Jem and Ev go to Spain

Working only 38 weeks a year providing childcare for kids that are using their 15 free hours entitlement means that at the moment I get 14 weeks a year off! Last time I was off was the last week in January. I don’t take most of my “holidays” in the school holidays because… why would you if you didn’t have to!? In January we didn’t go anywhere. It was nice to be off. Just me and Evelyn. But it was crap weather. Cold. Wet. I kicked myself for not grabbing a late deal. Taz had to work. He doesn’t get 14 weeks a year like me ūüėČ In better weather we’ll use the caravan but in the pouring rain this country sucks. 

This time around I knew I’d regret it if we did nothing. I waited and waited for Taz to agree. But no agreement happened. He’s busy at work. So I finished work for the week, went to our friends 40th on Friday night, didn’t do much on Saturday. On Sunday morning I had made up my mind. I got up and booked a flight to Malaga for the following day. Just me and Ev. Skyscanner pointed it out as one of the cheaper destinations for Monday to Sunday and I saw it was then only a short hop on the train to all the resorts.  Ideal. But it wasn’t exactly cheap. About ¬£250 for a budet airline flight – monarch out and easyjet back. Evelyn was thankfully the price of peanuts. On my lap. I was open to anywhere! Malaga just worked out convenient. The cheap late deal I’d been daydreaming about didn’t exist for this week! But I was sold when I googled the weather though. 25 degrees! Our flight out was 3.30pm Monday.

For me Sunday was packing, getting Ev some new shoes and printing boarding passes ūüôā My mum made us a roast dinner so no need to fuss and make tea.

I needed a bit of adventure. It’s only Spain and it’s only a resort… but taking a demanding one year old on todd was adventure enough. 

Meanwhile Taz is looking very miserable. He’s supposed to be going out on his bike, doing some ironman training. But it’s raining for a change so he has to pedal away in his cold unit where he keeps one of thiese indoor rollers for his bike. I told him it’d be nice in Benalmadena where I’d found a hotel for me and Evelyn. It’s  ¬£300 room only for 6 nights. The 4* Benalmadena palace. He could come for the weekend? So we booked him a flight for Thursday night after work. He’d only have to miss a day of work. We all planned to come back together Sunday evening on a 8.30pm flight.

Myself and Evelyn were dropped off by Taz at Preston train station for our 10.45am train. In true taz style we made the train with 2 minutes to spare. Evelyn loves the train and I love taking her on the train. We have been to the airport on the train before and to Penrith just a few weeks ago. She just likes to play. It’s not worth driving. She usually hates the carseat and it’s just plain stressful. It was a busy time on a monday. The train was a no brainer. I had a small suitcase, a small backpack and the pram. And Evelyn. 

She went to sleep for 10 minutes just before we arrived at the airport and then was up. Typical disrupted sleep. We were delayed getting on the plane about 1 hour 15 minutes. Lots of time to raid the play area and the arcade. All she wanted to do was press buttons. No stress. Easy food from Boots.

So the airport was easy.

Nothing major but Evelyn kicled off in the boarding queue. Tired because of tje 10 minute sleep on the train in the morning. By the time we took off at 4.30 she was flat out on the boob.2 hours 20 minutes to go…

She slept about an hour. Was quiet most of the way once she got up. I flicked the lid of her sipy cup up mid flight and it must have been the pressure but it exploded water all over me and the miserable man next to us. Oh well. I don’t really care much for people that can’t be assed saying Hello.

She was full of beans when we got off. Security was fast and so was getting the pram off the carousel. 

We got the train to benalmadena. The station is just a short walk across the road from the airport. She was quite happy with this and riding in the pram. This made life easier with the suitcase. 

And we walked from there to the Benalmadena Palace. I got lost but it was ok. All downhill. Once there we’d missed any food but pizza. So me and Evelyn had a pizza in the bar. There was music and she was happy to people watch. She didn’t really eat any but she’d been snacking all day. In the room we both had a quick shower and quickly learned the tiled floor throughout our 1 bedroom apartment soon became tiles of death when wet! She was quickly fast asleep in the 2 single beds I’d pushed together. I spoke to taz on the phone and went to bed soon after!

Long but exciting day…!

2 weeks today we set of on an 80 day adventure through Asia

Jemma here… 2 weeks today we set of on an 80 day adventure through Asia… Climbing, eating and sleeping our way through 4 (I suppose 5 if Hong Kong wants to be seperate from China…) SE Asian countries.

Without wanting to offend people that are genuinely not wanting to travel in life, I’ve got a personal¬†opinion to share before we leave on this trip aimed at people that do want to travel. I have only met 2 other people that feel the same way as I do (Craig and Sarah M!) about travel being an actual lifestyle. I thought this time I should mention how we feel and why we do it, or at least why “I” do it, to start things off. I’ve read a lot of interesting travel blog’s recently and the best ones have a bit of controversy in them, so here’s my contribution, to boot wannabe travellers who are browzing blogs for inspiration into action and a small part of this is to educate people that know me but don’t understand my life choices, why I don’t concentrate on the things most people want from life (Yes I am 26, have a partner of 6+ years and have no plans for children in the near future – shock horror) and might even believe I go on long holidays¬†because¬†I don’t want to work hard. Hmm when you think about it… who would work themselves to death over a life of travel? Most of you actually….


What’s scarier than totally risking your career to travel? Everything. That’s what. Especially not travelling at all! Risk it, don’t be conned by yourself into thinking like 99.9% of the population and not go because it’s not the “right time”, because “someone’s going to get promoted soon and it might be me”, because “we have a mortgage to think about”, because “we’re saving to get married”…. blah blah blah… excuses excuses….

I’ve got a mortgage.

I’ve got a job.

It’s not like you’ll be catching me thinking “oh my god I missed out on that teeny tiny¬†pay rise¬†whilst I was sipping a cold Chang on a sunny¬†Thai¬†island after a day of climbing, exploring and swimming in the sea for the 80th day in a row.”

Don’t wait for the right travel partner, don’t wait for the right time at work, don’t wait til you’ve saved a fortune because believe me I hear it all the time – and they NEVER do it – Always waiting. Sitting and waiting…!! People say this to me all the time – “I wish I’d done that when I was younger”. Don’t turn into one of those wishers when you get old. It’s only “normal” to save, get a bigger house, a better job and more children because most people do. But there are people like me too. What’s wrong with the way I want to do things? When I get doubts about whether I’m living in a dream world, I remind myself of the old wishers.
You can earn more, gain more, but you can’t take money to the garve with you, you know. All that material is¬†pretty worthless in the end. I think we can ALL agree on that ūüôā I am content in feeling that I haven’t got married yet because everyone else is and haven’t had kids yet because everyone else is because there’s people out there that do it for the wrong reasons and aren’t quite so happy ever after. I can think of a few people that I’m not close to anymore because they get so wrapped up in what everyone else is doing with life and try to do the same and it really winds me up, it’s my guess that they’ll end up old wishers too. When I do those things it’ll be the right time.

Popular Excuses I’ve heard over the years…

1. Nobody to go with – book into a hostel, you’ll have lots of friends. Done.

2. Not enough money Рput a 1 way flight on a credit card (our Bali one way was £330, Bangkok return this time £549 and you can get to Oz for cheap nowerdays too) and get a working visa to pay it off. Ta-da.

3. Miss out on career – You might not want that job when you’ve opened your eyes to the rest of the world and realised how dull your plans were anyway. Sorted. Of the travellers I’ve met, few go home and continue as normal in terms of jobs, your perspective changes, you can’t be arsed with the same crap day in day out when there’s a whole world out there and so much more interesting stuff to do.

4. Pension – Are you 65 yet? No… and when you are you can spend your life savings on nursing home fees while you’re fighting arthritis/cancer/heart disease… lucky us.

5. I’ll regret it – You’ll get over it. And you’ll regret not going anyway.

6. Kids – Erms I don’t know what to say, other than you’re lucky you if they’ve not started school yet and can take them with you?!

Take it from me, you really won’t give a shite if you get home and people have “progressed”.¬†If you want to do it, do it. Take this as the kick up the arse you’ve been sat about waiting for. If you are content and don’t want to travel far and wide in your life¬†then good for you. GENUINELY¬†don’t want to offend this group of people that I can’t begin to understand and relate to. Want to¬†travel¬†indefinitely¬†– DO IT… Want to take a year out – DO IT… Want a career break – FOR GOD SAKE JUST DO IT…!

But I’m not a perfect example – I am also trying to be a good¬†fianc√© and sticking to shorter trips to keep him happy! You can’t have it all it seems without facing bigger sacrifices…

Book a flight for now/future and start planning. You won’t look back ūüôā

Ok I’ve finished my rant.

If you enjoyed it an want to read more, here’s an inspirational article I came across recently, similar ideas as me, but written much better!…


A whopping 3 years and 4 months ago? LOADS! Starting at the beginning, I finished University whilst working full time selling holidays and earning a decent amount of money. This took¬† alot of getting used to after 6 months away, I’d find myself having a little cry in my car before starting a 8/9 hour shift, I had a really hard time re-adjusting. I just didn’t want to be back yet! I didn’t see the point. To pass time, we bought a¬†repossessed¬†house in Ashton (Preston) and renovated it. I love our house. I got a 2:2 at University in Business and Tourism Management – my heart just wasn’t in it but it’s better than leaving empty handed! I have since realised that I¬†love¬†to travel and read and write travel but studying travel is a different kettle of fish and it isn’t quite as exciting. I worked a year at a holiday village 10 miles away with a plan to progress to management (I had to choose something?!) and Taz went self-employed in his trade as an electrician. I managed to land a job in a hotel locally in management so left the holiday village, but after 6 short months I decided it wasn’t for me, I had a “why am I in this concrete block 60 hours a week?” moment, and I left and became a childminder. I have been a childminder for over year and it’s by far the best paid, best hours, most fun job I’ve ever had. For the last year I’ve been looking after toddlers and school children and filling my days with zoo trips, swimming, beaches, parks and play areas etc. I will stay in this job after travelling, I have my kids lined up to start back with me after the trip so we won’t have to worry about finding new jobs when we get home. I have no doubt though that I’ll find it incredibly hard to re-adjust again.

In my free time we climb 2 or 3 times a week, for 3-4 hours at a time mostly indoors where it’s a bit cozier and there’s cafe’s and… vending machines. I’m happier now than I’ve ever been in any other work/play situation in the UK, doing exactly what I enjoy. I have no boss and I can climb lots. 1 more change, we got engaged July 2011.

Where have we been to since the Big Asia 2009 trip? We’ve only managed to fit in 2 short but sweet holidays around the massive home renovation which absorbed nearly every free penny and all our free time! So we went to Agadir in Morocco for a week in Feb 2010 and then we did a rock climbing trip in a beautiful little town called Montserrat in Spain in June this year. We stayed in a monastry converted apartment block which was basic but comfy and lovely and I didn’t want to leave. Such nice views and amazing dry but cool, high up in the mountains type weather. We’ve also been camping a few times, and travelled about the country going to rock climbing competitions and turned them into weekends away. We’re not major competitiors or anything, just like rubbing shoulders with the best! Anyway – both more than ready for 80 days of Asia ūüôā


You couldn’t meet a more excited couple right now.

Thinking about the 3 months that’s quickly approaching us it gives us butterflies the size of wide screen TV’s. 80 days of travel, starting with another Qatar flight to Bangkok. We’ll miss Christmas this year. I will especially miss my¬†niece¬†Lily because I see her almost every day. But missing 3 months of a cold, rainy winter to have big sunny adventures does appeal!

Asia wasn’t our original¬†destination¬†this time. We were supposed to be going to visit Taz’s relatives who had moved to Canada, do a little trip through the¬†Rockies¬†and then head down to the Caribbean via the USA. When we heard the relatives were moving back to England we made a small loss each on our Canadian flights and re-booked to Thailand for Cheaper flights and cheaper travel/food/accom overall. Budget = paupers in Northern America or Kings in Asia. We decided on the King option. We were going to include a trip to Vegas in the original plan, but we are going to the Vegas of the East this time – Macau. So we’ll see how that turns out.


I will include as much detail about the climbing as possible in special little sections of our future blog for those that are reading up on the climbing over there. Climbing, food and meeting other travelers is what travel is all about for us. This time we’ll have ALL of our rock climbing gear with us. Although we were lucky enough to meet¬†travellers¬†in Krabi last time that shared their gear, this time we’re trying to fit in as much climbing as¬†possible¬†so we’re taking a new 70 meter rope, harnesses, chalk bags, slings, a mountain of quickdraws and carabiners, climbing shoes and belay devices etc… HEAVY!! This is just some of the stuff we’ve been collecting together in the front room so we don’t leave anything behind on the day.

We’re taking the same bags (the reliable and lovely Berghaus Jalan’s), so we’ll have to cut back on something. But I do have every intention of packing hair straighteners this time if they fit in, as my massive curly hair is not suited to humidity and sometimes I just want to look like I haven’t been dragged through a bush for occasional classier nights out than flip flop beach bars.

Indonesia 073

So the itinerary…

  • 6th November – Bangkok. We’ll spend a few days in the city, Taz wants to do some fishing here too, you can catch fresh water stingray apparently. Then we’ll head down south for climbing in the Railay/Tonsai area, we’ll go to the full moon party on Phi Phi (we dont want to make the effort to get to Phagnan, because we’ve been before) on the 28th Nov and then up to Chang Mai for a week and maybe see some sights along the way. All in all, we’ll spend 29 nights in Thailand during this leg.
  • 5th December – We’re flying to Macau to see the famed gambling city, and also see Hong Kong which is an hour and a half boat trip away and then see Yangshuo for some climbing, especially the location of the petzl climbing trip 2011. 15 nights.
  • 20th December – We’re flying into Clark airport in the Philippines for Christmas and New year. We’re going to the relatively unspoiled Bantayane¬†Island, but other destinations to be decided. 20 nights. (AIR ASIA HAVE JUST SENT AN EMAIL TODAY ADVISING THAT AFTER 1ST DECEMBER 2012 THERE WILL BE NO SERVICE BETWEEN CLARK AND HK – SO TODAY IM CLAIMING MY REFUND AND RE-PLANNING THIS PART, OOPSY!)
  • 9th January – We’re flying from Clark to Kuala Lumpur for 4 nights. I want to see the Petronas towers in all their glory at night time again. So beautiful. So romantic!
  • 13th January – KL to Krabi, Thailand. So 11 more nights left, we’ll probably climb lots more in this region and explore the area. Sarah and her cousin Laura will be in Thailand at this time so we hope to meet up with them, especially as Sarah has recently got into climbing too. In general we hope to OD on massages and thai food before we have to come home!
  • 24th January Home from Bangkok to Manchester (back to work Monday morning…)

It’s nice to meet up with people that you know whilst you’re away.

Craig,¬†who we met up with in Bangkok last time we were travelling¬†happens to be in Thailand whilst we’re there again so we’ll meet up with him for a bit and he’s even offered to take us both on our first scuba dive if possible. He’ll be working as a scuba instructor for a few months I believe.

We’ll also be hooking up with my friend SarahE again, Sarah is one of my closest friends (and future bridesmaid), she visited us on our last trip for 3 weeks in Thailand and she’s coming again in January to¬†Thailand¬†(possibly KL too) with her cousin Laura for 3 weeks, with a trip to Dubai on their way home! Better luck this time though, last time Sarah’s appendix burst whilst we were away…

There’s also an overdue reunion to happen with SarahM who I met when I worked on a ranch in Colorado. Luckily she only lives in Stockport so we met up and talked travel lots and drank wine lots before she took off with her boyfriend Ali to Asia and Oz more than 2 years ago! I can’t wait to see them both again, possibly in the Philippines?!

JemAndTaz x