Tag: SOLO TRAVEL

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SNORKEL BUNAKEN! CORAL AND FISH GALORE.

OR, ISLAND LIFE, THE GOOD, BAD AND UGLY.

I had survived my lengthy trip from Jakarta with all its trials and tribulations and arrived in Bunaken and got back from my first fabulous official snorkelling tour and was a little singed and sandy but triumphant. I had stopped and had a cocktail at the beach and got back to my dwelling ready for a shower and dinner before hitting the sack. I was knackered. I’d had little sleep the night before and had swum about for miles with all the excitement of being in this amazing place. As soon as I got back the woman told me that food was ready and to sit down out on the large terrace, my food was ready.

Beach bar at the harbour for incoming boats.
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FINALLY, ISLAND PARADISE, AND MY TURTLE.

OR, ESCAPING JAKARTA AND THE JOURNEY ON TO BUNAKEN, SNORKELLERS HEAVEN.

And finally paradise.

I rushed to leave Jakarta for my final destination of Bunaken. I was so happy to be on the road again (or should I say in the air) that I never even contemplated it being dark when I arrived at the bustling port of Manado in North Sulawesi. It was, and the hotel was scary, and the place was alarming, but I had got there and would spend the night before bartering for a boat ticket first thing the next morning.

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KUALA LUMPUR, MUSEUMS, ORCHIDS AND BIRDS.

OR, LEAVING BORNEO AND ARRIVING IN KL FOR A BIT OF TLC.

Journal Excerpts and Perfect Timing a continuation from last post!

KUALA LUMPUR

It wasn’t even in my plan to go there.

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ORANGUTANS AND SUN BEARS IN BORNEO’S PARADISE.

OR, RESPITE FOR THESE NOBLE CREATURES.

I had travelled from London to India, then Thailand to the Philippines and onward to the North of Borneo to a remote sanctuary for the now near extinct sun bear, and orangutan, a rehabilitation centre par excellence. It had been a wild journey already to get to this point, a lot of challenges and really living my best life.

Little family who turned up in the afternoon.
The shy sun bear with its long talon like claws for digging.

I had swum with whale sharks, visited Mogul palaces and forts, gone by horse up volcanic mountains in lake to see the emerald acid lake within that. I had gazed upon the Taj Mahal and other places of such beauty that I had been transfixed. I had had some adventures and laughed later, after the dramas were over. I had eaten a huge array of food and swum in crystal waterfall pools. I had seen art in museums that filled my soul with joy and learnt many things about cultures and ideas previously unknown to me. This trip had already held so much magic that I felt couldn’t be surpassed, nothing could surprise me. How wrong I was. Upon meeting the ‘Old Man of the Woods’ or ‘Wise Old Man of the Jungle’ I was in love. Seeing the insane flora and fauna I was gobsmacked and felt I was in for a roller-coaster of emotions. I was right.

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WORKING IN REMOTE PLACES. REALLY HARD!

OR, GETTING BACK TO THE BASICS.

Alert: Another post from a year ago in Mexicos’ Punta Allen. Just shows the completely different and happy lifestyle I had over there in comparison to being in London. My moaning about the trivial was so insignificant in comparison to what I’m encountering here. I rectified the photo problem so I have now put the proper photos in. What a palaver!

On the pier at Punta Allen

Alert: Yesterday capped it all. Went to a restaurant for a humble salad and went to turn my phone on and nada. Blank screen kaput. I’d noticed a small chip in the top corner but surely that couldn’t be it? I’ve seen people with completely smashed screens happily continuing to use them. WTF?! More bad luck? Alkida and I eyed each other, she knew something was up. She looked away hurriedly as dogs do when something is amiss. I am proud to say I, although ready to scream and cry, planned rather than leaving here and going straight to bloody Cancun, and just to put my SIM into my Mexican phone which rather ruined my off-grid plans (tell you later) I asked two very unhelpful people (Utopia comes with its selfish bastards too) then went to my room calmly ready to use iPad and see if I could change me SIMS. In the darkness of the room, I saw a faint background pic on it. Crouching in a dark corner I could just about make out settings and then screen brightness. Boom! All good and I became cautiously optimistic that I could hopefully continue here. Previously I would have wept like a baby but this time I handled it with steely determination. I’m very proud of myself that I’m developing into an even tougher old bird. I still have the photos problem so in this post you will see rather random references til I pull the rein in on these constant phone issues. Bear with me x

I love Punta Allen don’t get me wrong. I’m coming out of a very bad space that only solo travellers know about. I made the huge gamble of booking down here for a month and the very next day of having arrived major works are being done on the villages the main generator. Five fucking days. It’s meant that in my hotel the owner is only prepared to put on his generator from four till midnight. Nothing till four. I am an old bird who loves to rise early and do my writing then, while fresh. I am not a night owl. This has meant all my devices have depleted their batteries by around ten. I’ve made a deal with the restaurant oh so aptly named “Be Fucking Nice” and they have put on their generator which means I can charge AND write AND update work all the time. This new arrangement along with my paying some credit by card so I have money behind the bar. This means I won’t have a cash problem and if their WiFi isn’t working for their card machine they just can take money from what I have put in the kitty. The relief is massive. The whole reason I came here, was to write and edit photos for my blogs and a book I want to put together. The occasional party is great but it’s not my raison d’etre for this retreat. This kind of problem is normal, it happens in Tulum too to a lesser degree and it’s very frustrating.

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Punta Allen. Paradise on earth.

OR, HEAVEN ON EARTH BIOSPHERE OF SIAN KA’AN MEXICO.

Me and swimming dog Alkida

Alert: This was posted a year ago. I am now very homesick for my Punta Allen family (in Mexico) especially swimming dog and Sonia. Although I have been considering this idyllic notion of buying a super cheap farm in the hinterlands of Bulgaria. (Of growing my own organic food and storing it in one of the outhouses. Building my own kiln in the garden and creating beautiful ceramic pieces while having the company of the like minded around me when needed.), I am now just terribly miserable without that PA environment and lifestyle. So this is for everyone who is feeling a little blue at the moment to brighten up your day with my first exploration of PA with my broken hand limply cradled in my arms.

FROM MY JOURNAL. 9TH MAY 2021

Pain throughout the night. I had definitely set back my recovery but what to do? More painkillers and sedatives, a tormented sleep only to get up to open the windows in the night after the AC went off.

View from Villas Roseliz

When I staggered out of my room in the morning the beauty of the place really dawned on me I had only seen the little twinkling lights the night before and it all looked disconnected and really quite scary.

Church for the five hundred population of PA

Punta Allen is an unspoilt village with only very transient tourists passing through. It’s a fishing village and an amazing microcosm. I presume they have been hit by these times but I doubt people really stay here it’s more for the fishing and visiting the Biosphere Sian Ka’an where they have a huge variety of flora and fauna including jaguars if you’re very lucky. It’s at the end of the Boca Paila Peninsula. On that fifty km of rough dirt track down there, live around 500 salty souls.

hotel villa roseliz.

Morning view when I stepped out from my room each day
Alkida playing the fool

Arriving at family hotel was a stroke of the best luck. It’s such a beautiful place and is appointed twenty paces from the white beach front. David the owner and Sonia have taken good care of me which would never have happened in the more impersonal places here. I was in poor shape but I extended my stay because, well, I felt as if this was the place to recuperate both body and soul. I didn’t want to leave and the huge bonus of love from the doggy too has really made the difference between just having a place to rest your head, and having a caring sort of family. They have massage here and a kayak if you fancy going out on the crazy beautiful aquamarine sea. Indeed someone said in a review that the massage was ‘magical, cosmic and ancestral’. Can’t really get a better review! I just wanted to tell you about this place because sometimes in life, and especially when you’re a damaged old bird travelling solo, you need the milk of human kindness. Sonia also will also cook some tasty food if you preorder.

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PREP FOR GOING OFF-GRID IN MEXICO!

OR, the drama to move commodities to the end of the world!

View from my room

Alert: Posted a year ago, my life got so fabulous when I joined the tiny community of Punta Allen. My month of living very simply on the beach with dogs and small dramas each day. The simple life is really the best life.

The Internet really playing up will add more pics later! One of the things that happen off-grid!

Love the name!

The bus ride back was fast, only the three hours, but I was glum. Although I knew it was just one week in Tulum I had finally found my groove in this small paradise. The journey itself was great because it leaves at eight in the morning, no hanging around and great light to take pictures. Upon reaching the hotel side of Tulum though, my depression deepened. Plastic loud tourists milling around and all the trappings that go with under a thin veil of being very ethnic.

Collectivo with bananas and food as cargo with the passengers.

As soon as I arrived in Tulum my ears were assaulted by noise. I was so used to crashing waves and wind that to hear all these fucking cars and lorries, loudspeakers of vendors of gas, and fruit and veg, and other shite that I freaked as I got off the collectivo. Also a new thing, police loudspeakers about covid and masks. This just felt hostile and I felt really low.

For all the inconveniences of living on the edge of society, it’s a whole world of difference if you’ve been used to being a lone wolf for a while. I sit here back in Punta Allen another time and although there’s no bloody WiFi at the moment because it’s ‘windy’ I still am blessed to be here and just writing this up in ‘word’ to copy to blog later.

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CENOTES THE ROUTE TO THE UNDERWORLD.

OR , DON’T BE SHY, JUST JUMP IN TO MAGIC ICY POOLS

Fabulous water and entrance to the underworld under the lip of the pond are the caves

FROM LAST YEAR, A LESSON IN SHAKING OFF THE BLUES

Although I lost my mojo for a few days, I gave myself a sharp talking to. I was beginning to get depressed. I think it was after being chased by the troupe of dogs in this neighbourhood which has now made me walk the long way round to my local shop. Add to that a lot of drunks and crack heads suddenly started to congregate around my street. This meant I couldn’t really go out after six unless I asked Charlie for a lift. I hate being beholden to people so this was getting me down. However all is well again with a few tweaks, I’m nothing if not adaptable.