Why I’m Not Writing About My Trip

Firstly, I am aware of my absence on my blog as of late. Apologies. I have been writing, just in a notebook, which is of no use to any of you but I’m sure you will cope. It will all be revealed in good time.

I’m going to explain why I have decided that writing about my trip is simply not worth it. I have been keeping notes on what I’ve done, where I’ve been and the lovely sights I have seen since arriving in Australia and I’ve even written one post on this already. However, I have since come to the conclusion that no one really cares. It’s boring to read and, in all honesty, it’s pretty boring to write about as well.

Don’t get me wrong I’m having a great time but if I start writing about the specific beaches I’ve been to, the shows I’ve seen and the tiny quaint towns I’ve visited, how many people will actually find that a riveting read? Probably no one.

I have done my research. I’ve been reading other blogs that advise and share their trips… “5 top places to take your hamster for an amazing meal when you visit Bangkok” or titles to that effect; and I can’t help but think that it just sounds really pretentious. It may seem rude but I don’t really care where other people recommend I drink my morning coffee or which particular mountain I should climb to get the best view. I’m going somewhere to discover it for myself, not to follow someone else’s recommendations. For the pedants out there; yes I am aware the last post I wrote was “11 Things to Take on a Plane” and no, this doesn’t make me a hypocrite. These kinds of posts are genuinely useful, as are posts about handy things to pack for a trip, great books to read, etc. It’s posts about how to spend my time on my trip that gets to me.

I’m also very cautious of sounding smug when I write, which is a massive no-no. No one wants to read about someone having the most incredible time whilst being stuck at home eating their third bowl of cereal in a day because cooking just seems like too much effort.

So I’m not going to fill you all in on every delightful anecdote that happens on my trip; instead I’m going to be the insufferable, opinionated 20-something year old that my friends and family know and love… And that sits better with me.

 

11 Things to Take on a Plane

Flying is the worst part of a journey, however there are ways to make it less painful with some good stuff packed in your carry-on luggage. This list has been compiled with the help of girls from the Facebook GLT (Girls Love Travel) group, where lots of experienced ladies have chipped in with their favourites.

  1. Water & Snacks: These are pretty much a must, since they aren’t really provided on aircrafts at all. You need to stay hydrated at all times and have food for when you’re hungry. If you rely on airline food you are a complete fool. Just don’t do it. Sweets are also great. This isn’t just for the yummy factor… Hard boiled sweets for take off and landing help your ears adjust to the pressure changes. Plus they’re tasty. What’s not to love?
  2. Warm clothes: Planes are notoriously cold since they decide you should almost freeze so you appreciate your holiday more. I know my feet get cold so easily so some nice thick cosy socks help keep my tootsies warm and happy. A nice hoodie or jumper can be a comfort and will keep you warm as well.
  3. Portable charger: This has recently become my new best friend. When you bring gadgets on your flight and you know it’s long-haul, it’s important to have a way to charge them when necessary. My journey to Australia took me almost 30 hours so, including travelling to and from the airports at either end my phone had to go about 36 hours with no means of charging. No way is it going to survive, so I just whacked out my portable charger and feed my phone so it lasts.
  4. Decongestants: Be it spray or tablets, I have found these really useful as of late. Even if you have a slight cold, that’s enough to block your ear canals. There are so many stories about people losing their hearing for a week or so after flying with a cold. Avoid it if you can but, if not, take spray and tablets to help.
  5. Headphone adapter and your own headphones: No one likes those crappy little headphones they give you on the plane. They’re awful and uncomfortable. Since I can’t use them I have always brought my own along with my own little adapter and I’ve yet to be in an aircraft that doesn’t accommodate either.
  6. Spare clothes: If your journey is a long one take spare underwear and trousers as a minimum. The underwear is just nice to help you feel nice and fresh. The trousers aren’t only just for that though, bear in mind spillages. You don’t want to spill coffee on your crotch then be sitting with it for hours. A spare sports bra is also a really good one for the ladies. It doesn’t even have to be a sports bra just a really comfy bra or a top with a built-in support will do. We don’t want discomfort for the journey but, also, we don’t want to leave those bad boys unattended.
  7. Blow-up pillow: Extremely convenient if you want to sleep on the flight. They take up virtually no space in your luggage and and can provide so much comfort.
  8. Blindfold: Unfortunately not for sexy-time purposes… Well I suppose if you really want… I use mine for sleep. It’s so annoying when there’s light in the cabin or someone is just fidgeting and distracting you to the point of madness. The little blindfold will rescue you.
  9. Pashmina: Great to use as a blanket. It’s common knowledge that the ones provided on the planes are gross and not always clean. Yes, it’s disgusting, so bin the blanket and use your own pashmina instead.
  10. Microfibre towel: This is my absolute favourite thing to take on a long plane journey. Especially if you have a stopover. My towel is quite big when it’s rolled up in it’s bag but I like it like that. I can use it as my blanket (a pashmina doesn’t keep me warm enough) or as my pillow and, also, a lot of airports provide showers so you can use it then as well. It’s a 3-in-1 tool and it’s great.
  11. Your own source of entertainment: You never know when you’re going to be on a plane and you find out your sodding screen doesn’t work or that you don’t even have one. The other common problem is flights being delayed. My kindle and notebook go everywhere with me since I can read and write for a whole day without getting bored. Take a Su-Doku book, crossword puzzles, colouring in, iPod, whatever you need to… Just imagine worst case scenario and prepare yourself. The only thing worse than being on a long journey is being bored as well.

For anyone who has used this for their upcoming trip then happy travels and if you have read it for no reason then… Well, thanks. Make a note of this for your next trip and I strongly recommend you book one as soon as possible.

 

The Logic of Choosing a Seat

We’ve all had to do it on journeys now… Whenever we check in online the airline politely lets us choose which seat we would like to weld our bottoms to for the next however many hours. What they probably don’t realise, however, is that by doing this they are opening up a whole world of questions, reasons and deliberation behind where the hell to sit. I’ve discussed this with fellow travellers and everyone seems to have different reasons for sitting wherever they do so sit back, relax and enjoy these insane amount of reasons that we see as logical for choosing a seat…

The back of the plane

Reclining: I popped to the loo on my last flight and I sat there and realised that if you sit on the very last row you have guilt free reclining! I’m a ballsy flyer and very un-British in that my view is I paid for this seat. I will recline if I wish. Sod whoever is sitting behind me. So if you like to recline but always feel bad. The back row may be for you.

Loo access: Pretty straightforward. There is always a loo at the back of a plane so if your bladder is the size of a pea you can pop in and out of the loo without doing a Usain Bolt down the aisle. Not that this wouldn’t be amusing. Be aware that there is a chance of smells from the loo, someone told me they always sit at the back near the loos but they have to be 4-6 rows from the last row. Enough to be away from any potential stench.

The front of the plane

Speedy getaways: If you have a connecting flight and know you will be short on time, or you know that immigration at your destination is a ballache, the front is a great bet for a quick and efficient exit from the plane. All you have to do is wait for the fancy business class people to get their s*** together.

Window or aisle seat

Everyone is either a window person or an aisle person, and if 2 window people decide to travel together there will be bloodshed. To ensure peace and harmony on your trip, ensure that your travel buddy complements your wishes nicely or else you (or them) may not survive the trip.

Time of flight: For some people it depends on what time you’re flying, day time is better for views so the window seat is preferred but if it’s a night flight an aisle seat is better since the views are non-existent.

Duration of flight: If it’s a short flight, window seats are better but if it’s a longer flight and peeing is inevitable, an aisle seat is much better for those loo trips.

*Top Tip*

When there is a row of 3 choose a seat where the seat at the other end is already occupied, this decreases your chances of having some select the middle seat. No one wants to be a middle seater. NO ONE. Also, the only people who will consider a seat on it’s own is a solo traveller which is far less common.

Window seat

I am a window person, don’t mess with me. If I don’t get a window seat I will be on the verge of a tantrum. I happen to have a bladder of steel when I fly as well, meaning loo trips are not too much of an issue.

Sleep: This is my main reason for window seats. I sleep a lot on planes. It’s just easier when there’s a wall to lean on. It means no awkward accidental leaning on a fellow passenger’s shoulder then having to wipe your drool off of it when you wake up. So awkward.

No disturbance: As great as the aisle seat is for access to the loos, you will also get disturbed when the 2 other people in your row want to go to the loo. Just imagine finally getting some shut eye then the person next to you taps you on the shoulder because they need to go to the loo. If you sit at the window seat you just need to be a guilt free disturber, aisle sitters are the disturbee.

Shade control: Surely sitting in an aisle seat and having the sun shine right in your face is unpleasant? The great thing about the window seat is being able to control the shade you’re getting.

Aisle seat

I suppose there are some good points to sitting at the aisle so let’s power through these shall we? Bias? What bias? Shut up.

Pee: Yup. Loo access is definitely a good point, especially if you know you pee a lot on flights and want to not have to battle your way through other seats to get to it.

Freedom to move: If you are a restless flyer or you know you need to move your legs a lot because of the air pressure then it’s nice to be able to get up and down to stretch your legs as and when you please. If a window seater disturbs 2 people just to go for a measly walk up and down the plane they can expect a lot of dirty looks.

Locker access: Window seaters have to get everything out of their bag before bedding down for the flight, it’s annoying as hell when I realise I have left something in there. Aisle seaters need not fear the left-item-in-bag scenario since all they need to do is stand up and get it from the overhead locker. Good for you.

*Top Tip*

If you get impatient when waiting for your delicious in-flight meal, special request a vegetarian meal or whatever takes your fancy and they will bring you yours first.

Fire exit

Extra leg room: Do I really need to elaborate? No? Good. Onto my absolute favourite seat choosing tip…

Left or right

This is something I have never even considered before and it was brought to my attention by a couple of people. There is an extremely good reason for this being one of the most valid points of choosing a seat, especially if you sit next to the window…

I can almost smell your intrigue…

Picture this… You are flying from Paris to Nice. Lucky you. Nice is gorgeous. Do you know what else is gorgeous? The French Alps. If you look up the flight path between the two cities you will see that the plane will fly south and the alps are on the east of France… Meaning that if you sit on the left hand side of the plane, you will get a gorgeous view of the Alps on your journey. Major bonus. On the right you may get a view as well, but the left is a definite.

I used this tip on my flight from Manila to Sydney and I sat on the right hand side of the plane. Firstly, since we took off from Manila on New Year’s Eve it meant I had a view of Manila with all of their fireworks going off. Secondly, when we were landing in Sydney the next morning (after my nice sleep by the window) I had a view of Sydney whilst the people on my left saw the sea. That was it. I was very smug and proud of myself for getting a lovely view.

So there you have it! A completley unbiased view on the many different logics for choosing certain seats on the plane. I hope you all found it informative and useful. If not, enjoy your poor seat choosing. You will suffer.

Goodbye Sydney

Sat at Soul Cafe this morning and I thought I should probably fill you all in on my 12 days in Sydney. Well I say 12 but it rained pretty constantly for 5… I don’t know if those days count since all we did was watch Suits and I ate far too many Tim Tams. Those things are good, don’t judge me. So I will fill you in on my 7 days in Sydney.

On my first day there I did all of the typical touristy things. My first stop was, of course, the Opera House which is just as beautiful as it looks in photos but, surprisingly, I preferred it up close. It’s an absolutely stunning building with a web of white and gold tiles which is not what I expected at all.

opera house

We also went to the Rocks, the old part of Sydney, and the market was great but I spent exactly $0 because in my head all I could do was, stupidly, compare the prices to Thailand!

On the Saturday night we went out for Birthday celebrations for Jess. This consisted of food and drinks at the harbour then watching the firework display. Absolutely incredible and I can’t believe they do it every week. So, for anyone who is there, get to the harbour for any Saturday at 9pm and watch this display. You won’t be sorry.

We were taken to see the koalas and roos as a surprise from Jess’ cousin, Dave, and I loved being able to see them up close. Feeding the roos was amazing and seeing the koalas is a must in Australia. However, I plan to write more about this but please make sure you go somewhere where they are being treated with the love and respect they deserve! We weren’t allowed to hold the koalas and I completely respect that. I know I wouldn’t like to be carried and passed from pillar to post for a photo opportunity, it’s not fair. Leave them in peace.

DSC00451.JPG

We, of course, went to check out the beaches whilst we were there. If you’ve read my previous posts you know about my issues of maintaining a bikini line abroad, I went for a regular “maintenance visit” in Parramatta and all I can say is that Australian women are vicious! Don’t do it! Enough said.

Anyway, the first beach we visited, Newport beach, was my favourite and it’s not one that gets many recommendations. It’s a local beach so there aren’t loads of tourists everywhere with their inflatable balls and ping pong sets. It is not completely deserted but it’s not too full either. The sea, however, was really strong and it left us with barely any dignity after pushing us over, covering us in bruises and trying to rip off our bikinis from time to time… Sexually aggressive sea 3, Lauren 0.

We also went to Palm beach where there were a lot more tourists; Home and Away is filmed there so we get why… And we definitely hijacked a buggy for photos, I was very tempted to drive off in it since the keys had been left in!! The one beach that had been recommended to me loads was Manly beach and, well, the name alone was enough to make me jump on the next ferry. However, this beach really disappointed me, it was surrounded by concrete walls, it was tiny and you couldn’t swim in the sea unless you seriously wanted to risk death by jellyfish. It was insane. So, instead, we drank a lot of beer in a nearby pub and then called it a day.

The final activity I did there was the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb (photos to come). I flinched when I first saw the price but I convinced myself, and my cousin, that it would be worth the money. I don’t regret it at all. We did a night climb and all I can say is that the views were phenomenal. There are so many interesting facts about the bridge as well which I won’t list here but my favourite moment of the whole climb was when the black rainbow was pointed out to us… This is a shadow cast across the sky by the bridge and it literally does look like, as the name suggests, a black rainbow. Never in my life have I seen anything like it and it’s truly beautiful. That on its own justified the money I spent.

So now that my time in Sydney is up, it’s time to take a couple of weeks to travel the coast up to Brisbane. I’ve got some great stops along the way and some great stuff planned.

Selfies – There’s a Time and a Place

Selfie culture has reached a massive high recently and it sometimes seems you can’t visit your local supermarket without someone snapping a photo of themselves in the biscuit aisle. However, is it now at the point where it’s just too extreme? Has it numbed us to our surroundings?

I asked myself this when I visited Ground Zero in New York earlier this year. The 9/11 Memorial has always been somewhere I’ve wanted to visit and I was so fortunate to go. I stood there taking in the names engraved in the cold stone all around the void where one of the twin towers used to be. I was completely in awe of just how many people had been taken from this world too soon and I felt a lump in my throat. If I had looked hard enough I would’ve found names similar to my loved ones. How many had my surname? The same name as my parents and my siblings? This world suddenly shrunk from billions of people to these names I was reading. I wondered if their families were OK. Were they coping? Had they come here to see this name? Did they cry? Do they still cry? My head was completely reeling with questions. I looked up to see my friend deep in thought, clearly upset by the overwhelming reality of it all.

I then looked along and saw next to us a couple of girls with their arms around each other. This wasn’t a beautiful display of affection, they had stuck an iPhone up in the air and were grinning and taking a selfie.

This angered me. Did this anger me more than it should’ve? Maybe… I wanted to ask these girls whose name were they standing in front of with a big grin on their faces. I should make it clear now that I have an issue with people getting offended on behalf of others but surely this upsets families who have lost someone? If a couple of friends took a photo of themselves having a jolly nice time in front of my nan’s grave I can imagine I would be pretty annoyed and that’s putting it politely.

I’m not saying taking photographs of the site is bad;  I even took photos. The difference is I took photos of the massive waterfalls that show you just how huge these buildings were and how vast the site actually is. I took photos of random names just because they are people who are no longer here and I wanted to remember them… Even if I never knew them. I took photos to bring home to my family who might never get the chance to see it for themselves to show them how devastating it was.

I did not take photos of myself and there’s a perfectly simple explanation for that. What was going on around me was far more important than me. That’s the long and short of it. It baffles me that some people think putting your own smiling face in front of a place where thousands of people died is a normal way to behave. It’s not normal at all; it’s disrespectful and vain. If someone showed me a photo of themselves in front of Ground Zero I would just ask what’s behind them. I couldn’t care less about their face. This is not the place to show people that you are having a lovely holiday; it’s a place of remembrance and respect, to educate yourself on the true atrocities of what happened that day and to pass that on to people. All I have to do is look at a photo of Ground Zero and all the feelings I felt that day when I was there come rushing back.

Taking selfies has become such a social norm now that we maybe don’t appreciate where we actually are and what we are seeing, and it’s not completely a generational thing. I asked this question on a Facebook page that I can always turn to for advice, Girls Who Travel, and the responses I have received are overwhelming. Women of all ages and backgrounds who have been to various places; Auschwitz, the Berlin Wall, the Vietnam Memorial and the Killing Fields to name a few… There has been a recurring theme in these responses; people taking selfies, parents taking photos of their grinning children and people posing for photos.

“Why do you need a grinning selfie in front of a gas chamber?”– Saraya Harrison, on visiting Auschwitz

I’m glad to see I’m not alone in this thought process and that I’m not being overly sensitive. Selfies are great and there are many places, especially in New York, where a selfie is completely appropriate. Ground Zero and the 9/11 Memorial is a place to remember the people who have died, to reflect and, in my view, taking a selfie is about the most self-centred and disrespectful thing you can do.

“Remembrance is important, and mourning is too, but so is strength and prosperity. I cry when I visit, but I smile at how proud I am to be a New Yorker” – Maggie Carlstrom

 

I’m Off Again!

After scans galore and what feels like a lifetime at home, I will be taking to the sky in just under a week to go to Australia. I have Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide as main points to cover with a bit of overland travelling along the way. To add to the fun, I’m doing it all in the height of the Australian summer so if I stop blogging it’s more than likely that this pasty English girl has turned into a crisp.

I will actually be doing part of this trip alone, part of it with a friend and the majority of it with my wonderful sister. Water parks, tennis, festivals, camping and screaming whilst running away from scary poisonous things are all on the cards. Join me won’t you?

Don’t actually join me, just read about it. I don’t want all three of my readers turning up and crowding me. I need space. I love you but enough.

My Hearing – An Update

So after my last couple of posts I’m sure you’re all aware of my situation; I’m back in the UK and investigating what the hell has happened to my hearing. I went for a hearing test straight from the airport and I was told I had had a “significant hearing loss” which was an understatement… It was a bloody massive drop and was hearing less than my right ear which I don’t even wear a hearing aid in because it’s redundant.

Here’s where the story gets interesting, I explained my syndrome on my last post however they can’t find my diagnosis anywhere! Fabulous! So I explained that this definitely is my condition because of X, Y and Z and they suggested that I try steroids to see if it helps with my hearing at all. I accepted, resigning myself to the fact that my hearing has gone but I will give it a go.

After a week my hearing has completely come back; bizarre but true. This has never happened before so I am now completely in uncharted territory as to what has actually happened. So we will have to find out exactly what my condition is and why my hearing has dropped dramatically then come back.

The good news is that, ultimately, my hearing is back and I couldn’t be happier. I might be a grand out of pocket for all the extra flights but if I had stayed abroad there’s no knowing whether or not my hearing would’ve come back. Maybe the steroids did help… Maybe it’s just a coincidence… I don’t know.

So I will be enjoying Christmas with my family and, I’m sure, with a few trips to London which is an incredible city to be in at this time of year. Before the year is out I will be packing my bags again and heading out to Australia. This little birdy is going abroad again…

Travelling With No Hearing – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

After my eventful week I thought I would pass on a few snippets on what it’s really like to travel with a hearing loss. It’s been an insightful week and I have come to the conclusion that there are major pros and cons to travelling without fully functioning ears.

 

Darkness is inconvenient

Being in the dark is suddenly a massive pain in the ass. If you’re walking anywhere with friends after the sun goes down you will walk in silence. No pleasantries and chit chat shall ensue because you have no idea what is going on. They could be scouting out the best place to hide your body and you would be none the wiser merrily strolling along by their side.

 

Meeting new people isn’t as interesting any more

OK, I realise this may sound harsh but it’s true. You can’t get into a really interesting conversation with someone who, upon discovering you have a hearing loss, starts to talk to you like a 5 year old and seems to forget, hearing loss aside, you’re still a functioning adult with a brain. New people just don’t tend to be exciting, it becomes a chore having to explain that you can’t hear anything to which they respond

“What? Nothing at all?” which makes me want to retort “yes, numb nuts, that’s why I just said I can’t hear anything

It’s a tricky situation because at least they are making an effort but when someone turns to you and says really over the top (imagine hand signals where the dots are, if you please) “I’m… going… to go and… look for… Jess”. Just tap me on the shoulder and say you’re going to look for Jess. I will understand you, I’m not an idiot. However I will contradict myself slightly in the next paragraph.

Group situations are frustratingly difficult

When you are talking one-on-one with someone lip reading can be relatively easy and conversation can be decent. Throw in a third person and you can just about keep up. When you travel, there will be many times where you will be in a group. Now is the time to just forget it; with everyone overlapping and interrupting each other it’s a struggle to keep up with who is talking let alone what they are actually bloody saying.

 

You have a major advantage at bars

Ah, look! It’s not all doom and gloom, there’s more to me than that! Going out to a bar is a doddle because everyone is in the same boat and no one can hear anything! Hurrah! Happy days! They all know how you feel. Have yourself a drink.

 

Shared dorms are blissful

Cheap, but not always cheerful, shared dorms. Anyone who has travelled has seen their fair share of good and bad ones. As I discovered on my second night in shared dorms, snorers are not an issue. Isn’t that fantastic?! Poor Jess was kept awake by Bean for quite a while and I was just lying l there revelling in silence. Smug as a bug in a rug.

 

Everywhere is quiet

Spending a day lounging at the pool blissfully unaware of the planes flying overhead, air con whirring and traffic noise is lovely. Everywhere you go is serene… So, naturally, the next point must be….

 

EVERYWHERE IS BLOODY QUIET!

I mean everywhere, I went to the Muay Thai boxing. There was probably a lot of crowd noise and heavy music playing but as far as I was concerned there were two people standing in a ring trying to punch and kick each other in total silence. Very bizarre.

No concept of background noise

This is something I definitely took for granted with my hearing aid. You have no idea how loud you need to speak to be heard. Ah, hearing people, you never thought of that one now did you? You have no clue if you can speak at a normal volume and be heard or if you will be drowned out by something in the background you hadn’t even realised was there; a pneumatic drill for example. Equally you could be relatively near a road and think “road traffic, let’s be clever and speak up” and all of a sudden you look like a wally because it’s not actually that loud and you’re screaming at everyone for no reason.

Long journeys can get very boring 

Pretty self explanatory. You can’t hear so no music and, as discussed, group situations are difficult and conversation is tiring. Have a good book ready, or write a blog entry like I’m doing. It passes time well I suppose

 

Crossing roads becomes death defying 

You may think I’m exaggerating but I’m really not. When you can’t hear what is coming you suddenly feel very vulnerable. In Asia this is ever more terrifying because they tend to drive slightly like maniacs. I’m sorry but they do. No one stops at pedestrian crossings ever. I’m English… this concept is madness!

Language barriers multiply

As if we didn’t have enough problems trying to communicate with people who speak a different language anyway let’s throw in the fact that one of you can’t hear as well! Doesn’t that make it more interesting?! If you think lip reading is hard try lip reading someone Thai trying to speak English. I dare you.

The world is still beautiful

Pros, cons, highs, lows, whatever. The world is still beautiful. It’s that simple. I love it and I always will whether I lose my hearing, my limbs, my mobility, my sight, there’s always some other way to see the world. The smells, the atmosphere, the feeling of different cities underneath your feet. It’s incredible and if you haven’t gone to explore it yet then why the hell not?

That’s Not All, Folks!

So after my hearing drop on my flight to Thailand last week I experienced another one yesterday. This is obviously not good news and I feel a bit silly after my preaching, “carry on regardless” attitude just two days ago. I am now, unfortunately, having to throw in the towel and fly back to the UK. This isn’t because the evil hearing elf is winning; it’s because evil hearing elf has never, in my 25 years of living, been so cruel as to drop twice in one week. This has left my quite freaked so it’s time to head home and find out what’s really going on.

I have, however, come to some sound (if you’ll pardon the pun) conclusions about what it is really like to travel with a “proper” hearing loss and there is a post to follow.

I know you’re all excited.

So this blog isn’t what I expected it to be, it’s not going to be sandy beaches, sangrias by the pool and temples galore… It’s going to be one hell of a journey and an important one nonetheless even if it doesn’t involve me flinging myself all around the globe. As my very wise father said “you have a lifetime to go travelling, my darling” and how right he is. I will, of course, go globe trotting again at some point and I’m sure those of you that decide you are intrigued enough to follow this new journey might get excited on my behalf when I am finally able to jet set again. Maybe. We will see. You might get bored of me babbling before then and just leave me. That’s fine. I will just blog to no one…..
*Guilt trip*
Did that work? Good. Speak to you soon, chaps.

Before Trip Anecdotes Commence

This is a slightly heavier post than what I wanted to be talking about with you all on my little adventure; however, it is worth mentioning. On my “About Me” page, if you’ve read it, you will notice I mentioned that I am profoundly deaf. I nicely brushed over that fact and got on with my chit chat. However this is no longer a topic I can brush past… Because, what has happened since I wrote that page (with probably Ed Sheeran or Passenger singing away in the background and I listened merrily on with my hearing aid) is that I have lost my hearing. All of it. Marvellous isn’t it?

I will go into a bit more detail without being ridiculously boring; I suffer from Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct (EVA) Syndrome which I was born with. It basically means I can lose chunks of hearing whenever it takes its fancy (like an evil hearing elf villain that lives in my head). I was born with almost all of my hearing and I have lost chunks in stages over the years. I have been advised to avoid anything that could cause trauma to my head so horse riding, contact sports, quad biking, basically anything that involves a helmet is a no-no… Oh! And flying! Yes I’m not supposed to go on planes. Air pressure can screw me over. However I’ve flown loads over the last 10 years and even gone up in a plane to sky-dive and had zero hearing loss.

So the little hearing elf decided to wait until I was going away for 5 whole months and popped his clogs. Thanks hearing elf, couldn’t have done this on the flight home? So yes I am without hearing. Completely. Fun times. 

I was pretty worried the first day or two, I cried a lot and I went to the hospital in Chiang Mai where the doctor said it was just an inflammation and my hearing will come back (they don’t have audiologists out there), but that inflammation I’ve had for 2 years so it’s perfectly normal. 

I rapidly experienced the 5 stages of grievance in the space of about 3 days and I’ve now accepted it. Fret not, little ones, it just means when I get back to the UK I have a reason to carry on this blog whilst I go through the process of getting my cochlear implant! Ohhhhh… Do I have to explain this too? Basically it’s a copper wire in my cochlear and a magnet drilled into my skull. If you want to know more, Google it or wait for me to tell you about it another day. 

So everything will be fine and these next 5 months are going to be interesting! However I’m in a positive place after my struggle and let me tell you why:

  • Firstly, it’s not the end of the world. It could be so much worse. At least I’m able to get up every morning and do everything that I could before it’s just a bit trickier. I’m not bed-riddled with nausea, I’m not dying and I’m not in pain. So you see, my friends, it could be worse. 
  • Secondly, I’m teaching my travel buddies to sign! Yay! By the end of their 2 months with me they are going to be fluent. Travelling is a learning curve in more ways than one!
  • Thirdly, all will be OK when I get home. My wonderful, supportive family are already setting the wheels in motion for the cochlear implant and possibly the hearing dog as well. So I’m by no accounts going to feel like a lost little puppy when I get home. 
  • Fourthly, if I give up on this trip now the sadness of losing my hearing will only be sadder. Of course I thought about packing it all in and flying straight home… Who wouldn’t? But that means the hearing elf wins and he doesn’t get to win. So I will fight back.
  • Finally, and most importantly, who needs ears to see and feel? No one. Feeling these crazy cities and the calming beaches and seeing their beauty wouldn’t be any different if I could hear or not.

At the end of the day, this is still the trip of a lifetime whether I can hear or not. Of course it’s not going to be plain sailing, there will be many struggles… So this journey may just be a bit more of a learning curve than I originally thought…