Why You Should Travel Alone (Thailand)

Why You Should Travel Alone (Thailand)

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What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done? I don’t mean taking a different route on your way home from work, but one which makes your heart flutter beneath your chest and sends the adrenaline pumping through your body; now that’s the kind of adventure I’m talking about.

(If you have travelled alone, I’d love to hear your story in the comments section.)

So where did it all start? I was in my last year of my Creative Writing degree, sat in my room piled beneath books after books, with my dog sleeping on my lap. I was planning essays, as in the next month I had five in one week, which amounted to over 30,000 words. Although I was organised and well planned, I felt like I was treading water against a tremendous tide, like the majority of third year university students – but it would all be worth it in the end, was the motto that I assured myself with.

Scrolling through social media, Facebook to be exact, I found a post that I had come across many times before saying Camp Thailand with the promotional picture of an elephant. But, it was different this time that I viewed it. I thought ‘wow how amazing would that be, to visit a different part of the world, see elephants, teach children, I want to do that. I will do that’ I had travelled with people before, so I wasn’t entirely new to travelling, but the thought of Thailand was a dream of mine – being an avid animal/culture lover.

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So I looked into it on the company’s website, researched, watched videos. I tried to weigh up the pros and cons but the main positive of just visiting Thailand was enough for me to ensure that I would pursue one of my dreams. I kept looking into this, whenever I had a spare moment away from studying. I mentioned it to my relatives, who were a bit apprehensive before, but when I assured them that I was would be meeting people there from Camp Thailand, with reps and that I would be studying for the TEFL qualification, they thought it would be a good opportunity.

I asked some of my friends to come with me, but none could at that time. So there was the question of: would I be okay to travel alone? I think of myself as very independent, and although I do like to socialise, I don’t mind spending time alone – it’s all about balance. I contemplated and I must admit I was a bit scared about the idea of travelling alone to somewhere quite far away. But, I thought when would I get this opportunity again? What a great life experience this would be! I might actually learn a few things about myself…

Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

I started off by completing the form online, as it’s a TEFL qualification they needed to make sure that we were suitable to teach. The waiting begun and a few days later I was accepted – it was official. There was no going back now!

The next few weeks I was balancing my essays as a priority, then as a ‘treat’ I would go do some more of my Camp Thailand preparation. I needed to do my DBS, ID, CV with photo and injections – there was lots to do. This was probably the busiest time in my entire life.

I handed in my last ever essays on the 28th April 2017, and it was a relief. I immediately caught up on my sleep and was later refreshed. It was an odd feeling to not have essays looming over my head, and I immediately didn’t know what to do with myself. But, then I remembered – Camp Thailand!

I only had a few days to get together the last minute bits. I had to print of my itinerary, ensure I had the correct paperwork, get my ID together, a travel bag. Camp Thailand provided a list of what we needed to buy – some examples included ‘mosquito spray, fleece, raincoat, torch, alarm clock, black trousers for teaching, sun cream and many more. Although I had been getting little bits every now and then, me and my mum went to Decathlon to get a backpack (all of which were far too heavy, I could barely hold them without anything inside), but we got the raincoat, fleece etc all for a very reasonable price.

I ended up ordering my backpack online 65L from Ebay as it was much more suitable in size and was black – personally I didn’t want an overly bright coloured one.

There was a group chat set up on Facebook with around 20 of us and a handful of reps. We spoke briefly on here and asked for advice before we went.

Delving into the Unknown…

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I started travelling on the 16th May, my granddad and my mum came with me. I was flying from Heathrow, so it was quite a journey! We parked up, I put the backpack on my back which was so heavy, but I was hoping that it would be easier to hold as the journey went on. We had breakfast together in Costa which was nice, but I was somehow eager to get on the flight. They walked me over to boarding; we hugged and said our goodbyes. It was only when I made the final wave and went through that the travelling alone begun to dawn on me.

I went through security fine. I sat and had breakfast in the corner. This was probably the only time that I felt a bit of a loner. There were families, couples and friends chatting together. I didn’t get any absurd looks, but I connected to the Wi-Fi to update my friends/family. I did notice there was one person alone a few seats along from me, who had a much smaller bag and looked like he was embracing being alone – so it reminded me to do the same.

I flew with Qatar, who I highly recommend. I had unlimited drinks and so much food, that at times I couldn’t eat it all. I had loads of space and truly felt like royalty. My row was empty, so I even had extra room. I watched so many films, one of them was Shrek 3 (which was the only one I hadn’t seen) and another one called Percy Jackson – I am young at heart.

I Stopped Halfway in Doha

I stopped half way in Doha. When I stepped off the plane it was like no airport I had ever been to before. The toilets were metal, some with holes in the floor. I was minding my own business and washed my hands in the sink. I noticed two ladies were staring at me. I was unsure why, but I smiled and carried on with what I was doing. I was then drying my hands. They came over to me and said something similar to ‘kamar, kamar’ with a smile on their face. I obviously didn’t understand but I smiled and nodded back, then proceeded with what I was doing and headed for the gate. On the way an airport worker spoke to me briefly. I am a very curious person, so I explained and asked what this means. He said it could mean ‘scarf’. Either way I don’t know what this means but the experience was unusual. There was also a huge bear in the centre of the airport, which I found amazing.

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I went to the shop and brought a notepad, which they only had leather and cost me around £15.00. I began to write in the notepad about my experience so far and I knew there would be so much more to write about in there.

I Arrived!

I got my second flight to Thailand. Upon arriving I looked a total mess. I had been travelling for nearly 15 hours and had barely any sleep. I went to the toilets and spruced myself up a little bit (well tried.) I messaged in the chat to see if any of the girls had arrived and some had and was at the ‘meeting point’. The majority of the girls were there, but there were no sign of the reps yet. They were friendly and two girls in particular were very chatty. We were all tired and waited for the reps – which came along around 1-2 hours later.

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Bangkok

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There were a few minibuses waiting and we got in. We drove to our first hostel in Bangkok. There were a lot of buildings on the way. There was one huge statue of an elephant with three heads, which I’d never seen anything similar before. Immediately stepping off the minibus, it was like a sauna. I went into and had to decide what room we were in. I was with three other girls. We all stayed in one room with four single beds and had a very basic toilet/shower. We weren’t allowed to flush the toilet roll as apparently they have a reputation for exploding!… They had the ice cream rolls where you choose four toppings, it was very nice!

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I Tried a Scorpian!

We went to our first restaurant, which was a local and featured a huge gold Buddha. We had one long table and we all socialised, even though we were all pretty just lagged. I had Pad Thai – which was very nice. Some of the girls had sweet and sour chicken which looked lovely too. As we were eating, one of the girls told me there was a rat. I looked over and there was the hugest rat I’d ever seen near the bin, which was close to where they were cooking food on the outside stove. I tried my first ever scorpion (which tasted likely overly toasted nuts) and tried a few of the bugs – a part of street food tradition. One of the girls pointed to the bin and I saw the hugest rat I had ever seen in my life!

We finished and later on that night we headed to the infamous Khao Sin Road. Well what can I say! It’s the craziest, busiest road that I’ve ever been too! Everyone seemed intoxicated but the atmosphere was loud and upbeat. I only had one drink of Chang – which is my favourite (I never liked beer before, but I liked the sweet taste of this one.) We travelled home in a truck, which was open at the back (something which would have been a major safety concern back home in England.)

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Unicorn Cafe

We went to the well-known Unicorn Café! (I will write a whole separate post on this.) I will say that it was very pink, colourful and girly. The food was extra sweet and it was smaller than I imagined.

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Sky Bar

We also went to the Sky Bar, in the hangover movie. The food was amazing! I tried octopus and the deserts were amazing. The view was incredible. However, they sold shark fin, which I wasn’t pleased about.

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Eco Resort

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The next day we started our journey of travelling to the Eco Resort in Chiang Mai. We headed to the train station, where we would embark on a 12 hour overnight train. We arrived and our tickets had allocated seats. They were red and looked like normal train seats, but it was a lot wider. My first impression was that it was a lot cleaner and nice than I had originally anticipated, I was expecting it to be very dim and dirty; but it was much nicer. Opposite me was a middle-aged Thai lady lying on a bed (the chairs converted to a bed) and she was laying on her back, with who I assumed to be her child. She had thick, white plaster on both of her legs with a rod separating them. They both looked deeply saddened and the mother held her tightly, not moving away from her. We had an amazing Thai rep and she told us that some of the Thai children can get into road accidents, but it was some sort of operation. We had a spare ticket and offered this to the lady, she accepted, but she didn’t move to a different bed – I assume because she didn’t want to leave her daughters side. The daughter did wake up crying several times in the night, I assume from being scared and I was empathetic towards the both of them.

We sat in the restaurant at the far end of the train to try to connect to the Wi-Fi. It would every now and then, but it was safe to say that the signal wasn’t very good at all. We got some hot food, but it was all very spicy and microwave meals. I had a chocolate frappe- which was amazing. For food I had Mikado strawberry sticks. Luckily I and my friends had cards, so we played cards games and were chatting. I still hadn’t received my third year university results, so I was checking every now and then. One of them came through and I got a 2.1 and I was pleased.

I tried to sleep on the night, but it was like sleeping on a rollercoaster! Also on the night time, the lights are always on. I was on the top bunk, so had a bright bulb a few inches from my face. I put my hoody over my face and drew the curtain. After a while I fell asleep, despite the rocking notion.

We arrived early in the morning. At 7 o’clock the guard woke us up. I quickly ran to the bathroom to brush my teeth. We walked out of the train station and our open tin truck was waiting. We drove for a while but we finally arrived at the Eco Resort. It was beautiful. It was surrounded by forest and it was spacious, with a huge pool. I was excited to be here. I kind of felt we had earned it as well after the adventurous few days. We had to sort out our room and I had one with two of my friends. Our room was nice. The beds were huge and wooden, and the air con worked a treat. There was a slight hole in the wall and a line of ants trudging along, but I suppose that’s understandable being in a forest – and I’m not the squeamish type.

Bamboo Rafting

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The next day we went bamboo rafting, which was over an hour away. We arrived and it was very rural and built with local amenities. The humidity of Thailand doesn’t get easier. The floor was made from flimsy bamboo. The toilets had a toilet (no seat) and a bucket of water with a bowl inside. Apparently you needed to use the bowl of water to flush the toilet yourself manually. We queued waiting our turn. The stream looking beautiful, but the bamboo looked delicate. One of the reps said she went on it before and it went through a rapid whirlpool, a tree hit someone in the face, then they fell off. This installed a bit of precaution within me, as I was wearing glasses, so couldn’t afford to be hit in the face. Across the other side of the stream, I noticed an elephant chomping away on leaves from a tree. ‘Wow, that’s amazing’ I said, as it was the first time I had seen an elephant in the wild. My friend pointed out about it being held captive. I had a look at its leg and noticed a thick metal clasp around its foot. This deeply saddened me and it insinuated the corruption and exposed the negative side of Thailand, as the rules towards elephants is very relaxed, which is why some people can still treat elephants so poorly. Despite this its tail was wagging and it made me think that wild animals should remain wild.

On the bamboo raft, there were dragonflies skimming across the stream, all vibrant, vivid colours. It was so scenic and peaceful. There were small Thai children playing and laughing in the stream – you wouldn’t have thought they had a care in the world. As we were delving into the unknown, I couldn’t help but panic at the thought of going through a whirlpool, whilst balanced on bamboo. Our guide was a young man in his twenties and was nice. He let us take turns steering the bamboo raft. I had a turn and it was actually really difficult and took a lot of upper body strength and balance – both that I lack in. You had to get the stick and prod it to the bottom, feel for some stones and push with all your force to propel the raft forward. After a few minutes, it hit a rock and a whirlpool at the same time; sending me flying forward onto my knees. I was laughing, as were everyone else, but it secretly hurt. As we carried on, there were houses built on the mountain edges and huge families gathered together – it looked amazing. Shortly later we saw a dog at the side of the stream. We wolf whistled to get the dogs attention. To our surprise, the dog ran over and jumped onto the bamboo raft! The dog was so friendly and wanted to be stroked – it was about the same size as a husky. The guide and we tried to get the dog of for his safety, but he wouldn’t. We were just about to hit a rapid whirlpool and I was so worried the dog would fall off. I gripped onto the boat and once we were in steady waters, I looked back to see that the dog was still holding on! We went to the side of the stream and the dog managed to get him off. It made me think of how much I missed my dog back home and the dog watched as we drifted away. The staff prepared us a traditional Thai lunch, which was very nice. They brought it over on huge bowls, as it is part of their culture to share meals. We went into the stream after and had inflatables to relax on. I brought a picture, which was in a handmade frame; it was very beautiful and cheap.

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Elvis Fascination

There were so many Elvis restaurants, which took me by surprise. We went in a few and the food was amazing! Here is a picture of my avocado chicken wrap (without the avocado because it wasn’t avocado season.)

Suicide Bomber…

On one of the evenings I and my friends were chilling in our room. We saw online that there had been an attack in Manchester at the Arianna Grande concert. As Thailand is 7 hours ahead of the UK we heard it before everyone else and everyone in the UK was asleep so we couldn’t tell them. We were deeply saddened but also deeply worried that this was happening whilst we were away. There were also a few other attacks whilst we were in Thailand – in which we were saddened for the victims but also for our safety. You can read more here #onelasttime

‘Teacher Shannon’

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The next few days we began our teaching for our TEFL qualification. We were in kindergarten and a primary school. One of the kindergartens wasn’t too poor, but the classes were very big, there were also a lot more boys than girls. The other kindergarten was very poor. It was small and had a smaller amount of children, but was on the bigger side for how small it was. They had a baby room as well. This was quite noisy as the children would cry. One girl took a liking to me and wanted to be cuddled, she was so sweet. The primary school was quite wealthy in comparison and we taught a range of age’s maths and English. Before the lessons we constructed lesson plans, to ensure we had an educated and organised lessons, with back up plans in case we wanted to change anything.

Temple Tour

We went to a temple tour. We had bikes so that we could ride around. They were the most beautiful temples I had ever seen. One was huge and looked like platinum gold. My bike was faulty, so it was a workout. I and my friend went to a temple right at the back, which had loads of stairs to get to the top, but the view was outstanding.

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Thai Boxing

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Later on that evening we did Thai boxing. This was fun. I have a brown belt in karate, so I didn’t think it was much different. At the start a teenage girl done a three minute showcase of her boxing, followed by an older boy – which was very interesting.

A Temple With A Tale

We visited another temple. We went far underground, which was eerie in itself. But, one of our reps told us that there is a tale that apparently if you start to feel hot underground, then that means you were a devil in your past life.

Orphanage

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Another day we visited the orphanage (I will do a whole blog post on this.) But, this was for me, the most important day. We donated toys and clothes, and they were so happy. We made them food and I’ve never seen so much gratitude. This day made me realise how important it is to value what you have. These children slept on cardboard bunk beds, yet they still had a smile spread across their face and wanted to play. The ages ranged from 2-13 years of age.

Elephant Nature Park

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We went to the Elephant Nature Park (I will do another blog on this) this was also amazing. However, I saw a different, wild side to the elephant’s nature. It was nice to see them in a wild environment, as they let the rescued elephants roam the land. They have all the food they require and more and you can tell that the workers cared about them immensely. The workers spoke good English and told us the history of each elephants. Apparently some places in Thailand, to control the elephants, especially for tourists, they put a metal hook in their ear. Not only is this grotesque, but it’s immensely inhumane. I would never participate in elephant riding or the sort, as this is what encourages this. The elephants are also likely to be psychologically affected for life, as they are very emotional creatures! The food for guests was amazing. If you are ever in Chiang Mai, I would say this is a must!

Monkey Temple

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We went to the Monkey Temple (I will do a separate post on this.)

Doi Suthep-Pui National Park

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Me and my friends went to the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park (I will do a post about this) and we went to the highest point in Chiang Mai!

We also visited a village at the national park, where we ground coffee.

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Chill Time

When we weren’t teaching, we were relaxing by the pool. It was humid, but the water was refreshing. I got a really good tan. We also walked around Chiang Mai when we could. The amount of motorbikes I saw with at least 3/4 people on, including babies was shocking. We went to a local street food places. The Pad Thai was amazing; my friend taught me how to hold the chopsticks, so I was using this more. There was also a diner, where we had pizza (which reminded me of home.)

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I rode in a Tuk Tuk, which was very scary! But we survived.

We also went to the night markets, where I wanted to buy absolutely everything.

Wat Phra That Soi Suthep

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We went to another temple Wat Phra That Doi Suthep – where I was blessed by a monk!

Another set of orphans swam at our hotel – and we provided them with swimming costumes, as they hadn’t been swimming properly before.

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On the last day we had to travel on the night train back. We went to Hua Hin and stayed at Camp B’s hotel where the room was huge, but the pool was tiny. My friend had the double bed and me and my friend shared a flimsy bunk bed that shook every time you moved slightly. I had the bottom bunk and I couldn’t sit up either as the bed was a few inches from my face. The next day I and my two friends wanted to explore, so we borrowed some of the hotel bikes. They had baskets, so I put my water in there, I also had a backpack (filled with crisps and sun cream) to be prepared for the adventure. We rode on the road which was scary. According to our map we needed to go through a back pathway, which looked like a dirt track and had loads of bumps. As we were all riding along, we rode through a dogs den. There were around 15 dogs running towards us barking, and I’ve never been so scared. Some of them were Rottweiler’s and were huge! We rode as fast as we could and managed to escape unharmed. We went to an Italian, which was the best food place I’d been to. I had bolognese pasta and it was incredible. We headed to the old beach and it was highly polluted and full of faeces. I wouldn’t recommend going here. The dogs were aggressive. After this day I saw a very feral side to the dog species.

On another day we headed to Hua Hin beach and it was breathtakingly beautiful! Pure white sand, with clear water and huge shells washed ashore. I highly recommend visiting here. There was a horse being dragged up and down to be ridden by tourists – I felt absolutely sorry for the horse in the sweltering heat and personally I think this is cruel. We went to a café shack on the beach. It was busy with locals. I ordered fish cakes – they tasted like raw chilli pate’s and I just couldn’t eat them. We walked up and down the beach and it was highly peaceful. I’d love to go back to a Thailand beach, but have more time there.

Party Time

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On our last day, Camp Thailand arranged a party for us! They hired out a whole hotel, and we had the whole place to ourselves. We had a chicken skewer each. There was a foam party, music and an inflatable flamingo. The drinks was expensive but it was the first ever foam party I had been to and was great fun.

We headed back for home. I said goodbye to my friends and was sad to go back home. However, I feel the journey of 3 weeks was enough time for me.

Goodbye Thailand

Overall this is the best experience of my life. I would recommend this to absolutely everyone, but I wouldn’t say it’s for the faint hearted. Travelling alone to the other side of the world was scary, but I learnt so much more about me than any textbook could. I had the experience of life and culture. I was tested mentally and physically, but it showed me that I am stronger than I thought. It also made me more appreciative, to enjoy my own company and to smile more. Back in the UK I don’t mind travelling or doing things alone, as I have learnt to enjoy my own company more. I am open minded and I feel more confident in making new connections. It also made me realise more about my life back home. It was also amazing exploring another culture. If you are contemplating about travelling alone, my advice would be to just do it! You have absolutely nothing to lose, but a whole lot to gain! (and I’m not talking materialistically).

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Why you should own a Chihuahua!!

I had always wanted a Chihuahua, since being young, but was never allowed one due to the stereotype of being ‘snappy’ and ‘hard work’. After years of persuasion, I was allowed to get one and it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made and she doesn’t meet the stereotype.

1)When they are a puppy, they fit into the palm of your hand. They are small little fur babies and will sleep most of the time, then have a mad 5 minutes. Not only is this incredibly cute, but when they finally find their bark, it’s the sweetest thing ever.

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2) Each has their own personality! This is so true. For me Luna is very mischievous, loving and adventurous. If she doesn’t like something, she will turn her nose up. If she’s annoyed with you – she will avoid eye contact. Very bizarre, but she defiantly has a sassy, diva personality. She also much prefers men to woman!

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3)Endless cuddles and kisses – she will want attention all the time. But, when she is tired and wants her own space – she will take herself off to bed.

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4) Upset? She will run over and try and catch your tears – it’s so cute and will reverse your mood instantly.

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5) They will give you this look, if they’ve misbehaved:

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6) They will demand their own ‘dog friendly’ sunday roast – as they don’t want to be left out.

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7) Lets no forget birthdays!

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8) They are stubborn! If they are used to a certain route around the park, then they will dig their feet in if you are try to change it…

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9) They sleep like humans and will hog your bed…

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10) They love Christmas!

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11) ‘Small dog syndrome’, is so similar to small man syndrome. Although they are small, they defiantly make up for this in character. They are confident and won’t be intimidated. Mine is really confident with people and dogs, although some barks at them, mine doesn’t and will instead lick their noses – so cute.

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12) The ‘snappy’ stereotype is down to the dog and the way the owner brings them up. Luna doesn’t bark or snap at people, kids or dogs. The only time she’s vocal is when she’s really threatened or scared. One time a man approached the window side of the drivers seat – and she wouldn’t stop barking. It was quite amusing, as she never does this. This was just because she was scared and is only territorial when someone is acting very out of the ordinary. She also can be protective of her dog bed – but that is understandable.

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13) They can wear cute adorable outfits!

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14) They follow you everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE. I took her to my local shop, where the shopkeeper calls her ‘my mascot’.

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15) They will do random things, which will make you laugh… Luna was in the garden growling so I run out there. Turns out it was a new object in the garden and she was growling at it as she was unsure of it. It was also followed by her usual ‘paw lift’ when she’s unsure of something.

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16) She’s obsessed with toilet paper!

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17)They’ll sleep anywhere..

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18) They’re easy to bath – but not too impressed!

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19) She’s obsessed with babies and I mean OBSESSED. I took her to the vets and she wasn’t bothered about the dogs scattered everywhere, but was crying because she wasn’t to see the baby in the pram. I told her no but she was persistent because she wanted to see the baby. My nephew also comes round a lot, and she is so hyper and just wants to see him. She runs with her feet together, and sprints just to go and see him.

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20) Their your favorite fan!

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Thank you Luna for being the best dog! And making me laugh endlessly ❤

If you don’t own a Chihuahua then you should for: laughter, adventure, lessons and a lifetime buddy.

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10 Tips for surviving first year of University

1) Ensure that you do in depth research about your university, your course and the area that you will be living in. This is so important, as if you fail to do so you may not enjoy your course or the University. If you want a more city lifestyle – then London would be more suited. If you chose, for example in Colchester, it’s much more rural, so would suit students who prefer this.

2) Make sure that you book your accommodation early to ensure that you can settle in ASAP. I did enjoy staying on campus in first year as it was much more convenient. I chose the quieter ‘more expensive’ flats whereas some of mine stayed in the cheaper ‘party’ flats – but said they socialised a lot and made a strong connection of friends.

3) Start buying home bits for your room early. You will need items such as: bedding, toiletries, kitchen appliances, sponges, towels and so forth. A good place to get the small bits is Wilkonson’s or online. I  recommend buying some food that you can quickly grab in case that you are running low.

4) Have a comfortable notepad, which contains good quality paper and is in a large quantity. This will be the most important item that you can have at University. When writing your notes, re-read them after every lecture and/or rewrite them to look neater. Some people prefer a laptop, however I preferred the more traditional approach as I found that I store it a lot more and don’t get distracted… Oh and a nice bag that can fit this in and also the capacity to store a large amount of books!

5) Go to every lecture, unless it is absolutely impossible. This helps you to understand the material, but also to stay on track and be organised.

6) Do your reading on the list every week! This will truly help you to understand the material and will. be so beneficial for second and third year.

7) If you have any questions… ask! Whether its peer or lecturers ensure you ask, and I’m sure they will be able to answer for you.

8) Most students have the view that ‘I don’t care about first year, as it doesn’t count’. This is the wrong approach, as I’ve learnt from experience that although it doesn’t physically goes towards your grade, it makes a huge difference for your modules in second and third year, so is important  in the long run.

9) Remember that you do get holidays, so you can visit your friends and family where you are free.

10) Although you need to be focusing on your studies, when the work Is done, don’t forget to let your hair down, socialise and go out. This is the year for settling into a new accommodation, studies and friendship groups. I’m not going to lie you may feel homesick at first and a little in the deep end, but once you settle in it will soon be like a second home.

Share any tips you may have ❤ OX

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Five things I learned at the age of 23

  1. Not everything in life goes to plan – and thats okay

    You may have had a designated ‘life plan’ in mind, but you may get side tracked. Thats fine, and perfectly normal. You may stray down a different route entirely, or simply find your way back – but either way that is the pathway that you was meant to meet, and you will eventually end up where your meant to be. It may be ideal to have some idea of where you want to go, but it is important to also live your life in the present, as opposed to the past or the future.

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2. Bad things happen, it is inevitable.

Everyone is going to experience a bad day, some worse than others. You may observe that someone has had a bad day, experience or event and feel somewhat sympathetic or if not unsympathetic towards them. But, the truth is, that you are likely to experience a situation similar to them at some point in your life, but may be of a higher or lesser extent. Therefore, it’s important to take today for what it is now, but to perhaps offer a shoulder for anyone experiencing a ‘bad’ day, as we all need it from time to time. But, also to prepare yourself for days that may not be as fortunate as the ones that you are experiencing now.

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3) ‘Adulting’ is hard, incredibly hard.

What with the rising mortgages, cars, expenditure etc it is hard to even get your foot in the doorstep, especially now in the 21st century. I’m still trying to get my head round this, but it’s important to begin to think partially about your future, as every little step is a milestone closer to becoming a somewhat ‘adult’. Start by researching with an open mind, and then you have plenty of time to build up to being an ‘adult’, you will have to have patience and not rush into anything.

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4) Focus on your own life.

I found that some people are tempted to get wrapped up in other peoples lives, that they don’t focus on their own. I think that it’s crucial to put your own life as a priority, and work on becoming a better version of yourself. Not to worry about the opinions of others so much, unless it’s positive or constructive. Focus on your dreams, get a hobby, go for a run – be proactive.

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5) Don’t take anything for granted – anything at all.

You may be so caught up in your everyday routine that you forget to take life for what it is. To socialise with your family and friends, trips to the beach, just appreciate the sound of nature. All these things are taken for granted in return for focusing on our working lives. Although this is at the forefront, we need to not forget to appreciate the fact that we are living, but also that we have our friends and relatives present. But ultimately, the world is your:

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Thank you for reading ❤

If there is anything you learned by your present age, feel free to comment 🙂 OX

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Amsterdam – The land of dutch and ‘herbal’ substances.

As you are most likely aware, Amsterdam is the Netherlands capital, known for it’s culture, heritage and flexibility on certain laws.

I’m not particularly fond of the whole ‘herbal’ scene, but the idea of exploring a city that boasts exquisite architecture, history and canals seemed somewhat appealing.

I have just finished University, so my funds are a bit limited. I had a look on Wowcher, and noticed that they had an offer for Amsterdam – one which you couldn’t turn down.

I managed to book four days, in a hotel that wasn’t too far from Centraal station.

I arrived at Southend Airpoirt, Essex – it is the ideal airport as it’s small, not crowded and is very quick to board your flight *travel heaven*.

We had a morning flight, which lasted around 30 minutes – with Easy Jet. It was the quickest flight I had ever been on. If I were to go again, I would get a ferry and drive to Amsterdam.

Landing, we went to the local taxi rank and got in a mini bus that was 17euro. (If we would have known it would have been easier to get the airport train for 4euro).

It was a five minute journey to our hotel: Kings Court.

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First impressions: The staff were very friendly and very welcoming. The hotel was modern and clean. We arrived early, and we were told that our room would be ready around 2:00 o’clock. The man stored out suitcases in a security based room and even agreed to put our duty free behind reception. This is the first time that I’ve actually felt at ease about leaving my luggage. The rooms had two single beds for me and my friend. Very modern, with dark wood detailing. The bed was the most comfortable I’ve slept in (double mattress). Very clean. The bathroom was very modern, with a walk in shower. The only negatives is that there was only one mirror in the bathroom and the traffic outside could get noisy during the day. Cold breakfast was included – but we didn’t use this.

Day One:

We accidentally walked to the train station which was very far away, so took around 45 minutes. The station had a huge pool with thick green algae and little ducks trying to swim. Bikes were evidently everywhere at the station.

We later realised that Lelylaan train station was a five minute walk from our hotel, and was a short walk through the building works.

From here we got the tram, where one would come every few minutes to Centraal station. We asked for a one hour ticket, which was 2.90 euros.

The weather was quite humid for August. But, we were glad that there was clear skies. We got off at a station near Centraal and begun to explore.

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All of the buildings and narrow side walks all looked very similar, and it was easy to get lost. It was very absurd seeing cannabis being promoted everywhere. There were brownies, smoking places, shops. The one I found most amusing was the ‘Cannabis Ice Cream’

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We had a look in a few of the shops – and I do recommend the clothes! Admittedly I thought that the make-up was over priced, they stock Anastasia Beverly Hills! However at double the price, as a eyebrow dip pomade was 30 euros… However my favourite clothes shop was ‘Only’ were I brought two reasonable priced tops.

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Food: ‘Globe Kitchen Steakhouse’ – I ordered a Aperol Spritz (because treat yourself, why not) for 8.50 euros (my friends smoothie was 7.50 euros). The decor was retro, but a bit outdated. Narrowly thin, like the majority of the buildings, with a narrow staircase leading downstairs to the toilet. Staff wasn’t as welcoming. I was hungry, but not overly. I asked what the ‘mixed snack’ was on the menu, and she just replied ‘meat’. This is what it was, to be honest it wasn’t nice at all. I’m unsure what the meat was, it was different colours of orange, grey etc – not appetising at all. I ordered chips as was hungry, and they were nice.

Sex Museum –  5euros entry – cheap and is hugely popular for tourists – so we thought we would have a look around. It was filled with mannequins, some that moved and had music. The majority of it had pictures with a lot of writing and was very small. It was quite archaic and had a 60s sort of feel to it. I think that it’s quite over rated and won’t be going back, but I found there wasn’t many touristy places, so it’s worth seeing for the small fee, but don’t expect much.

 

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Second Day:

We had another day of sightseeing, making use of the one hour unlimited tram ticket. There were a few horses and carriages – which were very pretty. Unique statues and building and the canal. There was the option to get pedal bikes – but unfortunately they were all sold out when we went.

The Bulldog – Upon research, this is one of the main coffee shops in Dam, so we thought we would see what it was like. We went in one of the smaller ones, were there were a chain of three. It was quite small and very busy, it had a sort of forest and mushroom theme. Loads of people were obviously smoking and some had sunglasses on. A laptop was playing ‘Tomorrowland’ house music, and the workers were smoking themselves. We ordered a fruit smoothie, so we did feel a tad awkward as everyone was smoking. We done some more sightseeing and came home early. We asked the hotel if they done room service, but that was closed for the summer, so they gave us a takeaway menu. It was 20 euro for a pizza, chips and drink. We get an early night, as we were up early.

 

Day Three: Anne Franks House – A MUST-DO! In the morning we went to a nearby cafe and had a small english breakfast – 10euros and brought a cupcake, which looked nicer than it tasted. We then headed to Anne Franks house, which I had previously ordered online. It was the 30 minute induction, with the museum. We waited at the canal then headed over for out 1:30 slot. We entered the building, then a room with pictures of Anne Frank and her life. A dutch lady, spoke about explained the timeline, then we picked up a earset then could walk around the museum at our own pace. It was very interesting but also sad about what the family had to endure whilst here. I won’t go into too much detail, but it is defiantly worth doing. If you get a chance to write in the guestbook at the end, then I would highly recommend. There is a souvenir shop, which had the books (tempting), but I just brought a postcard.

Day Three Evening:

We brought a medium meal from Mcdonalds, which was amazing, but 10 euroes. We really disliked the dutch food, so this was a safe option. This was in Centraal. We also saw a group of people being filmed for a music festival – which was quite interesting. We decided to go to the infamous ‘Red Light District’ just to see what it’s all about. It is pretty much what everyone says it is like. It was very busy – mainly large groups of men. Once we had walked through we wanted to find a nice bar that we could sit and have a few drinks, however we couldn’t find any nice bars. We were quite bored and there wasn’t that much to do. When we walked further out it did seem like Amsterdam is more of a night city, as it was a lot more busy. I think it was defiantly better suited to men and/or couples. The rest of Dam, was lit up, which was quite pretty.

 

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Day Four (Final Day)

We went back to our favourite cafe – St Pauls Cafe, where we had a english fry up! (Literally lived off fry ups). Had a coffee, which was equivalent to two mouthfuls. The weather wasn’t very nice and we were quite tired, so after walking around for a bit, we headed back to the hotel, where we chilled until the evening. We paid 4 euros for a train to the airport, which was around 7 minutes – defiantly recommend. Goodbye Amsterdam!

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Things I didn’t do, which I wish I did: Museums, ride a bike, canal ride…

Upon reflection: I admired the architecture, culture and very good transport. I disliked that is was very pricey, bikes were prioritised over pedestrians and that there wasn’t much to do on the evening. If you want a chilled holiday, then this would be more for you.

Tips: Take a lot of money! Each basic meal is between 10-20 euros, bring an umbrella, wear comfy trainers.

Please let me know your thoughts on Amsterdam! Ox