The McMasterdonian Travel Blog

mcmasterdonia

TNPer
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The McMasterdonian Travel Blog

I thought this would be fun :-)

I'll share stories about the places I've been and maybe some photos as well. You may find it interesting and hopefully it'll encourage everyone to go on long holidays and see as much of the world as they can.

I've started out with a few of the obvious places, I'll add more in later. Feel free to add some of your own if you like :)


Australia

I'll start with the obvious one, Australia. Unfortunately, I have't seen a lot of Australia. My parents did all their road trips and working holidays before I was five and honestly all I can remember is hating the car rides :P

Perth



Perth is the capital of Western Australia and it is where I am lucky to call home.
Perth is a beautiful city, very clean, beautiful beaches, nice weather and friendly people. It has heaps of trees and parks which is great for a capital city. There are so many things for tourists to do when visiting Perth.


Kings Park is a must for those visiting Perth. It has beautiful sprawling parkland, botantical gardens, a tree top walk and the Anzac memorial. Kings Park hosts a dawn service every year to honour the fallen ANZAC soldiers.

The South West

The South West of Western Australia is where I grew up. If you have time to head down that way you certainly won't regret it. You will find even more beautiful beaches, privately owned breweries, thousands of wineries, fantastic restaurants and world class scenery.


One of the many beautiful beaches of Western Australia, this one is located in Esperance


Cambodia
When I was in Year 12, I was part of a group of volunteers who went to Cambodia to work with various charities and organizations. There were 10 of us in the group and together we were able to fundraise $26,000 for those charities and people we were supporting. We funded our own trip and none of money that was donated to us went towards our own expenses.

We worked with the organisation Hagar with their program House of Smiles which involved working with disabled children. Those supported by this group had disabilities of varying levels of seriousness. We would work with them, teach them English as much as possible and most of all have fun. Some of these children had been abandoned by their parents or sold into the sex or circus industry. Disabilities are not well understood in Cambodia and many parents are unwilling to support their disabled children.

We took them on a beach trip to Sihanoukville. These children were very trusting and would literally put their life in your hands when you would take them out for a swim. They would keep insisting that we take them out deeper and deeper. It was quite an experience.

The organisation also ran a program to get work for the individuals they support. They own restaurants and other facilities that give these previously abandoned children an opportunity to achieve independence and to work to support themselves.


We also worked with an American-run organisation called New Hope for Cambodian Children. This organisation worked specifically with children infected by HIV aids. In Cambodia it is well-known that the women are the hard working members of the family. Husbands would sometimes go off and have intercourse with a prostitute and become HIV positive. They then return home and spread the disease to their wife, who then passes it on to their children. When the wife and child are diagnosed, the husband leaves them. Hew Hope for Cambodian Children works to provide adequate medication to these children and their mothers and to help them receive a proper education and support. The Mothers are also given opportunities to better themselves and support is given for them to open their own businesses. Kathy Tucker (one of the founders of this organisation) said that it was common for the men to return to their wives once their wife was in a strong position financially.

Lastly we also visited Lavalla which is a marist brother school that helps physically disabled children to receive appropriate education. They don't allow their disabilities to bother them and they whooped our asses at a game of volleyball.

Phnom Penh
A classic example of massive rich-poor divide. On the one street you will have government buildings dripping in gold as a clear sign of excessive wealth and waste and then you will see the truly poor and destitute. There are thousands of beggars in Phnom Penh, some maim themselves in an attempt to gain more sympathy and money from tourists.

You can see some of the remaining damage from the terrible communist regime led by Pol Pot. One such thing is the S21 or Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. It was a convenant, turned school, turned torture centre and prison. I also visited the killing fields (not too far out of Phnom Penh) where children and babies were bashed against trees in order to "save" bullets. There is also a tower that is filled with skulls from those who perished there. An eye-opening experience that's for sure.
 

Tomb

TNPer
I think that this is a great idea!

And the pictures of the places you have been to are very nice.

~Tomb.
 

Egalotir

TNPer
I'm so jealous. I'm from Romania so I only know my home town there, and the cities I've been to in the U.S./currently live in. It's my dream to travel after college.
 

Romanoffia

Garde à l'eau!
Australia is one of my favourite travel destinations. Back in the 80's I spent about year there (mostly in NSW) working with horses. It was a hoot.
 

sanmartin

TNPer
Peru​


Peru is my home away from home. Although I currently live in the U.S, I still love going to peru as much as possible. About 90% of my family still lives here. I recommend going to Peru to anyone that's up for a big adventure. Theres so many places to go and so many cool things to see.


Lima.


I was born in this beautiful city. I recently traveled back last year. This city went through many problems in the 90's, but after about 20 years, people have made Lima one of the best places to travel in South America. The picture above is of the Presidential Palace. President Ollanta Humala lives here. My house in Peru is about 20-30 minutes from where this picture was taken. Traffic is a major problem around there or else I could drive there in about 10 minutes from m house.


Machu Picchu.


This is one of the most mysterious, magical places ive ever been. Its so big and incredible. Machu Picchu is located at the top of the Andes Mountains. It took a while to get here. Some people can't walk the trails or, they take a long time to get there. But once you get to the top, its impossible to want to come back down. Ive only visited once. I hope to go back real soon.
 

Great Bights Mum

Grande Dame
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Spectacular. I have to go there sometime in my life.

Great thread McM! Australia looks awesome.

@Egalotir - Romania is a beautiful country - the mountains, the castles. We'd love to see pics.
 

mcmasterdonia

TNPer
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In 2011 I went on a Euro trip for my gap year with a friend. It was a brilliant experience for an 18 year old to take on. I funded the trip entirely myself and off I went. Many people thought we were too young to go travelling the world at 18 on our own, so we were fortunately spoiled rotten by a great deal of people who we came across in our travels.

I'll probably cover one or two of these at a time and will upload more photos later.

London

The first stop off for the Europe Trip was London, England! We figured that we should stop off in an English speaking country first and what better than the motherland itself. I took more than 300 photos during our two weeks in London, half of them were sideways or of random things that I couldn't remember what they were. We also had an odd fascination with squirrels, because they are not around in Australia. The novelty of squirrels soon faded when they tried to steal our food while picnicking at Hyde Park.

We had arrived in London about a week after the terrible protests and riots of 2011. My parents were rather worried about us going to this terribly dangerous city! But it turned out to be all for nothing and we had a brilliant time taking in the sites.

These photos aren't mine - but still good enough.


London is a culturally and historically amazing city. I am a major history & art nerd, so I really enjoyed visiting london and the numerous museums and galleries that they had on offer. Unfortunately we were unable to see the Queen of Australia during our visit to the city. Maybe next time!

Obviously we have some people from London & other areas of Britain on this very forum and it is easy to not appreciate your own home. Who else has been to London and what did you think of it?
 

Ravenna

TNPer
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Great blog! You've seen so many places :D

I actually envy you a little :P I used to travel a lot before 2012, mostly in Europe and the Mediterranean. And then a big break. Luckily this summer I've been again to Berlin, this time for real (previously just passing by). It's nice city with fine Italian restaurants and several big hotspots but weather could be better. It didn't seem that different from Warsaw on street level. And KaDeWe looks gorgeous, so many shops, often high-end (Luxury Boulevard)! The Pergamon Museum is great, especially the famous gate and altar (the latter it was renovated though). It was hot and humid there so after 2 hours I got tired.
 

Scumshire

TNPer
Great stuff McM! You've certainly been around, and kudos for your work in Cambodia.

I've been to Canberra a few times back when I was a PhD student in Philosophy, going to ANU (Australian National University for those who may be unaware of the acronym). Canberra really grew on me, and the campus of ANU was really nice. The Philosophy department I went to (there are at least 3 if I recall) was based in the Coombs building, which was a confusing structure of 3 hexagons connected together in strange ways. Hard to describe, but it's probably as close to an Escher picture as I've ever experienced in real life.

Other than that, I've been to Japan a few times - back in 1998 my brother and I went to Gunma prefecture to teach English as part of a UNESCO program, and then again for the year 2000 celebrations and a stint teaching for NOVA (the brand survives, though the company infamously went under in the late 2000s if I recall). Most of my time in Japan was spent in the Kansai area, especially around the cities of Kobe and Osaka.

I'll have to dig around for any photos I might have and post them at some point.

Also, great to hear about the places other people have been to - thanks!
 

mcmasterdonia

TNPer
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Thanks Scumshire. I'm not ever a quarter of a way through the places I've been yet.. But we will get there eventually.

Love to see some photos of your trip. I went to Canberra when I was in year 9 for a school trip. I really enjoyed it & in particular liked how clean and well designed the city was. One of the few cities in the country that was planned so far in advance. The War Memorial is great as well.
 

Scumshire

TNPer
Certainly a lovely city, though I never liked the gift the Americans gave to Canberra - a large pillar with what was supposed to be an eagle on the top. It was pot-bellied, making it look more like a turkey from a distance. :/
 

mcmasterdonia

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I've been really thinking about saving up to go on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Has anyone done that before or knows someone who has/what they thought about it?
 
mcmasterdonia:
London is a culturally and historically amazing city. I am a major history & art nerd, so I really enjoyed visiting london and the numerous museums and galleries that they had on offer. Unfortunately we were unable to see the Queen of Australia during our visit to the city. Maybe next time!

Obviously we have some people from London & other areas of Britain on this very forum and it is easy to not appreciate your own home. Who else has been to London and what did you think of it?
I agree with you. I've been to London before and it was an amazing experience. I loved to visit those museums and galleries there. The streets and buildings there are also very beautiful! :agree:
 

mcmasterdonia

TNPer
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It really was delicious! If I was one of those instagram mad people I may have remembered to photograph every meal that I ate, but those couple of photos will have to do.
 
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