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.

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Pokhara, Nepal

When we arrived in Pokhara we downed our bags, lay down to revive our bodies & got ready to venture out for something hearty to eat.

People had told me it was a blissful area of peace & beauty. In reality I found it to be less so this than I had hoped for. The weather was hazy so I couldn’t see the majesticity of the lake & mountains & the streets were dirty & very much aimed at tourists. It didn’t help that I seen a man taking a shit in the street when I was enjoying a cup of tea.

Pokhara caters exceptionally well to its increasing tourist population. There is a wide selection of restaurants including western cuisine. Some are quaint & tradition while others are more modern or backpacker kitsch. Pokhara has a lot of shops selling souvenirs, kit for trekking as well as numerous agencies to book trips & activities. There’s a lot of accommodation available – Pokhara has it all!

It is beautiful, I don’t know why I’m being twisted

It was less busy than Kathmandu of course but not the place I had conjured up in my head based on how people described it to me..… I hope I talk it down so if you ever visit you’ll be impressed in comparison!

Attacked in Goa, India

This evening I went to a Silent disco with my friends at the beach. We had a great time & the majority of the crowd wanted to party afterwards so we walked together to another bar. I had 3 drinks throughout the evening & I don’t feel like drinking a lot so when they wanted to continue the party at another bar I did my classic ‘Irish goodbye’. This is when you just slip away so no one notices you & no one can persuade you to stay. When I do this I tell one person that I’m leaving just so the group doesn’t assume I’m missing.
It was around 4am which wasn’t ideal although my hostel was a 5 minute walk away so I felt it would be fine to walk alone. There was another couple in the distance & the odd bike so I felt like I wasn’t completely vulnerable.
Within seconds of getting to the road a scooter appeared by my side & a completely expressionless man was staring into my face & grabbing at my body. I screamed & beat his hands off me shouting at him. He took off & I was shocked asking myself what the fuck just happened. The couple passed me without so much as a glance of empathy or concern. I turned to go back to the bar but I was unsure of which path I had came from so I felt the road was my safest option & continued to my hostel.
I presumed I had scared the motorcyclist away but he had circled & came back for me. It was the exact same ordeal accept I hit him harder & shouted louder. I could see my friend walking towards me in the distance from my hostel. I was initially embarrassed to be in this situation then I called to my friend for help. He (frustratingly to me) continued at his same slow pace towards me. The guy on the scooter left again & I power walked to my friend shaking asking him if he seen what happened. He said yes – which made me wonder why he didn’t run to help me…. Although I can’t complain because I was lucky he even happened to be there. He said he was looking for the others & I pointed him towards where I came from. He teetered off & I thought ‘wow, he doesn’t give a shit’. Presuming my ordeal was over I continued back to the hostel.
The road seemed empty & I picked up speed to get back to my hostel quickly. A motorbike approached again from the distance. I froze in case it was my attacker. He turned & sped up behind me so I fled to the nearest building with lights on. It was a guesthouse & the door was locked. I ran back to the street & he made to get off his bike to come for me & I ran from him. He drove after me trying to corner me & force me by some empty buildings. I fell to the ground trying to run away & my flip flops snapped. He stopped his bike in front of me to catch me on foot. I knew I had a friend in the distance & I screamed & called to him knowing I was in danger. Why my ‘friend’ didn’t come when he heard the commotion & seen what was happening to me, I will never know. It was obvious I was in danger by this predator. I ran to my friend & the man on the scooter drove away. I begged my friend to walk me back to the hostel, defeated that I can’t look after myself. He agreed & I was so grateful, despite his overall lack of support throughout my scary what-could-have-been ordeal.
I am a kind, good person. I put faith in the good of people & never contemplated I would be in this situation – or worse. Right now I am ready to leave India. I will sleep on it & see how I feel tomorrow.
I have so much anger towards this man. He was obviously patrolling the area for a lone vulnerable female – who happened to be me on this occasion. I fear for his next prey who may not be as lucky as me & escape with a few scuffs. I am fucking infuriated.
I don’t even think it is relevant, however, I was not wearing anything provocative (a sports bra under my top which makes my breasts look smaller) & I had 3 drinks over the course of 6 hours. I was not drunk or slutty. Not that these minor details justify any sort of intolerable abuse & hence my hesitation to include them.
I should not trust my judgement on an area I feel safe in. I know horrible people exist all over. I hate this person for destroying my sunny carefree disposition. I dread to imagine what may have been around the corner for me.

India!!! I have arrived!!!

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I have arrived in India & I am so happy! I can’t believe I’m finally here! I am so excited to get out of the airport & take in the scenery, people, colours & (most importantly) the food!!!

It was always a foodie dream to come to India & I am eager & ready to taste some curries!

First to clear customs….

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I’m welcomed to India!!! *happy face*

Farewell Bali

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After a rapid 2 weeks it is time to move on from Bali. Bali was a slow starter for me. It took me almost a week before I eased into the Balinese way of life. It went from being somewhere that felt like just another sunny island to a place where I enjoyed the people, the pace of life & I could see myself wanting to return. It’s funny how your mood completely affects your opinion. I am so easily swayed I wonder are my opinions even legitimate or just based on fleeting emotional states & exchanges.
I met people on this trip who were spending 6 weeks to 2 months in Indonesia & even just Bali alone! I have a feeling Bali may be a place where the more I explore & delve the more I will fall in love with it. I know now to completely avoid the main tourist hubs which bring me unheralded stress.
As much as I grew to enjoy Bali, I am not to sad upon leaving it as my next stop is somewhere I have dreamt of going for over a decade! India! I am so excited that I am finally coming to see you!
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My ‘TO GO TO’ List

I presume we all have that list in our heads of countries we want to go to. Even people less interested in travel might have one or two places planted in their head of where they should visit. Others might be like me & have a list of 100 places they HAVE to visit crawling around their headspace. You might have it in a tidy order, you might even have plans to visit them soon. Me? I couldn’t put them in order of preference it I tried. Even if I did they would change hourly.

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I currently have 2 areas I am desperate to get to – India & All of Central America. My current list formation looks something like this:

To Go To List

  • India
  • Central America
  • Cuba (I know it’s in Central America, I want to emphasise that I really want to go)
  • New York (have already been to twice before but I would LOVE to live there)
  • Budapest
  • Turkey
  • China
  • Iceland
  • Sweden
  • South America
  • Ireland (I ❤ home)
  • The UK (To visit all my friends in Scotland, Wales & England)
  • Canada (My favourite F1 race of the calendar)
  • Africa
  • Bosnia & Herzgovina (I fell for this place & know I’ll be back)
  • Slovenia (Same as above)
  • Greenland
  • Russia
  • Vietnam
  • Cambodia
  • Iran
  • Bhutan
  • Myanmar
  • Laos

I’m just going to stop there.

When I talk to backpackers & the well travelled they spark an interest within me for a country I haven’t yet considered. They speak so passionately & openly about their experience that you can feel the love radiating from their enthusiastic honest faces. This is when my list increases & spirals out of control. Countries I (relievedly) had previously omitted from this ‘tight’ (lol) list of MUST VISIT countries were now leaping back in with 4 more countries accompanying them. Countries I held dear for so long in anticipation to visit were being bumped down the list with a helpless regret for the exciting new which had caught me off guard.

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Current mood:

Travel India then Central America then South America then Asia. Take as many breaks as I need to make money to enable my travels.

Save travel in Europe for if/when I end up back in Ireland or working in Europe.

Canada will hopefully be a working holiday visa.

New York, it would be a dream to work/study here for at least 3 months. I am out of ideas of how to make this work. Visa hell.

Travel jobs could be nannying, yacht work, teaching english (with this Irish accent *sigh*). If I’m feeling fancy I could dust off my degree, that old thing!

Farewell Nelson, maybe

imageI’ve enjoyed kicking back in Nelson. I’ve been staying at Paradiso Backpacker Hostel* which is awesome. It’s clean, the staff are friendly & they have a free unlimited wifi, a pool, hot tub, sauna, volleyball, table tennis, free breakfast, free soup & bakery leftovers! It’s a 10/15 minute walk out of town but it’s no big deal. I was paying $30 for a 4 bed female dorm, however there seemed to be plenty of other options including camping & camper vans/cars.
It has been interesting adjusting back to hostel life after renting my own room with the same housemates for over 2 months & having my own apartment for 6 months prior to that. I miss the ambiance I forge in my own space. I’m also adversely reacting to the potential friends in the hostel by thinking of them as strangers & really missing my lovely friends from Wellington! This conflict of emotions is encouraging me to take a day or two to adapt to my new lifestyle choice. I have poignantly questioned why I have the incessant compulsion to build a life & routine for myself just to walk away from it, move & start all over again. Why?
After much deliberation I have decided to travel with Stray** bus for my trip. I’m going to make life easy for myself for a change – they take you to all the main places of interest, make stop offs on the way & guarantee you accommodation. This will save me a lot of time, thought & energy making plans & booking & finding hostels, as well as saving me the stress of not being able to find anywhere as it is peak season & the hostels seem to be at full capacity. I have opted for the South Island pass (The Ron Pass) which includes the deep south. This pass is valid for 1 year, I can use it multiple times & it cost me $699 on offer (they seem to have offers on all the time). Another great thing about travelling on Stray is that I will meet fun like minded folks with reciprocative attitudes to myself, keen to travel New Zealand & have an epic time! This is probably the main reason I favoured it over traveling alone via campervan.
I purchased my pass 30 minutes ago & I am on the waitlist to travel to Abel Tasman today so maybe I’ll be on the bus in half an hour or maybe I’ll go tomorrow. Either way I am packed up & going to sit outside my hostel & wait to find out!
Here’s to adventure, new friendships & the freedom to be so laid back!
*Paradiso Backpacker Hostel Nelson
**Stray Travel

Employed!

After handing out 3 CVs in Wellington I have landed a job! I am now a fully fledged member of staff in an Irish bar. Yes, I am ticking clichés & making my CV even more of a mockery.

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I am a natural yet also struggling. The till is a logistical nightmare with things listed in random places & under the wrong name. Seriously, this shouldn’t be difficult. My pint pouring skills are warming up after a few 60% head pints. Talking is the easy bit. I feel most comfortable welcoming people & getting them a drink. Ask any of my friends, I am a good hostess!

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My last hospo job was working on a super yacht so you can imagine the colossal difference in expectation, service & training.

I am happy to have an income again & It’s so nice to have fun colleagues! I am however craving the 9am-5pm job 5 days a week. Evenings & weekends I NEED to reclaim you!!!!

Auckland

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Hello New Zealand! I am in Auckland. It has the feeling of just another city about it…. That is to be expected when you are in another city.
I am so happy to finally be here, in New Zealand, after having it in the back of my mind & as one of the big ones on my list for 15 years! I am sure it won’t disappoint.
I have booked my hostel in town for 2 nights so I can get my bearings & decide what to do next. I have zero plans. I wanted to research but other things got in the way, like work & quality time with my family & enjoying Ireland before I left again.
Sometimes plans can feel suffocating. I relish the freedom to decide on the spot where to go next or to mull over my next stop.
New Zealand I am all yours! Inspire me & I will go wherever you lead me.

Sydney

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Flying into Sydney on the cusp of sunrise & the skyline looks incredible. I have a feeling I would have a good time in this city. It’s a shame I’m just here for a connecting flight.
I’m exhausted from the traveling. I hate how my face feels so congested & puffy & my feet feel heavy with fluid. I hate how my skin is as dry as the Sahara & my eyes are crinkled with lack of sleep.
Despite all these things I still do it & will continue to for the feeling of a new country, for the air of somewhere new & the atmosphere of the unknown.
You will not break me jet lag. You won’t even deter me slightly. I will endure you. Wanderlust has me now.