A Profound Experience in the Best Place on Earth

A Profound Experience in the Best Place on Earth

As much as I adore travel involving aeroplanes and culture shocks, sometimes the most profound of new experiences can be very close to home. Please be warned, the content of this blog may be upsetting to some.

I live in England and work in central London (on the ambulances so we move around a lot).

On a quiet night shift I was near the west end in London and paid a visit to Great Ormond Street which houses, in my opinion, the greatest hospital in the world. Great Ormond Street Hospital, or GOSH, is a hospital dedicated to sick children, be it appointments, treating sick children or palliative care, they offer a wide service and are proud of the fact they are one of the best paediatric facilities in the entire world.

The hospital opened its doors back in 1852 with just ten beds and was the first of its kind in the UK. The building has witness surgical breakthroughs and much celebrity support over the decades. The staff are so incredible and dedicated in caring for our little ones. They must face heartbreak on a regular basis but power through to provide support to loved ones and save those that they can.

When I paid a visit recently, I specifically wanted to see the chapel as a friend had told me how wonderful it was. When I walked into the chapel, all of my hairs picked up on my newly formed goosebumps in reaction to how indescribably moving this place was. It was immaculately taken care of, clean, thoughtful. The most moving part was that the shelves surrounding the edges of the chapel were filled with soft toys. I can only assume that each toy was placed by a heartbroken family to represent the lost life of a little angel.

 

Great Ormond Street Hospital, Chapel.

 

Soft toys in GOSH chapel

There was also a book where families had written down their prayers. I didn’t read them for two reasons, one – they were meant for God’s eyes, two – I knew the messages would make me fall apart.

Opposite to this there was a ‘thank you’ tree where families had written messages of thanks and hung them up.

 

GOSH plaque and thank you tree in the background

It was one of the most emotional and moving experiences of my entire life. If you are ever in this hospital, please visit this chapel.

To make a one off or regular donation to this hospital which helps to fund equipment, accommodation for parents, refurbishment to increase patient capacity and support research into saving children’s lives, please click the following link;

http://www.gosh.org/Donate

Thank you for reading,

Cuddle Your Globe

Whale watchers boat has crashed

Whale watchers boat has crashed

A boat of whale watchers on the West coast of Canada has sunk. The Foreign Secretary has confirmed that the five people on board who have drowned were British nationals. A sixth person, thought to be Australian, is still missing.

The Leviathan II vessel went down on Sunday around 9 miles off the coastal town of Tofino. There were no warnings given and the cause has not yet been confirmed.

In this day and age, it is both horrific and heartbreaking that events like this still occur.

My thoughts are with all of the loved ones who have passed away. Rest in peace forever with the whales.

  

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.

Is travelling bad for your health?

Is travelling bad for your health?

I have found recently that I am becoming increasingly obsessed with travel. Just hours after returning from my dream holiday (travelling through Vietnam), I was sat at my laptop planning my next crazy adventure. Once that was booked I was thinking about how many more trips I can fit in over the coming months and where to go.

If you do this as well, you will know what this means. We are addicted to travel. Any addition is thought to be bad. Too much of anything can be toxic.

Can travel ever really fulfil a need in your life because there is always somewhere new to travel to?

  

The Dark Side of the Sun.

The Dark Side of the Sun.

The slightly darker side to adventurous travel.

I have mentioned in previous posts that I had a six year career in the travel industry. Needless to say I adored this job. So you may be wondering why I gave this job up. For many years during my job as a travel broker, I had a deep desire to become a Paramedic. The more I looked into it, the more I realised I wanted to help people, be out and about and have a job that throws me a new challenge every day. Travel did this to an extent, but it was different. I wasn’t sure if I had what it takes to be a Paramedic. I knew nothing of medicine or healthcare and had not even witnessed an emergency before.

I was in a travel job that I simply adored. I worked hard and played hard. I was on an aeroplane every 5 weeks either on an educational or prize trip. I was then offered a job to train as a Paramedic with London Ambulance service, the biggest in the world!  The decision I had to make seemed like the hardest of my life, at the time. A week later I set off on a work trip to Miami and the Bahamas as I had won first place in a sales competition. (I miss those days!)


I was sharing a room with a female colleague who I confided in about my dilemma. I didn’t want to leave the job I loved so much, travel is my whole world. But the Paramedic training was something I felt I needed to do.


The following day, I decided to head out on a snorkelling trip with my colleague / friend, in the beautiful, clear shallows of the Bahamas. There was a Latin American group on our snorkelling boat too which consisted of young families, teenage children and what I assumed to be the ‘grandmother’. One by one, we all grabbed our snorkelling gear and slipped into the lush water, the only thing you could see above water was the boat and some 15 metres away was a rock wall. I dunked my head and couldn’t see many fish and figured the boat and hoards of people were scaring them away so I decided to swim further away from the boat. The fish here were beyond beautiful. So many colours and lights – amazing! It was at this moment that the light and colours became dark. Was it really what I could see? A still, motionless body, floating under the water. It looked like a young male in shorts. All I could see was the back of the body and it was floating near the rocks, fairly far away from the boat. I have never swam as fast as I did swimming towards the body. I shouted to the people on the boat for help. What they replied made me feel sick. ‘Nana!’ ‘Nana!’ The screams were repeating. At that moment I realised the body was the elderly grandmother that had been on the boat. I reached her and pulled her out of the water. I was clinging on to the rocks with my feet just to keep some momentum to hold her above water. Her lips were blue, her face pale. At this point, one of the young males from the group had swam over to the rocks. Together, we jointly held her head above water and performed the heimlich manoeuvre to get the water out of her lungs. I didn’t know what I was doing to be honest but just used common sense to try to save her. At this point the guides on our boat had called a speedboat over with a lifeboard which they threw into the water. I helped to lift her onto it and later saw she was being administered Oxygen, but still unresponsive. The boat returned to the dock so she could be taken to hospital.

By the time we returned, she was standing up by herself and actually looked straight at me. In that one moment, my life had changed. I had blood all by feet and realised I had actually lost one of my toenails whilst clambering about on the rocks to save her… But I didn’t care one bit.


The day I returned from this trip, I handed in my notice to my employer and accepted the job with the ambulance service. They say things happen for a reason and I think this was one of those inexplainable events. I have never looked back in my current job as an EMT, but I make sure I still travel frequently and writing this blog helps keep my passion alive.

The Vietnam War Memorial

The Vietnam War Memorial

Some of the content of this blog is upsetting / disturbing. If you do not wish to read on, please don’t. I have to be honest, I knew very little about the Vietnam war before my trip there last month. It was truly a horrific war – blood and hatred spread for over ten years, to stop communism. I still struggle to understand it, I don’t think I ever will.

The museum stands proudly in the centre of Ho Chi Minh City housing war remnants and artifacts. Outside are jets and tankers, they were so old but I couldn’t help but notice the tyre tread on the wheels was better than my own car as if they had hardly been used – weird observation.

war1

war2

Inside houses all of the photographs of the Vietnam War. They are brutally honest – they hide nothing. You would see photographs of children running down the street with GIs chasing them with their guns out. The most painful bit to see was Agent Orange. This was a defoliant chemical used in the war. It was spread over rivers and crops and caused a debilitating mutated gene so that future children and generations would be born heavily mutated and often live a considerably shorter life.. In my opinion, that is worse that cold blooded murder. You can still see the effects of it today out there.

I don’t think the infantries are to blame, they were following orders. Needless to say, it was a very painful experience just being in the museum for two hours, I cannot imagine trying to live through it for over ten years.

war3

Combatting a fear of flying!

It may be unusual to write about fear of flying on a happy travel blog, but this is a very real problem! I have come across many individuals who struggle to fly or simply will not get on a plane because of this fear.

This is also a fear of mine. A few years ago I became slightly obsessed with the TV show – ‘Air Crash Investigation’ after a few bad experiences on flights then my fear of flying began and I reached the point where I did not want to fly. I clung to my seat during the flight and I couldn’t stand up as I was convinced the aircraft would lose balance if I walked around on it. Every time the plane touched down at its destination it felt like a crazy miracle and I had been saved!! This for me seemed rediculous as I will go to theme parks, water rafting and boats / trains do not make me uncomfortable in the least. Being that travel is my favourite thing in life, this was a problem I had to solve.

I read books and purchased hypnosis DVDs. The two main things I took from this was that the noises you hear during take off and landing are perfectly normal, as are strange movements of the flaps off the wing etc. There is no such thing as an ‘air pocket’, if the plane drops suddenly, this happens!! Just relax. For me, understanding HOW the aircraft actually lifts off the ground and into the sky was the best way to calm my fear. I have studied the basics of aerodynamics during my lifetime, none of which could offer me any real comfort. For me, the best ‘scientific’ explaination I could find to understand how flying works was this simple paragraph;

Imagine you are driving in a car, either as the driver or passenger, and you are travelling at a very high speed. Pop your arm out of the window and make no effort to hold the tone in your arm, just relax it. You will find that the air will actually hold your arm up whilst you are in motion.’

Go ahead, try it, it works! You obviously have to be travelling at a certain speed for it to work. This is how pilots determine how fast an aircraft needs to be travelling down a runway before it can lift off, just down to the size and weight of the plane.

This next bit may sounds rediculous but what I did next to help my fear was accept that a plane crash may happen to me. The fear of it happening was causing me far too much anxiety when weighed up the realistic and highly unlikely possibility of this event ever happening to me. Once I accepted a crash was possible, it no longer seemed like a terrifying omen. Also, working in the Ambulance service and being in the face of death on a regular basis stops it being so scary.

Something to bear in mind if and when anxiety kicks in is that your fear of flying is irrational. In fact, any fear of anything is irrational. In this instance it is literally the fight AND flight syndrome.

The final and by far, the best thing I did in combatting my fear of flying was to book a flight to Australia and South East Asia, by myself. Facing the fear really did help me in this sense. Travelling alone makes you more independent and your inner child gets tucked away.

Give these a try for yourself if you, too struggle with this fear! 🙂