Tea Talk 3: Mikayla Jane | Travel Blogger

Mikayla and I met through an random email she sent to my inbox. True story. It really was some kind of divine out-of-the-blue experience, and I’m so glad she contacted me, because she’s awesome! Originally from near Sydney, Australia, Mikayla started her travel journey when she taught English in Cambodia. Now she travels the world blogging and sharing her travel advice and adventures!

1. What started your passion for traveling?

My family has always travelled and so I was exposed to a life of adventure and various cultures young. My first flight was when I was just 9 months old. My own personal journey started with a year teaching English in a Kindergarten in Cambodia. I was fortunate enough to be able to travel all over the country on my holiday breaks and taste test Vietnam, The Philippines and Singapore as well. This kick started my traveling dreams, got my wanderlust juices flowing and encouraged my stubborn independence.

2. What’s one travel tip you think the world should know?

Just do it. Now, right now. You will never be as young as you are today. No excuses, just make it work. BUT maintain (or gain) your common sense. Spontaneity doesn’t mean stupidity.

3. What’s your favorite cultural habit you’ve picked up?

I’ve eaten the best Indian food of my life in Cambodia! I would order from my favourite restaurant at least once a week, and it got to the wonderful (yet slightly embarrassing) stage where when they answered, they already knew my name, address and regular order. Now, back home in Australia I can’t go more than 2 weeks without a good curry! Those lentils and naan bread just get me every time!

4. What would you suggest for other women who are thinking about solo traveling?

Again, just do it! You will gain so so much. You’ll blossom into a wonderfully independent, strong, witty, cultured woman. Educated far beyond what any university could have taught you. Please, don’t be afraid. Use your common sense, and listen to your intuition. My biggest lesson in living in a third world country for 12 months is now knowing when it’s time to move on. I was well and done with Cambodia at the 6 month mark. I don’t regret a single moment, but if I was to re-do it, I certainly would be wise enough to know when to quit and strong enough to do so. If you don’t feel safe, happy or stable, move on, there’s no shame in quitting for your health and well being. Also, question everything.


5. What’s one failure that you learned a lot from, when it comes to travel?

It’s hard to put down just one thing. I’d like to say, though, that through every fail I’ve made, it’s turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Nothing (so far) has been so bad that I regretted a situation or decision. Yeah I may have made a wrong move here or there, or may have forgotten a passport in Paris…. but it never turned out so bad that i couldn’t smile or even laugh about it later.

6. What’s the best and worst part about traveling solo?

Best: You can do WHATEVER you want, WHENEVER you want. You want to shop for 12 hours, do it. You want to lounge by a pool all day, do it. You want to cram 6 activities into 24 hours, do it. You want to take silly selfies and staged pics for a travel blog, DO IT.

Worst: Alone time can be very very very very…. lonely. Sometimes all you’ll want to do is go out with girlfriends and laugh the night away, but instead you’re all alone in a hostel dorm with nobody wanting to talk to you. Don’t be too disheartened by this though, it’s truly a blessing in disguise. Oh, the lessons you’ll learn….

7. What’s one fear that you overcame, while traveling?

Traveling alone on motos. It took me 9 months on tuk-tuks before I got up the courage to jump on a strangers bike, straddle him, wrap my arms around their waist and completely put my life in their hands. It was cheaper, and much more fun, and sometimes I actually felt safer. But the stories I heard, could easily have been my name instead.

8. What is your favorite way to travel and why?

A plane. The feeling of take off and landing is beyond words! I get a stupidly large grin across my face just thinking about it. SO many emotions in these tiny few seconds of the journey. Happiness, wanderlust, fear, excitement, nerves, adrenaline, yearning, homesickness, all bundled up in that lurch of the wings grabbing onto the wind.

9. What is one piece of advice that you wish you could give your past self?

Life doesn’t have to be a mission to complete and judge yourself on. Just enjoy it. Though 22 year old Mikayla is still grasping this, I hope some day she learns it and completely lives in the present, enjoying every ray of sun the days have to offer.

10. What is one place at the top of your bucket list that you’d like to visit?

Oh, so so many….hmmmm… well i guess the experience that sits at the top of my bucket list is cuddling a Highland Cow. OMG they are just so adorable and I just want to squeeze it so tightly!! So I need to go to Scotland very soon to tick this one off!

11. Do you have any upcoming trips? Where to and what will you be doing?

A cruise to the Pacific Islands. Myself and Curtis (my partner) plan on doing nothing but eating, napping, drinking Pina Coladas and repeating. I mean it, I hope absolutely nothing interrupts that routine. After such a hectic couple of months over the Christmas break, we just want 5 minutes to relax and enjoy each others company.

12. Anything else you’d like to add about yourself?

I am no one special. I always get asked ‘how did you do that all by yourself?’ You can do it. You can travel. You can learn. You can run. You can soar. You can achieve. You can succeed and you can exceed all expectations. Go out and smash your goals! Chase your dreams and never stop creating more! Be you. You are your biggest asset. You have nothing stopping you, but you.

Follow Mikayla along on her adventures on her blog, or at any of the links below! 

If you, or someone you know, would like to be featured on a Tea Talk, comment below! Tea Talk is a monthly series that is published on the 15th of each month. Join me again on April 15th for our next feature! – Emilee

Review: Pilbara Au Pair Service

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Let’s talk becoming an au pair.

I get a lot of people telling me how amazing the whole au pair journey sounds, and I’m always a little bit hesitant to allow them to romanticize my experience. When I was an au pair I signed up using an online service that was great for connecting with a family, but offered about the same amount of the security that a Craigslist purchase does.

After a mess with my first host family, and a less than ideal experience with my second, I would have loved to have worked with an agency that had supported me.

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I don’t write very many posts reviewing services, but this comes from one that a close friends has used, and which, I feel, represents a business that cares as much about the well being of their au pairs as they do their host families.

The service specializes in western Australia, so unfortunately they’re not global, but if you’re thinking about going down the path of becoming an au pair, I can definitely recommend them!

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The best part? If you’ve already gone through other avenues to find an au pair position, this service will also help you work out agreements, contracts or just having support in your current position! Click HERE for more information! Or check out this FAQ Sheet !

You can also check out Pilbara Au Pair Services on social media: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook

Checklist for France!

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Glasgow, Scotland

This week, for some reason, it’s been really tough for me to feel like I’m accomplishing anything. Although I’ve been plugging away for months to get everything for France pulled together, it’s still hard to envision my work paying off, since that won’t be for a few months.

With that being said, here are some of the things I’ve finished up lately/I’m working on to get ready for France!

1. Doctor’s appointment: There are several steps in the process of applying for a French Visa. I had no idea how complicated this process would be, but I’m slowly finding out that you have to really WANT to go to France in order to move there. There are a million hoops to jump through before you can even think about applying.

One of these necessary steps is getting a  doctor’s note (aka Medical Evaluation) that states that you aren’t dying. This visit also has to be within three months of you leaving for France so it wasn’t until this week that I was finally able to make the appointment! Yay!

2.  Birth Certificate: Somehow I lost my birth certificate. I have no idea where it is and I need an official one to copy before I move, sooooo I ordered a new one this week. It’s surprisingly easy to get.

3. DuoLingo-ing the world: I know that’s not a word, but it is now. Every day I spend about 1 hour(ish) on Duolingo practicing my French. I used to dream of the day when I’d be at more than 20% word knowledge, and then I looked at my screen yesterday! I’m satisfied.

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 10.29.44 AM 4. I’ve been kind of obsessed with French Romantic Comedies lately. They’re just so much better. If you haven’t watched any I highly suggest these:

5. French Magazines are my new favorite thing to read! I can’ t seem to get a copy of a French Vogue, but I’ve been going through French Elle and Marie France

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6. I finally started to actually go through my belongings and get rid of stuff: I’m trying to get rid of probably somewhere around 60ish% of my belongings so I’ll only be keeping essentials here in storage (20%) and taking the other 20% with me to France. Numbers, numbers, numbers.

7. I’m loaning out my fish to my little sister while I’m gone: My two goldfish, Octavius and Pyro, have been with me for about 5 years, now. But, since I can’t take them with me, they’re going to go live with my little sister until further notice. She better not kill them like she killed my bamboo I had her “take care of” last time I moved.

8. Dentist: Because I don’t know what the situation will be in France, I went to the dentist this week to get my mouth at 100% before leaving. Four shots of anesthetic later, and we’re good.

9. College application: I sent in my college application last weekend so I’m waiting to hear back from them! Hopefully I’ll be able to take classes there over the next year. I really hope I get in, but who knows?? Fingers crossed!

10. Growing out my f^$&^@! hair: Anyone who knows about curly hair knows that it is a beast that doesn’t want to be tamed. Anyone who has tried to regrow out a mowhawk knows it’s just awkward. Add the two together, and you have a recipe for disaster. Which is pretty much where I’m at right now. I almost get my hair re-shaved pretty much every day. But luckily, I have a hefty dose of Irish/Scottish stubbornness in my blood and if I said I’m growing it out – I’m damn well going to.

11. I bought a tablet! With layovers etc. I’m going to be traveling for like 30 hours when I go to France, so I bought a tablet so I can take it with me, to read/watch movies, when I travel. It’s coming in the mail today, hopefully, so I’m super excited!

12. I’m emailing a church in France to try to get connected with one near where I’m living.   Being able to keep connected with people who share my faith is so important to me, and I’m really hoping that I can connect with some fun people in France. One of my way too awesome friends was in Paris, and he found some people to connect me with at the Hillsong plant in Paris. I’m excited to see what connections I can make 🙂 (This had been high on my list, so I’m so glad to have some kind of lead finally)

And that’s “all” for now! Ah! Only 3 months!

Also, one of my friends left yesterday for his Au Pair-ship in Australia. Check out his awesomeness on his blog!