Just an update!

Trip Start Aug 08, 2011
Trip End Jul 22, 2013

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Thursday, February 21, 2013

It has been some time since I last updated this blog. In that time a lot has happened both good and bad. Sadly this blog cannot continue without me imparting some sad information. Unfortunately Wyn and I have gone our separate ways. It's is very amicable but sad. Obviously this has led to a few changes in my travel itinery but I am still going and mostly I will be braving it alone but with a string of group adventure style trips to fall back on! I will tell you more about that in due course but firstly a quick update on what else has happened these past few months.

Shortly after we returned from our wonderful holiday to New Zealand, it was Christmas time. Christmas was a smaller quieter day this year but was still lovely. As I had got lucky with Christmas Day off work, I volunteered myself to host Xmas day alongside my good friend Tink. Those of you who know me well will know I LOVE to plan so we got stuck in planning complex menus, party games and even party bags with items of fancy dress and games inside them. Who says party bags are only for 5 year olds?!! There was 8 of us for dinner including some of Wyns friends from back home, Elen and Simon who were lovely. Elen is as keen on photography as I am and has recently travelled SE Asia so it was great talking to her about it and seeing her amazing pictures. She also inspired me to try portrait photography but more on that later... Xmas day started with a brunch party at the party house before Megs and Ruaridh had to go to work. We then headed to the beach for a swim before heading back to ours for another swim and then to finally start cooking. I was aiming for 8 pm as our friend Iri was joining after work but I slightly underestimated the 7 kg turkey and we ahem... ended up serving dinner at 11.30pm!!!!!! Since Tink is a veggie I will take full responsibility! But it provided a good source of amusement and hey the Christmas midnight feast 2012 will not be easily forgotten! At least the party bags cunningly given out at 8pm were an excellent distraction from my guests rumbling bellies!

I was working New Year's Eve but finished by 8pm so we went to a party at our friends place in Lennox. Again, a lot of our friends were absent ( mostly in Sydney as everyone had to see the harbour fireworks at least once!) but we had a lovely evening. Iri's Xmas pressie off his housemates was a spit roaster as he loves to cook and entertain and so it was spit roasted pork on the menu which was great - and available to eat much earlier than 11.39...

Recently I returned from a trip home to the UK. I have been in the process of applying to GP training and an interview was the excuse I needed to pop home for a little visit! The interview and the exam which preceded it both went well and I was pleased with my exam score. However I cannot say I am confident yet. Only 2/3 of the people at selection centre will be offered jobs and yet they all seemed very strong candidates! All I can do now is cross my fingers and hope for the best! If I didn't get a place, I will just have to locum for a while!

Going home and seeing mum dad and my friends was lovely. Unfortunately time ran out and there were lots of people I would have loved to see but at least this time, I am only away for 5 months! One of the things I enjoyed most was spending lots of time with my best friend Abbie and her gorgeous little baby Lilly who I met for the 1st time. Having had daily photos text to me, I felt like I had known her for 4 months already but getting my 1st cuddle was fab! Such a happy content baby :-) Ok here's where the portrait photography comes in. I decided to have a go at a little photo shoot with Abbie Ian and Lilly. Having not done a lot of portraiture (landscapes and wildlife being more my thing until now) I surprised myself how much I enjoyed it! It helped that Lilly was very well behaved and so pretty - it would be hard to get a bad photo! We were all pleased with the results and its sparked an idea for me. I was wondering what I would photograph when I got home- not that there aren't some beautiful landscapes in Wales but the weather is defiantly less inspiring...! I wish I could say I was dedicated enough to go out rain or shine! So now I might have found my photography uk outlet - baby photography! It's perfect really as a lot of my friends are starting to do the baby thing now so I will have lots of opportunity to practice and who knows if I get to a good enough standard one day, I might be able to turn it into a little part time business alongside my GP work. Part time GP part time portrait photographer would suit me very well - variety is the spice of life after all but I am getting ahead of myself - I have a long way to go before I am good enough! And probably a long way to go before I can afford to go part time at work!!! Anyway really this is shameless promotion - please tell any of your pregnant friends that if they want some free piccies from August onwards then to get in touch!!

The rest of my time at home was spent cramming in seeing as many people as I could and also cramming in as much dancing as I could! It felt so amazingly good to dance again - it has been so long! That's one thing that I cannot wait to get back to properly in July when I come home! It would be nice to get my fitness back again as lying on a beach and drinking cocktails does nothing for my fitness levels!

So now I am back in Byron and time is flying! I leave byron in just 6 weeks! It is bittersweet for me - I am looking forward to being back in Cardiff and seeing friends and family more often, starting my training ( fingers crossed) and getting back to regular salsa but I am also incredibly sad to leave my life here behind! The fantastic friendly little hospital I work at, the beautiful coastline I live minutes from, the swimming pool in my back yard, the amazing social life, my brilliant friends who I will miss like crazy and of course Wyn who remains one of my absolute best friends. I might even miss my old banger of a car! I just hope we get a bit of nice weather before I go - there were cyclones whilst I was away and talk of more coming, the rain is incessant and like nothing you've seen in the uk! The roads flood in a matter of minutes after the heavens open and you can barely see a few metres in front of you! But it doesn't rain for long out here so hopefully things will start to improve so I can fit in a few BBQs and beach trips before I go!

So... The big trip! Now that I am going it alone I decided to incorporate lots of group adventure trips through company's like gadventures and intrepid. This makes it a lot more expensive but I have found a few good deals and discounts! I would probably still have had a great time if I went completely alone but I figured it would be nice to travel with a group and would be less lonely. Most of the trips are 2 weeks long so plenty of time to make a few new friends, It has been pretty nerve racking spending all that money when a house deposit is also at the forefront of my mind but this may be my only chance to get such a good chunk of time off work with no responsibilities such as mortgages pinning me down! Also as I have only worked 8 months of the financial year my accountant predicted a good tax rebate this year plus I will have my Australian pension fund refunded to me so I will still have a bit of money towards the house deposit which I can access once I return to the uk. I'm still hoping that a year or possibly 2 is all I will need to scrape together the rest of the deposit. So with this in mind I took a deep breath and booked most of my trip last night. Just a safari to book and my return flight and then I'm on my way! So the itinery goes like this:

1) 10 days outback camping trip from Alice springs to Darwin
2) 7 day sailing trip around the SW Thai islands visiting beaches such as where they filmed 'the beach' and 'the man with the golden gun' this is my luxury part of the trip!
3) 3 week trip from Bangkok to Hanoi travelling through Cambodia and Vietnam.
4) a week in Hanoi where I will organise my own trip to the mountainous region of Sapa
5) a 2 week trip through Laos and Thailand ending in Bangkok
6) a 2 week trip through SE Thai beaches, Malaysia and ending in Singapore
7) 2 weeks with a friend Alaw in Indonesia
8) a 2 week safari through the Serengetti, Noorongoro crater and possibly the Masai Mara followed by a few days on Zanzibar
9) home on 14th July!!

So it really is the trip of a lifetime although I am very nervous about going it alone. I'm sure it will be good for me though and perhaps after I get this out of my system I will be able to settle down and hopefully buy a house in cardiff!

Anyway that is all for now. I will update you all soon!
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