Tag Archives: Travel

The Portland Travel Challenge: 4 Days, $200

*Backdated to late July, 2012*

I started my trip on the most easterly point of Canada. Two and a half months, and some 8,000km later, I was across the other side of the country in Vancouver BC, back to the place I had arrived in Canada almost four years earlier.

I had reached my destination, but I wasn’t ready to stop travelling. I was so close to Portland, Oregon, a city I’d wanted to check out for years. Cue spontaneous road trip.

The trouble was, after almost three months of travel and no income coming in, I was running pretty low on funds. If I was going to do this trip, I was going to have to do it cheap! I set myself a challenge: four days in Portland for less than $200 (including transport from Vancouver) without sacrificing things I want to do. (There was no point going all the way there if I wasn’t going to do the things Portland is renowned for – eating, drinking, and art.)



Free through CouchSurfing. I stayed with Jake Sauvageau (look him up if you find yourself in Portland) and his flatmate Jeannette. These two were awesome hosts, and are largely responsible for keeping my trip so thrifty (they knew all the best places to eat and drink for cheap).

Transport:                                                                                                                                                            Round-trip bus ticket from Vancouver – $60 through BoltBus

City bus tickets – $12.60 (you can get anywhere for $2.10 one-way)

Food:                                                                                                                                                                                      When I first arrived in Portland, my first meal was the Santa Fe “chicken” burger at Veggie Grill. This was a tofu burger (that tasted amazingly like fried chicken) with avocado, chipotle mayo, tomato, lettuce and a side of cabbage slaw. It was the best thing I’d eaten in ages! It came with bottomless organic iced tea for $11. Coming from Vancouver, I thought this was a steal. Turns out, it wasn’t. Rookie mistake, but no regrets!

Dinner fit for a king at Mio Sushi – $15


Lunch at a Thai food cart – $5




These food carts are all around town and sell almost any dish you could want for $4–$7. Many cluster along 10th Avenue.

Maple bacon doughnut from Voodoo Doughnut – $2.50


Lunch special at Stickers – $7 (including tip). Creamy coconut shrimp, rice and a diet coke.

Late-night burger at an unspecified diner – $8

Groceries to make two-course dinner for Jake and Jeanette – $23


Round of drinks at “Bear Paw” bar (divey but fun) – $13. This covered two pints, a super-strong vodka and tip. Excellent value!

Bottle of wine at Trader Joes – $2.50 (Outstanding value!)


Bottle of Jacobs Creek wine at Rite-Way (supermarket/pharmacy) – $5. (This was before I knew about the wonder of Trader Joes!)

Random drinks/coffees – $10


Strolling around Portland State University – free.

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Walking down 10th Avenue and browsing through Powell’s Books (takes up a whole city block) and Crafty Wonderland (really cool stuff made from local artists) – free.

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Portland Art Museum – $15. This is sooooo worth the money! Housed over two buildings, it contains everything from classical to contemporary works of art. Paintings, sculpture, photography, artifacts, home decor, installations: this place has it all!

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Living Room Theatre – $9. Cinema/bar/restaurant in one. Love the concept of drinking and dining while you watch a movie (even though I had to skip that part!).

GRAND TOTAL: $198.60

Challenge complete.

Footnote: More Portland Awesome for your viewing pleasure. 


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Head-For-The-Hills, Back in Town

After a five-month blogging hiatus, it’s good to be back!

It was my 2013 New Years Resolution to get back into blogging regularly, but I wasn’t really sure where to start. Head-For-The-Hills was conceived as a travel blog, but now I’m back home in Australia (more on that in future posts) and trying to live in the “real world” again. Where did that leave me?

I started to think about possible blog posts and realised that I’m still a traveller a heart, even though I’m not on the road. My current challenge (and one I’m sure is shared by everyone who spends an extended period overseas) is how to retain that backpacker spirit of freedom, adventure, curiosity, and spontaneity once home. This will be a major blog theme this year.

I also have a couple of residual travel stories to write-up from my trip last year, so expect to see some back-dated posts this month!

Finally, in an effort to improve my (very amateur) photography skills, I’m starting a project I like to call “2013 in pictures.” Every day this year I’m going to take a photo that encapsulates something significant that happened or my feeling about the day. I’m looking forward to seeing how the year pans out (photos posted monthly).

I’d leave to hear about your blogging resolutions for 2013. Feel free to leave a comment!

Have a great 2013!

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The Street Art of Montreal

I could do a whole blog series on why I love Montreal: the food (namely poutine and smoked meat); the annual Jazz Fest; the Tam Tams; the intersection of French and English; the different neighborhoods; the fact that you can buy booze in gas stations…it’s all amazing!

But one of the things I love most – and what I think makes the city so interesting and unique – is the abundance of street art.

Here’s a snippet of what I saw while I was wandering the streets of Montreal. (I also find it refreshing to do a blog post that focuses on images, rather than words, every once in a while.)

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