My Top 5 Places I Want To Visit

Travel

Hello everyone! I really miss writing travel posts, as I find it so much harder to be inventive with them when I’ve not been to any new places recently or have any trips coming up. But I thought I would give it a go, keep it quite general and just talk about the top places I want to visit. In no particular order, let’s get stuck in!

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Japan

I have always been fascinated by Japan. The cuisine, the culture, the language, the sports and martial arts…everything. It’s always been such a unique place to me and if I ever get the opportunity to go it would be amazing.  I’d love to go during the spring in order to see all of the pink cherry blossoms, they are all over Japan at spring time even in its major cities like Tokyo. This surprised me as I imagined Tokyo as massive skyscrapers, sophisticated technology and basically the business hub of Japan covered in concrete. Apparently they also have beautiful nature parks with plenty of picnic spaces alongside the river, where the cherry blossoms have been carefully located and planted for an incredible look. I’ve always loved Japanese cuisine of sushi, it would be a dream of mine to have a sushi master class in Japan!!

LA

Los Angeles has always been one of those places that I always imagine is actually like it is in the movies. There is supposed to be such an amazing relaxing vibe, I’d love to go hiking up to the Hollywood sign, Visit Santa Monica beach, shop in Beverly Hills – ah it all just sounds amazing! I’d love to also, while on the west coast, get out to Las Vegas and then up to San Fransisco aswell, you can’t go to America and not do a little road trip. I would also love to visit the original Gold Gym on Venice Beach. LA has a great attitude and look on fitness so being able to workout and go to the original Golds Gym would just be so cool. One of my grandpa’s favourite films was ‘Pumping Iron’ and he always loved Arnie and what he stood for so being able to go there and experience it would be really special. We’ve actually got 2 books on our bookcase : the first is ‘The Golds Gym Training Encyclopaedia’ published in 1984, and the other ‘Pumping Iron – The Art and Sport of Bodybuilding’, both belonged to my grandpa. (See pictures below).

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Australia

Although there is a lot about Australia that scares me (big spiders for one), all of the stunning landscapes, the weather and most of all the wildlife is definitely still enough for it to be in my top 5, I have some relatives over there, so it would be a dream to be able to go and see them and do a road trip around, seeing all the best hot spots! I would love to swim with dolphins over there, that has been on my bucket list for a while so it would be such a cool thing to do and what a place to do it! I would also make the most of being so far on that side and try to visit New Zealand aswell, my grandma has been so many times and she says it’s incredible.

Iceland

I never would have thought Iceland would be on my list, but after I saw that film ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty‘ it completely had my heart, that scene when he is skateboarding through the outstanding scenery and hills, and he’s completely embraced and empowered by life – I just have to go!! My cousin and her boyfriend went there September last year and they just fulfilled everything that I thought it was. They had some amazing photos and did such cool things. I’ve heard it is pretty expensive when you get there but I reckon flights wouldn’t be too bad from the UK so that would help.

New York

I know it’s somewhere else in America but ever since I’ve been watching ‘Friends‘ which is well over 10 years, I’ve wanted to go to New York. Feel the real big city vibes from the Big Apple. I’d love to go at winter time and hopefully see it when it snows, it would be so magical to walk through Central Park in the snow! Also since I’ve seen ‘Gossip Girl’, to go to all of the hotspots that are in show would be so awesome (and just pretend I’m Blair Waldorf ). New York has so many massive sights, I’d love to go to Madison Square Garden, Empire State, Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Grand Central Terminal, Brooklyn Bridge – all the mega touristy things!

(Yes I realise a lot of my images and thoughts on these places have come from TV shows…no shame)

Thank you so much for reading, I’d love to know what places are on your bucket list and if you’ve already got set plans to go! I can’t wait to get exploring some more!!

Until next time, you know you love me xoxo *whispers* gossip girl

 

 

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My time in the Caribbean : Montserrat

Travel

Wow it feels so weird to be writing a blogpost again, I’ve had a pretty intense year since I last blogged so I needed to take a break from it and spend time with the people that are closest to me, but I’m so happy to be back and with so much more to share! I’m actually writing this on my phone from the comfort of my Air B&B in Barbados, I just couldn’t wait to return to the UK to share stuff about my trip. The first sector off what I’m going to call a ‘blog series’ is going to be about my time in the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean – Montserrat!

When I told people I was going to Montserrat people thought I meant the mountain range in Spain, which to be honest is only fair as I had noooo idea where it was when until my friend recommended it to me. My boyfriend is a wildlife conservationist so he was looking for work in this field, while myself, I don’t have any experience in this area but I’ve always wanted to volunteer on a similar project. We found this organisation ‘Coral Cay Conservation‘ that did amazing work helping endangered coral reefs and tropical forests. They had a site over in Montserrat so my boyfriend applied for a job as a Science Officer and got it! It was such great news as we finally had a starting place for our travels! I joined him out there a few months after he arrived in May as a volunteer.

Views from my room

I don’t even know where to start when describing Montserrat. I’ve never been to any place like it. The whole island only has a population of 5,000 people so as you can probably guess there is a huge sense of community. Everyone was so friendly and trusting, there is (basically) no crime what so ever and everyone knows everyone. Montserrat is a mountainous island with an active volcano…yes meaning it could have erupted at any time, which was so scary to me at first but more I learnt about the volcano and the way they track and monitor it, I pretty much forgot it was even active, in fact if anything it made it more exciting.

Me showing my excitement for the volcano

Me being excited about seeing the volcano

Being a part of the conservation project meant I got to contribute to monitoring 30 different species of bird and 12 herptiles that lived on the island. Learning all these different animals was SO fascinating, I mean I’ve always loved animals but I never thought I would love bird spotting. It has quickly become a major interest of mine, everywhere we go now I’m pointing out birds and identifying what species it is from our book (yes we have bird book) and I love it!

Everyday on the project would consist of going on a trail in the morning then usually a shorebird survey in the afternoon. The trails were amazing, you really got to explore the depths of Montserrat’s tropical forests, it definitely was a challenge. Hiking in such extreme temperatures on top off the humidity is a real test, but ever so rewarding. One trail, called ‘Rendezvous’, ended in a beautiful white sand beach which you would have had no idea was there, so secluded and tranquil. Although this trail was a tough hike as it wasn’t the most covered from the sun and it took you straight over a cliff ridge, so it was fairly steep, it immediately became my favourite trail. Rendezvous Beach

Rendezvous Beach

Other trails were a lot more wooded, I’ve never seen forests like it, very Tarzan-esc with dozens of vines and roots of trees taller than 2 of you. These kind of trails were always more humid, as there is less of a breeze. Something I have learnt from doing all these treks is not to be embarrassed by sweat. I have never sweated so much in my life and you just learn to get on with it, my entire body just dripping, even in places I didn’t even know could sweat- just happens! So no more embarrassing sweat patches when I’m back in the UK as it’s nothing compared to this. On a less gross note, the ‘Oriole Trail’ was another one of my favourites, aptly named after the ‘Montserrat Oriole’ which is the national bird of the island. It’s a beautiful uphill hike to the top then a nice decline to the end. This trail also ended at a coffee shop which sold the MOST delicious chocolate milkshake! Not the most important reason to do the trail but I’ll tell you now after sweating and hiking like that, an ice cold milkshake is just what you need!

Montserrat Oriole (male)

Montserrat Oriole (male)

Views from the top of Oriole trail

Views from the top of Oriole Trail

So from Monday- Saturday our days were filled up with treks, surveys, daily chores and activities but as soon as the clock struck 6pm on Saturday it became ‘Beer O’clock’! Making sure all the science is taken care off we were free to spend our Saturday night as we please, whether it’s going out and having a night in with a few drinks. On the first Saturday I was there, we all decided to go out, I was so excited! I always think experiencing a place a night you really get to see a different side of the culture and meet new people. The first bar we went too, you wouldn’t even recognise it as a bar back home. It was a bright blue and green painted hut with dance hall music blasting out of an outside speaker with the owner sat on a plastic chair next to it. All along the back inside is the bar with a TV screen on your left where you can play FIFA on PlayStation. When you order a drink it was a completely unique thing again! It’s never happened to me before where you order a gin and tonic, for example, and in front of you they put the bottle of gin, a can of tonic, a full ice cube tray and a plastic cup- basically make your own! No measurements or limits and you pay the same price. Bartending is my trade back home so I think this so strange, but definitely not going to complain.

I could ramble on telling you about every experience I had in Montserrat but I highly doubt anyone reading will make it any further (if you’ve made it this far thank you). Overall I would recommend going to Montserrat if you’re are already in the Caribbean for a few days. There is not loads to do but definitely pop over if you are close. Hike! Swim! Snorkel! Dive! Also some beautiful sunsets (seriously I’ve never seen any like it). Being able to spend 2 months there working as a volunteer was truly an honour.

Sunset the night before Irma hit

Sunset the night before Irma hit

Thank you for reading.