Sunday, 12 February 2017

Advice Video: Tips for Gap Years and Studying Abroad

Dearest of readers,

I know I have been very quiet on this platform in the past 2 years, but Lucy's Locations is not dead, and I will return to it as soon as I can, but I have a degree to finish and a life to sort out first.

Sneak Peak: I spent Christmas and New Years in Australia and am hoping to go back and do the Working Holiday Visa (1 year) there, starting July 2017.

For now, though:
I spoke at an event for 16-18-year-olds in late 2016 (about my advice and experiences of traveling).

For specific topics go to:

0:22 - Gap Year
6:15 - Costs of Gap Year
8:18 - Study Abroad
11:46 - How to save enough money
15:29 - Costs to Consider (and how to keep them down)
20:20 - Working for food and accommodation
23:18 - (how to get/find work abroad)
27:23 - Long term benefits of traveling
38:26 - Questions + Answers

And then...

43:50 - Watch me awkwardly stare at a teacher who goes on a rant...
45:20 - Watch me try and fail to get a word in edgeways
45:47 - Watch me try and fail to escape and then forget which school I used to go to :D


Lucy xxo

Wollongong, Australia, January 2017

P.s. thank you to Aspire International for contacting me to speak at your event! 

For enquiries, my email is:

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Find your way around

My name is Lucy Cunnington and I started this blog back in 2012 when I was about to embark on my Gap Year. Since then I have posted about a range of things, so hopefully this post will help you find what you are looking for.

This is me now hoping you're still interested in what I do ;)

Looking for Travel Inspiration?

Morocco with Mum

Los Angeles, California

Slovenia in September

And other relevant posts can be found under "Travel Tips", "Gap Year", or "Travel by Place" to your right.

This is in San Diego, California

Going on a Gap Year?

The Original Introduction to my Blog

Gap Year Posts Content Page

And other relevant posts can be found under the "Gap Year" section to your right.

This is me in Australia with a Kangaroo

Wanting to Study Abroad?

Should I go?

Initial Steps to Studying Abroad

And other relevant posts can be found under the "Study Abroad" and "Study Abroad Experience" sections to your right.

This is me in Las Vegas (the 2nd visit of 6 during my year abroad)

Thinking of going to University?

Useful links for Might-be Students

My experience of First Year

Once again, look on your right for more titles!

This is me going a bit mad at University

Are you an Events Manager or Student?

How to be a Good Runner

This is us celebrating that we raised  over  £1,300 for charity

Or just have a look around and see what you can discover!

Either way I hope you like what I have created,

Lots of Love,

Lucy xxo

P.s. if you have any specific questions, email me at

How to be a Good Runner

The following is for people interested in Events Management only. I wrote this at work today and thought it might be a good idea to post it. If you're here for travel information, click on the links on the right hand side to find more itneresting posts!

Event Runner Basics

Event Runners are basically general assistants to the event. As a runner you will be either working directly under the head of a category (e.g. stage management) or you will be needed in different places throughout the event. This should be indicated in the Running Order (which should be given to you by the Event Coordinator) and your point of contact should be highlighted during the event brief.

An Event Runner is vital for the smooth running of any event. You are the glue that sticks the rest of the larger aspects of the event together. Do not undervalue your role, and make sure you learn the content of any event documents you are given properly before the event itself.

During the event, your job is to provide assistance to anyone and everyone who might need it. You should be prepared to do tasks that vary from as simple as showing a participant where the bathroom is, to more stressful tasks such as buying a last minute screen projector, in the middle of nowhere, minutes before the event should start.

However, please note here, that if you have any questions or problems yourself, there is nothing wrong with asking for help. In fact, you are encouraged to do so, in order for the event to run smoothly. Do not attempt any tasks that you do not feel confident in. The people to ask for help are usually those who gave you the initial brief, the site manager, other runners, other event staff or the Event Coordinator/Manager.

You should avoid asking the Event Coordinator anything, unless absolutely necessary (e.g. an actual emergency has arisen) try instead to ask the appropriate head of whichever category your problem is in (e.g. ask the stage manager where to put the speakers). This will enable everyone else to continue doing their own job smoothly as well.

Simple things you can do to be a better Runner:

Dress appropriately: you should be smart but comfortable. Do not wear shoes that you cannot stand in for the entire day. Runners do the most walking out of everyone during an event.

Think about the weather: wear layers that you can remove or add on according to the temperature. Make sure you have something rain proof nearby and sunscreen is also a great idea if you are likely to be outside.

Eat and Drink regularly: again, you as a runner are doing the most exercise, so it is very important to stay hydrated and full of energy! Keep a bottle of water on you at all times and make sure you’re sipping it, even if you’re not very thirsty.

Be confident in your knowledge: as a Runner, you will be expected by participants and other event staff members to have a good general knowledge of the event. I suggest you read the documents given to you several times over before the event starts. Take extra care to remember where the bathrooms are, where the emergency exits are, and what the key speaker’s or acts names are.

Be friendly and easy to approach: your main job is to help, so make sure that you look like you are actually willing to help. If you feel your mood dropping, ask for a break and make sure that you get some more food into your system. Something with sugar is ideal: keep some cereal bars in your bag if you can.

Don’t forget that you have documents! You should print your own copy out of any documents given to you before the event and keep them in your back pocket. This will enable you to pull them out whenever you are unsure of something, or even to be able to show a participant exactly where you mean on the venue plan. (Having the Running Order on hand can be especially useful)

Something unexpected will always happen at an event, so keep an open mind and be willing to help. The success of an event is often judged on how the event staff handle a setback.

Lastly, a great runner is thoughtful and keeps an eye out for other struggling staff members. If you’re not currently doing something specific, see if your colleagues need anything. Sometimes a simple cup of tea or drink of fresh water can really go a long way.

Good luck,

Lucy xxo

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

My Remaining Visa

I haven't updated my blog in a long time, which I am not overly happy about but here are a few things I've been doing instead of blogging over the past few months;

I created a short documentary called "Window to the Sole" for one of my classes at NAU. It revolves around my friend's obsession with his shoes, and I'm relatively proud of it considering it was my first attempt at making a documentary.

The link is here: Window to the Sole

I have also started a new short series of films about studying abroad. I interviewed 18 international students at NAU just before Christmas and have edited two videos so far. More videos will follow as soon as I have time (at the moment though I am making the most of my remaining US Visa by travelling until mid-July);

Video 1: Introduction of International Students

Video 2: What was your Biggest Fear before arrival?

Unfortunately, I did all of the interviews BEFORE I took the class in documentary production (including professional interviews) and so they aren't as good a quality as they could be, now that I HAVE taken the class - oh well, they still get the point across as far as I'm concerned.

So yes, I have now officially finished at NAU and my year abroad is over. I still have about 15 days on my visa before it expires and below are my plans for what I will do with those days, plus a few more.

I am actually already in Los Angeles (we are in fact leaving for Las Vegas tomorrow) so half of this post will be reflective on what has already happened and half will be predictive of what is to come.

NAU International Graduation

I experienced my first graduation, although a pretty fake one on our account, with a mini graduation cap (thanks to Letti) and certificates for all.

We didn't stay for too long but we did get all dressed up and took a very adorable group shot:

Actually the tightest group of people I've ever belonged to.

Haley's Graduation

Luckily for me and my quest for the true-American experience, my friend Haley was graduating for real from NAU a few days after we did. Thus, I got to experience what an American graduation looks like; there was a lot of hype, some cannons of confetti string and some absolutely awesome graduation caps. I will be forever grateful to Haley for everything she has done for me in this past semester; from taking me shooting in Phoenix to letting me watch her graduate. 

Houston, Texas

My proper travels began in Houston (somewhere I have not been before unless you count a trip when I was 3 months old). I must say, I have never felt more like a Kardashian family member in my life. We were absolutely pampered by my friend Sophia's family and it was a wonderful way to recover from finals week at NAU.

As far as Houston goes, the weather was really hot but the clouds were pretty constant. It rained like absolutely crazy for one day but was gorgeous the next. It has some excellent places to go shopping and some real interesting places to eat (especially if you like steak). I unfortunately did not make it to NASA but I guess that just gives me a reason to return!

The Grove, Houston

San Diego, California

We stayed in San Diego for 4 nights in total. On the first day, we went to the most beautiful beach (Wind'n'Sea in La Jolla) and to some absolutely amazing botanical gardens (Balboa Park) which I highly recommend to anyone visiting. We also went on a hike (see below photo) and reunited with Kelly (who had gone to Denver before) and the boys (who had all been on a different road trip through California). Overall, this has been my favourite trip since the Lake Powell trip in my first semester (as far as travel and exploration is concerned anyway).

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles consisted of a long hike to the Hollywood Sign, exploring some of the alternative nightlife (Sof is under 21 until Las Vegas) and bumbling along Venice beach. It has been a very reflective trip for me as I came here when I was 19. Back then I was travelling alone and it was my last destination before returning home. It has really shown me the differences in travelling alone and as part of a group. Personally, I think one should try to experience both types of travel at least once in their life.

& what's to come

We are flying to Las Vegas tomorrow for Sophia's 21st birthday. It used to be my dream to have my 21st in Vegas and to make it as cliche as possible but I didn't quite make it, instead I will do everything I can to make Sof's the best experience ever and live my dream out like that, haha.

After that, all of our visa's expire so we are heading to Mexico for 10 days, Cancun to be specific. I actually look forward to this a lot as I said I wanted to return to Mexico after my trip in November.

We will then all be returning to the USA again on my 22nd birthday (16th June) on a tourist visa to go to EDC in Las Vegas. A huge festival that I look forward to experiencing so that I can probably write about it in one of my assignments in my final year at Chester ;) EDC 2016, Las Vegas

I then have about a week before Lauren, my friend from Chester, gets here and as of yet, I am still not 100% sure what I will do with that, or what I will do with her. All I know is that she gets here in Phoenix on the 27th June and I leave from Vegas on the 7th July.

My time as Lumberjack has passed.

That's all for now,

Lucy xxo

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Typical Travel Day Clothes

Hello readers :)

I'm about to embark on my next adventure to Mexico and realised that this procedure (the first day of travelling somewhere new) has become somewhat of a routine for me.

I have a travel outfit now, like a go-to, and I thought I'd share it with you because a lot of thought has gone into it over the years.

First of all, I wear a comfy bra (no explanation needed), I wear a black strap top (for when it gets too hot for anything else), I wear my loose grey jumper (for when it's a bit cooler) and I wear my trusty-travel charm (mum gave it to me back in 2012 and I wear it every time I fly!). I also wear my hair down, because then you don't have the awkwardness of taking it down to go to sleep because the hairband digs into your head when you lean on it. On that note though, I also have a loose-fitting hair band around my wrist (for when having hair gets annoying). 

Next I wear loose & comfy underwear (again no explanation needed), I wear my ugly travel pouch (usually has spare money in it and at least one spare card - I avoid having any metal in here so I don't have to take it off during security check at the airport!), then I wear thick black leggings (the kind that aren't see through and are respected as clothes in most cultures). I also wear socks, but most importantly I pack a pair of fluffy socks into my carry-on bag (for when you want to get cosy on the plane). 

Then, over all of that, I throw my favourite scarf on (thanks Abigail!) which is great for 1. Added warmth for when it's cold but also 2. Using it as a blanket on the plane and 3. Hiding stuff under when you can't be bothered with the whole "you can only have one bag on the plane and everything has to fit into it" (E.g. I often smuggle a book that won't fit into my carry-on under here). Then I have my thin jacket which adds some warmth (but not too much) and is also relatively rain proof (it also has handy pockets and can fold up really small for when it's too warm for it). Lastly, I always always always wear the largest/heaviest pair of shoes that I am taking on my trip on the plane (this saves all sorts of weight and space in your suitcase for all those other things you want to bring). 

So that's it! I realise that this doesn't at all work for guys but I'm assuming you can use the purposes of my outfit and translate it into male attire :) 

This general outfit layout works for almost all weather. It works for when you're flying from cold to hot (take off layers as you go). It works for when you're flying from hot to cold (add layers as you go). It works for when, like me, you are always hot, except when you're on a plane and then suddenly no matter what - everything is freezing! (Wrap that scarf as tight as you can). 

Other tips.. 

* Tuck the strap top into the leggings before going to sleep and you won't wake up with a cold mid-drift because you've moved and now your lower back is out. 
* Bring a spare strap top, socks, mini deodorant and underwear if you have a REALLY long journey and get changed mid-way through - it'll feel like a whole new outfit! 
*Black is one of the best colours for not showing dirt, looking appropriate no matter the weather or time of day and most cultures wear it - a perfect mask for when your journey is REALLY REAAALLY long and you have no chance to change before meeting people! (Hey it happens)


See you in Mexico,

Lots of love,

Lucy xxo

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Should I go?

Dearest readers,

One of the main reasons I started this blog and why I still write on it today was/is to inspire others to do the same. To make you realise that it is possible and to make you realise that at the end of the day, it's not all that difficult to travel. This blog post is dedicated to all of you who are in the grey area - do I go? Is it worth it? Will I like it?

So, here in pictures, is why I think you should take that leap, plan that trip, pack that bag, and just go!

Horseshoe Bend, AZ
You might just make those friends you've always dreamed of having..
Flagstaff, AZ

Leaving your comfort zone (e.g. having an actual roommate) might just result in some of your favourite memories..

The Grove Pool, Flagstaff
Leaving your comfort zone (e.g. moving country) might leave you confident enough to just be yourself just about all of the time.. #pizzalife

Powell Lake, AZ
Leaving your comfort zone (e.g. going on a last minute trip at 5am that you got invited on at 1am that same morning) might just result in your absolute favourite day out ever..
Flagstaff, AZ
Travel can lead to experiences you never even thought you wanted.. (e.g. riding home in the back of a truck after a Fraternity Party)

Powell Lake, AZ
Travel can lead to seeing places and experiencing emotions that you didn't even know existed..

Travel can bring out personality traits you never imagined you even had, it can change you forever or it could show you that you're exactly who you should be.. It can bring an assured confidence, an inner happiness and a knowing within yourself that so many people lack and wish for.. It can help you figure out how you fit into this world and it can show you how you don't.. It's not just about physically travelling but mentally too.. You become a more educated and rounded person, you become more open and more understanding towards others.. Travel teaches you something that cannot be taught, its something you can only experience.

You don't have to go far, and you don't have to go for a long time, you just have to leave your own comfort zone.. whatever that means to you. Travel is one of the most personal things you can do and experience and I thoroughly encourage everyone to try it at least once.

Arizona Skies

As cliché as it sounds, but in the light of what has happened here at Northern Arizona University this weekend (New York Times Article), this seems more relevant than ever. No one will ever know what tomorrow will bring, what will happen, where you'll be, or what will change. The only thing you can do is make the most of today; whether you're just sat at home with your parents, walking your dog in the park, or sat on a rock at the edge of the Grand Canyon - it's all just as important as the other, the only thing that changes an average mundane day to an amazing one is how much you appreciate what it brings. Look around you and notice the simple beauty of things. At the end of the day, travel doesn't have to be expensive or extensive. It can be right there in your every day life. You just have to look.

RIP Colin Brough and may your Delta Chi brothers heal quickly.  

Thank you,

Lucy xxo

Monday, 14 September 2015

Initial Comparisons [PART 1]

It's Monday afternoon of my 3rd week here at Northern Arizona University (NAU) and for those of you from England - Fresher's Flu has arrived! (not that they know what that is here). So... Fresher's Flu in England, Freshman 15 in America - what else is different? What's weird and what's wonderful? Well, here are my initial observations:

PHO 100: Assignment 1. Photograph 10 words. Word 1: Sickness

1. Classes, Professors and Homework

Yep, so here your 'Lecturer' is your 'Professor', your 'Lecture or Seminar' is your 'Class' and unlike in England where there are 3-5 'Assignments' per 'Module' (per year), here you get 'Homework' every week. While I have not found this homework to be difficult as such, it is extremely time consuming. For example, right now, I am sat in my apartment with my 2 roommates and every surface visible is ... well not visible.. its covered in homework! And yes, we have already been sat here, like this for about 2 hours. And yes, we are likely to be sat here for the next 2 hours also!

My room hasn't looked this empty since the 24th August!

I obviously can only write from my own personal experience but in Chester, a module will last for one academic year. You probably didn't get to chose it, or if you did, it was from a choice of 3 or 4 similar topics. The module itself will probably be taught over 2 hours a week. One hour will be spent listening to your Lecturer explain the new topic via a PowerPoint. The second, more-often-than-not separate hour, will be spent in a seminar discussing the theory you learned in the previous lecture.

Here at NAU, classes typically last for one semester (of which there are 2: August to December or January to May) and you can choose from 100's of different ones. Now obviously, if you want to major/minor in something specific then you have to choose more precisely which classes you want to take. However, on top of those in which you are major or minoring in, you have to take several "cultural" classes in order to complete your degree. As of yet, I am unsure as to what these consist of, but I do know that my class GER 350W: Sustainable Environments in Germany (taught in German) would count as one of these, so that might give you a general idea of the kind of random stuff you'd have to study here! (For some people, that might actually be a down fall, but for me, this is amazing! I miss having the range of classes like we used to have in Secondary/High School all the time - why can't I learn about business techniques one day, and make a cupboard the next?)

Catering Course anyone?

On that note, the teaching style here is also very different. It is much more like a classroom back at school, here than it is in England. There are activity sheets, there are questions, there are pop quizzes etc. etc. etc. basically I find that the classes are far more engaging.

About as engaging as all-emoji conversations ;)

So in Chester, England, you are expected to learn a lot in your own time, in your own way, make your own notes on each topic and compile all of this information into 2-4 assignments over the whole year (plus an exam in January and/or at the end depending on your module choice). Thus often resulting in students doing absolutely nothing until about 2-3 weeks before the assignments/exams are due! While at NAU, USA, you are expected to spend several hours a week (if not a day) doing your homework. Obviously, each bit of your homework therefore counts for very little, but be warned as it adds up over the semester!

Get it done on time to enjoy days like this!

So I guess the biggest thing I've learned so far is how to time manage properly. Not on a monthly schedule like I have to in England but on a weekly one, if not daily!

While some of what I have just said may make Chester's education system seem negative, I do think that this way of teaching does result in more "mature" students. We have to think a little more for ourselves.. Am I going to bother reading that book now? Am I going to leave it all to the last minute? Am I going to be good with my work and do a little every week? Oh whoops it's due next week and I haven't even started!

On the other hand, the system here for me at least feels a little more realistic as far as work load and work life goes. When we all finish our degrees and we all get "proper" jobs (whatever that means) - I'm pretty sure most of us will have daily/weekly schedules of things to do, rather than monthly ones..

Yep, the local bus drives down Route 66 everyday!

Anyway, in an attempt not to make my blog posts too long, (and so that I can get back to my homework) I'll write about the other comparisons some other time,

Lots of love,

Lucy xxo

Just incase you were worried that I haven't made any friends yet...

P.s. my keyboardismessing up and wwriting llike tthis and not letting me put sspaces every so often and ssometimes it won't let mme use the , and other times it wwrites all of mmy words with double bbeginning letters???? - anyone good with computers and want to come help me? haha