She Wanders // She Wonders

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Leaving on a jet plane

Happy New Year readers!

I’m in England now;  one day away from leaving everything I know for six months and heading off into the big wide world with nothing but a backpack!

The next couple of days will be long! I catch the train to Gatwick Airport at 1pm to get there for my flight to Helsinki and an overnight stop at the airport to catch my flight out to India in the morning. Not the most convenient but it’s all part of the adventure!

What you’ll read below is some ramble I made on the plane to England but hadn’t had time to post yet. Apologies if it’s a bit long-winded. It’s been so long since I took an Easyjet flight that I had no idea the flights aren’t free seating so I ended up being prompted to move by an old man – oops. My first act of kindness accomplished having given up my opportunity to grab the window seat in my aisle to the lady who was seated on the opposite side…but now she’s sleeping. What a waste of a window where I could be having my usual daydream of cloud land where fluffy little marshmallow men and women live in harmony just bouncing from cloud to cloud. I’m also listening to two kids complaining about who drank more orange juice…so that’s fun too.

Moving on…

Here’s a little update of what’s been happening since I last posted here –

Number of flights lost due to the Consulate of India taking an extended Christmas break: Two

The flights were booked in the UK to see my man but it was more the time lost with him that I was worried about. Fortunately for me, he’s awesome and came out to see me instead! Unfortunately for us I caught the evil flu and needed to stay in bed for the entire duration. Doh!

The second flight I missed was booked for the 2nd January.

Malta readers: If you’re waiting for your Visa make sure to allow plenty of time; especially if it’s the holiday season! I applied for my visa in Malta to visit India on the 2nd December (though I was badgering them from a month before to tell me what I needed to hand in to apply) and I received my Visa on the 3rd January.

They did say it would take 3/4 weeks but for the price of the DHL shipping to Tripoli, they should really have been able to hurry up the process a bit. It cost €160 so that hurt a bit (a lot). If you’re going with a group it’s not so bad as you can split the cost but as I didn’t know anyone else applying at the same time I had to pay to full amount.

All vaccinations were done. I’ve been feeling like a pin cushion for the last couple of months so I’m relieved that’s over (and so is my purse).  I almost got ”conned” into buying the most expensive antimalarial on the planet! Six months worth was going to cost me €600…I almost cancelled the trip there and then because of that (panic reaction). Either that or I was just going to chance it. A big shout out goes to Hannah @ Hannahandtheworld.com for guiding me to a much cheaper product which cost me a fraction of the price.

So that brings us to Christmas, my birthday and New Year which were all really enjoyable. A great ending to a truly amazing year.

Leaving Malta has been pretty emotional. It’s taken a long time for it to hit me that my life is changing and evolving; in fact booking my flight yesterday was the point where everything sunk in. It’s a big move and one that I still can’t quite believe I’m doing especially since I’ve always been a bit of a procrastinator. Leaving my family has been a tough one as we’re very close and I hope they realise how thankful I am for the life they’ve given me and for allowing me to grow.

So that’s pretty much everything up until now! My bag needs to be packed one last time to make sure I have everything and I have one last big goodbye to say.

I’ll leave you with a few photos and I’ll be updating you again in the next couple of days!

simmycollagething


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China – Part I

On the 13th October 2011 I set off with my friend Dave to embark on an adventure.  We went to China to trek sections of the Great Wall around Beijing for six days in aid of a Charity of our choice.

I thought that it would be great to document the whole adventure in the same style that it was written in my journal because before I had gone and was trying to research things about the wall etc, I found it really difficult to find any bloggers or writers who had done a similar trek and I really wanted an honest opinion about what I would be getting myself into!

I hope that you’ll find this helpful and enjoyable in some way. It was an incredible experience that I’ll never forget as long as I live (well, I hope that’s the case – my memory sucks!) but at least having the trip down on both paper and my blog will keep the memory alive.

I’ll be posting about my trip weekly so it won’t be too much to digest in one go!

The Trip: Trekking The Great Wall of China for six days.

The Charity: Cancer Research UK

Organiser: Charitychallenge.com

Would I recommend this organisation again? Absolutely! If I could afford to, I would book another trip with them. From start to finish they were brilliant – only one problem occurred and that was that my friend and I didn’t receive a vegetarian meal on the return flights to China. We didn’t inquire further into it as we’d forgotten about it when we returned home (or at least I did).

So here we go…

Below: Dave and I just before heading for departure at Malta airport.

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14.10.2011 – 6:35pm

I’ve finally lay down after our long journey. I’m in China! I feel like I have to pinch myself to make sure that it’s not just a dream. After over ten months of planning it has finally happened. No backing out.

On seeing the wall for the first time I gave myself two minutes to doubt myself. I vividly remember thinking ‘what the hell have I gotten myself into?’ with my jaw wide open and my head plastered to the van window.

Below: First glimpse

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It’s been a long day of travelling. After waking up at 3am on the 13th I’ve had about two hours sleep. I think that it’s been a total of 23 hours since I slept properly and I’m definitely feeling deprived!
Despite having a free day when we arrived at our first lodge, it was still very busy. The first thing we did was to settle into our rooms. The accommodation is basic but fine. The beds are another story altogether. I’ve never felt a mattress quite as hard as the one that I’m lying on now! In fact I’m wondering if there actually is a mattress. The floor might be softer.
After lunch we decided that it would be a good idea to ‘stretch our legs’ by climbing a section of the wall which our lodge was located right next to.
What. A. Climb.
The steps were incredibly steep and high and I hadn’t bothered to bring my trekking poles. Somebody had marked one of the top steps as 1500 but we did go on for about another 200 steps. I am so proud of myself to have made it so far, especially with only 2-3 hours’ sleep.  The upward climb was deceiving though. I would look upwards and it would seem like we couldn’t possibly go any higher…then I get to the top and there’s another upward climb. I had to tell myself just to take one step at a time.
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I can’t believe that I haven’t said anything about the views yet! All I can say is that they are out of this world. Absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. I have never experienced such magnificence on this kind of scale before. Every corner turned is a photo opportunity.
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Going back down was tough because my legs had literally turned to jelly – but I made it.

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I’m glad our paths crossed

It was January 2013 when I approached my manager’s office and announced that I would be quitting in December to travel the world.

An eleven month notice period isn’t a bad thing for a company is it? I’m sure he took it with a pinch of salt and decided that it was just me having a ‘moment’ and he’s told me this in different words since! But nope, this was me making a decision to myself and the world that I wasn’t backing out.

It’s now December and it’s almost a week since I left the company. Although I was ready to move on I was still dreading the leaving day. A decision like this isn’t something to be taken lightly. I knew I was leaving a secure and reasonably well paid job to jump head first into the unknown and that terrified me. As much as I love adventure, I do take comfort in my habits and this was just the start of stepping out of my comfort zone!

As well as having a job I enjoyed; the reason I stayed for almost four years was because of the amazing people who work there. Thank you friends for making my leaving so special.

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My amazing card! Chuck Norris and Mr T on my shoulder, I couldn’t be safer! Drawn by the talented Mathilde Maze. Click on the image to be transported to her Facebook page!

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Beautiful words from my friends and colleagues.

I’m glad our paths crossed and I hope you’ll follow me on my adventure!

I’ll be seeing you all again soon xx

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One of the lucky ones

bokehxmas

It’s my favourite time of year. Christmas trees, fairy lights, family, friends and fun. Christmas carols, school plays and curling up under a blanket with a hot drink and a ”feel good” film. I’m one of the fortunate ones.

On the flip-side not everyone is so lucky as to have even a home to go. Let’s show a little kindness for the homeless who for whatever reason have ended up in a not so fortunate situation.  One person who is putting the limelight on homelessness is Donal Moloney; a commendable photographer from Ireland whom my mum had introduced me to awhile ago. Interestingly; he’s been conversing with a man called Martin who has been living on the streets in Dublin and who it turns could be a descendent of Malta, so his story has caught the attention of the media here. Whether he is or he isn’t, I hope this man and anyone else in a similar situation find themselves with a nice hot drink this Christmas.

There are some interesting little meetings recorded with Martin; the first one can be found here.

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