Top Ten Tuesday – 10 tips for planning a trip.

Top Ten Tuesday – I’m sure it’s been done before but I’m doing my version. Hopefully weekly but I’m making no promises. Who knows what’ll get in the way of a regular Tuesday post.

I’m starting with my 10 tips for planning a trip. These are simply my own personal recommendations and I’m sure there are those who would disagree and have their own ideas about what should be on this page. I am under no illusion that my opinions may will differ from those of others and theirs may be more valid but, for what it’s worth, here are my thoughts.

1. Time – Give yourself plenty of it when planning anything more than a weekend away. I always find the research and planning stage exciting.

2. Know what type of holiday you’re after – not everyone wants the same thing out of a holiday. There’s a fair bit to decide on, do you want a relaxing around the pool, massage and meditation type holiday, do you want to see the sights or learn about the history of a place or do you want an adventure type holiday? Do you want to stay in one place or do you want to travel around – the area, the country, the continent. If you want to travel around, how? Train, bus, car, motor home? There’s a lot to decide on – refer to item 1, give yourself plenty of time otherwise you may make hasty decisions you’ll later regret.

3. Do your homework – spend night after night trawling the internet, see what’s out there. If you’re passing the local travel agency, pick up some brochures. They may seem a little redundant when you’ve got the internet but I’ve always been a lover of brochures and all their glossy pictures. You can leave them around the house and you’re constantly reminded of the places you want to go.

4. Go somewhere you haven’t been before – be brave! It’s very nice to revisit places you’ve enjoyed and feel comfortable in but you’ll never conquer the world if you stick to one little part.

5. Be realistic – work out your budget, figure out how much you can save before you go. If you can’t afford a month in Paris, then don’t plan a month in Paris. Make it 2 weeks or go somewhere slightly cheaper for a month. There’s nothing worse than standing in front of the Eiffel Tower knowing that you can’t afford the price of going up it or itching to do the white water rafting when you know you really have to eat tonight and you can’t do both.

6. Be flexible – itineraries are great and you need them, or at least an idea of what you want to see and do, but always be open to changing those plans. Often the best memories are made when something unexpected happens.

7. Pack light – or at least as light as you can. I know, this is an age old problem and I’ve bemoaned the fact before, that I hate packing. Packing light makes travelling all the more enjoyable and less stressful though. When you’re struggling up steps or through railway stations with a suitcase stuffed to the seams, a large carry- on bag and maybe a laptop and a winter coat slung over your arm, then you realize you should have left half of it at home. Follow the advice of those travel sites that explain how to coordinate so that you just take a few basics and they all fit together to make several different outfits. I haven’t succeeded in that yet but you may have more luck.

8. Figure out how you’re going to deal with the currency situation – we have options now, so make yourself aware of them. Gone are the days of organizing travelers cheques and banks to cash them in, now we can use credit cards, debit cards, pre loaded currency cards, even cash. Get advice if you’re not a frequent traveler or if you haven’t visited that area or country before, talk to people who’ve been there, figure out what will work best for you.

9. Documentation – make sure that you have all the necessary paperwork – passport, visas, letters of introduction, extra passport size photos, insurance documents, emergency phone numbers – double check and keep copies. It’s also a good idea to leave copies with a relative or friend at home – just in case. Leave an itinerary at home too and a list of places where you can be contacted.

10. Prepare to enjoy –you need to have the right attitude, leave the stresses of life and work behind as soon as you leave your front door. Do NOT plan to check work emails while you’re away, I know – the temptation’s there, but DON’T DO IT!

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Train hard, Fight easy.

No, I’m not training for the SAS, although at times I do begin to wonder.

I mentioned recently how well my training was going and hence (don’t you love that word) my decision to extend my trek and go as far as Everest Base Camp next year. My friends, the steps, are gradually succumbing to my constant attempts to defeat them but, each time I get comfortable with the number of times I’m climbing them, my slightly pushy training partner (AKA Yes sir Sergeant Major) decides it’s time to add on a couple more ups and downs. Would you believe we’re up to 14 – yes, 14 times up and 14 times down.

Steps, steps and more steps1

I’ve now also started doing regular weekend hikes, these were initially done with a small (very small) backpack but last weekend I figured it was time to delay no longer and do it with the PROPER daypack. You remember the one, made to fit us ladies, and how excited I was to be buying it.

Hiking with pack

The day pack & I – our first outing together

So, I put a few things into it, including a litre bottle of water (which is quite heavy in itself), and set off on my walk along the Bells Rapids Trail. Unfortunately the steepest part of this trail is at the beginning, before my legs have actually had time to realize what they are meant to be doing and, with the aforementioned training partner striding out on legs rather longer than mine, it’s a struggle to keep up. But, the whole Base Camp Trek thing is not a race, so as long as I get to where I’m going I’m happy.

I must say I coped very well with the larger pack, in fact, if anything, it was more comfortable than the small one. It didn’t feel cumbersome and the straps didn’t rub at all, from now on I’ll gradually be adding weight to it.

Bells Rapids Trail waterfall

Half way up the waterfall – not much water falling I’m afraid.

Not content with the track though we have also taken to climbing. The first week it was up a number of rocky outcrops to find a waterfall. We found it but there wasn’t a lot of water falling from it. We’ve also taken to scrambling up some large boulders for our mid hike break. I must say it’s worth it for the views.

Bells Rapids Trail

The view is worth the climb

Ultimately though all of this hard work will be worth it, I’d rather find it difficult now then when I get to the Himalayas. So, in the immortal words of the SAS I intend to TRAIN HARD, FIGHT EASY.

Challenge for the Girls

FUNDRAISING UPDATE!

Only ten days into the fundraising and already a significant dent has been made in my target. To those who have kickstarted my campaign, a huge thank you.

I think I must be sending out positive vibes into the universe because today, to my great delight, I also received my first corporate donation from Rod at Carbon Footie, a solar panel company here in Perth.

Stay tuned for a sponsor’s page appearing, so if any other companies would like to get in on the act just make a donation of over $250 and I’ll put up a link to your website.

It’s really great to know that people are prepared to back this cause that seeks to empower local communities to enable their children to overcome poverty and achieve their potential through adequate education and training.

Keep the momentum going and if you are able to donate, even just a small amount, hit the donate button above or go to http://fundraise.plan.org.au/travellingbag

They’re out there somewhere!

Don’t be fooled – I didn’t take this photo

Exhilarating is what I called it. Most of the other sixty people on that boat thought otherwise.

My grandson’s 13th birthday fell at the beginning of September, I told him that I’d take him and a friend whale watching but that we’d leave it till mid October so that the weather would be better – wroooong!

Last Sunday was probably the worst day weatherwise that we’d had for several weeks – the previous weekend had been sunny, this weekend is gorgeous, but the day I chose – cold, wet and windy.

Nevertheless we set off with an air of optimism, it wouldn’t be too bad, the weather would improve as the morning wore on – wroooong again!

The ocean was rough to say the least, the boat seemed almost vertical at times and it wasn’t long before the laughter that could be heard as we left the shelter of the harbour disappeared and a few green looking faces took its place.

When a boat goes up a boat must come down!

The crew had, very wisely, pointed out where the large pile of sick bags were and had made it very clear that if you were feeling ill you should not go into the cabin area or the toilets. They knew what was coming. Needless to say that the pile of sick bags had diminished somewhat by the time we returned.

But what of the whales? Well, I saw some. Apparently not doing what they normally do, one of the crew explained. In the bad weather they normally do a lot of breaching (for the uninitiated that means jumping high out of the water), but not today, they simply rolled slowly over a wave and disappeared. Can’t say I blame them and just another indication that the day wasn’t exactly going according to plan.

For most of the trip the clear blinds were down on the sides of the boat but when the whales were spotted the crew rolled one side up. Those of us still capable of negotiating the rocking and rolling of the boat and staggering over to that side without landing in someone’s lap actually did get to see about half a dozen whales during that three hour trip. We also got rather wet.

Really, it is a whale – compared to the top picture, not quite what we were expecting 😦

Not that impressive really and the only photo I managed shows a very blurry blob that, if you squint, could be a whale.

I did get a nice picture of a high speed ferry going past though.

Honoured to be honoured.

Today my blog hit a milestone. Now I know that we don’t like to give too much consideration to our stats and the number of followers that we have but really, who are we trying to kid, we all get a slight thrill when we find someone else has signed up to follow us.

My little blog and I hit 100 today – followers that is, and I would sincerely like to thank each and every one of you. This is also my 50th post so I guess there’s some kind of symmetry there.

In honour of the occasion I’m finally getting round to thanking a couple of my on-line friends for bestowing awards upon me.

Jane from Jane’s India Journals and Jennifer from Kaichronicles both saw fit to honour me with The Inspiring Blogger Award. It is always such an honour to be singled out by my on-line friends and I am humbled that they consider my writing worth reading.

In accepting this award I must follow the rules, which are:

1. Thank the person/s who nominated me.

2. Share 7 things about myself.

3.Pass the award on to 15 nominees.

So … My grateful thanks to Jane and Jennifer, without loyal followers like you I would probably have chucked in the whole blog idea a long time ago.

7 things about myself:

1.I’m good at mental arithmetic.

2. I’ve taken part in an archaeological dig on a Roman Palace.

3. I spent my first ex wedding anniversary flying over the Bungle Bungles in an open sided helicopter.

4. I used to make macrame hanging baskets.

5. Thankfully, I am no longer into macrame.

6. For a while, many years ago, I was an Avon Lady.

7. I couldn’t sing in tune to save my life.

On this occasion I pass this award on to the following blogs. I am constantly finding new blogs to read and I am always amazed at the different genres and styles that I come across, all of these sites are worth a visit.

http://cooperseverestexpedition.blogspot.com.au/

http://bottledworder.wordpress.com/

http://tahira007.wordpress.com/

http://thirdeyemom.com/about/

http://ladyhiker.com/

http://carolanneskitchen.com/

http://trishanders.wordpress.com/

http://jillianinboots.wordpress.com/

http://ohtheplaceslynnwillgo.wordpress.com/

http://chalkthesun.wordpress.com/

Exciting changes!!

There’s been a few changes around here but I’ll try and make the explanation as concise as possible, I know I tend to get a bit long winded at times.

First, the obvious – there’s a nice new picture up the top there. Just a reminder of where I’m going, I hope you like it.

Everest Base Camp

Second – where am I going? Well, a slight change of plan there. As many of you already know next year, 2013, will see the celebrations for my 60th birthday and also the 60th anniversary of the first successful ascent of Mt Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. To commemorate these two momentous occasions I made the decision to undertake the 60th anniversary trek to Nepal, run by World Expeditions.

I’ve been rethinking things lately and I’ve made a slight adjustment to my plans. I’ve decided to go further! Originally I was doing the short trek, going as far as Thyangboche Monastery but I’ve now decided to extend it and head for Base Camp. I figure, in for a penny in for a pound. My training is going better than expected (thanks in no small part to a pushy training partner) and, after discussing it with a few people who have done Base Camp, I’m beginning to think I’ll regret it if I don’t do it. I don’t want to get as far as Thyangboche and then decide I should have gone further. More later on my updated itinerary.

And the final change – as I’m now committing myself to pushing my physical and mental endurance to its fullest extent I’ve decided to do it for a good cause. I’m hoping to raise a few dollars (or pounds, or euros or whatever currency you work in) and would really appreciate your support.

The charity that I’ve chosen to support is Plan, one of the oldest and largest children’s development organisations in the world who work in developing countries to empower communities to overcome poverty, and to protect and promote child rights. More specifically I will be donating any money raised to the Because I am a Girl campaign.

With society placing a lower priority on educating girls than on educating boys, one in three girls in the world are denied the education that we take for granted, less than half of girls in developing countries complete primary school.

Girls are more often expected to stay home and help with domestic work and, with financial concerns an issue in poorer communities, it is the boys who take priority when it comes to education.

Over 10 million girls under 18 years old are forced into marriage each year with 1 in 7 married before they are 15, putting an end to any possibility of completing their education.

I have two daughters and two granddaughters who, with myself and all the other girls in my family, have been lucky enough to live in a western country where, generally speaking, girls are not disadvantaged simply because of their gender.

We can afford to live in relative comfort, not only do we have enough to eat but we also have the luxury of occasionally being able to eat out at restaurants and we regularly throw out left over food. We can afford to live in houses or apartments with a washing machine, a dishwasher and a flat screen T.V. We have gadgets and swimming pools and we travel.

We are well educated and encouraged by friends and family to succeed in whatever we choose to do.

And we do have a choice. So many girls in the world don’t.

Your support for this cause would really be appreciated and you can do so by checking out the donate button on my blog header or go straight to

http://fundraise.plan.org.au/travellingbag

Every little bit helps and it will spur me on my way as I train – quite vigorously I might add – for one of the biggest challenges in my life 🙂

Note: Base Camp photo courtesy of National Geographic.

Because I’m a Girl

Thursday 11th October 2012, is the first ever United Nations International Day of the Girl.

The ‘Because I’m a Girl’ campaign run by Plan, one of the oldest and largest children’s development organisations in the world, has been instrumental in the United Nations establishing this day in order to highlight the need to make girls’ education a priority.

In many parts of the world society places a much lower priority on the education of girls than it does on the education of boys. Through poverty and gender discrimination many girls are denied the basic education that we take for granted.

The reality is though that through poverty, violence and discrimination, one in three girls is denied the education she’s entitled to.

Make this day a celebration, appreciate your daughters and the opportunities they have in life and spare a little time to acknowledge those girls who don’t have the chance to make choices in life. If you feel inclined visit Plan’s website and see how you can get involved.

The link I have provided here will take you to Plan Australia, however, you can also google Plan UK or Plan USA.