The Problem of Being a Princess Traveller

Three and a half stars is my absolute minimum.

If you can’t tell by the travel part of Widow’s Lure, I absolutely love to travel. Seeing new places, meeting new people, trying new things… it’s all such an incredible experience. But so far, as a 24-year-old man, I have only been able to visit four countries (five if you include Australia).

But if I’m going to be honest, my country count probably won’t increase so much because I am a self-confessed Princess. And that really hinders my opportunities of travel for several different reasons.

Hanging a spreadie on top of the Rockefeller Center like a Princess.

If you want proof, just ask the people I went on my two Contikis tours with. In both End of Tour Contiki Awards, I won the Princess award. By a landslide.

Young Australians, including many of my friends, can pick up and go and travel across Europe and South America and stay overseas for months or even years. How do they do it? They stay in hostels, volunteer at organizations looking for young workers, and visit less-fortunate countries where the Aussie dollar has more value over there. I can honestly say that I am comfortable doing none of the above.

If you haven’t gathered by now, I have expensive a very specific taste in life, and my taste in life comes at a very high cost. For starters, I cannot stay at a hostel. Like point blank refuse will not do ever don’t even think about it. I don’t care how cheap the accommodation is there, why on earth would I want to share a bathroom with people I don’t know when I could have a bathroom to myself. In saying that, I can’t even stay at motels or hotels that are less than three and a half stars. I was once booked in a two star hotel in Los Angeles, and it was that traumatic that I don’t even want to discuss the finer details of it. Needless to say, I am alive and well. Also, a couple of the hotels I stayed at on Contiki had more than one floor, and no elevator. Like. I just can’t.

My style of travelling also means I can’t do it as much as other young people do. The other style of traveller can find cheap plane tickets, stay in Europe for six to nine months, live at a hostel or volunteer at an organization that offers food and accommodation, and Bobsuruncle. It’s so cheap that they could probably go back to Europe in another month or so. Meanwhile, I get flights, stay in hotels everywhere I go, eat out for every meal, and can essentially only afford to travel for five or six weeks. And that’s me done for about a year or two. My style of travelling is expensive and doesn’t last as long, but at least I am comfortable with it. I wish I could travel as long as the hostel travellers, I really do, but contradictory to what some may believe, I fund my own lifestyle. I don’t have handouts from the Bank of Daddy, and I am not swimming in inheritance money.

While I am interested in experiencing different cultures, I can’t see myself visiting the less than fortunate countries. I would like to think I am a decent person, and would love to volunteer for charity organizations in third-world countries that would need help, but the small problem of “I would have to stay there in those poor living conditions” is a red light for me. And I can’t do it. I need a bed, a roof over my head, some clean stylish clothes, and a nice meal on a dinner plate with a fork and a knife. If that makes me a snob, then so be it. I am a snob.

Culture shock for me was going to Subway in Texas and finding out that they didn’t have veggie patties. Imagine this Princess going to a country like Bangladesh… the culture shock would be so overwhelming that I may pass out. Admittedly, I will only ever feel comfortable visiting other westernised countries, like England, New Zealand, Ireland and Wales.

There will be some avid travellers out there who could potentially read this and think that I am a piece of shit for pretty much saying I am too good to visit certain countries, but I don’t regret saying any of this. It’s the fascination of humans; every human is raised differently, and therefore grows up differently. My parents raised me to appreciate the finer things in life, which means that I am too precious to stay in a motel with a single bed and a kitchenette. You are free to live your volunteering in a third-world country, but it isn’t for me, as much as I would like it to be.

Now, something that frugal travellers and Princesses alike can appreciate. Contiki. I cannot recommend it enough, even if some of the hotels don’t have elevators, and you’re stuck standing there waiting for someone to carry your suitcase up the flight of stairs because you just don’t do that kind of thing. If you’re looking for a unique kind of travel experience, and an opportunity to meet some new people, visit the Contiki website and book through your travel agent immediately.

– by Noah La’ulu

Satisfashion: Dressing with Coloured Hair

Coloured hair is in. Mixing that colour with ten different others on your outfit isn’t.

Ever since that fateful night in Quebec City where my dearest Bree bleached my hair in a night of drunken fun, I’ve been obsessed with having hair colours that aren’t my natural shade. Ever since then, I’ve been blond, dark roots with blue and pink tips, blond again, red and blue with blond sides, red and blue with red and blue sides, and moved onto just red and blue on top with dark sides.

Since then, I have gone back to my natural colour so to save my hair from further damage. But with my red-and-blue-do, I couldn’t successfully wear different colours because it clashed with my hair. It’s a risk you don’t think of when dying your hair, but when your hair is bright pink, that automatically means you can’t wear green with orange or yellow. Unless you want to look like you got dressed in the dark. I mean, I’m not going to judge you or anything…

My advice to those with extreme coloured hair like mine used to be is to stick to your shades, and accentuate the colour in your hair with similar colours in your outfit. I haven’t been in the coloured hair game for long, but I’ve come to understand that some parts of my current wardrobe were under quarantine until I returned to a natural shade of hair colour… which sucks, by the way. Having plan coloured hair is BORING.

For example, if you have purple hair, maybe accessorise your black and greys with different shades of purple, or even a really hot shade of pink that compliments your hair.

For me personally, I found it quite easy to dress myself. When you’re a Patriots fan, you have lots of red and blue in your wardrobe. When you’re a fan of the Bella Twins, you will have lots of red in your wardrobe also. And if you just ignore the fact that this was a costume for a pole dancing show, the colouring in my outfit work with my hair so well.

Photo captured by The Black Light. Taken at Pole Plus Studios.

I have worn reds and blues to match my hair, and have stuck to neutral shades like white and black so that the two primary colours are the main focus of the outfit. And if I were to wear shoes with this outfit, I would stick to reds, blues, blacks and whites anyway. I guess this means that Harley Quinn knows how to style an outfit to work with my hair, not me…

I guess you get the idea now. But just in case you don’t, let me give you a short instruction list…

TL;DR
Wear colours similar to your extremely dyed hair.
Match that with blacks, whites and greys.
Complimentary colours are okay (eg: if you have blue hair, wearing deep shades of purple is okay).
Try not to have too many colours on your outfit.
Don’t look like a Mario Kart Rainbow Road. No one likes Rainbow Road. No one.

You’re so welcome.

– by Noah La’ulu

#LauluCruise2017

I only just realised that I hadn’t written about my first cruise ever. Tl;dr – it was amazing.

Along with going on an amazing six-week holiday with Miss Kate, I had another holiday to go on only a few months later. Daddy wanted all of my family to get together and go on a family holiday – our last official family holiday was in 2011 – so not only was it going to be a great bonding experience for everyone, but it was going to be my first time going on a cruise.

On February 14, my family and I boarded Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas, ready to spend the next eight nights on board. Not only was my immediately family attending – myself, my two parents, two brothers, two sisters, two sister-in-laws, a niece and a nephew – but we also had extended family and other friends with us, so in total, there were about 30 of us on board.

Instead of going through my days in chronological order and listing what I did daily, I’m just going to tell you everything I had done on the cruise in general.

First of all, it’s important to mention for anyone with a beating heart that food is free (with the exception of some specialty restaurants, but honestly, why would you pay to eat when almost everything else is free)! The only time I ever paid to eat was when I ate at Johnny Rocket’s, which was only a $7USD surcharge fee, and then everything on the menu was yours for the taking.

Each morning, I would go to the Windjammer Marketplace for breakfast, which is the Explorer’s version of a buffet. I can’t tell you about the variety of foods they had there for your first meal of the day, because I only ever ate hash browns and croissants; if I was feeling a bit adventurous, I’d chuck a tub of yoghurt on there as well.

While everyone in my family were free to do whatever they wanted during the day and night, we always got together at 6pm in the Sapphire Dining Room for family dinner. this was the Explorer’s version of fine dining. I’m not a fan of fine dining, really; I prefer a burger and fries over some overpriced salad that takes up a quarter of the plate. But God damn, the Sapphire Dining Room was outstanding! The food was great – and there was always one or more choices for vegetarians – but what made this dining experience really great was the service. My family had the absolute pleasure of dining with our waiters Ikomang and Imade, two lovely gentlemen from Indonesia who spared no expense in making sure our time with them was always 11/10.

The types of activities on board cater to everyone also: there is trivia and gallery viewings for the more introverted; there is ice skating and rock climbing for the physically adventurous; and there’s karaoke and outrageous game shows for the attention hogging types (me). I can’t even begin to describe the amount of fun I had on board, from playing putt putt with my nephew and niece, to playing as Novak Djokovic on Virtua Tennis in the arcade, the Explorer of the Seas had almost limitless amounts of activities to do. There were also different shows available, with ice-skating extravaganzas taking place on the ice skating rink, and broadway style shows in the Palace Theater. And if you were confused as to what you wanted to do that day, they gave out day sheets for everything that would be running that day.

I can’t speak for the other types of rooms available on board, but my two sisters and I shared a room with a balcony – because we can’t not have fresh air in our room. How gross. The room was pretty small, and the bathroom and shower left no room for me to effectively shave my legs, but when you consider the amount of time you would actually be spending in the room as opposed to everywhere else on the ship, then it was worth it. My sisters had the double bed whereas I had a hidden bunk bed that appeared from the ceiling. Great use of space, Royal Caribbean!

The island visits were also amazing! On my cruise, we were able to visit two countries and three islandsNouméa, New CaledoniaMystery Island, Vanuatu; and Maré, New Caledonia. Nouméa was beautiful in its own different way; it wasn’t what I expected it to be, but then five minutes down the street, it was… if that makes sense. My siblings all had ice cream from this place – which they said they had imported from France – and said it was the best dessert they’ve ever had, so there’s that? (I opted not to buy anything because why would you when the food on the ship is free). Mystery Island was actually paradise: the ocean was crystal clear and had this amazing shade of azure blue that it looked like I was staring at a postcard; the natives who visit the island to greet tourists were so adorable and friendly and had several goods and services for sale; and the sun was beaming down on the island as if we were the only place on earth. Admittedly, I didn’t get off at Maré, because I was too damn burnt from Mystery Island and everything hurt everywhere.

And finally, if you have read this far, there is the nightlife on board (yes there is nightlife on a cruise). Depending on which drink package you get – if you even choose to get one at all – then drinks on board can either be pricey, or already paid for.  The alcoholic drink package, which is around $45USD a day, guarantees virtually unlimited alcohol for the entire duration of your cruise. I suggest that if you’re a big drinker, or even if you can go through at least five cocktails a day, then this package is for you. The Explorer had several options for you if you were nocturnal or just liked a good night out – there was the casino (don’t ask me about it, I have no idea how to gamble other than playing Blackjack terribly), the Star Lounge (which was like a fancy music-playing bar) and Dizzy’s (the nightclub). Having experienced the latter two, I can say that the nightlife on the cruise was pretty damn good. And when Dizzy’s shut, you were free to head to the pool deck where the drinks would continue until the early morning.

The people you meet on board are pretty amazing as well, and if you’re lucky like me, you’ll take some friends away from your short trip. Everyone… meet my new little brother Alex.

Oh, and there was also a gym on board.

If you’re interested in doing a cruise – or you’ve done one with another company – I highly recommend cruising with Royal Caribbean. It was a pleasant 10/10 experience for everyone in my family, and I am more than excited to do another one with them.

– by Noah La’ulu

#NKinNA16: Part 6 – The Credits

Six weeks seems like a long time, especially for a holiday.

But when you’re travelling with the best travel partner and the most amazing group of friends, then that time will just fly by, and soon you’ll be sitting back in your home, typing furiously away at your laptop keyboard about your experiences because you refuse to let go of what once was.

What I would like to do now is write about all the people who made this trip incredible. Without you, I wouldn’t be writing this #NKinNA16 travel blog, because my experience would have been horrible and I would have nothing to write home about.

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The obvious starter for my round of shout outs is Kate: for six weeks, I got to wake up to you every morning, travel the great continent of North America with you, eat a rotation of cheese pizza and portabello sandwiches with you, and overall have the greatest time on the other side of the world with you. You are truly an incredible person, an amazing friend, and the best travelling partner I could have ever asked for. Thank you for snuggling me after our nights out with the group so we could talk about our feelings. Thank you for bringing me meatless Big Mac meals even when I didn’t expect it. Thank you for “taking walks” at the last minute. And thank you for being as selfless as one can be. This has been the adventure of a lifetime, and I can’t wait to take more with you.

To my family ElleNate and Aidan: thank you for taking Kate and I around Salt Lake City and being the best hosts ever. I can’t wait to see you guys again, when all three of you eventually move (back) to Australia. I’m not giving you a choice.

To my friends on the other side of the world who took the time out to see me, Emma and Nick: I love you both. Nashville was great because I got to see you, Emma, and reminisce on how totally not innocent we both were. Nick, thank you for bending over backwards to accommodate me in Cleveland, but next time, we have to spoon.

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To my original Mean Girls, Angela and Eliza: we clicked from day one, and judging by how much I miss you, it’s clear to see why. You girls were the best, plain and simple. As a Regina, I couldn’t have asked for a better Gretchen and Karen. And to your respective room buddies Russell and Simon, it was a darn pleasure getting to know y’all, and I can’t wait to catch up with all four of you some time in the near future. Perhaps Kate and I will join you for another round at Cheesecake Factory somewhere? #squadgoals (Somehow, somewhere, I will get a recording of you in Kanab, Russell, and I will hold it over your head forever)

Mike and James: I got along with the both of you very quickly, and always felt at ease when surrounded by one or both of you. If you’re reading this on your current journeys, don’t have too much fun without me. I’ll get jealous. Also, I didn’t get to sing Touch-a Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me to you, so I guess that means I’ll have to see you when you get home.

To my bitches colloquially referred to as the “Adelaide Girls”, Courtney, Ashley and Georgia: keep Ashley in check. We all know how slutty rowdy she can get. I love you girls, and am glad I got to know you during the short time we had with each other. When I come to visit Kate, y’all better get Radelaide prepare for #CycloneNikki. Also just a sidenote to Ashley: shake shake shake shake shake.

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My two protectors on tour, Big Red and Micco: I could get away with 90% of the stuff I did on tour because I knew y’all were there to back me up if I needed it. Big Red, I loved my cuddles from you, and I think you’re a spectacular person that deserves the world. I just hate your grubby NRL team. I also miss saying “Big Red! Where are you? Aren’t you meant to carry me everywhere?”

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My rowdy Chicago taxi ride home crew Ally and Lauren: I miss y’all so much, and along with the boys from Melbourne and Eliza, missed you two the most from North by North East. Ally, we were destined to get along; after all, we are the Bottle Blonde Bitches together. Thank you for enduring the rape-by-water jet boat ride with me, and for being a vulgar nympho with me. Lauren, I can’t send you my sneaky pictures anymore for obvious reasons, but somehow I will keep our tradition alive.

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To both of my lovers on tour, Jacob and Esther: I love you both. Jacob, you are sensational in every sense of the word because you are not afraid to be true to yourself. You have this infectious personality that affects everyone around you, and people can’t help but want to be in your general vicinity. Esther, you are by far one of the most beautiful souls I have met. Your insides are as beautiful as your outsides (which is a lot). Can’t wait to see you somewhere in this small world of ours. Also, my mum is excited to meet her new daughter-in-law.

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My boys Brandon, Lochie and Rohan: catch you guys on the flipside. I loved meeting all three of you, and having the privilege of seeing you again after you got off tour. Lochie, you are one of the true gems of the world, and I will always love you for who you are. Rohan, I don’t know if you remember, but Kate entrusted a drunken Nikki to you one night in Boston, and you got me home safe and sound. I will never forget that. Brandon, McGregor is better than Diaz. Deal with it.

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My Grand Canadian girls Samantha, Jessica Lee and Ellie: all three of you are just great. There’s nothing more I can add to that. I will miss our bitchy messages to each other, Sam, but I think we’ll find a way to keep it going. Ellie, I will see your fine ass around. There’s no way a bond like ours can be broken by time.

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My breakfast buddies Ashleigh and Ashley: I apologise for not video chatting you when I had breakfast without you guys so I could keep our tradition alive, but lack of data got in the way. Alternatively, it was too awkward to do it in front of a bunch of old people. When I slather strawberry-flavoured cream cheese on my toasted bagel, I will think about our times together and smile.

To my Kiwi boys Johnny and Hadleigh: kia kaha. It was pre-determined that I would love you guys, and y’all didn’t let me down. Hadleigh – thank you for being mine and Sasha’s protector in the now infamous haunted house experience, and for being an all-around top bloke. Johnny – you stay true to yourself, because you’re a rare light in this dark world of ours.

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My Contiki Awards Committee 
JJ, Amber and Amy: I have no worries about you girls, because I know we’ll stay close friends in the future. I’m so glad I had the chance to get close with all three of you, and am happy about the experiences we shared together: from our near-death experience at Pie for the People, to mine and Amber’s “proposition” in Chicago. We truly lived Contiki with #noregrets.

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To the backbone of the tour Bree and Sasha: if you two weren’t on tour, I can guarantee it wouldn’t have been as near as fun as it was with you. Both of you clicked so naturally, and it was easy to see why; you both radiated this positive euphoric energy that was hard to miss. I’ll miss our intense grinding sessions on the DF, our late night hair dyeing sessions (Bree), and making seemingly-innocent-but-really-ditzy comments to the disappointment of others (Sasha).

469To the other members of the Thunder from Down Under crew Veegz and Tarni: it was such a delight having the opportunity to meet you and get to know the both of you. Veegz, stay as beautifully blunt as ever, and keep up your outspoken crusade against animal cruelty. Tarni, you’re just going to have to move to the east coast to catch up with those of us over here. It has to be done.

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To my handsome boys – whom I am now dubbing “The Three Musketeers – LukeMax and Jacko: getting to spend 14 of the 26 days with you boys was a pleasure. Luke, you’re a genuinely beautiful soul, and your girlfriend is lucky to have someone like you. Also, I need to mention the elephant in the room, which is your big, round, perky butt. Max AKA ‘Arry, probably one of the best people I’ve ever met. You’re an amazing guy, and I want to protect you from the world forever so you will never lose that smile of yours. Jacko, while we may have started off rocky (because you’re an asshole, but also because I’m a stubborn bitch), we ended up okay. I mean, we almost got married, so that’s saying something? As you may know, I’m a needy fiancee, so you’re gonna have to deal with that for the rest of your life. Soznotsoz.

To my true blue Aussie blokes Ben and Jeremy: we’re proof that polar opposites can still get along. I almost had nothing in common with the both of you, but grew to truly love you for who you were. Can’t wait to attend your 21st Jeremy, so you can introduce your father to the enigma that is Nikki.

Bec, Jess and Becky: thank you to the former two for teaching me how to play the wheel spinning game at Harrah’s. Bec, thank you for sharing your “experiences” with me so I could (happily) live vicariously through you. And Becky, you beautiful Geordie soul, thank you for giving me the most intense massage of my life, and for being a pure radgie like. Proper mint like you are.

The dynamic duo of Hayley and Mish: you girls were sent from the heavens to join this tour, and I’m glad I met the both of you. Hayley, thank you for helping me through my first experience playing blackjack at a table. Mish, thank you for dancing with me and promptly kissing me afterwards. It was great.

To my awesome Contiki leaders Phil and Ray: thank you for giving me the best Grand Northern experience I could have ever asked for, and for letting me be me. Even if Phil refused to play Clueless for me, I wouldn’t have changed anything about my tour. Plus, I will never forget to bring ma trash.

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And to my wonderful host and friend in LA Serena and your beautiful mother Beatrice: thank you for having Kate and I on our Contiki detox. You guys were the best and more than accommodating, and I’m glad that after meeting you last year, we were able to keep our friendship alive.

And to everyone else on tour who contributed to this awesome experience, simply thank you.

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Until my next adventure…

– by Noah La’ulu