Monday, 23 November 2015

My date with a Taipan - The world's most venmous land snake...

Disclaimer: I have forgotten how to spell.

So after years of hard work I finally fulfilled my goal and made it Down Under (NB. Australians do not refer to the UK as 'Up Above' - I have asked). So I have been meaning to blog in the just over three weeks I have been here but I lacked inspiration, that is until my date with a Taipan - the most venomous land snake in the world. Yes that is right, sky diving, bunjee jumping, scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef and many more adventerous activties failed to inspire me.

So before I venture into the details of my date I feel it nesseccery to inform you all of my current location - this of course is to make you all well jel. So on this standard Tuesday in November, I am currently sun bathing (in Australia they call it baking) by the pool in my hostel on Magnetic Island, QLD. It is super hot, so hot in fact, that I am dripping sweat. This is odd because in November you are meant to be wet from rain not sweat. Never have I ever felt more sexy. So scene set, let's get back to my date.

One who has travelled the East Coast knows one gets a Premier or Greyhound hop on - hop off bus pass. Not me though, I got a Loka hop on - hop off bus pass. They don't take you directly from A to B. They take you A to B via C. On Sunday I made my first Loka journey, Cairns to Magnetic Island via a night at an indgenious camp in Tully Gorge National Park.

The camp was fun, we went for a walk through the rainforst, swam in a lovely creek (though not as good as the creek in the middle of the Daintree Rainforst were I sat alone for hours reading), learnt about indgenious food and plants, ate dinner wrapped in wild ginger leaves and went to sleep. It all seemed pretty calm and collected.

But... at 1am I awoke really needing a wee. So off I head to the loo (a long drop) with nothing but my phone for light. I make it half way to the loo when I see something slither, and before I know it I am face to face with a Taipan - the world's most venomous land snake. Normally I don't mind a good snake. But one bite from a Taipan  and you are dead in 20 minutes. We were 40 minutes away from the nearest hospital. So of course I do what is only natural and leg it back to the tent. I could have given Usain Bolt a run for his money. Having got back to the tent and tried going back to sleep, but couldn't because I really needed a wee. So I had to face my fears (not that I am scared of snakes) and I ran like the wind to the loo and back. Luckily, no more snakes were seen.

However, all the fun and games did not end there. 2 hours later, around 3am everyone has awoken by an unaccepted noise and the tents collapsing. As it turned out, it had rained so much the tents had collapsed under the weight of rain water. Only took about half an hour  or so to put them up again and make sure the rain was kept out. It is all fun and games in the rainforst.

Our train was also delayed for an hour due to Bush fire, but it was all good because we could watch Pitch Perfect 2 on the train.

So, I think I will leave it there for now and go have a nice cold glass of over priced coke. All I can say is, those planning on doing the East Coast, travel with Loka.

Until Next Time

Aussie Snake Girl

Monday, 7 July 2014


Hey Blogosphere!

Thought it is time I better blog about my camp adventures! For over a month now I have been living in the Woods on the East Coast of the USA. Back to basics. Literally.

We sleep in Glen Shelters with no electricity and screens instead of windows and walls - I love getting ready for bed by torch light - I'm sorry I think I mean 'flashlight'. A Glen Shelter where we recently found a mouse nests nestled up in the corner. It could be worse, a snake or a bat. I love a good snake. Nargini.

Toilets? What are they? I use a Biffy - Bathroom in the Forest For You. I guess it is like a toilet, in the middle of the woods, that doesn't flush. Instead all your business just sits in a massive pit at the bottom. Imagine that pit and the 30 + heat. Just imagine the lovely smell we are sometimes so kindly subjecting too... Although the Biffy sounds rank, I haven't really ever had an issue you with it. It saves water from the lack of flushing. Eco Warrior.

As you can imagine, living in such rustic conditions I have collected some lovely anecdotes. One of which I will share with you as I am super nice...

 Last night I went to the biffy for a biff (the verb) around 11.15pm last night - when the rest of camp was fast asleep. As I opened the bathroom door, I saw something chilling in the door frame. Just chilling without a care in the world.  Upon closer look I realized it was a huge snake, chilling like there was no tomorrow. I like to think of myself as somewhat of a snake herder, so I got out my snake herding stick and was ready to herd it back to the trees. Then do you know what happened? The snake, little Gretel, just vanished. I have a theory that it was secretly Voldermort.

Apart from adopting to the camp environment I have also adopted the camp look. Something I like to call 'Camp Vogue.' The only time you will see me without a bandana on is in the shower, I am constantly covered in paint and tie dye (#arts and crafts specialist) and I permanently wear a Sharpie around my neck - I love Sharpies so much. Sexy I know. I am so hawt that I have started my own label: Eeyore's House of Fashion - Bringing Vogue to Camp. Tie dye, Zumba Outfits, Shoes and I am currently working on a Buzz Lightyear like sleeve. Tie dye t-shirts are high in demand, I just don't have the time. As I am typing this my fingers are covered in dye having made at least 5 t-shirts for staff members this evening.

I hope this blog acts as I nice little documentation of camp life. I have so much more to say and not enough time as I have eaten too many sour patch kids that I feel a bit sick and I need to let some one else have an internet session.

Until next time,

xoxo Camper Girl

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

'We are inviting you to have lunch with us everyday for the rest of the week and on Wednesdays we wear pink' - British Girl in a American Middle School

On the 2nd of June I began my next adventure - 3.5 months in the US of A working in a summer camp and travelling around after.  For the past two days I have ben staying with a host family in Virginia with two other councillors, one from New Zealand and one from the UK.  It has been a great experience learning about the American life and actually living it instead of watching it on the telly.  But what I can say has been the biggest shock / oddest experience was the trip we just took to the public school (state school not fancy elite school like Harrow or Eton) for lunch.

The girls, Hannah and Jess (not the same girls as the ones in my Europe posts)and I rode bikes to the local middle school (grades 6-8 aka years 7-9) - which was a traumatic experience in itself, what with having to cross massive 8 lane intersections and havin to look the wrong way when crossing the road - it's a surprise how I managed to fall of my bike only once!

So we arrived at the school and had to buzz and show our photo IDs to a camera before we were even allowed into the school - very different from a British school!  We then met one of our host sisters who helped us sign in, which was way more than having to write our name in a book, labels were printed with our nanes and reason of visit for us to wear. We then headed to the cafeteria (canteen). As soon as we walked in our ears were met by the sound of lots of very loud pre-teens. And it really was like in the films. There really was a plastics and jock table and and a table with kids trading Pokemon cards - everyone had their table and sat on it. But what shocked me the most was that there really was a police man,  with a gun,  just casually chilling there.  It was a really intimidating experience and made me feel uncomfortable. I find it really sad that this is the environment these kids have to learn and find themselves in.  Where is the trust?

At the school we were like celebrities - every one was staring at us (the crazy foreigners that talk funny). The school kids had a whale of time asking us to say words and then laughing at our hilarious accents!  It was very weird!

One of the things I did like about the school was that around the cafeteria there were motivational quotes,  and those who know me know how much I love a motivational quote!

So tonight we head to our electricity-less and flushing toilet-less camp and what is the forecast?   A thunderstorm! Could not ask for a better first day at camp. I will be sad to leave our host home as I have had so much fun here (last night we had a nerf gun war and played hide and seek in the dark with nerf guns - so much fun) and the family are super awesome and I really appreciate this experience!

So I better get ready for camp now - we have bought some awesome camp arrival outfits consisting of USA t-shirts and bandanas!

USA Ruch x

NB: Due to limited internet access blogging will not be a regular occurrence.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

365 Days in the ‘Real World…’

NB: Whilst studying for my undergraduate degree I enjoyed it and I liked learning in an institutionalised environment. However as my three years of Uni neared its end, I started to find myself being ‘over’ institutionalised education and itching to get out into the real world and learn by doing, experiencing and living, instead of sitting in a lecture hall and being talked at. I was entering a new stage of my life and with that came new desires and needs to fulfil my life.

Today is a glorious day! Because today marks a year since I finished my last undergraduate exam! 365.242 fabulous stress free days! 8765.81 hours in the real world! 525949 minutes of learning by living! Isn’t life just ‘bloody’ (in the words of Ron Weasley) fantastic!

So what have I learnt in those 3.156e+7 seconds outside the education system (which, dominated my life from the age of 4!). Here is a list of the top three things I have learnt about myself/life since sitting that very last exam on ‘Territory Knowledge and Power!’

1) I am only 22, I am way too young to fall into the 9-5 trap. Too much to see, too little time. This is something I already knew but working for nearly year has reinforced it greatly, especially now that I have found the light at the end of the tunnel (3.5 months in the USA!) 

2) I don’t like inefficiency – inefficiency is a waste of time and energy. Sometimes I think I should be the Minster of Efficiency for the UK. Though this dislike mainly focuses around the work environment.

3) I should also be the Minister of Initiative - and run initiative training for businesses…or maybe it should become an A-Level subject. I mean initiative will get you further in life than trigonometry. In one of my jobs, I won’t say which one, they changed all the printers. One day I overheard someone say ‘I can’t print because no one has shown me how to use the printer.’ In my head I was like ‘Dude, this isn’t school; you are not going to get spoon fed. If you don’t know, find out!’ So, yeah I am going to become the Minister for Efficiency and Initiative.

My attempt at taking an 'arty' picture last night
I feel from my year working I have learnt skills that will be more usefully in life than the likes of Pythagoras and algebra – though I do believe my education has acted as a solid foundation for this.

Last night to celebrate our anniversary of freedom from the educational system and as a leaving shindig for me, I met some Uni friends in the Lovely London Town. In my head I had a fab night planned - dinner, drinks, dancing, and then the night bus home. Unfortunately, we only managed to achieve 2/4 – dinner and drinks. It made me realise that I am not as young as I once was. Here are some key facts from last night for you:

1)      I wore heels (smallish ones) for the first time in forever. AND MY FEET HURT SO BAD.

2)      We could not bring ourselves to leave the restaurant and walk to Covent Garden to go dancing (painfully feet) instead we sat there for 5 and half hours eating, drinking and being merry.

3)      We couldn't even hold out for the last train home and got the penultimate one instead.

Despite all this, and the realisation that we are getting old and leaving our drunken Uni days behind us, I had such a good night and it was sooo nice to see my lovely friends before I jet off!

The Hangover Veggie Breaky: Veggie Sausages,
Veggie Bacon, Pancakes and Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice! 
Lesson learnt from this: As you get older, you don’t get more boring, you just redefine what you call a fine night out! 

Monday, 5 May 2014

Escaping the 9-5 trap and regaining control of MY LIFE…

In 8 days it will be a year since I started my blog. In 12 days it will be a year since I finished my very last exam for my undergrad degree. So what have I done since then?

I graduated obviously, and managed to score myself a hot shot city job with a healthy salary. I moved out of my family home and into a nice little flat in Canary Warf and holiday in the Maldives twice a year. I am living the dream of every new graduate and success is my friend.

Ha, I kid. I have graduated, and since I have had exactly 6 jobs - ranging from making spreadsheets about people who were mis-sold PPI, Grotto Host at the number one department store in the world, and PA for Social Services.  I still live with my parents – I would never live in Canary Warf, I hate the grid system! And the closest I have had to a holiday is a weekend trip Edinburgh or that time I met my Uni friends in Birmingham.

Am I successful? I would say I am on the path to success – I am saving to travel. In my eyes personal success will come when I achieve my life ambition – to travel to Fiji and stand with a foot on either side of the International Date Line. I believe success is not measured by your career, your lavish house or the amount of money in your bank – but by your happiness.

I would say the biggest fault in my life since graduating is having fallen into, what I like to call, the ‘9-5 trap.’ I work 9-5 Monday to Friday and in my spare time, I commute, eat and sleep and sometimes I go and see McBusted perform at the O2 – BEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE. This is the sole reason I have not blogging in so long. Nothing interesting happens when you work in insurance, nothing inspires you – all you learn about life is that insurance is probably the most boring career path to choose. But hey, that is just my opinion. If it is your life calling by all means go for it.

However, inspiration has found me again, in the form of a Summer Camp in an East Coast State of the USA. That is right, in four short weeks I will be crossing the pond and will spend three and a half months State-Side working at a Summer Camp (just like in Parent Trap!) and travelling around the States. Finally a chance to live, learn and have fun!

For all the Geographers out there – I am hoping to visit the Four Corners, the only point in America where four states meet, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico! I can be in four different states at once, think of all the border fun that can be had! Professor Matt Hannah if you are reading this, I hope you are proud.

So this blog is making a comeback (NB: I have redesigned it to reflect my life at this moment in time) and over the next couple of months will be used to share my American adventures, what I have learnt about life and of course anything funny that happens.

I am going to finish this post by sharing a quote I recently came across and have fallen in love with as it so accurately defines my feelings towards life…

‘Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.’ – John Lennon. 

R x

Thursday, 10 October 2013

The Bus of Dreams...

306. The bus of dreams.
Always on time, forever reliable.
I joke.
Never on time. Late again.
It’s just another manic Monday.

School kids chatter, commuters over hear;
“The rave is going to be mental!”
“Who’s coming to your Halloween party?”
All the while the wheels on the bus go round and round.

Whats App. Commuters’ banter.
Snap Chat morning selfie, just for fun.
Daily chin wag.
Attempts to stay sane.

I am a commuter, and this is my tale
Aboard the 306

Forever and always, the bus of dreams.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

An ode to Han and Amy...

Before I start this post I will just like to inform you that I am currently sun bathing on Italy.

So a mere four days ago our number decreased to just two as Han and Amy went home.  Leaving Jess and I to venture on for another 10 days as we make our way down to Croatia. You see, Jess and I like to think we are experienced travellers and we can do this with our eyes closed... Oh boy where we wrong.  The minute we departed ways and became a twosome everything went wrong.  So here is my ode to Han and Amy for making the first 10 days a pretty smooth operation. Here is what has gone wrong without them:

1) We had to change route as we wanted to avoid protesting in Sofia so we went West instead of East from Budapest.
2) We manged to book the worst hostel ever in Bratislava.  It did not have a sign so we spent an hour looking for it. There was no one there to check us in or out. And our room hadn't been cleaned.
3) When trying to get to the old town we got the wrong bus and ended up further out of town so had to go into the Hilton Hotel to ask for directions and ended up spending lots on a taxi.
4) We got to Vienna with the intention on leaving that evening on a night train. The night train was booked. We were stranded.  Though we managed to find a nice hostel to stay in and then had to get a train and a bus the next day.
5) The hostel in Venice didn't respond to our email regarding transfer. So they made us wait an hour before they picked us up. In a thunder storm. Best moment of my life.

So as you can see a lot of things have not gone to plan. And we find the best way to deal with it is to laugh and grin and bear it - it is all rather funny. From this experience we have learnt that planning is over rated.  Live in the moment and go with the flow.

Love EuroRuch xxx

P.S. I forgot to add that I sat in chewing gum at Bratislava station and got it all over shorts. Sexy.