MONGOLIAN memories

When I first told people I was planning on travelling to Mongolia I was met with a lot of shock and disbelief. I was brave to travel there alone, apparently it was an unusual location for me to choose and not many people had wanted to travel there. For me, it was a given, it had always been on my list of places I wanted to see and after travelling there I have an idea why.

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SOLO in Sichuan

It’s been a few months now since I visited China and I’ve been a bit slow in getting my thoughts down. I will start by saying that China isn’t on my “visit again” list. At least not any time soon. It’s not that I hated my experience or anything to that level, but it wasn’t as enjoyable as I had hoped. I didn’t thoroughly enjoy my trip, but I am glad I went. The experience was meaningful, some of the people were wonderful, and the mountains were mystical.

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Nepal had always been on my list, but not really near the top. Not for any particular reason mind you, it just wasn’t where I thought I would travel next. When the opportunity arose, I was hesitant at first to commit, possibly because the first iteration of the trip was to mountain bike through Nepal and though potentially enjoyable, not something I could realistically train for whilst living in Sydney (I found this out during Timor). Eventually I was able to organise my thoughts and say yes to what turned out to be a truly touching and enlightening experience. However, it didn’t start out that way.

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TOURING Timor-Leste

I hadn’t ever really considered travelling to Timor-Leste when day dreaming about the holidays I would take, but when a friend said, “Hey, want to do a 5 day mountain bike race with me in East Timor?” I said “Heck yes”. I have to admit I was ignorant of almost everything to do with Timor-Leste, it simply hadn’t registered in my mind. I knew vague things, like oil disputes and that there was a violent history, the Balibo 5, but I hadn’t ever taken the time to learn about this country. Heck, I didn’t even realise it was a country separate from Indonesia and my ignorance in this aspect really humiliated me. I was determined to change this during my visit.

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Two weeks in a new country never feels like enough time, but it seems to give you a taste and leaves you wanting more. That’s how I feel after my 2 weeks in Japan.

I had never been to Japan before, and all whilst “Japlanning” I started to feel overwhelmed. How on earth was I going to see all the things I wanted to see? Where do I even start with Japans incredibly long and detailed history? Which areas should I prioritise and where can I do some great but accessible hiking? And how much Japanese should I learn before going? Where should I stay? Too many questions.

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A last minute decision found me 3 weeks out from an ultra marathon. I hadn’t planned to do this event, nor had I trained for it. I was just out of a surgery when a friend contacted me to ask if I wanted her entry for the 50K. I was intrigued, excited, tempted, but wanted to get the go ahead from my surgeon before I did it. I knew that mentally I was capable, and that I have great endurance, so my main concern was simply can I make the cut off times. After my surgeon gave me the all clear (with the proviso that I keep checking in with myself throughout the event), I was keen to start.

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SAMOAN daydreams

Six days is all I had to immerse myself as completely as possible in Samoan lifestyle and culture, so this last week, that’s exactly what I did. Being a whole week without any snippet of the outside world was indeed delightful in it’s own right, but accompanying that was an eye opening look into a different way of life, island life.

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HONG KONG in two days

Last month I went to Sri Lanka for a friends wedding. Flying to and from Sri Lanka there was a day lay over in Hong Kong each way – arriving early in the morning and leaving late at night. There was no way I wanted to spend around 15 hours sitting in an airport, and I was in another country and I wanted to explore! I did some googling, asked some friends, and made a short list of things I wanted to see. I tried to be conservative, as I wasn’t sure how long things would take, so on the way over, Victoria Peak, on the way back, Tian Tan Buddha, with whatever food and extra sight seeing I could fit in!

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