Nelson Mandela, Freedom Fighter.

Today the world has lost one of its greatest real-life heroes; Nelson Mandela, a man of great spirit, a symbol of hope and an influential figure in the struggle against racism. His legacies reach far beyond the borders of his native South Africa and there is no doubt his ideas of equality and peace will continue to inspire many generations to come. I can only say that I am honoured to share my lifetime with such a powerful icon, politician and freedom fighter.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Nelson Mandela


Thoughts on // Equality and the 21st Century

On reading the newspaper during this mornings train journey, I was faced with a most shocking cover story; 3 women, of varying age and ethnicity had been kept as domestic slaves in a house in South London for over 30 years, possibly having suffered mental and physical abuse. This story made me both sad and frustrated - how can we as a country claim to be "developed" if such extreme cases of abuse and inequality still exist within our society? And with the upcoming release of the new Mandela film I thought today would be a suitable excuse for me to write a post on equality.
Larmer Tree Festival [2012]
Being able to experience travel from a young age has helped to teach me what I believe to be one of the most valuable social skills; acceptance. But it's not just an acceptance of place and culture, it's also an appreciation - accepting traditional culture is important but being able to appreciate and adapt it to the 21st century  is even more relevant as our world continues to globalise. We are no longer separate nations and races but one global community connected through trains, planes and cyber space. I'm not saying forget patriotism and individuality - there is nothing wrong with taking pride in oneself and your country, but what I am saying is that surely the world would benefit from a little more tolerance and understanding? It's not just where you come from; we should not be afraid of defining ourselves with age, gender, sexual orientation, faith or ethnicity - things we should be proud of - but we should not let these factors stand between us and the next person. Whether you believe the knowledge and power of the human race was given to us by God, Brahma, Allah or Charles Darwin and his monkeys, we are all in it together and I think that's something we tend to forget as we get wrapped up in the technology-fuelled, work-saturated isolation of modern society.
Whether you organise a campaign to help rural communities in Zambia, support your college's LGBT society or simply smile at someone in the street, kindness and equality toward each other is a positive thing that we can all play a part in. 

- On a side note I would just like to say that anyone that can, please, please help raise awareness, donate, campaign to help those suffering in the Philippines. My thoughts go out to all those affected by typhoon Haiyan. Support the Oxfam campaign here. -

All thoughts on this post are welcome in the comments below; keep smiling and stand up for what you believe in!



Crisp leaves, muddy boots, fresh air - time to venture out to appreciate what's on your doorstep. Even if you live in the city, on our little green island you are never too far away from the leafy corners and windswept beaches of escapism. On the pitiful balance of a student's bank account and coursework-crammed diary, bigger travel plans shall have to wait till the summer months - for now stomping up the local common to check out the storm damage or taking my camera along to capture this beautiful, transitional season shall suffice. Hopefully the chilling winds that seem to be here to stay will whip up some winter swell to give me an excuse to journey off down West to catch a few waves. 


GIF Wednesday

Happy GIF Wednesday! This week I am looking back at the sunny month of August and its adventures as the chill begins to creep it - well it is October...This is comprised of pictures from this summer's last surf...we just have to sit tight and wait patiently for the winter swell now!


Takin' it easy

Hola Amigos!
Summer continues to shine on in the beautiful sun and what a glorious Summer it has been so far! The weather has allowed for many a beach barbecue, woodland picnic and sunset drink and thus not so many a blog post (sorry!)

Summer essentials and some lovingly collected shells from this weeks camping adventure.
Firstly, today I simply wanted to take the time to say happy Holidays and congratulate everyone who last week collected their A level results! I received my AS grades and was very happy which was followed with a celebratory camping trip down to the beach with some of my lovely chums (photos to follow once they have been developed.

Secondly, after much running up and down and round and round the country I finally had the chance yesterday evening to sit down with my mum and think about all the adventures I have had...well I would've done if I wasn't so exhausted, best nights sleep in a very long and canvas-related time! Which is why I am writing to you all today to say take it easy (as the post title suggests)... it is great to travel, explore and adventure but sometimes it is important to sit, think and soak up your wonderful surroundings be it at home in the garden, in London in a beautiful park, dozing in a European holiday hotspot or jet-setting off to a wonderfully exotic location. Otherwise us travel-folk become obsessed with 'seeing' as many places as we can without really seeing and appreciating the places right under our feet and right in front of our eyes!

The Big World Small Girl map is beginning to fill up with this Summer's clutter!
That's all I have time for today as I am off to Cornwall to catch a few waves before the Autumn leaves fall upon us!


India #2 [The Journey]

Namaste! Hello!
Today's post is (finally!!!) part two of my Indian adventure - if you didn't catch the first instalment catch up here. This section of the story is fairly brief as it covers just a journey from one location to another but I did not feel I could do the adventures we encountered a disservice by squeezing them into an introduction. So, without further a do, here is my recount of the journey up from port town Kochi, to lush and mountainous Munnar:
To progress further on this Indian pilgrimage we decided to begin travelling early to reach the Periya River in time for the elephants breakfast! We decided against visiting an elephant attraction park with elephant rides etc. as we disagreed with the money-making ethics and unfair treatment of the animals. As a more humane alternative we sought out an organisation that cared for orphaned elephants and trained them to be used in ceremonies and parades. This seems to western ears a cruel idea but the elephants are well looked after in this part of Indian culture steeped in history and tradition. Anyway enough rambling, I'll let the stars of the show do some talking with a few photos:

Keeping cool during a nice foot rub!

Me washing the elephant with a coconut shell.
It was definitely one of the best things I have ever done and I was humbled to be up close and personal with such  calm, majestic and powerful creatures.  Our next adventure was a culinary one: after all the driving and waking up early the family was ravenous. Luckily someone was on hand to help us and we stopped off at a beautiful home-stay not far from the Periya for a beautiful, light coconut curry and some jak-fruit. We devoured the feast hungrily and gratefully as you can see from our scraped-squeaky-clean plates in the picture! The picture below that just shows the front of the house. After thanking our hosts for their hospitality we were off again...

The next cause for a hurried photo shoot was a group of cheeky monkeys we spied sat atop the edge of the mountain road. They all posed willingly as they grabbed for scraps of food offered by outstretched local and foreign hands.

After taking far too many pictures we all scrambled back in the car to escape from the midday sun only to find another group of monkeys round the next few bends! Much to my disappointment we had to end stopping the car for photos as we'd never get to our destination on time. Unfortunately as we were just before the monsoon season all the  dramatic mountain waterfalls had run completely dry however we were kept well entertained by the wildlife for the final stretch of the journey. This last picture just shows a bit of en route shopping - much better than a tesco-express by the side of the motorway in my opinion!

 That's all for now then, let me know what you think in the comments and feel free to share your experiences below too - I love hearing from each and everyone of you!

Enjoy the sun and I shall be back soon with more in this Indian expedition series...


Life update and an inspiring brand discovery!

Hello everyone!

Well it looks like Britain has finally got round to getting some sunshine in and just in time for an epic Glastonbury and Wimbledon! As per usual, life has taken on a whirlwind characteristic hence my blog is seeming a little sparse at the moment but college finishes next week and so I will have plenty of time to catch up!

Life has been pretty good these past few weeks with two beautiful festivals one after the other (Glastonbury and Blissfields) in glorious sunshine. In the collage below is a picture of me and my mum at Ben Howard (glasto) and also me with my dread that I have finally managed to acquire(Blissfields)! Also below photos of busy open days in Cornwall, crazy friends and mojito o clock!

Now back to the serious stuff - what caused me to write this post. I was reading an article the other day and stumbled across this brand name:
A little research revealed that this flip flop company was set up by two brothers orphaned in the 2004 boxing day tsunami and were motivated by their unique and wonderful, travel-rich up bringing to create an ethical brand that could give something back to the world and are using profits to set up children's homes. The designs are colourful, simple and summery - I cannot wait to save up and get my hands on a pair! (Which I will definitely review on here.) I recommend you read more here as the story behind the flip flop is truly inspirational and touching.

Well that's it for now, I shall be back with more reviews, gap year ideas, summer festival write ups and some more India installments (honest!) asap...

I'd love to hear about your summer so far, let me know your exciting adventures in the comments!

Enjoy the summer sun and keep exploring,


INDIA #1 [Kochi]

So here it is: I have finally got round to uploading some of my India photos! I shall try and keep it as concise as possible - but there is just so much I want to share with you all from this amazing trip I was lucky enough to go on!

The first place we visited was a colonial port town called Kochi (formerly Cochin), in the state of Kerala. It had been colonised by the Portuguese first, then the Dutch and the British and is the most densely populated city in the state. After leaving the UK in the snow the wall of heat that hit us as we disembarked from the plane was most welcome! Our first port of call was a lovely home stay just out of town right next to the back waters (as you can see from the photos below). All tired and slightly bewildered from jet lag we thought we had found paradise (we pretty much had) and all raced to be the first to try out the hammock overlooking the view in the back yard of the spacious, colonial style outhouse. I probably would not have been able to drag myself from said spot if it wasn't for our hosts delicious home cooked feast which us tired travellers devoured. After that meal even my brother was a chickpea convert!
1. Where we stayed! 2. The hammock. 3. Loving the no-roof shower - hear the birds and palm trees as you wash! 4. Colonial style interior. 5. Location making the A level Geography revision just a tad sweeter...

A perfect place to watch a perfect sunset.
On a trip round the main town we visited a women's cooperative - such a lovely place full of smiling and grateful ladies, all very helpful and eager to kit me and my brother out in traditional saris and turbans!
Last ice cream stop in the world?!

We wandered blissfully around the slightly calmer old town on the sea front and visited the Dutch Palace - a gift from the Portuguese to the Keralans, most likely to sweeten trade agreements and controversially named following its Dutch renovation.
One of my personal highlights of our brief stay in Kochi was our private sunset boat ride along the backwaters that were right on our doorstep! I am full of gratitude for our wonderful host Jos who organised this for us, saving us the terrors of a midday scramble to share a boat trip with hoards of other tourists - no thanks! I don't think I really need to attempt how magnificent the sights and sunset were, I'll let the pictures do the talking...

Traditional Chinese fishing nets are still a very popular method of fishing for the Keralans.
Our fisherman friend Nikson - everyone is just so friendly and happy to talk!
Cows, cows everywhere...
As we arrived on Easter Sunday in a primarily Christian settlement, the whole town was adorned in festive decorations and music, singing and partying could be heard at all hours! A chaotic and colourful celebration, yet somehow undoubtedly peaceful. It's amazing how so many religions live happily side by side in one area.

One of the favoured ways to get around!

We ended our stay at Kochi by seeing some traditional dancing and Kathakali. An intriguing performance with wonderfully intricate and ornate costumes!

So that's the first few days of the trip! Sorry that turned into quite a lengthy post, more to come shortly...

All comments welcome - would love to hear your thoughts!


Everest '53

This is a slightly belated post to commemorate the life of George Lowe, the last surviving member of the 1953 Everest expedition who passed away aged 89 last Wednesday. A climber not as well known as Edmund Hillary or Tenzing Norgay, yet a one who played a vital role in the first successful ascent of Everest through his support and determination in helping his fellow climbers, ferrying up gear and helping his friends descend from top camp. The New Zealander also partook in expeditions to other Himalayan peaks such as Cho Oyu as well as participating in the first successful overland crossing of Antarctica (1955 - 1958).
Unfortunately Lowe's death came on the eve of the publication of his book (which I shall definitely be investing in) and weeks before the 1953 summit's anniversary, however George's wife Mary is in support of the book's release and feels it is important to share his words. I for one admire this courageous man and am sad that one of our times greatest explorers has been lost.
Carry on adventure-seeking!


It's time to travel...

A new adventure is on the horizon...
Yup, that's right, the family are off to India! Sandals are dusted off, bags are packed and guide books have been thoroughly scoured. 4 days to go and then I am off up up and away to a mighty fine destination - one more of the bucket list, tick! Words really cannot describe my excitement so I will save them for when I get back when I am sure I shall have many photos and tales to share with you lovely lot.
I hope you all have a lovely Easter and a rest - anyone got any exciting plans? Going somewhere nice?


GIF Wednesday

Hello there,
This weeks GIF entailed a lot of precarious globe turning and camera balancing, but here it is; my spinning globe GIF...
Spinning globe
My globe is one of my favourite things in my cluttered and colourful room (I confess, I am perhaps what you would call a hoarder...) and I could spend hours studying and spinning, making wild and worldly plans that I one day hope to carry out. This particular globe is really almost a 'vintage' item and I love trying to find all the countries which have been renamed.


Next stop....the World!

The World.
Big place huh.
When people use to say to me so what do when you grow up I would say that I wanted to travel the world. I wanted to explore it. People never seemed to get it. Instead of dreaming of a life as a vet, a teacher, a doctor, pop star; I dreamt of becoming an explorer, venturing boldly and bravely across the globe to the new and exciting, making discoveries to make the explorers of times past I so idolised smile in their places of rest. Oh you mean exploring like studying plants dear? no...but love, they've discovered all the countries already...
I know this of course. And that to be an explorer like those I spent my childhood obsessing over [instead of focusing on whatever my humanities teacher was actually saying] is impossible. But we can have a dream right? Well mine is to travel the world, to see and enjoy as much of our wonderful planet as humanly possible.
Everyone deserves a dream, something to fuel excitement, imagination and inspiration. Something to hold promise and hope. Something for when you want to give up to make you carry on. And who knows, maybe one day I can realise my dream, but for now I can imagine and lust after a life of absorbing new cultures, sights, countries, people, cities, foods, streets, landscapes...
Here's to dreaming, our planet and to the future.

[P.S. Please feel free to comment your own aspirations or travel wishes! I love reading every one of your comments.]


GIF Wednesday

Well whadda ya know - it's Wednesday again!


picasion gif creator

As the little green Island on which we live becomes increasingly urbanised and our lives ever busier, we rarely get a chance to look up and enjoy whats above us be it due to lack of time, light pollution, lack of green space... So to have the opportunity to see such perfect skies was an exciting chance to capture some dramatic pictures. Seeing something so clearly which is in fact so far away is really quite extraordinary. Here I have imitated the moon's path across the sky.
When was the last time you enjoyed a clear night? Much of star gazer?