One of the things I wanted to do since getting a bit (ahem) older was start hiking and getting fitter. Getting out and exploring the local area, and ticking off local hikes, felt like something to keep my wanderlust alive inbetween seeing new countries. Also, since giving up alcohol in July 2020 I wanted to find a new social group in the area that also wanted to hang out alcohol free. I had searched the internet and just before Covid hit in March (2020) I found Bee Sober via Instagram, they had arranged sober meet ups, from full on night outs, hiking, coffee mornings and more. Of course, just as I found them, everything stopped as the country went into lockdown, but once things loosened in around July time, the group started up again, this time organising hikes as it was the only way we could meet up. So I joined and so far I’ve done around 6 weekend walks, and met a super bunch of like minded people.

Im going to write up my hikes here, as well as other hikes I’m doing to keep busy during this pandemic, but also with a view to hiking a few more exotic destinations once travel restrictions open up *fingers crossed*. Of course, I should have hiked Machu Picchu last month, but Covid had other plans. Ive also bought a digital camera, I’ve not had one for years, as I have a habit of breaking them, but I thought hiking new places and taking photos seemed like a good way of getting though this pandemic, and so far weather permitting, its working.

“Perhaps there is no thrill so great as that which comes with a walk in the freshness of morning air.”
― Hellen Keller

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I started this blog maybe for the wrong reasons, no, definately for the wrong reasons. A few friends had suggested I blog my travels, they felt they would be interesting, I had done some travel writing in the past, and it was something I enjoyed, so why not. I also thought naively that I could earn a little money on the side and it would be a way out of my career, if I could travel and blog together, you know like those people who do it on instagram and seem to make a good living from it. . .  although we all know a lot of what we see on social media isnt really the real deal. Another reason, which I didnt know at the time, was that it was an escape. Dad was dying a quick traumatic death from dementia, and the fact that I havent blogged since his death, a whole 2+ years, shows me that I was just distracting, filling in the gaps between work and visiting him, a way to shield from my lived reality at the time.

In the first year after dad died, I continued to fill my free time up with more & more work, and lots of training courses and for some reason I’m now a fully qualified TEFL teacher. Part of me fancied joining the #vanlife and teaching English online whilst travelling. But I didnt want to go into debt buying a van, and it turns out the money to be made in TEFL was in the jobs being based abroad in China or Japan, not via online companies. Looking back now, the many hours I spent before & after work studying to become a TEFL teacher, was me just filling up my spare hours again, not dealing with life and avoiding coming to terms with the previous few years, whoops,  typical me.

I was close to burnout again, but had 4 weeks away planned, 2 weeks of those were spent offline in Mongolia. When I came back, it was as if I had had my foot off the pedal for a few weeks and the last thing I wanted to do, was go back to being busy 247, the break away had given me time and space to realise I wasn’t really living, I had been surviving and filling in all my spare time with ‘stuff’ and I knew it was now time to unpack it all.

So, for the last year and a bit, I have been working, but just the one job, Ive given up everything else, ( both my 2nd & 3rd jobs have gone) I’ve been reading A LOT, alternating between none-fiction and fiction, done a little bit more travelling, but Covid 19 has put a temporary stop to that (including a trip to Peru!). I’ve given up alcohol and feel amazing, joined a walking group, although i’m an introvert and love my own company, this enforced solitude due to the pandemic has been challenging at times. I’ve stepped up my meditation practice and feel like im finally figuring out who I really am and what I want.

This blog has been on my mind ever since I stopped writing it, stopping it has led to feeling of guilt, annoyance and being fed up, basically a whole heap of emotions, would I keep it, does it matter? When I first started to write this blog, I suddenly was thrust into the world of travel bloggers and monitising and promotion and I quickly realised it wasnt for me. I felt like I was supposed to make content for others, but I knew I needed to write for me, from my heart, about whatever I wanted, I felt stuck and gave up.

But, I’m tentatively back, I will probably rewrite or delete my previous posts, I want to continue to document my travels, as a record for myself, but allow myself to post whatever I want, whether its music I love, films I’ve seen, books I’ve read as well as places I’ve visited. I want this blog to be a personal, authentic space, just for my thoughts and adventures, with no other agenda, other that its a little place I can be creative just for me.

Maybe nobody else will read it, maybe it will continue to be hidden among the millions of other blogs out there and thats just fine 🙂 Im just going to keep writing and see how it goes.
Emma x