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Why a staycation is better than going abroad (sometimes)

Deep in one of the world's most dangerous rainforests, I cast my eyes to the Colombian skies as my ass sagged into a river from ...

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A single girl's guide to Amsterdam's NEMO Science Museum

Check it out - a building that looks just like my love life. A giant, sinking ship. (Sigh). Yes, yes, the dating game's a drag ...

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View from Dubrovnik city wall

Croatia: Getting around in Dubrovnik, Split and Hvar

So, if you're here, you're probably looking for information on travelling to and around Croatia? You're in luck' because I just got back. I can only ...

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Remembering Yemen...

I never did make it to Syria unfortunately, but I did visit Yemen in 2008, which I'm thinking about now in the midst of this ...

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Christmas in Prague...

I just got back from Prague - another new city for me. I love nothing more than heading off to a new place and just ...

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Tinder Diaries: Getting my Groupon...

Shamus's profile shots scrolled like some kind of Action Man calendar. In one photo the 39-year-old Irish-Canadian was hugging a goat on what looked like ...

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Tinder Diaries: Tempur-Pedic promises...

And another Tinder Diary for you, this one's also from last year in Vancouver.  Tempur-Pedic promises... 'I got you a drink!!!' the text message yelled at me. ...

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Tinder Diaries: The Burner In The Park

In trawling through folders on my laptop for some old work I've just come across some diaries I wrote about Tinder dating last year in ...

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I go to the gym a lot. And other things I never thought I'd say...

Once in Sydney I joined a yoga studio for $350 a year and went once. In New York I spent close to $600 and went to ...

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Things you should probably know before going to Burning Man

So, Burning Man. Hmm. How was it, you ask? Honestly. I can't even really tell you yet, and it's been three weeks. But I'll try. As a ...

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11 things you only ever say on WhatsApp when you're going to Burning Man...

I LEAVE TOMORROW!! Am I ready? Probably not.  I'm what's known as a Virgin, (this will be my first time at Burning Man) and in ...

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Thoughts about rainbows...

I cycled home tonight right under a rainbow - the kind of rainbow that smiles across the sky in every colour, and then more colours ...

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How to tell when you travel too much (and when you should stop)

Yup. That's how. That's a screenshot my friend just sent me, when I told her to add my new phone number in Amsterdam. "Another one?!" "Yeah, but I'm ...

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…Best Of...

It started with a boy called Matt: why I'm going to Burning Man (in 2 weeks!!!)

Going to Burning Man has been pretty high on the bucket list for years... ever since I started chatting to an American guy online back in 2003, who ...

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The Royal's idea of 'Indian street kids' is not quite right

I know I shouldn't read the Daily Mail because it always annoys me... but today THIS was ridiculous. Honestly. Been to India? Yeah, so have I. Met ...

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How to write a novel: 25 rules

This post is so inspiring, just had to share! Thanks to Matt Haig, who posted it originally. Sometimes us writers really need to read cool stuff ...

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Amsterdam, I love you! See you again soon.

I've decided to move to Amsterdam. Maybe not forever but definitely for a little bit, because, well.... this. And this: And this:  OK maybe not the last one... ...

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Free tsunami romance for Valentine's Day...

Winner of the TBC (The Book Club) award for best non-fiction, 2016.  Hey guys, I'm giving away The Day Of The Wave over Valentine's weekend in ...

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How to Create Titles to Hook Your Readers

This post is written BY JUDITH BRILES posted on February 10, 2016 on The Book Designer Are you sometimes stuck when it comes to adding a title to ...

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Yay, I won an award!

It's a super duper awesome start to the new year, because after a long hiatus during which I've been working reeeeeeally hard and not blogging ...

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Who's the Mills and Boon Man Of The Year 2016? Get your face on a book cover!

Here ye, all you amazing men - and women who know amazing men! Thought I'd spread the word about this. Mills & Boon are launching ...

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Pills that make you poop glitter...

Oh my! We should give these to ALL the pigeons in London until the whole city is a sparkly rainbow! Granted we'd be covered in shit, ...

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Know your strengths...

I'm sitting in the cafe. It's just me, two loud ladies who sound like they're from Essex, and a blonde with her boyfriend. An Essex ...

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Humans of Iceland...

This is Sverrir and the replica of his great grandfather, who was once the pastor of the pretty and remote herring fishing town, Siglufjörður. He was ...

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Adventures in Iceland (in brief because I'm VERY remote right now and WIFI is scarce)...

It started when we flew Fokker. Yes, Fokker. Oh come on, tell me I'm not the only child who finds this funny? It wasn't long before ...

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NOW FREE ON AMAZON: The Day Of The Wave

A moving, emotional romance based on real-life events. NOW FREE ON AMAZON! The Day Of The Wave follows Isla and Ben in the wake of surviving ...

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***FREELANCE PHOTO - POSTMEDIA NETWORK USE ONLY*** VANCOUVER, BC.:JUNE 24, 2014-- Pedestrian traffic in front of Canna Clinic on Commercial Drive, in Vancouver, BC, June 24, 2014.  Canna Clinic at 2223 Commercial Drive, has a doctor from 5 to 8 p.m. every day. Locals can get certified by an in-house  naturopath, and pick up some pot.  (PHOTOS by Don MacKinnon)

Comedy night at the Canna Clinic...

Today I learnt two things. The first is that penguins have knees inside their bodies. Yes. Knees. Inside. I'm not even kidding. The second is that ...

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Spalding School Reunion is Imminent...

I got a message today about a school reunion for the class of 96. My first thought was JEEEEESUS, did I really leave school 19 ...

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Best things to see on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. OK, maybe not the best...

I was just eating my sushi on a restaurant patio last night when a man seemingly dressed as a Mario Brother climbed a nearby tree ...

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Oh Canada, how I LOVE being in you...

And I think these photos prove why! I'm so inspired the more time I spend here, which is Vancouver right now, in case you were ...

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Fun on the Natchez Trace - recreating scenes from a novel in real life!

Yesterday a friend and I drove from Nashville, out past the famous Loveless Cafe (where we stopped to pick up some Peach Preserve) and onto ...

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Read and review 'Before He Was Gone' and get a FREE copy!

The New Adult Book Club on Goodreads are reading Before He Was Gone to review. Sign up if you want your free copy to review! "Sometimes, ...

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RIP Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran (an excerpt featuring their great work, from Balilicious)

How fuggin AWFUL to hear about the executions of these two men, and the others who were wiped out needlessly today in Indonesia. Don't people ...

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Boxing Day Tsunami book trailer (The Day of the Wave)

I made this today! One day I will give up trying to be a filmmaker (maybe), but it's SO satisfying when it uploads and I'm ...

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The Day of the Wave - Playlist

This is probably the most fun I’ve ever had putting a playlist together for a book. There were just so many great artists who inspired ...

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Aliens in the White House...

Just got a newsflash on my phone: 'Small one-person helicopter lands at White House West Lawn. Pilot in custody.' I know I should click on it ...

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Boxing Day Tsunami romance excerpt: (The Day of The Wave)

This is an excerpt from my latest new adult romance, coming May 2015. In brief... "Isla and Ben were just sixteen when the Boxing Day ...

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Uber in Nashville is interesting...

Me: 'So, what's the craziest thing that's happened to you since you started driving for Uber?' Him: 'Are you a shy girl?' Me: 'Er, I don't think ...

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Have I mentioned the Family Dollar Store yet?

Have I mentioned the Family Dollar store yet? It's my new favorite place here in Nashville. Contrary to the name, not everything inside costs a dollar, ...

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Lavenders, motorcycles and a feeling of deep uncool at Nashville's Barista Parlor...

There are some places in this world that will just serve to make you feel deeply uncool, no matter how young and awesome you previously ...

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Why Craigslist in Nashville is killing me...

Here's what this guy just wrote in reply to my post about looking for a room to rent in Nashville: "We are seeking a FEMALE caring nanny/care giver. ...

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Observation of the day...

Ubud cafes were full of middle aged women writing books on macs. Nashville cafes are full of cute young guys making music on macs. I know where ...

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Before He Was A Secret (Starstruck #3) Playlist...

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmhXXflqDQPAxUHvBiWosmLHWTd6sBM4Z I can't write a word without being inspired by every sound in the air around me, and I turned to music more than ever with ...

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Musings on a Nashville snow day...

No one told me flying south for the winter would take me somewhere colder than England. Then again, there's something so peaceful about walking alone down ...

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Fight your way through! A message to writers like me…

Fight your way through! A message to writers like me...

...and other creative souls no doubt! Someone sent me this video today by the amazingly inspiring Ira Glass, which I found very interesting. I can relate ...

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The difference a motorised bike makes...

I miss my bike in Bali so much that today I actually hovered outside someone's house in South Harrow contemplating whether I could justify spending ...

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Proving my roots: The nonsense that is taking the IELTS test in London...

"PUT YOUR PENCILS DOWN! PENCILS DOWN, NOW!!!" Dumbledore boomed. I almost jumped out of my plastic chair, nerves shot to sh*t. I have a problem ...

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There's nothing more sexist than The Sun pulling Page 3 Girls...

Yes... SEXIST. If only for what's being said around the decision to drop this whole thing! "Instead of bare breasts, the pictures will now show scantily-clad ...

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I SURVIVED: The Freak British Tornado (and the suspect still running loose)

A mini-tornado hit north west London this afternoon - causing damage to homes and cars. I think I summoned it. I was thinking very dark ...

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It's cover reveal day for Before He Was A Secret. Exclusive excerpt here...

Today's the day, whoo hoooooo! I can finally reveal another amazing cover by designer Jeanine Henning, for the third standalone romance in my Starstruck Series, ...

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The night Emma Watson stole my toothbrush...

WARNING!!! I feel like I should say something. I've been quiet for way too long... almost an hour actually, but about an hour ago I ...

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Vaginal smoking and the benefits of yoni egg insertions (note: there are many)...

I have recently become quite fascinated with vaginal treatments. The fascination began when I saw this tempting advertisement on a board outside a spa in ...

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The truth about 'Ecstatic Dancing' at The Yoga Barn in Ubud, Bali... (warning, this post may smell)

Everyone in Ubud knows the Yoga Barn. It's a sort of second home for eager expats, all of whom are quite happy to spend an ...

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Go to Bali for less than a quid! Balilicious is 99p, starting today.

Becky Wicks lifted the burqa on Dubai In BURQALICIOUS. Now she turns her attention to Bali as she hilariously navigates life as an adopted Balinese ...

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Why a staycation is better than going abroad (sometimes)

Deep in one of the world’s most dangerous rainforests, I cast my eyes to the Colombian skies as my ass sagged into a river from a large inflatable tube. My guide, Juan Manuel, chose this moment to inform me we were likely surrounded by lurking members of the FARC, armed with machetes.

“But do not worry!” he said. Apparently, we had no reason to fear the guerrilleros in our midst, because not only was Juan Manuel the second best BMX biker in Colombia, he was also not stoned that day and therefore capable of running away.

You just don’t get considerate tour guides like Juan Miguel in the UK – nor thrilling adventures like this. And yet so many people opt out of international travel and opt instead for a staycation.

A staycation – that’s just boring, isn’t it?

Monkeys in Brazil

When you’re trying to work a little too remotely…

I’ll admit, there have been several times a staycation seemed a good idea to me, but those were fleeting moments, mostly on a trip itself when something had gone awry, like when I missed a deadline for an article and the excuse “the monkeys wouldn’t get off my laptop” didn’t quite stick; or the time I was chased around a 5-star Australian cruise ship by an amorous chef; or the time a Peruvian fruit bat handler made me cry by holding two mating tarantulas in my face at the dinner table; or the time my asado lunch reappeared projectile-style on a family’s prized vineyard in Argentina. (I could go on, but you get the point).

A staycation would have helped me avoid such things. But then… I would have had to stay at home. And where’s the fun in that?

Friends in Amsterdam

When you opt for a staycation, you can play with your friends on your time off!

To be honest, since I’ve stopped living out of a suitcase, words like ‘home’ and ‘stability’ sound rather soothing, instead of scary. Perhaps I’ve gotten less adventurous (or just more ‘sensible’), but somewhere on the inexorable march towards 40 I started to find that taking some time to explore my immediate surroundings was often just as enjoyable as hopping on yet another plane.

The Inca Trail

The Inca Trail. Worth the hellish bus ride to Cusco I guess.

There’s no reason you can’t find fun on your own doorstep.

Of course, you don’t have to agree at all. And chances are I’ll be bored here by the time I’ve even finished this article – it’s the curse of chronic wanderlust I tell you! – but with age and wisdom on my side (ahem) here’s why I think staying home on staycation can be better than traveling somewhere new!

You’ll save time

I once took a 17-hour bus trip across Peru, next to very short lady nursing a pet lamb. In a sack. Her sack of lamb and I were both a tad disgruntled by the time we hit Cusco (where I was due to walk the Inca Trail) and I wished I’d sucked it up and bought a flight. 17 hours is a long time to spend next to an angry lamb.

My point is, traveling takes time. Lots of time. If you’re not stuck on a bus, train or plane, you’re sitting about waiting for one and the farther you go, the more time you waste, it seems. Planning a staycation means making the most of your time and doing only the things you like, in the places you love. With no weird lamb sacks (hopefully).

Giant clogs in Amsterdam

Why travel abroad? Stay home and stand in giant clogs with mum!

You’ll never have jet lag

I’ve been given a shed-load of helpful tips to beat jet lag in my time. Get onto your destination’s timezone early, use the flight to sleep, never take a red-eye, prepare yourself with the ever-awesome online Jetlag Rooster; blah blah blah. You want to know the best way to avoid jet lag? STAY OFF PLANES! Stay at home. You heard it here first, kids.

There’s something to love about every season

In 2002, some friends and I paid about $350 for a week’s all-inclusive break to Cancun. Oh yes. We were as smug as three Brits in bikinis could get, baby… until we arrived to find Hurricane Peter tossing sun-loungers about the resort with a fury so formidable we sat inside for a week, drinking our way through the cocktail menu, scowling at the rain. With a staycation, you NEVER have to worry about weird seasons (or dashed expectations).

Just look out the window – is it nice? Get out there! Is it awful? Simply go later, or watch a travel show about your city on YouTube and pretend you went outside.

Jeep in Boliva's salt flats

Who needs dodgy suspension and bad music? Staycation away from Bolivia.

You’ll learn new stuff about your city

Travelling experiences are cool because we learn new stuff, right? I mean, until you are literally on a 4-day jeep tour of the salt flats of Bolivia (with no escape) you can’t possibly know the pain that comes from a) no suspension, b) a German couple who won’t stop snogging in the seat beside you, c) 7 hours of “Cochabamba” music, which for the uninformed sounds like a haunted children’s orchestra mated with a bad 80s video game and a bagpipe.

A staycation is a great excuse to be a tourist in your city without getting stuck! Home is close, so go on tours you can run from if you need to, dive into history, go to a new shop/pub/restaurant, and if you see any snogging Germans, remind them to take a staycation themselves next time.

Burning Man 2016

Don’t add to the weirdness at Burning Man when you can stay home.

You’ll never need a sitter

Once I asked my boyfriend nicely if he would water my plants while I was partying it up at Burning Man. I arrived home to find an equivalent desert of dead stuff in my living room. He’d forgotten. (And they’re always exes for a reason – pfffft). Finding a responsible person to look after plants, or pets, or God-forbid children is not easy and nor is it cheap. With a staycation, you can care for your loved ones and have a lovely holiday.

You might not find a giant medusa sculpture to hug at home, of course, but that’s the price you pay for having living plants and children.

Vegemite in Patagonia

It’s always good to know you’re close to the things you love.

You’ll always have your creature comforts

There’s nothing worse than going on vacation and realizing you’ve forgotten something that’s absolutely essential. Like the time I boarded a cruise ship in Patagonia for 4 days and discovered they didn’t have Marmite! I know, it was awful. Luckily my Australian travel buddy had some Vegemite, which under the circumstances made an acceptable substitute. But had I stayed at home, I would have been able to enjoy Marmite.

Granted, I wouldn’t have seen the snow-capped mountains, or sea lions, or beaver-dams, or drank whisky chilled by the chiselled scrapings of a floating iceberg… but yeah, I would have had Marmite. Alright, I have a Marmite problem. But that’s beside the point. The point is: when you travel, you have to make do with what you have and do without some of the things you like or love. At home, you’ve got all the comfort of, well… home.

So there you go.

Perhaps the idea of staying home doesn’t sound so bad now? You’ll save time and money, you get to keep an eye on your home, you always know what the weather’s going to be doing, and if you meet any weird locals they’re probably just your neighbors… and they probably think you’re just as weird.

Travel on, travelers, and let me know the joys you discover on your very own doorstep!

 

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