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After a month on the tropical island of Siargao in the Philippines, it was time to head back home to Australia for Christmas. It’s a task that usually only requires a couple of flights and some uncomfortable plane seat sleeps. However, as tropical storms and even typhoons battered Siargao, getting off the island in time for Christmas was going to prove the biggest challenge of all.

The week before we left, the airport was closed three days in a row. The electricity was out for two days on Siargao. Coconut palms blew so violently it seemed as though all the coconuts on the island had harvested themselves.

I won’t bore you with all of the rainy, wet, stormy details but let’s just say I was damn glad to land in Manila. That statement doesn’t reflect the good times I had on Siargao in any way but missing Christmas wouldn’t be ideal.

I met my family in Noosa for Christmas, which is a popular coastal town in Australia’s northeast.  My parents rented an Airbnb apartment for the week. It was the first time in 10 months I had a room to myself for more than a week.

I expected Noosa to be a bit of a touristy surf town with some nice beaches. It surprised me.

The Noosa National Park is one of the most beautiful, free national parks I’ve been to for a while in Australia. There are plenty of great national parks in Australia but not many are right next to an urban hotspot.

I decided to give my camera and myself a break from content creation and just focus my energy on hanging out with family and relatives. Therefore I have very few photos to attach to this edition of the weekly but I think that’s healthy and I need to take short breaks like that.

You will just have to trust me that the national park is awesome. It’s also not very busy at all and you can leave suburbia and find yourself lost in the wild within half an hour!

I linked up with a local Instagrammer @arnycain who invited me down to visit an epic local spot. We went on an adventure to some coastal caves in Noosa National Park. The caves were in a pretty crazy spot. Years of erosion had hollowed out the caves into the cliffs, where daily hikers strolled above with little idea of what they could find below.

To reach the caves we waded through the chest-deep water, bags, and gear held above our head trying not to drown our camera gear. It was good to get back into the adventures after a few quiet days with the fam.

From the cliffs of Noosa, I spotted turtles, manta rays and a pod of 50+ dolphins. This place is teeming with wildlife, hidden spots like the caves and who knows what else!

I’m currently in the front seat of a rental car heading to Gympie. I will be journeying down the east coast of Australia stopping off in Gold Coast and Byron Bay before chilling for a few days in Bondi. Pretty much all the east coast tourist hotspots.

I’m trying to curate and publish the remainder of the Siargao content but have already pushed out quite a few articles. I try and hit a few articles a week but don’t stress if it’s less.

This blog has gone from nothing on launch day 1.5 years ago to one of the biggest travel blogs in the world and is being considered for inclusion on the most renowned list online, which ranks travel blogs. I don’t really care much for competing with bloggers, which happens a lot more than you would imagine. It’s more competitive than most sports!

However, to be up there after just 1.5 years with my personal blog is quite monumental. Many of the blogs in the top 50 have been around for many years, are run by a couple or multiple people, or publish guest posts and content they didn’t personally write. A lot of this probably doesn’t mean much to non-bloggers but I’m pretty proud of the countless hours I’ve put in. 

My goal isn’t to inspire anyone to travel, it’s not for everyone. I do this for me. I needed this journey and I still do. But I know my journey and my content inspires a lot of people. I get your messages every day on Instagram. I’m just out here pushing myself and finding my way, I’m not looking for any accolades or to impress anyone.

What I do know is that the more of you that get out there and travel means that there are more perspectives being broadened, more fears being conquered, more friends being made and more people challenging themselves. If my blog, Instagram, and content are capable of that then damn, that makes me happy.

I hope you all had a rad week!