Lucy was a young, bubbly, tall and sufficiently built Kenyan woman.
She walked tall, with her chest puffed out, shoulders back and her head pulled back even further, somehow oozing a cool nonchalance, even with such a rigid physical stance.
If she had something to say, she said it and she said it loudly, often with a laugh; an infectious laugh, but with a twist of an evil cackle under the surface. Sometimes it was hard to tell whether her laugh was at us or with us. Continue reading Part 11 – Not the Western Way
Our coordinator met us from the bus and walked us into the grounds of the children’s centre, through the front gate and along the temporary pathway. Is that an old toilet bowl just there on the ground? Continue reading Part 10 – Mzungu!
The bus came, as expected, at 8am on Tuesday. Naturally, most of the girls were not yet ready.
Not my group though, we were fresh and new and still total geeks – we were first on the bus. Continue reading Part 9 – The First Group
The tiny, gated community of Brakenhurst was the most picturesque little corner of the world I’d ever visited. Small huts and cottages were dotted around a steady green hillside, each separated from the one next door by rows of perfectly trimmed hedges and beautiful flower beds. A thick woodland lined the driveway to the village and beyond that, lush green fields in every direction. Continue reading Part 8 – Limuru
The journey from central Nairobi was an interesting one. It was the first time I’d set foot outside of my hotel since arriving two days earlier, and the absolute first time on the city streets in daylight.
Nairobi is an insanely busy city. The rush hour I travelled through felt like it went on for days and I’ve never seen so many people entering and exiting buildings at one time.
The roads were so hectic throughout the city, I can’t imagine how anybody ever reaches their destination. But there seemed some order to the chaos. To the untrained eye this was an absolute circus, but I could tell that everybody around me knew their next move in this city-wide morning dance routine. Continue reading Part 7 – Onwards
It hadn’t crossed my mind that since my charity weren’t expecting me for another 24 hours, neither would my hotel.
The agent who had helped me with my travel arrangements had done a mostly wonderful job of setting me up with beautiful charities, hotels, tour companies and generally life changing experiences, with only the small minor mistake of booking my very first flight 24 hours too early for everything. Nobody in this country was expecting me. Continue reading Part 6 – Bookings
After some time, and several more phone calls, it had become clear that this woman, this helpful stranger, was my only hope. In hindsight, I probably could have been a little more confident and independent and selected a trustworthy taxi driver from the crowds of men shouting “Taxi? Taxi!” in my face.
But I wasn’t confident.
I didn’t feel independent.
I was totally alone.
I was starting to question whether my charity was even real. Continue reading Part 5 – Westgate
Three hours after my flight had touched down in Kenya, I was relieved to be sitting.
Sat on a knee-high wall at the exit to the airport, I had finally given up and removed my backpack, resting it safely upright between my knees.
Still no sign of a pick-up. Continue reading Part 4 – Stranger
The first time alone away from home can stir up a lot of new feelings and emotions.
As I strolled through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, my first feelings were of apprehension, sadness and frankly, surprise, at how shoddy the airport looked. The entire building seemed to be made of canvas, as though it wasn’t meant to be there. I vaguely remembered something about a small fire in recent months, but even with tents and canopies in place of the permanent building, the crowds around me were overwhelming and disorganised. Continue reading Part 3 – Pacing
Five nervous bodies squeezed into the family car, parents in the front, three sisters in the back, a 9kg bag in the boot. Three and a half hours of in-car (almost) silence ensued. Continue reading Part 2 – M4
On August 7th 2013, at approximately 4.30am local time, a raging fire broke out inside the main terminal building at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in Nairobi. The fire destroyed two of the three units within the building and incoming flights were diverted to alternative airports in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Thankfully, there were no fatalities as a result of the blaze. Continue reading Part 1 – Beforehand
I’m that absolute cliché of a traveller.
I started travelling, started a blog, posted a couple of things with no real direction, came home and now I post daily pictures of the life I once had on my Instagram account. Yuk, right?
Well, maybe. But I’m ready to change my ways, I promise! Continue reading A New Beginning – The Full, Troublesome Journey…
“How was Australia? I bet you’re disappointed to be home!”
“Your trip in Africa looked amazing, I’d never come home after something like that”
“Don’t come back here, nothing’s changed”
“How can you find a job like this rewarding when you’ve done something like that in Fiji?”
These are just a few of the comments about my return home, some from friends and family, one from an interviewer, but pretty much everybody says the same thing. They’re right. Continue reading How To Give Up Your Travels for Home
Here in Borneo there is a growing concern for the well-being of local forest dwelling species, due to the rising demand for a substance called Palm Oil. Continue reading Palm Oil – Why DO We Care?
The following post describes the experiences of ten volunteers working on the same project over a twelve day period.
No two people are the same, maybe one of the characters below will be able to inspire you to get involved… Continue reading Same But Different – A Volunteer Review
For some, travel is not just about discovering new places, but escaping old ones that have had a negative impact on our lives.
But what if the negativity in your life isn’t coming from your past? What if it’s following you around, bringing down the day? If you’re carrying it with you, you can’t run away from that. Continue reading Travel, Mental Health and You
If you had only 24 hours to spend on the East Coast of Australia, and some kind of epic, futuristic teleportation machine (something like Jeff Goldblum had in ‘The Fly’ but with less dismembered ears, gross body goop and weird mad science vibe), where would you go?
Here are a few suggestions for your time in Queensland and New South Wales – One for every hour of the day! Continue reading A 24 hour guide to Australias East Coast
As the plane touched down on the tarmac for the third and final time and the roar of the wheels on the ground commenced, signalling that the captain was in control of the high speed aircraft, my heart slowly returned to my chest and I managed to tame my breathing to an acceptable rhythm. It was only then that I realised the Indian lady sitting in the center seat was gripping my hand to the arm rest, as well as her husbands in the window seat to her right, eyes closed, quietly praying. Continue reading Rebuilding Fiji – Constructing, Volunteering, Learning…
Online, that is…
Wow, 3 months is a long time for a talker like me to stay quiet. To be honest, I’ve been suffering from a little bit of a bloggers block while travelling.
I left you in November, in my final week in New Zealand, and I jetted off on my adventures with promises that I’d keep in touch. Well shit, I do apologise, better late than never!
If anybody has been watching, I have posted one update since I flew out of Auckland, asking for help from anybody who could offer it, to build a house in Fiji. But it seems that was my last post – what a rubbish keeper-in-toucher! I ask for your help and tell you NOTHING about progress.
I’d love to bring you up to speed on that, but the story so far is not a short one, so I’ll break it up into bite-sized chunks and I guess I’d better start at the beginning…
Continue reading The +’s and -‘s of 12 months in New Zealand
I’m building houses in Fiji!
visit my facebook page to see how you can help!
While I have every intention of continuing this blog, this is going to be the last post in this series, for no other reason than the simple fact that I know no more than I’ll have told you by the end of this chapter. Continue reading 1 Week – The Final Chapter, Maybe
It’s a belated post and for that, I’m sorry. You were worried, I can tell…
It seems the appropriate time, with Halloween upon us, to tell you my dark secret:
I am so, so scared.
Don’t say I never give you honesty.
Continue reading 4 Weeks – A Scaredy-Cat Special
In Malay orang means “person” and utan is derived from hutan, which means “forest.”
The Malay words for the tree-loving sun bear mean “he who likes to sit high.”
Continue reading ‘He Who Likes to Sit High’ and the Forest People
It’s been a couple of weeks since I mentioned it and I’m sure you’re all… not even vaguely moved by my lack of updates, but I thought, what the hell, I’m going to write you another one anyway! Continue reading 6 WEEKS – The Countdown Continues
Don’t you just hate when somebody lives their life a certain way and wants to make you ‘just like them’. Vegans who feel the need to put you off your food, and city centre preachers who damn you to hell for your sins. Continue reading 25 Reasons to Avoid World Travel
Is it exciting to float through life without any plans? Does that make a person spontaneous, or is it just a good excuse to never commit to anything? Continue reading Planning – A Game for Winners or Losers?
I’ve been planning my trip to Fiji for a few months now, sometimes I think I’m no closer to making my final decisions that the day I started. It’s taken me such a long time to find out everything I need to know to organise my time there. I thought it might be helpful to put this all you’ll need to know in one place. This post includes most of the information you’ll need, the fun stuff and the serious bits you’ll need to consider before you go, along with links to the best places to find further information. Continue reading Planning Your Trip to Fiji
It’s a bumpy ride down to the base of the falls, but so beautiful and so worth it. Unmissable. Continue reading A Picture of Happiness
I promised some interactive travel planning and I intend to deliver. Continue reading 10 WEEKS – Planning Fiji
It’s time. We are officially inside the 12 weeks mark and now I can talk about it.
Let the countdown commence to the next leg of my trip. The scariest and most exciting part so far, because this, my friends… Is the home run!
Continue reading 12 Weeks
Somebody come away with me.
Somebody who wants to be free. Free from the chains of the modern day world we’re living in. Free from social media. Free from social norms. Free from judgement. Free from the perceived personalities that are forced on us to live in a modern day western society.
Come with me to another place. A place where everybody lives within their means and money is no object, because everybody lives day by day on just what they have available to them and money holds no true value.
Let’s pay a visit to the past and never question the future.
Come and live in the forest, away from suits, away from technology, away from traffic, away from home décor and beauty magazines.
Let’s live near a stream and fish for our dinner.
We’ll live by the beach and spend the days making pictures in the sand and our nights making fires.
Let’s live in a small community of like-minded people, where nobody is competing with anybody else. Where everybody is just who they are. Where nobody feels the need to put their neighbour down in order to make themselves look superior.
Let’s just be free.
Come travel the world with me.
As an adventure addict, a rainy day can really put a dampener on your days off. If you’re travel obsessed, but the weather is proving to be a soggy obstacle, here are a few suggestions for activities to see you through a dreary day while waiting for the world to turn a little bit further. Continue reading BORED TRAVELLER – Top 10 Things to Do With A Rainy Day
… And other Failings and Frustrations of an Unhappy Expat.
Sometimes, the reality of travel doesn’t quite live up to the romantic vision you once had of your nomadic self.
It’s not all glitz and glamour in revolving restaurants, fun and frolics in the sea or peace and tranquillity in the forest. Opening your mind. Discovering yourself. What if you don’t like who you discover? What if your mind is so open you can’t shut it down? What if the big wide world is so incredible that you can’t be happy with the simple pleasures of home anymore? It’s really easy to get wrapped up in the fantasy of what travelling should be and the effects it should have on you.
A lot of people expect to develop a new personality, the one that belongs to that happy hippy you see in every travel photo, ever. You know that girl, with her floaty dress, perfect skin and Rapunzel hair, a flawless braid along one side of her nauseatingly carefree head, dancing along the shoreline of an empty beach, laughing at something hilarious an empty clam shell just said. But we can’t all eat, pray and love with such perfection – Screw you Julia Roberts. Continue reading There’s a Fly on my Eyelash…
I could spend a few hours training these words into some beautiful, endless, Shakespearean passage that will make your tummy fizz, your feet itch and your eyes water. But I’m not that poetic and I love lists. So here’s what I think, in list form.
A means to an end Continue reading What is Travel?
In one of my first posts on this site, I told you about my bucket list.
It would seem redundant to have posted that list if I had no intention of ticking items off somewhere along the way, so this is just a quick update, to say that I have marked two items off in the last month:
Number 9 – Bungee jump
Number 16 – Get a tattoo
You can check up on my progress at Act Positively, Plan Negatively, And Expect Nothing
I’ve been fairly quiet lately, I’ve been silently brewing a few posts under the surface
New material COMING SOON!
I’m repacking my bag, ready for the next adventure.
It turns out there are only about 3 items I still carry with me which are originals from the first bag I packed.
Time for a tally!
Days away from home: 916
Amount of times I have had to replace/re-purchase the following items:
Bank cards x4;
Thongs/Flip flops/Jandals x4 (It should be noted, that the first pair had lasted me 7 years prior to this trip); Continue reading A Travel Tally
Karangahape Road – the unglamorous and drug addled roadside hooker centre of Auckland.
Known fondly among locals simply as “K’ Road”, this is a street in upper central Auckland famous for its bars, clubs, smaller shops and being a former red-light district.
The conversation started half way along this street, at about 11pm, sober, bar one or two experimental cocktails.
“I feel very safe here” Continue reading The Facts and Feelings of K Road Crime
If you had asked me 5 years ago what my greatest phobias in life were, my list would have been the following:
- Black Pepper
- Involuntary Movement
Continue reading PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT – Why My Phobias Should Fear My Wanderlust
Where is Home?
1. Home is a small town in South Wales, where my immediate family live and where I grew up.
2. Home is Fremantle in Western Australia, where I felt healthier than I’ve ever been and made great friends.
3. Home is Broome, where I discovered a person inside me I’d never even known existed, faced my fears and fell in love.
4. Home is Auckland, where I am right now, looking for work and a place to rest my head at night.
5. Home is wherever I can get my hands on a prawn cocktail flavour crisp sandwich.
Continue reading Excuse Me, Do You Sell Prawn Cocktail?
Sitting on the bus, watching Melbourne pass me by, I spotted a small alleyway. A side street from the main road. Colourful. Exciting. It was Hosier Lane, famous for street art and elaborate graffiti. I would later visit it and see incredible artworks the size of the buildings. People around me on the bus are on their phones. They didn’t see it. It belongs to me. Continue reading While You Were Tweeting…
Everybody has one.
It probably grows unexpectedly every time you go somewhere new and exciting.
It might only be a short one, but it still counts.
You may not have given it a name, still counts.
It might not have been formally documented in a Microsoft Project plan, with timescales and budget afforded to it, but it definitely counts.
It may not even be all that realistic, but you still might try, yup, counts.
I want to take a minute to share, with anybody who’ll read it, MY BUCKET LIST!
Continue reading Act Positively, Plan Negatively, And Expect Nothing
The Ten Commandments of Backpacker Etiquette
Let’s be honest with ourselves, we all have little quirks that annoy others. Friends, family, loved ones, they are most likely to tell you when you’re doing something that causes frustration, or give off clear signals to suggest that your behaviour is not to their liking. But what about people you don’t know? What about the ever-so-polite people you meet every day who you don’t even realise you’re upsetting!
For those with the money to do it in style, I’m sure you’ll shrug off the trusty backpack. Maybe you always choose the upgrade to a private room on group tours, or have a personal chauffeur to drag your overweight suitcases to and from the limousine for you, where you travel with leg room and a three course meal and champagne, served to you by a monkey in a top hat and tails on golden roller skates. Maybe not. I don’t know you. But when you travel on a shoestring budget, you are likely to experience some pretty cosy sleeping arrangements, a few sweaty and awkward public transport journeys and some accidental elbow bumping at hostel mealtimes.
Your experiences whilst travelling are completely unique to you, but wouldn’t a few universal ground rules make things mildly more comfortable? Please take a minute to consider a few suggestions for appropriate backpacker conduct.
Continue reading Don’t Fart in a Shared Dorm
Meditation. It’s not as easy as it looks.
Four months ago, I was messy. The kind of messy that makes people you know stop answering your calls encase you cry, again. But luckily not everybody is as harsh as my mother, and a good friend suggested to me that maybe there was something more productive I could do with my time than sit around complaining and feeling sorry for myself. She wasn’t wrong. My brain works at about 100mph and could probably do with some down time. Ten days of silence, alone with your own thoughts, learning to meditate. That sounds like BLISS! Not everybody’s initial response I’m sure, but at that stage in my life, perfect!
Vipassana is a Buddhist meditation technique, focussing your mind on you, teaching people to accept the reality of the present moment “As it is”, the basic idea being, to lead people towards a simple and happy life. One important thing to understand is that this is NOT a religious preaching seminar. You do not need to be a Buddhist, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Sikh, Muslim, Christian, Atheist, Agnostic, Jedi or even if you still have gils, this is a course and a technique which is available to absolutely anybody at no cost, as long as you’re lucky enough to have a 10 day gap in your working / living schedule which corresponds with a course.
In my prior ignorance, ten days of silence sounded extremely difficult. I talk incessantly to anybody who’ll listen, so most of my friends and family snorted at the idea I could even entertain an hour of zipped lip. But I love a challenge.
Continue reading VIPASSANA – Can You Really Un-think Yourself Happy?