My FIRST life-change-iversary – the good, the bad and the unexpected

My very first life-change-iversary

*SPOILER ALERT* This is going to be a long post. It’s also likely to be my last post for a little while at least. If you make it through the next 3000 words, I’ll see you on the other side… Life-change-iversary, it’s a word. Right? And if it’s not, it should be. Because it’s been a year since I got on a plane and headed scared sh*tless boldly into a new life. Can’t see the end of the road yet I celebrated July 19th 2016 as the anniversary of the day I changed my life forever. Not just because it’s the date I left England, marking the culmination of months of planning and stress, but because ever since that day I have lived life in a whole new way: with uncertainty, with purpose, and with a whole lot of adventure in between the two ends of the spectrum. Needless to say, it’s been a big year. In the last 12 months I have had the privilege of living in four very different countries, of making new friends and trying new things, of taking myself from novice diver to instructor in the space of six months, and of slowly learning to accept the great unknown that my life now is. As I’ve gone along, I’ve tried to keep a fairly consistent record of the highs, the lows, and the surprises that have defined my experience which I look back on fondly as a sort of travel journal. So on this special anniversary
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Month #8 – the good, the bad and the unexpected

Month 8 - a round up, Ellie Anywhere

Location: Tioman Island, Malaysia The good The diving Diving was always going to feature right at the top of my priorities list when it came to choosing the next location to continue my great adventure. After experiencing one of the most pristine reefs the world has to offer in Roatan, Honduras, and delving into the prehistoric waters that teemed with sharks and turtles in Costa Rica, Malaysia had some large fins to fill. Fortunately, Pulau Tioman – the small island that straddles the Singapore-Malaysia border in the South China Sea – more than lives up to the high expectations I’m lucky enough to demand. After a couple of months during which I’ve spent more time in the water than out of it, I finally had the chance to let loose with my camera and capture just some of the treasures that this pocket of the ocean holds. I dedicated an entire post to my underwater discoveries, but I couldn’t resist sharing another snapshot of the beauty of diving in Tioman… The bad Early starts, long days and even longer nights Insomnia: it’s a bitch. Trying to explain the paradox that is an active mind that buzzes like neon while your body aches for silence, for sleep, is a mammoth task, so for now you’ll excuse me if that short summation suffices. It’s a battle I continue to fight. Or rather one that I find myself subjected to on an almost nightly basis, unwittingly and unwillingly caught in the cross fire between
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Month #7 – the good, the bad and the unexpected

Ellie Anywhere's monthly round-ups, Month 7

Location: Pulau Tioman, Malaysia The good Living in the paradise that is Tioman I’ve been lucky enough to see a fair few idyllic locations this planet has to offer. From Croatia to Costa Rica, Malta to Mexico, I’ve visited destinations which each boast stunning views and vistas, fascinating culture, and sunsets so beautiful they’ll break your heart a little bit. Each year, new ‘hot’ destinations are touted as the latest paradise and people the world over will drool over photos of immaculate beaches, captivating wildlife and ravishing rural landscapes. But, sadly, often the glossy travel mags fail to convey the whole picture; whilst showing one small if positively delectable slice of paradise, they’ll often neglect to reveal the bigger picture, the built-up, tourist-ridden cultural blackhole that hides just around the corner. Out of all the places that I’ve lived so far on this great adventure, beautiful though they are, I’ve yet to be treated to an example of a natural authenticity that is virtually unspoiled by the relentless steamrollering of consumerism and development. I’ve seen all too many times just what a behemoth tourist industry can be. So it came as a welcome surprise to set foot on a slice of paradise that really lives up to the legend. The fact that the Guardian have just included my front-doorstep in their list of the 50 best beaches in the world ain’t half bad either – I guess sometimes the glossy travel mags do get it right! The bad Tioman’s mini monsoon
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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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Month #5 – the good, the bad and the unexpected

Passing the PADI IDC

Location: Playas del Coco, Costa Rica The good Becoming a certified dive instructor Oh my god, you did your divemaster?? Why didn’t you say?!…she says sarcastically, well aware that I’ve spent the last couple of months inundating my readers with posts about becoming a divemaster. Well I am pleased to say that I am finally done with the divemaster chapter of my life, excellent thought it was, and am stepping proudly into the next part of the story – actual real live instructor.
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Month #4 – the good, the bad, and the unexpected

Playas del Coco, Costa Rica

Location: Playas del Coco, Costa Rica The good Getting featured on Lonely Planet When I first started toying with the idea of writing a travel blog, I was nervous about sharing my writing with anyone. Even the thought of a friend or colleague scrutinising my thoughts and expressions would send me into paroxysms of embarrassment. But, after months of scribbling away at all hours of the night and hiding my words in a secret corner of the internet, I bit the bullet: I made live. Weeks after, I plucked up the courage to attend a travel writing retreat where, along with a group of like-minded women, I dared to voice a dream of mine – to travel the world and write about it, full-time. During the retreat, we each tentatively put together a list of dream publications that we’d like to see our writing published in and, for me, Lonely Planet sat right up at the top.
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Month #3 – the good, the bad and the unexpected

3 months travelling, Ellie Anywhere

Location: Roatan, Honduras & Playa del Coco, Costa Rica (with the briefest of stops in El Salvador) The good Becoming a certified divemaster After 12 long weeks of sweat, blood and only the occasional tears, it was a true achievement to complete the PADI divemaster internship. My diving has improved a hundred fold since landing on the shores of Roatan, and I’ve learned so much about myself and what makes me tick underwater in the process.
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Month #2 – the good, the bad and the unexpected

Ellie Anywhere monthly roundup

Location: Roatan, Honduras The good The XVI Roatan International Fishing Tournament After 6 weeks of living in the West End of Roatan, I’d become happily accustomed to its gentle pace of life. Lazy days and relaxed evenings bleed into alcohol-fueled nocturnal activities, but when it comes to noise, hubbub and all-night parties, Roatan sits happily in the shadow of her party animal sister, Utila. That is until the weekend of the fishing tournament.
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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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