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

Sick, Headaches and Paradise

01/04 (Hervey Bay)

So I’ve met the love of my life and, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m going to extend my Australian visa and I’m not coming home.

April fools.

You should have seen my Mum’s face when I told her that on Skype.

No, the reality of my life is I did my laundry today and it was the most exciting thing you can imagine. I had got down to my last pair of underwear and everything smelt a bit. My heart was literally racing with excitement when I pulled my clean clothes out. (Only those that have backpacked for at least 2 months will understand the sheer glee of this activity).

Time for a 12 hour bus journey.

***

Arrived in Airle Beach at 9.30am and it was quite a walk to the hostel, the sun was already pounding. Very little sleep. Headache.

Not feeling too sociable but was ecstatic to see Jack and Emily (friends from New Zealand). We’re already pals so it was so nice to not make so much effort. We all went to the Sunday market on the beach which was ever so cute. I wanted to buy everything. Must save myself for Asia!

The hostel has two pools and two great bars which is nice. So although checking in was a BLOODY NIGHTMARE, it’s won me over a little now. I had a dip in the pool to cool off and then had a nap in my lovely air conditioned room. Nobody was there to pester me. Luxury.

I’m feeling more sociable now. I fancied Japanese for dinner but unfortunately nobody wanted to join me. Don’t let it get you down Liv! I had a ginormous ramen and some dumplings and watched the world go by. This was my first evening meal out alone. I’ve done tonnes of coffees / breakfasts / lunches alone, but never dinner. An evening meal in a restaurant alone is more of a thing, you know? I hoped I looked like a bloody cool ass individual. Or maybe it will have looked like I had been stood up. Probably the latter.

03/04

Hello Magnetic Island. After a bus and a ferry ride, by the late afternoon, I was in paradise. Now THIS is the best hostel I’ve been at so far. It feels like a beach resort – my room is about 10metres from the ocean. There are tonnes of Palm trees, hammocks, a swimming pool. It also has a great bar with awesome parties every evening. Beer pong, boozy bingo etc etc.

***

Last night ended with lying on the beach, admiring the blindingly bright, silver, star-speckled sky. I saw a shooting star. I don’t want to come home.

I’ve met two bundles of joy with infectious energy (Robin and Felix). Along with my friend Daisy (from Fraser Island), the four of us rented a 4X4 to tour around the Island…

Best. Day. Ever. We went snorkelling in Florence Bay, I almost killed us with my terrible driving and we saw wild rock wallabies and fed them! They are SO cute, but their pouches are DISGUSTING (looks like a saggy vagina hanging out of their tummy).

We finished the day driving up to West Point to watch the sunset. I’m so happy.

***

Big night last night but early 6am start. Pretty sure I woke up up smiling because I’m that content. Are you jealous of my life right now? Ha, you soon won’t be – I had quite an ordeal this morning…

Went to the loo.

Stepped in someone’s sick. A thick layer of puke that has crusted over a little bit.

I was barefoot.