Just a day in Bali Paradise…

Just a day in Bali Paradise…

I checked out of the swanky Sanur hotel and I heard a voice shout my name. It was Made (pronounced Mah-day). He was sitting in the lobby and stubbed out his cigarette and smiled at me. Something about his smile was so comforting. He was the kind of character that within minutes of his company I felt like I had known him my whole life, very familiar with kind eyes. He dressed casually in a t-shirt and jeans but still had an air of being presentable. He appeared to be in his 40s but I later learned he is only in his early 30s – perhaps life had trodden him down a little. I had met him prior to today as he is the Nephew of an old Balinese friend and he offered reliable transport. Today was different; today Made’s eyes were full of concern. It turned out his Father had a stroke and he needed to get him to the hospital urgently. I asked him why he didn’t cancel picking me up as I would have been happy to get a taxi. He looked stunned and quickly responded, “Nooo!” I also asked him why his father could not get an ambulance. Made told me that ambulances are not sent for ‘trivial’ things like strokes! Being an ambulance clinician myself in England, this really stunned me. A stroke is serious and is treated as a time critical incident in England, yet here in this Balinese paradise, over-swarmed by western tourists to the point that you could be in Sydney, an ambulance was saved for something more serious!! This highlighted even more how the healthcare service in England is abused by so many!! But also, how in the developing world, the idea of turning down paid work to take your urgently sick parent to hospital is impossible. My heart broke a little for Made.

I arrived back to the cosy hotel in Kuta that I have stayed in many times before over the past 7 years. The local shop owners recognise me. One in particular, a young lady called Putu always recognised me, even when I return pasty and white some years later. “Lou!” She shouts as I walk past her shop. Putu was always smiling, come rain or shine. She invited me into the back of her shop where a small child was screaming on a small dirty mattress. I joined Putu on the mattress and she explained to me that Olivia (her daughter; one of four!) was upset because their family friend had left to return to Australia. Putu went on to tell me how blessed and happy she was. I looked around the small cramped room that she lived in with a small mattress to share with four small children and I felt a pang of guilt. Putu was grateful and happy to have her shop and a roof over their heads. I couldn’t help but retrace the thoughts I have had over the past 2 years and all the difficulties I have faced which one would consider ‘first world problems’ and yet here was Putu who had next to nothing but she was so happy and always smiling. It really put things into perspective for me.

Soon after, I left Putu’s shop feeling a little dazed and strolled through the humid heat around the buzzing lanes of Kuta. I found a tailor shop filled with hard working local men working on sewing machines. I am a keen sewist and asked if I could watch them for a while. Within no time they had me working on a machine, for fun of course. However, the thick humid heat swelled in the room with a small dusty fan which may as well have not been there. Whilst I struggled to concentrate and work in that heat with sweat pouring from my entire body, the employees mostly had their shirts off and a cigarette hanging loosely from their lips, casually working away, cutting fabric, ironing, overlocking. I admired them so much. Naturally being a western white woman, lots of tourists walked past and giggled at the sight of me working in this shop filled with Indonesian men, but I didn’t mind. I actually got a glimpse of an insight into what life is like working in poverty-stricken Asia and I noticed that they don’t take ‘days off’, they will work 80 hours a week without a complaint if it pays the bills. This again gave me perspective on my life. Yes, my job is challenging, but I DO have days off and down time to put my feet up. I doubt very many do in Indonesia and similar countries. I stayed in the shop for several hours and found a new sympathy for the local businesses “harassing” tourists for business. Seeing things from the other side softened my heart.

I had been reading a book about he Bali bombings (The Paradise Guesthouse, Ellen Sussman – highly recommended) and felt an overpowering need to visit the memorial site. The book had made the incident feel so real to me, all those who lost their lives. I was pulled to the location of the bombings and stood for a while, staring at the plaque listing the full names of all those who lost their lives on that tragic day. For some reason, I couldn’t walk away until I had read the full names of all 202 people who passed away and tried to imagine a little something about their lives, be it local Indonesians or Portuguese solo travellers.

The rain started beating down, harsher than a power shower and I slinked off into the shelter of a local pub for a beer. What a day it had been! A real eye opener. It’s days like these that keep my desire to travel burning forever.

I later found out that Made’s father was treated for his stroke and is on the road to recovery, much to my happiness and relief!

Cuddle Your Globe

Jan 2017

University not for you? Here’s why you should take a gap year instead..

University not for you? Here’s why you should take a gap year instead..

In light of the recent A Level results, there are likely thousands of teenagers currently in the UK at a loose end and perhaps you are one of them. You haven’t yet chosen a career path that warrants higher education and maybe you are scrambling through the competition to bag that summer job?

This is the not the time to be pulling your hair out, worrying about your future. This is the time to discover who you are and exactly what you want from this merry-go-round we call life. This is the absolute perfect timing to throw your essentials into a backpack and head of into the unknown as the glorious ‘backpacker’.

The world is a huge place and travel will teach you so much about life. Everyday will bring you opportunities to immerse yourself in a new culture and try food so exquisite you won’t miss your Sunday roast. It will bring people into your life who will mean so much to you and may never leave. Travel will teach you about change. It will teach you confidence and to love yourself and how to treat others with respect. Travel will teach you how to communicate with others, even when you do not speak the same language. It will teach you how to survive without your family and friends to lean on and most importantly, it will show you who you really are.

So when you return, your friends may be a year into their studies, but who will have the better education??

Is it scary? Yes. Is it hard? Yes. Is it possible? Absolutely.

There are companies on the market that specialise in tailoring your year out to explore the world and find you the best airfares to visit all the places you can fit on your list and can hold your hand right up until the day when you spread your wings and fly (well… board the plane!)

So what are you waiting for? The world is waiting for you.

*Warning!! Travel can be highly addictive and you may get the ‘travel bug’.*

info@cuddleyourglobe.com

Gapyear

 

Missing Travel..

It’s hard to write about travel, when it seems like years have passed since I had the fortune of stepping on an aircraft.

Sometimes ‘life’ gets in the way and prevents us the ability to whizz off on an adventure.

I still spend literally hours planning trips and pricing up my next wacky journey. But, the reality is at the moment, jetting off is not easy. Work commitments, health scares, moving house etc etc are all part of life’s little bumps.

I miss it. I start feeling disconnected from myself when I don’t get to go off exploring.

Is this normal? Am I addicted to travel?

Nocturnal Life in London

Nocturnal Life in London

There is so much I adore about being alive during the night time. I often wonder if my ancestors were hamsters because I, like so many others, simply prefer the world at night time. 

There is far less traffic in London, everything is lit up by the multicoloured glow of manpower, there are no flocks of people and tourists surrounding every building so you can hardly move or breathe. Everything is more open and clear. You can appreciate the majestic and charming beauty of a city like London during the midnight hour.

I decided to take a little tour of London in the dead of night to see how different it was. This city really blows my mind. Here are some of the photos I snapped on my journey.

 

The River Thames, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben in the distance

  
the Embankment, river Thames, London. These lamps were built in the 1860s… I wonder how they were wired once electricity was used?!
 

Awesome colours from London skyscrapers reflecting into the Thames

 

The most photographed building in London, Buckingham Palace and home to the Queen. The flag is up which means she was home and probably sleeping peacefully while 24/7 Police guard the front
    
 
The stunning Horse Guard’s Parade building with the London Eye peeping over in the background

 
5am delivery to a pub in central London
  
 
Downing Street! the home of our Prime Minister which is also guarded at all times. At least the Policemen gave me a smile.

As if these magnificent photos and lack of people and traffic aren’t reason enough to visit London in the middle of the night, the best bit is…. It’s free! There is no £25 tour fee like the open top bus tours, no congestion charges and generally easier to park your car in the middle of the night.
This is true of any big city in the World. Night time is there for a reason other than to sleep.

Highly, highly recommended.

Believe in You.

Believe in You.

Who cares about a blog? Why does it matter if anyone reads it? What is the point in any of this?

My words are poor and my spelling is shoddy. My content is unoriginal and pointless. There is no niche.

These are all of my insecurities about writing my blog. If you write a blog, why are you doing it? What motivates you? Money? Success? Fame?

What motivates me? Honestly? To be accepted by society. To have a complete stranger read my words and be able to relate to it in some way.

I love writing my blog. We ALL have insecurities.

You are your own worst critic. Nobody else is judging you!!!

If somebody points out a spelling mistake, it is not to make you feel worse, it’s to make you DO better next time.


Be creative.

Be daring.

Be brave.

Be fun.

Be confident in your abilities.

Don’t worry about mistakes. If you are human, you will make them.

Don’t be hard on yourself.


Believe in yourself. Enjoy this.

7 of the most ridiculous reasons to call in sick when you’re really abroad.

7 of the most ridiculous reasons to call in sick when you’re really abroad.


You know somebody who has pulled a long term sickie from work when they have booked a holiday, or failed to return to work when they were supposed to because they are STILL on holiday!!! Or maybe you have done this yourself?

I have decided to do some research, including speaking to office managers to find out some of the worst excuses given when a staff member has gone missing in action.

1. ‘My flight got delayed by 4 days and I had no battery on my phone to call you.’

2. ‘I contracted Malaria whilst in Ghana, Africa so I had to stay in hospital for 2 months. Here is my genuine sick certificate…’

3. ‘I’ve been in a witness protection programme.’

4. ‘My granny has died so I need some time off.’ (The same granny has died 3 times now).

5. ‘I’m addicted to crack cocaine and my dealer has been arrested so I need some time off to recover.’

6.’I’m… Erm…. In a Thai prison.’

7. ‘I missed my flight and can’t get on another one for 3 weeks!!’

If you’re planning on doing this, for the love of god come up with something more original.