Seeking the sun

After a week of strenuous planning ( I say strenuous like it’s hard, figuring out whether I want to go to Italy or Spain next), I have come up with a rough plan for the next 5 months. I am the kind of person that will agonise over every little detail for a few days, toss and turn at night, then suddenly make a snap decision and that’s it. Done. Sorted. The decision is the hardest part, the actual planning is generally smooth sailing!

Next Wednesday I’m heading to Barcelona for 3 nights, to see the city just because it’s somewhere I’ve never been and have heard wonderful things about! Through Couchsurfing I’ve been invited to drinks and a ‘language exchange’ evening while I’m there – I think they expect me to speak a small amount of Spanish, which is awkward, cos I don’t. But that’s ok – maybe I’ll meet someone who’s willing to teach me.. They may regret it. I thought about Couchsurfing in Barcelona and put up a open request for a couch, but I just got about ten messages from 30 year old men, with their entire profile filled out in Spanish apart from their life motto “impossible is nothing!!!!” and, “I’m here to show you how to PARTY DOWNTOWN.” Not entirely sure what they mean by that. I’m all for partying, but…. Nah..

Then I am heading down the coast of Spain to work at this yoga retreat in the hills, near the beaches of Costa Daurada. I will be sleeping in a tent, being vegetarian again, doing yoga every morning and of course helping with the retreats. I just have my fingers crossed that there are no aliens there. I can’t wait for SUNSHINE!

I’m there for about three weeks, then I’m going to France, to HelpX at this place that runs wellness retreats and camping/ gités over the warmer months. They also have horses, which I’m super excited about! Mariken is a yoga teacher and they drink green smoothies in the morning, I will be right at home.

Then it’s my birthday, which I weirdly almost forgot about when making my plans. I may head back to the UK for a week or so to catch up with people, then it’s over to Ireland for 2 months, back to the Valley House where I spent 6 weeks last summer.

The last few weeks have been a bit of downtime, recovering from my weird experiences in Devon and generally just eating meat.. I’m excited to get on the road again!

Earlier this week I wrote a blog post on meditation for my aunty Kath, who runs a wonderful business called designed2enable, which sources stylish assistive products for people with disabilities and physical difficulties. You can read it here. Their pill boxes are a handy gift for people with lots of medication to take!

Tonight I made Socca, which are chickpea pancakes that are very popular in Nice in the south of France. Credit goes to Aimee who I met in Devon – she made these one night and I was hooked.

Here’s the recipe for y’all – goes nicely with spicy Indian dal, or Mediterranean vegetables (just change up the herbs in the pancake). I like things that are easy to make and don’t stress me out by requiring a million ingredients. Which is why I like these!

Makes about two pancakes – double the recipe for more.

1 cup chickpea (gram) flour
1 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp EV olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin/coriander, or mixed herbs for a Mediterranean filling

Just cook them up like normal pancakes, then shove one in your mouth.

I hope you likey.

p.s. Exciting news of the week- I got two of 750 civilian passes to go to Gallipoli for ANZAC Day in 2015. You have to put your name in a ballot, and over 10,000 people entered. Woohoo!

P.p.s. The thought of packing up my backpack again is just exhausting. At least this time I won’t have to take all ten of my winter jumpers, because I’m heading to the sunshine! I’ll just take three. Three chunky jumpers will do, Rosie.

 

 

2013: Things I did and things I learned

I am a bad blogger… I like to take long interludes between blogs just to make sure I have enough things to write about, and even now, I wonder whether what I am writing is of any interest. We will soon find out.

Since my last post on my trip to Edinburgh, I’ve done some stuff.

1. Christmas. 

My mum and cousin arrived just before Christmas and I think they were slightly shocked at just how terrible the weather is, coming from NZ and Australia. I think I am still a little shocked – you can see why people are always talking about the weather, because it really does impact on your ability to do ANYTHING. Mum arrived Christmas Eve, and we were lucky to be able to get her home, then get to our grandparents the next day, what with all the flooding and crazy winds.

Christmas was a family affair at my grandparents. It was  strange to be spending Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere, I am used to sunshine and swimming and exciting salads, but over here its all about wrapping up warm, cooking the heartiest meal you could possibly imagine, and then perhaps a brisk walk all rugged up before it gets dark. It was different, but it was lovely. And I have to say, all the Christmas lights, mince pies and Santa himself make a bit more sense over here, in the cold. Lets face it, Kiwi Santa is a bit creepy, all half naked and stuff.

2. We went on holiday.

After a few days to recover from general excitement and excess consumption, we drove to Kent where we stayed for a week at a Holiday Property Bond place, called Sibton Park . There were spreadsheets for who was cooking what and when, because my family has awkward food intolerances and difficulties. Gluten free, allergic to fish, dairy free, sugar free, everything free.. which would make things difficult if we didn’t have some culinary queens and microsoft excel.

Despite the weather we had a fab time – we hired bikes, we did a day trip on the Channel Tunnel to Calais where we got absolutely bucketed on and ate omelettes the size of our heads, we went to Dover Castle and got involved in some English history, we did synchronised swimming in the pool, we played musical chairs, and obviously we ate and drank a vast amount of between the 16 of us. I think there were 16 of us, strangers probably could have joined in and we might not have noticed.

3. 2014 started.

Ahhhhh, how did this happen without me preparing for it? I had not made a New Years Resolution, I had not quite achieved all the things I said I was going to do last year. But I do know I did a lot of things that I haven’t done before, and learnt some useful and un-useful(?) things.

  • I got on a big ol’ aeroplane and went somewhere far far away all on my lonesome. I learnt that once you get on the plane, you will probably stop weeping about missing your mummy and your dog and just get really freakin’ excited.
  • I went to Ireland, did a work exchange and met some pretty groovy people. In fact, I probably wouldn’t be using the word ‘groovy’ if it weren’t for one of those people. *cough*ABBY*cough*. I also learnt how to make real good scones and how to understand a very strong, slurred Irish accent, that you don’t necessarily have to shower every day and that its ok to need some Rosie time.
  • I trooped around Europe with some of my gal pals, visiting a whole lot of cities that I wasn’t sure I would ever get to, and some I have been to before… Dublin, Nice, Marseille, Paris, Amsterdam, Bruges, Brussels,  Prague, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, and of course, London. I learnt that there are many more types of beer in the world than you could possibly imagine, that people like it when you try and speak their language, no matter how poorly, that Oktoberfest doesn’t do gluten free, that Amsterdam prioritises cycling over any other form of transport and god help you if you are a pedestrian in the cycle footpath. I also learnt that people can be really gross and you should always take earplugs.
  • I spent lots of moneys. I learned that there are different ways to travel- you can eat out, take the nice train, drink in bars and stay in the more expensive hostel. OR, you can buy cheap french wine and brie in the supermarket, eat dinner on the beach, hitchhike or take 8 hour bus trips for 8 euro and sleep in weird apartment hostels run by boys who look like your younger brother but who will go out of their way to make sure you have a good time, and might even take you to a weird underground jazz bar and introduce you to all his friends. That was a long sentence. But trust me, sometimes its all you want to stay in a hotel (which we did in Prague for 5 days, trying to recover from the flu and the partytime) or go to a bar and meet a table full of Danish policemen, sampling all of the local beers as you go. Thats not a bad thing at all. You’ve just got to pace yourself, otherwise you get halfway through and think, shit, how am I getting home? That totes didn’t happen to me though, we were super sensible. ..
  • I spent quality time with my family. I learned that they are all awesome in their own little way, and that’s one of the main reasons I came over here.

So all in all I would say 2013 was a pretty successful year, and all I can hope for 2014 is that its just as interesting! Two places I would love to visit this year are Greece and Italy, I want to cycle the Camino de Santiago, I want to do yoga somewhere awesome, and I would quite like to get a little bit closer to figuring out my general life purpose. I don’t want much, really….

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Gidday Mate!

Heyyyyyy everybody and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here, you are probably the only one so far….. This blog is mostly for me to document my travels and share them with everyone at home, and for people I meet along the way to follow my adventures.

I finished my BA degree in Wellington in 2012- I studied History and German- then worked as a history research assistant for a while, all the while thinking about travelling overseas..

The funny thing is, I don’t yet know what my next adventure will be. All I know is I am on the opposite side of the world from home, it cost me a lot to get here and I really want to make the most of it, rather than sitting in front of a computer for 40 hours a week, saving to get home again! The London underground makes me feel dirty, I want to escape it…

I arrived in the UK in May, the day after my 21st birthday. I had money in my pocket and I was rearing to go! I spent six weeks hanging out with family in Surrey, then took myself off to Ireland for my first HelpX experience. I will put up a link to HelpX but basically it’s a website for work exchange opportunities, all over the world, where you work a couple of hours a day in exchange for food, accommodation and a cultural exchange. The two months I spent on Achill Island at the Valley House were some of the best of my LIFE! If you’re looking for a way to travel on the cheap, this is it.

After that I hitchhiked my way around the West Coast of Ireland, much to the dismay of my mummy. (Sorry mum). After a few experiences of being dropped in the middle of a country road at dusk by various elderly couples and truck drivers who thought they were being helpful, I learned to get on the road earlier than you think is necessary…. I don’t know if I would hitchhike anywhere but Ireland, the people are the friendliest you will ever meet and they will generally go out of their way to be kind and helpful. And hitchhiking is an amazing way to get around the countryside where there’s little to no public transport.

Eventually I tired of the voice in my own head, just in time to meet up with some girls from NZ who I would be travelling around Europe with for the next 6 weeks. We met in Galway, took a rainy, green to the gills trip to the Aran Islands, then took our little hire car back to Dublin for a final meal of chicken wings and cider. The next day we flew to the South of France, and began our trip through Nice, Marseille, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Bruges, Prague, Berlin and finally Munich for the world famous Oktoberfest. I can safely say I have never consumed so much beer in my whole life, and I probably looked like a pretzel by the end of it,but it was so worth it. After a 6 hour non-stop hungover bus ride to Frankfurt, a dodgy Ryan Air flight and some late night bus adventures through London,we arrived home to the reality of an impending English winter and the depleted state of our bank accounts.

Plenty of stories from our trip around Europe, but I will save that for another time.

Now I’m busy working in England, eating lots of vegetables and dreaming up my next adventure. Any suggestions are more than welcome, preferably including a strapping Irish lad, vast beaches, sunshine and yoga…

Rosie Posie

Keel Beach, Achill Island, Ireland
Keel Beach, Achill Island, Ireland