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!

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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Thanks Skyscanner!

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I am much better at sky scanning than soul searching. After a few nights mulling over my options on Skyscanner I have come up with an epic itinerary. I’m super excited!

I have accepted a temporary nanny position in Europe & will be beginning in 2 months. In the meantime I am taking a tour of epic proportions! Thailand, Australia (to pick up my luggage & see my friends again), Shanghai (to visit 2 friends), Japan (I can’t wait! My face lights up when I realise I’m going!), South Korea (to visit a friend) then Switzerland for work.

I am really craving western culture & lifestyle after a couple of months in India & Nepal. I want better hygiene standards & ease of life with an ache that moves me. I am begging to walk down a street that’s not covered in litter. I think this is the first time I’ve craved western life. I’m almost ashamed to admit it. I feel like I’m betraying the carefree spirit backpacker I am but my heart wants what it wants! I’m optimistic about going back to Europe again. New Zealand has made me appreciate how fortunate I am to live in Europe – as a curious traveller. The access to numerous countries, cultural differences & stunning beauty is incredible.

It has taken a couple of nights to book everything with a few price increases & hidden charges. Now I have everything booked I want to tell the world – I HAVE A PLAN! I know where I’ll be for the next 4 months! I have direction, multi-directional direction.

My exit plan from Nepal

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I’m at another crossroads of my life. It’s more of a spaghetti junction. I could go anywhere in this world – within reason…. Myanmar looks hauntingly beautiful & backpackers speak fondly of it. Bhutan would be incredible to visit. Mongolia is high on my list. Japan has been sitting on the forefront of my mind. My cousins can’t recommend Vietnam enough to me. Thailand is a country I adore. Then I have to think of my finances…. I could go back to New Zealand to work. I could nanny again. Working on super yachts is another option. Back to Ireland & spend time with my family in the homeland after all these years? Another country? Another career change? Am I getting too old for this shit??

I’m open to all suggestions. One option is to nanny in Switzerland & Spain for a few weeks for a family I worked with before. It would get me to Europe for the summer, I would be closer to my family, I could replenish my funds.

Sat in my hostel in Nepal with travel options, destinations, prices & dates scribbled on to a notepad I close my eyes & melt into my bed. My mind is a busy chattering of what I could do next. So much research into expenses, visas & possible itinerarys. I just want to choose something & throw myself into planning. I’m worried that I’m running out of money & as time ticks by, my options diminish.

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.

Dumpling heaven! Cookery class in Kathmandu, Nepal

Dumpling, momo, gyoza – whatever the hell you want to call these little sacks of heaven. I am addicted to them!

Considering how many damn dumplings I ate in McLeod Ganj, I couldn’t very well not attend a dumpling making class! I signed up along with a lovely American girl from my dorm room. My Brazilian friend didn’t come as she has a cook at home & has no interest in cookery herself – The culture differences are so fascinating. Cooking is a big social part of my life. I enjoy being the host & provider for family & friends. The majority of my friends have a similar affection to cooking & we often take it in turns to host each other & sporadically bake cakes (ok, maybe that bit is mostly just me…I love baking).

I booked the course with Social Tours. They seem to be a very popular, well run & honest company offering a wide array of activities, classes & volunteering opportunities. If you go to Nepal you should definitely check them out. One of my friends from home frequently works with this company having started out as a volunteer with them. She speaks incredibly highly about them & you can see the bonds she has developed with the owners who she now considers dear friends. I also spoke to a young girl currently volunteering for them in a school. She was nearing the end of her program & visually upset to be leaving in one week. She was determined she would be back again & said her heart was in Nepal. I found this so encouraging after the horror stories of volunteer tourism & how, for example, orphanages are set up solely for the profit of this new tourism boom.

When my friend & I arrived for the course the atmosphere was very relaxed. We had a coffee & chilled in the common area chatting with the course coordinator. He was very friendly & spoke openly about his recent marriage, problems he encountered due to his caste & all the good work his company is doing. It is almost childlike the innocence & inquisitive manner we take speaking to each other with no prejudice, just wanting to learn more about each others cultures. Most people I speak to are surprised when I tell them I’m not married & I don’t have children. Some have even elaborated to tell me if it was someone in their country they would wonder what was wrong with them! I found this hilarious – although in hindsight this could be crying material gold next time I’m feeling emotional….

A girl took us to the shops to buy the ingredients for the dumplings. We got chicken (the frozen chickens were heaped upon each other in the open freezer & cut on the fly infested unclean chopping board), potatoes, spinach, herbs, cheese & a mars bar. We took our ingredients back to the centre & into the well organised clean kitchen area. We washed our hands & set to work creating our dumpling delights!

 

 

 

 


The two ladies taking the course were very friendly, talkative & open. We were able to find out about them & give them an insight into our lives. They said they rarely make dumplings because it can be time consuming & more expensive that traditional Dal Bhat. The majority of Nepalese eat dal bhat twice a day, everyday (according to all the locals I spoke to). Dal Bhat is a local favourite comprising of a curry, rice, a potato side, vegetables, chutney & bread. It is cheap & easy to make & very filling. On the mountains the trekking guides & porters eat it religiously as it keeps their strength up for the day.

Together we chopped the ingredients for the dumpling fillings while another lady prepared the dough to wrap the dumplings in. We filled these with our mixtures: spinach, potato & cheese, & chicken & coriander.

The ladies made the dumplings look so simple. They were masters of the folds & twists while my American friend struggled atrociously! It was hilarious as her dumplings looked dreadful & each one had to be redone so they wouldn’t split open during steaming. Have a guess which dumpling is hers in the picture below…

I managed mine ok, but I was only going half the pace of the rapid Nepalese! We made two different shapes of dumplings then the girls cut up the mars bar & put it in the dough wraps for dessert. We were so excited when the dumplings were ready!

The dumplings were steamed quickly & served to us in a lovely handmade leaf bowl. We were too busy chatting amongst each other to pay attention about the delicious peanut & spicy sauces the ladies made to accompany the savoury dumplings. They were amazing! The ladies set the table for the four of us then served up the dumplings. Oh my goodness they were incredible! We were so impressed with how flavoursome they were! We got another portion then had our sweet mars bar dumpling for after. It was divine! It sent us into that silence that only people experiencing true pleasure know!

With a full happy belly we paid for our afternoon cookery class (the price is what you think it’s worth), thanked everyone & walked contentedly back to our hostel rubbing our full tums.

If you get a chance I defiantly recommend coming here to do a cookery course & checking out the other activities Social Tours has available.*

 

*This is not a sponsored post

My second ever ski resort

I’m on the move again. I’m nannying in another ski resort in France this week. I’m super excited about going to a different ski resort! Despite doing 3 ski seasons I have only ever stayed in 1 resort. Sadly, I’m a bit bummed that I can’t snowboard when I’m there because I’ll be working every day. I hope the family are nice & the kids are super fun & well behaved.
As per usual, this was a last minute decision. I heard a family needed a nanny & said I would do it before I asked too many questions. I need to protect myself against the unknown more & stop care freely embracing it. I have a feeling my good fortune is going to run out soon & I may find myself needlessly in a difficult situation. Best not think like that & continue to keep my head up & remain positive & optimistic.
I will keep you updated on my progress. So far I have packed quickly, last minute & without too much difficulty. I forgot my toothbrush – no idea why my behaviour is that of a rookie traveller. Maybe I subconsciously wanted some retail therapy in the form of buying a new toothbrush? I’m probably due a new one anyway. Although maybe I’m too lax about travelling & packing. I have my key items that I would struggle without & the rest are luxury items which make my life much easier.
I have to get the train to Geneva airport then a 3 hour transfer to the resort. I hate travel days but at least I’m not flying!
Wish me luck! x

Lost.

I am lost.

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I don’t know where to go or what to do next. It looks like I’m staying put in the alps until the end of February but what next??? I have my New Zealand visa patiently waiting to be used… I have been offered 4 jobs but haven’t committed to any & have no idea which direction to proceed with.

Normally a job comes up & take it because either it’s better than what I’m currently doing or at an opportune time in my life. Funny how I can’t decide on which one of these. I’m struggling to see a path for myself. I see a busy intersection with heavy traffic in all directions. No road signs of where they are headed to.

Do I stay year round working in Switzerland? Will I get lonely? I know I want the luxury accommodation, pool & gym access that comes with the job. It will be challenging, but I know I can do it & it will be a great experience.
Do I nanny full time in Ireland for a family I love, where I can be close to my friends & family? But leave my thrill seeking sense of adventure behind?
Do I nanny in England for the summer & travel with a great family? Making money & building a strong friendship? Still having the freedom to make travel plans outside of the summer.
Do I nanny in england with more travel for another lovely family? Sure, I get to travel & experience a new life but not on my terms.

I am not financially motivated. I work for money however my quality of life & potential intrinsic rewards I value much greater.

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I want something new. I want more. I want some security & I want the opportunity to grow. I want to make new friends. I want to have some normalcy. I want something completely different to sink my teeth in. I want it all. I may end up with nothing. Missed opportunities & day dreams.

Today will be a serious making plans day. Oh, to have the 9-5 life where I don’t have to make big life changing decisions quarterly.

Who am I kidding. I’m not ready to go back to that just yet….. But secretly, occasionally I look forward to settling down & living with a peaceful security.

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Taking steps is easy, standing still is hard


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My friend has been inspired to travel from my tales of carefree expeditions. She is bombarding me with questions, feeding back her travel ideas & getting caught up in the world of opportunities out there. In the abyss of information & possibilities she cried for help & asked “How do you cope? Does this not scare you?”.

Does travel scare me?

No. Travel does not scare me. This is what I thrive on. I delight in every second of planning. I revere the organisation & pre trip productivity. I cherish the warm, affectionate farewells. I live for the moment I’m on the plane & the freedom that I have achieved everything I could to plan this trip (& if I haven’t there’s nothing I can do about it for the next few hours). I bask in the concept of adventure, the adrenaline rush & effort to pull everything off in time & the blissful, exhilaration of a new beginning – before I even leave the country!

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I immerse myself in that pre adventure feeling on the plane, even though I’m a terrible flyer. I love the unknown. I love the absolute liberation & freedom from the daily grind of mundane life. I adore my first steps in a new country & the privilege that not everyone has travelled these paths. I do not take my experiences for granted. I submerge myself in my new surroundings, take in the beauty & people watch with a mindful, serene curiosity.

And the people I meet. They are incredible. I am an undeniable people person. I’m not sure whether it is derived from my devout dedication to excellent customer service & earnest aim to please or my big, friendly, chatty Irish family. I adore meeting the amazing community of people whom travel, they are so amazing. Everyone has a genuine spark for adventure & they have all sacrificed & contemplated to make the choice to follow a nomadic, uncertain life. There are no guarantees that you will be happy when you take an unfamiliar path, you have to throw yourself into the undiscovered, survive & enjoy. Fellow travellers are among the most loving, compassionate, happy people I know – & boy am I sad when I leave them.

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Travel doesn’t scare me. Travel makes my heart beat & my cheeks glow. Travel fills my lungs & takes my breath away at the same time. Travel opens my eyes & makes me feel more alive than when I’m doing anything else. It saturates my soul with an overwhelming enthusiasm to discover & continue taking steps….

Taking steps is easy, standing still is hard – Regina Spektor

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How we do changing bags on the slopes

How we do changing bags on the slopes

It’s a wonder what distraction can do to your plans. When I left you I was giving myself a week to organise this nomadic life & sure enough, almost 3 weeks later – I have not. I have not booked flights. I have not made arrangements. I have not even given it a moments thought. It’s amazing what throwing yourself into work can do to your idle daydreaming!

I have been busy day & night nannying. Not exactly what I went to university for…… *frowns at degree*

I am enjoying it & paying my bills so that’s acceptable. Right???

*Cries into my chocolate chaud*

*Tears up Sports Rehabilitation degree & regrets years of wasted time, money, cpd, volunteering, networking & skill honing*

I don’t have any nanny qualifications but being Irish & growing up in a big family with around 50 cousins can do wonders to build up many, many  reluctant hours of undesired childcare experience. I have been very lucky because the children I have been minding have been very easy & manageable. Many parents have told me that my laid back attitude (which I wasn’t aware I possessed) makes the kids content & happy in my company . The parents can relax knowing their babies are being looked after by a competent former childcare slave. I guess this is the part where I thank my family for the enforced hours of childcare labour they encouraged! Basically my confidence & competence is attributed to my cousins’ survival under my youthful care.

If you wish to follow my progress I give updates on my twitter account when I have a moment….  @nulskii #livetweetbabysitting

All plans are on hold while I am busy working. I am as ever awaiting that elusive call to work in Formula 1 or another travel opportunity. Is ‘Waiting for an opportunity’ an actual plan? Can I get away with that? As long as I’m earning while I’m basking in phenomenal views & great company, I don’t feel too bad about staying put.