Bucket List: Skydive โœ”๏ธ The Best Stupid Idea I’ve Had

I don’t think anything will top the experience I had today! Bucket List item ‘do a skydive’ – check! By far, the best, stupid idea I have ever had.

I nervously giggled my way to the airfield but was mainly filled with anticipation and excitement. After signing in we put on our trousers and harnesses and were given a quick simple talk on positioning. Then I met the guy who would have my life in his hands. We walked over to the plane and surprisingly I still wasn’t scared, just excited. We got on the plane and I was sat in front of my tandem partner who began strapping us together as we started flying up above Byron Bay. The view was amazing thanks to a lovely clear day. I sat there in disbelief at what I was about to do. Although this item was on my bucket list the realisation that I was actually about to jump out of a plane was a very strange feeling. I just couldn’t believe I was actually going to do it. We flew for about 30 minutes and then the door opened…

A gust of air hit us all and this was the moment the fright kicked in. I didn’t have long to dwell on this, I tried to smile at the girl I had been speaking with leading up to the jump, but before she knew it she was being thrown out of the plane. I watched her tumbling around 14,000ft in the air and as I went to take a breath I was suddenly hanging out the door of the plane.

With no time to think about what was about to happen I was jumping out of a plane. The freefall lasted for 1 minute but it felt longer, which was not a bad thing. Although I was experiencing the scariest thing I have ever done I was also experiencing the most exciting and thrilling thing I have ever done. As I was falling 14,000ft through the air at who knows what speed, it felt as though I couldn’t breath. I kept trying to close my mouth so I could breath through my nose but I couldn’t help but laugh, smile and scream. I was having the time of my life freefalling and admiring the beach, mountains and villages below me.

I saw the instructors signal and it was time for the parachute to be let out. With a pull of a string and a strong jolt, we slowed down instantly, started spinning and then there I was, just hanging around in the sky!

Floating above the world is the most amazing feeling, I held out my arms like I was flying and tried to savour the moment as much as I could.

As we came into land I didn’t want it to be over. I was so disappointed that I was no longer falling through the sky! Once I was unattached from the parachute I was buzzing with excitement. I was so proud of myself and overwhelmed at what a fantastic time I had just experienced.

My tandem buddy was amazing and took a great, but not flattering, video of my jump. I also got a free t.shirt and a certificate. I will most certainly jump again. Who knows, maybe next time will be in New Zealand or South America!

20131220-154604.jpg

20131220-154617.jpg

20131220-154634.jpg

20131220-154654.jpg

20131220-154706.jpg

20131220-154716.jpg

20131220-154737.jpg

Bucket List Item – Snorkel a Living Reef – โœ”๏ธโœ”๏ธ

For those of you with a good memory, you will notice that this item is in fact already ticked off my Bucket List. I did snorkel many amazing reefs in the Maldives, but you will surely agree that snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef deserves a double tick!

Setting sail at 8.30am on a very nice boat we were provided with tea and coffee and entertained by the fabulous crew. After an hour or so we moored at the first outer reef approximately 70km offshore.

As we have now entered the season for jelly fish we had the option to hire stinger suits. Now if there was a jelly fish I am pretty sure I would be the one it hunted down! So I paid $10 for the protection. I put on my mask and fins and waited for my turn to jump in. I was most excited. I prepared my mask and snorkel perfectly so that I didn’t have any issues once in the water and then I jumped in. I started swimming amongst the huge colourful fish and this would have worried me in the past but I just swam along with them, taking in the abundant colourful marine life. The sea was so calm and not too cold and the visibility was amazing, unfortunately the coral was slightly disappointing. Most of the reef was dead and so the once colourful coral was a bit dull. The coral in the Maldives were actually so much nicer.

We returned to the boat for a very tasty BBQ lunch and set sail for the next reef. This reef was much better with bigger more colourful fish, I even saw a Barracuda which was quite possibly the same size as me, masses of superb coral formations of all shapes and sizes and a lot more colour. The deep drops off the coral walls would normally panic me but I was loving every minute of it gliding over the deep drops and searching for weird and wonderful fish in the cave like holes, floating above the shallow coral with the fish poking there heads at me a few inches from my face.

All in all an amazing day.

20131203-142333.jpg

20131203-142340.jpg

20131203-142346.jpg

20131203-142356.jpg

Bucket List – See Angkor Wat – โœ”๏ธ

I was so excited to be seeing this magnificant place that despite my long tiring journey and beers with new friends, I was awake at 4am waiting for a Moto (tuk tuk) to take me to the temple.

Standing in the dark with a huge famous sillohette just across the water from me I made sure I savoured the memory. Crowds of people were lined along the waters edge, cameras at the ready waiting patiently in the early hours for the sun to rise from behind the temple and reveal its beauty. And it was beautiful.

Angkor Wat is now a world heritage site and so there was an entry fee of $20 for a 1 day pass. This gives you a ticket with your photo on and enables you to come and go as you please. Because the city of temples is so vast this is a welcome idea. If you pay a tuk tuk driver about $15 you hire him for the day and so for example you can see Angkor Wat at sunrise, walk around, go back to your hostel for lunch and then head back to see the other temples all at your leisure.

Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia. It extends over approximately 400 square kilometres and although Angkor Wat is the most well known, there are many other amazing temples and structures to see. My favourite being the temples that have been overtaken by nature and the setting of a scene from Tomb Raider.

Cambodia is building itself back up following its difficult past and Siem Reap appears to be doing quite well. The awful roads I was once warned about are now easily accessible, although it is clear to see how easily the roads can flood, and the developing towns obviously thrive on tourism. The local people are so friendly, helpful and cheerful and I have instantly become very fond of them. There is still a lot of poverty and this is obvious from the amputees and children begging and selling. It is heartbreaking to see these adorable children who should be at school, sent onto the streets to earn money. A bracelet, a postcard an inscent stick, mean nothing to us but that couple of pence means a lot to them.

For 2 nights I stayed at Mad Monkey Hostel which was a great place to stay. In a good location, about 20 minute drive from Angkor Wat, on a main street and close to the bars! It was a lively hostel with clean dorms, a pool, a rooftop bar and was a constant party. Halloween was a fabulous night and it is amazing what costumes backpackers on a budget can create. My favourite was the ‘spring roll’. A girl wrapped herself in cling film and stuffed it with veg from the local market. Brilliant! I purchased some toy guns for $2, got some black tape from a room mate and went as Lara Croft. I was surprised at how much people liked my cheap & cheerful costume.

The hostel was fully booked on my third night and so I found another hostel around the corner. I had to pay for a private room and at an expensive $6 I had the privilage of no water whatsoever. I feel sorry for the person sitting next to me on this 6 hour bus journey to Phnom Penh!

20131102-230929.jpg

20131102-230946.jpg

20131102-231015.jpg

20131102-231101.jpg

Bucket List: ‘Swim in the pool of a waterfall’

4 days into my travels and I’m able to tick something off my Bucket List already.

‘Swim in the pool of a waterfall’.

I booked a trip through a travel agency with 2 lads I met in the hostel. The trip cost 1000bht and this included transport, lunch, entrance fee and 2 stops.

Erawan waterfalls are in Kanchanaburi which is about 2 hours outside of Bangkok. There are 7 beautiful natural falls and their beauty has been maintained as they are kept by a National Park. This does mean there is an entrance fee (about 200bht) to see them but it’s worth it to see the unspoilt wilderness.

Its a long, and in some parts challenging, walk to the waterfalls. The first 3 falls are easily accessible by well laid paths and signs, the others involve, steep muddy hills, climbing over rocks and using tree roots as stairs! Although slightly hard work most people seemed to manage it. I was wearing my walking trainers and this made my trek so much easier.

It was at the biggest waterfall that I chose to take a dip and although I was a bit more nervous than I expected, I loved it.

The second stop was to see the famous bridge over the River Kwai. This bridge was built by the Japanese during World War II to create a rail link between Burma and Thailand and they used Prisoners of War to build it under appalling conditions. This led to to an estimated 16,000 deaths of Prisoners of War alone. The train line over the bridge is still in use even though it is overtaken by tourists.

Even though I was pretty tired after a day of trekking, it was my last night in Bangkok and had to finish in style. Myself along with about 15 other people I had met at the hostel partied on Kho San Road until the early hours. My next night will not be quite the same, instead I have a 12 hour night-bus journey to Chiang Mai…

20131020-205925.jpg

20131021-153704.jpg

20131021-153715.jpg

20131021-154102.jpg