New Year, same me

I don’t make New Years resolutions anymore, I never stick to them. However a long time ago, possibly even two years, I made the decision that I would try have as few regrets as possible and to travel more. I feel I am succeeding in keeping that promise to myself. It feels good to be honest. 

I know it doesn’t sound too hard, god love me having to travel right?!, but solo travel never occurred to me as an option so pushing myself towards that was a huge step. 

I have been lucky to travel to a few countries this year. First trip was a cruise from Abu Dhabi stopping in Oman and Dubai. There I got to ride a camel and visit a beautiful mosque. 

My next trip was to Amsterdam for a weekend break where I experienced gay pride, saw Anne Frank’s home and got my first tattoo. 

Peru was my big test. I planned this trip for ten months, took five of those months to get the courage to book it! I spent the summer hill walking to try and prepare for it but nothing could have. It pushed me to my limits with illness and altitude but I survived and managed to do everything I set out to. 

Berlin was my final stop for a weekend trip. Decorated very prettily for Christmas it’s another place ticked off my list. 

In the past I normally try to lose weight as my New Years resolution, however like everyone else it normally goes nowhere after a while! When I decided on Peru I also decided to try lose 14lbs so there would be less weight to carry on my trek. I didn’t diet I just made better decisions regarding takeaways (not having as many), staying away from bread as much as possible and eating speed foods when possible. I also hill walked throughout the summer which helped. The weight was extremely slow coming off but as I wasnt depriving myself it wasn’t too bad. I succeeded in having 9lbs off by the time I left and due to illness over there I had 14lbs gone by the time I came back. (However Christmas has messed that up!) Hopefully I will continue to make better decisions. 

I have succeeded in not having regrets this year, well at least ones that I have control over. Obviously there are times other people’s choices affect you and make you sad but I’ve learned to only worry about the things I can control. My fear of solo travel for instance. Though I didn’t go solo in the end I had intended to go and when I booked the flights I was extremely nervous, excited and scared at the same time! I knew though if I didn’t go that I would always wonder what if? When I came back from Peru I was depressed for a few days. I don’t use the words depressed lightly. A lot of things affected me, especially being very sick and I cried for days. I didn’t think I would be able to solo travel as I was so dependent when I was sick, however I picked myself up and I now have Thailand booked for April. I can’t let my fears rule my life.

I have spent the year spending time with friends and family. I feel that the only thing you take with you when your time is up is your memories. These can be from nights out, weekends away, concerts, meals at home or walks in the fresh air. 

This year has been sad for many people but for me it has been one of my happiest in a long time. That’s not to say everything has been wonderful but the good has definitely outweighed the bad. I have grown stronger, faced some fears, tried new things and lost some weight! 

If you are looking to make a resolution make it one that you will live by in years to come. Something you can achieve without too much effort and that will make you happier. 

Happy New Year everyone xxx 


Jungle trekking to Machu Picchu : Day 1 biking 🚴 

Ok so once the doctor told me I was ok for the trek I started looking forward to it again. I was still unable to eat and let the guide know that, however I don’t think he grasped how bad I was. In fairness I didn’t either. There was only four of us in our group, the other couple being from the Netherlands. The first day of the jungle trek involved mountain biking downhill and optional white water rafting. The rafting was a part of the reason for booking Peru. I was so looking forward to it. 

We travelled for over an hour to get to the beginning of the biking trail. We had a stopover where we made friends with an Irish guy and his French girlfriend. They booked through another company but our paths would cross a couple of times over the next few days.

We were given our protective clothing and helmets. I felt a bit like Darth Vader in my helmet. We started our descent I was a bit slow at first. My gears weren’t great and I got stuck behind someone for ten minutes. The views weee amazing though. Our group pulled in, to see what our hold up was, so I was able to get a bit further ahead. There were a few groups on the same journey so I was getting over taken and at times over taking people myself. At one point it was raining and I loved it. You could see the heat rising and yet it was raining. Going around the bends I took it easy as I wasn’t taking any chances of hitting on coming traffic. 

It was great taking in the scenery on the bike. We passed multiple farms and random shops at the sides of the road. Dogs are everywhere in Peru so whilst cycling I had to avoid a few in my path. 

I really enjoyed cycling however after not being able to eat for a few days my energy started to sag. The gears weren’t great on the bike also at times. The hills had evened out and we were now cycling on flat surfaces. I was wrecked by the time I arrived at where the groups had gathered. I sat down and rested for five minutes before we set on our way to our hostel. At this stage I started to feel sick and was worrying about whether I would be able to raft or not.

We went to a lovely restaurant where the meals looked lovely and I was told they tasted good too. I had the joys of just water. We were then shown to our hostel which gave us private double rooms. This was such a relief for me as the parasite has accompanied me on this trek and I would need a private wc. 

The white water rafting was optional and I decided to do it as I would have regretted it a lot if I hadn’t. We don’t have the rapids in Ireland to try this and I had opted for this trek instead of the classic Inca trail for that purpose. It also helped that the jungle is a lot cheaper than the classic and had more fun options. 

We were given our helmets, mine came with a go-pro attachment. Unfortunately I still have yet to go through a lot of my footage! We put our life jackets on and made our way to the river. There they divided us into English and Spanish speaking groups. I can’t remember the name of our leader but he seemed to be in charge of all four rafts. He was very strict but when you take water safety into account you can understand why. He went through everything a few times and then we set out. I have to say I tried really hard with paddling but for some reason when it came to back paddle I constantly got confused! I did put every ounce of energy I had into it though. 

I enjoyed it I have to say. The times when the water is quiet you get to take in your surroundings and listen to the birds above. Our leader relaxed a bit and asked us questions about where we were from. All four groups pulled in halfway through the trip and we were able to jump in the river if we like. I opted out as I still wasn’t 100% and I’m not a strong swimmer anyway. My friend jumped in however she wasn’t aware that you have to swim to the side and got a fright as the river carried her a distance. She eventually made it back into the raft but she was shook. It also turns out whilst in the river she was attacked by numerous mosquito’s so she had no luck on this adventure!

After a couple more rapids our journey came to an end. However one of the minibus had engine problems so the men had to stay behind with the women going back to our hostels. I made a friend on the way back, a girl from Donegal called Claire who was travelling home from Oz via South America. I enjoyed hearing some of her stories of places they had been. Later on I opted out of joining the groups for dinner as I still wasn’t right and stayed in my room. This was to be the case for the next few meals unfortunately. The only way I could get energy was by sleeping and with that I was asleep by 9pm that night. Hardly the experience I had thought I would have when booking this trip! The next day was our long trek day…