The perfect day in Sydney

My second day in Australia was the most perfect day of fun! In the morning my friend & I went to a really cute Saturday farmers market. It was full of fresh food stalls, baked goods, juices & street food as well as fresh flowers, homeware & skincare. I loved browsing & tasting all the different foods. I had a fresh juice for breakfast & a steak salad for lunch. I feel healthy & content. I think I’m having a reverse culture shock coming back from Asia.

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Next up we went to the shops to pick up a few bits & pieces. I ended up in Mecca – a Sephora-esque shop. I found a miniature Origins night mask that I’ve been searching for for over a year! I also finally bit the bullet & got a neck support for the remainder of my travels. I just can’t cope with dozing off inflight for 2 minutes & waking with crippling neck pain. It will be worth $20 & the hassle of carrying the bulk of it around.

After shopping we went to the cinema to see The Jungle Book in 3D. I really miss the cinema when I travel despite not going much when I stand still. The movie had amazing CGI effects. 3D has developed a lot over the past few years & it doesn’t hurt my eyes half as much! FYI The Aussie popcorn is just salted, I adore a mixture of sweet & salted….

We went back to my friends house & her boyfriend was waiting for us with a bottle of bubbles! We went for the most delicious Indian meal & finished the bubbles & a beautiful red wine. This Indian was on par or maybe better than the food I had in India. I got a bit of angst eating the Indian food in India for fear of the hygiene levels of the establishment & I am so happy to shake this worry back in Western countries!

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Totally full & exhausted after our fun filled, perfect day, we got home & quickly dispersed to bed. What a lovely day. I knew I was right to look forward to Sydney again.

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Back to Sydney!

With a sad farewell to Thailand, a brief stop in Kuala Lumpur & a mandatory McFlurry, I jet back to Sydney. I’m so lucky to be able to see my friends again! I’m so excited about going back to Australia! I had such a nice time last time I was in Sydney catching up with my friends & I can’t wait to see them again! I’ve really missed the western culture as well – which is not something I’ve ever missed before whilst backpacking.

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After doing zero shopping for the past few months & with my limited clothes selection either falling apart or driving me crazy I am super excited to pick up a few things! My flip flops are deteriorating off my feet & I’ve been wishing for them to last until Australia so I hope they endure the final steps until I find a new pair. I also need non backpacker clothes such as jeans & new tops as my others have holes or I’m sick of wearing them. I’m terrible at not being able to throw anything out so it will be interesting to see how proactive I am when it comes to the crunch! I’ll be back in Europe in a month & unwilling to buy clothes at Swiss prices, therefore shopping is high on my list.

I look & feel especially atrocious & haggard after my day of travel although my mood immensely improves when I meet a dear friend for lunch. We went to Bar Luca & got burgers. Not any old burgers – I assure you. This was the best damn burger of my little life! We got the ‘Blame Canada’ which contains all sorts of culinary delights as bacon, cheese, maple syrup & poutine. I sincerely URGE you get one if you ever drop by Sydney. It was simply incredible! We ate these in an orgasmic state on a grassy patch overlooking the sea. We took it in turns to cry out with pleasure & admiration. Paired with the joy of seeing my friend again, you could say I was in a somewhat euphoric state! My lord it was AMAZING!!! I was craving a burger since March & this one has to be one of, if not the best burger I’ve had in my life. It was so reassuring to eat without the fear of getting sick.

In the evening I met my friends for food & drinks. It was so lovely to catch up but I’m sure I wasn’t much craic because I was wrecked from all the travelling. I had alcohol for the first time in 2 months & I didn’t really enjoy it. I don’t even know why I bothered drinking at all. It just felt like I just did it out of habit. A part of me regrets it because I didn’t need it or want it. By the time I got to bed I had been on the go since the night before. I have to be kinder to myself before I make myself too haggard!

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Lying in bed I contemplate how it’s so strange to be doing ‘normal’ things like shopping again. It’s dawning on me that this adventure has an expiry date & I don’t feel ready to give up this lifestyle just yet.

Krabi, Thailand

Here I am back in Krabi! It was 18 months ago since my last visit & now I’m back in the same hostel, same room, & eating at the same night market. I just miss the Costa Rican friend I made last time. She was a foodie like me & we spent a lot of time talking about food, browsing the street food stalls, trying new things & eating, of course.

I adore Krabi. It has 2 food markets. I really am a greedy little lady…. It is on the coast & has beautiful views & great accessibility to the islands. There are numerous activities for backpackers & tourists such as cookery courses, hikes, island hopping, snorkelling, climbing. The options seem endless!

I’m staying in Pak-Up Hostel. I loved it last time I was here so I’m happy to be back. It is reasonably sociable with a big common area downstairs & seats outside to people watch on the street. It is on the higher price range for hostels & you can find much cheaper accommodation nearby, but I didn’t mind splashing out. It’s clean, the beds are comfortable with adequate storage, power sockets & lights are in each bed. It’s also central (to the food markets).

I’m going to have a busy few days here, I have to catch up on admin, post a package back home & I’m in the middle of applying for a Canadian Working Holiday Visa. I’ve also booked to go on a boat trip, go snorkelling & do a cookery course.  I’m keen to maintain my running regime so I have my alarm set for the morning & my kit set out. I also hope to keep up with the daily Thai massages!

Night Market, Phuket, Thailand

I absolutely adore Thai street food! The smells, the flavours, it’s quick, is it healthy?, filling & cheap! What more do you want!!?

The night market in Phuket does not disappoint! It has every sort of food & drink you could ask for. I start with a coconut, then a cold lemon & honey drink & I finish with a thai iced coffee – I have been dreaming of this since I last left Bangkok.

Even walking around the night market is a delight for your senses, there’s music, souvenirs for sale & you can even get your hair cut if you fancy.

 

The Western guy getting his hair cut draws a crowd of onlookers

The food was incredible. I didn’t know where to start. My two friends were happy to share so we winded our way down the stalls stopping to sample along the way. In the end I got the Kanom Krok (coconut pancakes I LOVE). I got so many I had to give a dozen away in the end. I have been dreaming about these little guys since my last trip to Thailand 2 years before. I also got a thai salad which was so spicy I gave it to a thai family sitting nearby. I got delicious pad thai as well. My god it was all worth the wait!

 

 

Honey lemon on tap – Bliss!

 

 

 

 

I was quick to get a sweet Thai iced coffee

 

Condensed milk, the cornerstone of any good Thai iced coffee

 

They make the salad on the spot using these delicious fresh ingredients

 

This salad was far too spicy for me!

 

 

You HAVE to try!

 

 

Little pockets of deliciousness

 

Making the magic happen ❤

Tomorrow I travel to the fitness retreat so I shouldn’t really be indulging – but I love Thai food so much I can’t resist!

Farewell Nepal!

Farewell & thank you Nepal. You were lovely!

My last days in Nepal were a delight. I wandered around Kathmandu calling in to the shops of people I had become friendly with for a wee chat. I ate well, planned my trip & relaxed. I made friends at the hostel, visited the Garden of Dreams, wandered the streets & really enjoyed my last few days.

 

 

Garden of Dreams

A blissful Garden hidden behind a busy main road. The beautifully named garden is neo-classical style & was built in 1920s. It’s a peaceful hideaway from the hustle & bustle of town. The destruction from the 2015 Earthquake is evident as rebuilding is ongoing….

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I didn’t know I would visit you until a few days before & I am genuinely glad I have! I hope to make it back someday to tackle Everest Base Camp. I have a newfound confidence that I am capable & if I build some stamina I can do it. What an achievement it would be! A little Irish wanderer like myself getting to Everest Base Camp – amazing! Next time I see you Nepal, I’m coming for Everest!

Next up is Thailand & something I’ve never done before – a weight loss camp!

Eating in Kathmandu, Nepal

Successfully eating my way around the world…..

Here’s some of what Kathmandu has to offer:

I can’t tell you how much I want Pad Thai right now!

Rosemary Cafe

This place does lovely breakfasts. I adored the french toast, bacon & maple syrup. It has a sweet outdoor seating area, good service & great food. I often came here alone to sort out my life with the decent wifi. Occasionally I would bring a friend & they were always impressed with this side street find.

 

OR2K

This is a really popular restaurant with numerous floors. It has a cool, chilled vibe, sociable on floor seating, a vast menu & quirky decor. This was a firm favourite with all my friends, but personally I thought it was a bit pricey & I didn’t really love the food. I would happily curl up here with a book & ginger, lemon & honey. They have a sister restaurant in Pokhara which is exactly the same decor & vibe. Worth checking out.

 

Chick N Falafel

There was a wrap bar under OR2K & I noticed before the queues outside. Taking this as a positive sign I joined the queue & had my first wrap! It was a spiced chicken, salad & sauce wrapped in a steaming mann – tasty, cheap & super filling. I loved it & wish I tried it sooner. After discovering it I had it every other day!

 

Pumpernickel Bakery

I came here for breakfast a few times & it was lovely. It has a laid back atmosphere & great food with freshly baked goods . The fruit, muesli, curd was my staple here & the great wifi meant that I would often sit here for a few hours planning my trip.

 

Utse Restaurant

The hostel recommended this restaurant to us as a hidden nepalese gem. This is a traditional menu with great options. We got thalis & were overwhelmed with the amount of food that arrived! Great value for the amount of food you get.

 

Thamel Momo Hut

Being the momo addict I am of course I couldn’t pass the momo hut without calling in. Lovely momos! Not the best I’ve had, but I won’t knock a momo!

 

New Orleans Cafe

This is a cute restaurant, a bit more expensive than others. It has a good menu & a selection from the west as well. The cocktail list was tempting!

 

Sum Cafe

This was part of our hostel, Thamel 327, offering a nice menu, average/expensive price. I had breakfast a few times here but would normally get a ginger, lemon, honey here then venture out for a walk & find somewhere else to eat. Friendly staff & great hostel!

 

 

 

Back to Kathmandu, Nepal

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Back in Kathmandu it is busier & louder than I remembered. The streets are smaller, dustier & more crowded. The beggars are closer & the sellers are louder. The narrow streets & tall buildings are not the breath of fresh air I experienced when I arrived from India. I’m relieved I only have a few days here & I hope they’ll be spent relaxing & planning my onwards trip as much as possible.

Debilitated by impatience I go ahead of my friend to the hostel, check in & lie in my bed exhausted. Exhausted from another day spent wishing my time away sitting on my arse on shitty cheap transport. I melt into the bed & my problems evaporate. My friend joins me & I pretend to be asleep, drowning her out with my wishes that she wasn’t here driving me crazy. I miss my independence & anonymity.

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Leaving Pokhara, Nepal

Flights booked, plan formed & renewed energy flowing through me – I am happy to be moving on! It’s nothing personal Nepal, honestly. I have really enjoyed aspects of you but for me, right now, you haven’t been taken into my heart. I’m leaving Pokhara to go back to Kathmandu for a few days before jetting off to Thailand – one of the countries firmly secured in my heart. I am happy to be leaving Pokhara. It wasn’t the holistic haven people boasted about. It was a cloudy, rainy, dull town – with some charm. It’s my own fault for not seeing or doing more. I am fair weather, I hate monkeys & I’m on a budget. You can still do most if you fall into these categories. I just didn’t seem to have enough motivation.

When the weather clears & you can actually see the peaks of the mountains it is beautiful & impressive. Even the moody clouds & the howling wind were striking. One day the weather just turned from pleasant to shiver inducing eery. The sky went dark, the clouds felt so close like they could touch the ground & the air became haunting. The pictures below don’t do justice to how encapsulating & sinister the clouds felt.

 

 

 

 

 

I felt a little stuck in Pokhara. The mountains were more freeing although not in my heart like the mountains in Verbier, Switzerland. I don’t feel like I’m being unfair to Pokhara or Nepal. Everyone has personal preferences, nostalgia that draws them to form an opinion, gut feelings on certain places. That’s what I love about travelling. It’s such an individual experience in the end. The Pokhara I see will not be the one unfolding in front of your eyes when you go.

I’m in a grumpy mood waiting for my eternally late friend to go to the bus station. I’m not looking forward to our long, bumpy journey squashed on the bus. I can’t wait for space from her. I can’t wait to be back in the Thamel 327, horizontal – My happy place.

Eating in Pokhara, Nepal


Pokhara has that backpacker eatery  thing going on. They know what they’re doing. It isn’t exactly cheap & many places add 20% on top of the bill. When you’re a backpacker on a budget you only fall for this a few times before it becomes the first thing you check in a restaurant. Here are a selection of some of the lovely places I visited:

 

AM/PM Organic food

The fruit, museli & curd here is lovely! It is served in a mason jar & feels very London good living chic – not litter strewn Pokhara. It tastes lovely. The wifi is good here, the service is good & I enjoyed the ambiance. It’s quite western & a bit more expensive than other cafes. I was most impressed at a cheeseboard on the menu – I couldn’t afford to try it!

 

Peace Eye Cafe

I came her for a shake & it tasted so terrible I couldn’t drink anymore – which, for a massive foodie like me, was extremely disappointing! I didn’t come back here after which was annoying because the decor & ambience was really chill.

 

Guesthouse next to Peace Eye Cafe

I visited this cafe/hotel daily while I was doing my course as it was nearby. The fruit, muesli & curd was so tasty & really reasonable. Their juices were nice as well. The atmosphere was laid back & homely. I visited so often that the staff & even some of the other guests just presumed I was staying here.

 

OR2K

This is pure backpacker haven. The comfy seating on floor is so chilled out. This restaurant is really big & spacious with stunning views of the lake & mountains. The wifi is good – when the electric is working & there are plenty of plug sockets for everyone. Unfortunately I didn’t really enjoy the food here & on several occasions I passed my barely touched plate on to fellow backpackers. The staff are friendly & it is nicely decorated. This is a branch of the same named restaurant in Kathmandu, they are very popular.

 

The Hungry Eye

I came here a few times, mainly for decent wifi access. It’s a nice comfy place to lounge in. The food is ok. The hot chocolates hit the spot & staff are friendly. They have good wifi – when the electricity is working.

 

Godfather’s Pizzeria

I heard good things about this restaurant & I had to try it! I wasn’t disappointed. The electric went out mid meal & we all sat in darkness nibbling our pizza’s until the generators fired on. If you’re a pizza fan check it out.

 

Olive Branch

We came here the night before my friends went for their Annapurna Circuit hike. They had impressive looking curry. The food was nice & they have a happy hour beer & wine deal.

 

I have no doubt you can find something for all tastes in Pokhara – & remember, TripAdvisor is your friend!

Reiki course complete – what a relief….

After a week of Reiki, Shiatsu, yoga & dynamic meditation I feel…… Not any different to be honest. I was hoping to be much more centred, balanced & have a clearer head. I feel just as confused, distracted & overwhelmed as I did prior to starting the course. I don’t feel like I have gained any clarity or enhanced in any way. Was it a wasted week?? Why do I bother with this self improvement & continued professional development??

I feel like I’m striving for outward gains when what I need to do is look internally & focus on what’s inside & self discovery.

On completion of the course I am unsure how I feel about Reiki, my capabilities to facilitate it & my belief in it. I feel like I haven’t been led by optimal reiki masters. I have a belief & trust in Reiki but I think I’ve been let down. I’m disappointed by this experience & annoyed that my time & money hasn’t been channeled optimally. I feel like there’s nothing I can do about it now, but going forward I can be more selective about my teachers & be assertive enough to be able to stop a course when I feel like I’m not getting anything out of it. It’s a shame.

On my last day the people at the centre held a celebration party in my honour. I can be very shy & I was absolutely apprehensive at what this would entail. The party was a made up of my reiki instructor & a couple of people who ran the centre as well as 4 local children. I was presented with my certificates & wholly embarrassed with the fuss & being the centre of attention! After a few cringe worthy photographs we had a dance party where we threw our best moves to meditation music. I have never felt more awkward!!!! Sober dancing can be bad enough when you’re not in the mood, never mind to music you can’t dance to & an audience of people keen to see your western moves.

When I think of it I’m transported straight back to that room & what could well be a life peak of discomfort & embarrassed artificial enjoyment.

I managed 30 minutes of stiff swaying & more fake laughter & ‘smiling through it’ that I thought I could muster. The 30 minute mark came – but we didn’t stop. Welcome to my absolute hell! I was so uncomfortable. I was working down a list through my head of sudden illnesses I could feign to get out of this. If I was back in Ireland I could just should that I left the immersion on then flee.

After 10 more long, unrelenting minutes the ceremony was finally over. We gave each other awkward hugs. I was losing the will to live. I was so happy to leave. I have never endured such prolonged embarrassing discomfort of being uncomfortable in my own skin & exposed to unwanted attention.