I’m currently on a plane back to Europe for the fourth and final time this year which means it’s time for another travel update (because for some reason time goes so much faster when I write). I also just experienced the worst turbulence I’ve ever felt in my life and legitimately thought I was about to die for a second. Since leaving Sydney just over a month ago, I have flown back and forth to 10 different countries across three different continents. This month has been the craziest one to date, crossing 16 more festivals off the list and bringing my current total for the year to 46! (Literally what the actual fuck). So since there’s so much to talk about, let’s just get straight into it!
First stop on my massive continent hopping adventure was Hong Kong for ABGT300! Hong Kong is one of my favourite places to visit and I can easily see myself living there one day so I was beyond excited to return for the first time in almost two years! I spent five days in Hong Kong where I finally got to experience my first ABGT and just happened to catch their national day celebrations as well! This festival was super special to me because I distinctly remember sitting in the office at work exactly a year ago, watching the ABGT250 live stream and telling myself that nothing would get in my way of attending the next one. This was also my first festival in Asia for the year so I was finally able to catch up with a lot of my local friends and meet a tonne of new people who have been following the madness!
My original plan was to stay in Asia for the month, but with no festivals planned for the next two weeks, I decided I wanted to make the journey over to the States to visit my rave fam so I got on a plane to Vegas! I had no real purpose of being there but it just happened to be the cheapest city to fly into (even though it had a layover in Los Angeles) and it’s also my favourite place in the world! I decided to spend 24 hours in a huge room on my own, switch off from the world and just… relax! I had no idea how badly I needed this! I also ended up going out for tacos in the middle of the night and walking the strip with one of my friends. The next day, I hopped on a plane over to Texas where I stayed with a friend in Austin for the week for Austin City Limits. I didn’t end up spending too much time at this festival but I was able to catch up with a tonne of my friends who I haven’t seen in months!
I mean it’s not really another continent but this adventure definitely deserves its own heading and paragraph (or two) so here goes! On Monday morning, I hopped on a three hour bus, two hour flight and three hour uber ride back to the incredible city of Valle De Bravo, Mexico. This is my second time visiting this year and I was beyond excited to see Karen and Kyle again (and eat my weight in Tacos)! I spent four days in Valle where my life was literally tacos, ice cream, sleep, repeat! Karen took us on an adventure out into the literal middle of no where, where I sat on top of a moving car for the first time as we drove on the most stunning trail through the forest! It was the most perfect get away from the crazy lifestyle I’ve been used to for so long and I honestly considered cancelling the rest of The Year Of Summer just to stay there!
Friday comes around and Kyle, our friend Shannon and I head into Toluca for the weekend for our very first Ultra Mexico! The rest of our squad eventually joined us later that night and I was beyond excited to be reunited with more of my friends and finally meet the rest of the people I had been talking to online for weeks! I also finally met my twin, Taylor, for the first time (like we were literally separated at birth and can speak telepathically, no exaggeration)! I accidentally got approved to cover this festival twice and ended up with a total of six media wristbands each day so I decided treat my friends to the VIP experience while I ran around getting footage.
The second night, I kidnapped Taylor and brought her into the press pit to give her a taste of my world and help me film while I took photos and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! People have joked all year about wanting to be my assistant at festivals but I’ve never actually realised how incredibly helpful it is and I’m definitely considering bringing more of my friends on board next year, whenever I get the chance! Of course Monday morning came around and I was bawling my eyes out as I said goodbye to everyone, not knowing when I’d see them again. Goodbyes are always the worst.
Let’s skip the whole transit part and get straight into Europe because this is a long and wild one! After spending two nights in transit, I hopped off a plane in Amsterdam, literally threw on some eyelashes in the airport bathroom and headed into the city for my very first Amsterdam Dance Event! You can read about the entire experience here but in a nutshell, I was invited to an exclusive DJ set in the sky, saw the most insane laser show ever, attended multiple festivals in the same night and got to shoot an official after movie for one of the events! Next stop was Vienna where I spent the week trying to recover from the pure insanity of ADE and preparing myself for the next few weeks of madness. I attended Beatpatrol Festival in St.Polten where I caught up with a tonne of my friends before heading to Prague the next day for yet another festival (I mean what else right?).
This was my first time in Prague and literally 5 minutes in, I was already in love! I spent five days in Prague where I finally got to not only attend Transmission festival but shoot it! In case you’re new here, I’m absolutely obsessed with lasers and being able to shoot at the biggest light show in the world (not even 6 months into being a ‘professional’ photographer) was a literal dream come true! I had to mentally prepare myself to even set foot inside the venue and actually started crying the second I saw the stage! My soul literally left my body at the sight of those lasers and I’ve never been so proud of what I captured!
The final stop of the European adventure was Dusseldorf, Germany for halloween! I celebrated my first ever halloween festival at one of my favourite venues in the world with one of the most amazing lineups I’ve seen all year! I ended up with an extra pass for this one as well so I kidnapped my friend Danny for the night and we somehow managed to ride the rail for my favourite humans (Sound Rush, Da Tweekaz and Wildstylez)! A few days earlier, I jokingly replied to Sound Rush’s new merch announcement asking if they could bring me a shirt because I move around too often to be able to have anything shipped anywhere and they actually made it happen! Jeroen was an absolute sweetheart and literally left the decks mid set, to go grab a shirt and bring it over to me in the crowd!
And now we’re back in Asia! After two days of travel, I ended up in Singapore for It’s The Ship! I was absolutely blessed to be invited on board for my very first festival at sea! This festival was the literal embodiment of eat, sleep, rave, repeat because that’s exactly what I did for three days straight! Having 24 hour access to a buffet however, was very dangerous! The cruise was the perfect escape from the insane festival life I had over in Europe without having to actually miss a festival and I got to shoot yet another aftermovie which is always a great time!
Straight off the boat and onto a plane, I flew over to Thailand for the week. I spent eight days in Bangkok which is the longest I’ve stayed in one place in a very long time and it was everything! My original plan was to actually take a break from festivals for the rest of the month and relax on a beach in Thailand but of course, the second I booked a flight to Bangkok, my favourite humans were booked to headline a brand new festival that very same weekend. So of course I attended Chang Carnival’s The Green World and celebrated my 100th music festival ever, catching up with Wildstylez and Da Tweekaz!
This weekend was absolutely insane because everyone knew who I was! (I mean I’m literally no one but anyway…) I rode the rail of the hardstyle stage both nights and literally every single time I threw my hands up in the air, people would come running up to me knowing exactly who I was and asking for photos! Whether it was from The Year Of Summer, the Tomorrowland live streams, the Q-Dance videos or whatever else, I’ve never received so much love and attention from so many people like… ever! It was insane and I am literally eternally grateful for anyone and everyone who takes the time to acknowledge my existence!
So I didn’t exactly get the tropical island escape I had hoped for because like I said, I’m now on a plane back to Europe (again). I’m about to experience winter for the first time in four years and keep hitting even more festivals! Today marks the end of my continent hopping adventure and the start of another new and exciting chapter of my life. With my goal of attending 52 festivals about to be achieved, I’ve decided to start turning another dream of mine into reality by … moving to Europe! This was the most spontaneous decision I’ve ever made in my life (I literally decided this yesterday) but I mean… it’s now or never right? (+ already being a European citizen definitely made the decision a lot easier).
Ever since the first time I visited the Netherlands back in 2015, I knew I wanted to live there one day. With so many insane events coming up in the next couple of months, I’ve decided I’ve had enough of the nomad life (for now) so I’ve decided to set up a home base until the summer festival season starts up again (or until I get bored of staying still for too long). Unfortunately, this means I had to cancel my Christmas and New Years plans with my rave fam in the USA and a lot of North and Central American adventures, but I know this is the best thing I could do for myself at this point in my life.
I’m super excited to see snow actually fall from the sky and celebrate my very first white Christmas. Until then, I’ve got a couple more festivals to go so I’ll check back in a few weeks!