Titan: the ultimate fitness holiday.

My fitness journey originally started with the sole purpose of losing weight, I didn’t really like the way I looked as I was always relatively fit but had let myself go. My clothes were tight, my skin dull and my mood low. I knew I was going to have to step up and work hard to make the changes I wanted. Little did I know just how good it would make me feel. It changed my mindset completely, my confidence grew and the compliments I received fed my new appetite.

A close friend of mine won an ultimate fitness holiday on instagram. Lucky duck. She couldn’t rave enough about the place so I decided to check it out for myself. Fitness holidays are a great way to combine sun, fun and fitness. It gives you an opportunity to partake in a well balanced holiday, where training and working hard is combined with sunshine, good food and meeting new, like minded people to create a great experience. The fitness camp I attended was Titan Fitness camp in Chalong, the southern tip of Phuket island in Thailand, 1 hour from Phuket International airport. I stayed for a total of two weeks, but could definitely have stayed longer.

On arrival I was greated by the gym manager Ben, who gave me a tour of the facilities. An air conditioned gym, outdoor gym arena where all classes, open mat gym sessions and additional clinics were held, health’s kitchen where many camp goers eat and refuel with shakes post work out and little hill onsite accomodation. Little hill offers private, air conditioned rooms equipped with wifi, TV, fridge and a well needed clothes horse – all the modern comforts you need to enjoy your stay. Having a swimming pool on your doorstep is a welcome addition. It’s a great communal area to cool off, have fun and meet others. Many people staying long term seek alternative, cheaper accommodation along the street, there’s many to choose from.

Titan fitness do offer inclusive packages, accomodation, daily meals and snacks and personal training. In my opinion if you avail of the classes provided properly a personal trainer is not a necessity. The inclusive package does work out expensive and restricts you to eating in one place. ‘Fighter street’ as it’s known in Chalong is home to endless healthy food options that won’t put a hole in your pocket. The best by far is Mamas, a few minutes walk from Titan. Delicious, cheap food and friendly staff. Other popular spots include a vegan restaurant, the shack, Tony’s, muscle bar, coco ville and Ali’s BBQ where we ate our weight in chicken most nights. There’s also an amazing frozen yogurt shop for those treat days.

Worried about what or how much you should be eating? Every Monday a nutrition seminar is held in order to educate people and provide additional support and encouragement – from full nutritional programmes to common mistakes and healthy tips. Another popular seminar is Bulletproof, the injury fixer as he is known shows how to relieve common niggling and persistent injuries. I found this very educational and still use the tricks provided.

A typical day in Titan involves an early start with yoga at 7am, a great way to stretch and start the day off. Following this I’d usually head to health’s kitchen for a coffee. I’d generally then choose between CrossFit and Body 360 as these classes are back to back. While this could be done it was not recommended. Body 360 is a HIIT style cardio class. No session is ever the same. There’s usually some banging tunes to keep you extra motivated. There’s generally an open mat session from 11am-1pm, giving people a chance to do their own thing, practice by themselves or knock out another workout.

The afternoon is broken up equally with real hardcore classes. Calorie burn (the obstacle course) is just as it says on the tin. I did it on my first day and never returned! It was somewhat militant. Boxercise is sociable, yet challenging. Don’t forget a towel. You’ll leave this class looking like you’ve just been for a swim. This class will leave you with a new found confidence, a spring in your step and excitement for the next one. Strength and technique was a favourite class of mine. The main focus of this class is to learn and improve your technical skills. The best thing is that every day is different. Olympic weightlifting, deadlifts and much more, super educational. Spinning at Titan is one hell of a ride. It’s not by any means your typical conventional spin class. It’s mixed with core and cardio components that really do push you to your limits. Get there early as it’s a popular one, you don’t want to be left using the ski erg or rower instead!

Thursday mornings begin at 6.30am with a 5km run to the famous Big Buddha. It takes roughly between 40-60 minutes depending on your fitness level. The steep hills are challenging but it’s rewarding getting to take in all the sights on the way up. Elephants, monkeys and incredible views over Phuket town, Chalong Bay, Kata and Karon beach. Bring water and your camera.

Every Saturday morning Titan holds functional beach training at Nai Harn beach. It’s a chance to break things up and get down and dirty in the sand. It’s tough, they work you hard, but it’s great aul craic. You also get access to twice weekly Muay Thai classes which can fit around the Titan schedule. Take complete advantage of this as it’s great fun and the guys that teach it are very entertaining.

The weekends are pretty quiet in Chalong as all gyms are closed on Sunday. A number of people enjoy a drink on a Saturday night. Feck it, sure you only live once. Massi and reggae bar are the most popular bars in town. Be careful, training hard and drinking alcohol is not always the best combination, we all learn the hard way! There’s plenty to explore on the island. The best way to get around is by motorbike. Motorbikes are cheap to rent at roughly 150 baht per day, petrol is cheap and a tank gets you very far. If this is not your style, there are taxis everywhere. There’s so much to see and do. Head to Freedom beach, it’s amazing, but be aware that there is quite a hike to reach the beach. I’ve never seen so many monkeys in the one place as we saw on Monkey Hill, they are vicious little guys and will get what they want no matter what. Night markets, shopping malls, you name it, Phuket has it all.

There are launderette facilities at Titan and many other locations along the street. This comes in very handy when you are changing your drenched clothes two or three times a day. Massage parlours are extremely popular in Chalong. There’s nearly always a queue and prices range from 250-400 baht depending on what you are looking for.

I met a huge mix of people during my trip. People from America, Australia,UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, France and of course plenty of Irish- you’ll never get too far away from them! Titan is a social hub as they have organised Facebook and watts app groups to communicate, plan dinners, trips and gatherings and it has a unique, relaxed communal vibe. The trainers are all outgoing, enthusiastic, fun, helpful, professional and easy on the eye which doesn’t hurt.

Titan is an amazing camp to help you reach your goals, a fitness holiday with the sole purpose of getting people into the best shape according to their goals, within a given timeframe. Each person has a different level of fitness but the same goal in mind. Make the most of your time at Titan and embrace all it has to offer. I cannot wait to return.

Singapore’s finest

Singapore has so much to offer with its diverse cuisine, world class attractions and vibrant nightlife. It is one of the top tourist destinations in Asia and is known as ‘the melting pot of asia’. Singapore is noted to be one of the worlds most expensive cities to live in, as a visitor it isn’t actually as expensive as you would imagine. Accomodation is on the pricier side compared to other South East Asian destinations but food is remarkably cheap. Singapore is one of the highest populated countries in the world. Hard to believe as it didn’t feel at all over crowded, perhaps due to its liveable and pleasant green city. 

I visited Singapore in April, it tends to be hot and humid all year round so there is no perfect time of year to visit (monsoon season is between November and January). I made my way from Thailand to Singapore via Changi airport. On my arrival I realised there are several ways to get to downtown Singapore, subway, public bus, airport shuttle, private transfer or taxi. I chose to use the airport shuttle as it was late in the evening and I’d no idea where I was going. It was 9 Singapore dollars, these shuttles run 24 hours a day and bring you directly to your chosen accomodation and the tickets can be booked directly at the airport.

Singapore’s public transport system is extremely efficient. The MRT (metro) goes nearly everywhere. You can invest in a Singapore tourist pass, available for 1,2 or 3 day passes and it will give you unlimited rides on the MRT, LRT and public buses. I’d recommend doing this as single tickets tend to be a lot pricier.

I stayed in the culturally rich district of Chinatown. A capsule pod boutique hostel which cost 28SGD per night. I initially chose it because if it’s convenience, being 130 metres from Chinatown MRT station. It had clean, air conditioned rooms with seperate bed pods, each fitted with a flat screen TV and a power source. They provided breakfast each morning and advice on what to check out. The staff were extremely helpful and friendly.

Singapore is relatively small, but packed with fun, interesting and adventurous things to do. To help me get my bearings I bought a local SIM card and topped it up in order to use google maps to navigate my way around the city. All locations and destinations were very well signposted and having 3 days to explore all that Singapore had to offer meant that I had to fit a lot into each day.

The first day of sightseeing I met two Malaysian brothers, Yurt and Burt. Some characters! Somewhat attached, finishing each other’s sentences, lovely lads. We decided to head to Universal Studios and purchased our tickets at the hostel. It’s well worth getting express lane tickets as the queues can be up to an hour long wait. Universal Studios was absolutely amazing I was like a kid in a sweet shop. It’s located in Sentosa island, a short train journey from Chinatown. It’s home to many exhilarating rides, theme and water parks and shows. Yurt and Burt were disappointed that Harry Potter did not feature as they were die hard fans! However, it does feature 24 rides, shows and attractions in seven themed zones, a great days value at 75SGD. Between the attractions there’s many themed restaurants for a pit stop, have your camera at the ready for ‘celebrity’ sightings!

Universal Studios is not the only attraction at Sentosa, it is an entire island dedicated to fun. It’s home to an aquarium, trick  eye museum, golf course, beaches, watersport facilities and beach bars. Sentosa island offers a panoramic view of the city with a slew of fun activities. There’s something for everyone at Sentosa, be it loitering by the beach, sightseeing, an adrenaline rush at AJ Hacketts bunjee or enjoying a 360 degree view of forests, skyscrapers and sandy beaches from a cable car.

Singapore is known as one of the greenest cities in Asia. Gardens by the Bay is a fantastic place, its the most popular attraction and it’s not hard to understand why, its absolutely mind blowing. I explored the two amazing conservatories by day – The cloud forest, the worlds tallest indoor waterfall and The flower dome, the largest glass greenhouse in the world. It’s a huge park spanning 100 hectares of reclaimed land composed of several gardens showcasing beautiful flowers and species. The super trees can be seen by a 128 metre aerial walkway. The super trees come alive at night with an exhilarating  display of lights and music. It would be advisable to get there early to get a good spot before the crowds arrive. At 28SGD this was one of my favourite places in Singapore.

Marina bay sands is the most iconic hotel in Singapore and is home to one of the most amazing infinity pools (unfortunately it’s only open to guests of the hotel). The alternative choice is to head to the skypark observation deck on the 57th floor to witness the most stunning views of Singapore as they are absolutely amazing. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate on arrival, drinks are expensive, but come on, how often do you get to experience something like this.

Singapore is renowned for its fusion food, hawker stalls that have been serving the same iconic dish for decades are every bit as important as a high end restaurant. Mr Noodleman on Smith street in Chinatown offers delicious homemade noodles, made fresh daily, the dumplings are simply sensational. I ate twice at Hong Kong Soya Sauce Rice, a Michelin starred restaurant in Chinatown as I just couldn’t get enough of it, you could get a delicious meal for under 5SGD. Another popular eatery is Blue Label pizza on Ann Siang road. Maxwell Food court, right in the heart of Chinatown will never disappoint and is visitor friendly. It took me a while to realise that if there’s an empty table full of tissue packets, this is the Singaporean way of reserving a table.

For the best shopping head to Orchard shopping road, its the equivalent of London’s Oxford street. Here you can shop till you drop. Vivo shopping centre is the largest indoor shopping mall in Singapore. Bugis street is perfect for bargain hunters (a large arcade selling all sorts of things). Singapore is known for its electronics and Sim Lim Centre is the place to find all your technological needs at affordable prices where haggling is encouraged.

Clark Quay is where you’ll find the backpackers socialing in the evening time along the banks of the river. You can’t go to Singapore and not indulge in a Singapore sling and throw your peanut shells on the floor of the long bar at Raffles. The area of St James’ Powerstation, a trendy hotspot set in an old Powerstation has 11 funky bars on the waterfront to choose from. These bars have everything from live rock, karaoke, sports bars and jazz bars.

My only regret in Singapore was not having enough time to explore the city fully, it just means I’ll have to take a trip back again at some stage.

Australia’s East Coast: Trip of a lifetime.

Whether you’ve just arrived in Australia or you’ve finished off an epic two year working holiday visa, the east coast is most definitely a rite of passage for all backpackers. From natural wonders to cosmopolitan cities, lush rainforests and pristine white sandy beaches, it is the trip of a lifetime!

I spent 3 1/2 weeks travelling the east coast and had enough time to see everything it had to offer and party hard. I travelled during Australia’s off season (August) when there were fewer crowds, prices were lower and the weather still bloody hot in tropical Northern Queensland. I began my trip in north Australia, Cairns, a short eight hour flight from Bali! I couldn’t contain my excitement while I waited on the bus to my hostel. I stayed at Gilligans backpackers. It was clean, cheap, sociable and home to the most popular nightclub in Cairns. It had a bar, pool, travel agency and was full of young people. This being the first leg of my solo trip, I was so grateful to have amazing roommates. As soon as I walked through the door I was greeted by a bubbly flamboyant blonde named Harry and we instantly hit it off as he was also a solo traveller. That evening we hit the pool and he filled me in on what to do and gave me tips on how to plan my trip. The following day I strided into Peterpan’s travel agency with a few ideas and bounded out with a jam packed itinerary.

Cairns is the gateway to one of the seven wonders of the natural world- The Great Barrier Reef. There are so many ways to experience the reef, from helicopter rides, to scuba diving and snorkeling. My experience scuba diving in the reef was amazing. The charter company I decided to go with were called Down Under Cruise and Dive. On our way out to the reef we were briefed, buddied up and our equipment checked for safety measures. The charter was extremely professional and efficient. The two dives went far too fast. We saw turtles, colourful fish and the beautiful reef. Diving at the Great Barrier Reef was somewhat disappointing, it definitely did not trump diving in Koh Tao, Thailand. It was just not at all what I thought it would look like. Saying that, it was an amazing experience ticked off the bucket list. The reef, in my opinion was best explored snorkelling, especially the second stop at Hastings Reef, where the waters so shallow there’s no need to free dive.

The following morning a group of us set off for a bungee jump at AJ Hackett, 15 kilometres north of the city. I was somewhat disappointed to be the only female present, a bit of Dutch courage, a pep talk from the lads and away we went. The hardest part was willing myself to jump headfirst from the tiny ledge, then it was an exciting adrenaline pumping challenge followed by a great day of live music and entertainment. I’d originally intended on getting the video as I thought of it as a once in  a lifetime experience but a minor boob mishap led me to change my decision promptly. A tip to the wise, wear a tight top when doing your jump!

Cairns nightlife is crazy, awash with night clubs, restaurants and bars. Gilligans and the woolshed were the go to amongst many. I met the most amazing people in Cairns which made moving on that little bit harder. It had so much more to offer, rainforests, waterfalls and white river rafting, but time was of the essence.

Travel in Australia is made so easy with a bus pass. The most popular companies are Greyhound and Premier Motor. Both travel the entire length and breath of the country and I chose to go with Premier Motor. The only difference being that Premier had only one bus scheduled per day and no wifi and buses tended to be less crowded. I often had a whole row of seats to myself which came in handy on night buses.

After leaving Cairns by bus the next stop was Townsville to catch a ferry to Magnetic Island. The ferry left every few hours to bring passengers within shouting distance, a mere 8 kilometres to the idyllic island. With only 2000 residents, this island is home to plenty of wildlife. I stayed at base hostel, known as the party hostel on the island. It’s most famous for its full moon parties between June and October. Situated on the beach this large hostel was relatively cheap, with a bar onsite,nightly entertainment a swimming pool and a car rental shop. Myself and a group of girls decided to rent a 4×4 so we could explore the island further. Many choose to rent barbie cars (we opted for just a photo), but this leaves you limited to where you can drive.

The Forts walk, a busy walking track is home to many wild koalas and fabulous views. There’s endless Aussie critters to spot on Magnetic Island. The headland on Geoffrey’s bay is a gorgeous wallaby colony and they simply love to have their photo taken – bring a banana skin to lure them in, they won’t be able to resist!

Next on the itinerary was Airlie Beach, the gateway to the Whitsundays. The town centre with its abundance of quirky clothing stores and food hubs is definitely worth exploring. Here I stayed in Nomads, an amazing atmosphere with even more amazing staff. With one night to spare before departing for the Whitsundays we decided to go cane toad racing. This was definitely an experience and a half. Middle aged men betting their weekly wages on toads, some of which never even crossed the starting line. Airlie Beach has a vibrant nightlife scene, there’s no shortage of bars to choose from.

The Whitsundays was definitely one of the highlights of the east coast. 74 Whitsunday islands lie between the coast of Australia and the Great Barrier Reef. Pretty cool eh. A 2pm departure at the harbour, I arrived with my bag of goon under my arm greeted by many other travellers roughly my age from all over the world with cartons of beer. I thought to myself, this is going to be a memorable trip! All aboard, a drink in hand and the mingling began. The first night was chilled and relaxed, after dinner there was a spot of speed dating to help break the ice. There were definitely some characters on board, a few drinking games later, travel stories shared and new friendships were made.

Day 2, we were taken by a smaller boat to reach the beach. We then followed the bush walk until reaching the Hill Inlet Lookout. It was mind blowing. If you don’t have this on your agenda you need to rethink it immediately. We walked in further to the infamous Whitehaven Beach. The sand was so white it was blinding. We spent the day gossiping about the night before, playing footie and swimming with sting rays and lemon sharks.

Little did I know just how mad this boat was going to get. 50 drunk individuals in their 20s competing in lap dances and sex position competitions in order to crown ‘king and queen of the clipper!’ It was a blast. All in all the clipper did not disappoint. With crazy people, a jacuzzi spa on deck, two water slides, snorkelling and scuba diving, what more could you ask for?

You can imagine the shadow of a human I was hopping on an overnight bus to Rainbow Beach the following evening. I was so delighted when my bus broke down, giving me a few more hours sleep to recouperate before my Skydive. I finally arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed! Thankfully I was able to push my skydive to later on that day. It was the most exhilarating experience. Amazing coastal views over Fraser Island with spectacular coloured sands. The craic with Matt my tandem buddy (who happened to be the biggest charmer) was 90. The thrill in a tiny plane, the adrenaline rush as we leaned out and fell from the doorway literally took my breath away. The instant facelift (as seen in pictures) the chance to experience controlling the canopy and the easy and accurate beach landing. I loved it and would do it again in a heartbeat. I got to share this experience with Holly, a fellow nurse and friend now living in Brisbane. We were on a high for days after.

At Rainbow Beach I stayed at Dingos hostel, home of the best Fraser Island tour, around the worlds largest sand island. The day before our departure we met our group for a safety briefing. Following the old school safety video we were kitted out and ready to hit the road early the next morning. An early start, we loaded the 4x4s with supplies, food, booze and sleeping bags. Eight squeezed in per vehicle, we were off to catch the ferry. Within ten minutes goon (boxed wine) bags were being passed around the trucks. The drinking had begun. We explored all 120 kilometres of the island, shipwrecks, rainforests, spectacular sand formations and fresh water lakes, Lake McKenzie being my favourite.

At night we cooked dinner as a group, drank goon by the campfire and star gazed by the water. It was magical, like nothing I’d ever experienced before. The tents were small and cosy, pick a buddy who doesn’t mind a good spoon, it gets a bit nippy. With no pillows we soon realised an empty goon bag filled with air does the job perfectly.

Dingos Fraser Island exceeded all my expectations, the people really did make the trip. Our guide Lukey Lovey was full of banter and high on life. He certainly made sure we left no stone unturned and made the most of our time there.

I was so glad to make it to Noosa in one piece. I was looking forward to a few chilled beach days. I ended up crossing paths with many people I’d previously met. We ate, drank,caught up and explored a little. Nomads here had a cool, relaxed vibe. Lisa, anika and myself hit Noosas National Park 10 kilometre round trip. The views were mesmerising. Whale and dolphin sightings were out of this world. The well signed tracks led to ‘Tea Tree Bay’, a popular surfing spot and ‘Granite Bay’, a nudist beach (if you’re into that kind of thing!). Newbie surfers can hire boards right at Noosas main beach, where the waters calm enough for beginners.

A little more revived, the next stop was Brisbane. This city was not at all what I expected. South banks man made beach always had free events happening. I thought I’d do something different and take in some culture. I visited the museum of modern art, I didn’t last long, not my scene! Loane Pine Koala Sanctuary, a short bus journey from Brisbane houses over 130 koalas (that’s a lot of chlamydia in close proximity). My favourite thing here was actually feeding the kangaroos and people watching. The lengths some people go to to get that perfect selfie with the animals. Absolutely gas. Here you can also get a picture holding a koala. It’s so impersonal, you get two seconds to hold them and get a quick snap before the convere belt starts again.

While in Brisbane I stayed at bunk hostel, located in Fortutude Valley, the hub of Brisbane’s nightlife. This hostel was great for making friends, with a huge communal kitchen, pool and jacuzzi. The night life was great. It offered everything from movie nights to trivia and planned bar crawls.

I departed on my final night bus to Byron Bay where all kinds of people are well catered for as it allows you to explore your inner hippie with its magical combination of natural beauty and creativity. I stayed in Nomads, yet again,  it was a solid 3 minute walk to the beach, perfect. There’s so much to do in Byron, the lighthouse walk has great views and gets the heart rate going. The earlier in the morning you can make it to the lighthouse the better. It’s not unusual to spot pods of dolphins playing nearby and I’ve heard it’s a phenomenal destination to see the sunrise as it’s Australia’s most easterly point.

I booked a kayaking tour at nomads with Go Sea Kayak Byron Bay. We spent more time in the water than in our kayak (myself and Karine were useless) while pods of dolphins swam around us. On our way back in, somewhat disappointed  having not seen a hump back whale, one threw it’s tail in the air 10ft away from us, it was so exciting, a little scary, but amazing. The main beach in Byron Bay is famous for its breath taking sunset and on my last night a group of us gathered with beers and ‘good vibes’ as the hippie dippies liked to call it. There’s plenty more to do in Byron, visit Nimbin, Minyon Falls, skydive if you haven’t already done so or learn to surf.

The east coast has so much to offer, prepare your liver and get ready for one hell of a ride!

Nursing in Oz: a travellers dream job.

Australia is a very popular expat destination with lots of opportunities for work and travel. I headed off from Ireland, a disillusioned nurse, ready to embark on a big adventure. I had an overwhelming excitement to try something new so began with a call centre role selling life insurance, a bar pulling pints, then a traffic controller manning the roads. I soon saw sense and reverted back to what I knew best – Nursing.

To work in Australia you need to obtain a valid (12 month) 417 working holiday visa. Those over 35 need to look at sponsorship or residency. The country clearly has its attractions, beautiful weather, stunning beaches and an infamous laid back lifestyle.

I began work as a carer with ‘24/7 Nursing’, an Irish run nursing agency while I waited for my nursing registration to be processed. There are many nursing agencies to choose from with 24/7 nursing, Allianz and Healthcare Australia being the most popular. This opened my eyes to a whole new world of nursing, with so many opportunities to work in a variety of settings within the community, private clinics, aged care facilities, the Defence Forces, home care, schools, prisons, industrial sites, regional remote areas and much more. It’s a very versatile career for those who wish to utilise their skills and experience and incorporate it with travel.

Being an agency nurse allowed me to work in different departments, expanding my experience across a range of areas. No need to worry about office politics, and can focus on the job at hand, learn new skills and enjoy new experiences. It was definitely a sink or swim situation, changing wards, departments, hospitals and colleagues constantly which meant I was most certainly thrown in at the deep end and I learnt to swim pretty quickly.

As an agency nurse, I was free to choose shifts, days, nights, weekdays or weekends, it was entirely my choice and I  controlled my own roster.  Working for an agency I earned more than most permanent positions paid. The majority of agencies paid above award wages for all shifts, so I was guaranteed to earn good money towards my next adventure.

Depending on where you work the workload differs. In a public hospital setting there would generally be one nurse to a maximum of five patients and a private hospital one to six. The shifts vary depending on where you work. Night shifts are generally 10-12 hours long. The days shifts are split between morning and evening, both 7-8 hours long. The beauty about agency was that I could work as little or as often as i liked, no need to request annual leave.

It is important to take into account that there are quiet periods of work throughout the year for agency nurses. Christmas time is particularly quiet, surgeons go on leave this time of year effectecting the amount of elective surgeries, and this in turn decreases the need for agency staff. This is most prominent in private hospitals, whereas public hospitals and home care tend to have more available shifts. Be mindful to save money for this time of the year or use it to your advantage and plan to travel/ holiday. Regional nursing is becoming increasingly popular and could also be explored during these quieter periods, and can be used as an excuse to see new places and learn new skills.

It’s important to have vaccination documentation up to date in keeping with Irish requirements. In order to work in a public hospital it is mandatory to have the pertussis vaccination, many agencies offer this service, however it can be easily obtained in Ireland before your departure and will be cheaper.

Nursing Registration:

Australia has a National Registration And Accreditation Scheme run by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) supports the National Boards to implement the National Scheme. There are AHPRA offices in each state and territory of Australia. Gathering all the information provided can be a lengthy process and many people underestimate the time involved requesting and waiting for documentation to be provided from third parties.

Information required:

A signed and dated Cirriculum Vitae that describes your full practice history. You must declare on your CV that the ‘cirriculum vitae’ is true and correct as (insert date) and the declaration must be signed and dated. The Boards will only accept the original signed CV. You must also attach certified copies of any results or courses undertaken, competencies or skills assessments that have been stated in the CV.

You must also include a Statement of Service from all of your employers from the last five years. This statement is required to be on the employer’s letterhead, provide dates of employment, describe the role in which you were employed and state the hours worked and it must be signed by a manager.

You will need to apply for your transcripts from university as soon as possible as they take a considerable amount of time to be organised. Apply for an International Criminal History Check and make sure to use the link provided inside the AHPRA application. In terms of proof of identity I used my passport, Gardai ID and a bank statement. You will also need to get your degree translated to English.

Keep in mind that every document that is not an original needs to be certified. Peace commissioners in Ireland cannot certify documents and many get lawyers to certify on their behalf. Refer to the back page of the application form for more information on certifying documents. It will save time and potentially money if you get all your documents in order and certified at the same time. If you are applying within Australia a Justice of the Peace will suffice and does not cost.

Certificate of Registration Status or Certificate of Good Standing is required. AHPRA stipulates that the supporting documentation must come straight from the source. eg. If you’ve been registered in Ireland or England you must arrange for original Certificates of Good Standing or Certificates of Registration Status to be directly forwarded from the registration authority to your chosen AHPRA office.

When your application is ready and you’ve double checked and triple checked it, don’t forget to take into account the postage time for it to travel to the other side of the world. Most definitely send it by registered post so you can keep track of it’s whereabouts. You also need to take into account the time it may take them to notify you if there is any missing information, the time it will take you to source the missing information and for it to then be processed.

Once your application is successfully approved you’ll receive a letter providing ‘in principle approval for registration’ which is valid for three months only. This means that you need to present in person with proof of your identity before you are granted your final registration.

Like any organisation, AHPRA does not always run smoothly. Occasionally delays are experienced. I was waiting quite a while for my International Criminal History Check to come through from an approved vendor. As a general rule AHPRA advise that the standard timeframe  of a complete application from overseas is 4-6 weeks. Keep in touch with the office and check your emails regularly.

Australia is looking for nurses of all specialities. There’s no better time to grab your fob watch and your bikini and head to oz. I am grateful that I chose nursing as my career as it has afforded me the opportunity to travel and earn money while experiencing new and exciting adventures along the way.

Solo travel: the best decision you’ll ever make.

Approximately 35,000 feet in the air and heading 9,607 miles away from home, I was ready to embark on a trip of a lifetime. I had never been to Australia, and I’d certainly never travelled by myself.

I had never intended to travel alone. Even the thought of it shot a nervous jolt throughout my body. Previously, the idea of getting on a plane and flying anywhere on my own seemed far away from anything I’d allow myself to do. It absolutely terrified me.

If I was to wait for the right time, to wait for someone else, I’d never have taken the plunge. I refused to wait. I wasn’t going to let anyone keep me from realising my dreams. However scary travelling alone could be, to me, growing old without experiencing everything I wanted from life was even scarier.

Some people would consider solo travel to be somewhat of a brave endeavour. I don’t think of it as being brave as you’re never truly alone. There are plenty of people in the exact same boat as you. The opportunity to meet new people is endless. Stepping out of my comfort zone and travelling alone has given me a great confidence to take on the world. Given you’re always entering the unknown, there’s a huge element of excitement. Opportunities present themselves at every turn. Solo travel allows you to embark on an inward journey of self discovery and dare I say it  ‘finding yourself’!

Solo travel represents freedom and independence. Individuals often return home a new person with a fresh perspective on life. It changes your perspective on the world, the way you view others and yourself. You become more confident in your abilities. You become more comfortable with being uncomfortable. You learn to enjoy and embrace unfamiliar places and people. It’s taken me a hell of a long time to realise this, but the best relationship you can have is with yourself. You will discover just how strong you are.

Solo travel can lead to exciting adventures and meaningful experiences with complete strangers, which can have a long lasting impact. There are endless opportunities to make connections with different people from all walks of life. Whether you bond over a new adventure or experience, a drink at a hostel bar, meet on the beach and consume henious amounts of box wine or cross paths on a bus journey, you always have travel in common. If you think solo travel is all about being alone, think again. I’d never been the life and soul of the party which initially worried me, however lots of people travel solo, and odds are you’ll bump into them. All it takes to meet new people is a little spurt of confidence and one small word ‘hello’. I realised that travelling solo was ironically the easiest way to make friends. Travellers in general are usually open to new experiences, including making friends. Connections happen naturally when you are with like minded people. You are really only alone if you choose to be.

In this day and age turning internet friends into real life friends is a fore gone conclusion. There are several Facebook groups and apps that serve as communities for those who travel; Girl Crew, Solo Female Travel Network and Girls Love Travel to name a few. These are great resources for making travel plans, learning travel tips and making new friends.

Stay in a hostel, sign up for a group event or chill out at a hostel bar. You’re bound to stumble across a new bestie! You’ll end up being surrounded by hundreds of other travellers who want to have a good time and explore just like you. The amazing thing is that if you click with people you can end up spending days, weeks or even months travelling together. Some will even end up being a friend for life.

It’s funny how time changes us and the things you never saw yourself doing suddenly become your reality. Travelling alone has become a new part of my reality. I absolutely love it and I’ve learned so much along the way. Don’t get me wrong, there are down days where I feel lonely or homesick, but there’s also days I can’t believe what I’m doing. It’s scary, exciting, nerve wrecking and amazingly rewarding all at the same time.

Solo travel is an incredible experience and one that everyone should do at least once in their lifetime. It’s handsdown offered me the best experiences of my life. So the next time you’re inspired to go on a trip and can’t find a friend to go with, do yourself a favour, bite the bullet and book it!