"Wanderlust consumed her; foreign hearts and exotic minds compelled her.

She had a gypsy soul and a vibrant hope for the unknown. "

- D. Marie

STA Travel - #WildCardUK Part 7 – THE WANDERING DUCK

STA Travel - #WildCardUK Part 7 – THE WANDERING DUCK

tumblr_ncncog30tQ1tqgbf3o2_1280.jpg

It seems like forever ago that I embarked on this once-in-a-lifetime #WildCardUK adventure with thanks to the guys at STA Travel and Visit Britain.

In fact, it’s hard to believe that this is my seventh and final blog in the series and THIS is the last YouTube vide! 

To wrap up the #WildCardUK experience we felt it only fitting that we finished off with the WildCard activity, as voted on by the public! 

I would have been wrapped to any of the three options but when we found out we were hopping on board the Wandering Duck boat tour with our hosts Mark and Ruth, I really had no idea what to expect.

Read below for my thoughts on our little overnight adventure and find out why a hosted canal boat tour is simply a ‘Must Do’ if you’re ever over in the UK.

The Boat

When we pulled up to the Wandering Duck which was moored and awaiting our arrival I was a little apprehensive.

How would we fit all our luggage on there? How would we fit all of US on there? Where would we sleep? Would I even be able to stand up properly?

It was all new and exciting and I couldn’t wait to hop on board and be given the grand tour.

Starting from the back of the boat, there is a little lounge/dining area. It’s a lounge room by day and then at night, a impressively large dinging table can be easily set up.

There really is everything you could possibly want in there to keep yourself entertained - a guitar, books, board games, iPod speakers and a really comfy couch for relaxing on.

Moving into the kitchen we were first taken through the menu that Ruth would whip up over the next day or so. Every single dish sounded (and tasted) delicious and there was even a vegetarian option AND snack food included (the brownies were to die for. I still dream about them.)

tumblr_ncncog30tQ1tqgbf3o5_1280.jpg
tumblr_ncncog30tQ1tqgbf3o6_1280.jpg

Most importantly- there was beer on tap and an 'honesty bar’ available whenever we felt like a drink, which was always. 

After the kitchen was the first of two bathrooms (so basically, there are more amenities on board than in most Sydney apartments!)

Then came bedroom 1 which featured four bunk beds, the top two with beautiful views looking out onto the water. We deemed this the 'girls room’ and quickly began shot-gunning beds like we were back at school camp.

Bedroom 2 was much the same, with storage space in between and then there was the second bathroom and finally, the master bedroom (otherwise known as Ruth and Mark’s double bed).

tumblr_ncncog30tQ1tqgbf3o4_1280.jpg

You could get out to the front of the boat from the master bedroom, and when the sun came out it was almost like a little Juliette balcony! 

Overall, I was impressed. Although there was a bit of lying flat against the wall/squishing past each other, the 8 STA Travel crew and Ruth and Mark all fit on the boat quite comfortably.

Before long it was dark and we were digging into a delicious chicken curry and self-saucing chocolate pudding- Ruth really is an amazing cook.

Then came the drinking games. I’d tell you what came to light during a game of 'Never Ever’ but then I’d have to kill you.

What I WILL tell you is that we drank the boat dry. Opps?

tumblr_ncncog30tQ1tqgbf3o3_1280.jpg
tumblr_ncncog30tQ1tqgbf3o10_1280.jpg

The Locks

We woke up the next day, shook off our hangovers and put on our shorts and t-shirts- THE SUN WAS OUT!

I took the opportunity to tan my legs whilst Andy/Astro got the first lesson in steering the boat.

With The Wandering Duck tours, the idea is that you can be as involved and hands-on as you want. You want to have a go driving the boat? Go ahead. But if you’d rather sit up the front of the boat in the sun with a good book then that’s cool too. 

Mark and Ruth as hosts had been so fab. Really easy going, fun and open minded. They let us cause a muck on board and even played our silly drinking games before deciding to hit the sack. 

We spent the rest of the day making our way down to Manchester. The boat moves at such a slow speed, it’s easy for you to jump off and go for an explore- maybe a bike or canoe ride or even stop for a quick bite at a local pub.

By the time we got to our first lock we were all ready for some activity. We all hopped off as Ruth gave us a brief history lesson on the locks and how they worked.

Before long we were pro’s, taking it in turns to push and pull and turn all the necessary parts required for this age-old form of transport.

It was actually pretty amazing to watch and really easy once you got the hang of it. 

Scenic wise, you couldn’t get a better view. Moving at such a slow pace, you really got to take it all in. The beautiful greens, the locals and then finally the cityscape as we came into Manchester. 

It was a really nice change of pace and something I would never normally have considered but have since been recommending to anyone and everyone that will listen to me!

The crew and I agreed it was the perfect way to end the trip so thank you to everyone who voted!

tumblr_ncncog30tQ1tqgbf3o8_1280.jpg

Goodbyes

This is the part we’d all been dreading. Driving from Manchester down to London, the mood was noticeably more sombre than it had been the past 9 days.

We didn’t want it to end! We didn’t want to say goodbye! We’d made such life long friends on such an amazing experience and it was all about to be over.

Pulling into our Heathrow Airport hotel at 11pm at night, everybody was so tired we could hardly yank our luggage out of the cars.

We had a group hug in the car park. There may have been a few years and finally one last sign-off to camera.

It wasn’t until I was checked into my flight and waiting to board the next day that I fully had a moment to appreciate the opportunity I’d just been given.

I want to (again) thank the amazing superstars at Formidable Productions. They took a total amateur, in sometimes un-ideal weather circumstances and created some really beautiful work. Plus they were awesome dudes and really fun to hang out with.

To the Our Wild Abandon girls, Kyla and Jill- you actually made my trip. I was so lonely until you joined me and then you made my stomach hurt from laughter every day onwards. You are so talented and brilliant and funny and beautiful and I can’t wait until our paths crossed again.

Astro/Andy and his team of Dave and Holly, it was short but boy was it sweet. Bummed we didn’t get more chance to combine teams but our wild night on The Wandering Duck is something I’ll never forget.

Finally, to the awesome guys at STA Travel and Visit Britain- thank you for giving me this chance and thank you for believing in me and thank you for making it all possible.

Until next time! 

Catch ALL of the #WildCardUK videos HERE

tumblr_ncncog30tQ1tqgbf3o1_1280.jpg
GET OUT OF MY HOUSE

GET OUT OF MY HOUSE

MISSION FOR HEALTH….MISSION IMPOSSIBLE?  DAY 6- Saturday 20th September

MISSION FOR HEALTH….MISSION IMPOSSIBLE? DAY 6- Saturday 20th September