Safety is super important. Always be cautious when walking alone at night and buy pepper spray.
Rideshare Apps are your best friends. Uber and Lyft come in handy as public transport is so unreliable.
It’s much harder to spot celebrities. They’re very good at disguising themselves with caps and oversized sunglasses, blending in with us ordinary folk.
Don't visit the Hollywood Museum of Death
This maze-like museum is flooding with items surrounding death: coffins, EXTREMELY graphic photographs of crimes undertaken on victims, taxidermy animals, hundreds of skeletons and artwork and letters from serial killers. I'm a fan of horror films so when my friend suggested we visit the Death Museum located on Hollywood Boulevard I was actually really enthusiastic. My excitement quickly turned into regret once we stepped foot inside and walked amongst those eerie artifacts. I certainly felt an unusual presence following me and held onto the cross around my neck. Maybe I was being dramatic but the atmosphere inside is indeed spine-chilling. Definitely do not visit this place if you're squeamish; there were moments where I even felt as though I was going to throw up, especially upon seeing photos of decapitated heads. The price is $17, quite high, probably because they know that no one is going to come back for a second time...
First published in Go World Travel
I had been living in Los Angeles for just under a month before my eldest brother came out to visit me. I wanted to make his 2 weeks in the US worthwhile so in our classic family style we hired a car and took to the road, attempting to visit a number of National Parks along the way.
We were staying in Las Vegas when we made the decision to spend a day exploring one of the largest and driest national parks in the United States, Death Valley National Park - approximately a 2½hr drive from Vegas (or a 4hr drive from Los Angeles). The night before we left to go on this spontaneous adventure we had come up with a brief list of things to see and do, not really knowing what to expect. All we knew was that the original Star Wars films had been shot in a few of the park's locations. And as big fans we had a feeling the day ahead was bound to be exciting.
There is so much to see and do at Death Valley National Park. Incredible volcanic colours are pasted across the landscape, there are stunning views of snow capped mountains, creepy ghost towns to explore, and abundant adventures to undertake; from hiking to sand-boarding.
Although we only had one day it was still worth the trip as we got to see most of the touristy sites - the benefits of going in February. But I’d highly advise spending more than one day, it'll give you time to relax and explore further sections of the park up north. And always go during the winter months - weather for us reached about 25°C (77°F ) which then rose subtly when walking through the canyons.
Here is a list of the best places to see in Death Valley National Park.
Staying home and binge watching brain-dead television may sound appealing to some but after awhile even that can turn into a monotonous routine. Below I've put together a list of the best and most unexpected places in Los Angeles to relax.
Echo Park Lake
I worked at the swan boat rentals at Echo Park Lake for about a month when I first moved out to Los Angeles. It was such a chill job, and being able to spend my lunch breaks resting on the grass, enjoying the warm sun whilst people watching was so relaxing. Take a short stroll around the lake and listen to the wildlife around you, afterwards you'll feel completely refreshed.
SENSE OF BELONGING
Growing up I was obsessed with art and crafts, storytelling, and making d-grade movies (clearly not worthy of the b-grade notability) on my mum’s JVC camcorder. I was always a visual learner and steered towards the arts and humanities subjects unlike my science and mathematical counterparts. Naturally I didn’t quite fit in. When I finally spoke to the careers advisor about wanting to be a film director he simply told me to “be more realistic” and focus on a grounded career path like teaching... Fair enough. I didn’t know the first thing about being a director but, at that stage I was not going to let some middle aged man with a receding hairline, coffee stained shirt and a crooked back from slouching at the computer tell me what to do with my life.
First published in Wanderful
I know what you're thinking, how could anyone visit Yosemite National Park in just 2 DAYS?
My dad frequently spoke about the grandeur of the surrounding cliff faces and peaks, commenting on how the Yosemite Valley was almost too beautiful to be real. So naturally Yosemite had always been on my bucket list growing up. Despite the little time I had to visit the park I was so glad I got to experience it in person instead of on the back of an old postcard.
Whilst on a walking tour of San Francisco our volunteer guide had typed out an extensive list of attractions and experiences that should and should not be done whilst visiting this city. I forgot the lads name but had to repost as it was such a great guide for those who have no clue on what to do whilst here. Enjoy!
Things you MUST do on a visit to San Francisco
Ride the Hyde Street cable car
Visit the Golden Gate Bridge
See the giant Redwoods, Sequoias, or ancient Bristlecone Pines
Fakeness is HUGE - and I'm not just talking about those fake titties. There is really no authenticity to a lot of the people here. Unfortunately, many will use you for their own personal gain.
I've had strangers give me the side eye at the grocery store for purchasing regular milk over the standard cashew, almond, or oat milk...
Although it can be difficult to form solid friendships and relationships once you find your people through social events like sporting groups, church groups, work, creative networking etc, you'll discover that there are still genuine people who are just like you trying to navigate this crazy city that is Los Angeles.
San Francisco is known for its steep streets, eclectic mix of Victorian and Modern architecture, the Golden Gate Bridge, The Rock (no, not Dwayne Johnson), indie hipsters, and cable cars, just to name a few.
I was so excited to finally have the opportunity to visit the city where Mia Thermopolis finds out she's the princess of Genovia (Okay, don't judge, I grew up in the 2000s, watching not only The Princess Diaries but also, Disney's That's So Raven, and the classic Robin Williams film, Mrs. Doubtfire, all of which take place within the fabulous city of San Francisco).
The US prides itself on the ultimate roadtrip, and that was just what I wanted to achieve last weekend. With warm weather and two free days I saw it as the perfect opportunity to rent a car and head up the Pacific Coast Highway, the longest state route in California, and one of the most scenic.
I woke up early Saturday morning and picked up the rental car. Of course I was a little nervous; this being my first time driving solo on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. But much to my surprise it really wasn’t as difficult as I had expected - five months living in the US must have re-wired my brain. I took to the highway with the windows down, sun shining, music blaring, I even cracked open an ice cold Bundaberg Lemon Lime & Bitters (a rare find here in the States).
Caitlin is a 20-something broad from Australia with a passion for filmmaking, writing and exploring the world.