A visit to Australia would be blasphemous if one did not rifle and search through the plentiful markets which make regular appearances throughout the massive country. When traveling on a shoestring, little cheap random charms, trinkets, treasures and momentos that you pick up can speak volumes in memories when you return home. However, traveling is the obvious pain in the behind when having to transport all your possessions around e.g. hauling numerous Thai carved statues and bamboo Balienese calendars can get old very quickly, so buy light and make sure each purchase is special.

Of course that is totally easier said than done, esepcialy for a girl with a bit of a shopping habit. Thankfully, i realised i didn’t pack amazingly well when i reached Thailand (my first stop in an eight month trip) and actually had a lot more space (and less clothes dammit!) than i had thought… let the shopping commence! I didn’t go all out in adorning myself in hippie beads and fisherman pants (*gag*) but got enough to get by (NB: Krabi’s Ao Nang beach has a fantastic range of gorgeous and cheap bikinis. Best.Purchase.Ever!).

Australia was in fact a dark horse of a country. I had no idea how many markets were rife, from Melbourne all the way up the East Coast. Bargains galore and a great place to pick up cheap light clothing/acessories to update your traveling wardrobe, and gifts!

Melbourne’s famous Sunday Camberwell market, Sydney’s awesome vintage Saturday market in Glebe, Queenslands’ Carrara markets and Noosa’s Emundi market. These are just a few I’m remembering off the top of my head! There was also the well-known Paddy’s Market in Sydney, where i picked through the blatant Thailand imports to find a gorgeous high-waisted vintage flowery skirt that became my fail-safe outfit for any remotely dressy event while on the road.

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One market which was truly delightful, from its cute on-site cafe with perfect soy cappuccinos to its unique hand-crafted recycled wares for sale, was ‘The Rose Street Artists Market’ in Fitzroy, Melbourne.

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My top favourite items are little home-made wooden badges with cheeky slogans painted on, a stall dedicated to prints of graffiti shots around the city, cutlery transformed into rings, necklaces and earrings. However, some truely amazing pieces were the ‘Mettle’  bronze picture frame rings and pendants made from recycled bomb material which allow you to slide little photos inside to create different looks. Stunningly simple but gorgeous… and made me $50 poorer as i couldn’t make my feet take me away without a purchase.

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The top left ring now resides in my possession

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Over my trip, i definitely picked up random crap which would have saved my shoulders a lot of aching if i had spent more wisely, but looking back at that pair of lurid pink flip-lens raybans makes me smile when i think of the one time i wore them, or paying way too much for a big hand-woven sarong from an old man in Lombok. I carted that around with mutters of damnations to all sarong weavers, but now i lay it proudly on my bed in all its successful glory of making it around the world.

All those momentos, all those figurines and all those postacrds and paintings add to the after-taste of your adventures allowing your decorative bedroom/living room pieces to tell a thousand traveling tales…

Sophie Saint was one of the original travelettes, from 2009 – 2017. After fleeing the UK with ink barely dry on her graduation certificate, she traversed the world with a backpack and spent a few years living in Melbourne – one of her favourite cities in the world.

She finally returned to the UK after a few years where she now whiles time away zipping off for European escapes, crocheting and daydreaming of owning her own hostel somewhere hot to live out eternal summers. See what she’s up to over on her blog saintsonaplane.com and instagram: @saintsonaplane