Writers Block

I have not written in a while mainly because life got in the way…

New jobs (2 to be exact), a trip home, a trip to Ireland, friends got married and one visitor from home. Its been a crazy half a year. I am finally settled into my role at work and slowly gaining my me time back.

I worked hard at developing some great habits of self care and being present (mindfulness). I have let them all go the last couple of months. I am slowly building it all back up. Over the next few months I really want to put my time back into my exercise and mindfulness. A lot of my energy goes into work and will continue to but I need to make sure I take that step back so I do perform well at my day job.

Do you ever feel sometimes life takes a hold of you ?

Goals for September:

  • Keep writing, even if no one is reading it it really helps me unwind after a long day
  • Exercise more often, I have already signed up for a PT session once a week
  • Get back out more in the outdoors and take the camera
  • No phone before bed, try reading instead
  • Get into work earlier, usually can get a bit more done if I am in earlier
  • To not stress the small stuff and just work on focus

Gooooooal!

Reflecting on the last few months going through a rough patch at work I have realized I am a goal oriented person. Winter is just about here and I decided to set myself some winter goals. I am a person who just seems to focus better when I have some aims in mind. I usually have a good think and talk to MK about what I am thinking about then I write them down and stick them up on my notice board as a visual reminder.

 

  1. Winter swimming – My fitness will be through swimming this winter in the outdoor pool near Central station….going to be chilly but a good achievement.
  2. Really focus on eating well and healthy – I lost 22KG last year and I have put 10KG back on so really want to focus on getting that extra 10 off this winter.
  3. Meditation, reading and writing – These 3 things I find really help me personally  take care of myself. They make me calm and remain focused. I have bought a few books from charity shops and have my journal and blog for writing.
  4. Working as hard as I did in Nepal at my new job – Read the ‘Werk It’ blog for my update on my job. I just want to really put 110% into this new opportunity and see what happens these next 6 months.
  5. Putting my energy into the great friends (near and far) around me and enjoying life – Basically just be there for friends through the good the bad the ugly and try not to take life to seriously and enjoy it with them.

Your turn…Do you guys set goals?

If so and you want to share let me know on my Instagram what your winter goals / summer goals are!

Kathmandu Take Two

Day 6

We had a very lazy day. We just chilled out watched some movies in the hotel room. Late morning we ventured out to Thamel for a coffee and some postcards to send home. In just two days we would be starting our hike so we were just trying to relax.

In the evening we met Raju for dinner. Raju led us through Thamel to a restaurant. We were served local Nepalese food and watched a traditional dance show. It was great to get to know our guide Raju. We discussed the hike and he answered any questions we had. Raju has been a guide for 10 years so his knowledge on hiking in the mountains was endless.

Day 7

Today we had a day tour around Kathmandu. We met our guide at the hotel and then she lead us to our driver. Our first stop of the day was The Monkey Temple. The temple was the oldest temple in Kathmandu. It was actually built before Kathmandu existed. As you can imagine there were monkeys everywhere. We walked up to the top where our guide explained the concept behind the Buddhist Temples. She also told us in the earthquake the original temple was the only bit which survived and everything else had to be re built. This temple gave us a great birds eye view of Kathamandu. Our next stop was to visit a real living goddess called a Kumari.

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The Kumari is selected at birth and she lives in a building on the second floor as she is not allowed to touch the ground. People come from all over to see her. A few times a day she will come to the window to give people blessings. Unfortunately when we showed up she was having a nap…she is only 3 years old after all. We did see a photo of her. They are a goddess until they get their first period then they return to the local village and a new Kumari would be selected. Just around the corner from the Kumari was the Royal Palace. There is no longer a royal family in Nepal but the palace is still there and is currently being rebuilt after the earth quake. There was a Hindu festival going through the area we were in. It was a long line of women all dressed in orange and chanting whilst carrying small vase on their head. They were walking on the pavement in bare feet whilst passers by would throw water on there feet to keep them from burning from the red hot pavement. We followed the parade back to our car and ventured on for our last Buddhist Temple of the day.

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Before we had lunch we walked around Boudhanath Stupa. The Temple was surrounded by shops. The first shop we visited sold medicine bowls. The owner of the shop gave us a demonstration on how they work. I sat on a chair and he placed the bowl on my head up side down and began to hit the bowl. The vibrations from the bowl worked there way down through my body giving me a relaxing feeling. He then moved the bowl to my knee and did the same thing the vibrations felt amazing. MK had his turn and the man put the bowl on his chest and back. The next shop we went into sold paintings of the circle of life. Each painting was so detailed and you had to be trained to a certain level to be able to paint the circle of life. Monks would draw them in the sand and it could take weeks to create and at the end of the process they would just destroy it. The detail of the pictures was incredible. The circle of life is about life always changing and how nothing in life remains the same. After checking out the gallery we headed to lunch. At lunch our guide chatted to us about our lives in Australia and she told us about her two children. She then asked us if we would like to visit the Hindu temple and see them do the cremation of the bodies. I immediately was not keen on the idea but MK said we should go as this is why we were here to experience new cultures.

 

 

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The last stop of the day was to visit a Hindu Temple. You can not go inside the temple unless you are Hindu. We had a walk around the grounds of the temple then went around to the back. At the back of the temple is where they cremate bodies and bath them in the river which leads to the Ganges river. It was extremely emotional to watch families say good bye to there loved ones. I did notice other tourists taking photos which I did find very strange. For me it was a moment to take in for yourself and not through a lens. We were watching someones funeral and watching people at their saddest moment. The guide took us back to the hotel for us to enjoy our last night before flying up to Lukla (the start of the Everest Base Camp Trek).

This night we went out for a big carb dinner and then came back to the room to pack our duffel bags. Our day packs had to be 5KG and our duffel bags had to be 15KG and no heavier. It was pretty hard to fit all our essentials in and keep it under 15KG. There was a weighing scale in the lobby of our hotel, we did a few trips to the lobby weighing the bags. We had to get up at 4AM. I was pretty nervous about the flight to Lukla and it took me a while to get to sleep my brain just wouldn’t shut off. Our big adventure was about to begin.

Travel Insurance for Nepal

A massive item on the to do list for any trip is insurance, to protect yourself and your belongings. I did seek advice from the travel company and blogs on Nepal to make sure I had everything covered. I would suggest the same thing to anyone, seek advice from the professionals, the people who are taking you up the mountain. For example I learnt that most travel insurance companies only cover to 3000 meters whilst we need to be covered up to 6000 meters. There are lots of little bits you need to make sure you have covered in your policy.

Finding insurance to cover Everest Base Camp was pretty easy as it is a popular trip these days. The issue I was having was with a simple question of  “Where am I a resident?”. I do not have my PR visa yet but I live in Australia and have all resident rights. I know I am classed as a temporary resident. On a lot of insurance websites this was not clear and when I would contact the companies no one would give ma yes or no answer to whether I was covered under there Insurance policy. It was a incredibly infuriating process and I seemed to be getting no were. I could not believe that a company could not inform of me if I would be covered or not but were ever so happy for me to pay out for the insurance. I don’t want to name and shame but I will mention the company we have decided to go with. They have a really clear policy about people on temporary visa’s in Australia. Zoom is who we went with in the end and they also have a live chat bubble and were very helpful when I selected my policy. I got the whole month covered by Zoom along with my trekking cover and cover for my camera. Fingers crossed we do not have to use the policy but it is a relief to get that one crossed off the list.

 

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.

Snowy Mountains

Last weekend we were suppose to be heading up to the Snowy Mountain’s for a weekend away and doing a hike. Well normal everyday life got in the way ( as it often does) and we could not leave until Saturday lunch time. We decided to go even though it would mean driving down Saturday afternoon hiking Sunday and driving back Sunday.  It was important for us (well me) that I did a hike in some cold temperatures. I have been working on my cardio and stamina and wanted to see how I had improved in a hike environment.

Mt Kosciusko Summit walk is the walk we took on. The Snowy’s are a 5 hour drive from Sydney. Mt Kosciusko is in the national park in the Snowy Mountains. We decided to stay in Jindabyne as it is only a 40 min drive to the start of the hike. I had a look online at hotels and because it was not Ski season yet we got a great deal at the Jindy Inn. Once we arrived in Jindabyne we got a quick bite to eat at the Mt Kosciusko brewery before heading to the hotel.

Jindy Inn had great reviews and a great price which made it a pretty easy decision. When you pull up to the Inn it looks very plain from the outside and a little dated. Once inside you feel like you are in a boutique local hotel. The reception is full of local art, candles and flowers. It really is a welcoming reception area, the community feel with locals business products is a great touch to the Inn. We had a triple room with a garden view. Didn’t make much use of the balcony with it being 4 degrees when we arrived but it looked lovely. I can imagine in warmer weather its a nice spot to catch some sun. The room was very clean, modern and full of local touches which again gave you a boutique feel. The pillows of the local animals on the bed to the great quality lotion and soap in the bathroom gave the room a swanky yet homely feel. There is a bar and dinning area downstairs with a fire place. We only used the dining room for breakfast the next day. Breakfast we included in the price and it was toast and cereal. It filled us up for the big day ahead. It was cosy and had again the modern mix with a community feel. There was beautiful art work on the walls and the staff were friendly offering tips and advice about the local area.  After a short but pleasant stay we left to head into the national park. It cost $17 for a day pass which can be purchased on the way in.

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The drive was beautiful twisting around the mountain landscapes and past the empty Ski resorts. Snow was on top of the mountains and as we got higher the temperature got lower. Once we had arrived at Charlottes Pass and rugged up we were off. I decided I wanted to carry the bag for practice. The first 6KM of the walk is flat and the back drop of the mountain’s is incredible. There is lots of mountain springs lining footpath and small patches of snow. When the track started to wind up around the mountain the snow got a bit worse on the ground. There is a hut up the mountain for day use and emergency night use. Inside the hut was a fire place, chopped up wood and benches around the edge of the room. Following the path up and round the snow had stretched and covered the path we were forced to walk on the grassy edge. I am not good with heights if I feel I can fall ( my dad and myself both have the same fear). I was okay walking on the grassy edge as it was wide and it wasn’t a steep drop. Then we reached a part where the snow had covered the whole path and built up creating a mound of snow which trailed off the edge. MK climbed over it and did try his best to persuade me to climb over. I had already freaked and did not like the fact I if I slipped on the snow I was rolling down the hill…even with MK offering to jump off and slide down with me if I fell. I decided to not go on. I was extremely gutted as I only had 1KM to do and felt good fitness wise. Passing the bag to MK I walked back down to the hut and waited for MK there. The clouds rolled in fast around the top and unfortunately when MK got to the top there was not much view just grey sky. After MK returned from the summit we headed back down the mountain. In total I walked 16KM and MK did 18km it took us 4 1/2 hours to get back to the car. I think the drive home could have been the toughest bit. Both of us where tired but we split the driving and powered through returning back to Sydney for 8PM.

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Despite our weekend being cut short we made the most of it. It was a great feeling to be walking in the cold battling the elements. We both felt like we were back home surrounded by mountains and snow. If skiing is not your thing there is still lot to see up in this area. This week we pushed through ache legs on Monday and kept up with the exercise because that will be our reality in Nepal. I also want to do more hikes and work on my balance and strength so I feel more in control of my fear when it comes to heights.