#GameofThrones #Belfast #Workstory

I have little catch phrases that the Magician likes to point out…. Gentle hints (or sometimes a deserved verbal brick in the face) that I always say this.

  • Its just really hectic at the moment due to blah blah
  • This person messed up so I have to stay late
  • I’m just really stressed right now

As I lay in bed Continue reading #GameofThrones #Belfast #Workstory

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#Year of change #LoveLife #2019

Singing in 2019 in last year, I saw all the smiling faces surround me. I kissed goodbye to an epic 2018, with my husband holding me softly, telling me all he wants is to spend everyday of his life with me. Leaving me, as always, feeling a continued awestruck gratitude that brought him into my life.

Normally every year I reflect back on the positives and the negatives. Make resolutions I never keep on losing weight, or ‘changing’ anything I’ve decided I don’t arbitrarily like about myself. But this year I’m left feeling nothing but gratitude. And a distinct lack of need for a resolution, of any kind.

At the end of 2017 I tried to accept I wasn’t ready for a relationship yet, and continued to try and ‘look for change’. I was still hunting down the ‘new’ Amy that was magically different, better, shinier. The year had other plans for me though.

2018 took me on a tour through Thailand and Nepal, where the Magician and I came back together. During the several months that followed a cycle of me trying to prep for the 2,200 mile Appalachian trail and injury, I finally realised that the Magician wasn’t going to hurt me (I didn’t need to keep trying to run away from him). My third (and final) attempt at hiking the trail lasting only a few days and miles out from Harpers ferry. Giving me time to finally realise and truly accept what it really meant to ‘listen to’ my body. Whilst the Magician traveled to India for satsang that changed his life, to the point I followed suit a few short weeks later. The winter brought me home to our French wedding filled with more love and tears than I thought existed in the world. And if that wasn’t enough, we finally made it home, to Dublin, to settle down for a life filled with love, nature and simplicity.

At the end of all this, I can’t help but be stuffed to the brim with gratitude. Two years ago I started a new journey, which has lead me to a new family that has welcomed me home like a long lost friend. Continued to leave me filled with a flabbergasted inspiration for my wheelchair bound mother. Warmed to the bottom of my heart with my family’s continued love. Mischievous giggles from shared laughter and adventures with friends old, and new. But, above all, there’s a twinkle in my eyes, put there as if by magic, from a blue eyed Frenchman.

During the last few months I’ve questioned whether or not to continue my blog. I’d originally started this as a method to help me work through the sudden changes in my life, then as a method to improve my writing. A conversation with a beautiful Belgian Lion finally brought me back here. Reminding me of the simple pleasure I have of writing, and her’s, from seeing another’s adventures through their eyes.

I’ll leave you all here, wishing you a wonderful 2019. One where you don’t have a resolution to be a ‘new’ person, seek reasons to not just accept that beauty that is you, just as you are. Where you can enjoy the cup of tea, just for the pleasure of the moment. One where your health continues to be your wealth. A year that sparkles and ignites love in you. And lastly….. one that helps you to connect to someone beautiful.

Credits: A massive thank you to the phenomenal Alex, who caught our smiles, and the epic Simon, who captured our cold November salutations.

Hawaii #Poem #Aloha #Pacificlife

You attract the masses

Swept in a history of your own

Claimed falsely by American hands

Continue reading Hawaii #Poem #Aloha #Pacificlife

Koh Tao- #Diving #Thailand #Asia

After Koh Pha Ngan Full Moon party we were definitely needing something a bit calmer. Jumping on the ferry together, we left in the morning again for Koh Tao. This is a very small Thai island, know mainly for its diving. Now this is where the Magician and I are a little interesting… I have asthma and he once broke one of the tiny bones in his inner ear. When we were stood outside ‘French Kiss’ diving company, we were distinctly told we couldn’t have the worst medical conditions as a couple for diving if we tried.

So needless to say the diving here is AMAZING! But that’s going to be obvious, Thai Island… coral reefs (blah blah). So I won’t go on about this, I’m just going to give a few tips on picking a diving school. So, I trawled tripadvisor (and a couple of blogs) on who we should pick. We’d already booked our accommodation, before I found out on Koh Tao that a lot of the diving school here will commonly include accommodation in the cost of an Open water. But after that boo boo, I looked for a medium sized school which would be able to cater for our languages. French Kiss came out as one of the top places (and was conveniently near to our hotel). So something you’ll come to notice in Thailand is most travellers here are German or French (not so many Brits). However, going to French Kiss where most of the Divers were French (but they have English speaking instructor), boom! The Magician and I had our Open Water with our own instructor (who also had a Dive Master training with us). So it meant the first time the Magician was in the water, he got one to one time to help him get really comfortable with diving. Whilst I happily floated behind him, with the Dive Master making sure I didn’t try to find a shark to pet (I’m a bit weird, best not to ask).

The other benefit was the first sessions of the Open Water took us to Super Shallow places to dive. In my first dive I didn’t have this. And to be honest, I think it would have been better to be in a very shallow place, as it helps to get very comfortable with the weird feeling of breathing underwater. The week passed quickly (and tiringly) with early morning study lessons, followed by 2 dives in the afternoon. But before we knew it, we were both qualified. Even managing to sneak in a night dive, before we had to head back.

If you’re not going to dive in Koh Tao, there is still a lot to do on the island. And its really easy to hire a moped and see the island. The beach we stayed at was stunning. But the bit that surprised me, was the smaller restaurants next to our hotel were amazing. Including a great vegan café, and a bohemian multi- story tree house (that seemed to be more appropriate to Jamaica and Bob Marley that here).  When you go into the main part of the town, it felt a lot more commercially touristy (which isn’t really my thing!). What you’ll find is that the locals tell you to get a taxi everywhere. And some places are only 15 mins walk away. The hills up and down the road are fairly steep though. And unfortunately I slipped and feel embarrassing smack on my butt in front of a crowd of locals… D’oh!

So all in all, Koh Tao was wonderful. I love being with nature. And under- water nature is so different, especially at night. As the week drew to a close though, the Magician and I started to feel the pressure of my impending walk on the Appalachian Trail. Walking 2,200 miles for 6 months in the USA would mean a long separation, whilst he would continue his journey to understand enlightenment through Vipassana and he was planning on visiting a Zen Master in India. This background left us in a status of limbo’d and in need for reassurance, but at the same time complete respect for one another separate journey.

Photo’s kindly provided by Saber Photography!

 

Koh Phangan- #Fullmoonparty #hippysandbooze #Thailand #Asia

We left Koh Samui in the early afternoon, grabbing a bus out to the ferry port. Getting on the ferry out to Koh Pha Ngan is really simple and fast. The challenge comes when the tourists all run on and off the boat, as if being on it 2 seconds earlier than you will make a difference to the journey. We arrived in darkness on the island and walked off the bus (purposely not taking the first taxi trying to win our business). It was worth it, as we were crammed on to the same taxi’s as everyone else, but paid a less than the first tourists who were caught in their trap. We were staying for the first few days in a standard beach hotel at Haad Yao. We were so tired we immediately dumped our bags and tried to find some where open with vegan food. This proved slightly challenging, but ended with a romantic meal on the beach, followed by an after-dinner massage.

So for those who haven’t had a Thai massage, I’ll give you a quick break down. Its similar to a deep tissue massage. The big difference for me, is in Thailand, they just see you as a ‘body’. So in most of my massages in Thailand, they’ll also massage the muscles on my chest, and in a few places you’ll go to there are not curtains between the beds. I have absolutely no problems being semi- naked in front of others. But I know not everyone does. So if you are uncomfortable with this, just let them know before you have a massage. But, you’ll be missing something. The muscles in my chest are surprisingly tense (I suspect from hunching over a laptop all the time!).

In the few days before the full moon party, we hired out a moped and explored the island. A lot of people just descend on the island for the full moon party. To the point they’ll literally just get the ferry to and from the island, not even staying one night. If you’re thinking about this, to be honest, this would be a mistake. The island is very beautiful in the areas beyond the full moon party beach. So we spent our time sipping coffee in vegan cafes, driving the moped up and down numerous steep roads with incredible views out across the sea. There is definitely a tourist vibe on the beaches of the island, but a wealthy chic- hippy vibe inland. Which gives it a distinct culturally mix (with normal Thai life as well).

After our days of soaking up the distinct cultural mix, we headed to Haad Rin for the full moon party. We stayed here a couple of extra days either side of the party. This is obviously a party town, for one night a month. So on nights outside the full moon party, its like arriving to your mates house party 2 hours early, whilst you uncomfortably shuffle around talking to the one or two other people there. You still have most of the bars open and booming, along with the food stalls, stand up bars, fire performers… But on the full moon party night everything explodes! There are huge numbers of tourists that descend, and there are even more crowds of vendors trying to sell you things, and more fire displays.

So on the plus side, the atmosphere was really fun. There was lots of different types of dance, trance, RnB, Reggae music. There were lots of stall with different types of food, and everyone happily wonders around in neon smiling. If you keep your eyes out though, you see families of locals pinicing on the beach laughing. There are number of fortune tellers, waiting for over- drunk patriot’s to appear. And the fire performers are amazing. You’ll also commonly get skipping ropes set on fire, where you can (if you dare)… try and skip through it. Or try and do limbo, which is also on fire). And you might get rewarded with a free shot. I think you can see a theme here? Alcohol… fire… I leave you to add what happens next.

The negatives? Well, I’d come with an expectation that there would be something special energy wise. That people would talk to others (rather than sticking to the friend groups they arrived with), or even just be marginally friendly. And well, my experiences was that people were just there to get exceptionally drunk as quick as possible. So it wasn’t uncommon to see people passed out alone on the beach at 10pm. Their friends not bothering to put them in the recovery position (or were too drunk to even notice they’d disappeared). There wasn’t any special atmosphere. So if you like getting hammered to the point you may vomit over yourself, then due to drunkeness, pee in front of 100 people in the sea, then I’d give the actual full- moon party a miss. I would however say, walking out on the beach in the early hours of the morning, after the party, there was an empty calmness, as the final hustle and bustle of cleaning the beach was over and done with. Its also kind of funny seeing the passed out people being cleaned around. And I’ve never seen someone passed out standing up. It did help me to know to NEVER swim in the sea on this beach…. Urgh….

Koh Samui Part 2- #ParadiseIsland #Thailand #Asia

This was to be an exceptionally strange week, as I spoke to my ex- husband for the first time in months. This was to let him know that I was writing a book, some of it was based on our relationship break down. I’d just wanted to check that he was ok with me writing this. It turns out he didn’t mind at all. In fact he wanted to read a copy of it when it was finished. The conversation then took a bizarre turn, he talked about how it was hard to adjust to living in a more frugal life style compared to when we’d been together. On top of that, he recommended I read a book based on how to keep your marriage together. All in all, this made me extremely uncomfortable. Continue reading Koh Samui Part 2- #ParadiseIsland #Thailand #Asia

Koh Samui Part 1- #ParadiseIsland #Thailand #Asia

I travelled out to Koh Samui from Chiang Mai (catching a flight, then a ferry). This was actually a lot simpler than I’d thought it would be and I was at my hotel by 3pm The hotel was slightly expensive, but I had a room to myself for the quiet I’d been craving. The entire point of landing into Koh Samui was to keep writing, on and on until I’d released pent up emotions and could understand some of the turbulence over the last few months. Questions flooded my mind over and over again. And my pen flew at speed through my note pad. Continue reading Koh Samui Part 1- #ParadiseIsland #Thailand #Asia

Chiang Mai- #Yogaheaven #Thailand #Asia

After leaving Nepal in our wake, we headed to the Northern Thai city, Chiang Mai. This city is a very well-known spiritual place, filled with retreats, elephant sanctuaries, and other fun things for the conscious tourist. After landing in the city, we got picked up from the centre to start our retreat. I was excited about this, as a German Yoga instructor recommended Suan Sati. We would be spending 2 weeks in their Truck-a-low. This was basically a truck that had been converted into a romantic room for two. Continue reading Chiang Mai- #Yogaheaven #Thailand #Asia

Lumbini- #Buddha #Nepal #Asia

We heading out too early in the morning to Lumbini (the birthplace of Buddha). Lumbini is a pilgrimage site for Buddhists and Hindu’s (as Hindu’s believe Buddha was the reincarnation of Vishnu). In 1997 it was granted World Heritage status by UNESCO. Again, due to the road works, we would be on the road for over 5 hours. The journey only got worse, as we guessed we had to get out by the country border between India and Nepal. Here we waited for the taxi to our hotel (but no one arrived). After taking refuge in a café, we were taken pity on by the locals, as they tried to understand where we were going, and that the hotel hadn’t arrived to pick us up. A painful hour later, a hotel driver turned up to collect us. Taking the dusty road out to the hotel, it seemed as though everything was covered in a pale orange dust. Continue reading Lumbini- #Buddha #Nepal #Asia

Chitwan National Park- #Nepal #Asia

We left Katmandu early in the morning for a wonderful 5 hour bus ride out to Chitwan National Park (which on Nepalese time should translate to 8 hours). One of the first things to know about Nepal, is that the roads and traffic are bad, everywhere. They’re currently building highways to connect the south and north together, but these won’t be finished for a few more years. And currently these road works just add to the chaos. Being stuck on a bus hungry and thirsty for an unknown period of time (with no toilet) left us both in ‘fabulous moods’. Continue reading Chitwan National Park- #Nepal #Asia

Kathmandu- #Nepal #Asia

Arriving into the airport, I was consumed by nerves. Would the Magician and I stop arguing? Would we be able to forgive each other for the words we’d said to each other? Could we even trust each other? I waited in the airport for 2 hours for his plane to arrive. Sipping what was one of the worst coffees of my life I waited, trying to ignore the continual stares from the locals and to calm my pounding heart. I watched as his angular gait swing through whilst carrying with his familiar grey rucksack. I watched his head flick around looking for me. I gave a tentative wave, then he caught me up in his arms. I felt the seed of hope I’d been nursing for days plant, that maybe we would be ok. Continue reading Kathmandu- #Nepal #Asia

Phi Phi Part 2- #ThaiIslandMadness #Thailand #PhiPhi

Later in the week I took myself out on a trial dive. This was the first time I’d ever been diving and I flaked between being excited and nervous. On the diving boat we went to two nearby locations. To be honest, diving in Phi Phi is awful. You get to see huge shoals of fish, coral, turtles, pretty much every fish in Finding Nemo bobbing around. Its terrible, total waste of money. I’d never do it again. The consolation was getting to see the beach where they filmed the movie ‘The Beach’. This was a pretty continuous joke from any women about wanting to touch a piece of land that Leo Dicaprio had touched. So needless to say, tourists typically swarm the place like ants. Leo’s one of these celebrities that I’ve never really ‘gotten’ though. He’s just not that pretty to me… Now Jake Gyllenhaal… Oh yes…   Continue reading Phi Phi Part 2- #ThaiIslandMadness #Thailand #PhiPhi

Phi Phi Part 1- #ThaiIslandMadness #Thailand #PhiPhi

Landing in Phi Phi in the brilliant sunshine and tiny island’s pier I ran into the immediate hub bub of the island tourist life. Here I was herded through the centre, passing multiple cafes, resturants, bar and dive schools. Meeting one dive school they gave me a map of where my hostel was and then said whistfully, ah, you’re in one of the party hostels. Curiosity filled me at this point. After recent discussions with the Magician, I started to reach a strange level of peace and was actively looking to follow a path based on love and not fear. This included the assumption and expectation that because it was the ‘party town’ hostel area, it would obviously be a bad thing. 
Continue reading Phi Phi Part 1- #ThaiIslandMadness #Thailand #PhiPhi