Do you need someone to help you plan the best trip ever?
You want it packed full of adventure and meaningful experiences and you don’t want to do the same old thing as everyone else.
You want to be there for as loooong as possible so you can explore every crack and crevice, enjoy every cultural experience on offer and chow down every delicious local food you can get your hands on.
But… There’s a catch.
You have a kind-of-tight budget you need to work within and you need to make your money go as far as possible.
Chill. I got you.
I’m here to help you do all this and more!
I help you to get so much more life experience out of your travels and mayyyybbe I’ll even inspire you to travel further and to more places too!
I want to show you that more travel is possible, that budget travel is achievable and fun and that you can do it in a way that keeps Mother Earth happy.
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We already know that travel teaches you life lessons we can’t learn in a book or a boring cubicle.
Now, together, we are going to make meaningful travel happen for you!
But how can I even help you achieve this seemingly impossible travel?
Well, that’s easy.
I can teach you from experience.
This is my travel style:
AND I do this type of travel a lot.
Since finishing university I’ve been on three extended trips.
The first was around South and Central America for 6 months (on only $5K!), the second was mostly around Southeast Asia and India for almost 2 years and the latest one was worldwide including a little bit of Europe, a lot of Mexico and a taster of South America.
I do this extended travel from the money I save working full time. I earn very little while actively travelling and I always manage to find myself a new job when I get back to my home country of Oz.
Read more about how you can save for your dream travel too.
And Castaway with Crystal is how I will do all that.
Here, you’ll find epic budget guides, off-the-beaten-path knowledge and in-depth suggested itineraries, plus helpful videos and pictures that’ll make you drool.
All of my articles are written with the budget traveller in mind and often share valuable tips and tricks that will help make your travel more wholesome and cheaper.
If you’re in the process of planning your travels, be sure to read my gigantic packing list for long-term travel.
I don’t like doing the same old thing everyone else does and I refuse to only scrape the surface of a new destination.
I get creative in the way I discover new things.
I talk to the locals and travellers, I use apps to help me find new and interesting things and I’m not afraid to go off-course to find something new.
And I am obsessed with urban exploration and dark tourism (the ethical kind). I want to be face to face with the backbone of a town or city. To feel its innards and figure out what makes its people tick.
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This blog is a direct reflection of my way of living… Fearless and alternative.
Speechless, castaway, and wry, a spellbound oddity am I. My feet are planted in the clay, my gaze is locked upon the sky.
– Cecilia Dart-Thornton
To understand me better…
Maybe you want the deeper stuff.
Like, who am I? What’s my deal? What’s the meaning of life?
Well, to surely impress you, I will summarise my life in dot point form to save time.
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I was born in 1986 in a tiny mountain town called Mt Barker in South Australia into a weird cult religion. I got my name from this cult because they believe in the healing power of Crystals. My brother and dog were also named after the cult.
My mum (who raised me) never had a job and we lived relatively poor so I’ve always been real good at saving and managing money… Out of necessity, you know?
I nearly died of an asthma attack at two hours old and the doctors got me breathing again by swinging me around the room by my feet! Now, I have asthma and sinus problems and I get sick far too easily.
Growing up I wanted to be a Veterinarian because I LOVE animals. But then I did a week’s volunteer work in a Vet Clinic and after seeing dead puppies I decided that career just wasn’t for me.
At 18, I went to Southeast Asia and since then I haven’t been able to stop travelling despite my obvious monetary disadvantages.
Even at university, I desperately travelled every mid-year break I had. Literally forcing my car to travel on the smell of an oily rag.
Travel has been a part of my life since I was born. At one year old, I was dragged around rural Australia in a camper van…
…And since eight years old we never lived in a single house for more than a year. This possibly contributed heavily to my inability to settle down in one place for too long and my ease-ability to leave and travel for extended periods of time.
I was in a really, REALLY bad car crash when I was 16 years old. If you want to know more about that then watch the documentary I made about the crash aimed at young drivers.
Doing voluntary road safety work got me into the film and television industry that I’ve worked in for 10 years, developing my storytelling skills.
Before I left Sydney I ran my own small-scale production company; Nostalgia Films, that makes promotional videos, music videos and other small-scale shoots.
I have since taken this company with me and make travel videos as I go!
Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Japan, India, New Zealand, England, USA, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Cuba, Greece, Turkey, Italy and the Philippines so far…
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This giant list of free things to do in New Zealand, North Island includes loads of free activities in each major North Island destination.
2021 sucked but 2022 doesn’t have to! Own the new year by making a quarantine bucket list of 100 things to do this year. I will help you get out of the house and trying new things in 2022.
This cultural guide is for anyone wanting to visit Day of the Dead in Oaxaca as a responsible tourist. Learn which cemeteries welcome visitors, what to eat and drink, and where to find amazing parades and art!
Check out this mega guide for all you need to know when you travel to Oaxaca, Mexico! Includes things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca City and Mazunte.
Wondering what to pack for long-term travel? This is the ONLY long-term travel packing list you’ll ever need. Comes with a free printable travel checklist!
101 of the best safe journey quotes and travel wishes to inspire wanderlust. Simply copy and paste the happy journey wishes for your own use.
Learn how to d a self-guided Uluru tour to see the big rock without paying big prices. In Australia, we like things BIG. Big rocks, big spaces between literally everywhere and unfortunately big, expensive prices. Did you know Sydney has surpassed London as one of the top 10 most expensive cities in the world? Wild. […]
The ultimate backpacking Cambodia itinerary! Compare our 10 day or 2 week Cambodia itineraries. Mix and match to make them suit you!
Japan is definitely a place where you don’t have to travel too far to be able to experience their country to the full. We had just over 2 weeks so our Japan Itinerary included travelling south of Tokyo all the way to Beppu. If you only have 1 week or less you could easily just […]
Why must some of the soil used in the statues of goddesses come from the land of a prostitute? Lost in the winding, dirty streets of Kolkata, India, hundreds of people work round the clock to create beautiful artworks made of mud. Kumortoli is the potters’ quarter of Kolkata and the mud statues that are […]
Visit Meteora Guide: Things you must do and see! Meteora is a unique mountainous area right near the towns of Kalambaka and Kastraki in Thessaly. Filled with dramatic mountains and rock pillars coupled with precariously placed hand-built monasteries balanced atop, and you have a pretty spectacular destination. These ‘columns of the sky’ in Greece draw […]
This is your mega Cappadocia guide (a magical wonderland in Turkey) Turkey is an awesome country! It’s got those Mediterranean vibes but without the cost of being in the European Union. And Cappadocia might just be the most famous place in Turkey! It’s is like a mystical wonderland where incredible natural formations have been burrowed […]
All the events leading up to us ending up on a deserted island with an ex-soviet soldier seemed perfectly normal at the time. When I think back on it now, however, I’m surprised by how easily Grace and I had accepted this man’s offer. A huge, muscly man we’d never met before. The San Blas […]