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RTW Trip Update 2: Down to the Whitsundays August 22, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in RTW Trip Updates, Travel.
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So, what a lot has happened since I last updated you. Where shall I start?

Well, after leaving Cairns I headed down to Mission Beach. T0 be honest, I don’t really know why I got it into my head that this was where I wanted to go – it’s a long long beach that was ripped apart by the February cyclone, and which is pretty much just the destination of people wanting to jump out of planes at 14,000 feet to land on the beach. Needless to say that is not me (hah!) so I spent a somewhat depressing day being ignored by the cliques and reading my book with a sulky expression on my face. The next day I escaped, getting out of there and to Magnetic Island as fast as you could say “bored to death”!

Base Backpackers on magnetic island

Those are our huts...

Thankfully it went up from there on in. I arrived at Maggie, or Magnetic Island, and it was all wonderful. The people were nice (and we kind of did things as a group which was awesome), and perhaps more importantly the room was a log cabin literally centimeters from the bright blue ocean. I somehow doubt I will ever spend a night anywhere as superbly located again.

As well as the location, the island itself was great. We walked (for 10k, turns out this hurts a lot when you are as grossly unfit as I currently am!) all up and down the hills, in the blazing heat, arriving on the other side knackered but kind of satisfied – and very glad to get a chance to refill our empty water bottles. It just kept getting better too – after a lunch of the best calamari I have ever had in my life (I mean, like, wow) we adventured into the Koala sanctuary, where as well as getting to hold the super cute Koala we also got to hold and poke various Australian animals. Me being me, and pleased by anything exciting and zoological, I was in my element!

Me holding a Koala on Magnetic Island
Koala! Cute Koala!

Now I’m in Airlie beach, killing time before I head out on a 2 day sailing trip to explore the beauty of the Whitsunday islands. I’ve got my goon, I’m all packed, so bring on the boat!

 

Happiness and Anticipation July 25, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Travel.
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Well well well, who’s got a little lax with the posting? I seem to have disappeared off here somewhat!

The reason, my friends, is because I am (remarkable as it may well be) actually happy. Not that I have been miserable at all much lately, but currently my mood has blossomed into something that is undeniably exuberant and chirpy. Every day I wake up, and though my body may be desperately craving more sleep, my mind is mellow. I float through work blissed out, I come home and watch tv, grinning all the way. I keep catching myself wiggling to cheesy tunes in the supermarket, and I’ve noticed on more than one occasion a happy-but-inane humming emitting from my person. I don’t even complain as much, finding annoyances somewhat less annoying, my foibles less pronounced.

It is wonderful to be like this. And yes, so the fear of my upcoming trip is setting in (three weeks to go peeps), but even that is starting to be accompanied by a sense that, most likely, everything will work out. I’ll chat to people in the hostel, and before I know it I’ll be making friends and having adventures. Watching the sun set over the ocean and scribing postcards to make their way home.

The only downside to all this happiness? That it means I am going to miss people when I go away. Because, though I wouldn’t change my plans for the world, certain newcomers to my life have managed to make themselves rather too integral to my happiness, and rather too missable. Still, that isn’t much to complain about, is it?!

Time to go away January 10, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Advice, Life, Chatter & Politics, Travel.
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Today is a day of excitement. And a little bit of terror. As of this morning my application for a sabbatical this summer has been granted, meaning that I now have three months in which to explore the world. Utterly exciting, yet terrifying, because I may well be doing this trip alone!

The aim is to spend a month in Australia, a month in New Zealand, and a month in the US. I have friends in each who I hope to meet up with (and abuse the use of their couch! Free accommodation is the name of the game, hehe), and if anyone wants to accompany me for legs of the trip they are more than welcome. If not, I shall head of alone, aiming to make friend along the way (and, knowing me,on travel dating-style sites before I leave!).

Firstly, Australia.

 

Kangaroo

The symbol of Oz!

If things go according to plan, I will fly into the North of Australia (hopefully Cairns) at the beginning of August. I know this is technically winter, but by the sounds of it the temperatures up this part of the country will be fine, and at least it will be dry! I will then aim to make my way down to the south, with Melbourne and Sydney definite calling places.

Has anyone been to Oz? Where would you recommend as must see places?

Next, New Zealand.

 

New Zealand Sheep

Baaaa!

I don’t quite know the plan of action for this leg of the trip yet, but I think I will be landing on one island and working my way up to the other. This will be in September, which I know isn’t the best time of year but hey, I’m British, I can cope with rain! This whole trip has to fit around my flat contract running out at the end of July, so I don’t have much choice in the matter! Still, I imagine the spectacular scenery, geysers and more will look good even with a bit of drizzle!

Any recommendations for the NZ part of this trip?

Finally, on to the US.

 

Bald Eagle

Soaring the heights

I hopefully will hit LA at the beginning of October, where the plan is to head across the country to catch my flight back to the UK from New York. There are people (and places) I desperately want to see, so the plan may well be to work my way up the west coast to Oregon, checking out the Rockies, and then somehow getting over to the east coast. I need suggestions for routes and travel arrangements for this section, so any help is appreciated!

If anyone has any secret insider tips, places to go, things to do or (OR!) just wants to meet up whilst I am on the road, all help and friendliness will be much appreciated!

Snacking on Maltesers… September 11, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Family, Life, Chatter & Politics, Photos.
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Sorry, sorry, I have been in Malta for the week and have been dying to make a joke about Maltesers. I think, as far as I recall, I managed to avoid that particular pitfall. Let me check… yup, I still have all of my limbs, so it seems that I probably didn’t say it and thus didn’t really piss off the locals!

 Anyway, the week was just what the doctors ordered, a complete suspension from reality. With the exception of a few family spats (we have always been a family that have spats, I have never understood those lovely calm families who float along without bickering! Then again, maybe I am just obtuse!), it was an oh-so-relaxing week, with plenty of exploring, eating and even a bit of gym going. The swimming has even inspired me to buy a proper suit and goggles and get my poor, flaccid body back into rigorous training again.

Malta itself is wonderful. The weather (from sky-splitting thunderstorms with blazing lightning, to hot sun, to blistering gales), the friendly people, the fact that English is one of the official languages – and even the fact that as you drive around you still see the occasional red post box or fire engine telephone box! It pretty much ticks all of my boxes for somewhere I could actually see myself living, which is quite rare – usually I am a fussy pot who loves places for holidays and adventures, but who wouldn’t even think of wanting to live there! It is a little short of lizards (I lurve lizards, I do!) and animal life, but I am sure I can ignore that!

Maltese harbour

Colourful boats in a Maltese harbour

Anyway, now I am back and refreshed, and have spent today shopping and finding various bargains. Including a leather mini-skirt, ooh-eh?! What a week – back to the bump and grind of working life soon, and I am far too chirpy and looking forward to it far too much!

Holiday Holiday May 31, 2009

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Life, Chatter & Politics.
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Have a lovely week everyone, and enjoy the scheduled posts! I shall be lounging on a beach or exploring Turkish ruins. Try not to pity me too much!!

Holiday excitement May 30, 2009

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Life, Chatter & Politics.
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All those who don’t want to here this, please avert eyes now.

I am having a completely egocentric moment, focused entirely on the wants of little old me!

This, my friends, is my EEEEEEEEEEE! moment. A complete second of unbridled enthusiasm and excitement about the holiday that literally is just around the corner. By this time tomorrow, I will be in the air (in an aeroplane, obviously). I simply cannot wait, probably to do with my permanent tension building and personally encouraged anticipation. Having spent most of the month surfing the internet for trip ideas, restaurant recommendations, resort reviews, I have completely come to the conclusion that we just need to wait until we are there!

Useful, eh?!

Anyways, today was spent getting the last few things I needed (plasters, mouthwash, little cans of hair mousse just in case) and wishing I was already there! Woop, holiday here it comes!

bodrum turkey

How not to look good in a Bikini May 27, 2009

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Advice, Life, Chatter & Politics, Rants.
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Take one Horse. Combine it with a large angry fly. Latch it onto your leg (your tender tender leg) and allow it to bite you three times. When it has developed fully into large bruises, you are ready to go. No looking good in my bikini this holiday!

horse fly bites

Knitting on a desert island March 23, 2009

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Crafting, Media, TV & Film, Meme.
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So I have shamelessly nicked this idea from Amber over at Forever Amber. The idea is to choose 5 things (based on the questions below) that you would take with you to a desert island. On which, I presume, you are totally and unavoidably stranded. Hey, look at it this way though – at least is sunny and hot!

  1. A food that can be planted and regrown.

Hmm… I think I would take fennel – I’d get the veg, the seeds, the leaves AND my breath would always smell sweet. Which comes in handy if Brad Pitt happens to be my rugged rescuer, appearing from the past when he was beautiful! Hmm, can’t believe I chose fennel… I really am odd!

2. A person you haven’t seen in a long time.

I would take Stephen in that case – I haven’t seen him in FAR too long, and together we should be able to swim to safety. And, he is with the NAVY (kinda) so will be (hopefully) able to get his navy pals looking for us. On a boat. Duh.

3. A book you (were) read as a child.

Hmm… how I wish I was read “how to escapefrom desert islands” as a child… I would take Enid Blyton’s “The Faraway Tree”, so I could live in a magical, imaginary world if the days get bad.

4. A celebrity.
Easy peasy, this one. Whilst I considered many handsome boys, I decided Ray Mears makes more sense – from sand he creatith food, from trees he creatith water. A magic man! If he is busy (voluntarily enduring some horrific situation involving scorpions and starvation!) then I will take Neil Gaiman, and use the chance to discuss him into the ground about his books!

5. The entire episode run of a television show (it’s a very nice desert island).

It would have to be Sex and the City, mainly because I still haven’t watched the original series’. Also, I would get my dose of shopping, this is assuming  that my desert island does not come with a shopping centre! A few weeks ago I would have said Buffy – but I have watched ALL of that now!!

 

Brill – what fun questions! On a compeltely different note, I have actually started to knit as I have been saying I would for ages! So far I can cast on as many stiches as I need (all based on internet based tutorials), but haven’t master the art of “the second row” (please insert ominous voice of your choice). It does look pretty though, and the wool is in my currenty favourite colour!

knitting casting on

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