A fashion designer for 7 years and it's all I've ever done - I love my job, I really do... I get to draw T-shirts for a living (though it's far more complicated and stressful than that!) I see people wearing my stuff on the street, I get to travel to amazing places round the world - hell I get paid to go shopping in LA twice a year...and that's just one of the 8 places I visited with work last year... But that's just it... It's work... And as much as it's satisfied my appetite for travel a little while, there's still this desire.. This NEED to see the world... Go travelling.. Like PROPER travelling!...
I'm 30 next year and I've been thinking about doing this for 10 whole years. I should have done it 10 whole years ago too but I didn't... And now seems as good a time as any to just go!...
So I'm ditching the heels, the make-up & the hair straighteners, trading in the 5 star hotels & business class flights for hostels & cattle class, squeezing 8 months worth of clothes into one bag (!!!! How is that even possible???) and I'm doing it!... I'm going! And yes I'm nervous - shitting it in fact! But I don't know if you ever saw the film "Up"? Where it's this couple's lifelong dream to visit Angel Falls and they save their whole life and then the woman dies at the age of about 90 having never done it... Well I don't want to be that old woman goddammit!!
And yes I'm scared of EVERYTHING...Petrified of heights, snakes, big waves (even small waves), foxes, ants, the baddies in Superman...you name it, I'll run a mile but no matter how tough the road ahead and the many challenges I have to face, no matter what grotty hostel I find myself in, in need of a long hot bath, no matter how bad my roots get and chipped are my nails, no matter how homesick I am and long for a nice cuppa Yorkshire Tea and a Bourbon biscuit...for the next 8 months - this is Tina International...on her way, living the dream and not looking back!...
October 31st 2012
I know, I know...long time, no blog... But I suppose working full time again has meant a bit less happens to write about! So here I am in Sydney, Back in the world of fashion, back in that familiar cycle of drawing, speccing, fitting, ranging, running around, shouting down the phone because the factory have put the wrong lace quality in the wrong colour on a top that looks like a 4 year old made it (hey, maybe they did)... And it's a world away from the last 6 months of my life! To think just a few weeks ago the most stressful decision I had to worry about was whether to have a VBs or spend the extra on a Cooper's pale ale (always the latter) and now I'm right back in the thick of ... read more
July 29th 2012
Firstly, apologies for not writing for so long! The main reason being, that after a couple of weeks spent being a tourist in Oz, inevitably meant that my funds were dwindling somewhat and therefore I took the decision to try and find work in Sydney for a few weeks to help me on my way. So unfortunately, as you will see from my distinct lack of photos these past two months, there's not an awful lot to report! However I will fill you in anyway on my life so far Down Under... So, after returning to Sydney from Melbourne, I'm greeted by another weekend of carnage including an Aussie "barbie" at Scott's house that didn't really involve any food, just a whole load of booze, a hot tub and a very messy ending, I decide I ... read more
June 19th 2012
Boarding my plane to Sydney I'm immediately greeted with a warm welcome by the team of all male air stewards, all over 50, all a little bit camp with a wink wink here and nudge nudge there, you could have made a comedy show out of them. "More wine madam?" they ask, almost encouraging you to get drunk as when you reply yes they give you not one bottle but two. The girl in the seat next to me is from Sydney and is really chatty. We hit it off immediately and spend 5 hours chatting, laughing & drinking wine before finally dropping off to sleep for just 2 hours before our flight lands. I proceed through to passport control, being shown what queue to stand in by a woman that calls me "Darl" which makes ... read more
May 23rd 2012
After getting picked up by a mini bus with an extremely grumpy bossy cow of a coordinater dishing out our train tickets, I take a seat on the familiar mini plastic stools to await my night train to Sapa. A mountain town away from the hustle & bustle, a cooler climate and stunning scenery, Sapa is also well known for it's many hill tribes and I'm looking forward to spending a few days trekking & exploring another side of Vietnam to the busy city streets. I get chatting to two French guys who have booked a similar tour to me and we have a couple of drinks before our train departs. We get on to the subject of food, and what strange things we've tried; I think I'm being pretty adventourous when I say I tried ... read more
May 22nd 2012
Suprisingly I awake on the nightbus feeling a lot better after an unexpectedly good night sleep. We arrive in Hoi An around 8am so I make a beeline straight for a little guesthouse in the ancient town called Thahn Duoy, where Steve & Nat are already staying and had earlier kindly facebooked me to recommend it. Accomodation is a little more expensive here but I don't mind as the town is beautiful! Old faded French villas line the quiet pedestrianised streets, just the occasional old lady in a conical hat will cycle past - it's so nice not have to dodge traffic and listen to the constant honking of horns. I take a walk around the pituresque town known for it's many tailors & dressmakers. They are literally everywhere, one after another after another, at least ... read more
May 12th 2012
I take a 7am bus out of Saigon & head for Dalat, a town up in the central highlands I'd heard good things about. I'm the only westerner on the bus but I don't mind, the bus boy speaks a little English and hands me a bottle of water and a refresher towel as I board. Now this is service I'm not used to! What a refreshing change from the crowded stuffy buses, packed with motorbikes & refridgerators, people sat on the floor etc. This is a new coach, air con fully working and the staff even have a uniform! I booked my open tour bus ticket yesterday which basically means I can travel South to North from Saigon to Hanoi, stopping at all the main cities on the way for the bargain price of £30. ... read more
May 11th 2012
"Crazy" was certainly one of the first words that sprung to mind before I even arrived in Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as it is known to most people. Warned by many about this chaotic metropolis, infamously known for it's traffic jams & millions upon millions of motorbikes, I kind of knew what to expect and it certainly didn't disappoint! I arrive at the airport, which is surprisingly brand spanking new & almost empty, breeze through the visa process (which I was expecting to be a bit of a nightmare) and hop on a bus to the the city centre. I get chatting to 5 oldish Singaporean men who are on a boys holiday while also helping local schools. One of them, a bit of an old hippy with his ponytail, embroidered multi coloured bag ... read more
May 7th 2012
After being in Ubud for 10 days, I finally decide enough is enough, it's time to move on. I must admit I've gotten pretty comfortable in Darta's homestay, eating at the local Warung every night with the same bunch of people. I don't know if it's recovery from being ill or the fact that the last few weeks have mainly been spent with family & friends, but I seem to have lost my appetite for exploring right now and it's felt good just to be in one place, particularly one I feel so at home in! But I can't stay here forever, and I had wanted to climb the monstrous Mount Rinjani since day one of getting to Indonesia, in fact it was the main reason I decided to not take my flight to Vietnam last ... read more
April 26th 2012
I wasn't planning on even coming to Indonesia, as stunning as it sounded. My original plan for Asia packed into 3 months was already a bit of a stretch. But then original plans seem to go out the window as soon as you start travelling and I've lost count of how many flights I've booked and not taken or re-scheduled, put back or changed dates. I had already toyed with the idea of Bali so it didn't take much twisting of my rubber arm when my best friend Fi announced she was thinking of going there for a 10 day holiday and did I fancy it..? Hell yeah, get me on that plane! So after saying goodbye to mum & dad in Singapore, I hop straight over to Bali for a good old girly holiday! Our ... read more
April 14th 2012
I catch the 5 hour bus from KL to Singapore and I'm in luxury already! Big wide comfy reclining seats, air con that actually works, no music blaring, no karoke... No motorbikes/cucumbers/breastfeeding women in the aisles... I'm on my way back to Singapore and don't I know it! The journey is smooth, crossing borders out of Malaysia and into Singapore is a simple transition of getting off the bus, walking through a huge immigration hall with 127 desks all open waiting to stamp you're passport (Heathrow & Stansted take note!) I breeze through in 5 minutes, am back on the bus and within an hour arrive at Beach Road. I flag a cab to take me to Sentosa Island where my parents are staying, as they're visiting me for a holiday. "Shangri-La Sentosa" I say to ... read more