Tonga Part Three: Bikes and Booby Traps

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So, we swam with the local humpback whales (see part two) and the ground beneath us was still imitating the rolling waves as we arrived back to the guest house. That morning, the owner had invited us to a family feast being held in celebration of his niece visiting from Hawaii. The feast was the best food we experienced in Tonga: we drank from coconuts and were treated to octopus salad, chicken in taro leaves, fresh fish, and the privilege of being part of this private family occasion. One moment that will stay with me…

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Tonga Part Two: Swimming with Singing Humpback Whales

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After a couple of interesting days in Tonga’s capital (see Tonga part one), we’d arrived at a hideously early hour to the domestic airport. We were awaiting our flight to Vavaʻu, where we had booked the focal activity that had brought us to Tonga in the first place: swimming with humpback whales.

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Tonga Part One: A Peculiar Paradise

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I didn’t know what I was doing. In a bid to find a Pacific island paradise for my Kiwi friend and I to chill outus maximus, I was conducting late night Google image searches of the various options: Fiji, Rarotonga, Tonga, Niue. It was impossible to choose, they all looked the damn same. Idyllic, but the same. It was only when my eyes caught the words humpback whale swimming…

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How to be an awesome friend

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Happy 30th birthday, Emily McGovern. This one’s for you. Your own blog post. And seeing as I’ve got a measly total of six on my site, my blog is now officially 16.67% about you. Which is fitting, because you have been the biggest fan of my writing since the start – sharing, retweeting, bigging up – and for that I cannot thank you enough. It’s that quality, and many more, that make you the perfect…

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Junior Doctors vs Spin Doctors: Why We Should All Be Pissed Off

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I’m not a doctor, but I’m pissed off. We all should be. The most caring and intelligent people in our country are being slandered by the government, and the beating heart of the NHS – an institution so sacred to this country that Danny Boyle gave it a starring role in the Olympic opening ceremony – is under strain. It’s beating in the way it might in someone who is lying in intensive care after being beaten listless by thugs on a Saturday night, when, even on a Saturday night (or a Sunday!), there would be an overworked junior doctor – most likely a team of them – giving every shred they had to keep it alive. (Because, Jeremy, we already have a seven day service.) We need to do for the NHS what ANY junior doctor would do for us: we need to fight to keep it damn alive.

To the NHS, Jeremy Hunt’s imposed contract is cholesterol, and he’s serving it up as…

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Christmas away from home: Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you got…

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I didn’t think it would bother me that much. Yes, I’m what my nan would call a ‘home girl’ (turning up at their house every Sunday for dinner when they lived in London), but I’m also stubbornly independent. It’s just one year and I’m lucky to be midway through the trip of a lifetime right now, so spending Christmas in a hostel in Argentina would be ‘different’, sure, but not exactly tragic.

We arrived at the hostel on the evening of the 23rd, just in time…

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Travelling: the other things

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I wrote this post for the joint blog of my travel buddy and I, as a reflection on all things travel. That is, apart from the actual travel bit…

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Travelling is about places. They lead you to make plans, book flights, quit jobs (…get stressed ordering stuff you don’t need on Amazon, which you throw out once you get there). In the run-up to leaving, the places I’d be visiting dominated my mind’s landscape, filling me with anticipation and excitement. It’s what I talked about incessantly before I left, reeling off country names as if I were about to pop to Tesco for them.

Danielle and I have visited beautiful sites, listened to commentary, taken photos, and done the activities that we ‘ought’ to have done because we were there (and handed over a small fortune in the process). The majority of the time (and obviously excluding Stewart Island and the godawful ferry journey: see previous post), it was worth it: sea kayaking at Abel Tasman national park, taking a helicopter and hike up Franz Josef glacier, cruising…

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Beautiful Doubtful Sound (and Casanova turned asshole)

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I’m very fortunate to be away travelling at the moment (only five years later than planned), so I should be writing this because I’ve been inspired by the breathtaking scenery of Doubtful Sound. Inaccurately named as a ‘sound’, it is a glacier-formed fiord on the south-west coast of New Zealand, with a plethora of waterfalls, dominating mountains and natural beauty that obliterates all competition.

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My journey to hell: How depression hijacked my soul, and how I finally wrenched it back.

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An optimistic start

‘Life is 10% what happens to you, 90% how you react to it.’ (Charles R. Swindoll)

This is one of my favourite quotes and life philosophies. But what if you lose control over how you react to it?

Check phone. Again. Nope, he still hasn’t texted. Heart lurches, stomach flips and brain tries desperately to recall That Nice Thing He Said which means that He Definitely Will Text. It’s tough being an optimist, clinging onto those elusive gaps between the rain, and trying to ignore that you’re getting drenched.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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