If You Change Nothing, Nothing Changes! I’m Stepping Up In 2018, Are You?

It’s been proven that writing and using a creative outlet can reduce stress and improve mental wellbeing.

So another year is here, a week gone already.

CAW Pinterest If you change nothingTime flies! You can look back at 2017, but you can’t change it, it’s passed which is why it’s called the past.

So look forward! I’m really going to push ahead this year. Are you?

— What will you change?

— Where will you go?

— What will you learn?

When 2019 arrives how will you be feeling?

Frustrated, bored, confused, wondering where another year went, same old same old?

OR

Fulfilled, balanced, content, amazed at how much you’ve achieved and how you’ve managed to do so much in just 12 months?

I know I’m unbelievably lucky to work at my passions.

I write books, I write online and anywhere else I can share my words.

I coach people to become the best they can be.

I’ve worked as a mentor and trainer for years, to teenagers and adults. I now focus that attention and passion towards who wish to write, or have aspirations to be more creative. It’s been proven that writing and using a creative outlet can reduce stress and improve mental wellbeing. I know for sure that I feel much more balanced and relaxed since taking up writing in a more structured way. Continue reading “If You Change Nothing, Nothing Changes! I’m Stepping Up In 2018, Are You?”

Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone – Go Backpacking

Get your pack packed and on your back. Yes it’s called a backpack for a really good reason!

Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone – Go Backpacking

OK, I’ll stand up and admit, I’m a traveller and I’m on a little bit of a mission.

Christie Adams with a backpack

I want to persuade you to go backpacking. Somewhere. Just once. Borrow a pack if you don’t want to invest just yet. You can stay where you like, hostel, campsite, B&B wherever you like.

City break or countryside hike, just be a backpacker for a day, a weekend or hopefully longer.

 

I have now been round Australia, with quite a big pack, which I still find Christie Adams sat under a tree at Uluruawesome and unbelievable.  I have been around the Greek Islands with a very small pack, carry on only. You can choose any style you like.

These pages may just inspire you a little bit…

https://www.christieadamswriter.com/5-reasons-i-became-a-backpacker-yes-me-a-50-year-old-woman/

5 Reasons I Became A Backpacker, Yes Me, A 50 Year Old Woman!

https://www.christieadamswriter.com/5-great-reasons-to-go-back-packing/

Get your pack packed and on your back.

Yes it’s called a backpack for a really good reason! Please travel without a car, use a bus or train or boat, talk to other travellers and locals. You will not regret it.

How a Day Alone in Pisa can Change Your Life (Even if you Don’t Drive a Ferrari)

I realised people travel to recover, to discover, to lose themselves, to find themselves, to work, to go back to basics, to move forwards to a new life.

How a Day Alone in Pisa can Change Your Life (Even if you Don’t Drive a Ferrari)

I was sitting outside an Italian cafe sipping a coffee, eating a slice of heavy indulgent cheese cake and watching Ferraris drive by. The scene couldn’t have been more stereotypically Italian and more importantly I’d finally, in my mid 50s, become an independent traveller.

Pisa coffee and cheesecake

As a youngster we went camping each weekend, my parents had a caravan and I slept in the awning. You wouldn’t believe how much noise a tent zip makes when everyone else is asleep. There was always a closed Tupperware cup of milk waiting for me, with a digestive biscuit on the lid.

On rainy days the sound of pattering on the caravan roof accompanied the shouts of ‘rummy’ as we played cards as a family. It wasn’t until my very late teens that my parents finally had enough money to take the family overseas. My memories of camping in Bordeaux in France and the giant pinecones we collected are still cemented by the dish of similar pinecones in my home. I enjoyed it as I was able to spend time alone wandering on pine needles watching giant ants climb over obstacles I put in their way. Children don’t need expensive trips, but I wished for trips overseas like my school peers. It would be 40+ years until I got over my travel envy.



In my 20s, I went, just once, with a friend on the compulsory 18-30 holiday.

Those naive days of alcohol and sunburn. It was a total financial rip off, a taste of independence all the same. In hindsight I imagine my parents were having a few sleep-ness nights back home. I remember the escapades but it certainly wasn’t something I wished to repeat.

My 30s were the amazing years I watched my daughter grow.

I couldn’t afford many trips. I was lucky enough to be given some camping gear by a colleague, so I always tried to fit in a week or two camping near my parent’s Devon home.

Continue reading “How a Day Alone in Pisa can Change Your Life (Even if you Don’t Drive a Ferrari)”

Why You Should Go On A Bike Ride In Hoi An, Vietnam

My untrained eye didn’t deceive me on that one as the seat dug into places it really shouldn’t, or at least not without due invitation!

Why You Should Go On A Bike Ride In Hoi An, Vietnam

What better way to immerse myself in the culture of Vietnam than to cycle. While somewhere in town a tailor was creating my beautiful hand made clothes, I decided to pass the time seeing a bit of the ‘real’ Vietnam.

Now let me admit I can ride a bike in the tradition of ‘you never forget’ however I have still to master the art of jumping up kerbs and no hands trick cycling a la BMX style. This basic skill of mine is enough to enable me to get from A – B but not in any artistic, or too speedy, fashion.

You can therefore imagine my trepidation / terror…

…when the cycle man arrived with a bunch of bikes with varying degrees of rust and dents, in my amateur opinion very aged brake cables and decidedly uncomfortable looking seats. My untrained eye didn’t deceive me on that one as the seat dug into places it really shouldn’t, or at least not without due invitation!

 

Well I had decided to try everything I could

I would embrace all new learning experiences with a smile so I got in position and set off. Wobble wasn’t the word to quite cover the way the cycle heaved quite violently at every bump, and let’s put it this way Vietnam is not known for its smooth pot-hole free highways.

Cycle_ride_in_Vietnam_with_local_cow

We took our life in our hands…

to cross a major junction, remember I can’t do hands free so…mirror ( what mirror), signal (WHAT NO HANDS) manoeuvre (don’t go too fast they will hit you!) took on a threat level as significant to me as a two year old walking across the UK M1 motorway. OK I admit it I was scared. It lasted approximately one minute until I reached the other side and then the absolutely stunning beautiful although rather bumpy raised grass pathways between the rice fields.

Continue reading “Why You Should Go On A Bike Ride In Hoi An, Vietnam”

Vietnam – Mekong Delta Day Trip – Coconuts, toffee and snakes

‘Hello love, here’s your jacket spud and beans and by the way how about holding a Python later.’

Vietnam – Mekong Delta Day Trip – Coconuts, toffee and snakes

We had Mekong Delta trip as an item on the Vietnam to do list. You may already be familiar with my 1 – 2 – 3 method of planning a trip.

No? Well quick recap:

1 – MUST DO THIS!

2 – Really want to do this

3 – Will I have time / money to do this?

So back to the Mekong. It was a no 1 but prior to the trip I’d not booked it. We knew we had a few days spare at the end of our Vietnam tour so a trip to a local agent would not be a problem. We’d compare prices and get the best deal.

In hindsight maybe we should have done that, however as we had travelled and enjoyed our whole trip with the tour guide we didn’t. We took his recommendation and slotted into a trip he knew about.

We climbed on board a very rickety boat, very rickety!

If it’d been at the beginning of the journey it would have made me nervous but by now we’d melted into the way of the East. We’d accepted their Health and Safety concerns aren’t managed quite as they are in the West. Those who’ve been there will understand I am using a tad of understatement here! Some others on the trip were ‘newbies’ apparent by less creased clothes and a more nervous demeanour.

Vietnam Beauty

The local guide chatted to us in English and gave us a small printed map of our trip. We’d be out all day and see a lot, lunch included. The first stop off was reached and I took my life in my very shaky hands as I climbed up a rusty ironwork bridge to land. I love land. I don’t like bridges.

Continue reading “Vietnam – Mekong Delta Day Trip – Coconuts, toffee and snakes”

No Spoiler Book Review – Autobiography – The Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto Che Guevara

You will learn so much about this iconic figure from 20th century history I don’t want to spoil it for you, but wow it’s worth the read.

No Spoiler Book Review – Autobiography – The Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto Che Guevara

Title: The Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara

Author: Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara

Translation: Alexandra Keeble

Copyright: Che Guevara Studies Center & Aleida March

Ebook: 

Audio Book: 

Blurb: In January 1952, two young men from Buenos Aires set out to explore South America on a 500cc Norton. One of them was the twenty-three-year-old Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara.

Written eight years before the Cuban Revolution, these are the diaries of Che Guevara, full of disasters and discoveries, high drama and laddish improvisations. Touring through Argentina, Chile, Peru and Venezuela, his greatest concerns are where the next drink is coming from, where the next bed is to be found and who might be around to share it.

Within a decade Che Guevara would be a household name. His trip might have been the adventure of a lifetime – had his lifetime not turned into a much greater adventure.

More recently made into an Oscar-winning film starring Gael Garcia Bernal, ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ is an extraordinary account of a hero in the making.

Continue reading “No Spoiler Book Review – Autobiography – The Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto Che Guevara”

What To Think About When Planning A Month Long Trip Around The Greek Islands

Travel planning is like decorating, it looks easy but it’s always so much easier for the professionals.

This summer I arranged a month long back-packing trip around the Greek Islands. If you’d like to do the something similar but ‘don’t know where to start  here’s a few tips that may help you get started.

You can also share my thoughts as I planned another ‘holiday of a lifetime.’

Travel planning is like decorating, it looks easy but it’s always so much easier for the professionals. Don’t be put off using a travel agent. They get a bad press but they know what they are doing. Even if you just talk through options and take away their brochures, you’ve learnt something.

You can just get online, right now, book a flight and start travelling. HOWEVER that may not be your best idea.

On a budget? Being impulsive may not be the cheapest option.

Have to stick to a set timescale? The ferry’s don’t run every day, so you could get stuck and miss your flight home.

Prefer to know where you are going? Plan it, or you may not see the islands you’d like.

For holiday planning I get a huge cheap notepad, nothing fancy and not a travel journal, not yet anyway. That comes later! Scribble down your ideas and date them. Things change, it helps you keep track. At this stage you are FREE to do whatever you want. Be creative and don’t rule anything out.

Try using the 5 W’s (+ 1 H) as I do.

Continue reading “What To Think About When Planning A Month Long Trip Around The Greek Islands”

5 Reasons to Travel on the Tranzalpine Railroad, Aotearoa, New Zealand – Christchurch to Greymouth

If you live at the top of a mountain, where it rains, a lot, I guess you need a sense of humour.

Tranzalpine Railroad, Aotearoa, New Zealand Christchurch to Greymouth5 Reasons to Travel on the Tranzalpine Railroad, Aotearoa, New Zealand – Christchurch to Greymouth

1. The Tranzalpine train link between Christchurch and Greymouth, Aotearoa, New Zealand, is one of the world’s most iconic rail journeys

I know why. It’s a cliche but the scenic route is truly visually stunning. It is hard to capture the number of oohs, aaahs and wows that you hear. Both your own and fellow traveller’s as you watch the highs and lows of the terrain through the huge picture windows. The train has an plug in audio commentary for travellers to learn as they go along, I’d recommend tuning in to it. Embrace your inner tourist and listen to the experts, you really should learn something about the area.

2. You can relax and look at the amazing scenery without distraction

The route goes up to the infamous Arthur’s Pass high in the mountains. A windy place occupied by a tiny community. Some people go there for a day or three, no doubt to go hiking or mountaineering. I salute you. The terrain didn’t look hospitable, even on a sunny day. It is hard to imagine how bleak it would have been for ‘Arthur’ and any other pioneers. As we learnt on the train commentary the original terrain would have been basically dry grasses, most of the greenery we now see has been imported over the decades / centuries. Bleak indeed.

Land of the long white cloudThe ‘land of the long white cloud’ is illustrated quite clearly, although the weather change dramatically through the day and from one side of a very long tunnel and the other.  The palm trees in such a desolate place was a surprise, especially when I’m told my garden in Sunny Donny isn’t warm enough for one.



3. The train has an open sided carriage to allow for clear photography

The very breezy and chilly open cabin is fantastic. Take your coat it is more than a bit nippy! Put your camera around your neck or on a wrist strap. You let go of it up here you sure as heck ain’t going to get it back! Don’t stick your head or hands out in a tragic selfie fashion either as unexpected bridges and tunnels pop up unannounced. Tranzalpine viewsI laughed at the thought of having something similar in a fairly mild UK climate, maybe across the Pennines. Our UK system is so totally dominated by Health & Safety it wouldn’t get past the drawing board. Well done to the brave souls allowing a truly immersive travelling experience in the open air.

I chatted with one guy who lives nearby and travels regularly in the open carriage just to get back in touch with his local area and its beauty. What a great idea. How often do you do that where you live?

4. It’s an education

Braided River in New Zealand

Do you know what a braided river is? No, me neither until I discovered it’s one ‘braided’ by the debris and gravel brought down by the waters from the hills. They are dramatic, beautiful and a little intimidating. I can imagine the powerful waters just rushing down one day, taking everything in its path on its torrential journey.

If you live at the top of a mountain, where it rains, a lot, I guess you need a sense of humour. I hadn’t expected to see such imaginative art in a garden at the rail track, so who ever you are – WELL DONE!

Corrugated Iron ArtworkCorrugated metal art in a ‘thing’ in Aotearoa (NZ), no idea why but you see it in the most unexpected places. It’s a personal choice I guess but local art adds character so is always a bonus.

5. It gets you from A to B, what more do you need

Oh yes, and the day I travelled was the day I discovered a strange jelly type sweet (I’m reserving judgment on that one, excuse the almost cannibalistic joining of the two dissected bodies) and Peanut slab! Peanut Slab & CoffeeDEEP JOY!!! Anyone travelling in Aotearoa you HAVE to try it (peanut allergy excepted of course)

You may also like:

https://www.christieadamswriter.com/5-reasons-i-became-a-backpacker-yes-me-a-50-year-old-woman/

Why are the Blue Mountains blue?

http://www.newzealand.com/int/arthurs-pass/

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Kaikoura, Aotearoa, New Zealand – Where I Saw My Very Own Blue Whale!

Kaikoura isn’t just about whales though, the land dwelling locals have a fun sense of humour with street artwork…

Kaikoura, Aotearoa, New ZealandWhere I Saw My Very Own Blue Whale!Kaikoura, Aotearoa, New Zealand – Where I Saw My Very Own Blue Whale!

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have already seen a couple of photos taken on the beach at Kaikoura, the venue for my very first ever ever helicopter ride. Mountains, sea, whale, dolphins all from a clear blue sky.

Christie Adams on Kaikoura Beach

A Maze Ing!!! Kaikoura isn’t just about whales though, the land dwelling locals have a fun sense of humour with street artwork…

Toilet Humour

And seagulls I’m not familiar with, any one know why this one is ‘cuffed’? Love his red eye lid to match the feet and bill!

Red eyed bird

Like my little shell collection?

Years ago I started collecting a shell or pebble from places I’ve visited. Some as gifts, especially heart shaped. Others to join a huge jar full at home. Memories in a jar, each one unique and tactile. It’s only one tiny pebble and only ever taken from places that aren’t too delicate or protected. Think municipal beach not wildlife preserve. All these shells are still where I placed them, near a deserted run down beach house if you want to go looking. I wonder if anyone else has added to my artwork.

 

Pebbles

We noticed there weren’t many places to eat in Kaikoura, maybe because we were a little early in the season. It didn’t matter as we were in our hired camper van which served us well, bless her.

My most awesome memory, ever.

How privileged were we to see this, an adolescent Blue Whale? Don’t worry about the whale watching boat, they followed him for a very short time, at a polite distance and he seemed happy as they turned away to leave him to his wet world and expanse of pristine waters. He swam away, dipping, diving, surfacing and spouting to his heart’s content as they, and we, left.  I wanted to include this image just to give you a true idea of this teenager’s size IMMENSE! 

Whale watching Boat

“…Blue whales are the largest animals ever known to have lived on Earth. These magnificent marine mammals rule the oceans at up to 100 feet (30 meters) long and upwards of 200 tons (181 metric tons). Their tongues alone can weigh as much as an elephant. Their hearts, as much as an automobile.

Blue whales reach these mind-boggling dimensions on a diet composed nearly exclusively of tiny shrimplike animals called krill. During certain times of the year, a single adult blue whale consumes about 4 tons (3.6 metric tons) of krill a day…”

Blue Whale

You may also like:

https://www.christieadamswriter.com/maori-hangi/

Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone – Go Backpacking

http://www.backpackerguide.nz/blog/

I hope I’ve inspired you to travel, tweet me from your next coffee stop! If you are busy out and about and you’d like my posts to your email inbox directly, please sign up for the newsletter.

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5 Reasons I Became A Backpacker, Yes Me, A 50 Year Old Woman!

I get asked this so often, so I thought I’d explain the 5 main reasons I became a backpacker as a 50 year old woman

5 Reasons I Became A Backpacker, Yes Me, A 50 Year Old Woman!I am constantly surprised by how many women, young and old, say to me ‘Aren’t you scared?’ or ‘Wow, I could never do that’ or even ‘You must be mad, it’s dangerous!’

What prompts friends to worry so much about me, am I going bungee jumping off the grand canyon or maybe walking barefoot across hot coals? No, just going on a holiday with a back pack instead of a suitcase. I know! Crazy right?

I get asked this so often, so I thought I’d explain the 5 main reasons I became a backpacker as a 50 year old woman:

1. I couldn’t afford to visit the places I wanted to see any other way

My independent nature has led me to always pay my way. I’ve never been answerable to anyone for my bills and as a single parent money was always tight. My redundancy payment meant I finally had the cash if I managed it right. My bucket list, now called my ‘f**k it’ list, included seeing Uluru in Australia’s Red Centre. I investigated tours OMG not an option! So I looked at flight prices. Hmm, not too bad. I’d used YHA in the UK, so investigated hostels in Australia…looking more accessible now…I planned and planned and planned and guess what I did it! Un- be – lee – va – bull!!

2. I wanted to challenge myself

Why now? I never had a gap year in my youth, they were something hairy university students did. It was the era when only the children of the rich could afford university let alone gap years. So I never got to travel very far afield then. Then came the mortgage, solo, so I had to stay employed or lose my home. This was before career breaks were even thought of let alone suggested. Next I had my daughter. Whilst I did take her camping and occasionally overseas, I had strict timetables of holidays dates from the 9-5 and nurseries etc. Travelling with a pack just didn’t seem possible. Excuses, excuses. I have often chosen the safe option, I did a 9 – 5 office job for years. I worked in a risk environment so often chose the path less bumpy. I don’t regret anything, you do what you have to do to get by, to put on food on the table etc. However life is short, you have to take some risks, I still battle my inner risk manager.

3. I want to be a positive female role model

So move on a few years. I’m married. I’m a grandmother. I’ve been made redundant from my career three times. I know! Who saw any of that coming! My daughter needed to see a woman can do anything if she puts her mind to it. She should get that inspiration from me. She’s a parent herself now. My grand children need to know that granny went to that place on the globe that’s all the way around the other side. They need to see someone standing on top of a volcano. If they don’t see me pushing myself what will motivate them to do the same?

4. I now have the luxury of time

I was determined to make a third redundancy a positive thing. I went through the stages of grief you go through when you lose something so fundamental in your life, it wasn’t easy. I’m a stubborn independent person who refuses to be browbeaten by people. I’m no longer restricted by only being able to take a maximum two week break from work. I’m no longer tied by that ridiculous rule in the UK of being fined if you take your kids out of school to travel (oh, don’t get me started!) I have time to plan. I can spend time checking out the flight prices, reading the travel guides, learning from bloggers who’ve been there, done that. Importantly if you are able to be flexible in your plans you can access much cheaper flights etc.

5. I wanted to be like my Dad

My Dad never went back packing, as far as I know. However on his death bed he told me “I’ve seen everything I want to see. I’ve done everything I want to do” Wow! Awesome, how cool was that. Now there’s a certain point in your life, that sneaks up on you, a voice that says “Blooming heck! I have to do this now before I’m too old to do it, or dead!” That may be when you lose a parent or a friend who’s younger than you. When you lose your job. It can happen when you notice one too many hairs in the wrong place or wrinkles that seem to have appeared in your sleep.When I lost my Dad I had so much to do, so much I wanted to see. I knew I had to start, and start soon. I did not want to get to the pearly gates, or what ever else we see at the end, and think ‘if only’. Anyway, whatever the reason I hope you reach that point sooner rather than later and get out of any rut you’re in. Whilst I miss my family like crazy when I travel Skype and FaceTime mean I can chat with the grand babies at the click of a button from anywhere with wifi (Thank you McDonalds)

So, what possessed me to become a backpacker as a 50 year old woman? Christie Adams with a backpackWell, the question for me was why wouldn’t I. I love a list, so I sat down and wrote a list of places and things I wanted to see. I’m ticking them off, one by one. I won’t get to them all, that’s the point, it’s an evolving list however I’ve only been backpacking a few years and already have seen more than I ever imagined.

Backpacking is such an obvious choice once you sit down and think about it. If you are in any doubt if you should try it, YES YES and YES you should. Bit scared? Just go for a weekend away, in a hostel with a day pack. Try it! You won’t regret it.

If you want to just go for it full on, my Australia trip may give you some pointers.

Good female travel blogs to check out for more inspiration:

http://theblondeabroad.com/

http://floratheexplorer.com/

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