Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The countdown to Kilimanjaro

So, it turns out that buying my first home wasn't the end to my extensive travels after all and there is life after mortgage! Limited development options at work and no prospects of promotion provided the opportunity to spread my wings again and I'm planning a trip to Kilimanjaro in January followed by two months in Mexico, volunteering with orphans... yes, orphans!

Potentially seven days per week, with young children, entertaining, cleaning, washing and doing all the other child related tasks that I have actively chosen to avoid for my entire adult life. I can't pin point why I chose Mexican orphans, over Costa Rican turtles, but it boils down to wanting to give something back after years of selfish travelling and I just felt something of a 'calling' of sorts - maybe it's my way of feeling better about not wanting my own? (kids - not turtles!)

Anyway, Mexico is pending renting my flat out, but Kilimanjaro is booked and all I need to do now, is start seriously training... (though may have left that a little late). Vaccinations are up to date, visa obtained and I think all I need to do now is worry about getting the few last bits I need - like extra wet wipes and the small matter of a new camera.

Really excited and I can't wait now, as it is like nothing I've ever done before and there's been SO much planning. I've never had such a complicated kit list and as we'll also be doing a safari and beach holiday, there's everything to pack. We'll be meeting up with a girl from the USA who we met on the Inca trail in 2010 and haven't seen since and we'll meet the friend she is bringing with her, so there's so much to look forward to.

All I want to do now is get to the top - still breathing - and preferably down again in the same state!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Girl power!

Fantastic opportunity to write for the Womens Business Club and connect with fabulous, inspirational women. Really exciting and am so pleased with the article, so read it here and share with anyone who's interested in travelling, thinking about travelling or just reading about someone else's travelling!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Beyond Kilimanjaro...

I know that when I find myself in a rut, I always turn to travelling, but I thought my days of months on end were long over since I bought my flat. However, it turns out that all I need to find a way of making that work is to find myself in in a big rut, for the foreseeable future and before I know it, the grey matter starts to churn...

Having been concentrating on my promotion at work for two years solid and working my backside off, it transpires that the Force is in something of a financial crisis and there are now no promotion opportnities at all, for at least the next 6 - 12 months. So what to do...

Well, having always really loved the idea of going to do some sort of voluntary work abroad and being in a less financially buoyant position than I was pre-mortgage, I decided to look into going to somewhere I could stay in one place, with one project and just give something back - no country hopping, no dramas (hopefully!) and just some good, old fashioned hard work and helping others. If I'm truly honest, any trip is an excuse to go away and spend time doing what I love to do most in the world, but I've never allowed myself to devote the time to doing voluntary work before and now the time feels right. The opportunity is there to take the time off and I just have to find a way of renting out my flat - oh an getting the time authorised from work...

I never really expected them to appprove my application for unpaid leave and thought that in the current climate, at best they'd say I was being necky and at worst they'd penalise me for asking and laugh in my face. I even prepared myself for a battle, a bit of negotiation and ultimately to have to accept I couldn't do it, feel secretly relieved because I can't really afford it and then find something else to occupy my restlessness. So, when they said yes, no battle and no dramas, I found myself a little taken aback, a little, "Oh, really? You mean now I have to put my money where my mouth is and actually DO it?" and wondering if I've bitten off more than I can chew!

However, that familiar little fluttering feeling in my stomach tells me that I'm beyond excited, I know I'll do it some way or other and I may as well save myself the bother of umming and ahing and just get on with it! So to research... Mexico, Costa Rica, orphans or turtles... and so it begins!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Kilimanjaro 2012!!

Whoop whoop!! Kilimanjaro 2012 is booked and now to get fit...

Well what else does an insatiable traveller do when their first book is published? I've always wanted to go and so having persuaded my new travel buddy Sam to join me again (after our Thailand and Peru trips), I started planning. There are so many ways to climb Kili and so many choices to make. What company to go with, which route to take, how many nights to climb for, whether to go for personal oxygen tanks and what to do afterwards... but that's where my anal obsession for planning every minute detail comes into it's own and I was like a pig in the proverbial!

Tour company chosen based on their porter welfare policies, value for money and website impressions, route chosen on technicalities, popularity, scenery and people traffic, length of climb chosen on the likelihood of us getting fed up with being so cold for too long and what to do afterwards... safari in the Serengeti and the spice island of Zanzibar OBVIOUSLY!!

So much to do yet - get a ridiculous amount of layers of clothing, find drugs to stop us geting altitude sickness, wear in boots and most importantly, get fit. I literally don't think I've been this excited about a trip before!

Monday, 16 May 2011

My very first marketing pitch for my book! The local newspaper did a piece for me with a fabulous review and a not so fabulous picture (?!) but then who likes their own picture if they're not Angelina Jolie?!

I am so excited as it came out on Friday 13th - the same day as my book launch party, which was a HUGE succcess. It went better than I could ever have hoped and I even sold out on the books I took. I only took 10 books, because I didn't think for a second that people would buy them, but they did! I even sold the one I took to do a bit of a reading (I was press ganged into that by my VERY excited friends!) from, it was crazy! So I had to keep redirecting people to Amazon and Pneuma Springs (publisher) and apologising for not having enough books...

It did me the world of good actually, because quite frankly I think I had been a little freaked out by the whole thought of people reading my book and was so worried what people would think, I kind of ignored the release a bit and pretended it was no big deal. In fact, my fab friends and people I work with are the ones that have made me see that actually, IT IS A BIG DEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've published a book and it's SO exciting!! My fab mates Jo Hall and Cat Moss-Crump have given me such a kick up the backside, being more excited than kids at Christmas, so thank you girls, I'm officially on the excited train!!! ha ha ha!

Then to top it off I got a call at work today from BBC Devon who want me to go on the Judi Spiers show and do a bit about my book on there - C.R.A.Z.Y!!! ha ha ha ha ha!!! That hasn't quite sunk in yet, so when it does I'll be scared stiff, but so far - yey!! x x x

The pictures below are just a few of the launch party - pretty much a party with my friends and family to celebrate. A party I shared with my good friend Paul Fox who has also published his first book 21st Century Leadership. Obviously it had to be fancy dress, because that's just what we do! FABULOUS!!!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

It's here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OMG! I have a book! A real, bonafide published BOOK!!!

Wasn't expecting to see it until Tuesday 15th, but I have my copy now courtesy of the publisher Pneuma Springs and so do those who've ordered it direct from the publisher's web site. Yikes!

I keep looking at it and it doesn't seem real... but it is. It's on Amazon, W H Smith, Waterstones etc and you can buy it NOW!!! Yipppeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

T minus 9 days!

The time is nearly here and I'm excited AND scared at the same time. I keep getting texts and emails from people telling me the book is on Amazon, W H Smith, Waterstones etc and frankly, it's just plain weird! Everyone has been incredibly excited and supportive and I'm so grateful, because I was bracing myself for a reaction somewhat more scathing! That said, I'm not sure what people are expecting - I'm pretty sure most people seem to think that I'll be raking in some JK Rowling style profit and making my millions - clearly those people have no idea of the meager profit involved in publishing, unless of course you reallly are JK Rowling - which I'm clearly not.

Still, as I sit here with just over a week to go I've given in to the pier pressure, almost bordering on bullying and will be having some sort of book launch celebration party. The venue is decided, I just need to confirm the date and start to organise things... with a travelling theme, obviously!

Friday, 11 February 2011

Official release date...

Yikes! I don't know whether I'm excited or scared stiff, but the official release date is now 15th March 2011! Eeek!!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

This is harder than I thought!

Well, it's nearly midnight on the third day of painstakingly going through every comma, full stop and character with a fine tooth comb and deciding whether I like the final, final FINAL edits made by the publisher.

I had no idea there'd be so many 'final' run throughs and nit-picking decisions to make when it comes to publishing a book... I thought I'd done my bit throwing the words down!

After one more overview to check the publisher and I agree with the real final draft, we're on schedule for the March release and if I'm honest, I'm getting a little nervous...

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Coming soon...

Right, I need to get this thing off the ground and I might as well bite the bullet.

I haven't actually told anyone about this blog other than my sister and one friend who has been ridiculously excited for me. I sort of figured that I'd wait until things really started happening, but it looks like that time has finally arrived.

The editing is done, the cover is designed and almost finalised and the publisher has me listed in the 'coming soon' section of their website complete with a pre-order option. Not that I ever wrote my story to be the next J K Rowling and I don't really expect anyone but my mum and a few close and curious friends to buy it, but I'd like to think it's worth at least that.

I'm excited and scared - excited because I always wanted to write a book and scared because now it's about to happen, I realise I've created a very personal insight into my private life and that's more than a little unnerving.

But, here we go... it'll be available in March this year and if you want a little taster, then follow this link