FullSizeRender (16)

There will be time.

I never really understood FOMO before I left on this trip and surprisingly 6 weeks in, I still don’t. I get that for some people it’s real but I have realised I don’t fall into this category.

Everyone here is doing and seeing such cool things but I am yet to feel like I am missing out on something because I know if I wanted to do it, I would make it happen. After leaving Prague for Belgrade I definitely felt like I had got what I wanted out of the city but at the same time I knew there were so many things I didn’t even touch on and I’m okay with that. I keep telling myself that if I don’t get a chance to go there or see that, it just means it is a sign from the gods that I will one day be back and can cross it off my list then.

Week one in each city is full of excitement and discovery. Finding out where to eat and what to do is a lot of fun. Belgrade is much less touristy than Prague and it’s actually quite nice to walk the streets and not be hit with hoards of selfie sticks and tour groups. I feel very relaxed here and I don’t know if it’s because it’s lovely and hot or because I don’t feel overwhelmed with a thousand and one things to do. I roughly have 4 weeks to make my way through the sites but to be honest there aren’t that many in Belgrade. Since starting RY I have become quite good at telling myself that there is no need to rush through my stay. I will get around to the underground tour of Belgrade and the 20th century walking tour and seeing the Fortress but not in week one. I want to enjoy the cities I live in and not feel pressured by having to do every single thing in the first 7 days.

Last night I came back from a 5 day London mini break and it was really nice to come back refreshed and see my friends. I spoke to them over the weekend and they filled me in on the happenings and what they were doing and weirdly not once did I feel like I was missing out on the fun they were having because I too was having my own. My sister asked me if I felt like I was missing out by being away and seeing all the pictures they were posting and hearing the stories and I said I wasn’t. I don’t know if that is good or bad but either way I really did enjoy being away for a few days.

I’m not going to burn myself out trying to do EVERYTHING in each city, that’s just silly. I will see all the things I want to see and if I don’t, so be it. There will be time, I will be back, that much I know and I can tackle part B of the list then.

Pictures (L to R)
Republic Square, Belgrade (basically on my door step) //
Miss Kelly Tappel and I at Hot Mess for 4th o’ July //
London fly over //
Mumford & Sons at Hyde Park, the reason for my London mini break //

View of the Danube River


With a little help from my friends…

Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of Half the World Away.

On today’s show, I will be interviewing some guests from a much raved about little program called Remote Year. They are certainly a loud and lively bunch of Americans, so let’s get some guests on!

Please welcome Angela Sandall, Molly Falco, Andrew Fezza and Jessica Schlauderaff.

Ladies and gent, welcome, thanks for being here.

Molly, let me start with you. Can you tell the audience a little about yourself.

Trying to figure out who I am is half the reason I’m on this trip, so thanks for that existential crisis. On a base level, though, I’m Molly, and I’m from New York City by way of Connecticut.

And Jess, Angela what about you both?

Jessica Schlauderaff. Tall, pale, and obsessed with all types of potatoes. I’m from all over the Midwestern part of the US, but most recently Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Hi, I’m Angela and I’m from Chicago, Illinois. I am an actor, singer, professional marketer and mildly obsessed with balsamic vinegar. I’m 5’3” on a good day. I really really really like Star Wars, I’m a Blackhawks fan and can belt to C5. I think I’m hilarious and my friends think I’m ridiculous and I’m known for my weird faces.

So, Andrew or Fez as you’re known, why did you decide to join the program and travel the world with 74 strangers?

For me it was a combination of wanting to see EVERYTHING and perfect timing. I also wanted a fresh start and couldn’t get myself to pick a destination or people that were flexible enough to travel for extended periods so instead I thought travel with like minded people.

Angela, you mentioned to me you needed a shock to the system, can you elaborate?

Sure, well everyone has their reasons for NOT doing something. In high school I was “too young,” in college I was “too busy” and now – after graduation and as a working professional – the time just “isn’t right.” Travel is expensive, I can’t take that much time off work, we’ll do it when we’re older… the excuses are endless. I don’t want to proceed in life under the assumption that I’ll take that trip eventually or that I’ll travel once I have more savings or that I’ll even be ALIVE in a few years. How dare I assume that the universe will afford me that luxury? Icicles fall from skyscrapers and impale people all the time! Freak accidents really happen! I could spontaneously combust!

I needed to unstick myself. There’s comfort in consistency – I had a full-time job and an amazing set of friends and a five-year plan. I felt myself stagnating and following some sort of prescribed course that was expected of me and in my heart of hearts I knew that I wasn’t psychologically ready for it. I wasn’t the person I wanted to be – I needed to be plucked from my every day so that I could continue to grow and learn and adapt.

I’m sure a lot of people on this trip can relate to that.

Jess, what about you? What made you pack up and leave?

I moved around a lot growing up, so I kind of feel like I was groomed to be nomadic. I get antsy if I live in one place for too long, probably not healthy, but don’t think about it too hard! So, I started applying for new jobs and looking at new cities to move to when I discovered a program that let me keep my same job at my same company but explore 12 different cities with a bunch of strangers. And not the crazy type of strangers, these strangers want to be my friend almost as much as I want to be their friend.

Well you guys have been in Prague now for just over 4 weeks. What have you found yourself overdosing on? Molly?

Anyone whose answer isn’t ‘beer’ is lying to you. I’ve had more Czech pilsners than my body cares to remember. Other than alcohol, though, I’d have to say togetherness. Everyone here is amazing and it’s hard to say no when people want to hang out, but I’m an introvert and need alone time to charge my batteries. I’ve definitely overdosed on people, but kind of in a good way. Kind of in a step out of your comfort zone and into the fun zone way. But also in an “I’m gonna sit in my bed and watch Czechflix alone today” kind of way.

And would you agree Angela?

Yes, beer – sweet baby Jesus I have had SO MUCH BEER. When it’s cheaper than water it’s tough to pass up, and also wait staff will just BRING it to you without even asking and then you’re like “well I guess I better drink this because it was put in front of me and I don’t want to offend the entire Czech Republic.”

So basically you have been drunk since arriving here and are possibly close to dehydration. Grand.

As I mentioned, it’s been 4 weeks since you all arrived, what have you regretted not packing? Fez?

Pens. Are you serious I hear you all say. But yes. I brought my camera. I brought a 1995 NBA All Star game jersey. I brought a disco themed speedo but I forgot pens?! I love to read and write and somehow within all those waking hours I still can’t get myself to go out and grab pens. Maybe a hardcover book or two as well.

Wow. Of all the things, pens. You know there are stores in Prague that can help you out right?

Molly, what about you?

Easy – A French press. I’ve adapted to the consumption of instant coffee but the transition hasn’t been painless and I would do unspeakable things to get a real cup of coffee. Not an Americano. Not an espresso. A goddamn brewed cup of coffee. Packing a single serve french press could have solved all my problems. I may still pick one up, if I can negotiate space for it in my bag.

And you Jess?

A few more shirts and leggings, I hate paying for  and doing laundry.

So when I found out I was going to globetrotting, one of the first thing that popped into my mind was “how I will I maintain my eyebrows?”. Weirdly though the same thought ran through the minds of my sister and mum. What was I going to do?! I would have to do them myself and the struggle is now very much real. So my last question, what is the one thing you will miss this year? Angela, you first.

My best friend and I used to cook together most nights – I miss having a fully stocked kitchen replete with weird kitchen gadgets like a dumpling folder and pizza stone. I miss the air fryer and the sense of adventure in “what are we going to cook tonight?”. I’ll adapt to having a limited kitchen and maybe I’ll pick up some cooking-for-one skills along the way but those meals are what I miss most right now.

And Molly, what about you?

Going to Whole Foods. Seriously, I haven’t seen anything made out of kale in weeks and it’s freaking me out. It’s definitely possible to eat healthy food in Prague, but it’s also much easier to eat some of their local delicacies, like fried cheese. I miss walking into a grocery store and having a million whole grain, nutrient rich, bougie-ass items to choose from.

Jess, Fez?

I miss the luxury of Target. Having a store with almost EVERYTHING you might need in one place. It’s so hard to figure out where things are sold here.

Homemade baked food. I was spoiled at home for 8 days before leaving and I’m already craving all the cookies and cakes that Momma Fez somehow made magically appear all week long.


Well thank you guys for being here and sharing with everyone a little bit about yourselves. I’m sure the viewership will appreciate it!

And I hope you spend the next year perfecting your Australian accents because quite frankly they need some work!


So many LOL’s at sunrise with Angela.


And just as many at sunset. These guys… Molly, Jess, Kevin, Me and Angela. (L to R)

FullSizeRender (8)

Boats, boats, boats! Me, Emma, Kelly, Fez and Angela. (L to R)

If you fancy knowing a little bit more about these great people, you can read their blogs here, here and here.

IG: @halftheworldaway.co

FullSizeRender (6)

Episode 4: The one where we hiked a mountain.

Last night as my friend Jess and I were headed home, ice cream in hand, I had agreed to go with her on a hike up the Czech Republics highest mountain. We were to meet outside the flat at 8am and take a train, a bus and another bus, 2.5 hours north east of Prague to the bottom on Snezka Mountain. The weather looked a little iffy but we had wet weather gear and it was only rain. Oh how wrong we were. The rain came along with its friends Hail, Thunder and Lightning. We were in for a right treat. Barely 30 minutes in and they arrived in full force and didn’t leave for a good 45 minutes, possibly longer.

After the first 10 minutes our shoes were soaked through but THANK GOD for waterproof jackets! It was turning out to be les miserables but on we marched and the higher we got it started to clear.

There was one silver lining with all this hiking, it leaves you alone with your thoughts and makes it ever so slightly easier to while away the minutes by letting your mind wander. So wander it did and for some reason I was taken back to something which happened to me before I left for this trip.

Shortly before I had to start packing up my life into boxes and bags to get to the North, I was told by someone that I was “cold and heartless for leaving”. I told them to fuck off as I certainly didn’t need that sort of negativity in the lead up to my departure. I was later given an apology but the damage was done, the words were spoken and could not be taken back. The friendship was changed as I now knew how this person felt, I was cold and heartless for moving overseas and not thinking about how it would affect them. Well to be honest, I wasn’t thinking about them. I was the one moving overseas, they weren’t.

I don’t know why but those words made me feel angry and annoyed and quite frankly it was a mean thing to say because I’m not those things. As I was schlepping it up the mountain I realised I shouldn’t have been angry or annoyed because it had nothing to do with me, it was all them and they were just being selfish. I was going away because I needed to get away from Sydney for a while. I need to be striving towards something and not settled somewhere I no longer wanted to be. I wanted to get out and it was a decision I made with my family and for myself. I wasn’t thinking about other people expect my family and they were more than happy for me to go.

As I walked, I thought about why I’m doing this trip and it’s because I need to awake something inside of me. Something in my soul needs to be moved and I want to be shaken up so this year I will be. Our group have spoken about getting outside people’s comfort zones and as cliched as that sounds, it’s very true. I have packed up and moved half way around the world to live, travel, work with 74 other people for a whole year. If that’s not a good start then I don’t know what is. It might not work out the way I hope but at least I know I tried because the alternative of being still and unmoved in Sydney is not an option, at least not right now. This is my escape for a little while, so I say this to that person who felt the need to make my trip all about them, let me escape. Let me do this for me because I’m not doing it for anyone else. Let me be a little bit selfish and go and do me for the next year. You concentrate on doing you.

FullSizeRender (7)

Poland. Views for days.


We made it.

FullSizeRender (1)

Prague | Where beer is cheaper than water and other such learnings.

Czech me out (ha!). I’ve arrived and survived my first week with my new family.

This whole Remote Year thing is actually real, there’s no turning back now. Upon arriving at Prague International Airport my delightful welcome wagon were in the arrivals hall excitedly waiting. After weeks of Facebook posts and emails they are no longer robots but actual human people. And so are the 50+ new friends I have made in the last five weeks!

After my short flight from the motherland, I along with five new pals were taken to our flat, which is AMAZING. It completely exceeded all my expectations. Anyone looking at coming to Prague really should stay here, it’s great! Luckily for me I was in much better shape than many of my fellow travellers. Not only was I less tired than most, but thankfully I had all my bags. Some people three days in, still had not received their second bag because it was literally lost somewhere in the world. Eventually the luggage gods found them and sent them to Prague. Note to self, always pack a spare t-shirt and pair of undies in your hand luggage lest your bag goes missing. Otherwise you will find yourself wearing other people’s “I completed Tough Mudder” tees.

Right, so in order to stay awake on our first afternoon/evening, we did what all tourists in Prague do, drink beer. It didn’t take long to realise that the city is cheap, so cheap in fact beer is cheaper than water. If you’re travelling on the cheap here, know that beer is very filling and often referred to by locals as Liquid Bread. We eventually made our way to the beer garden in the park where a good 25 people or so from our group had settled into. It was definitely overwhelming telling all these people a brief summary on who you were and where you came from. Someone should have given us cool name badges or something. The true test now will be how long it takes to remember everyone’s names. Names are one thing but placing them to a face will be another. I like to think I have a good memory when it comes to names so this will be my Everest.

Our workspace, K10 Coworking used to be the old Dutch Embassy and has since been converted into an uber cool shared workspace. It’s an amazing building with its very own panic room downstairs. Apparently it can only fit up to 5 people so that will prove difficult should the need arise.


Other fun facts that were learnt this week include:

These delicious mouth watering creations are NOT a Czech traditional dessert. They were invented about 6 years ago and not in 1923 as the signage would have you believe. I did not care as it was the best thing ever!


It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day everyday in Prague as the word for ‘hello’ is “Ahoj”. Pronounced “Ahoy” our group of 75 are walking around town talking like pirates.

On the flip side, every time we say thank you it sounds like we are insulting our hosts. The word for ‘thank you’ is “Dekuji”. Pronounced “Dick-wee”, it provides us with a nervous laugh every time we say it as it just doesn’t feel right. Most of the group have now enrolled into survival Czech lessons this week as a result of our mispronunciation.

I’m 99% convinced that all 75 of us are still slightly overwhelmed and scared and nervous about each other and what this year will bring. I am much more comforted by this as it’s not just me who is getting out of their comfort zone. That said, week one has been filled with new friends, lots of laughs, plenty of beer, annoyingly for me a cold and to top it off a paddling pool, dance party in the courtyard of the Czech Apple offices. Not a shabby start if you ask me!


Sorry, London is calling and I must go…

So this post is a wrap up of over my last two weeks in Sydney. It was a little crazy and overwhelming in the lead up to leaving on a jet plane but I lived to tell the tale, just.

Right, so, the first thing I needed to figure out was what to pack. It was something I had been pondering for a while. What on earth do I pack in my 70L backpack to carry with me for a year? If I was going to be deserted on an island, a la Survivor, what would I really want to have with me? Obviously the contestants on the show literally have nothing but the clothes on their backs so it’s not really the same thing but you get my drift. I can do without hair dryers and straighteners, I don’t need my fancy clothes, jackets and the like. Much to my disappointment, my leather jacket will be staying in Sydney. There is a part of me that is quite looking forward to living a life of simplicity and not having too much to choose from out of my suitcase for the next year. I know I will probably get bored of my clothes and will want to buy new ones along the way so it’s a good thing ASOS delivers worldwide! My hope is that it will prove I don’t need half the stuff I have at home and can survive perfectly fine with the bare necessities.

I had written lovely long lists of what I needed to take with me and read blogs and articles of what and how to pack. In my head I thought I would have a half empty bag. Reality set in and I came crashing down to earth landing on a very stuffed bag. I ended up breaking it down into categories – Essentials, Nice To Haves, Don’t Even and ended up with the below. I’m pretty happy with the selection, taking bits of advice from the different things I read and came to my conclusion. Scary to think this is my life and wardrobe for the foreseeable future.


So after getting my packing sorted, the countdown to my Remote Year took a slightly interesting turn after I finished my last day of work. I was going to spend the week before my departure packing up my apartment and moving all my things (and myself) into my parents abode. Everything was going well, farewell dinners had been organised with friends and I was on track to leave for London. However, the gods were against me and five days before I was due to fly out, I had my wisdom tooth removed. It was most certainly not how I had envisioned my last week in Sydney. I had to move out quicker, cancel some catch ups and sit through an extraction. For the next five days my face was swollen and I’m pretty sure I had two chins. The extraction went well but to throw in another curve ball I managed to get an infection and the swelling came back. Two days before I left I was put on antibiotics and sent on my merry way.

I arrived to a surprisingly warm London a few days ago and will be here for 10 days before I head to Prague for the first month of my Remote Year. It definitely called for a celebratory beverage and proper London pub lunch at The Pheasant Inn in my jet lagged, swollen faced state. Even though I could only eat soft foods but oh well.


I have been playing tourist in a city I feel quite comfortable in and it certainly didn’t take long to fall back into the hustle and bustle of London proper. It definitely helps with this delightful Spring weather I seem to have brought with me from Sydney. Tomorrow I think I might see if Queenie is in town and have a wander down The Mall. See y’all in Prague!

Oh and because I have had some wisdom removed, this is fitting…


IG: @halftheworldaway.co

Untitled 2.001

I would like to leave this city…

I have taken a leap. A leap of faith and decided to pack up my life and leave on a jet plane. As I write my very first blog post from my apartment in Sydney, there is a lump in my throat as I look around at all the things I need to pack. The mental list of everything I need to do before I leave is growing and I’m nervous. I’m nervous and scared but calm and excited at the same time. It’s a huge adjustment for me seeing as the decision to leave was made in a matter of weeks. So let me begin to tell you my little story…

Last October, my relationship with my boyfriend ended. And it knocked the wind right out of me. I didn’t see it coming and it felt like I was being punished for something I didn’t know I had done. I had to keep telling myself that it was his mistake and not mine. So, two weeks later, still not great, I headed to South Africa with a group of friends to do some volunteer work in Johannesburg. I had been looking forward to this trip for months and now all of a sudden I didn’t want to go. But I had to. I had to leave and clear my head and hopefully come back being able to breathe. Our group were headed to a town called Boksburg, 45 minutes outside of Jo’Burg city and we were there to finish building three houses, a sewing centre, a counselling room and a veggie garden. We met some beautiful, kind people who were so appreciative of what we had come to do in their community, yet I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I had wanted to. I felt foolish for feeling so miserable when some of these kids and young adults were going through abandonment and abuse. I was lucky in comparison, so my friends told me before I left. After a week of volunteering we headed to Kruger National Park for four days before we all went our separate ways. Getting back on the plane was one of the hardest things I have done in a long time because being back in Sydney and back in my apartment was the last place in the world I wanted to be.

Being home was shit. I was going back to work and seeing my friends who all wanted to know how my trip was and I didn’t want to talk about it. I felt bad for not having enjoyed myself as much as everyone had wanted me to and felt like I had to feign excitement. I decided not to fake it and told people it was “good but not as great as it could have been” and left it at that. Nobody asked any other questions because they all knew why and sensed it wasn’t a topic up for discussion.

After getting back into a routine of work, bootcamp, daily meals and trying so hard not to be consumed by what had happened, I was chatting to my friend in New York one morning on WhatsApp and she told me I had to make myself available for a visit to Vietnam in July / August where she was headed for two weeks to visit a friend. It was a great halfway point, so why not? I asked what her friend was doing in Vietnam and she said she was on a Remote Year. I had no idea what that meant and asked her to explain. Her explanation was brief and she basically directed me to a website. Her friend was going to be traveling to 12 cities throughout Europe, Asia and South America for a year. One month in each city for a year, all whilst doing her job remotely. It was all I needed to hear to know it was what I needed to do. So as soon as I got to my desk that morning, I typed in the website, filled out the brief application form and sent it off. And then I waited…

Christmas was a few weeks away and I still hadn’t heard back about my application. Then one morning after the New Year, I got an email saying I had progressed to the second round. I now had to answer several short answer questions about why I wanted to be on the program, talk through my travel experience and talk through my job and how I would go working from remote locations. This took me a day to write. I sent it off and then I waited, again.

It took about two weeks for the next email to come through saying I had progressed to the third and final round, a Skype interview with one of The Remote Year recruitment team. I had no idea what to expect from the interview and didn’t know what they were going to ask. But after speaking to my friends friend about her interview I found out it was a very casual chat, more of an opportunity for me to ask any questions I had about the program. I wrote a down a list before my interview and it was great that my questions were all answered. I was so curious about the application process itself and was surprised to find out that over 25,000 people apply for the program, 300 people are asked to interview and 75 are offered a place. It made me realise I wanted to be part of the 75 more than I have wanted anything. I would have to wait another week before I would find out whether I was successful or not. Longest. Week. Ever.

Tuesday morning, before work, waiting to get my eyebrows done and I’m chatting away to my sister who lives in London. Nek minute an email comes through from Dan, my interviewer from the week before congratulating me on making it through. Holy shit. I couldn’t type fast enough to my sister to tell her. After the longest eyebrow appointment ever, I left, called my parents and told them. My mother had to confirm it wasn’t a scam that I was getting myself into, congratulated me and said we would chat later. I called my best friend, something we don’t usually do unless one of us is dying, spoke to her and cried. I was that person walking through Martin Place crying tears of joy on her way to work. Throughout the day I told a few friends who knew I had applied. Their excitement about my news made me more excited about leaving, there was so much love, and it was amazing!

Fast forward three weeks and now majority of my friends know I’m heading off, as do some of my work colleagues. I have spoken to my managers about possibly  working remotely and also reached out to an old colleague about freelancing work so things might just work out. Fingers crossed! I’m now trying to get my shit together and get things sorted. That list I was referring to earlier is definitely making its presence felt. I have spoken to my travel agent about booking a one way ticket. A. One. Way. Ticket. Holy. Crap. I need to talk to an estate agent about my apartment as I need to find some wonderful caretakers and I also need to get rid of a whole heap of stuff as I’ll be downsizing my life into three bags. So much to do, so little time!

So you’re all caught up and I hope I haven’t bored you with my first post. I had no idea how long a blog post should be so I hope this was sufficient. If people read this blog, then great, but if not well that’s fine too. I shouldn’t be concerned whether people read it or not because at the end of the day this blog is for me, so I have something to look back on post-travels and 30 years down the track. And if I can pack up my life in a matter of months, quit my job and buy a one way ticket to THE WORLD, then so can anyone. This might inspire others to throw their hands in the air and yell “F@&* it, I’m out!” Hell, you have nothing to lose, so people keep telling me. If you feel inclined to share my blog and my journey, please do. Take from it what you will. Use it to plan your next holiday. Use it as inspiration to pack it in for a while and take a break from the daily grind. Or use it to live vicariously through my travels.

After a week in London visiting my sister and some friends, my first month on my Remote Year will start in Prague, Czech Republic from 1 June. Be there.

“Traveling. It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”
– Ibn Battuta

And lastly, follow me on Instagram @halftheworldaway.co for what I hope will be an amazing collection of photos!