Our coordinator was way ahead of us and met us from the bus to walk 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, 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…
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…
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.
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
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!
And even then, I’ll probably want to compare notes about them…
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
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.
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.