50 future adventures

Milford Sound, New Zealand

Oh yes… I am going to have fun with this one!

Dream time as I plan 50 adventures for the next 50 years in the manner of a travel bucket list…

  1. Climb Kilimanjaro… pencilled in for 2019…
  2. Scotland Hebridean island hopping
  3. Explore Madagascar
  4. Trek Jordan
  5. Annapurna trek
  6. Travel overland from Cartagena (Colombia) to Quito (Ecuador)… really keen to explore much more of Colombia, and we didn’t get to Ecuador during our 2016 travels
  7. Galapagos Islands
  8. Australia Great Ocean road trip + a week of trekking in Tasmania
  9. Fiji and the Cook Islands; keen to visit more South Pacific islands after an amazing time in French Polynesia
  10. Grand Europe road trip or two, or three… Northern Europe (Scandinavia); Southern Europe (France, Spain and Portugal); Central Europe (Switzerland, Germany, Austria)…
  11. Spend 6-8 weeks walking the entire length of the South West coast path
  12. Walk a section of the Italian coastline
  13. Kerala yoga retreat
  14. Canada Rocky Mountains hiking and road trippin’
  15. US National Parks: 3 month road trip
  16. Explore more of Africa: Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda…
  17. Northern India: maybe an overland trip from Kathmandu (Nepal) to Delhi?
  18. Sandals Bahamas: after getting married in Sandals Whitehouse Jamaica, Chris and I have planned this little indulgence for our 10th wedding anniversary
  19. Chillin’ in St Kitts or and Tobago… or and Grenada…
  20. South Africa and Namibia: travelling up from Cape Town to Windhoek?
  21. Greek island hopping: 3 – 4 weeks of getting ferries between the islands
  22. A grand tour of China
  23. Norwegian Fjords cruise
  24. Andorra activity holiday
  25. Hiking in the Dolomites, Italy
  26. Myanmar
  27. Taiwan and South Korea
  28. 3 weeks exploring more of Japan
  29. Cruisin’ from Boston to Quebec
  30. Exploring the ‘Stans: Kazakhstan; Turkmenistan; Uzbekistan
  31. Exploring Mexico in detail!
  32. Hike the Samaria Gorge in Crete
  33. Spend more time in Central America; Nicaragua’s Corn Islands and a bit more time in Costa Rica; and maybe another visit to Guatemala
  34. A month or two in Hawaii, one of our favourite places in the World!
  35. Explore Armenia and Georgia
  36. Zanzibar, the Spice Island!
  37. Trek the West Highland Way in Scotland
  38. More backpacking Europe by train
  39. Caribbean cruise
  40. Trekking in Patagonia
  41. Cruising the South Pacific… something for when we’re older…
  42. Grand Scotland road trip
  43. Norway: Lofoten Islands
  44. Summer trip to Iceland to drive the Icelandic ring road
  45. Exploring the Balkans: Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro…
  46. Trans Siberian Railway: Moscow to Beijing
  47. More chillin’ and beach-life in Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand
  48. Walk the Camino de Santiago
  49. More weekend breaks in the UK and Europe!
  50. More islands: Azores, Cape Verde, Corsica, Capri…

I’m generally going to focus on the more active trips (such as the treks) first and leave the more leisurely ones (the cruises) for later!

There are so many exciting places in the World although I don’t think some of these trips will be possible until Chris and I retire… it would be fantastic to have another career break but at the moment this doesn’t seem very likely due to a) getting agreement again from work and b) lack of money! I wonder how many 60 somethings walk the entire South West Coast Path in one go? But never say never… I’ll try and experience as many of these as possible 🙂





Week 11 walking progress

Week 11 walking progress:

  • Total for week 11 = 39 miles
  • Average per day for this week (37 / 7) = 5.57
  • Running total = 277 + 39 = 316 miles
  • Miles left to walk in 2018 (1050 – 316) = 734

Throughout the last couple of weeks I’ve been making a really conscious effort to push up my walking mileage. This has included going for a short walk at lunchtime (when in the office) and putting extra miles in while at the gym. I’ve now started to include the extra gym miles in my weekly total. I’ve also been walking ‘the long way round’ for example when walking to the Post Office just to add more miles.

We’ve had yet more snow in the UK throughout the last weekend meaning another snowy walk on Sunday. This time we went walking with a few friends before going back to theirs for a warm bowl of chilli. We’ve had more snow than usual this winter and I’m looking forward to spring time!

Weekend walking with friends



March book review

Book number 5

Book read: Balancing on Blue by Keith Foskett

A fantastic account of the authors incredible 2,200 mile journey as he made his way on foot the entire length of the Appalachian Trail. This makes the recent 632 mile South West Coast Path book I read look somewhat tame although both are amazing achievements…

Both books, and also the Kamikaze Kangaroo book which had a section where the author trekked Australia’s 623 mile Bibbulmun Track are really starting to inspire me to do a long distance walk. My feet are getting itchier by the day…

At the moment the UK’s South West Coast Path is probably the most realistic to aspire to (no bears or rattlesnakes to contend with) although I don’t think I would get another career break from work any time soon…  And I haven’t actually done anything more challenging than a weekend of hiking… maybe I should try a week of daily hikes first?

This was another of those books I got through fairly quickly as it was hard to put down… I loved the way Fozzie effortlessly weaved his feelings, experiences and connections with the harsh facts of what it’s like to experience life as a thru-hiker on the trail.

Again, much of this book resonated with my constant desire to travel and explore… “the desire to roam is all I dream of” says Keith. This is me. I am always dreaming of exploring but the difference is, Keith is out there doing it while I’m spending far too much time dreaming while in the office…

I found many more inspiring quotes in Fozzie’s book and another was from one of his trail buddies, who, upon his return back into civilization said:

Page: 261

“I had no desire to own anything other than the crappiest car in existence. It also acted as a people-filter. I had little time for anyone who judged me on the basis of my car, and you would be surprised how few people that left.”

I can definitely identify with that too!

I’m keen to read more of Fozzie’s books… I’ve been thinking that maybe I should expand my literary horizons and read a book that isn’t a travel book but I haven’t quite managed to do that yet… I’ve now started following the adventures of a family travelling the world in a camper van…



Mountain experience

Climbing Glyder Fach

While I’ve completed many treks through the UK’s Lake District, Peak District, coastal paths and quite a few abroad, I don’t have a huge amount of mountain experience. I have, however, been fortunate to have climbed the following UK mountains:

Scafell Pike 978 m

Snowdon 1085 m

Glyder Fach 990 m

Moel Siabod 872 m

Ben More 966 m

The last mountain I climbed was Ben More in May 2017 which is the highest mountain on the Isle of Mull, Scotland. Due to being unfit and at least a stone or so overweight I really struggled with this. We were fortunate to have perfect weather conditions yet I found the whole climb daunting and difficult as I tried to haul my weight up the steep slopes towards the summit. This frustration at being so unfit was actually one of my real driving forces to get much fitter in 2018.

I have a weekend in Snowdonia coming up and while I’m not yet sure which mountain we will climb I am hoping that with my weight loss and increased exercise routine (gym, swimming and walking) I won’t find the next mountain climb to be quite as much of a struggle!



Update: being a veggie

We are nearly half way through March, my month of being a vegetarian… and, so far so good… I’ve found it relatively straightforward to stick to a fully vegetarian diet which excluded fish too.

Breakfast is easy as I usually have either bircher muesli (although I buy this in packets rather than making it myself) with *oat milk, or eggs or Alpro yogurt with fruit.

*I’ve cut down significantly on milk throughout the last year or so with animal welfare in mind. I started to consider the sad lives of mummy cows who have to spend their lives being pregnant and saying goodbye to their calves shortly after giving birth just so humans can consume their milk. When there are plant based alternatives to milk, it seems unnecessary and unnatural that we humans are consuming a product meant for baby cows…

Lunch has also been easy! When working at home I usually have some kind of vegetable soup, usually either broccoli and stilton or carrot and ginger. Or maybe hummus with pitta bread. When I’m working in the office I pop over to Pret where they have a delicious range of clearly marked vegetarian and vegan options.

Dinner, I have mixed feelings about… firstly, most restaurants in the UK have vegetarian options which is OK if you don’t mind a somewhat limited menu. We had dinner in a local pub last night which was great as I had a delicious vegetarian chilli which was made with a range of chopped fresh vegetables so was also a healthy choice.

Other times, the vegetarian part of the menu includes things like: feta cheese tart; cheese risotto or a cheese based pasta. I’m not keen on too many white carbs and from a health perspective, I still would prefer something like grilled fish and vegetables.

At home, I’ve been using Quorn as a meat substitute rather a lot. For example, last week I made quorn shepherds pie, quorn stir fry and sweet potato curry with quorn instead of chicken. Quorn is a brand which prides itself on being a healthy protein option which uses something called Mycoprotein. This is derived from some kind of fungus which I would think has to go through a great deal of processing for it to look like minced beef or chicken.

At the moment, I am thinking my current vegetarian diet isn’t quite as healthy as the diet I had previously followed, i.e. occasionally having free range chicken and having quite a lot of fish.

Perhaps I need to find some more creative vegetarian dinners to cook throughout the rest of March? Sainsbury’s sell ‘mushroom mince’ which is simply mushrooms which have been finely chopped to resemble a minced beef consistency. So rather than using quorn, I could try using a few more chopped vegetables for our dinner recipies?



Week 10 walking progress

Week 10 walking progress:

  • Total for week 10 = 37 miles
  • Average per day for this week (37 / 7) = 5.29
  • Running total = 240 + 37 = 277 miles
  • Miles left to walk in 2018 (1050 – 277) = 773


Another good effort this week! Using MapMyWalk has been really helpful throughout the last week… I’ve now found that I’ve actually been under-estimating some of the distances! For example, each time I walk to our local swimming pool and back I am doing nearly 2 miles, not the one mile I had estimated! Never mind… the purpose behind all of this is to make a conscious effort to walk more, drive less and generally increase my fitness levels. Underestimating the odd mile here and there doesn’t really matter 🙂

In addition, one of the best forms of exercise is stair climbing! When I am in work, my office is on the 9th Floor. I have made a conscious effort to use the stairs rather than the lift and also to ensure I get away from my desk and go out each lunchtime. Climbing 9 flights of stairs on average 3 times a day is hard work, but getting easier the more I do it.



Weeks 8 & 9 walking progress

Hiking in Arosa, Switzerland


Week 8 walking progress:

  • Total for week 8 = 25 miles
  • Average per day for this week (25 / 7) = 3.57
  • Running total = 187 + 25 = 212 miles
  • Miles left to walk in 2018 (1050 – 212) = 838


Week 9 walking progress:

  • Total for week 9 = 28 miles
  • Average per day for this week (28 / 7) = 4
  • Running total = 212 + 28 = 240 miles
  • Miles left to walk in 2018 (1050 – 240) = 810


A couple of decent weeks of walking progress… the most exciting 16 of these miles were racked up in Switzerland on a last weeks’ hiking weekend! It was fantastic to hike in soft powdery pure white snow.

Little did I know that I would come back to snow in the UK… and have just completed a 9 mile hike in local snow this morning! It was melting so was muddy and slushy and I managed to fall over twice…

I’ve now actually started to use Map My Walk too rather than estimating my mileage using Google Maps… I downloaded this app to my phone a couple of years ago but have never bothered to use it… until now…

In addition, a quick check on annual progress towards target:

  • Monthly average for January and February 2018 (240 / 2) = 120 miles per month
  • Daily average for January and February (240 / 60) = 4 miles a day
  • Monthly average left for the next 10 months (810 / 10) = 81
  • Daily average left for the next 10 months (81 / 30) = 2.7

So if I keep up this rate of mileage (around 120 miles per month) I should reach my target to walk 1050 miles in 2018 some time in September! It will be interesting to see what happens and if I achieve this…




Plastic pollution: initial thoughts…


The issue of plastic pollution, particularly in the oceans has become big news recently and this was the one thing which saddened me the most during our 2016 travels. Thankfully there is much greater awareness now so I won’t go into the full details here.

Chris and I are, however, committed to reducing our personal consumption of the dreaded P material and as I feel so strongly about it, I wanted to make it one of my 50 pledges for this year.

A short tour around our home is our first starting point:

  • Packets of instant Microwave rice while convenient to pop into the microwave for 2 minutes, if we did this once a week there would be 52 pieces of rice bag plastic discarded in some landfill site. Our new alternative is to revert back to Uncle Ben’s boxed rice… while more fiddly and time-consuming we are trying to get away from such a convenience lifestyle at the expense of the planet. 
  • Individually wrapped dishwasher tablets similar to above… this would equate to 365 little bits of unnecessary plastic just from us! We will revert back to buying dishwasher powder in cardboard boxes.
  • Plastic food bags we try to re-use these where possible. For example if I take my lunch to work in a plastic food box, I usually put this inside a large plastic food bag just in case it leaks… while this has happened on occasion, I now wash the outer plastic bag and re-use it.
  • Fruit and veg in plastic bags at the moment we order our fruit and veg from Ocado, the online shopping delivery company. The drawback is that fruit and veg is delivered in plastic bags and single use containers. We are currently considering a separate weekly fruit and veg delivery from Riverford Organic and will shortly place an order. As a green company they don’t use plastic bags and supply fruit and veg in a box.
  • Toothbrush Chris has just started using a bamboo toothbrush.
  • Coffee-on-the-go last year we brought a Starbucks reusable cup-to-go each and try to take these with us when we are out and about.

On a recent holiday to Antigua we made a conscious effort to use zero bottles of water. We managed to achieve this with a Water-to-go bottle each. We filtered all of our drinking water from our bathroom tap and didn’t use a single plastic water bottle or indeed drinks bottle for the 10 days we were there.

We will continue to look for ways to reduce our plastic consumption and I’ll post regular updates throughout the year.



March weigh-in

Tasty grilled shrimp salad from Jamies restaurant in Chur, Switzerland

As my February weigh-in was late, there has been a gap of just under 3 weeks rather than a month between these two weight check points… but never mind… here goes for my weight on 1st March 2018:

Weight on 4th December 2017 (when I began my fitness campaign): 10 st 3 lb

Weight on 9th February (last weigh in): 9 st 0 lb

Weight today: 8 st 12 lb (56 kg or 122 lbs)

Total weight loss in almost 3 months = 19 lbs (hurrah!)

Small milestones are keeping me motivated… I had to buy a new belt last week and it was fab to buy a ‘small’ size rather than the usual medium which was too big! Yay!

I’m still keeping to around 1200 calories a day, together with a lot of exercise. I am either going to the gym, swimming or hiking several miles at a time which is burning up a lot of calories.

Having just spent 4 days in Switzerland, my calorie intake did jump a bit to perhaps 2000 calories each day… I allowed myself a few treats such as some gorgeous Swiss chocolate and *lovely meals out each night but did so without going over-the-top. While enjoying the meals I stuck to one glass of wine and no dessert 🙂

*The healthy salad in the top picture was the first night… the following evening meal was a calorie busting home made pasta with oodles of Swiss cheese…  

Thankfully I had the motivation to cut down as soon as we got home and I’m now back on 1200 daily calories…

The next dilemma now that I’ve reached my goal weight is how to stay there… I don’t want my life to be ruled by calorie counting (although I do only estimate this each day) but I really don’t want to regain any of this lost weight…

And today I start my vegetarian month



Vegetarian month starts tomorrow!

With February being a short month, this had kind of crept up on me! I realised earlier today that 1st March is actually tomorrow and this is the month I made a pledge to myself to eat only vegetarian food.

With my husband Chris being a pescatarian, i.e. he is a vegetarian who eats fish, I didn’t need to do too much food planning. We never eat red meat, as I have more or less adopted his diet in recent years.

I did however realise that if I am to be a vegetarian for a month, I wouldn’t be eating any fish either…

My first small challenge arose when my mum invited us for dinner next Saturday… she proudly told me she had organised a vegetarian option for Chris and a vegan option for Zoe (my daughter)… I had to tell her that I too will be a vegetarian throughout March. Thankfully on this occasion it was fairly easy given she had already planned veggie/vegan meals and said brightly “That’s fine, I’ll do a vegetarian option for you too”.

I do feel conscious that if people are kind enough to invite me for dinner, I don’t want to put them to any trouble… it will be interesting to see what happens throughout the rest of the month…