It all started with a trek to Everest Base Camp when I was two months short of my sixtieth birthday. What the ….? I’d never trekked (or hiked) before, I’d never been to that altitude before but for some inexplicable reason it seemed like a good thing to do at the time. I was looking to get out of my comfort zone – well that trek certainly did the trick and you can read all about it here. After that adventure and then a second visit to Nepal to trek a more difficult route to Base Camp two years later (and get up close and personal with an earthquake), it seems that in my sixties, hiking has become my ‘thing.’ Since those treks I’ve toned things down a bit, gone a little tamer with the Three Capes Track in Tasmania and the Cape to Cape track and Bibbulmun Track in Western Australia plus some day walks around Perth. In a few weeks time I’m also heading over to the UK to walk the Hadrian’s Wall Path and do some day walks in the Orkney Islands and the Lake District. So how am I finding all this activity as I hit the middle of my sixties? How is hiking in your sixties any different to hiking in your twenties or thirties or forties? The thing is I’ve nothing to compare it with because I never hiked in my earlier years. I never minded walking as we travelled, I must have covered hundreds of kilometres through the cities, towns and villages of Europe as we made our way around with two... read more
Hello there. Wherever you are in the world and whenever you’re reading this I hope you’ve got a brilliant day planned and that you’re out to have some fun, because isn’t that what life’s about really? Speaking of which, in the last 12 months I’ve made my life what I want it to be. I’m living the life I choose and I’ve found ways of losing the stress that once plagued me (creating health issues). I’ve found a way to explore and have adventures and make plans for travel and adventuring around the world. Now I don’t know whether you’re interested in knowing what little ‘ol me is doing or where I’m going or the adventures I’m having but I’m thinking that if you’re reading some of my blog posts then maybe there’s just a smidgeon of interest there. I have plans in the works for the coming months to have some amazing adventures, to do lots of hikes and to explore a part of the world that I’ve never been to before. I’m going to be hiking the length of Hadrian’s Wall in England. If the weather cooperates I’ll be attempting to summit Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the UK. I’m visiting the Orkney Islands for the first time, checking out the wild and windy coastlines and doing some day walks. I’ll be heading to the Lake District after that to do more day walks and summit Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England. Then to top it off I’ll be spending 10 days in Paris on the way home to recuperate from all that physical activity... read more
I don’t think it’s any secret that I love to travel. My favourite topic of conversation is travel in all its different forms and I’d be quite happy to just drop everything at any time and take off for distant lands. And I think at this stage I’d be quite happy and confident enough to travel just about anywhere in the world by myself. It hasn’t always been this way. There were many times in my earlier days when I couldn’t or wouldn’t have dreamt of travelling by myself or visiting places that I felt were too culturally different or that were likely to pose problems regarding language or food. I guess I felt inadequate if I couldn’t communicate and the thought of eating anything other than the traditional western meat and three veg that I’d been brought up on had me adhering to an Anglo-Saxon travel itinerary. I look back now and realise the opportunities that probably passed me by because I had so many self-imposed barriers surrounding me that I couldn’t bring myself to fight my way through. ‘I can’t’ was always a well used phrase in my vocabulary. Not any more. I’ve grown, I’ve knocked down those barriers, I’ve expanded my world – literally – and visited places by myself that I’d never have considered visiting before, even if I was travelling with someone else. And I’ve felt comfortable doing it. I guess my travel growth phase started back in 2004 when, newly divorced after 30 years of marriage, I travelled by myself for the very first time at the age of fifty. I flew to... read more
As the time gets closer to me heading off on my trip to walk the length of Hadrian’s Wall and do some wild walking in the windswept Orkney Islands, I can’t help but sometimes ask myself why I travel as much as I do. Why on earth do I feel compelled to wander far from my home turf and take on what, to many others, is unnecessary strenuous treks when I could be lounging around a pool, sipping cocktails in a luxury resort. Basically, that’s just not my type of holiday. Don’t get me wrong there will be some relaxing and there will be cocktails and wine and good food, but the majority of the time I’ll be hiking and self-catering and coping with whatever the place throws at me. As I train I’m spending a lot of time walking, I’m generally by myself with only my playlist pumping through my headphones, so I get to do a lot of thinking. I can become quite introspective at times and get all psychoanalytical with myself if I’m not careful. Through all the thinking and the analysing and the talking to myself though, I don’t think I’ve come up with a definitive answer yet as to why I enjoy doing something a little bit out of the ordinary. There’s lots of reasons – scenery, culture, lifestyle, but I think that most times that I travel, it’s the locals who have made the biggest impression on me. During my treks in to Everest Base Camp the Nepalese people really made the experience so much better, they are such a genuinely warm and welcoming nation. Travelling... read more
As you know, because I’ve told you on several occasions, I do a lot of walking. And when I say walking I don’t mean a stroll around the park, I’m talking the hiking and trekking type of stuff, sometimes in rather challenging situations. What you also know, if you’ve read my previous blog post, is that I’m making it my mission this year to take you all along with me on my hiking trips. I’ve launched my Walk With Me project which you can read all about here and which will see me dragging you along with me as I train for and then undertake my hikes in 2018. As part of that project I’ve got something special planned for the people of Perth (sorry non-Perth peeps but I’m always open to a bit of enticement from other parts of the globe), I’m going to be running a series of Walk With Me evenings where I’ll be letting you in on some of my adventures – my treks in Nepal, the UK and Australia. A Date For Your Diary The first of these evenings will be coming up on Wednesday 21st March and will be: Walk With Me: An Evening in the Himalayas. Join me for this special evening as I walk you through the stunning scenery of my two treks to Everest Base Camp. Hear about the highs, the lows, the struggles, the challenge and the unexpected and traumatic event that was to change my life. If you’ve ever considered heading up into the Himalayas, if you’ve been before and want to relive those memories or if you... read more
I wrote a version of this blog post a few years ago but I’ve had a few people quizzing me lately on what to take on an Everest Base Camp trek so I thought I’d update it a bit. We’re all very different when we travel and we all have different things that we consider necessities, but I do think that when you’re doing something as extreme as trekking 5,500 kms up in the Himalayas, basically as high as you can go without becoming a mountaineer, and particularly when you’re heading there for the first time, it’s time to consider taking note of what those who’ve done it have to say on the subject. I certainly don’t claim to be any kind of expert but, having been up there twice I do know the things that I couldn’t have done without and things that, although not necessities, made life a little easier. 1. The right boots. Logical really. This is the most important purchase you’ll make when you’re planning this big trip, your life will be miserable if you have problems with your feet way up there in the mountains of Nepal. So, a few tips on buying boots: – Don’t rush into buying the first pair you try on, try different brands and different sizes – they all fit differently. – Try them on with the socks that you’ll be wearing. – Spend plenty of time walking around the shops in them and if they have a ramp in the shop (as most good gear shops do) use it and make sure there’s no slipping. – Check the... read more
A recent conversation on Facebook with a fellow travel addict raised the issue of how we all see things so very differently, how different destinations, different landscapes, different activities appeal to different people and how what one traveller may consider a boring landscape may see another revelling in its beauty. I mean, and don’t shoot me here, but I consider the landscape of the Australian outback rather boring and the last thing I would want to do is sit looking at its never endingness out of a train window for hours on end – put me on a plane and get me there if I’m crossing the continent. I do get the beauty of its colours and the uniqueness of the vast areas of the uninhabited canvas that Australia possesses, but at the same time I need something to spark my attention, something to wonder at, to consider its history or its power or its past. Others, I know, absolutely love that same vista that I can take or leave. I love buildings in a landscape, in a cityscape or a village setting. I love old buildings and falling down buildings, I love the ruins of the past, the physical history of a place and the buried history of communities that once existed and no longer do. I love delving into what was and roaming the remains that still sit as evidence of the past. Maybe you could consider me a historical traveller or a travelling historian but my travel itineraries certainly aren’t limited to areas of historical significance. If I’m doing landscape travel give me coastal scenery, calm... read more
I’m sure by now that you’ve all heard me talking about my trip in May when I’m going to be walking along the length of Hadrian’s Wall. You can do it in 5 or 6 days if you like but we’re taking 10 days, we want to explore a bit, spend time in the ruined forts along the way and breath in the ambience. I’m really excited about this walk through history that I’m taking so I thought I’d share a few details with you about Hadrian’s Wall and see if I can drum up a little enthusiasm from you guys to maybe want to take it on sometime. Even if you don’t want to walk the whole length it’s one of those walks where you can dip in and out of it and just do a day walk here and there when you feel inclined. So if you’re a little bit hazy on your Roman history, Hadrian’s Wall – where is it, what is it and why is it? Where is it? Hadrian’s Wall runs from modern day Wallsend on the east coast of England to Bowness-on-Solway on the west coast. Although it’s often thought, incorrectly, that it separates England from Scotland it actually veers from the border quite significantly and is completely in England. In the west the wall is less than a kilometre from the border but in parts the eastern section is over 100km away. What is it? It’s a stone wall, mainly. When it was constructed it would have measured around 3 metres wide and up to 6 metres high and was made of... read more
It’s the start of a brand new year and there’s big things on the horizon for me. To start with I’m in full planning mode for my trip in May and it’s going to be a BIG trip with lots of highlights. There’s a weekend retreat to kick it off, a 10 day walk along Hadrian’s Wall, a summit of Ben Nevis (contrary Scottish weather permitting), five days of day walks in the wild and windswept Orkney Islands, ten days in England with more walks being scheduled and a week in Paris (possibly to recover from all the walking with wine and cheese and pastries and all things French) and they’re only the main bits, I’m sure there’ll be lots of exciting things happening in between these. Walk With Me And the most exciting thing as far as I’m concerned is that I’m taking you all along with me. No, I’m not paying to fly you all over there and actually, literally, physically walk with me but I’m taking you all along through the wonders of social media and my Walk With Me project. You’ll get to see it all, from my training here in Perth to the famous wall that the Roman Emperor Hadrian had built (to keep out those damned barbarians) and the wilds of the Orkney Islands. If you’re lucky I might even take you to Paris with me to wander the streets and over indulge in the culinary delights of that city. So how will this work? Come take a virtual walk with me. Blog posts Before I go I’ll be keeping you updated with... read more
Five years ago I wrote myself a list. I was approaching sixty and I wrote a sort of Bucket List of places I wanted to visit before I turned seventy *said very, very quietly so no one heard me.* I called it my sixties list. A few days ago I came across that list. Now to start with I don’t like the term Bucket List, it tends to imply that the said bucket is in imminent danger of being kicked, and it certainly isn’t, there’s going to be a lot going on before any kicking gets done. I prefer to call it my ‘Travel List’ or my ‘To Do List’ or my ‘Must Go There List’ or yes, my ‘Sixties List.’ Now, anyone with a reasonable grasp of maths will have figured out that, if five years ago I was approaching sixty then now I guess I’m approaching sixty-five (there’s still 8 months to go so don’t rush me). No matter how much I ignore the fact, birthdays do happen but as you know my philosophy is to take them with a pinch of salt, just because there’s a specific year written on that bit of paper we call a birth certificate doesn’t mean that we have to be constrained by the fact that everything stems from there. We’re here to live and make the most of life so let’s do that. Well anyway, five years ago my list looked like this: Everest 60th anniversary trek. Morocco Cinque Terre House Swap – Canada Paris (again) Peru – Hike the Inca Trail and explore the ruins of Macchu Pichu Coast... read more
I’m Pam & I have to admit that I'm addicted to travel.
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