Day 3 – My Local Mamak

At around 3am on day 3 I realised I couldn’t sleep, I’d been hit with jet lag. After an hour or so of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook stalking and the Guardian I dozed off until the sound of the sleeping teacher’s 6am alarm woke me up, again.

I dragged the duvet over my head and into the lounge to join the now awake teacher for his morning coffee/Whatsapp/news/BBC sport routine.

Later in the day I napped, a dangerous move when trying to adjust to a new time zone, the ridiculous humidity clearly adding to my dopiness. I forced myself to wake up by unpacking. The main ground rule was do not sit down…

Day 1 & Day 2 – The Malaysian Chapter

Tuesday 17th November, three months after booking my flights the big travel day had finally arrived.

My flight, well the first of two flights to be precise, was due to depart Manchester Terminal 1 at 8.30pm. It was strange having a whole day building up to leaving and saying goodbye, I think it actually made it more difficult. Anyway the day consisted of packing, unpacking and packing some more; the great hand luggage dilema…what would I need to occupy myself for 14 hours up in the air and two in an airport; a dental appointment (not too bad as my dad’s my dentist) and finally eating some cheese (as venturing to Asia means goodbye cheese which is obviously the hardest goodbye).

Paradise in Penghu…

澎湖

Penghu, I miss you!

Penghu is Taiwan’s tropical paradise, just like the Philippines but fewer islands. To imagine it you must first take Taiwan’s beautiful Kenting, throw in a few more beaches, longer coastline, mix in the whitest of sands and then multiply that by 50 and you’ve just about got Penghu.

10,000 views! Let’s celebrate with a beer!

Don’t you hate it when work gets in the way? I’ve got about four half written blogs on my Dashboard, painfully waiting for completion but I haven’t visited my blog for so long they’re gathering dust. However, last week my inbox pinged with news of a comment on one of my rambling posts. A lovely comment from across the Atlantic drew my attention back to this dusty blog and I realised that despite my lack of posts it still gets a lot of views, 10,224 to be (very nearly) precise! In celebration of getting over the 10,000 mark I thought I’d share a beer or two with you.

I’ll go anywhere for food…(not prison).

The best thing about travelling has been seeing what everyone else eats, what do people queue for or reserve or slaves over the hob for? If they are doing all those things it means it’s good, possibly amazing. From tiny snails at a Taiwanese night market to the biggest steaks you could lay your eyes on in Argentina, I’ve been there to try it… more than once.

Taiwan and all its wonderful sights!

Taiwan isn’t really on the Westerner’s to do list. When I told my friends and family I was going to live and work in Taiwan their response would often be, “Oh that’s so cool you’re going to live in THAILAND??!!!’’ Erm, no. Or they would say, “Right, that’s the place with all the factories that make everything isn’t it?”. Well that used to be the case but I don’t think Taiwan makes as many random products as they used to but it’s certainly the land of electronics (home to Acer and Asus plus many others). Anyway my point is no-one really knows how beautiful Taiwan is because they think of factories or they don’t even know what to think. So, I want to show you some of the incredible mountains, beaches, waterfalls, temples, cities, coastlines, islands etc. etc. which Taiwan has to offer so you can add it to your bucket list NOW!

Taiwan… Food.

One of the reasons I absolutely love travelling is being able to sample the local cuisine. I was lucky enough to have an assortment of fantastic food experiences whilst I travelled South-East Asia (more on that in my Food Glorious FOOD section). Living in Taiwan for two years allowed me to taste lots of Taiwanese and Chinese food, as well as their take on Western staples. It was all fabulous (well 99% of it, Taiwanese Italian….no thanks) but all the food was interesting and definitely more delightful than painful.

What and how do you pack?

How can I fit what I need into that rucksack?

That was one of the first questions I asked myself when I bought my rucksack at the beginning of 2008. I settled on (after much review reading) a Karimor Panther rucksack which could squeeze a whopping 65 litres of stuff inside. At the time I didn’t think 65 litres was that much at all. This makes me laugh because now (3 years of backpacking later) I think 65 litres is massive and I could easily travel with a smaller rucksack.

62 – 60 Days… The Ultimate Dream

I’m staying in another lovely hostel at the moment, well I never like to call the places I stay hostels, despite hostel often being their name. Most often if you call a place a hostel, the word comes with a negative connotation, especially if you’re speaking to people who don’t travel on a budget or are of a certain generation. People tend to think…