Month #1 – the good, the bad and the unexpected

Travelling - month #1, Roatan

Location: Roatan, Honduras The Good The diving When I first began musing over the idea of doing my divemaster somewhere far off and remote, I couldn’t have even told you where Roatan is in the world. But as I began searching for options, this little island kept cropping up time and time again – “a diver’s paradise”, “an underwater haven”, “mecca for scuba fanatics”. And whilst it’s never wise to believe the hype until you’ve seen it with your own eyes, I’m delighted to say that Roatan has more than lived up to its reputation.
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Diving in Saint Lucia, and other topside activities

Recalling my holiday to St Lucia in 2014

Saint Lucia is not a big island – just 27 miles from head to toe to be precise – but with only 2 weeks to enjoy everything it had to offer, it felt plenty big enough to provide all the adventure we could wish for. We set our sights on St Lucia as the perfect holiday destination – sand, sea and adventure and relaxation in equal measures. The lush green landscape is a playground for trekkers and sightseers alike, and the clear warm waters are a diver’s delight.
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Me no hablo (clearly) – trying and failing to speak Spanish abroad

Learning to speak Spanish

With a couple of languages at just-about-passable A-Level standard under my belt and a healthy collection of stamps in my passport, I’ve always considered myself fairly adept at communicating abroad. I dub myself a ‘language person’ and charge brazenly into a range of foreign dialects with a whole lot of gusto (but not a lot of finesse or understanding surrounding the finer details of irregular verb conjugation) When it comes to travelling, I’ve always upheld the motto that “it’s better to try and fail, than to fail to try”, and have thus far gotten by with an armoury of basic phrases and an impressive range of facial expressions wherever I’ve been.
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Becoming a PADI Rescue Diver

Taking the PADI rescue course in Roatan

You’re gliding through a warm, clear ocean, with the sunlight splintering overhead and swarms of tropical fish darting in front of your eyes. It’s the picture of tranquillity and calm. You spot a turtle sculling lazily beneath you and turn to point it out to your buddy. But he’s not there. Momentarily disorientated you turn circles in the water, stretching your peripheries to find him, but still you can’t see him. Panicked now, you retrace your path, searching desperately for a tell-tale string of bubbles or flash of fin. And then you see him floating motionlessly beneath you, head down, regulator out, unconscious.
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Planning to travel – funding the trip of a lifetime

How I can afford to quit my job to travel

How much it’s costing me to move abroad, and how I can afford to travel Have you ever gazed lustily at sunset-filled Instagram feeds or devoured action-packed travel blogs whilst sat at your desk, and wondered to yourself – how do they afford that? That was me a year ago. The notion of doing something as insane brave and exciting as quitting my job to travel the world was little more than a seed of an idea that had yet to flower. It wasn’t purely lack of courage or conviction that was stunting its growth, it was a very practical inhibitor – I didn’t have any money.
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The highs and lows of my all-inclusive holiday to Cuba

Remembering my holiday to Guardalavaca, Cuba

“I had dreamt of vintage cars and cigars rolled on the thighs of virgins, of smoky jazz clubs and salsa parties that spilled out onto the cobbled evening streets. Instead I got Happy Hour, aquarobics and an invitation to join a teenage drinking gang.” – The Truth about My All-Inclusive Holiday to Cuba I recently wrote an article for the online travel community Pink Pangea entitled ‘The Truth About My All-Inclusive Holiday to Cuba‘, inspired by a holiday I took in 2009. It was a holiday, of extremes. On the one hand, this was my first proper trip abroad with James – a true test of our relationship, one that we passed with flying colours, which saw us enjoy 14 days of each other’s uninterrupted company on a beautiful, tropical beach. On the other hand, it was a true failure in authentic travel – we saw little to no true Cuban culture, and the pre-booked activities we undertook were soulless and synthetic, designed to make easy money off the easily-pleased tourists that flocked in in their droves. 6 long years later and a lot has changed, not least my attitude towards travel. I no longer dream of brief bursts of sunshine and relaxation; holidays since have focused on the pursuit of more genuine sights and sensations. But whilst it may not have been travel perfection, the revisited series is an exercise of honest reflection for me; I look back on the highs and lows of my definitive holiday to Cuba: The highs
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Will I ever get sick of this?

Diving in Roatan

Diving in Roatan for the first time It’s been a week since I stepped off the plane at Roatan airport and made my way to the place I’ll be calling home for the next 3 months: Coconut Tree Divers in the West End of the island. James and I had barely had time to dump our stuff and introduce ourselves before we were met with a proposition: “there’s a boat going out in 20 minutes, would you like to go?” Errr, I believe the only appropriate response to that sort of question is ‘hell yes!’, so we happily unpacked our kit and got ourselves prepped for the first ever dive in Roatan.
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Houston, we have a problem

Houston_Header

How an emergency landing in Maine kick started my new life of adventure After a long, stressful and impatient build up that stretched over a year, it was a surreal feeling to wake up on the morning of my departure to Honduras. This was the start of the great adventure, the moment I’d been waiting for. Since moving out of our home a month ago, James and I have been living with his Dad in the spare room. We’ve spent 4 weeks packing in goodbyes and farewells to friends and family all across the country. Arriving at Heathrow airport was, after such a long build up, a pretty poignant moment:
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Planning to travel – moving out of rented accommodation

How to move out of a rented property if you want to travel long-term

Planning to travel is stressful, there’s no two ways about this. You may read stories about inspirational people who have simply bought a one way ticket to somewhere obscure and just hopped on a plane, but I’ll bet that it’s not actually been that simple for them, that most of the time they’ve had a few more boxes to tick before they can simply venture forth. That’s why I’ve written a series of Planning to Travel posts – about the more mundane, administrative aspects of travel that you’ll need to battle through before you get to reap the rewards of a life of adventure. One of the most practical of these is sorting out where you’re going to live. Or rather where you’re going to stop living in search of a whole new life. Whilst many travellers choose to slot travel around a more traditional working schedule, factoring in holidays and city-breaks around their day job, some of us are after a more long-term experience. If you’re planning to up and leave your hometown for an extended period of time, there’s going to be some planning required when it comes to sorting out your current accommodation situation.
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