The next chapter beckons…but first…

Success!! I have a job. As of May I will be back in gainful employment (and so my bank manager breathes a huge sigh of relief).

I will be based out in Cambodia…and having visited Cambodia’s neighbours way back when as a carefree backpacker with wee Ruthie and having loved every minute of it, I am pleased as punch to be heading back out that way.

But until it all kicks off I have time for a bit of work and bit of a holiday. 

I most definitely left a little bit of heart behind when I left Scotland (did I mention I was quite a fan of that country!) so March is spent in Edinburgh working for an awesome children’s charity and catching up with old friends. 

Coincidentally also being there for Josey Jo’s birthday. 

Then in April, Singapore a visit to my very good pal and all round lovely person – Mr Benjy Boy Scruffins! This wasn’t my first time Singapore – although this visit is pretty different to my last one as a fresh faced backpacker en route to Sumatra.

Last time…cheap and not so cheerful hostel in Little India.This time…Ben’s rather lovely apartment in the city centre. Ben – my friend – you have done yourself proud. Great job, great pad and great girl by your side.

In all honesty I can’t remember much of my first time here – it was about 10 years ago and for only about 48 hours. This time round I had much more time and as a big fan of walking round generally getting a little bit lost and exploring, Singapore hits the spot. Clean, safe and not too big – what an easy city to be in!

This place is a facinating mix of nationalities, religions, cultures and traditions. In just one afternoon I found myself wandering from the business district – the Singapore equivalent to London’s ‘Square Mile’ – through China town and of course revisiting Little India.

In one block you can pass a Muslim mosque, a Catholic churche and a Hindu temple. 

Singaporeans are real ‘foodies’, I mean REAL foodies. I heard one story about a man who just happened to mention to folk that he had just eaten the tastiest shrimp omelette for lunch.

It took him a good hour to break free from incessant questionning from his Singaporean colleagues – where he’d eaten it, how much it had cost, how big the shrimp were, how much chilli was in it, what was the consistency, was it better than so-and-so’s shrimp omelette.

Needless to say a visit to Singapore is not complete without a visit to the colonial styled Raffles hotel for a Singapore Sling! It’s the strangest experience as you walk into the bar and your feet crunch crunch over an absolute littering of monkey nut shells all over the floor.

Now Singapore has to be the cleanest, most ordered, efficient city on earth hence why a floor strewn with discarded shells stands out as being rather odd. The tradition (and this ACTUALLY happens) is that as you sup your cocktail, you shell your nuts then simply fling said shells onto the floor.

Being so close to Indonesia it would have been rude to not sneak in a few days of what I’d heard was some of the world’s best diving in the Gili islands.

So off we snuck!

The journey there was very James Bond. The islands are off the coast of Lombok so to get there involves a flight to the ramshackle Lombok airport, a truck ride to the sea then a speed boat (in our case by the light of a full moon!) to the island.

We were diving with Blue Marlin Dive which is a great wee outfit on Gili Trawangan. 4 glorious days of 30 degree water, 20 metre visbility and more turtles than you could shake a stick at, I was one happy diver! Thanks guys.

Unemployed and homeless…now add single and fast approaching 30!

Nic and Hels see in the new year on the beach!Nothing in life is certain – well, in the words of Benjamin Franklin…”nothing is certain but death and taxes!”

In the blink of an eye a snap decision or a single action either by yourself or someone else can change the entire course of your life as you know it.

Christmas came and went, Nicole and I saw in the new year searching for some surf in North Wales and my pals and I entered the year of 30th birthday’s.

To all those born in 1978…according to the Chinese, you are a ‘horse’! As far as I’m concerned this is no bad thing. Here is a snapshot…

“Being born in the year of the horse, it is in our nature to love the outdoors, to long for adventure – a horse would wander the world if it could. With an independent streak a horse is not always obedient.

We may say one thing yet do another. Feel one way then our heart opens in another direction. See one thing but don’t understand that blinkers hinder our vision. To plod along a well loved path then see an alleyway which tempts us”

This is an astonishingly accurate depiction of me!

Back living with the folks the job hunt started. To begin with the focus was on the UK.

I’ve fortunate to be very well travelled and everyone has to settle one day…right? WRONG!

The big 3-0 approached, I took myself off to Scotland for some snowy winter hill walking…for anyone looking for Scotland at it’s most awe inspiring harshest, try battling the elements halfway up Cairngorm in February!

As ever the Scottish wilderness did the trick!!

After some serious some serious soul searching on the situation I found myself in coming back in from Costa Rica brought me to one conclusion…

…it was now or never

Unemployed and homeless

So what’s a girl to do…?

Well I decided this was an opportunity (yes, I know…another of those darned ‘opportunities’). Now I may have mentioned once or twice I am somewhat of a rather keen scuba diver. Until last September I wouldn’t exactly have called myself a great diver but I ‘could dive’.

That was all about to change.

I caught a flight to Costa Rica, swapped my suit for my boardshorts and my office for the deep blue sea to work as a scuba divemaster.

Costa Rica is a country I’ve always had an intention to visit – I’d heard the diving was great, the sun shone and spanish was the language of choice…perfect!

Most people would head to the caribbean side – warm water, great visibility. I decided that all sounded far too easy (!) so headed to the pacific side of the country…colder waters, poorer visibility but bigger stuff to see and a bigger challenge to dive in.

My office

Now I’m a realisitic kind of girl and I’m pretty sure no-one really wants me to bang on about what a great experience the whole thing was.

I mention Costa Rica, diving and 30 degree sunshine and no-one ever believes I was even working at all out there!! “Work” they say – yeah right!

I have to admit that even though it was 7 days a week with an early morning alarm call earlier than I think I’ve ever had in my working life – life was good.

I’m most definitely not scared of a bit of hard work and I most definitely suit a job where the only time I sit at a desk with a computer in front of me is when I am emailing home.

Plus lifting air tanks every day is a bloomin’ good way to banish  ‘bingo wings’!

By the time I landed in the UK on Christmas Eve my hair was blonder, my skin browner and I was a fully qualified (and actually pretty ok) divemaster!

With much help from my rather tolerant South American pals I had also managed to master some far from fluent but definitely acceptable ‘spanglish’ skills.

Pictured: Adolfo, the ‘capitan’ of our diveboat the Tahonga who lent me his patient ears on more than one occasion!El capitan Adolfo

Back a bit, back a bit…

2007 was an ‘interesting’ year for me. I left my job, my home and my Edinburgh friends and moved down to London. Not content with one upheavel I then left my job, my home and my new friends in London. And all by September – so all in all quite a busy 9 months!

I have never been someone with a burning desire to live in the big smoke however my time with my wee charity in Edinburgh had come to a natural end and an opportunity was offered to me which was just too good to pass up on.

Great job, great prospects – only snag, it was in London. Now I believe life is too short for ‘what if’s’ and if I hadn’t have taken the opportunity being offered to me I genuinely believe this would have been an ‘what if’ for eternity so I said thank you very much, grabbed the opportunity on offer and moved from the Scottish capital to the English one.

Even with everything which has happened subsequently, to this day I do not regret one single bit my decision. I learned a lot about myself and the people I surround myself with (it also meant I could satisfy my long standing burning desire to live on a houseboat!). However…I also learned that London is definitely not for me!

The decision to leave London life actually came as a bit of an epiphany. You know the feeling when a decision has to be made and soon -and actually deep down you know what the answer is.

I knew I was unhappy in London and I knew I was unhappy in my job. I also knew I had only been in my new job and new city for 9 months, not a long time in the grand scheme of things.

But I also knew I lived life following my heart “sigue tu corozon” and I knew I wasn’t listening to my heart. I could almost hear the poor thing screaming at me!

I needed inspiration. So I took a holiday with a beautiful person to a beautiful place. It worked – hurrah!

I was inspired and after a week camping, kayaking and climbing on the Scottish western isles I walked into my office on the Monday morning clutching my letter of resignation, took a deep breath and handed it over!

With that one single nervewracking action the world became one big unknown oyster!

Want to know what happens next…? The read on my friend…!

Hello world!

I clearly remember being told during creative writing lessons at school that all good stories have a beginning, a middle and an end.

The middle is yet to come and the end is yet to happen but this is how it all began…