Month #6 – the good, the bad and the unexpected

Month 6 - the good, the bad and the unexpected

Locations: Coco, La Fortuna, Arenal, Monteverde – Costa Rica // London – England // Singapore // Pulau Tioman – Malaysia The good Where do I start? The sixth month of my travels has been defined by so many singular moments of complete elation that it’s impossible to pick just one to eulogise over here. Salsa dancing in the new year on the streets of Costa Rica, or watching the sunset from my favourite local beach. Teaching my Dad to scuba dive, or the consequent time we spent travelling around Costa Rica together.  Soaring through the canopy of a Cloud Forest on zip lines, or squealing in delight as inquisitive coatis sniffed my ankles. Seeing my family and bestest friends after half a year of absence, or enjoying the first hot bath, duvet and cup of tea I’ve had for months. And that’s all before I laid eyes on the paradise that is to become my home for the next chapter of my adventure – the mind-blowingly beautiful Pulau Tioman in Malaysia. January has taken my breath away on an almost daily basis and has left me with a backlog of anecdotes that are jostling for position in my editorial calendar. After such an eventful month, I can’t wait to share the stories with you but, as each seem to deserve their own post, I’ll whet your appetite with a snapshot of my month in pictures…
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Surprise surprise!

Surprising my sister on her 30th birthday

On the 20th January 2015, I spent the evening in a piano karaoke bar in Charing Cross. The year before that, I was in a pub in Victoria, wrapped up against the typical January cold. The previous year, I could be found dancing to Balkan Electro music (yes, apparently that is a genre all of its own) in Battersea. Want to know what I was doing the year before that? I can tell you if you like. Along with every January the 20th there’s ever been, bar a few unmitigated exceptions. That’s because January 20th is my sister’s birthday.
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The World is my Office – Ed

Working as a superyacht engineer

Ed is a good friend of mine and one of the people who actually inspired me to up-and-leave the conventions of a UK office-job lifestyle and travel the world. Watching him leave the safety net of Cambridge and jump head first into the unknown showed me that change is possible. After a year of getting sick of looking at his ridiculously inspiring Instagram photos, I finally plucked up the courage to quit my job and move abroad (and now can give him a good run for his money in Instagram wars…) so I’m excited to share his experiences in the latest ‘The World is my Office’ interview:
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Bucket list item #3 – celebrate Christmas in a foreign country

Christmas in Costa Rica

Roaring fires, presents under a lovingly decorated tree, family gathering together over a delicious roast dinner, novelty jumpers – that’s what Christmas means to me. It’s my favourite day of the year and no amount of scroogery (yep, that’s a word) will pop my festive bubble. Or bauble if you will. And yet this year, for the very first time, I found my self struggling to get into the traditional Christmas spirit. Where oh where is my Christmas spirit? OK, I have a confession to make. I have in fact spent Christmas in a foreign country a few times when I was younger – both in Canada, Italy and, a couple of times, in Germany – but these are all cold and snowy Winter countries where chestnuts on the fire and carols at midnight are still very much the norm. So in my constant quest for new experiences, I first penned this addition to my list with visions of palm trees, beaches and scorching hot weather shimmying through my mind. Last year, in beautiful Costa Rica, my vision would become a reality.
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Becoming a PADI diving instructor – Part I, the IDC

Step 1 in becoming a diving instructor - the IDC

People choose to travel for many different reasons: to see new sights and marvel at the wonders of the world; to meet people and make new friends; to give themselves the time and space to heal from the pain of loss or heartbreak. My list of ‘why’ was long and complex, but right up there at the top was the chance to learn something new, to challenge and test myself. With half a decade passing since my university days, I was aware of just how sluggish my ‘learning’ muscle was becoming. Of course I learned things over my five years of work, lots of things in fact. I picked up new skills, became well versed in the nuances of office culture, and eagerly rose to new professional challenges. But the problem was, once I’d mastered something new, I’d start to feel just a little bit bored, unfulfilled. This was the driver that lead me down the road to professional diving. Not only would I be learning a whole host of new skills – communicating underwater, teaching, the art of perfect buoyancy control – I’d finally be putting the sleepy corner of my brain that was responsible for acquiring new, academic information back into action. Not just palm trees and rainbows – I wanted to travel to challenge myself by learning something completely new
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Vive la resolution!

Making resolutions for 2016

I never used to be a big fan of new years resolutions. By which I mean, I never used to be very good at keeping them which is tantamount to the same thing. I tended to pick grandiose new challenges that I thought would make me a better, more rounded person, and then suffer the frustration and sense of failure that would come when I inevitably failed to have mastered Italian, learned how to kick box, and got a boyfriend by the end of the year (oh 2002, what a cruel year you were!) But last year, when this blog was still nothing more than my guilty little secret, I set about making a list of achievable goals for 2015. I tried a new approach, I focused on concepts rather than things – ‘say yes’, ‘be honest’, ‘live in the moment’ – and, in the main, I’m pleased to say I succeeded.
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