Travel has changed me into…

Yes travel has changed me. I don’t mean in a spiritual or ‘finding myself’ type of way, but in a physical way. It has literally changed my physical appearance.

I have never really been the typical outdoors type when it comes to clothes. For some years now I have been collecting dresses. I prefer to use the word collecting as it makes it sound more like hobby, rather than someone with a spending problem who is a extremely obsessed with dresses. Over 10 years my ‘collection’ has grown and until recently I owned roughly 100 dresses. Yes I admit this is a bit excessive, but in my defence I didn’t own any trousers, jeans or t-shirts. I lived purely in dresses.

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Old me – one of many dresses!

I know it’s still a very poor excuse but I couldn’t help it. Once I started buying I couldn’t stop and of course with my pretty dresses came the accessories. I had mountains of belts, necklaces, brooches, tights, shoes and hand bags to accompany and complete my look. Whatever the occasion I was fully prepared, as long as it didn’t involve a 6 mile trek.

Well that time is now over, no longer do my shopping trips take me into a musty smelling vintage shop, oh no, these days I’m all about the outdoor shop. In recent times I’ve become more excited about Gore-Tex and base layers than necklaces and handbags. Instead of spending hours on eBay searching for dresses, I’ve now replaced this with looking for liner socks and quick drying underwear.

I’m the proud owner of fleece that even Rob approves of. For years he had told me that he found women in unshapely fleeces unattractive, so the decision to buy a fleece could have been a deal breaker for us! I’ve got a child’s waterproof, windproof jacket; you see there are some advantages to being small! At long last I have a complete set of thermals to keep me warm, which when worn together make me look like a mime artist. Most of these are items of clothing I didn’t even know existed until a few months ago and I never thought I would own them.

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The Outdoors me! Check out my fleece!

To go with this new outdoor/travel me; there has also been a change in my hair. My hair has always been my trademark, last year if you’d asked anyone to describe me the words ‘small with red hair’ would have just about covered it. The maintenance of hair included regular cutting and dying and daily frying with the straighteners. Well no more, it’s been 7 months since my last haircut and the natural curls are in full force and the straighteners have been sold. I’ve even forgone the red hair dye for a more sensible and manageable brown.

Being totally ill equipped for our upcoming escapade has meant that I’ve had to do a lot of shopping, so I’m still getting my fix. Plus our adventure starts in warm, sunny Mexico so I’ll be able to bring along some of my beloved dresses.

I’m barely recognisable and I’ve not even left Scotland yet, who knows what will happen when we set off. Maybe I will develop a love for tie-dye and crocks! I am completely embracing this change even if the humidity does make me look like Leo Sayer’s love child.

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Is Leo Sayer my father?

The anniversary of my great escape!

I realised today that it is the sixth anniversary of the day I sold my house! I call it my great escape. It’s six big fat years since I cut the chain that left me feeling depressed, trapped and bored. I can honestly say it’s the best decision of my life.

I spent a few years as a completely inept trainee accountant in a bid to live a normal life and achieved the dream of a mortgage at the age of 25 years. Wow what a dream that was! I spent the entire time living for Fridays, only to waste the weekend drunk or hungover. Life felt very unfulfilled.

I often struggle to understand why it’s the norm to settle down and live in the same place for your entire life when there is a huge planet to explore. But having said that if it makes you happy then go for it. I have so many friends and family who are content with life and don’t need travel to enhance it. Travels not for everyone, but there are definitely so many options for those who do crave it!

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Here’s a bit of a summary of my last 6 years, which includes the highs and lows…

I travelled Thailand for 5 weeks, ended up in hospital with self diagnosed rabies, did a jungle trek with a severe case of Delhi belly which had me running for the woods on many occasions, I partied on beaches (or was it just one beach?), snoozed in hammocks and ate the best food in the world (just my opinion).

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I swallowed somebody else’s vomit on this boat in Thailand

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Tash mistake

I explored Australia for a year, worked on farm for food and board in a beautiful mountain area, but with fascist organic farmer (strange mix). I worked as an accountant for Australian Conservation Foundation and became inspired by their work and vowed to stop being an accountant and do something I felt passionate about. I briefly partied up the East Coast and realised I was a bit rubbish at it and even more bored by it, so stopped pretending that I enjoyed it. I lived in Melbourne for three months (I think) enjoying the vintage shops, coffee culture and easy-going Oz life. I drove the Great Ocean Road and felt a bit underwhelmed. I went up the West Coast on my own in a campervan and hardly met a single person and was bored to tears (literally). One night I parked in a secluded wood and spent the entire time freaked out that someone was going to hack me up and kill me, so I got in my campervan with my wind up torch and continually wound it up and read a book until tiredness overcame the fear (I have no idea why I didn’t drive to a more populated area). I conquered my fear of scuba diving and witnessed an unimaginable underwater world.

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I travelled New Zealand for 4 months and was overwhelmed by its beauty and resolved to live there one day (this will happen). I relaxed in natural spring pools on the beach at midnight on a full moon. I saw real life wild penguins by accident! I drove around in a campervan with friends and thoroughly enjoyed it (I didn’t cry). I saw big evil green parrots stalk me like the velociraptors in Jurassic Park.  I spent two nights ‘volunteering’ with an ex Greenpeace member who claimed he wanted to save the world, but used petrol to burn the grass in his back garden. I escaped rather more dramatically than needed from his house in the early hours of the morning. I worked on a fruit stall on a New Zealand beach and occasionally met some amazing, inspiring people for two minutes at a time, which by the way is enough time to change someone’s life.

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I went to India and was nearly broken by the intensity of life there. I slept on the sand dunes underneath the stars (it was a bit cold and a rabid looking dog growled all night). I journeyed on overcrowded trains and was stared at for 17 hours by strangers; I then travelled in a higher class and felt the benefits of a curtain. I met people who constantly wanted my attention or to sell me something I didn’t need. I saw extreme poverty. I saw absurd riches right next to extreme poverty. I met the kindest people in the hardest places. I ate spicy food. I was never ill.

I returned to England £2500 in debt and immediately broke my resolution never to work in accounts again. I became depressed very quickly. I stopped working in accounts and left to volunteer for Whale and Dolphin Conservation as a guide at the Scottish Dolphin Centre. I was still in debt with no income for 9 months. At the end of this time they gave me a job! A job which I loved and had meaning (to me)! Finally I was out of debt!! I was happy.

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Packing my bags to help dolphins

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It’s a bloody real life dolphin

I am now leaving on the 4th December 2013 with a one-way ticket to Mexico, no specific plans and the company of my adventurous, positive girlfriend.

I wouldn’t change any of the last 6 years, or for that matter the dark days of my accountant, home owning life. You can’t appreciate the highs unless you have tasted the lows.

I am now saving, saving, SAVING! I try to be content in the present. I am excited by the future.

Since I sold my house my life has changed completely and although it’s not always perfect it definitely makes me happy (most of the time). If I had known back then the opportunities and possibilities it would open up I wouldn’t have been so scared…

I got a 5 year career break!?!?!

This week I discovered my employers have approved my career break!! I am free to disappear off and roam the world for between 6 months and 5 years.  It’s incredible news and I am very lucky,  but strangely after the initial jubilation had worn off I was left with a few feelings of uncertainty. You see, for as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be a Child Psychologist. After years of hard work I achieved my goal, but now I am about to leave it all behind.

Yep I had a plan to become a psychologist and followed it through, how very dull and organised of me. But it wasn’t all plain sailing. I completed my college studies and went on to do a degree in Psychology. But after university I set off for an 18-month travel adventure around Australia and New Zealand, leaving my career plans firmly behind me. Well all the best made plans can have a deviation every now and then.

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Off on my first adventure!

After my trip I returned to the UK broke and in debt, my budgeting skills weren’t a patch on today’s standards. Facing a financial crisis, I spent 4 long months in a number of soul destroying temporary office jobs. I made tea and collected bacon rolls for a group of executives at a car factory. In another role I had the repetitive task of refunding flight cost, it’s too dull to even explain and day after day I lost the will to live. This just confirmed that the mundane was not for me. Sometimes you just have to learn the hard way.

I eventually got a job I loved! It was as a learning mentor in a secondary school working with young people. I understand this job isn’t for everyone, teenagers can be rude, aggressive and annoying one day, then kind, caring and vulnerable the next. Working with challenging young people strengthened my resolve to follow the psychology path. I knew I had more to give and I wanted a job where I could really do something to make a difference to children and young people’s lives.

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My good friend Lauren gave me the push I needed

One of the perks of working in school meant I got long summer holidays again, which as it turns out gave me a great excuse to go and revisit Australia. I stayed with my good friend Lauren, who convinced me to apply for the Educational Psychology training course. The course meant going back to university for 3 years to achieve a doctorate. But before I even got accepted onto the course I had to experience a day of complete hell involving; a group task, a written task, a presentation and finally an interview. Competition was high and I assumed my chances of getting on the course were slim, but thought nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I’d no doubt I could do the practical side of the job, but who was I kidding, applying for a doctorate? I don’t consider myself to be the typical Dr material. Don’t you need to be intelligent for that sort thing? Aren’t you supposed to be well spoken, from a nice leafy suburb of Surrey? Well no, apparently not, you just need to be determined and not afraid of a lot of hard work.

Growing up there was just me and mum, we moved about a lot and had no money. At one point she had four jobs just to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. She worked hard, harder than I’ve ever worked. Always determined to get a better house and a better life for us. So that’s where I get it from and it’s got me to where I am today, but I didn’t want to have a job where I was just surviving. My childhood experiences have instilled within me the determination to develop a career and a better future. To my surprise and delight I was accepted on the course. I read the confirmation letter over and over to make sure it wasn’t a mistake. But no, sometimes news isn’t too good to be true.

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My 70 thousand word thesis and travel dreams sit side by side

To cut a long story short, I moved to Manchester to take my place on the course. I never thought it was going to easy, but I don’t think I had anticipated how difficult it would be. Working 4 days a week in a psychology service, whilst writing a 70 thousand-word thesis didn’t leave time for much else. Basically I had no life outside of university and work for 3 years. I eventually graduated in 2009 and I’ve been working as an Educational Psychologist since. So, yes I am Dr Jones and yes the Aqua song is often sung at me. I have also been asked by a 12 year old if my first name is Indiana. I didn’t think 12 year old would have seen Indiana Jones!?

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There’s not enough colour in this photo

It’s been a long road and a lot of hard work to get here and I’m lucky enough to really enjoy my job, most of the time, no day is ever the same. I’m always challenged and it’s great when you make a difference to a child or young persons life. It’s also inspiring working with children, seeing them bounce back from incredibly difficult situations and thrive. It definitely teaches me a thing or too about life and puts the challenges I face into perspective. So the decision to take a break from this hasn’t been an easy one for me.

This week I was given the go head to take my career break. I’ve gone through many states of emotion. From mild panic, ‘was I making the right decision?’ ‘How does this affect my pension?’ To extreme excitement, ‘pension who cares! I’m free, I’M FREE!!!’ The major bonus is if/when we come back I’ve got a job to return to. It’s an amazing safety net and I count myself extremely fortunate to be offered this opportunity.

I realised that in taking a career break I don’t lose the skills I have gained, I take them with me. I’ll hopefully get the chance to use some of my experience whilst travelling, with the plan being to volunteer with various children’s projects along the way. I am sure I will continue learn from the people I meet and be challenged on new levels. Although it’s scary to leave behind a career I’ve wanted to do for a long time, the decision to travel is the right one. I’m excited by the opportunities that I open myself up to by leaving my job, be it temporarily, or forever.

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This is how I feel right now!

Housesitting in a picturesque woodland village

We sat on the sun-drenched veranda sipping pink champagne and dined on the tenderest, most mouth-watering fillet steak I have ever had the pleasure of tasting.  In the distance we could hear the sound of the river flowing soothingly past, as birds chatted in the lush green trees. The first evening was heaven.

If I am honest this is not what I had imagined when we first stumbled across housesitting. If you are unfamiliar with this, the premise is that home and pet owners find people to care for their home and pets while they are away.

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This is perfect for us, as it’s no secret that we are busy squirreling away all or money for our big escapade, but we don’t want to live like hermits until our departure date. Plus we are huge animal lovers. The solution, we joined trustedhousesitters.com, which means we get to look after some cute pets whilst enjoying a free holiday!

Last week was our first taste of housesitting in the woodland village of Nethy Bridge, Scotland. We had the pleasure of caring for two energetic and friendly Jack Russells, called Murphy and Lucy. The dogs were great, the owners welcomed us warmly (with a bottle of pink champagne!) and to top it all off the location was idyllic.

The house was right in the heart of the woodland with a garden leading down to the fresh clear water of the River Nethy. We were blessed with a week of sunshine and split our time between exploring the area and relaxing on the wooden veranda in our adopted home.

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Scotland has many virtues, which I am all too keen to praise. One of them is the fresh, local and quality food produce. The money we saved on our free holiday meant we could indulge in our passion for stuffing our faces with culinary delights.

A benefit of house sitting is that you can find out all the best places to see, eat and explore from a local expert – the house owners. Armed with their top foodie tips we visited the local butcher to pick up free-range chicken breasts, and bacon and fillet steak from locally reared pigs and cattle.

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The foodgasm didn’t stop there, for breakfast we made a trip to the local smokehouse for smoked salmon and stopped off at the dairy to buy fresh free-range eggs with yolks yellower than the sun. You can’t beat smoked salmon with scrambled eggs on a summers morning!

We couldn’t have asked for more from our week of housesitting. We filled our bellies with tasty food and worked it all off as we walked the dogs on long forest walks. The experience has given us a taster of what’s to come. We plan to travel the world slowly and immerse ourselves in the local culture as we go, with the hope of discovering the unseen wonders away from the tourist trail. Housesitting provides us with a great opportunity to do this and with so many countries to choose from who knows where we could end up?

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We will keep you updated with our housesitting experiences and hope to provide tips for any would be housesitter, but here’s a bit of info if we have already tweaked your interest:

What’s the cost?

We signed up for 12 months costing a bargain £49.00

How does it work?

You set up a profile, with photos and details of your experience, interests etc. You can then contact housesitters directly through the website or they can contact you.

We receive daily emails so we can be quick off the mark if an opportunity arises that we like the look of.

Here’s the link to our profile.

Where can you housesit?

All around the world. From just round the corner to far-flung tropical islands. If it weren’t for our savings mission and work commitments we would have long disappeared off to dip our toes in Caribbean seas on a jaw dropping housesit!

How long does it last?

They vary massively, from a long weekend to over a year.

Can anyone do it?

Yes. Obviously you have to be a lover of animals and respectful of the fact you are in someone’s house, but there is a huge variety of ages, ethnicities, and interests. Basically if you like caring for animals and taking holidays there is a dream housesit with your name on it.

So what are you waiting for? 🙂

I’m not a hoarder! The joys of decluttering.

The art of decluttering. 

As we hit our 6 months to departure this week, a slight panic came over me. I sat in our living room and realised how much stuff we were yet to sell, donate or simply throw away. Now, realistically I know that 6 months is plenty of time for this, but I do have a slight tendency to turn little events into a great big catastrophe every now and again.

Initially when the travel plan came together, we’d thought about just putting our possessions into storage, this then morphed into storing them at my mum’s house. Both of these plans were highly flawed; the storage plan would have cost us a fortune and the thought of spending our savings on storing items instead of having fun when travelling depressed me too much. Storing everything at mum’s would have been a good option if she didn’t live 700 miles away. It would have cost even more than storage to get it all shipped, not to mention the amount of time and hassle it would have taken.

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Kel begins selling everything we own

So, plan C was put into action. Sell everything!!! I have only recently learnt that Rob had thought this was the best plan of action all along. Rob has learnt over the years that I’ll come to the same (or right) conclusion as him in the end; it just takes me longer to get there. What can I say I like to look at all the options before I make that final decision.

Now we have both decided to sell the majority of our possessions, all I see is clutter. There are things that I have an emotional attachment to, which I will not be selling; like the beautiful oak standard lamp that was made for my Nan and Grandad as a wedding gift, or the teddy bear that my mum gave me when I went travelling around Australia and New Zealand back in 2002. But most of it I just see as excess baggage.

I’m not a hoarder! Am I?

Now I’m sure Rob would disagree, but I don’t think we have that much stuff. I’m not a hoarder. I like to have a clear out every now and again so I’m not dragging around 33 years worth of memories with me. I feel my childhood has prepared me for this very task of streamlining my belongings. Between the ages of 10 and 18 we moved 7 times! Maybe this constant movement is partly to blame for my desire to always discover new places.

When I was 9 my step dad left and our house was repossessed, forcing us to move into a 2 bed roomed flat from a 3 bed roomed house. So we had to do some decluttering then. After this we moved every year or so, each time into a better place. By the time I was 17 we finally had a house with the wonders of central heating once again!

Whenever we moved we tried to take less and less with us, to save on the cost of moving and the time spent packing and unpacking. These experiences have stayed with me and I try not to have too much stuff. However I’m not always successful at this; there was a time when I owned over 100 pretty dresses! (I can’t resist a vintage 50’s dress!)

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Time to lose the hoard

So for the last 6 months I’ve been slowly sorting through our things, and putting them on eBay or Amazon. There is still a long way to go but strangely I am enjoying the therapeutic benefits of decluttering. It feels liberating selling our possessions and I have come to the realisation that many of the things we own don’t enhance our lives at all. Plus we are using the funds we make from sales to buy exciting and essential travel gear, like our backpacks!

I am now well practised in the Sunday night ritual of packing up the items that we have sold on eBay and posting them off the next day. It’s a slow process going through each room of the house and sorting everything into tidy piles, whilst mentally making a decision about whether these things can be sold or kept, but it will be worth it!

‘IF’ not ‘when’ I return

I’ve been asked a lot of times ‘What will you do when you come back?’ Firstly I like to think of it as ‘IF’ we comeback rather than’ when’. So I answer ‘if we come back, we’ll just buy things again, it’s only stuff’. In any case most of our possessions were formally my possessions. I lived on my own before I met Rob so I had furnished my flat. Rob had only recently returned from his travels so when we moved in together my stuff became our stuff. If we come back it’ll be exciting for us to buy things together, so our possessions will be chosen and shared by both of us.

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Think our last few months may be like this!

I thought it would be hard selling things that I’d worked hard to buy but it just fills me with excitement as every item that’s sold, donated or thrown away it takes us one small step closer to travelling. I’m looking forward to fitting all my belongings in my little 40L backpack. There will be no clutter, simply the essentials!

So with that in mind does anyone want to buy a sofa?

The time I thought I was going to die of rabies!

Some years ago now I decided I was going to break away from my life on the conveyor belt. I quit my 9 to 5 job, sold my house and bought a one-way ticket to New Zealand via Thailand and Oz.

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The only way to travel in Thailand

Unsettling ordeal

It was in Thailand where I had my first and only experience of hospitals and illness abroad.  It was an unsettling time, which left me feeling extremely vulnerable in a country where I couldn’t speak the language.

It all happened in Kanchanaburi, which is famous for the Bridge on the River Kwai. Me and my three travelling companions had spent the morning visiting the bridge and left feeling slightly disappointed at the experience.

It was a place where so much suffering had taken places in the race to build the bridge during WW2, but the tacky market stalls right next to it rather detracted from what should have been a poignant experience.

We left sharpish and spent the rest of the day exploring the area on mopeds and playing with the local stray dogs at our hotel apartment.  They were friendly but slightly bedraggled mutts, which lapped up the attention.

As the day was drawing to an end I started feeling incredibly weak and could barely walk 20 metres without feeling exhausted. Despite the searing 35-degree heat and the fact that I was wearing nearly every item of clothing in my backpack I couldn’t get warm.

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Teaching the ways of the moped

Trying to sleep off rabies

I decided to sleep it off. This is a trait I blame on my father, I have an inability to accept when I am actually ill and would happily try to walk off a broken leg to avoid any fuss.

Dad used to send me and my three siblings off to school no matter how ill we were. We could have been lying comatose on the floor without a pulse and he still would have thought we were trying to pull a sicky.

I proceeded to spend the entire night shivering away in my bed. Finally enough was enough, at first light I muttered to my travel pals that I was off to reception to get a doctor. I think they chose to ignore this and kept on sleeping.

My condition was deteriorating rapidly; I was dizzy, had the urge to be sick and my kidneys felt like they had taken a beating from Mike Tyson.

I staggered to the reception. They realised immediately I was in a poor state despite my lack of Thai and their broken English, whisking me off to the local hospital in their pick up truck. I sat shivering pathetically in the passenger seat as the driver floored it…

In hospital – a tricky situation

I have vivid memories of arriving at the hospital and a Thai doctor telling me I had a bad cold and I would be fine. He changed his mind instantly when I failed in my attempt to tell him I was going to be sick and instead barged past him as I proceeded to vomit and dry heave in his sink.

I then passed out just as they put me in a wheel chair. But I was quickly stirred as they lifted me on to a metal table. The nurses giggled as they found a vein in my arm and blood spurted everywhere.  I was too ill to care. Then I tasted sweet oblivion as they injected some incredible unknown drug into my sickly body.

Sometime later I woke in my hospital bed with a drip attached to my arm, feeling like death.  I had no idea how long I had been out, but I discovered I was in my own private room, which would have put any English hospital to shame.

Unfortunately although the room was fantastic there was not a single nurse to be seen and I was in desperate need of wee. My limbs were weak. I could barely even lift my arms. There was a pull cord to get attention in an emergency, but I wasn’t sure that a 27-year-old man in risk of wetting the bed classified as this.

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A self diagnosed rabies victim

An embarrassing ordeal

I felt ridiculous as I lay in bed psyching myself up to walk 3 metres to the en suite toilet. The trip to the lavatory had become an epic mission of English decency and politeness. No way was I going to wet the bed, or create a fuss by calling the nurse to help me empty my bladder.

Slowly I willed myself out of bed and using my drip stand as a walking stick I managed to stumble to the doorway of the toilet. I hung on to the door frame as I summoned up the energy to walk the last metre. I counted to three and made a lunge for the toilet, made it!! Ahhh relief! Happy days. Not the usual man wee technique, but a sitting wee was just fine.

The relief was short-lived. I now had to get back to my bed without any urgent motivation to help me get there. I waited a good five minutes before attempting to move.

In that time I began to think horrific thoughts “oh god, I am on my own in a Thai hospital and nobody knows where I am. I am probably going to be found dead on a toilet by a giggly Thai nurse. It’s fucking rabies! Those fucking stray dogs have given me rabies and now I am going to die on a fucking toilet!

It’s not the end I had imagined. My family would never be able to say, “Oh, at least he died doing what he loved.” No, this would not do. If this was going to be my last few moments of life I wasn’t going to spend it in a lavatory. I forced myself to my feet, my drip keeping me steady and shuffled to a seat just outside the doorway.

I flopped into it and continued to think panicked thoughts on my impending doom as I stared at my bed. It was so close but it may as well been in another country. I sat for what seemed like an eternity before giving it one last push to reach the comfort of my bed. I was up, I was moving, I was weakening, but I was still moving and finally I was there! I was asleep. Instantly.

The medical marvel

The next thing I knew there was a smiley nurse looking over me. I wasn’t dead! In fact thanks to drugs she had just given me I was feeling incredibly happy. I had discovered there was a TV in the room; I flicked through the channels and found “Mr Bean the movie” dubbed in French.

Despite not being able to speak the language and not being a fan of the bumbling Bean I was laughing hysterically at his escapades. If only I knew what drugs were responsible.

It was now evening and the smiley nurse returned with a tasty Thai meal. I wolfed down the food and could already feel the strength returning to my body. I was feeling rather pleased with myself, I had managed to beat rabies in less than a day. I must be a medical marvel!

My travel companions arrived and although a little shocked by me being attached to a drip it was good to see them. Apparently it was my lack of moaning about my condition that led them to believe I was just a bit ill, so didn’t think anything of it when I disappeared in the morning. They only grew worried when I hadn’t returned after a few hours and discovered my whereabouts from the hotel reception.

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My travelling companions on the Thai Kings birthday – it’s tradition to wear yellow

A real diagnosis

They left me to enjoy the comfort of my surroundings. I actually enjoyed the relative luxury of the room. Compared to my hostel it was a palace. I spent a nice relaxing evening in the hospital.

The next day the doctor came and checked me over and gave me the all clear, I was good and ready to go. Rather strangely two giggly nurses entered the room and the doctor informed it was shower time. I started to make my way to the en suite, my body no longer limited by weakness.

The giggly nurses followed me. I looked at them bemused, they giggled. Slowly it dawned on me, they were here to give me a shower. Politely I declined.

Washed, dressed and fully refreshed I was ready to checkout. I only had to settle the matter of the hospital bill. A bargain £60 for one night in a comfy hospital, with lovely food, friendly staff and brilliant drugs (which even make you enjoy distinctly average movies), I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone.

As my eyes scanned down the bill I noticed something. It mentioned nothing of me being a medical marvel and my miraculous recovery from rabies.

Nope, I was rather underwhelmed to discover here written in block capitals; cause of illness ‘SEVERE SUNSTROKE’. Basically if I had sat in the shade for a bit and drank some water, rather than speeding around town a moped and frolicking with dogs, I would have been completely fine.

What I did realise from the whole experience, apart from the fact that I am a bit of a drama queen, is that I had completely misjudged the facilities and standards in Thailand. With my rather ignorant preconceptions I had imagined some sort of basic third world experience. This couldn’t have been further from the truth. In future adventures abroad I shall bear this in mind in case I once again succumb to severe sunstroke…