The other weekend, the USS George Washington was in Brisbane for shore leave before heading up the Queensland coast for some war games.
There were no tours of the boat (ship? I’m not up on the terminology) but considering I didn’t know that was even an option sometimes I didn’t feel too left out. Though I would be interested in a tour the next time one comes that does allow tours. Having said that, I did see a few photos on Instagram of people who were on the George Washington for a dinner – so I guess you had to be “important” (politically) to get on board. Yawn.
I have a thing for these Navy boats. It’s all JAG’s fault. Despite reading once that JAG’s demographics were ex military personnel and that it was nearly exclusively viewed by people over forty (sorry, this was a long time ago so no references) I really loved the show as a teenager.
Which lead me to watch documentaries occasionally on the US military navy plane ships (see, I’m really not up on the terminology) and a
small giant dream of mine is to get to go on one of those fighter jets that gets launched from the ship-boat.
It’s probably also the fault of rollercoasters, because I love theme parks and rollercoasters too. So this is like the ultimate real life rollercoaster experience that is impossible to ever get to do.
Do you have any probably impossible travel dreams?
A visual tour of Sea World on the Gold Coast
As you can see, the Sea World monorail is a bit hard to see out of, due to the prints they have on the outside.
What’s your favourite theme park?
Last year I was flicking through Pinterest and ended up on a mainstream website that had all these travel tips and advice for hotels. Some of it was the usual stuff like knowing where your emergency exits are and checking that your door actually does lock – all pretty fair, logical and safe.
But the bit of advice that really got me was that you must check under your bed when you get into the room. Apparently there’s a high risk of there being a dead body under there and the cleaners do such a slap-dash job that no one has noticed there’s a dead body.
Yep. I actually thought it was a joke, but I think they meant is as serious advice. Now, I’m not saying this has never, ever happened in the history of the world, but really?! If you’re staying a place that’s so bad there’s a risk of dead bodies under the bed, then I’d be more worried about your decision to say in a place where that is a risk!
Nautrally, last year I decided to take this advice on my next possible trip, because I really hate it when someone gets to say “I told you so” to me. So when my blogging buddy Gayel and I checked into the QT for ProBlogger 2014, I left my suitcase just inside the door of the room and dropped to the floor.
See, no dead bodies:
Phew. I guess there was no “I told you so” that time!
What’s the funniest bit of bad travel advice you’ve ever heard?
Tips for visiting Sea World on the Gold Coast
- Under the main monorail station (nearest the entrance to the park) there are lockers, toilets and prayer rooms (male and female)
- Drink prices are often advertised as the price they cost when bought with a meal. It will cost more to buy it if you buy them alone.
- Despite what the website says, most people I saw had at least some of their own food there. The website states guests with allergies can bring their own food. My other half has weird health issues and strange restrictions on what he can eat. And I just eat the same as him because why make two sets of food when there’s only two of you?
- Eating at any theme park in Australia is ridiculously expensive. Expect $15-20 per person for each meal. More if you want multiple drinks throughout the day.
- If you have an annual pass, write down your pass code. This makes it faster for them to reissue you with it if you lose it. There is a $5 per pass fee associate with it. The lovely staff member at the gate suggested kindly that I do this, having the surname Smith! It would make it faster for them and you if this situation arises.
- Staff at concession stands will fill up water bottles for you. One that I spoke to implied that some staff will say no and tell you to fill them up in the toilets. Just go ask someone else if this happens. Note that the water isn’t always cold, it can be room temperature.
- There is one water fountain in the park. It’s in the stingray pool area – up the back towards the place you can buy food to feed them. It’s behind where you can wash your hands. I don’t think anyone knows it’s there, though it is listed on the park map:
What tips do you have for visiting Sea World on the Gold Coast?
I did a lot of my traveling when I was in school – which was now a little while ago! In recent years I’ve been staying in the one place for work and study, but that doesn’t meant the travel bug isn’t still gnawing away at me. One thing I do get a bit particular on is comfort. Just because you’re traveling, doesn’t mean that you can’t have comfortable items with you.
Travel Comforts DIY
My main thoughts for this travel comforts DIY was long distance flying – there’s no need to leave it to chance that the airline will provide amenities for your comfort.
I bought all three of these items from a store in Brisbane called Dasio where everything costs $2.80. So while these aren’t going to be long-lasting items, it’s a fair degree of comfort for only $8.40!
I went with the three basic items that I find make me comfortable:
Everyone has their own preference about blow up vs bean filled, and that will also largely depend on your available bag space. I went with bean filled because I find them more comfortable and because it saves the huffing and puffing into funny smelling plastic.
This particular pillow is great because there is a loop at the top where you can easily attach it to a bag or suitcase so you don’t lose it while in the airport.
If you need dark room to sleep like I do, then never travel without an eye mask! It can be the one thing that lets you get much needed rest. Just one tip on eye masks – if you have a big head like me (cough) make sure that it’s not going to be too tight! Test it before you go away.
This was actually an afterthought – but one I liked a lot. Long distance travel means you don’t always want your shoes on, but you also don’t want to walk around on public surfaces barefoot. A bargain compromise.
What do you take with you to make travel more comfortable?
I miss travel. It’s something I can block out most of the time, but then I read a post like this one and the love I feel for it rushes back in. I feel the anger I have towards doctors who don’t seem to care we still live in limbo about my husband’s health. I feel the anger I have towards unstable income and the duty I have as the sole income earner. The struggles I feel when a part time job just isn’t paying the bills. The avoidance of using my Pinterest account for this blog as it makes me sad to see all the places I can’t go.
My only travel this year so far was a night away an hours drive from home. But it was so good. I had space. I had time. I had absolute freedom from daily life. Do you know how much you need a break from daily life? It hit home to me when I was walking around the Gold Coast on my own, trying to work out what to get for dinner.
I stopped in at Nandos for some chips to go with the salad I had just bought in the supermarket. I didn’t have the money to buy food at the hotel I was staying at but a picnic on the beach is probably more my style anyway.
I placed my order at the counter and took a seat to wait while my chips were cooked. I was doing the usual ‘waiting’ things, staring off into space, playing around on social media, scribbling down ideas in a notebook … when suddenly I panicked. I looked at the time to see how long I had been waiting. Shit! I had used up some of my half an hour!! Shit! Time was running out. I had to get back to work. I only had half an hour to eat and get back. GET BACK TO WORK.
It was a bit of a ‘holy fuck’ moment for me. My brain is so, SO wired to my 9-5′s and taking the minimum breaks that I worried while on holiday that I could only take half an hour to eat.
The ridiculous part is that most jobs I’ve ever had pretty much let me choose the length of time I take for lunch anyway. It’s me that chooses to take only half an hour, to get home quickest to get onto doing other things.
No. That won’t do. I don’t hate my day jobs, in fact I’m grateful for the stable income they give me so I can develop this very neglected travel blog, as well as my personal blog and my blog about blogging. I couldn’t work on any of these if I didn’t have a day job income. I don’t want to quit my job and travel. I like having my own house and want to be a home owner. But travel just says in your veins. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid. It will never leave me. Have I been anywhere new in recent years? Eh, not really. A city that you fly into for the day to sit in a conference room doesn’t count to me. But for however long my blood flows, travel will flow through me too.
For now I may very well have to explore locally. To find a great new park in a local suburb. It will have to do. Because I have to do something that makes me feel new.
How do you balance life and travel desires?
Shark Bay is one of my favourite parts of Sea World. As much as I like theme parks, I’m not a fan of crowds and I love animals, so I find that it’s a great place to decompress during the hottest & busiest part of the day. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves:
The entry sign at Shark Bay
Shark heading towards me!
Beautiful giant turtle.
Do you love the animal areas at theme parks?
You can read part one here and part two here.
Another day, another beautiful sunrise from the QT Hotel.
I am a huge buffet fan and the QT is the best I’ve been to.
Huge selection of juices and milks.
Shayne Tilley on stage during the email marketing sessions with great advice: don’t just build a form for your email newsletter, build a benefit.
Great advice for pretty much any situation – learn from others, but don’t think you have to imitate them.
I was in the bar and missed lunch (and an entire session), so a quick bar meal it was.
Chris Ducker on stage with his wisdom.
Two years in a row I’ve been to the QT for ProBlogger, and two years in a row I’ve been so busy I haven’t gotten to enjoy the hotel facilities. It was a bit too cold for a swim, but I did dip my foot in!
After two very full-on days, my roommate and I took a sunset walk to relax and clear our heads. I love how empty the beach was.
We did go out for dinner too, but I think the AH-MAZING food at Bazaar deserves its own post…and another trip down there for more eating!
You can catch up on Part 1 here.
Beautiful sunrise to wake up to. Hello Gold Coast!
The best part of the buffet breakfast at the QT Hotel Gold Coast.
The point at which I got very excited because it was STARTING!
Mr ProBlogger himself on stage – with great advice behind him. Because if you don’t start, you’ll never have opportunities.
Virgin Australia were major sponsors again and we were treated to some Business Class food of theirs. FAR too sweet for me but it’s also not the sort of thing I have often, so anything juice-like is too sweet for me!
Lunch time sweet treat.
Amazing Fruit Tower at lunch.
I left a session that afternoon & went back to my room to decompress – ProBlogger is a conference where a LOT of information is thrown at you and sometimes you need a break. I was following along with the hashtag on my laptop.
No conference is complete without a cocktail party!
Food to go with the champers :)
And that was day two in photos! There is a lot more that I learned, but copious handwritten notes make for a boring blog post!
Woah. Well the ProBlogger conference was last weekend at the Gold Coast, hosted again by the quirky QT Hotel. I took many photos of the conference and hotel, so I’ve divided the posts up by day to give you a visual tour of what the Gold Coast, the QT hotel and the ProBlogger Conference is like.
Suitcase packed and read to go! Other bag full of food. And maybe wine.
On the road!
I love the carpet in the hallways at the QT Hotel!
Comfy twin room at the QT hotel on the Gold Coast
View from 14th floor QT Hotel Gold Coast
A couple of days before the conference I was reading a travel article that said you HAVE to check under hotel beds for dead bodies when you check in. So I checked. No dead body here.
Instead of eating out on the first night, my roomie and I did a little DIY room service.
Sangria from the Stingray bar within the QT Hotel.
And there you have it! Day one (travel day) of the 2014 ProBlogger conference in pictures. Stay tuned for part 2.
Have you ever stayed at the QT Hotel on the Gold Coast?