Final…Nepal Health Update.

The countdown is on…..not long until we set off on our adventure. The packing list is getting smaller and we have ticked off our medical check ups as well.

MK and I both went to the doctors to seek advice on what we would need health wise. We have both been to Asia before, we have had a lot of injections between the two of us over the years. The end result was a few booster shots to keep vaccinations active and our typhoid injection again (they only last 3 years). My advice to anyone traveling abroad is to always go to the doctors to make sure you are aware of any health risks on the country you are traveling too.  On top of the injections I also was prescribed altitude sickness tablets and Malaria tablets. I do like to make sure all my bases are covered so I took everything the doctor said on board and feel pretty set for the trip.

MK and I went to the chemist and bought tablets for nausea, cramps, headaches, the squirts and muscle pain. When we are on the trek we are really dependent on ourselves, we need to be a walking chemist for those just in case moments. We also have electrolyte tablets for hydration and a lot of hand sanitize wipes and gel to keep ourselves as germ free as possible. Our wonderful friend who is a nurse sent us a few pointers to get the right stuff…one great tip was to have vitamin C tablets with us as there will not be any vegetables or fruit on the way and we need to keep are immune system up (Thanks for all the help Em).

Our traveling chemist is ready for our trip and we have all our injections…now all that is left to do is to just make sure we are in good health before we leave. Both of us have given up alcohol for August and we are eating as clean as possible. Over the past year I have been exercising and eating well. I even did Optifast to shock my stomach into loosing weight and signed up to a gym and have been hitting the stair machine hard. We have both been hiking as well and have discovered some great walks through out NSW.  I am super proud of the effort we both put in and believe we will keep going when we get back as we have loved all our outdoor hiking and feeling in better shape. Personally I am super chuffed with myself as I have lost a total of 12KG this past year. Here is the photo proof below…

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I have finally realized the trick to loosing some weight…you have to want to change and you have to change your lifestyle. There is no hidden trick to loosing weight just a lot of consistent hard work. I am not perfect I have eaten biscuits and enjoyed a pizza but I have learnt how to do it in moderation. I have also rediscovered exercise. This year alone I have been to the gym, boot camp, hiking, F45, kayaking, swimming, climbing and yoga. It does not matter what you do as long as you keep moving. I will share the things that helped me along this last year, support from friends and family, Optifast, reducing my booze intake, take photos so you can see the difference, set a goal weight and don’t put to much pressure on yourself. I still have a way to go until my goal weight but I am pleased with my progress and hopefully hit my goal weight early next year.

Nepal Prep Update.

77 days now until we leave for Nepal (less when this blog actually posts) so thought I would give you guys a bit of a update.

I am still on Optifast having the two shakes a day and a low cal meal for dinner. I have had a few nights out with drinks but very few in the past few months. I also feel I am in control of myself more. If I do go out I do not go crazy. The weight came off very fast at the beginning but now its crawling off so really need to put my best foot forward exercising. I have set myself a goal to have another 6KG off me by MK’s birthday, lets see how I go. MK has also given up carbs until we go now so as you can imagine our fridge is just meat and veggies at the min…the healthiest our fridge has ever looked.

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Exercise wise it is still running, swimming and hiking. Since the last update we have completed two more hikes Mt Kosciusko and Ruined Castle. We have noticed our bodies are not in pieces after the hikes and we can keep exercising. I have a few more hikes I would love us to get done before we go. I really enjoy the winter walks at the moment its great to be outdoors in the cold breeze and even see some snow. A lot of stretching is being done at home as well we are both being careful the last thing we want is to pull a muscle after our exercising. I also did my first F45 class which was so tough but so good and something I will look into after Nepal. I do have City2Surf in August as well which will be a cool challenge to complete before we go.

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I got a list from the travel company on what we need to bring and wow it is a lot longer then I imagined. At first it was a bit over whelming looking at all the items we need to take with us. After studying the list its not a lot of stuff its just a lot of stuff you would not normal need on a trip. I think I am going to hit up Ebay for a few items and also the Kathmandu store in our local outlet mall, it always has a great sale on. I currently have the list typed out in Excel and once complete I shall share it with all the prices and where I bought the items. I do find every time I buy something I want to go out walking to try it out, which is going to keep me exercising. Started to look for travel Insurance which is a bit tougher then I originally thought. Most sites I have been on so far only provide for EU residents. I am struggling to find a Australian company. I think it will take a bit more research to find the right cover for us. July we are off to the doctors to get all the jabs and pills we will need for the trip. I will blog on what we get once that has been completed.

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Blue Mountains Ruined Castle

Over the July long weekend we stayed in Sydney to save some pennies and to do a hike. As you all well know we are training for base camp trek in September. We have already done a few hikes over the past few months. The hike we did this weekend was to the Ruined Castle via The Golden Staircase.

The hike is located in the Blue Mountains just outside of Katoomba. You can actually hike to the Ruined Castle from Katoomba. We started from the Gold Case Staircase car park. It took a hour and  half to drive to the starting location. Setting off a bit later then planned in the morning  the car park was full when we arrived. We ended up parking up the road about 1KM from the carpark. The road down to the carpark is very bumpy and has huge pot holes I would not take a low car down this track, we saw a few people struggling with their cars. The weather was suppose to be dry during the day… do not do this walk in wet weather with the steep inclines it gets slippy.  Be careful and please read all the information provided on the NSW National Park website (link at the bottom of this blog). It had rained the day before making the ground still a bit wet.

The start of the walk takes you 800M down the Gold Staircase. This path is steep and has steep inclines and steps to tackle. There is a railing around most of it but there are parts without so please be careful. MK did slip on our way down as one of the rocks was slippy but luckily he didn’t slide anywhere. The views as you go down are beautiful ,I didn’t get my camera out as I was to busy looking where my feet where going. Once at the bottom of that section you walk 3.5 KM to Ruined Castle. This is a easy path its flat most of the way and no sheer drops. It goes through a rainforest type environment, it looks like how you would picture a enchanted forest as a child. When you reach the Ruined Castle camp site there is a toilet. After the campsite its a 600M steep incline up to the Ruined Castle Rock. There were lots of walkers on this path and on top of the rock . The rock was extremely busy with people having there lunch.

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We completed 10KM in 3 hours but I would advise 4/5 hours as we did not stop for lunch and were rushing to get back. Lucky for us as we got back to the car the heavens opened, so we missed the downfall. If you are a experienced hiker and good with heights you would enjoy this walk for sure. Below is the link to all the official information you need to complete this hike.

Hiking is getting easier for us and our legs are not hurting the next day either which is a great sign. Our hiking boots are getting warn in and no blisters which is another good sign. I have a fear of heights and I have been working to conquer this and control my fear. If you read the Mt Kosciusko blog you will know I froze when I had to climb over a snow bank…well I made sure on this hike I fought through all my fears and had no wobbly legs. I am extremely happy with how I handled myself on this hike as I was way out of my comfort zone height wise but kept a good strong grip on my fear.

information on the walk CLICK HERE

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What to do this weekend (Queens Long Weekend 2018)?

One plus to living in Sydney is there is never a long weekend to far away. The June long weekend for the Queen’s Birthday (we don’t even have this off in England) is just around the corner. I am staying in Sydney for this long week… I decided to put a list of some of my favorite things on this weekend.

Vivid: The light festival is still going over the long weekend. The bridge, the opera house, circular quay, the rocks, the botanical gardens and even more will be lit up with huge displays. Take a night to wrap and wonder around. Also have a go on the hands on exhibits in the rocks.

China Town: The China Town markets are on the Friday night. Go for dinner in one of the great restaurants and if you are feeling brave try out one of the karaoke rooms in China town. Recommendation for food would be the Noodle King.

Lunar Park: Go and be a big kid at the theme park on the harbor. Looking over the lights of vivid as you go on the Ferris wheel or play in the big fun house. There are the old fairground games as well if you are feeling lucky and want to win a big stuffed animal. There are lots of places to grab something to eat as well.

Cockatoo Island: It is your last chance to catch the 21st Beinnale of Sydney art festival. Catch the ferry over and wonder around the exhibits before having a hot drink taking in the city skyline views. There is a really clever mirror exhibit which is very trippy.

Watsons Bay Hotel: This long weekend the famous hotel is holding a Rose brunch. Grab a few of your girlfriends and head over to watch a winter sunset while sipping on some Frose.  Brunch and bottomless rose for two hours….a great way to spend afternoon with the ladies.

Merivale Bars: For all of June Merivale are offering 49% off drinks every day between 5PM-7PM. Check out their website to see were your closest bar is!

Newtown Chili Festival: The event is being held in The Bank. The day will consist of chill BBQ’s, chill cocktails and a chili eating contest. If you think you are brave enough. You will be warmed up that day for sure with all the chili activities planned.

Farmers Market: Inner West has a new farmers market. There will obviously be delicious food on offer throughout the market but they will have live music playing as well. The market has a pasta making demonstration this weekend. They run every Sunday 8AM -2PM and all of the market is under shelter.

Blue Mountains: Hiking in winter is possible. Jump in the care and head up to the mountains to do a bit of hiking. Some great trails to look up would be the Grand Canyon Loop and the Ruined Castle hike. Always prepare for hikes and make sure someone knows where you are heading and don’t hike alone.

Solo Travel

I don’t think I have talked about Solo Vs Group travel before I arrived in Australia. It is the famous question among backpackers is it better to travel on your own or with people?
I have traveled both ways. I went to the Dominican Republic on my own and met up with  people I had never met before when I got there. I went around Europe on the trains with my friends and I went around South East Asia on my own. I have done most of my Australia travel with people as well. I don’t think one is better then the other but I do think that both make you a better traveler. 
Why Solo Travel?
Solo travel helps you build your confidence. You have to make the move or start up a conversation to meet people in hostels. There were a few points in South East Asia were I felt I was a stuck record and I was just saying my name and everywhere I had just been on repeat. But once you have the whole introduction done you can usually tell with in a few minuets if people are looking to make friends or not. I did have one guy tell me he didn’t want to talk to anyone, I respected his bluntness and left him alone…so yeah don’t be to offended when you meet people who just are burnt out. I met some incredible people when I was traveling on my own. I have kept in contact with them and met up with them when ever they are in Australia. Some people you meet and actually bump into them again which is always nice. You cant beat seeing a friendly face in a foreign country. Being on your own you do become a independent and better traveler. You do not have anyone but yourself to rely on. You become very aware of your surroundings and making sure you are safe. All your travel arrangements and research is done by yourself which in turn makes you a savvy back packer. I have only ever had one experience when I did not feel safe on my own in Kuala Lumpur. A man was following me and would not leave me alone. I used my common sense and went into a shopping center with lots of people around and found the information desk. As soon as I approached the desk the man backed off into the crowd and waited for me. I told the lady behind the desk the man behind me was following me and she said to wait with her until he left. The woman behind the desk pretended to get a map out and point to things. When the man finally had enough of waiting for me he left and I went straight back to the hostel. I tried not to be affected by this but it did freak me out and i did not really relax in KL. I just used common sense and would never go out on my own at night or go to dodgy areas….do you research on where you are going. Things go wrong when you are back packing and when you are going solo you just have to adapt and sort something out…it makes you more resilient and adaptable to all situations. When you do join a group of travelers for a day trip or for a few days you also become a lot more open to all sorts of people cos you miss the human contact and enjoy having some company. I did 3 days in Singapore and no one was friendly at all in my hostel and I didn’t meet anyone. When I went back to Thailand after those 3 days I was so excited to speak to people in my hostel and hang out with humans and have some conversation.  Solo travel is a great way to find out how much you will push yourself. I really built up a lot of confidence on my solo travel trips and I became comfortable at putting myself out there to meet others. It does sound so cliche to say solo travel really helps you realize who you are but its true. 

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Why travel with friends?
Traveling with your friends just creates the best and funniest memories you will make. Even the times when you travel and fall out or get on each others nerves will turn into a funny memory. Solo traveling is great to find yourself and realize what you are capable of by pushing those boundaries, but traveling with your friends just has the best buzz. I did Europe with my oldest friend from America and we still to this day talk about that trip and all the crazy stories that go a long with it. I did the East Coast of Australia with my two best friends from the UK and neither of them had ever back packed before. A few times it was very intense but also one of the best trips we have ever done together. I was glad I got to show them the backpacking way. They both really embraced it and when something was not what they expected they really just got on with it. MK and I have done lots of little trips away and had our holiday to Fiji but in September we will do our first bit of traveling. I am excited to see how we work together over the month and enjoy Nepal together. Hopefully be the first of many travel trips for us. I also believe because I have traveled on my own if I am with my friends and there is friction or something is not right I have a calmer approach to it and can easily take charge to solve it. Also if I am with friends and they want to do something different to me on a trip, I am okay to go do what I want on my own as I have done it before. I love taking photos and keeping a record of everything I do. Sharing those experiences with people who are special to you is the best feeling in the world. I think that is why I do love traveling with friends and family. 

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I think overall I enjoy and like to solo travel and its not  big deal to me to go on my own….but if I had a choice I would choose to travel with friends or family in a heart beat. Sharing memories and experiences with those closest to you  for me is one of the best feelings in life. 

Getting In Control of Your Money

If you feel every month you are over spending or you have not put anything away in savings then this blog post may help you out. First of all I am no money genius and in fact I know I’m to tight on myself with savings and money. I do feel like I know a few good steps for anyone who struggles to manage their money.  Its not really anything ground breaking but it worked for me.
1.Look at Your Spending
You can either do it the good old fashioned way with pen and paper or create a spread sheet in Excel. Write all your monthly outgoings first; rent, food, gym membership, petrol etc. Include everything, go through the month and make sure even the small outgoings are captured (that morning coffee….etc). After everything is written down you can see how much of your pay has to go on your outgoings and how much you have left for the month.
2.Savings
Next step is to decide how much you put away into savings from what is left after your outgoings. This is obviously completely personal choice, just don’t do what I do and skint yourself because I end up putting to much money away. I always transfer the amount I wish to save into my savings account as soon as I get paid. Once you have done this for a few months you wont miss that amount of money at all and it will build up for a rainy day.

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3. Pocket Money
Pocket Money is what I call the money left over for my social life. If you want to increase the amount of pocket money then you can put less away for savings or decrease your outgoings.  Getting a rough idea on what you spend socially Vs what your outgoings are is a really good way to make sure you are making good choices when it comes to money. I was shocked at how much money I spend on food socially.
4. Cut Backs
If you want to make changes to your out goings you need to look at what can be adjusted. Usually rent in Sydney if anything just goes up so that can not be reduced.
Food shops can be reduced if you like. I find planing my meals for the week, writing a list, shopping at Aldi and shopping on a full tummy always results in a cost effective shop. Otherwise I buy snacks I don’t need cos I am hungry, over buy products as I don’t know what I need for the week and spend more if I enter Woolworth’s.
Gym memberships can also be reduced by shopping around and finding the best deal. I stopped my membership and I am lucky enough to have a gym at work and I run outside for the rest of my work outs. Also look at how much you use the gym membership maybe paying to use a gym casual would actually be more beneficial.
Petrol can be reduced by just making the effort to fill up at the cheapest petrol stations. Around us in the Inner West it is the Speed Way. Have a look at the local petrol stations around your neighborhood to see which is cheapest.
Social life spends can be reduced by taking a look at Groupon or Scoupon see what deals you can pick up. Make sure you sign up to local cinemas and websites which often have offers on. Arrange to meet your mates for a meal deal in the city or happy hour drinks. You can also check out this page which has lots of things to do in Sydney on a budget. 
Please remember this is if you would like to be putting more money away and handling your money better and is purely just my view. I know there are many different ways to save and the ones above have worked for me so maybe they will suit you. Being in control of your money and feeling secure is also part of  mindfulness life. By knowing you have enough money and where your cash is going it reduces stress and anxiety in your life. Let me know how you get on if you try any / all of the tips above.

 

 

Nepal Training May.

3 and a half months until we leave for Nepal. We have started to do training to get our body’s in the best shape for the Trek. Decided to jot down what we have been doing and what we have planned.
Footwear
Both of us bought new hiking boots at the beginning of the year. I don’t really know much about walking boots apart from that I need to be able to walk in them for 8 days. Both our boots are from the Kathmandu shop. To save a few bob we shopped at the outlet mall in Birkenhead Point. They have some amazing deals. MK did struggle to find his size as they don’t carry many in the shop. It took two visits but we found him some in the end. Now the boots have been bought we have to wear them in.

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What Are We Working On?
I did a lot of research on tour websites and blogs about what are the key things for nailing this walk. The one thing that stood out physically is to have a good stamina. My main two focuses are to shift weight and build up my stamina. MK’s is to build his stamina. Basically we just need to be able to keep walking. We also are walking with backpacks as we will have to carry day packs with us. This may seem stupid but walking with a bag does make a difference. Every walk I have done so far I have packed up my camera back pack and walked with it. I would say after 3 walks I am finally getting used to it.
What Types of Training Are We Doing?
I am doing running and swimming during the week. Running is not easy for me and I am slowly getting into it. I actually find it easier with the colder nights. I love my swimming probably because I am good at it. I swim at the North Sydney pool its such a cool view of Luna Park and the Bridge. The sun is setting as I swim it such a lovely backdrop as I do my 2KM in the pool (40 lengths in a 50M pool). I am now running two times a week swimming once and using works gym once a week (uphill on the cross trainer and small weights). I also do the bay walk on a Saturday morning which I will start to run soon. I find recording my work outs really helps keep me going. I use the Nike Run App even if we are doing a walk. Its a great record of our fitness and how we are improving.

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Carly’s Look Out
Obviously we are doing walks /hikes to get used to the boots and build up our stamina. So far on our walks we have completed: Spit-Manly, Bondi-Coogee, Grand Canyon Walk (Blue Mountains) and Carley’s Look Out Point in Bent Basin. If we cant get out for a walk we do the Bay Walk to get a few KM under our belt for the weekend. 
Over the next few weeks we have a trip booked to the Snowy Mountains to walk Mt Kosciusko and over the long weekend in June we will be doing a mountain biking trip in the Blue Mountain’s. We also have a few more walks up in the Blue Mountains to cross off our list. A little bit closer to the trip we plan on doing a full weekend of walking to get into the motion of waking up and walking day after day.
This time next month we will have lots of KM’s completed, some strong legs and worn in boots. Hopefully have many photos of all the beautiful scenery we shall see as well.

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Spit – Manly Walk