Why I don’t have a gym membership

Sometimes I wish that I was a man. Aside from the obvious reasons (faster, stronger, EARNS MORE MONEY) today I am mainly envious of the fact that they can go for a wee standing up.

Today I did 16-mile hike. It’s a tough one – lots of climbs beyond 11,000ft and the high-altitude-sun viciously saps all of the energy that you have. Now usually I don’t put up too much of a fuss about having a piddle / pee / wee wee in the great outdoors – when you gotta go, you gotta go. But my God, today the experience was hellish. Firstly, it was like some kind of fountain or excitable garden hose. I literally have no idea how I had drunk so much liquid? I must have been squatting for a good three minutes. SQUATTING. On already aching quads, this was not a fun time. I’ll put my hand up to this one, on this occasion, Liv the avid hiker, had a sense of humour failure.

SQUATTING.

And that, my friend, is why one does not have a gym membership.

What with all the hikes – today alone must equate to at least 600 lunges, goodness knows how many calf raises and I can only liken the aerobic workout to about 9 back-to-back Zumba classes.

Not only is hiking free, you can get some stunning photographs (beats getting a ‘flexing’ selfie in the gym) you’ll get a nice glow to your skin (once you scrub off the dirt), and you will probably see some cool wildlife (I saw a bear today). You can also make a day of it – stop off at pretty places for lunch, snacks etc.

If you’re in a hot place, remember to be prepared with plenty of drinking water, sunscreen and bug spray! If you’re over-heating, it’s a good idea to dip your hat / bandana in some cold water, then putting it back on your head will help to cool your body temperature down. Or take a moment to dip your wrists in some cold water – this will also quickly bring your core temperature down.

My favourite hiking snacks to take are: Granola bars (lots of them), bagel with peanut butter and jam, an apple, some sliced watermelon (even better than the apple because of the extra water content), dried fruit and nuts, and last but not least – electrolyte jelly beans for when you’re flagging (or something similar). If you can jog the last downhill section, that’s always a good idea as it helps to prevent the lactic acid build up, so you won’t be so sore the next day. Even better – if you have the chance, jump in an ice-cold lake!

Happy hiking kids.

 

Bali Belly, Bananas and Beautiful People

Warning: this first part of the post will be pretty grim. I could have skipped it out and continued to talk about the turquoise ocean and my daily yoga. But I want this blog to be a realistic picture of my time travelling. So if you don’t want to read about my unfortunate bowel movements, close the tab, go walk the dog, do some photocopying at work, or make a cup of tea.

23/04

I have the shits. Sounds awfully crude, I apologise. I have been seven times in the last hour and this is definitely not ok. I wanted to man it out and just get out whatever was upsetting my stomach, but by the eighth sprint to the bathroom, enough was enough. Dosed up on Imodium. Thankfully, that stopped the ordeal instantly, but I felt pretty fragile for the rest of the day. Life of a traveller, ey?

I couldn’t stomach anything to eat. But I asked Eddie (who works at the local bar) what drink he recommends for a bad stomach.

Eddie is either 19 or 24 (he told me both!) He has glowing chocolate skin, a chiseled face and a thick, Indonesian accent.

“Papaya. Papaya juice very good. Yes. Good for…stomach. Clean stomach. Makes more poo poo.”

“No!” I screeched. “No more poo poo!!!”

“No more poo poo?”

“No more poo poo.”

“Sorry. My English. I no understand.”

I paused momentarily, thinking of how I could maybe explain without sounding too gross. Then I realised I couldn’t. “I have too much poo poo. What drink makes less poo poo?”

He finally understands and recommends a certain tea which he makes for me. Later on, mummy Roo makes me some plain toast as I don’t think I can face another curry. What a babe.

25/04

Before the poops started yesterday I was with the volunteering gang, turning recycled rubbish into arts and crafts goods. These will be sold tomorrow and the money raised will go to the local school. Happy days! Wearing the volunteering t-shirts, the locals would come up to us, and give us a hug and shake our hands. “Thank you very big! Thank you very big” one little man said, grinning from ear to ear.

I have now recovered and am feeling fab. I’m not sure how good it is to eat about 10 bananas a day though. (They put banana in EVERYTHING!) I also think they put something special in the iced coffees because they’re so addictive. Eilidh has already had 3 and it’s not even midday.

***

Got my sweat on walking to my ocean-view yoga class. I arrived early but didn’t have my swim suit or towel. I was that hot, I just dived into the pool, fully clothed. I dried off pretty quick. The class was AMAZING and I felt good for the rest of the day. I’d never done Yin yoga before. Rather than holding each pose for about 5 seconds, you hold it for FIVE MINUTES. It has a similar effect to acupuncture, creating a lot of heat in the muscles you are working. Man, you can really feel the burn – but the more you relax into it, the deeper you can stretch and then it feels incredible.

Good times continued with a delicious Gado Gado for din dins, then a bonfire on the beach. Eddie & Hero are the cutest. We sung songs with a guitar and ukulele – both English songs and Indonesian. I can’t get over how much I love the people here. Both me and Eilidh must say “I’m not leaving” at least 100 times a day.

Hero has a small, athletic frame. A baseball cap is glued to his thick black hair and his crooked smile is infectious – he never stops laughing.

Laughter continues as me and Eilidh go mental with all the bugs in our room. Howling and screeching with laughter, next door must have wondered what was going on. Hero, did you put something in our drinks!?

26/04

The hilarity continued into the next morning. We went for a dip in the beautiful sea but had a bit of a mare because we were in a seaweed section. Splashing around like a couple of seals, we soon came back onto the sand to sunbathe. Two gorgeous girls about 10metres to our left looked ever so graceful in the water: Peacefully floating on their backs, or diving up and down like a dolphin.

“We don’t look like that” said Eilidh. “How do they look so good?”

We squinted and stared at them for quite a bit. Then at exactly the same time:
“Let’s try be them.”

Unfortunately, we failed. Within 10 seconds of entering the water, a wave took my bikini and my boobs were out and Eilidh was flopping around like a whale.

Love, Meditation & A Giant Turtle

20/04

Been travelling 3 months now. Over that time, I have received many messages.

“Looks so amazing.”
“Wish I was with you!”
“You have it too good. Wish I was there.”
“Your pictures look incredible.”
“Stop posting so many photos, you’re making me jealous.”
“I’m so jealous, Liv. Wish I could do that!”

You can.

You literally can. What’s stopping you? Money? — work like a dog for about a year, save every penny you can. Sell your car, sell your horse, your motorbike….

Your job? — ask for a sabbatical. Or quit. You’ll get a new one when you come back. Too easy.

Your family? — they’ll also still be there when you get back.

Point is, if you want it bad enough, you’ll just do it. I can’t stress how much I recommend taking the plunge and booking those flights. You won’t regret it. NOBODY looks back on life and says, “ah, I wish I’d done more over-time at work” Whereas, EVERYONE says, “ah I wish I’d been to (insert country here) or I wish I’d (insert cool ass activity here such as bungy jumping).

I met an inspirational lady at breakfast this morning. She’s from Boston. She’s almost 40 – she sold her house to travel the world and she’s having the time of her life. Her boyfriend is anxiously awaiting her return.

***

So long Gili T, hello Gili Air! After a short boat ride, I’ve arrived at another paradise. Time to get my sweat on and find the accommodation…

I’m meeting Eilidh here later. We’ve been smart and we’re staying at a Homestay together. It’s a double room so we’ll split the cost and save some money.

I got a bit lost finding the way and came through the back entrance. Looked dodgy! However, the front of the property looked more like the photos – very cute. Speaking of cute, my new Indonesian Mum – Roo, is the sweetest lady you’ll ever meet. She invited me in, offering me a chilled banana and dragon fruit smoothie straight away.

Eilidh arrives a couple of hours after me and fills me in on the gossip since our time apart. A French man is in love with her after only meeting her for a few hours. He almost missed his flight to The Philippines so that he could be with her. Can you imagine!?

21/04

By splitting the cost of our room, it’s even cheaper than the local hostel. For £6.50 a night we have a beautiful double room and own bathroom, with breakfast included. Mummy Roo served us banana pancakes, fruit salad and a smoothie to our little private terrace. This is great! It’s just a 20 sec stroll from our room to a paradise beach. No complaints here.

I have fallen in love with Gili Air. Head first, fast falling, no questions about it, in love. It is so quiet, so peaceful, and the people are so gentle and kind. (I also get a real buzz walking barefoot everywhere! Love the no road life).

***

When you travel, your plans change. Originally, I wanted to do my little yoga retreat in Ubud. However, Ubud is busier and more touristy than I had imagined. Gili Air, however, is the perfect chill out zone. I have decided to stay longer here. Truth be told, I never really want to leave.

This afternoon Eilidh and I went to a meditation workshop. It covered a lot of the science behind it which was fascinating. We were also guided through various techniques to see which ones worked best for us. I could write loads about it – but all the info would be very overwhelming to read (it was a long workshop so a lot was covered!) But I’ll share with you one thing: Belly breathing. If you’re trying to relax, place your hands on your stomach. Your stomach should move in and out, up and down. Force your breathing down to your belly and exaggerate that movement as you inhale and exhale. You see, this is how we should breathe. If you look at babies / infants: you’ll see their tummies dramatically move in and out as they breathe. This is how humans should naturally breathe. However, as we get older, we get more stressed and our breath comes higher and higher up into our chest. Try to take a few minutes each day, sit somewhere quiet and focus on nothing but belly breathing. You’ll come away, feeling calmer.

The class was incredible. I now feel I know the basics of meditation. I know how frustrating it is, but have been trained with how to deal with that frustration: congratulate yourself when you realise you’re thinking, label it as “thinking” and then return back to your chosen style of meditation – whether that be sound focus, object focus, a chosen repeated phrase etc.

22/04

Yoga on the beach and then snorkelling with a giant turtle. All before 8.30am! Did I mention that I love it here?

Jade can’t really swim, so we were all fearing for her life when the water got deep. Don’t worry, she’s still alive! But, bless her, her slow swimming meant she’d put in all that effort to get to the reef and didn’t even see the turtle. He’d swam away by the time she got there.

This afternoon we joined a volunteering project and helped to clean up the beach. It was great to meet so many local people and help out. Tomorrow we will have an arts and craft session and recycle some of the waste – then sell the artsy goods at a market, raising money for the local school.

Today was ace. But if I’m to be British and pessimistic: The worst thing that happened was that I burnt my tongue on my curry.

Peace out. Next post about me getting the shits to come soon. X