INWA in Print

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A few months ago before we came home, Stef and I were contacted by the editor of Wanderlust’s Unique Honeymoons Magazine to contribute to their 2013 issue. Our journey has been distilled into a 1 page story – Here we are – in print!

As a gentle reminder, you can buy any of our photos in various sizes and mounts. Stef has a selection on his website http://stefanpalmer.photium.com/ or please contact either of us if there’s a pic you like that’s not on there.

And now for a shameless plug – He is available in the South West of England for portraits, corporate stuff and basically any other type of photography you might need. ūüôā Get in touch – the first conversation is free. x

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The Adventure is Over. Long Live the Adventure!

Hello!

A couple of weeks ago I told you about our downtime on Koh Tao in Thailand and said that it was a well earned, much needed break between leaving our friends, my job and our lovely house in beautiful Melbourne and returning to the UK where I have a job in Bodmin, Cornwall.

Getting my head back in the room has taken a little longer than anticipated due to me getting a bout of food poisoning! For those of my readers who don’t know me this is unheard of…. I never ever get sick – not sea sick, not air sick and certainly not food sick. And I must say it’s truly miserable. I was ill for about 24 hours and i thought i was going to die. I have friends who have suffered for days on end and I can’t even begin to imagine the misery they must feel.

We got back on Thursday morning and carried our stuff across London in rush hour, naturally! We have a bit of a history of this see here for Trans Siberian rush hour adventures but thankfully the train was quiet and the journey uneventful.

The weekend was lovely. We spent some time with my sister and caught up with friends, and on Saturday my poor / dear / ultra lucky hubby was subjected to practically my entire family en masse (we’re a very close, fairly large family and are very loud when we all get together but he took it in his stride and is now, definately One Of Us. I hope he knows how lucky he is ;o)

On Sunday I caught the train to Bodmin to look for a house, and Stef and my sister went up to Nottingham. He’s currently on stand by waiting to load a van with all our stuff that’s been in storage for the last 18months and bring it all down.

And I’ve been looking at places to live which is a very stressful and rubbish job on your own – what if I get it wrong / pick somewhere he hates (my hubby is VERY fussy) / what if it’s noisy? Damp? Cold? Noisy neighbours? Too small?

Aargh!

So far I have viewed:

~ One super gorgeous teeny tiny ancient cottage off the main street, with wonky windows and beamed ceilings but waay too small.

~ Two 2 bed flats above a big electronics store which are nice and spacious, set out in a ridiculous yet fun way and a little bit damp but with the definate added advantage of having a separate office for Stef

~ our long term fave – an open plan one bed duplex in a building called the Old Manor, a big grey building with high ceilings, nice features, a beautiful kitchen but is right next door to wetherspoons!

I have one more to see today – a little 1 bed duplex / quarter house with (OMG) its own parking!

Then I HAVE TO make a decision because I want my hubby and our stuff here on Saturday!

So the plan is as follows:

Much needed haircut this morning. View little quarter house at lunchtime. Apply for a house / flat this afternoon. Try to find a bed for the rest of the week (I only booked three nights in my lovely b&b). Get ready for my new job tomorrow. Sit chewing my nails in nervousness until we get the “yes” on a home. Jump up and down with joy and happiness. Run round like a loon getting deposits paid, bank statements found, keys collected. Lug a million and one boxes from van to house. Celebrate hugely with Stef and friends who are sooo unbelievably kind enough to give up their weekend to help us. Put lots of photos on here for posterity and to mark the beginning of our next adventure.

Wow. That’s a lot of plan!

Update soooon x

Interlude

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Hello!

It’s been ages since I’ve blogged, lots has been happening and it’s all been a bit of a whirl wind.

In May I told you all that we’d made the decision to leave Australia, despite the company I was working for offering to sponsor me. So we got on with selling everything in our house on eBay and to work mates and flew out from Melbourne at the beginning of September to Bangkok.

We stayed there with friends for a couple of days and then came to Koh Tao where we’ve been ever since.

I love this little island, it’s beautiful and thankfully mostly unchanged since my last visit in 2008. It also has this weird effect on people where they come for a few days and end up staying for weeks or even years. We were going to be here for a week, mainly doing some diving. We’ve been here 2 weeks already and will be here for the next week before heading back to Bangkok then home.

I was thinking that it’s a waste to only come here but then I thought over our trip and I’m tired of travelling, moving on, seeing stuff. I’m Tripped Out. So this three weeks on a tiny dot in the ocean, where I’m surrounded by divers is an interlude. A needed and appreciated period where I don’t care that I’m still, I don’t miss the road and, unusually for me, I have nothing to say.

When my brain works again I’ll tell you all about the Great Ocean Road, and will soon begin the story of the next part of our lives – living in Cornwall.

Until then, I’m off to the beach. See you on the flip side x

Farewell my Faithful Steed

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Its a sad day today – my beautiful bike has been sold and tonight she will be taken to her new home, and I will never see her again.

We’ve had some great trips, me and her – up hill and along the creek to work and back three times a week for the past 6 months. She’s helped me get fit and strong, and we’ve seen lots of birds, dog walkers and sunsets.

It hasn’t all been lovely – sometimes the head wind has been so strong I’ve had to get off and push! and sometimes I’ve arrived at my destination splattered with mud or soaked to the skin.

I love cycling, its great exercise, its fun and gets you places you can’t go by car and wouldn’t walk to on feet. Its also brilliant for thinking and planning and cycling to work gets you ready for the day ahead. And better – cycling home again gets rid of all the stresses and tensions off the day and I always arrive home feeling great!

I’ll be getting me a bike when I get back!

It’s All Becoming Very Real…

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We have sold the sofas, the desk, the dining room table. These things are gone, along with our beloved dive books. Sold because we can’t carry them.

Even my fish book, carried thousands of miles across the world has gone to a new home in Queensland – donated to our lovely housemate. Its pages stuck together from downpours in Vladivostok, pored over for hours in the Seychelles and Vietnam and Northern Australia, fish identified, arguements whether it was this coral or that one we saw, notes written on its pages.

Clothes have been sorted – some thrown out, others put aside for Thailand

We have sold ten things on ebay

There are 14 new listings – stuff that’s left is in a wierd kind of limbo – not yet sold, not packed, still used occasionally by people who no longer really own them.

The house looks empty, the rooms echo, the dive gear has been packed, its cupboard cleaned out, we sit on cushions on the floor, we’re worried we won’t get rid of everything in time.

Its less stressful than leaving the UK. Maybe we are veterans now. Experts at packing up our lives and leaving. Selling everything. Going on the next big adventure.

At work I’ve said goodbye to people who have gone on holiday, or away for business. I’m sad to think I may never see them again. It’s such a long way between here and home.

I’ve cleared my to-do list of new jobs, delegated my duties, finished projects.

It’s right. It feels so right to be coming home.

2 weeks to go.

Rice Terraces

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On our tour through China, we visited the incredible Longji Rice Terraces. These are rice paddies that have been cut into the side of steep valleys by hand over 400 years. They are highly cultivated and a real achievement. They are also extremely important to the Hilltribes as they provide their main income, food for themselve and are important for the community. The terraces are too steep and narrow for machines to be used, so all the work is done by hand as it has been for hundreds of years. This means that the community must work together so that all the rice can beplanted and harvested in time. The land is divided up in a way that means  that each family gets  land on each hill, so no one gets all the best land and no one gets all the worst. A very elegant and democratic solution to a difficult problem indeed, and a very beautiful landscape.

5 Ways Cycling is Like Life

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1. The faster you go over the rough bits the better

In cycling it means you are less likely to fall off, the section of path or road is smoother somehow. In life the rough bits are over quicker!

2. There is always a headwind.

When riding my bike, no matter whether I head North, South, East or West the wind always seems to blow directly at me slowing me down and making my journey harder. In life there always seem to be barriers, fears, annoyances and other reasons that things aren’t as easy as we’d like them to be. In life as in cycling, all we can do is grit out teeth and press on, knowing we’ll get there eventually or find another way.

3. For every uphill there is a downhill.

On my way to work there is a reasonably challenging uphill section which I really have to work at. It’s worth it though because when I get to the top the other side is a brief, glorious 10 seconds of freewheeling downhill. Worth the effort every time. No matter how hard life gets, sooner or later there is a wonderful section where the hard work is over for a short while, and they are worth the tough bits.

4. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Or fitter, or better equipped, or more experienced. The hard bits make you tough when cycling, and in life, they won’t kill you – they may hurt for a while but once the pain is over your muscles are harder, your lungs are more effective, you are tougher and more confident.

5. Some people love you, some hate you but most ignore you

To most of the drivers I see every day I’m just another person on the road. This is like most of the people I come into contact with in my life, we may nod, we may move aside for each other but that’s it. They ignore me I ignore them. Then there are the 2 extremes – Love and Hate. Some drivers seem to hate cyclists. They drive too close, too fast, they beep their horn or cut me up. But for every impatient driver there is another who lets me out, who nods or waves or is just generally pleasant. Same in life – there are always people whose behaviour doesn’t match with our idea of correct. And there are those who go out of their way, just a little, to make things a bit better.

 

Homeward Bound

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Well my first post for a while is Big News… Stef and I have made the huge decision to return to the UK.

We have talked and argued and debated and written lists of the pros and cons of living in Australia and the UK and I’ve been counter offered to be sponsored to stay in my job and I’ve spoken to friends old and new and on both sides of the planet.

Its been a difficult decision but it feels like the right one. We have been homesick and miss the familiar places and faces, the feel of England and things happening at the right time of year… Hot Christmas? Cold birthday? ALL WRONG!!!

I’m going to miss Australia. It has a lot going for it. It’s beautiful for starters. The people are really nice and I’m made some good friends here. The weather is fab and its safe and relaxed. There are certain things that drive us crazy though – the Internet is terrible, even in the cities, and it’s hard to do stuff … For example I have to do my own tax return! I know! Also it’s super SUPER expensive. I’ll never complain about rip off Britain again. This is balanced by excellent salaries but even so $21 for 2 drinks is rather steep …

We leave Oz just after my last day at work and are heading to Thailand for a month, I finally get to go to Koh Tao again and this time I’ll be diving!! Whoop! I’m very excited about this.

We land in the UK early October, in time for Stef’s birthday. We’ve decided not to return to Nottingham. We’ve been away so long and it’s time for us to live somewhere new, set up our businesses and settle.

It’s been one hell of a trip but I can’t wait to be on home soil again

Xxx

A Year on the Road

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Today marks 1 calendar year since Stef and I left our house in Bingham and drove to Weymouth to catch the ferry to Jersey to begin our adventure!

The time has absolutely flown by. And so, so much has happened.

Leaving our lovely home, our jobs and friends and striking out into the unknown was very difficult, but I think its been absolutely worth it.

Our journey has had its ups (incredibly beautiful campsites, seeing a red squirrel in the forest outside Colditz) downs (separating from David and the LandRover), it has been wonderful (gorgeous sunset over the scared hills of Olkhon Island), stressful at times (Rush hour on the Moscow Metro with all our bags), sometimes boring (56 hour train trip) or uncomfortable (Vietnamese night bus) often exciting (seeing the Terracotta Warriors), a little scary (Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam) and always amazing (sunrise over the Chinese Rice Terraces).

We have independently travelled one of the World’s Greatest Railway Journeys – The Trans Siberian Railway, we have seen the ballet in Moscow, visited sacred Olkhon Island and paddled in the freezing waters of Lake Baikal, we’ve survived Chinese trains (and Russian toilets!), walked the Great Wall of China, eaten with Vietnamese families and SCUBA dived the crystal clear waters of Northern Australia.

We have met wonderful people along the way, danced in the streets of China and gossiped until silly o’clock in the morning with new friends. We have been photographed with countless Chinese tourists, Stef has seen a dead body (Lenin in Red Square) and we’ve shopped till we dropped in local markets, alleyways & Hutongs and gleaming shopping malls all over the world.

Now we are in Melbourne, where we have found ourselves in a somewhat settled existence with the big decision of what to do next.

Whatever we decide to do will blogged and tweeted – keep reading, there’s more to come x