — and began my backpacking trip in Sri Lanka.  This country by far exceed my expectations, and I had such an amazing time.  From exploring Colombo, Kandy, Sigiriya, Dambulla, Trincomalee, and Arugam Bay.  I wish I had more time there, but it would have cost too much money to change my ticket.  Shoutout to all the amazing people I met in Sri Lanka!  This was also the month I started my travel blog!  The birth of Jones Around The World!

"I like that boulder. That is a nice boulder." #Shrek #sigariyarock #SriLanka

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Walking. #srilanka

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Jones Around The World. #backpacker #travelblogger

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I also spent half of September in Kuala Lumpur, and this was actually one of the first blog posts I ever wrote.  Thanks to my friends I met in Langkawi, I had a free place to stay at an amazing condo, and met some incredible people.  It was this visit that made me want to move here.

To infinity pools…and beyond #Buzzlightyeartotherescue #infinitypools #TravelBlogger #Backpacker #Globetrotter #KualaLumpur #Malaysia

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October

Honestly, if I had to pick a favorite month of the year, I would have to say it was October.  I spent the majority of the month traveling through Bali and The Gili Islands.  Like traveling always does, I met the best people in Bali, and I still keep in touch with a lot of them.  There’s so many pictures to choose from, so I’ll try to limit to just a few.

Had a perfect day in #paradise #bali #Indonesia #TravelBlogger #Wanderlust #Globetrotter #JonesAroundTheWorld

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I'm the king of the cruise #GiliT #boozecruise #Indonesia

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Bali life is the good life. #potatohead #beachclub #seminyak #Indonesia

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Beanbags and beers for the sunset #seminyak #bali #indonesia #TravelBlogger #wanderlust #Globetrotter #nomadlife

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I like swimming.

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Thanks to everyone I met in Indonesia.  The times we’ve shared will never be forgotten.  I flew to Singapore for a couple days, then back to Kuala Lumpur for Halloween, which was an absolute blast.

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November

Another solid month traveling mostly through Langkawi, southern Thailand, and back to Kuala Lumpur for some rest and relaxation.  Langkawi is still one of my favorite islands in Asia.

We went chasing waterfalls.

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Head in the clouds.

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Pantai Cenang- Langkawi — I have 1 wife, and two sons: "Wifi", "sunrise", and "sunset"…

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After my time in Langkawi, I journeyed up to Krabi, Ao Nang, Koh Phi Phi, and Koh Lanta.  I had some really great nights here, but was plagued with some bad weather during most of it.  None the less, the beauty of these islands is breathtaking, and it was great to visit some new places, as well as revisit Koh Phi Phi.

Not the best weather day, but couldn't resist going for a swim

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Not many places to hike on Koh Phi Phi, but the walk up to the viewpoint is good enough for me.

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December

Oh, the last and final month of 2014 — and boy was it a good one.  I started December out in Cambodia, and had the best time.  Started in Phnomh Penh for a couple days,  and then worked my way down to Kep & Kampot.  The Majority of my time was spent in SIhanoukville and Koh Rong (which I think is one of the most beautiful places in the world).  For anyone reading this who has not been to Koh Rong, Go SOON!  Tourism is going to take over quick, and this paradise will not be the same in a few years.

Sunset in Kampot

Gotta love Cambodian sunsets…every night a different painting, and tonight's was especially great.

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Relaxing on Long Beach, Koh Rong.

Winter is coming….but not for me.

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Enjoying my time in Otres Beach, Sihanoukville

Fresh coconut and a book on this sunny afternoon. Beach life sure is great.

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After a crazy time in Cambodia, it was time to head to Koh Chang to meet up with my friend Cathy.  Althogh, this took two attempts as I missed one of the busses due to bartending until 4 A.M the night before!  Koh Chang was absolutely beautiful, and I would defintiely recommend backpackers to make a stop there at the Thai/ Cambodian border.  It’s a much better border to cross at as well!  I also got to meet up with two of my Dutch buddies from Eindhoven (De Gekste)!

2 Americans, 2 Dutchmen, 1 Boat, 5 islands, 3 bottles of whiskey, and tons of fish. That was one epic snorkeling trip

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New island. New beach. Looking forward to the next few days in Koh Chang

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After Koh Chang, Cathy and I headed to Koh Samet for a bit of recovery from the damage we did to our bodies in Koh Chang, as well as to rest up for the next adventure; Wonderfruit Music Festival.  This was Thailand’s first major music festival, and I had such a solid weekend.  Amazing people, incredible music, and an overall great festival experience.

Yoga Bass during the sunset during Wonderfruit day 2. What an awesome experience. Namaste.

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After Wonderfruit festival, Cathy and I headed to Koh Tao for Christmas.  I spent a total of 8 or 9 days there, and it was a pretty great time.  It was quite strange though, because the weather was actually pretty terrible.  But it always cleard up at night.  The food was good, the parties were good, and met some amazing people there as well.

On December 31st, I decided it was time to journey over to Koh Phangan for the New Years Ever celebrations.  I’ll be writing a seperate blog post about that crazy experience.  IMG_2340


 

Well, there ya have it.  The past 12 months of my life summed up in one blog post.  It truly has been the best year of my life.  I want to take this moment to thank each and every person I’ve met while traveling around the world.  You guys are what making traveling so amazing.  I honestly don’t have too much plans as of now for 2015, but I have a hard time thinking it can top 2014, but I’m damn sure I’m gonna try.

Thanks for reading!

November 2014: Month In Review

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Well, I’m currently writing this in Cambodia, but I’ve only been here a few short days.  It’s always fun to write posts like this where I get the chance to look back and reflect on what I’ve been up to the past month.  November has been great, but it has had its up and downs.  From spending an amazing week in Langkawi with a great group of friends, exploring the southern Thailand islands in the Andaman sea, and getting a lot of homework / recharging my travel batteries in Kuala Lumpur, the past 30 days have been amazing.  I did however get a bad case of food poisoning in Ao Nang which was rough, and dealt with a fair amount of bad weather.  But traveling does not always go perfectly.  It’s all about the journey though.

Where I Went

November 1st – 3rd – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
November 4th-9th  –  Langkawi, Malaysia
November 10th-11th –  Krabi Town, Thailand
November 12th-16th– Ao Nang / Railey Beach
November 17th-20th- Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
November 21 – 23rd- Koh Lanta, Thailand
November 24th – 28th – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
November 29th-3oth – Phnomh Penh, Cambodia

Blog Posts I’ve Written This Month

Favorite Instagram:

This was taken early on in the month during my first night in Langkawi.  The sunset that night was easily one of the best I’ve seen during this backpacking trip in Asia.  The colors were amazing, and kept changing over the course of a couple hours.  I was also with some great company, so that definitely helps the memory.  🙂

Head in the clouds.

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December is in full swing now, and I’m currently in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.  I got a week left here before I head back to Thailand for a month or so.  Then, who knows.  I think it’s either going to be staying in Koh Tao for a month, backpacking Myanmar, or moving to Kuala Lumpur.  All I know is that I look to the future with excitement.  Life as a traveling grad student is almost over, and I start my last two classes early January.  Been having an amazing time out in Asia, and I know the future has got much more in store for me!

October 2014: Month in Review

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October was definitely a solid month, having spent almost the entirety traveling Indonesia.  I fell in love with the country, the food, the culture, and had such an amazing time.  It’s difficult to say, but Indonesia might have just topped Thailand as my favorite country in South-East Asia.    I stayed at some amazing places, met a ton of great people, and definitely had an incredible month.  Looking forward to November, and the adventures that await.

Where I Went:

October 1-5 – Sanur, Ubud, Mt. Batur, Indonesia

October 6-14 – The Gili Islands, Indonesia

October 15-17 – Sanur, Nusa Dua, Ulutwau, Indonesia.

October 18-24 – Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Tanah Lot, Indonesia

October 25-28 – Uluwatu, Indonesia

October 28 – 30 – Singapore

October 31 – Kuala Lumpur Halloween Party

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Jones Around The World

Blog Posts I’ve written this month:

Adventures in Indonesia:  Bali Road Trip

How to Get To The Gili Islands

The Gili T Booze Cruise

The Ultimate Guide to Gili Air

Must Watch Travel Video: Watchtower of Turkey

Favorite Balinese Hobby: Resort Crashing

Travel Tunesdays (Started this month):

Volume 1

Volume 2

Favorite Instagram:

Taken at La Plancha Beach Bar in Seminyak.  It’s an awesome venue that has incredible food and drinks, comfy bean bags, great music, chilled out atmosphere, and the best views of the famous Bali sunsets.

Beanbags and beers for the sunset #seminyak #bali #indonesia #TravelBlogger #wanderlust #Globetrotter #nomadlife

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Overall, just while writing this post I can’t help but think of how incredible October treated me.  I realized how little I blogged as well, so I’ll definitely be working on writing more often!  I’m a new to travel blogging as this if my first full month, but I’ll definitely be making an effort to getting more posts up.  Special shoutout to the Rosa Family for hanging out in Bali, to everyone I met at Big Pineapple Backpacker’s hostel in Sanur, and everyone else I met during the past month.  Hoping to be able to meet up again soon!  If you’re still traveling around south-east Asia, hit me up.  I’ll be around.