My Indian Adventure

I recently wrote about the Laws of Attraction and the overwhelming desire I have to visit India.

Well, I am beyond excited to let you, my readers, know, that I am making that dream a reality.

This Christmas, I fly out to Delhi for a 15 day trip to India.

Whilst there, I will visit Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Pushkar, Udaipur, Mumbai, and last but certainly not least, Goa.

I am travelling with a company who came highly recommended by a friend, and will meet my fellow travel companions on the day I arrive in Delhi.

The trip is basic, so rather than staying in modern westernised hotels, I wanted to do things the Indian way, to get a real sense of the country and Indian life. This means I’ll be staying in traditional Indian hotels (some without hot water!), taking traditional transport (including the odd rickshaw or two!) as well as eating with the locals.

In order to visit Mumbai and Goa, I’ll also be getting two overnight trains! What better way to mix with the locals and to get a real feel for Indian life!

Why am I going at Christmas I hear you ask?

I love Christmas. Or at least I used to. I loved the magic of it. Yet, the last couple of years, I feel as though I’ve lost my Christmas spirit. Part of me hopes that by escaping the chaos of a traditional western Christmas, my festive spirit will return home with me.

It’s also a great time to go from a work point of view. Our office closes down over the Christmas period, which means that for a 15 day trip I will only need to take around 5 days annual leave…

It’s also much cooler throughout India in December and January. With temperatures currently peaking at 48 degrees Celsius in parts of India, there is no way this gingernut would survive in those temperatures!

Although the trip feels a long way off with just over 6 months until I fly out there, I have a lot to organise before I leave.

With visa’s to arrange, travel insurance to buy, vaccinations to brave, a suitable Indian wardrobe to buy, and a home for my furry four legged friend whilst I am away (which isn’t going to be easy over Christmas!), there will be plenty to keep me busy over the next few months.

I still have another flight to book too! Whilst flying to Delhi is easy (a 8.5 hr direct flight from Heathrow), flying back from Goa is looking slightly more challenging, with no direct flights back to the UK.

Whilst I should probably get the return flight booked soon, there is a part of me that is far too excited about the thought of having a one way ticket to India…

This is by far the biggest adventure I will have been on.

It will certainly be a trip of firsts:

    My first group travel trip (there could be up to 15 other people on my trip)
    My first long haul flight on my own
    My first trip to India
    My first overnight train
    My first authentic Indian curry (I can’t wait for this!)
    The first time I will be sharing a room with a stranger (it was much cheaper to risk sharing with someone else on the trip than paying the single person supplement…and anyhow, part of the experience is about making new friends…)
    My first Christmas in another country, as well as my first New Year on foreign soil

I’m sure these won’t be the only firsts either.

My only hope is that I don’t become an India bore over the next few months (please tell me if I do!).

I’m looking forward to gaining a better understanding as to why India is pulling at me, and why everything seems to be leading me down this particular path…

I can’t wait to take you all on this Indian adventure with me 💕🇮🇳✨✈️

Old Fashioned Romance with a Modern Day Twist

I love being single, but that doesn’t stop me looking forward to being in love again. Although, I have to admit, and if you have read some of my earlier blog posts, you may have already worked out that I’m not actually too good at this love malarkey.

Falling for the wrong men is becoming quite the speciality of mine. From Nigerian con men, men who’s visas are about to expire, men posing online as soldiers from the US Army, men (some married, and some not) who want me as their naughty little secret or their bit of fun, and that’s not to mention the control freaks. Oh, and on top of that, there’s the best friend who I spent the best part of 4 years falling in and out of love with! You name it, I’ve done it and got the bloody T-shirt.

I’ve had my fair share of disastrous relationships.

Yet none of this has made me to give up on love.

I’m a hopeless romantic. A proper fictional romance book/rom com movie romantic.

Think Emma Thompson in Last Chance Harvey, Sandra Bullock in While you were Sleeping, Julia Roberts in My Best Friend’s Wedding, or even Steve Carrell in Dan in Real Life.

Although, in reality, what I actually want is old fashioned romance with a modern day twist.

I’m definitely not a ball and chain kinda girl.

I’m too much of a free spirit these days for you to be able to chain me to the kitchen sink, or for you to expect me to do everything you want to do.

I love spending time by myself.

I actually enjoy my own company (something my younger self would never have dreamt I would say!)

I love waking up at the weekend or on my days off, and doing what I want to do.

I love the freedom of being able to book holidays to far off places I want to visit, just because I have an itch that needs to be scratched.

When I fall in love again, I want it to be the kind of love where we share special times together, but equally lead our own separate lives, doing what makes us happy. Sometimes that might involve holidays together, other times it might mean travelling to places on our own, or with friends. Sometimes there will be weekends spent together, other times, it may not.

I’m done with claustrophobic love. The kinda love where you feel you have to spend every waking moment with someone. The kinda love where you do everything together, but end up with nothing to talk about because you have no new experiences to talk of, except for those you have shared together.

In my dream world, you might live next door to me, but not live with me.

It’s funny how as we get older our views on relationships change. Maybe as we get older we become more selfish. Or maybe we simply become more realistic.

Long gone are the days where I feel a relationship should complete me.

I had that all wrong.

What’s important is that you learn to love yourself.

To love your life.

So that when someone else does come along, they don’t take your life and your love for yourself away from you. Instead, they enhance you. They enhance your life.

The Law of Attraction

Have you ever felt an overwhelming desire to go somewhere you have never been before?

Not just because it looks nice, but because you feel something else is pulling you there?

For several years, I have had this overwhelming feeling that I need to visit India.

The feeling has been so strong lately, that I haven’t been able to think of much else.

I’m not one for regrets. However, I knew that if I didn’t make plans to go soon, it could turn out to be the biggest regret of my life.

However, finances have been tight lately. Thoughts of my finances standing in the way of me and India, made my heart sad and my soul restless. There had to be a way of making this work.

Recently, I have been reading a book by the social media influencer, Vex King. In his book Good Vibes, Good Life, Vex talks about the Law of Attraction. This is the theory that you can attract things into your life by thinking about them.

By thinking positive thoughts about India and improving my finances, could I really find myself in a position with enough money to make this dream a reality?

I decided to give it a try.

It didn’t take long for my situation to start to change.

The first thing that happened, wasn’t a direct link to money.

I had been looking into several tour operators who run group trips to India. The one I had my eye on was a really good price, but I was struggling to find reviews from people who had been.

A few days later, I met up with a friend of mine whom I hadn’t seen for a couple of years. He was in London for the evening and suggested we meet up for dinner and drinks. During our evening together, we soon got talking about travel. I mentioned the company I was looking to travel to India with, and it turned out he had been on a number of trips with them, and highly recommended them. After that, I spoke to a few more people who had also heard positive things about the company.

So that made my mind up. Once I could afford to go, I at least knew which my preferred tour operator would be. It also meant I could start looking into the different tours they run. I had my heart set on at least doing the Golden Triangle.

Whilst on annual leave a couple of weeks ago, other positive things started to happen.

First, I received an email from an app I had signed up to. The app itself is linked to my phone bill, and by spending money on my credit card in certain shops, I receive money back to use for towards paying my phone bill. That week, I received an email from them letting me know that the travel company I was looking to use, was also now involved in their scheme. By booking through the company, I would receive 5% back to use towards my phone bill!

Secondly, after researching the travel company, I was really happy to see that on booking, I would only need to pay a deposit, with the balance not needing to be paid until 56 days prior to the trip. This was great news, as it meant it would be much easier to secure my trip over the next couple of months, and save up to pay the balance at a later date.

Following this great news, during the same week, I received a message from a colleague who confirmed that all staff would be receiving a pay increase, back dated to January! The pay increase was welcome news for many reasons, but with the backdated sum, this would enable me to pay for the deposit for my trip!

Further good news came last week when I spoke to a property developer who has been working on some new properties behind my flat. As a way of apologising for all the noise and disruptions the building work have caused, he said he has some money in the budget to compensate me! Definitely not taking this for granted (if he overspends on the development, the amount of compensation could be significantly reduced), but pretty good news however much it turns out to be!

Lastly, I had to resubmit my gas and electricity meter readings this week. Due to the building work out the back, I’ve been unable to submit accurate readings for a while. Simply by giving them accurate data, my gas and electricity bills have gone down by £20 per month, giving me a saving of £240 per year!

This may all be a coincidence of course, but I genuinely feel as though this is the result of the laws of attraction. By thinking positively, and believing that something is pulling me there (beyond the desire to just go to India on holiday), I have somehow been given the opportunity to travel to this wonderful place that has already captured my heart, with a much lesser financial burden than I had previously thought I would face.

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing of course to get to this point. There have been days where I thought India would never happen. On those days, when I felt less positive, I really had to push myself to believe that I could make India a reality.

Without sounding like I’m crazy, I just can’t shake this feeling that i’m destined to go to India. I don’t know what to make of this, or why I need to go. But I do know that I need to go.

It’s time to step back out of my comfort zone, and throw myself into a magical Indian adventure.

Cumin

Isn’t it funny how certain tastes and smells we experience, stay with us throughout our lives?

Standing in the kitchen today, frying up a couple of eggs for lunch, I decided to sprinkle a little bit of cumin powder on top of them.

As I lifted the lid off the cumin powder, I was instantly transported back to Marrakech. Although I long to go again some day, I haven’t been back since my first visit in December 2015.

Moroccans seem to add cumin to everything, including their fried eggs.

The smell was such a powerful reminder of my trip. Other memories came flooding back. Not just the smells, but the taste of the food, and the sounds.

Whilst visiting Marrakech, I heard the Adhan (the call to prayer) for the first time. The first time I heard the call to prayer, I had no idea what it was, but it sent shivers down my spine. No matter how many times I search you tube, I just can’t find a video that does it justice. Maybe it’s just one of those sounds you have to hear for yourself rather than through a video. Hearing the Adhan was like being cast under a spell. I wanted to follow the sound to see where it led me.

Along with the sound of the Adhan, and the taste and smell of cumin, the other smell that will forever remain in my memory, is that of the petrol fumes. If you have ever been to Marrakech, you will know that the souks are a maze of narrow streets full of traders, locals and tourists alike, bartering over the many goods that are on offer. It’s incredible how anyone gets through those markets in one piece, on or off a mode of transport. The scooters and motorbikes somehow navigate their way through the markets, dodging people, animals and other modes of transport in order to reach their destination.

I quickly grew accustomed to the powerful effect Marrakech had on my senses in the short time I was there.

When I returned home a few days later, I opened my suitcase, ready to unpack, and was instantly hit by a wave of petrol fumes, spices and memories of the Adhan.

The tastes, smells and sounds of Marrakech can be overwhelming and powerful to the western tourist. I know people who have visited Marrakech and couldn’t wait to leave. But for me, Marrakech stole a piece of my heart. I will forever remember the excitement that comes with having your senses caught up in the spell that is Marrakech.

There are many other smells, tastes and sounds which remind me of the past and they almost always give me reason to smile.

What brings your senses alive?

Valentines

Happy Valentines to you my lovely followers ❤️.

Whether you’ve been celebrating today with your partners, your friends, or by yourself, I hope you’ve been kind to yourself today.

This is my first single valentines for a couple of years. So many singletons seem to dread the day. Quite frankly, even those in relationships often turn their noses up at the thought of it.

However, even as a thirty something singleton, I’ve been looking forward to today.

I may not have anyone to have a romantic night in (or out) with, but for me, today has been about celebrating self love.

Ok, so maybe I had a bit of a flirt here and there, but for the most part, I have been celebrating self love.

For possibly the first time in my life, I feel happy with who I am. I feel like a new person since my trip to Portugal. Even my colleagues have noticed a change. I feel lighter, happier.

My wellbeing and my happiness have become a priority. I have spent years trying to make others happy, making myself miserable in the process. But now, I finally realise the importance of self love.

If I love me for who I am, and make sure that I stay true to myself, if I find myself looking for romantic love again, there will be no changing me to make others happy from now on.

I have lost count of the times I have changed for other people. And all it’s done is caused me to lose my identity and to end up as miserable as sin.

I’m done with all that rubbish.

If you’re not going to love me for me, then you don’t deserve me, and you certainly won’t have a future with me.

So today, my friends, has been about celebrating my happiness, my freedom, and most importantly, celebrating finding love for myself.

And this evening, I have celebrated in my cosy little London flat, with my four legged friend, a bottle of wine, and a chocolate pudding.

And I’ve loved every minute ❤️❤️❤️

Praia Santa Eulália, Praia da Oura and Alfagar II Aparthotel

I’m now back in gloomy, grey, England after a beautiful few days in Portugal.

The flight into Gatwick yesterday was slightly unnerving, as we landed in high winds. There were gasps, followed by a few expletives from passengers as we made our descent, but thankfully, our pilot got us back safe and sound (and without the drama this plane had trying to land at Heathrow yesterday – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-47177383/plane-struggles-to-land-in-strong-winds-at-heathrow-airport).

Thursday was my last full day in Portugal. I had intended on having a rest day, but I also wanted to get back out to see what else was around, close to where I was staying.

I had been staying at the beautiful Alfagar II Aparthotel, which has private access to Praia Santa Eulália. Although I had taken a walk down to the beach on the day I arrived, I really didn’t explore that much. So, I decided to pack up my rucksack and head down to the beach armed with my book and my beach towel ready to explore Praia Santa Eulália.

View from Alfagar Resort
View from Alfagar Resort
View from Alfagar Resort
View from Alfagar Resort
Private access path down to Praia Santa Eulália.

Once I arrived at the beach, I noticed the tide was out, so I decided to keep walking and followed the beach around towards the next cove. The beaches around this part of The Algarve are stunning. They are rugged and wild, but magical and serene at the same time. The cliffs were something else, and their colours are just beautiful.

As I continued my walk around to the next beaches (Praia da Oura Leste and Praia da Oura), I turned back to look at the view. It was such a stunning spot. So it was there that I sat and read my book until lunchtime approached.

After a spot of lunch by beachside restaurant Vivaldo’s it was time to head back to the hotel to enjoy my last afternoon poolside.

The view from Vivaldo’s

As the evening set in, it was time to reflect back on a fantastic trip.

I booked the entire holiday (flights, hotel and transfers) through easyJet, and I couldn’t fault any of it.

The hotel was absolutely stunning and spotlessly clean, the staff were really friendly and helpful, the food at the Buganvilla Snack-Bar where I ate my evening meals was fantastic. The portions were huge, with a wide selection of starters, and main meals. The apple pie was to die for, and the chocolate mousse was simply divine! The evening entertainment was on the cheesy side, but I guess you expect that in resorts, and in actual fact, holidaying in February, I was probably lucky that evening entertainment was on the menu! The little supermarket in Alfagar Village was well stocked with everything you could wish for, including fresh bread, a butchers, and plenty of wine.

I didn’t use all the facilities on site (there is a car rental office on site – not sure I trust myself to drive on the ‘wrong side’ of the road yet!), but those I did use were superb. The gym, the spa, the pools, as with the rest of the hotel were spotlessly clean and well looked after.

On my first day, I had a slight problem with my lights not switching on in the apartment, however, I called down to reception, and within 15 minutes the maintenance guy was at my door, ready to fix it for me. 2 minutes later, I had light and had no further problems throughout my stay.

Alfagar Aparthotel
Alfagar Aparthotel
Alfagar Aparthotel
Alfagar Aparthotel
Alfagar Aparthotel
Alfagar Aparthotel
Alfagar Aparthotel
Alfagar Aparthotel
Alfagar Aparthotel

I had also booked my transfers through easyJet. Finding the meeting point at Faro airport was really straightforward, and only took 30 minutes to get from the airport to the hotel. On the return journey, thankfully I was early, and already in reception, because the transfer was a good 10 minutes early picking me up. We got to the airport early which at least meant I had a bit more time to look around duty free!

And despite landing in windy conditions, both flights were excellent.

All in all, a fantastic holiday!

Where to next I wonder?

(All photos in this blog are my own)

Olhos de Água and Praia da Falesia

After my relaxing day on Tuesday, yesterday I was back into explorer mode.

This time I decided to head east of the resort, and headed to the beach at Olhos de Agua. Again, I chose to walk, as good old Google maps told me it was only a short walk away.

20 minutes later, I arrived at the beach. Olhos is small fishing town where the local fishermen still pull their boats onto the sand when they arrive back to the shoreline with their fresh catches. It’s a much quieter town than Albufeira, but lovely if you have a young family and aren’t looking for somewhere overly commercial.

As there wasn’t an awful lot to do or see there, I decided to head down onto the beach to see if I could walk round to the next Praia (beach), Praia da Falesia.

(All photos in this post are my own )

If you are lucky enough to get down to the Praias on the Algrave’s south coast when the tide is out, it is really easy to walk from many of the beaches to the next without too many problems, albeit over a few small rocks. However, once the tide comes back in, these parts are pretty much impossible to reach by foot.

Luckily, the tide was out when I arrived in Olhos de Água, leaving a clear path right i round to Praia da Falesia.

As soon as I walked around the corner of the cove onto Praia de Falesia, the view took my breath away. Seeing the vivid orange colours of the cliffs and the distinguishable layers of rock, made my inner geographer do a little back flip of joy!

I must’ve walked down almost the entire stretch of the praia with a massive grin on my face. Every new section of cliff face I came to had something different to offer.

As I continued to walk along the beach, I realised how light and carefree I felt. I felt more relaxed and content than I have done in a long time.

As I walked along, I did a lot of thinking. I started to make a lot of sense out of things on that walk, putting some things into perspective, letting other things go, and thinking about some of the changes I need to make in order to create more happiness and feelings of being carefree, on a more regular basis.

I will share some of my thoughts with you over the coming days, but for now, it’s time to pack and wave goodbye to Portugal as I have a flight back to London to catch tomorrow.