The Time I almost Died, White Water Rafting

‘Do one thing every day that scares you!!!’ They said.

I’ve spent my entire life being pretty tame. I once even cried the whole way down an abseiling wall. I’d always liked my feet safely on dry land… Until I travelled. Travel pushes you to your limits. So, whilst in Bali I decided to push the boat out and try white water rafting.

Our guide, a slim, young Indonesian man gave us a quick briefing and explained that when he shouts ‘boom’ we need to duck to avoid fallen trees etc. I recall him saying that if we fall in the water it was ‘bye-bye’, and then he laughed. This didn’t exactly fill me with confidence.

He helped me into the boat with my friend and two Australian teenage boys. They were half my age and lived on the opposite side of the world. In every-day life, we would have absolutely nothing in common. Yet in this hour, smashing through the speeding waters in the jungle, they would become my family.

The start of the rafting was gentle, our boat softly pondering through the waters. Giant, powerful cliffs surrounded us and there would be the occasional family sitting on the banks, farming or making clothes. I could hear rattle snakes and cheerful bird songs. Then things started to speed up…

We each had an oar to help row, but naturally were using it to splash as much water as possible at the passing tourists. The world passed by quickly, my eyes were struggling to keep focus on danger, whilst trying to spot potential water-fight warfare. The rocky, green cliffs were whizzing past me in a hot blur. I believe this is where the ‘fight or flight’ syndrome kicked in… Adrenaline started pulsating around my body. My clothes were soaking wet, my finger nail bent right back and I bumped my helmet-covered head on a rock-wall. All the while, I felt no pain.

A collection of boats had gathered, stuck at the top of a small waterfall in the direction we were headed. Our pathway was blocked except for a large rock protruding from the centre of the waters. We ricocheted from several boats and at high speed slid up the rock and became wedged. Before I even knew what was happening, I felt myself in mid-air, violently flung from my boat. I was face up, watching the sky distance itself from me, aware that beneath my body was a sheer drop into harsh, rocky waters. I wasn’t afraid or worried, I guess it all happened too quickly for anything resembling emotion to settle in me.

In that second, the guide (who was half my size) grabbed onto the shoulder of my life-vest and a large chunk of my hair and pulled me effortlessly back into the boat. He actually saved my life. I couldn’t stop laughing and hugging him.

On my next visit to Bali, what was the first thing I did? Booked myself onto a white water rafting session.

Short Haul Winter Sun for Brits in April

Short Haul Winter Sun for Brits in April

Where is hot in April? 

This is a question I asked myself whilst looking for a hot break somewhere next month.

April is right on the cusp of winter and summer for many destinations in Europe so it’s hard to know where to choose to go if you’re in search of sunshine. I have written this blog to give some inspiration for short haul winter sun from the UK. Short haul, I classify as under 5 hours flight time.

1.

The Canary Islands are mountainous, pretty, volcanic islands off the East coast of Africa and are pretty much in line with the Sahara Desert. They are touristy and often have beaches packed with British tourists. The four main islands are Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Temperatures in April range from 18-20 degrees but often can get hotter.

  
2.

Egypt offers guaranteed sunshine year round. Resorts such as Sharm El Sheikh, Luxor or Hurghada are nestled far away enough from political unrest and are in my opinion, tourist friendly and safe. Temperatures in April average at 25 degrees.

  
3.

Morocco offers many cultural attractions such as the city of Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains, along with beautiful beach resorts. Temperatures in April average between 18-24 degrees.

  
4. 

Malta and Gozo are pretty much as far south you can get in the Meditteranean. They get very warm from May onwards but in April you can look at averages of around 20 degrees.

  
5. 

Cyprus in Europe is verging into the Middle East heat zone and it’s truly a superb country. I’d recommend hiring a car and spend your days exploring. They drive on the left also! Temperatures in April average t the slightly cooler 16 degrees but often reach 21 degrees.

  
6.

Jordan. OK, this is a smidge over a 5 hour flight, but this is my favourite short haul destination. With jam packed fun in the desert, the ancient city of Petra and the Dead Sea on offer, it’s worth the extra bit of flying. Temperatures in April average 28 degrees! Don’t go in July because you will burst into flames.

  
7.

Tunisia. Many people are put off travelling there are the terrorist attacks last year. One could argue that perhaps it is now one of the safest places to travel to. Temperatures in April are averaging around 16 degrees.

   

Feeling Alive in The Dead Sea

Feeling Alive in The Dead Sea

Everybody has heard of the Dead Sea with its infamous mineral products, but how many of you have actually been there?

For those of you who haven’t, these are the fabulous reason why it needs to go to the top of your travel bucket list.

  
It’s the lowest point on Earth at 420 metres below sea level. When you are there it is eerily peaceful and feels like you are in a different atmosphere, a different world.

The Dead Sea has many healing properties. It’s unique minerals and solar build up is known to help heal breathing problems along with chronic skin and joint problems.

A lot of people dislike the regular sea because of the creatures who make it clear we are unwelcome. Well, the good news here is that due to the high salt amount in this stunningly giant ionic compound, nothing can survive so you can swim freely without the worry of being stung nor bitten.

The best bit – you can float! The rumours are true. I can vouch for it as a pretty heavy and tall female, it is impossible to actually stand in the sea. The force of the salt content physically pushes you to the surface so you don’t need a lilo to kick back and read a book.

It is disappearing. The Dead Sea levels are dropping by approximately 1 metre a year. In 200 years it is very likely that the Dead Sea will be just dead. As if you needed another reason to get out there ASAP.

Tips on visiting-

Make sure you do not have any scratches or open wounds when you enter the Dead Sea or you will be sorry you did. Also, leave at least 24 hours after shaving before attempting to enter. Take some jelly shoes (yes the ones you wore as a child!) as the sea bed is very sharp-rocky and slippery. In some hotels it is mandatory to wear them to get in the water.

I actually feel extremely fortunate to have been able to experience the Dead Sea. I would return in a heartbeat and urge you to visit before it’s too late.

  

Feeling Alive in The Dead Sea

Feeling Alive in The Dead Sea

Everybody has heard of the Dead Sea with its infamous mineral products, but how many of you have actually been there?

For those of you who haven’t, these are the fabulous reason why it needs to go to the top of your travel bucket list.

  
It’s the lowest point on Earth at 420 metres below sea level. When you are there it is eerily peaceful and feels like you are in a different atmosphere, a different world.

The Dead Sea has many healing properties. It’s unique minerals and solar build up is known to help heal breathing problems along with chronic skin and joint problems.

A lot of people dislike the regular sea because of the creatures who make it clear we are unwelcome. Well, the good news here is that due to the high salt amount in this stunningly giant ionic compound, nothing can survive so you can swim freely without the worry of being stung nor bitten.

The best bit – you can float! The rumours are true. I can vouch for it as a pretty heavy and tall female, it is impossible to actually stand in the sea. The force of the salt content physically pushes you to the surface so you don’t need a lilo to kick back and read a book.

It is disappearing. The Dead Sea levels are dropping by approximately 1 metre a year. In 200 years it is very likely that the Dead Sea will be just dead. As if you needed another reason to get out there ASAP.

Tips on visiting-

Make sure you do not have any scratches or open wounds when you enter the Dead Sea or you will be sorry you did. Also, leave at least 24 hours after shaving before attempting to enter. Take some jelly shoes (yes the ones you wore as a child!) as the sea bed is very sharp-rocky and slippery. In some hotels it is mandatory to wear them to get in the water.

I actually feel extremely fortunate to have been able to experience the Dead Sea. I would return in a heartbeat and urge you to visit before it’s too late.