How I Can Afford To Travel!

My most REVEALING post to date! If you've been wondering how the hell I've been able to last traveling this long, well here it is! All secrets are out in the open! This post tells you how I do it, and how YOU can do it too!

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Working On A Cruise Ship

I somehow managed to get myself a job working at a Cruise Ship. This post is an inside look on what it's really like to live and work below deck. You never know... You might be enticed to work for one too, and travel the whole world like me! Read on to find out more...

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Scotland: My Favorite Country In The World

I've been to many places in several different continents, and have seen spectacular beauty... But every time I visit Scotland, every other country pales in comparison. Read this post to find out why at this point, Scotland was and still is, in my opinion, the most beautiful place on Earth...

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On Finding My Bliss In Italy

When you go on big trips like this, however cheesy it sounds, you always do end up 'finding yourself'. And there are moments... difinitive moments when you achieve clarity, contentment, and pure happiness. This all happened to me in Italy. Read my most soulful post to date, inspired by the full moon in Italia...

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On Being Featured In A Documentary

I somehow managed to get myself featured in an upcoming documentary about "Voluntourism". This may be the big break I've been waiting for! The trailer is out - and I'm in it! It looks so good, I'm so excited! See for yourself... watch it here!

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An Epiphany At Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre is one of my favorite places in Italy. We hiked 5 villages in one day, and it was breathtaking! But something completely unexpected happened on the hike... An encounter with a complete stranger made me realize possibly one of the most important things I need to do with my life...

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My Ayahuasca Experience

Ayahuasca, is by far, the most INTENSE thing I have ever experienced in my life. I died and was reborn. It is both horrific and beautiful at the same time... I can't explain it in a few words. You HAVE to read my story to believe... I promise it will be worth your while...

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

My RTW Trip Update: A Gap Year Review



Merry Christmas, everyone! And, I guess - Happy Boxing Day!

I just spent a wonderful Christmas here in Wales, gobbling up the most delicious holiday feast, courtesy of my besties, Abby, Kit and their family. It would have been perfect if it snowed... but alas, we only got a few hail showers. Perhaps the Universe didn't want to spoil me... having already given me SO MUCH this year. :)

It;s hard to believe 2013 is almost over, and that this is my LAST post of the year! My old life in Los Angeles seems light years away, and yet at the same time, it feels like I've only just begun!


MY GAP YEAR REVIEW

To give everyone (including myself) a good recap of the events that transpired during the year, here is a timeline of my journey... My Big Year.

MARCH 9 - I flew out of Los Angeles to The Philippines, to complete the training of my work replacement at Bosley.



MARCH 29 - My official last day of working at Bosley.

APRIL 19 - I was invited as a guest speaker on Travel Inspiration for TRAVEL MASSIVE Manila


MAY 4 - I flew out of Manila to SYDNEY, joined by my Travel Buddy, ShinyHappyKaren




MAY 8 - We flew from Sydney to MELBOURNE



MAY 14 - ShinyHappyKaren and I parted ways, as she remained in Melbourne and I flew to AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

MAY 17 - Drove to MATA MATA for The Hobbiton Movie Set Tour




MAY 17 - Drove to ROTORUA after Hobbiton, and had my first COUCHSURFING experience with the most wonderful host, Karen, and met a fellow couchsurfer and traveler, Dulce.

MAY 19 - Drove to GISBORNE to see the first sunlight of the world



MAY 20 - Drove down to NAPIER, passing through TE MATA PEAK for the amazing views




MAY 22 - Drove to WELLINGTON and stayed with my old college buddy, Mikey.



MAY 27 - Arrived in TOKYO, JAPAN and stayed with my high school best friend, Fernie

MAY 29 - Went on an overnight trip to KYOTO

JUNE 4 - Arrived in DUBAI, UAE and hung out with my friends from college.


JUNE 10 - Arrived in LONDON

JUNE 26 - GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL



JULY 5 - Weekend trip to Liverpool with one of my dearest friends, Andy



JULY 17 - Went up to SCOTLAND to visit my good friends, Paul and Aly in Edinburgh, and to do an Isle of Skye and Highlands tour


JULY 29 - Went on a day trip to York, on my way back down to London

AUGUST 14 - Left the UK for ITALY. Arrived in Genova for my first Help Exchange Experience at The Shanti House


SEPTEMBER 3 - Day Trip to CINQUE TERRE



SEPTEMBER 8 - Left The Shanti House for La Preghiera in Umbria, Italy, for my second Help Exchange Experience


SEPTEMBER 21 - Left Umbria for ROME


SEPTEMBER 24 - Left Rome for GENOVA to hang out with my friends from The Shanti House

SEPTEMBER 27 - Road Trip to MILAN to see one of our friends, Alessando, play music.

OCTOBER 1 - Left Italy for CORFU, GREECE for my third Help Exchange Experience, working at The Pink Palace Hostel

OCTOBER 11 - Left Corfu for ATHENS

OCTOBER 15 - Left Athens for NAXOS for my fourth Help Exchange Experience, working at Hotel Kouros in Apollonas Village


OCTOBER 20 - Left Naxos for SANTORINI

OCTOBER 23 - Took the ferry from Santorini to MYKONOS




OCTOBER 28 - Left Greece for TEL AVIV, ISRAEL for my fifth Help Exchange Experience, working at The Overstay Hostel


NOVEMBER 4 - Day Trip to JERUSALEM




NOVEMBER 16 - Day Trip to MASADA and THE DEAD SEA

NOVEMBER 18 - Crossed the border to JORDAN to visit PETRA



NOVEMBER 21 - Flew out of Israel, and into the UK once again

NOVEMBER 24 - Day Trip to BRIGHTON, ENGLAND

NOVEMBER 26 - Went on a quick 2 day trip to EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND


NOVEMBER 30 - Took the bus to CARDIFF, WALES

DECEMBER 5 - Went on a Day Trip to BATH, ENGLAND

DECEMBER 21 - Drove from CARDIFF to WEST WALES for the Christmas holidays, and this is where I still am at the moment.

PHEW!


 Karijgfaeiordsufjan$%lweifuan&lwf8un)(&0384r8!!!!! Honestly, I've been so busy moving forward, that I never really had the opportunity to look back on everything that I've done and all the places I've seen till now. And that's the honest truth. For realz. It's pretty crazy, and a little overwhelming. If you think about it, I've only really visited 10 countries total. It doesn't sound like much, but the experiences I've gained, and the new friends I've made, makes all the difference in the world. 

One of the things that I learned about this trip is that - TRAVELING SLOW really makes the experience worthwhile. I've visited 10 countries in 21 days when I did the Contiki Trip 5 years ago... and even if I have a lot of photos of tourist destinations to show for, I don't really have much to say about the culture of those countries I visited... nor the people. I realized that I prefer spending those 21 days staying put in 1 country, rather than 10, because as it turns out, one of my favorite things about travel is meeting locals, getting to know them, and learning about the way they live.

I have learned SO MUCH about Italy, Greece and Israel (the three countries where I spent more time on)... I've taken away so many new life skills from my experiences in those places, and met SO MANY people whom I consider kindred spirits that have enriched my soul and turned me into a better person. 



WHATS NEXT?


You know what the most amazing thing about this whole thing is? It's that I'm actually not done yet. Yes, 2013 is about to end, but my Gap Year still continues! After my stint in the UK, the plan is to head over to Spain for a couple weeks, maybe see Madrid, Portugal, and visit my friend in Valencia... THEN off to SOUTH AMERICA for the win! Carnival in Rio, Brazil is scheduled for Feb 28 to March 4. Plans aren't set in stone yet, but I fully intend to attend that festival. PERU is also in the radar for Machu Picchu... plus I've been accepted as a volunteer for The Light and Leadership Initiative over there. I'd like to spend about a month helping them out, teaching kids English, Music and Art. I hear great things about Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay as well, so... South America is going to be BIG for Earth2Eartha. HUGE. And you know what? Because of the people I've met from over there, I have a *really* good feeling about that continent. A *really* good feeling. I can't explain it... but I'm excited! 



WHY TRAVEL?


I'm scrolling through the timeline I made above, and I scratch my head in awe. Can I really, truly be this lucky? This year has been amazing. One of, if not THE best year of my life! It's not glamorous though, I tell ya. The life of a poor backpacker is not one for the faint heart. I've worked my ass off volunteering in those places for free board and lodging, been bitten by bed bugs staying at a cheap hostel (and I am scarred for life), hurt my back in more ways than one, carrying my backpack running from one plane or train terminal to the next, and I've cleaned wayy too many toilets than I have in my lifetime, alright? It ain't pretty.
But what I've gained from all of this is just soooo much more than what I thought it was going to be. This year has taught me more about myself than anything... I've discovered strength, kindness and tolerance I didn't know I had. I learned that - I'm comfortable being alone, but that being by myself in a beautiful yet deserted Greek Island is not my idea of a good time. And most importantly, I learned that communication is not limited to words or language alone... Sometimes, good intentions and a smile can go further than a paragraph.
I've made so many great new friends on this journey, and I have seen the world through different eyes. None of this would have happened, had I not taken a leap of faith to follow my heart. It sounds corny, but sometimes, you *need* corny in your life. I'm so insanely ape-shit happy right now, I have nothing but corny love to give to all of you.

Every now and again, I still get asked by people why I'm doing this. Why I travel. Why did I turn back on a life of glamour and security? Why trade a life of luxury for a life of austerity on the road? Why did I let go of everything I own, and live off on just a backpack full of things? Why travel at all?


My answer has not and will not change. It is permanently etched on my wrist.

Why? 


Why not? :)

Pourquoi pas? :)

** Watch out for next week's Top 13 of 2013 post.
In the meantime... HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Back In The UK: My Home For The Holidays




Greetings from Cardiff, Wales!

Here I am again, in my home base... The good ole United Kingdom! It's a good thing I'm such an anglophile... I feel like I've been here longer than I have in LA this year! I'm pretty lucky that I have several places here where I could "hang my hat", so to speak... A place in London, a place in Edinburgh, and a place in Cardiff.

It was always my plan to come back here for the holidays though... I wanted to be surrounded by friends and people I love for Christmas, instead of a random hostel somewhere in the world. I'm sure I would have found a way to make it fun even then, but Christmas is and always will be special to me... and I think I'll always want to surround myself with friends or family during this time of the year.


LONDON

Tottenham Court Road

After my stint in Israel, I flew back to London and spent a week with my friend, Lea. It was great to see London all decked out with lights, especially at night. I mean it's already such a beautiful and diverting city to begin with... and showering all that with Christmas spirit just brought the beauty to a whole other level.

I checked out their Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park with a few of my friends...


London Winter Wonderland

Though, I have to admit... I might have enjoyed the walk through Hyde Park to get to Winter Wonderland better than I did Winter Wonderland. The Fall colors are BEAUTIFUL...


Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park

EDINBURGH

The BEAUTIFUL Edinburgh Castle

I went to visit my friends in Edinburgh for a couple days on a whim. I took the night bus (a 9 hour journey) on a Monday night, got there Tuesday morning, then took the night bus back to London on Wednesday night. It cost me about 15 pounds each way... It would have just been 7 pounds if I had booked earlier. It was short --- but seeing that Edinburgh is one of my favorite places in the world -- it was totally worth it!



They had a Christmas Market right by Princess Street in front of the Edinburgh Castle. It was absolutely beautiful... I honestly could have just sat there, in front of the carousel, for the entire two days I was there. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I LOVE SCOTLAND!!!



BRIGHTON


I took a day trip to Brighton to visit two fabulous ladies I met in Santorini, Manisha and Laura. I hadn't really been to Brighton before, but heard really good things about it. It's such a cute seaside town with a pier, and a ton of cute little shops and sweet cafe's... It's so colorful and quaint... It's one of those little towns where you can just walk and get lost and find your way again... I love it. It was a pleasant surprise, discovering this hidden gem... and I've already made plans to go back and meet up with my friends again!


Manisha, Myself and Laura

CARDIFF and WEST WALES

Trinity, Abby, Tristan, Kit and Me - after picking out our Christmas Tree, whom we named, Louis.

Now, I'm here in Cardiff... staying with Abby and Kit (aka Mom and Dad) for the duration of the Holidays. It really feels like this has been my home this year, because --- if my life were like the TV show, FRIENDS, Abby and Kit are like the Monica and Chandler of the group... The "glue" that holds everyone together! My other friends, Chris, Ramya, Lea and Bel who all live in London, and Simon and Venice who both live here in Cardiff, all sort of just gravitate towards Cardiff, to "go home to Mom and Dads" for special occasions. It'll be great to have everyone all together for either Christmas or New Year's...
A complete group photo of "The Fam" from this Summer


Some of us have already hung out... We checked out the Winter Wonderland in Cardiff... I saw my first ever REINDEER and it was so magical, I almost cried! (FULL DISCLOSURE: Up until recently, I didn't think reindeer existed. I thought they were as fictional as Santa Clause was.) 


Magic...

And my girlfriends and I have had the chance to go on a proper night out... It's been a while since I got dressed up. It feels sooo good to be a girl again! Not that I ever wasn't... but you know what I mean.

Abby, Me and Lea

Mostly though, I've just been at home, helping Abby take care of the baby, Tristan... (I'm a way better babysitter now, by the way)... Been doing a little cooking for them too - which is GREAT, because I get to showcase the stuff I've learned from Italy, Greece and Israel. I've been walking around their neighborhood a lot, enjoying the autumn foliage. Life in Cardiff is so relaxed and quiet. It's a complete contrast to what I've been used to in LA. I do really appreciate the solemnity of being here though. The air is different. It's cleaner, and it smells good. There's no smog, and there's just something about being surrounded by a natural environment.


This is my everyday life. Walking the dog, and the baby down this path. Pretty isn't it?
On the other hand, it's a little *too* quiet, that it makes me miss the fast paced life that I'm used to.
One day, I'll be able to find a place where there's a good balance of both. Right now I'm enjoying the different discoveries... :)


CHRISTMAS


We'll be headed to Kit's mom's house in West Wales over the weekend, and that's where we'll be staying for Christmas, and I'm assuming New Years also. It should be amazing... we've been planning the menu for our entire stay there for weeks (months, for Abby)... The presents have been wrapped, the stockings all hung by the fireplace.. The tree (a real one), lit up... Seriously, the only thing that I could EVER EVER wish for is... SNOW. Please... Please give me snow... It doesn't even have to be on Christmas day... I just want SNOW, please... The kind of snow that makes everything pretty... I would love to be able to experience waking up to see fresh powder outside my window.




But seriously, I've had such a magnificent year... possibly the best of my life so far... so if it doesn't happen, I guess it won't be so bad. There's always next year... :)

And I shall leave you with that for now.

Have a GREAT Christmas, everyone!!!

Love,
Eartha





Thursday, December 12, 2013

Don't Pay Me: A Documentary About "Voluntouring"




In the past year, one of my writer friends published a book using me as an inspiration for one of her characters... Then in London, I inadvertently ended up as a poster child for The Color Run UK... And now, I am going to be featured in a documentary about volunteering and traveling. 

Busy year!

"Voluntouring" is a term that is being used more and more in the travel community nowadays, and it means exactly that --- Volunteering while Touring! That's actually what I'm doing via the website called, Help Exchange, where you can get free board and lodging anywhere in the world in exchange for a few hours of labor.

While I was voluntouring at The Shanti House in Italy, 3 Polish Filmmakers came to visit and film my fellow volunteers and I as we were working there.

DON'T PAY ME

Their documentary, "Don't Pay Me," is essentially about "an alternative way of living, traveling and self development without money". They traveled to 8 different places around Europe to film and document the life of a volunteer in various locations and work situations. They've gone to places like Healing Castles to Breweries to Farms, to The Shanti House -- a special and rustic B&B, situated up in the Western mountains of Italy.


BEING FILMED AT THE SHANTI


To be perfectly honest, I doubt these guys got any good footage of us actually "working" at The Shanti House. Not because we were lazy bums, but because they came at a really slow time where there were hardly any guests. There were about 5 of us working when they came, and I think all they ever saw us do was hang out, play music, drink some wine, eat pasta and cheese, and party!

With my fellow volunteers and my amazing hosts at The Shanti House


The ONE TIME they caught us "working"

Hanging out listening to live music. One of our many "down times" at The Shanti House

They did however manage to interview all of us, including the owners, Franco and Martina. They even tagged along when we had our day off in Cinque Terre! It was weird having them follow us with their cameras then... Weird in a cool way, though. It's not everyday I get my own personal paparazzi... :)


My interview footage!

Paparazzi Shot at Cinque Terre

A photo of me taking a photo in Cinque Terre

TRAVEL INSPIRATION

As I got to know the boys and their project, the more I realized that their film is actually more about inspiring people to get out there and travel...to do something outside of the norm... and to let everyone know that it is possible to live an alternative life. That life doesn't necessarily have to be what society says it should be... That you could be much happier with less. They want to advocate that you don't need a lot of money to be able to do things that you love... and that job satisfaction doesn't necessarily equate to the amount of cash you make.


I was singing along to one of the singers visiting The Shanti House. One of my favorite things about being there: The Music
It's really very similar to what I hope to achieve through this blog... which is why I think it's pretty cosmic that I ended up meeting them and getting myself featured on this documentary. "Don't Pay Me" and "Earth2Eartha" have the same cause... We both want to inspire people with the knowledge that we have, and share it with anyone who wants to listen.

THE TRAILER

Piotr and Grzegorz in action!

I met the boys and we were filmed in August. They released the trailer, and I was so pleasantly surprised to find out that I'm in it!!! Please check it out and tell me what you think. I really have high hopes for this project, and I think it has a GREAT message. Help me support my friends by liking their Facebook Page and following them on Twitter to get news and updates about the up and coming documentary.


video

Play the trailer above, or see the video through this link 
http://vimeo.com/79295959

Piotr, Ryszard and Grzegorz... Best of luck to the three of you! Buona Fortuna! Ciao! :)



(Photos by Grzegorz Hospod)