Sunday night ponderings.

I like Sundays. I know not everyone does. I often work from home on a Monday so I don’t quite have the same Sunday night blues as if I had to get up and drive to the office, although I have booked myself into spin tomorrow morning at 6.30am for some odd reason.

I also love living on my own. Today I have mainly been pottering around at home not really doing that much apart from my ironing and moving stuff around in a bid to convince myself that I am actually sorting things out and getting rid of stuff I no longer need (I’m not of course). I had a conversation with some friends last night about how spending time alone means that you think lots, or can mean you think too much and need distractions. I have realised that random things have been swirling around my brain tonight and so I thought I’d share them as I’ve been wanting to write for a few days now but didn’t really know what to write about so this seems as good as any to curb my itchy fingers for a bit. In no particular order:

  • Are cocktail sausages are an acceptable evening meal, and is eating a massive chunk of halloumi cheese in one go any way nutritionally beneficial? The excellent thing about living alone is that it actually doesn’t matter as there is no one else around to judge. Oh, and grilling halloumi smells like pancakes. Which is annoying as I now could eat a pancake with lemon and sugar.
  • Will I ever be able to watch a whole TV programme without doing something else at the same time again? Probably not. Stupid smartphones/internet and having the attention span of a gnat.
  • Why is the reason “I’m just not that happy” not enough for some people to change something? There doesn’t have to be a big thing, or a big reason. You can ignore the other excuses. You know, the “well, it’s mainly OK” or, “I can’t do XYZ because it will affect ABC”. Live your own life for yourself. If you’re just not happy, then that’s a perfectly valid reason to make a change.
  • I never used to like beetroot but the other month I was given some by Shelley and I realised it was actually pretty nice. I can’t stop eating it now. Perhaps I will turn purple. I’m pretty sure it’s classed as a superfood though, but I don’t want to google to check just in case it’s not and I’m actually eating my body weight in empty calories or something. I do that enough with alcohol and Maltesers.
  • DS Troy was the best sidekick to Barnaby in Midsomer Murders. The other two were OK but not quite the same. My boss at work, James, looks very much like DS Scott. This disturbs me a little bit and I still think of it every time I see him and sometimes send him screenshots of the TV if the programme is on. Ha.
  • Why are some people so obsessed with relationships? Either being in one if you’re not, about not being in one when you are, or in other people’s (or lack of). Some people find it hard to understand that I quite like being single and that I’m actively NOT looking for a relationship. Yes, still – I know it’s been a while now since I got divorced but hey, there’s no time limit. And don’t forget the 2 year ‘thing’ with The Marine, it’s not been that long since that finished, and he’s kinda hard for someone to follow. So please don’t tell me that I need a good bloke or that I must want company, I am actually telling the truth when I say I like my own company and I’m happy!
  • I AM going to do Dry February. Alcohol, even just a couple of drinks, can fuck with exercise and food plans, and sleep. If I’m going to get fitter (something I want to do over the next couple of months) then drinking isn’t going to help. And yeah, I know I probably should have some more refined ‘SMART’ goals about what ‘fitter’ actually is, but come on, this is me. That’s FAR too rigid. Let’s leave it fluffy and ambiguous.
  • Social media can be a twat sometimes. Or rather, people can be twats on social media. Same thing really, same outcome. Sometimes I hate it all and I realise that one of the things I loved and that did me good on my trip away was the break from it all. Ironic then, that I am writing this on social media. It’s a double edged sword. It can be so useful, great, educational, connecting and social. But also it’s a massive time, energy and attention zap, or I find myself being transported into different lives that look much more exciting than my own and it makes me start to think about what I want to do with my life. Or there’s so much going on I don’t know what to get involved with. So many things, not enough time. I find myself so conflicted thinking about how I want to live my life and the place of social media in that life. Sometimes living in a hut in the woods is so tempting, haha.
  • I want to get some pictures for my flat. I need two big ones, and I want one I want to be a painting that I commission. I wonder how you go about finding an artist?

There’s more but well, it’s all a bit dull isn’t it? Life can’t be all exciting all the time. Sometimes I love these lazy pottering days, they’re needed. Apart from the eating of the nutritionally shit food. That’s not needed. One day I’ll not be tempted to eat big blocks of halloumi. But man, it tastes so good….

Working 9 to 5.

I tend to write at night. Not sure why. Sometimes the words don’t come any earlier. Often, they start after 10pm which either means I don’t end up writing what I want, or that I end up going to bed mega late. Tonight though, that’s not too much of a problem, because I don’t work on Fridays any more. Yes, I am a PART-TIME slacker now. More on that later.

So today I’ve been thinking about writing, but I’ve not been sure what to write about. The topics have changed depending on what’s been going on today. And there’s been a fair bit today actually. Things that have happened, things I’ve done, feelings and thoughts I’ve had, news I’ve heard and conversations I’ve been involved in. SO MUCH for my tiny brain to take in.

Mainly I realised today that I’d just finished my 4th week in my new job. FOURTH WEEK. Really? Not quite sure where that’s gone actually, still feel like a newbie, still feel like I’ve only just got there and still don’t feel like I’ve got my head around anything. Luckily I’m not the only new person and so I don’t feel so alone, but I still mainly feel like I’m swimming through a murky lake underwater without my glasses, unable to see anything or the other side. It’s not a particularly great feeling, and I guess one of the reasons why people don’t change jobs that often. I was only in my last job just shy of 18 months, but I’d got to the point where I knew what I was doing, was doing OK at it and everything is nice and comfortable and easy(ish). So of course, time to throw myself into a new organisation, new role with no idea of what was to come eh? Be the new person again, get to know a new culture, new role, new people, new ways of working, new systems, processes and technology. Now, I love change probably more than a lot of people, but I kind of forget how fucking draining it can be. Yes, throw anything at me and I’ll generally just get on and do it, but it’s bloody exhausting too you know? Especially as I wasn’t really looking for a new job; I quite liked my old one. But, when you get offered an opportunity too good to turn down, you can’t say no right?

Incidentally there’s been a lot of talk about the transition curve at my new job, as I’ve joined to help implement some new tech as part of a HR transformation project. If you’ve not seen it, it’s basically the stages of transition that people can go through following a change. Actually really interesting, and useful, especially a week or so ago when I was having a bit of hobo-wanderlust wobble moment, which I’m thinking now was perhaps just a reaction to the change (well, some of it). Using the curve has helped me calm the fuck down, for at least a little bit longer. The head is winning over the heart right now.

transition-curve-e1327358138202Anyway, one thing that I am LOVING about my new job is that I’ve gone down to a 4 day week. Yes, I am skiving work on a Friday every week now. And I love it, and wish I’d looked at doing it in previous jobs a lot earlier. I have a 3 day weekend. And it’s bloody brilliant.

On hearing of my new slacker status, there are two things that people say to me:

One – “You’re so lucky, I wish I could do that” and two – “what will you do with your day off?”

Well, number one people – YOU CAN. You just need a couple of things really – firstly, be willing to take a pay drop. Yes, working one less day means a day’s less pay funnily enough. Circa 20%. Even though I did get a pay rise with my new job, it wasn’t that much more, and also I have to pay fuel costs now (I did actually apply for a 4 day week at my old place also but didn’t get it). So I’m down a fair bit each month, yes. BUT – and here’s the important bit – I value my time more than material things and money. I worked out I can still pay my bills, and still have fun money, just not as much. But I now get a whole extra day each week to have a better work life balance. And that is so much more important to me than having the latest handbag*. Second, it helps to have a flexible employer, one who will recognise work life balance as important, especially if there are no childcare reasons (a lot of people/organisations view part time working for someone with no kids a bit odd), and a role that is able to be done on less than full time hours. I know I’m lucky in that respect.

“Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.” ~ Prophecy of the Cree Native American Tribe

And number two people – I haven’t quite figured out what I will do with it yet. So far I’ve spent them catching up on stuff I’d been putting off and didn’t have time to do in the evenings: tax return, car in garage, food shopping (we all know how shit at having food in the house I am), that kind of boring but necessary shit. But really, my only plan was just to make sure I don’t waste it. Eventually I want to spend it doing something useful, either for myself or other people. Or both. And work on projects I’ve been thinking about but never had time to do. Maybe one day projects that might make me a bit of cash. To make up for the shortfall.

Work is necessary, I have to pay my bills right now. But to me it’s not something that should be hated or endured. I’m lucky in that I also actually quite like what I do, life is way too short to dread getting up in the morning, and 5 days is too much of a chunk out of the week to spend it doing something utterly boring or hateful. But I like what I do outside of work too. I don’t think what I do now is what I want to do long term, but I haven’t got all that figured out yet. I’m not sure I ever will but over the last couple of months I’ve figured out a hell of a lot more stuff than I have over the last 2 years. So I’m on the right track, which is a pretty good place to be.

But the next step is a break. To step off the treadmill and have a fucking rest. Not necessarily physical rest (what I’ve got planned in South Africa isn’t really what most people would call relaxing, ha!) but rest from the mind fuck that is Life. Headspace, a change of scenery and some time out. I want to stop the world and just get off for a bit.

And see penguins. On a beach. They will never fail to make me smile.

 

*as if I could give a shit even if when I did work full time…

 

 

Old memories.

I’m sitting here tonight wanting to write a post about the end of an era – the sale of my childhood home. I kind of know what I want to write, and how I want to start it, yet the rest of words aren’t there quite yet in my head. So I’ll have to save that one for another time.

Instead, I’m listening to the album 21 by Adele. I know most of the songs off by heart, because I listened to this CD (yep, back in the shiny disc days) over and over again in my car driving to and from work when I was going through my separation (that and Katy Perry, but I’m after chilled out music right now). I’m thinking whether the songs are tainted now with those memories. Because well let’s face it, it was a pretty shitty time for me back then. Came to the conclusion that no they’re not now, but it’s taken a while. 4 years to be exact. I look back on it now like it was someone else’s life. Feels like a whole different lifetime ago, and I was a different person, just ask anyone that knew me back then. I don’t tend to try to look back too much, I’m a bit of a live in the moment kinda gal. I hate planning too far in advance and just tend to go with the flow, maxing out life where I can. But my ‘previous life’ seems to pop up loads, I can’t bloody escape it. I remember going to Peru in 2012, meeting lots of new people and my recent divorce would pop up in conversation, and I remember wanting to escape it. Thinking that it was just because it was so new, and such a big thing in my life back then and one day I could almost pretend it never happened. But I can’t. Now I’ve realised it’s likely to always crop up, for one reason or another. Whether meeting new people or chatting to old friends. And that pisses me off a bit. However. It’s made me who I am now. I can’t complain. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be the person I am now without going through all that.

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Because you see, now I absolutely love the person who I am. I’m back to being me, true to myself and happy inside and out. In control of my life and my destiny. And having no idea what the future holds.

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This weekend just gone was a bit of a whirlwind tour of London, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. Loads of travelling and catching up with loads of mates and family. Squeezing in as many people as possible for a hello, cup of tea and good old chin wag. Reminiscing about old memories and catching up on life right now.

I have SO much to smile about right now it’s unreal. So many good things happening, so many awesome people in my life. So many exciting opportunities and possibilities there for the taking. Life is awesome.

Sorry, I have no idea on the point of this post, or the direction it’s taken.

I’m not sure what I’m trying to say, or whether anything is making any sense really. I’m very tired, I’ve not stopped for days and have driven so many hundreds of miles I don’t really know whether I’m coming or going. I guess mainly it’s that I’ve had a few days of revisiting old memories. It’s been great to see lots of lovely familiar faces. A visit to Lincoln always stirs up old memories, it always will. So much happened there.

But it’s also a reminder that everything changes – Note: Take That reference 😉 – and nothing stays still. As much as you might not want things to change, they will. It’s inevitable. No point in fighting it. Change is good. Change is exciting. But, it can also be scary. Frightening. Sad. A massive mixture of emotions. Just gotta roll with it. It’s how you deal with it that matters. All about how to think about stuff.

If you know anything about Buddhism, then a massive part of it is around impermanence. Worth reading up on if that’s your bag. I learnt about Buddhism, suffering, attachment, impermanence etc. when I did a 10 day silent retreat at a Buddhist meditation centre in India. Absolutely fascinating stuff, and helps with all kinds of shit in every day life for me. The point being that everything, and I mean everything, is not permanent. Is changing, every single second. Even that solid oak table. And if everything is changing, then nothing is permanent, and so how can you be attached to something that is changing all the time?

It’s all about how you look at things, and how you choose to react to them. What you let go, how to forgive and the difference between attachment and love.

impermanence quote TNH

No standing still. Don’t stand still. Embrace change.

Back to the fold.

I’m back in Melbourne now after my Tasmania adventure (and a little blog hiatus). And what an adventure. I had an incredible time; Tasmania is one of the most wonderful places I have been to so far. I fell in love with it and I’m pretty sure I’ll be back there one day.

I’ll be working on a blog post over the next few days, and I’m pretty sure it might just be an interesting one. Stay peeled! In the meantime, here’s a few photos to give you a bit of a taster…

Rain, rain and more rain.

It’s a rainy day today here in Hoi An. Still warm (around 25-26 degrees), but very wet, and doesn’t look like it’s going to stop any time soon. When it rains here in Vietnam, it really rains. Even going out in a coat you get drenched. So, there’s not a lot else to do but hole up in the hotel room or a cafe and read, eat, sleep or faff around on the internet.

So that’s today’s plan. I’ve got a new book to start so I might read that. I might start a bit more research on what I want to do in Australia. I might upload some photos to my online storage and get them off my memory card. I might rearrange the stuff in my backpack. I might update my Spotify playlists ready for the next bus journey that is 24 hours long.

It’s a bit frustrating when it rains. Because although there’s stuff to do, it’s stuff I don’t really want to be forced to do, I’d rather do it when I want to, not have to. I want to be out and about today. We were going to hire bikes to do a bit of exploring further out. Hopefully we’ll be able to do it tomorrow, hopefully the rain won’t last that long.

I feel lazy too if it’s a rainy day, with nothing more to do than sit about and eat and not move. I run in the rain back home but this isn’t rain to run in. This is monsoon-type rain. No way can I run in it. I’ve kind of come to terms with the lack of exercise I’m doing, and the fact it’s much, much less than what I did back in the UK, even when I’m walking about all day. Yep, I’m just OK with the fact that travel is coming first for a bit, but days like this don’t help. Most days I try to do a fair bit of walking as a minimum.

I’m mainly clinging onto the fact that I can step up the fitness a bit when I am in Australia in New Zealand. The weather will be better (not so humid), running will be more acceptable (less likely to be stared at so much, which gets really wearing after so long) and I might even be able to join in with others through running clubs or meet ups. I’m also hoping that maybe I can perhaps go to a couple of fitness classes or do a bit of swimming or something. I know I can get back into it, I know it won’t take long, but I know I’ll pretty much be starting again. Having to build up from where I was. 6 months not doing a lot is a long time. Hopefully I won’t injure myself. Hopefully it will be easy. But I don’t know.

We’ll find out.

But I do know that when I can, I’ll be back on it, bigger and better. And I can’t bloody wait. There’s nothing like taking something away to make you appreciate it, and realise how important it is to you.

News.

It’s all news to you. My blog that is. Not really to me, of course, I’m the one living it. I’ve been thinking about my blog over the last few days though. About why I’m doing it, what I’m writing, who I’m writing for and what it means.

I seem to have fallen into a little bit of a trap of just writing about where I’ve been and what I’ve done in a very matter of fact way, and I really don’t want my posts to be like that. Since I started this blog at the beginning of the year, it’s been a place to write about my thoughts and what’s in my head (my thought bubbles), or about what I’ve been up to or how I’m thinking or dealing with stuff that I need or have to do, or just how I go about daily life. But not in a stilted, informational way. When I started my blog I wasn’t writing for anyone else but me, although I know a few people read it. Since I’ve been travelling it’s obviously a great way for people to keep up to date with what I’m up to and where I am, so I guess subconsciously that’s how I’ve been writing it. But I feel like I’m losing the way I like to write. So, I’m going to try to get back to writing how I want, and about the stuff I like to write about. But, don’t worry, I’ll still write about the places I’m visiting.

I think some of the problem is that I sometimes don’t have a huge amount of time to write. Now you’re probably thinking “Really? You don’t have a job and are pretty much on a permanent holiday and have all day every day, so what’s the problem?”. But that’s not really the case. I can be out and about most of the day, then maybe out again at night, or have stuff to do (admin days), and then some of the time I just don’t fancy writing. If I’m not in the right mood I find it quite hard to find the right words and put them down on paper (or computer, you know what I mean). Especially getting into the matter-of-fact way of writing – it’s not a style I like and I find it a bit boring. It’s less writing about what is in my head and more trying to recall what I’ve been up to over preceding days/weeks (which, when you’re quite busy doing new stuff all the time can be hard work; all the days merge into one and I forget what I did, and where, and when).

Blogging is a funny thing though. There are so many different types. I’ve thought about it, and I write this one definitely for me. If it entertains others and they enjoy reading it then that’s good as well. I know it’s a great way to keep my friends and family updated, but it can feel a bit like a window. A window that behind which is my life, my travels. A window that everyone else is looking through. Observing. But, never knocking at the door, or never wanting to open the window to speak to me. To say hello. To let me know what’s going on behind their windows. It’s a strange feeling. I like interacting. I like chatting and speaking to people. I want to look in other people’s windows, but I want to open the windows, to lean in and ask them questions or to just have a chat.  And in turn, I’ll answer questions, or have a chat.

So I’d love it if you want to leave a comment. Or ask me a question. Or just say hello.

Keep in touch. It’s good to talk.

Island life.

So I went to a little island (it seriously is tiny, check it out on google maps) called Koh Mak for just over a week. It’s kind of a filler time, something to do in between landing in Thailand and waiting for Nick to fly into Bangkok. I didn’t want to go South or East (Ko Samui, Krabi etc.) as that’s where we’ll be heading together at some point so I looked for somewhere [fairly] close to Bangkok that I could head to for a bit. After the last 3 whirlwind months I figured I’d choose somewhere that I could relax and chill out for a bit. Somewhere I could just have a bit of alone time, where I could catch up on my blogging, reading and so on.

So, after a 6 hour bus journey and an extortionate short taxi ride (robbing bastards) I found myself stood on a pier looking out over the bright blue ocean in the sun and thought, yep, life is pretty sweet right now. A hop, skip and a jump later and I was on the back of a speedboat whizzing through the nice calm sea from the mainland to Koh Mak. This speedboat journey was particularly pleasant and quite glamorous; wind in my hair, sun on my face and lovely scenery to gaze at. The speedboat ride back just over a week later was not so pleasant. The sea was rough so the boat was jumping about all over the place. I spent the entire 50 minutes clinging on for dear life, getting drenched from the waves coming over the side of the boat and wondering when the boat would either a) capsize or b) break in two from the force of jumping and then landing with full force. I remember thinking I didn’t really want to add ‘boat accident’ to my list of accidents I’ve had so far (taxi and bus), and how my iPhone would be ruined if I ended up in the sea. Luckily, we stayed the right way up and I live to write about another day.

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So the first night I got to the island I stayed in a fairly posh, pretty amazing room with a panoramic view of one of the bays, a massive king size bed and a floor-to-ceiling window next to the toilet (to take in that amazing view). And, for the first time since I’ve been travelling, that night I wished I had someone there to share it with. I still don’t know why. Maybe it was the view, maybe it’s because the island was quiet, maybe it’s because it was quite a romantic setting, maybe it was the huge bed. I don’t know. I just know it all seemed a bit of a waste just for me. It was the kind of place that seemed like it should be a bit special. Not just for a run-of-the-mill, filler week for just me. So, I watched an amazing sunset, lightening storm and the sunrise the next morning out of that window but the decided to find somewhere else. I just couldn’t spend a week there, I wasn’t feeling it. Plus, the wifi didn’t work properly. On an island where you’re alone and there’s not that much to do, this is a Big Thing.

So, I moved to the beach, to a little resort called Monkey Island. No king size, air conditioned room this time; I chose a little beach hut with a fan and a shared bathroom. No more wishing someone was here with me for this one, the resort was cute, had a bar (although it shut at 8pm) and was right on the beach. And had decent wifi. Sold.

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And there I stayed for just over a week. It’s low season for Koh Mak (as it’s the tail end of rainy season in Thailand just now) and so it was very quiet. There’s hardly anyone about (there were only a handful of us staying at Monkey Island) and a lot of things are shut. So, on a small island where there isn’t a lot to do in high season, there really wasn’t much to do at all in low season. Which, is kind of why I went there. I fancied a bit of downtime, although, if you know me you’ll know I like to be busy pretty much all the time and get a bit twitchy if I sit around too long, so why I decided to go there I’m not actually quite sure. Maybe subconsciously I thought it would be a good rest. Or a challenge. And, yep, I ended up getting twitchy. But, it also did me the world of good. So, all in all a win. But, I was ready to leave by the end of it, ready to get back to the hustle and bustle of Bangkok.

So you’re probably [not] wondering what I did with myself for just over a week? I’ll tell you.

  • Got sunburn. The weather was pretty iffy while I was there but there were a few days of sunshine so I decided to try and even my tan out. I’m a shit sunbather; I’m not very good at it, I get bored and if I’m on the beach I get sand everywhere. So I tried it and failed. I then had to spend the next day in my hut with no clothes on, slathering myself in aloe vera gel trying not to move because it hurt. Erotic.
  • Caught up on my blogging. Well, apart from this post which I’m writing after being back in Bangkok for a couple of days.
  • Thinking. Lots of thinking. I probably spent a bit too much time thinking about Australia and jobs. Both of those things are far away yet and I don’t want to wish my time away. But, I can’t help being excited about Oz; I have so many cool things planned. And jobs, well, it didn’t help that I saw my ideal job advertised, so I guess that’s what started me thinking. I applied, but it was a bit of a half hearted attempt and it’s not come of anything. But at least I won’t have any ‘what if’s’.
  • Walking and exploring. I wandered around the island most days (when I wasn’t sunburnt or it wasn’t raining) trying to get a bit of exercise in. I had all good intentions of doing some running but it never happened. I never got up early enough, there were no street lights and I didn’t fancy running in the dark or it was raining.
  • Watching storms. There were a few of them. I liked watching the lightning and the rain from the veranda of my hut. Apart from when the rain was so heavy it was raining into my veranda, then I had to retreat inside and watch it from the doorway.

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  • Imagining I was in Lost. I was on The Island. A lot of places were empty, quiet, overgrown and deserted. I can only assume that it’s because it’s low season, but it reminded me of the Dharma initiative village in Lost. I didn’t see any polar bears or black smoke. Or Jack. Unfortunately.

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  • Providing consultancy services to a friend who was applying for a job by helping them with their application one day. It was really quite bizarre, doing ‘work’ from a little beach hut on a tiny island (or at one point, sat on the beach).
  • Eating pancakes that weren’t pancakes. Not like you and I would think of them (like crepes). This was like a thick round shaped cake. A whole plateful of cake. I had this a few times. Of course.
  • Reading lots of books about murder. I’ve just discovered the DI Matt Barnes series by Michael Kerr and I found them to be can’t-put-you-down books so I got through two of them. But, they’re also pretty graphic, and I’m not sure reading about murder, torture and psychopaths when you’re in a remote, deserted place is the best idea…
  • Realising that no matter how many times I go, I’ll always need the toilet just before I go to sleep. Especially when it’s about 20 feet away from my room.
  • Making a bowl out of a water bottle using nothing but a key. I had bought cornflakes but had nothing to eat them out of. 2 minutes later, voila! It wouldn’t win any prizes for aesthetics, but it was functional. Win.

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So, a pretty relaxing week, but I was ready to leave. Ready to get back to a bit of city life and civilisation. It did me the world of good though, to just stop for a while and have some time alone. To figure some stuff out, recharge my batteries and look forward to the next adventure when Nick will join me for the rest of my time in South East Asia.

Just a quickie.

Wow this week seems to have gone quick. It’s Friday already which is my day off, so I’m sat writing this sat in the garden in the sun enjoying a bit of downtime. Although, its surprising how quickly time goes when all I’ve done today is catch up on some emails, news, done a bit of writing, face-timed my Dad and chatted to the other volunteers over lunch. It’s 3pm already and I’m only just starting this.

I feel nicely chilled out. I’ve got over my need-to-be-doing-something-every-minute and forced myself to just enjoy sitting. It’s different, and I still feel very lazy but also feeling very relaxed. My brain isn’t full of lists, or things to do or random thoughts of stuff I should be thinking about. It’s fairly empty and I’m just enjoying the quietness, lack of responsibility and a Milkybar.

I went into town on Wednesday lunchtime with some of the others to visit the curio market (a little craft market) and Shoprite for a chocolate, crisp and yoghurt run for everyone. The traders at the curio market are very friendly. Obviously, because they’re trying to get you to buy things. But, some of them are really nice and quite happy to have a chat even if you’re not buying anything (one of the good things about being on a RTW trip means you can’t actually buy loads of stuff, even if you want to – I bought a bracelet and a fridge magnet. That’s all.). The standard greeting here is ‘Hello, how are you?’. And they always shake your hand. But not with any old handshake. With a special handshake. It’s a normal handshake, then a kind of gangster grab, then normal handshake again. It’s like a club. I like it.

Weekday amusement this week happened most unexpectedly when I was teaching maths on Tuesday. There I was, going through how to change improper fractions into mixed numbers with my class (I’m not going to forget that) and in trotted a goat. Yep, a Goat. Only in Africa. Cue me and some of the kids chasing it round the classroom like a Benny Hill sketch to get it out. I think it provided a welcome distraction from fractions for the kids who, naturally, found it hilarious.

There has also been running excitement this week! You can tell the excitement by the use of an exclamation mark, I don’t do it that often.  So, running excitement #1: I ran a new running route! This is BIG excitement. I was convinced I would be running in laps for the whole 4 weeks. And although a run, is deathly dull. So, imagine how excited I was when I managed to force persuade Daryl, general manager here, to come on a run with me, because we could run a slightly bigger lap. Just out a little bit into the park along a couple of the roads, down by the Zambezi river and back round by the house. Oh, it was heaven, and it made my day. It was so nice to run in a bit more of a straight line, and not on sand. It was also as the sun was setting. So imagine this: running through the African bush as the sun was setting, past a herd of impala grazing, then past the banks of the Zambezi river, not a sound to be heard. Wonderful.

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Hopefully we’ll get to run again. Daryl hadn’t ran for a few months, so I may just have outran him a lot a little bit on the second lap. Hopefully I’ve not put him off and next time he’ll be able to go for longer ;P

Running excitement Number 2: I had my first article published! I’ve agreed to be a regular contributor to running website The Running Stories, by writing about my Runs around the World. I’m very excited about this, I love running, travel and writing, and so I can combine them all. I know I have this blog where I was doing that already, but that really started just for me, my friends and family. This is out there, in the big wide world on a proper website. Hopefully people will be interested in what I have to say, and it’s great experience for me. I’d love to do more writing while I’m away so we’ll see where this takes me. You can read the article here.

Another website (Take a Challenge) has also been in touch, asking if they can do an article on me, so I’m currently working with them to put something together. It’s a bit strange, to think people want to write about little old me or want me to write something for them. Strange, but exciting. Anything can happen in this big old world!