The legend of Tioman

The legend of Tioman island, Malaysia

A long time ago, when water cascaded off the edges of an earth as flat as coin and great monsters as big as glaciers ruled the seas, the East was a kingdom of promise and plenty. Mountain crevices would glint with the hint of diamonds as large as goose eggs, and molten gold ran through cracks in the seabed like oil; precious jewels, as ordinary as fallen leaves, lay scattered across the verdant hills like the million glittering eyes of an army of opulent insects. Within these lands, there lived a dragon princess called Tioman.
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The World is my Office – Julia


In this month’s The World is my Office interview, we hear from Julia, an accountant for Unilever who travelled away from her home in Germany many years ago, and hasn’t looked back since. Living and working in a foreign country, Julia shows that travel and a high-flying career can go firmly hand in hand. Since I first interviewed Julia, she has proven to everyone just how seriously she takes the travel aspect of her working life by moving to Unilever’s Mumbai office – now that’s what I call a global citizen… Julia, tell us a bit about yourself… I’m Julia, originally from Germany but have lived in various places across Europe over the last 10 years (and Australia for a bit). 5 years ago, I moved to London to start working and although I never wanted to stay longer than the London Olympics, I’m still here. In my free time, I try to enjoy all the amazing things London has to offer like theatre, sport events and restaurants. I also make sure I travel back to Germany regularly to see my family and friends and love to go on holiday – I usually try to go skiing in Europe in the winter and then a bigger trip abroad in the summer. How did you get into your line of work? I’m an accountant which might sound boring at first but I really like my job. I work for Unilever on the Tesco account, so work closely with our sales managers on
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Becoming a PADI diving instructor – Part II, the IE

Becoming a scuba diving instructor - the PADI IE

“IE stands for It’s Easy. It really is, you’ll breeze through it.” Everyone said it, everyone really seemed to mean it, but it did very little to untangle the tight knot of nerves that had taken up residence in the pit of my stomach over the two weeks building up the exam. Or rather exams. Because the PADI Instructor Exam (IE) is in fact a series of tests and practicals that determine whether you are capable of safely and effectively teaching others how to scuba dive.
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Exploring Playa la Penca, Costa Rica

Playa la Penca, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Guanacaste is famed for its beaches. They’ve earned this slice of Costa Rica global notoriety for their brilliant sand, clear waters and world-class surf. So integral to Guanacaste’s heritage are their famous ‘playas’ that the Pacific coast is peppered with towns which have taken their names from their closest beach; from Playa Hermosa to Playa Tamarindo, western Costa Rica is a veritable mecca for beach junkies. One such beach town, Playas del Coco, became my home for three months of my travels. It’s fair to say that we didn’t have a great relationship, Coco and I. Some days, driven to the brink of despair that any vestiges of natural beauty remained in this over-developed corner of the rich coast, I’d run to the hills in a desperate attempt to escape the sports bars and American diners of the main strip. Just a few kilometres away from the garish lighting and incessant noise, I’d find solace in the quiet, unadulterated calm of Playa la Penca. Not to be confused with Playa Penca – the large, popular stretch of beach which sits squarely in the middle of the long Pacific coast – Playa la Penca is a small, secluded cove which nestles demurely in between the resort towns of Coco and Hermosa.
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Teaching my Dad to scuba dive

Teaching my Dad to scuba dive in Costa Rica

My father has put his life into my hands once in my lifetime already – when he taught me to drive. Stubborn to a fault, I drove my poor Mum to the brink of nervous breakdown – speeding up when she said slow down, insisting that ‘people just don’t drive like they did in your day any more’, and shouting over the discordant wailings of my indie rock mix-tape that my driving instructor said it was ‘totally fine’  to have music playing while driving. It came to a head when, after pulling over for a terse dressing down, I slammed the gearstick into reverse so obstinately that it came clean off in my hand. And there ended the car’s no-claims-bonus and my mother’s patience. After that, I had to wheedle my Dad to take my out to practice as often as his nerves were up to it. Finally, after months of permanently white knuckles from gripping the grab-handle and toes permanently cramped from slamming on the phantom break, I emerged successfully as a bonafide driver. Quite a good one I’d like to think.
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