I am the girl that doesn't leave the house without a full face of makeup, painted nails and loves a good pair of shoes; considers lifes essentials to be purse, keys, lipgloss and perfume but its time for a change!!

I have decided that its time to see and experience the world and that camping and youth hostelling will be character building!! Might even cure the OCD handwashing!

Follow me on my journey and prepare to be scared!

I have included a profile picture of my previous glamorous self, so I can remember what I used to look like!!!

South America » Peru » Cusco » Inca Trail April 17th 2011

The Inca Trail and Machu Picchu - what can I say amazing, exhilarating, satisfying and the physically hardest achievement to date! Four days trekking through the National Park of Machu Picchu, at altitudes of 4000m, along muddy and rocky paths, up and over the mountain and the steep climb down to the Sun Gate and then the Inca site of Machu Picchu!! The physical exertion to complete the Inca Trek was worth every part of the sweat (there was plenty) mosquitos (only a few thank goodness) and tears (fair few on day two, especially at the arrival of the camp!) to reach the Sun Gate on day four and look down to Machu Picchu- amazing. There are four guides and thirty four porters, the porters are just outstanding, small men carrying on their backs 25-30kgs, which ... read more

South America » Argentina » Salta » Salta April 9th 2011

This is somewhat of a delayed and short blog but heres Argentina and Bolivia! The photographs particularly the salt flats are good though! First stop in Argentina is the Argentinian side of the great waterfalls Iguassu Falls. Surprisingly very different perspective as it was possible to walk next to the falls, rather than from the Brazillian side looking over the canyon to the waterfalls. The falls are just a magnificent and vast natural beauty! Bolivia First stop is the train cemetary, this is where the trains (unfortunately some of the trains here are ours!) were sent to when they were no longer used or useful and the trains are just left here to rust away- did provide a great Toucan tour group shoot though! Next the salt flats, the part that we have heard so much ... read more

South America » Brazil March 23rd 2011

Brazil baby! Well what a way to spend your birthday at the Sambadrome- amazing!! Sorry no photographs to update you with as tourists are advised not to take cameras and valuables with them. The only way I can describe the show is imagine Notting Hill Carnival and then think bigger, brighter and generally more colourful procession with everyone in the procession Samba-ing, each Samba schiool is represented and takes approximately an hour for each school to travel down the length of the Sambadrone! The effort and the costumes are just immense. Last years winners, this year had a film theme with the Lion King and Godzilla as huge characters. The Brazillian´s certainly know how to party! Every night there are street parties and there are just processions of individuals and groups dressing up and partying hard! ... read more

South America » Brazil » Rio de Janeiro » Rio de Janeiro » Lapa March 5th 2011

Well here I am in Rio! After the peace and tranquility of Costa Rica, Rio De Janeiro is the exact opposite - it's busy and crazy and the costumes are fabulous and bizarre! My hotel is surprisingly nice, a little old doorman can to unload my belongings from the taxi and take it to my room slightly amusing that my luggage is a very large rucksack with sleeping bag and sleeping mat tied to the top!! No glamour for me I am afraid! Rio carnival started officially on the 4th March and continues right through to the 12th. One of the main events is at the Sambadrome where there are the great parades with bands, costumes and dancing showcasing the best of Rio! As a tour group we have tickets for this and this is on ... read more

Hello, I am still plagued with hotel internet connections that will not allow me to upload photos from my USB. So I will upload when I can and you can marvel at the beauty of Quepos beach too! I have a confession that I forgot to include a coffee and sugar tour in my previous blog! I am not sure how I forgot this, as this tour coupled with the National Park was the highlight of my trip! We visited a cofee and sugar plantation in Monteverde which is locally grown and roasted etc by a family for many years. Saw the beginnings of the seedlings, through to the cultivation of the crops, harvesting and then we were allow to play with the machines that shell, separate the seeds, grade them and then roast the beans. ... read more

What can I say- I love Costa Rica. Sadly where I am staying in Quepos I am using the reception desk computer so currently ignoring all telephone calls and hiding from the guests however there is no USB port, I shall have to update this blog with pictures when I have access!! Costa Rica is just amazing, the days are very busy and early starts are galore! However I would recommend to anyone to come to Costa Rica there is something for everyone and you do not have to stay in quite such budget accomodation as I am!! We have so far walked around the base of the Volcano Arenal in the Rainforest where we saw Toucans, Howler Monkeys and a small Hawknose Viper on the ground. But by the time we came to the viewing ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Costa Rica » San José February 25th 2011

We are in Costa Rica or as the Americans like to say on our tour Coaster Rica! There are 16 people on our tour including the tour leader. There is 1 Canadian, 4 English, 2 Australians and 9 Americans. The ages range from 13 to early 60s and everyone is really nice, it is realy interesting to tell each other our travelling stories as some people are so well travelled and been to some amazing places. Costa Rica is surprisingly different to Guatamala, it is so clean, green, lush and beautiful. There are orchids and coconuts growing along the side of the road, here there are actually tarmaced roads! Even seen a wild monkey in the tree next to the road yesterday! Costa Rica is quite used to tourists and it is good news that my ... read more

The house building is complete and Michele and I have had 4 days off to sightsee. First day was to climb Pacaya Volcano, which is active, the poor horse was pushed up the volcano by its kind owner. After all the hardwork the volcano was smoking but there was no eruption of lava! It was still however hot enough to toast marshmallows when we laid sticks over a deep hole, which caught fire and toasted the marshmallows!! Next was a trip to the Lakes - Lakes Atitlan and the small villages around the Lakes, these were all very cute and it was a lovely chilled day. We have just got back from the Copan Ruins in Honduras. The ruins are magnificent and it is so hard to appreciate the expanse that the Mayan village would have ... read more

The second House in now completed! This week has been just as hard as the first as you now know what you have to do to build a house! The carrying of bricks and the hand mixing of cemeto and concreto is doing wonders for my bingo wings though! I have included a picture of Guatamalian transport, ie we all get out of the truck and have to push it up the hill- not exactly what you want to be doing after a hard days work! I certainly have learnt how to paint a house and including myself and the other volunteers too- the poor lady who is doing my laundry! I have included pictures of the family and the volunteers on this project! You will all be pleased to know that I have reached saturation ... read more

Half way through the week and half way through the build on the second house! In the same area as last week San Antonio, we have luxury this week a flushing toilet with a door and electricity. Last week a cesspit with cockroaches coming out of the 'seat' and a see through flapping bit of plastic sheeting!! Needless to say I wasn't in a hurry to use the toilet last week! This week utter bliss and not disimiliar to the homestay toilet! Michele and I are on different builds this week- but have a nice group of volunteers although they are taking great delight that other than 1 Guatamalian man I am the oldest!! This week does not feel quite so hard, managed to stay up later then 7.30 on Monday, so thats an improvement! The ... read more

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