Category Archives: Travel

Why I Am My Avatar

This month over at Gamer Wife the Gadabout Gamers blog link up theme is I Am/Not My Avatar. As Neri was creating her entry, we had the fantastic realisation that whilst we have been housemates and besties for years, we are complete opposites on this topic. She is not her avatar, and I definitely am!

Ponies
Like my characters in World of Warcraft, I have a pony mount. His name is Noddy, and he lives happily on Mother’s farm with his other horse pals.

Food
Like my 600/600 Master of the Ways Casadella, I am pretty darn good in the kitchen!

12941_180425449312_2206442_n (1)
Just as my hunter does, I can tame animals to be my loyal companions

Hat
There’s nothing I love more than a gear upgrade. Especially getting each new tier helm!

travel
I’ve been lucky enough to already have plenty of travel under my belt, with many more awesome destinations to come. Though it’s much easier for my characters to mount and fly at will, I still manage to find a way to see the world.

Are you your avatar? 

Liebster Award Nomination!

There can be no better way to launch Casa Conquers, than by receiving a nomination for a Liebster Award from Neri over at Mama Needs Mana! I feel so honored! But what’s a Liebster Award, you ask?

liebster2

“Well, it is only an AWESOME award given to up and coming bloggers. Given by other up and coming bloggers. It’s a cool way to find other blogs and feel like you are getting into the blogging stratosphere. It is simple, you get nominated by someone else, mention their page and a link to their blog in your Liebster Award Post, answer the 11 questions they give you, then tag 11 other nominees and give them a new set of 11 questions to answer.”

Onward to the questions Neri has sent my way!

What inspired you to start blogging?
I loved sharing my Warcraft screenshots and pictures of my cats which I did almost daily through Facebook. I eventually thought to myself that it would be great to continute to share these things, but with an audience who choose to visit my blog and want to see the content, rather than forcing it upon my friends, family and acquaintances that might just see it as Newsfeed clutter.

If you won a free ticket to Blizzcon, what panels would you be most excited about seeing?
I was first going to say the costume contest. Though having watched the last two Blizzcons with a virtual ticket, I’ve found the most excitement I get is watching the Invitationals. So I’d be most excited to see the finals of all of the live competitions, especially PVP! So much adrenaline!

How do you balance time in-game with your ‘RL’ commitments?
Now that I am no longer a Full Time Travel Consultant, I have so much more gaming time; who would have thought?! I do find that even with my extra gaming time that I manage to get everything I need done. I like structure and organisation a lot!

thailand

No longer shall my gaming time be interrupted with pesky exotic destinations and pristine beaches!

If World of Warcraft shut down its servers tomorrow (Or you aren’t currently playing), what would you be playing instead?
I’d be devastated, but then I’d load up some old Final Fantasy games and start replaying those through. The new South Park game looks pretty sweet too, so I’d give that a whirl.

Are there any bloggers out there who you aspire to be like? What is it about them that you love?
Neri! She was the one who was always motivating me, and was the one who gave me that final push to help start my first Tumblr. Then Blogger. Then Casa Conquers: and all the bits along the way. Neri Approves was a fantastic read, and now Mama Needs Mana is even better. She has a great style to her writing, and it’s always an interesting post. I’m not even a parent and I still enjoy her parenting posts! And she’s awesome enough to put up with me as a friend in real life, so she’s a trooper!

neri and case2

Always ready for shenanigans; Casa and Neri

Are you brave enough to show us your gaming set up?
Definitely not right now! My normally impeccably tidy desk looks like a tornado blasted through this morning! Though I can tell you that I have dual widescreens, a Logitech G110 keyboard, a Razer Naga Epic mouse and a $20 headset. Oh and a greyscale painting of Squall Leonheart I did in highschool on the wall.

At what age would you let your children (Real or hypothetical) start playing video games?
Hypothetically, whenever they became interested in them. Obviously I would ensure limitations like a healthy balance of educational time, outside play time and would police what type of games. I would be very wary of games (like WoW or Minecraft) where they could end up talking to, or reading about topics unsuitable for their age in chat. I would definitely make sure those functions were blocked!

cloud and squall

Final Fantasy VIII and VII leading male characters Squall and Cloud. The first to own my heart

You have a weekend of interruption free gaming ahead of you. What essential supplies do you stock up on to get you through it?
Red Bull, good coffee and water. Pizza delivered for dinner is just a given. And then cheeses, wafercrackers, hommus dip and pumpkin with cashews dip as snacks.

If you could pick any job in the gaming industry, what would it be?
It would be on the public relations / community manager / online media side of things. I cant compose a story or music to save my life. My art skills are just as bad.

Have you ever done any gaming cosplay?
It wasn’t to cosplay conventions or anything, but I have dressed with proper costumes and wigs as a Night Elf Rogue, a Human Warrior (haha) and Sailor Moon for Halloween parties over the years.

Casa Moon

She is the one named Casa Moon!

What is the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever seen done in an MMO or multi-player game?
It was ridiculous, and the best thing I’d ever seen in an MMO. The questline for The Day Deathwing Came. I laughed hysterically the entire time, have never taken so many screenshots in such a short time, and written down so many beautiful quotes!

Now the next step is for me to nominate my favorite bloggers, but I am too late to the party! You’ve all been nominated already! The links over to the left are my favourite gaming blogs so if you’re looking for something new to read, give any of these awesome blogs a read!

Heading to America this weekend!

I’ve just returned from a trip to the bank, and now have a handy little wad of US Dollars in my hands ready for our trip to America THIS WEEKEND. I am beyond excited. Our poor, poor credit card is going to get decimated, but so many wonderful times shall be had.

This will not last long. At all. 

To add to my excitement the Warlords of Draenor Expansion Preorder is now live! Fantastic news to wake up to. If you click the the following link, you’ll arrive at a great post by the wonderful Cymre explaining the details.

My Monk will be my free boost to 90, though she is currently level 26 and I will be boosting her once she is 60 to get the bonus professions. What are your thoughts? Boosting a fresh toon, or a veteran character?

Embarrassing photo alert!

What do most of the travel agents in our company do when attending a huge “Getting Wild in the West” costume party that people fly in all over the state to partake in? They dress as cowgirls! Or indians! There were even some gorgeous girls dressed as giant cactus plants (That totally make me think of Cactuar!).

Enjoy my 1000 Needle Attack!
There was a bull costume, there were some sexy sheriffs, horse costumes; but not our team. Oh no. We like to think outside of the box. We like to put a little more thought into these costume parties, like to push the boundaries.

All 6 of us in our office, including our male Team Leader, decided we would be Prison Time Lindsay Lohan. A girl gone wild… and we live in the Midwest.

Lilo 4 lyfe!

I think my favourite part of the costume (and yes, I am that boring) was the comfort factor. I could wear comfy flip flops, I could actually enjoy the dinner and not stress that a meal was going to burst any skin-tight dress, didn’t have to worry about checking my makeup wasn’t smeared (because it already deliberately was!)

What a hot mess

THAILAND: Phuket – (Escape Travel Educational)

Dinner on deck at Kata Beach Resort and Spa, Kata

Imagine eating a delicious, authentic Thai buffet dinner with this gorgeous ocean view sunset… I did! For a whole week!

A few months ago, I was selected (along with a small group of other Travel Consultants) from my company, to attend a 10 day Educational trip to Bangkok and Phuket. Now whilst it was a lot of fun and sun, there was also plenty of work involved!

Before you go…
Check your travel list to ensure you haven’t forgotten anything! Your swim suit should be at the top of that list! Try not to carry any liquids on you, bring them in your checked baggage if you can. If you wish to bring liquids, aerosols or gels on board with you, remember to check the size limits as security will confiscate any unrestricted items permanently. A travel adapter/converter for any appliances is a must for Australian travellers. Adequate Travel Insurance is on that list too!! Is your passport still current? Australian Passport holders don’t require a Visa to enter Thailand, you just need to ensure your Passport is still current with at least an extra 6 months validity for after your trip.

Are you going to enable global roaming on your phone and are you aware of ALL charges? After a short trip to New Zealand, I came home to a $2000AUD phone bill that was from one phone call, and a whole bunch of Facebook. With WiFi cheap/free at most resorts it was convenient to bring my smartphone instead of my laptop, and use a prepaid Global Card that comes free with my Travel Insurance. I loaded $30AUD before I left, so I loved the fact that I didn’t have to stress about a big phone bill. Calls and SMS were great value. Data still wasn’t very cost effective though, and found it better value to purchase WiFi from the resort instead.

Where to stay…
This depends on the purpose of your trip. And to get it right, it really does come down to an appointment with your local travel consultant (and hopefully that’s me!) Patong is the happening area to be if you want plenty of nightlife, shopping and excitement. A short drive south is Karon which is slightly more chilled out than Patong, and then even further south is Kata which is even more relaxed (though still plenty to do!) You can get fantastic family-friendly resorts with facilities like Kids Clubs and Waterslides in any of these areas, as well as getting the opposite of a peaceful and romantic 18+ only resort in these areas.

My personal and biased favourites for Patong:
For a family in Patong – Merlin Beach Resort. A really cool private beach (no hounding markets!) awesome pools that are all connected around the resort (you can swim underneath the bridges to get to the next pool) family friendly, but different areas could easily suit a romantic getaway.

For a couple/boys weekend/girls weekend in Patong – The Kee. Brand new, very trendy multi-storey with the best pool bar and pool access rooms (literally step out your door into the pool) I have ever seen, romantic suite had a spa with a view, rooftop bar, great shopping right outside.

The view from the rooftop bar at The Kee, Patong

For the rest of my recommendations? You’ll just have to book a trip with me to find out!

Getting There…
The most common option is to catch a direct 6 and a half hour flight from Perth to Phuket. For this trip we were going to Bangkok first. So we flew with the national carrier Thai Airways, and flew the 7 hour Perth to Bangkok direct route. A few days later we flew again with Thai Airways, from Bangkok over to Phuket. The onboard customer service was fantastic, seat-back entertainment that would keep any traveller happy and comfy seats.

Love the colour scheme!
When you land…
All you will want to do is check out the wonderful resort that will be your home for the next week or so, have a nice, cool shower and to relax by the pool with a fruity cocktail. Well don’t start slipping into your swimsuit just yet. Depending on what area you are staying in, the drive from the airport to resort can between 45 minutes to 1hr away, and that’s in good traffic! Don’t let this dishearten you, the drive is filled with plenty to see. 
Big Buddha stands 45m high and has a great view
Once you have checked in…
Start practising the local language! Thai people genuinely love it when you give their language a try, and will cheer you on as well as help you to improve. If you are a female sa-wat-dee-kaa is a polite hello; Sa-wat-dee-krab if you are a male. To say thank you, kob-kuhn-kaa if you are a female, and kob-kuhn-krab if you are a male. Nail those two and you make some fast friends. 
Try some of the local food! I would advise you to carefully judge for yourself when purchasing food from street stalls though. Old oil, unsterilised utensils and unhygienic procedures won’t end well for you if you don’t have an iron stomach. You can usually judge how good a restaurant will be by how full it is; just like you would back home! A favourite of mine is Cafe Opera on Kata Beach. Fantastic real fruit daiquiries, and super tasty meals for a great price. 
Just what you need on a humid Phuket day
Enjoy a half an hour foot massage (~$8AUD) from a salon you can find on most corners or really indulge with an hour long package at your resort’s Spa. 
Go shopping! The Temple Night Markets in Karon is a favourite. A short walk from the Moevenpick Resort and Spa, these markets are great because they were out in the open and felt safe. There is no pressure to purchase and I never felt overwhelmed here like I did in most of the other enclosed markets. Remember that not all places barter, and some are more friendlier than others. A really rough guide is to barter back with 30% off the price you were given. Always give it a try though and have some fun with it! 
Visit Phi Phi Island by speedboat! Snorkel with tropical fish, and visit the location where the Beach was filmed! A gorgeous day trip that I highly recommend. 
Ride an Elephant! The 4-in-1 Jungle Safari day tour was one of the highlights of my trip. It was a day filled with traditional Thai culture, cuisine and coffee! 
My delightful travel companions Sherry and Sam enjoying their ride
This is only the beginning of the wonders that await you in Phuket, not even the tip of your dream frozen cocktail. Whether travelling solo, as a couple or a family, there is something for everyone. 
Get out there and see the world!
http://www.escapetravel.com.au/ – Cheap holiday packages from a fantastic bunch of Travel Consultants
http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/ – Everything you need to know; from the Australian Government.