Anxious to Adventure

The thoughts, travels and tribulations of a recent graduate about to embark on the big bad world.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Postcards from France



I've been to France more times than I can remember. I love it - from the historic battlefields of Normandy to the winding streets of Carcassonne there is something for everybody. This summer, we went on a family holiday to the Lot in the Midi-Pyrenees not too far from the Dordogne. All we wanted was ten days to refresh and relax - and that's exactly what we got!


There was something about this region that was extra special - like we had walked onto the set of a film. This is not an exaggeration: there was castles built onto cliffs, flower lined paths and there seemed to be some sort of butterfly and moth infestation so everywhere you walked they would dance behind you. It was like something out of Beauty and the Beast.



Our house was in a small valley, just out of the village. We'd spend afternoons lazing here, reading, drink and most importantly: picnicking.

Other days we would explore towns and villages, such as Lacave:





Souillac


Rocamadour



Creysse





We visited markets...

...spent time by the river...

...and time on the river.

It was just what we needed!  
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Friday, 16 November 2018

How I Cope with a Fear of Flying


The first ever guest post on my blog - and what's more fitting than asking of my oldest and best friends to be the author. Becky and I have been friends for almost 15 years and have been on our fair share of trips together. She very kindly agreed to answer some questions about a fear of flying. She is about to become a Mum (!!!) for the first time in February - follow her journey here.

1. On average, how many flights do you take each year?
I'd say on average I fly around 8 times a year. I have family in Jersey so it's more often than not to see them. Now that I'm pregnant it's a lot less though!

2. Have you always been afraid of flying?
Interestingly enough, when I was younger I loved flying. I can remember my brother and I used to fight over the window seat (something I HATE now). I used to get so excited about the plane journey as well as the holiday!

Do you remember when it began?
I think as I got older, I became a much more fearful person. I think around the ages of 10-12 I really started to dread flying. When I was much younger, I would often fly with my grandparents as my Mum was scared of flying however, she began to try and tackle her fear. I think seeing her so terrified on airplanes around that age may have triggered it off. Surprisingly enough, my Mum is okay flying now (still doesn't love it though!). I do think even without seeing her so scared I would have developed the fear anyway.

3. What is it that you are afraid of?
Oh, I'm afraid of many, many things. Having watched every episode of Air Crash Investigation I could tell you just about everything that could go wrong with an airplane! I'm scared of heights themselves, crashing, falling out of the sky, the plane stalling, terrorism attack, literally anything! I suppose they would all point to a fear of death though. 

4. What does it feel like for you getting on a flight?
I really hate it. For me, it takes away a serious amount of enjoyment about the actual destination itself. I feel anxious, sick, a bit shaky and like I could burst into tears at any moment. Coming back is always the hardest because you don't have as much to look forward to!

5. How do you cope?
I've tried a few things over the years. I did try medication to calm my nerves but found that it just made me really tired. No I try to make sure I have music for the take off and landing, something that I start listening to straight away on the plane. If it's a bit of a longer flight they I might download a few TV shows but I do find it really hard to concentrate on anything other than the plane itself so have found music to be my absolute saviour! I also find if you have a friend or family member to distract you that can massively help as well. 

Do you have any rituals or coping mechanisms?
I have a silly one of touching the plane before I get on! And then when I'm actually up in the air I try to think of all the things I'm looking forward to in my life and how in a few hours I'll be back on the ground again. Also, like I mentioned before, music is probably my biggest way of coping as I find if I can't hear the plane it's a bit easier to pretend everything is okay!
(*One thing I have noticed when flying with Becky is that she sets a timer of how long left on the flight. This way you can think to yourself, I only have 45 minutes left of worrying, etc and think it can be quite helpful!) 

6. Does it make a difference to you if it's long haul or short haul?
My Mum once said to me that you can't stay scared for 12 hours straight when we went to Mauritius - and she was right! I think long haul is obviously much more daunting as just being on the plane for longer is increasing the chances of something to go wrong in my eyes. My rational self knows that that is not how it works. So, I would say yes, I do worry more about long haul but in the long run I probably end up relaxing more on those flights than I do on a 50 minute flight to Jersey.

7. What extents have you gone to avoid flying?
I would like to think I haven't actually ever let my fear stop me from going anywhere. Even if that's meant there have been many meltdowns on a plane!! I feel like I've done my fair share of travelling to different countries, both for holidays and working abroad. However, thinking about it now, I said when I got pregnant I wouldn't be doing any flying at all during this time so in that respect I've probably sadly missed out on a babymoon.

8. What advice would you give to somebody that is travelling with a person that's afraid of flying?
I would say to follow their lead. Some people don't like being asked if they're alright or having any fuss but checking up on them when they are on the plane is completely fine. If you think distraction will help them then go for it, otherwise just offer a hand from them and give it a reassuring squeeze! If it is someone that is really worried maybe let the air stewards, as they can be a real reassurance if there's turbulence or anything like that.

9. What's your favourite thing about flying?
My favourite thing about flying is the excitement of going anywhere! It's normally a happy occasion if you're hopping on a plane so I would say thinking about the holiday or occasion ahead.

10. What's the best piece of advice anybody has given you about flying?
Probably two things: I've been told by many people that travelling by air is actually the safest form of transport - something I like to keep in the back of my mind! Or on the other side of the spectrum, my boyfriend reassuringly said 'Well, if you die you die and we can't do anything to change it!' - surprisingly it did help to hear this!!!


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Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Sami and Magical Melissani


We left Fiscardo... and arrived in Sami thankful to be alive! Within 10 minutes of getting on the bus the driver had smoked two cigarettes, taken a few phone calls and almost run over some sort of ferret. The journey had beautiful views of the sparkling sea and hills of Kefalonia - however these views were somewhat tarnished when the driver was enjoying looking at them as much as we were! 
We arrived, white-knuckled and slightly carsick, in Sami about an hour later.


Where is Sami?
Sami is on the east coast of Kefalonia and looks across the water to Ithaca.

How long for?
2 nights

Where did we stay?
We booked a 'waterfron't room - I don't think there was much of a price difference to do so but it was definitely worth it to have a balcony with a view of the harbour. The hotel was possibly in the best location in Sami. (Top tip: don't try and find it on Google Earth because it is still a building site online!) It was cheap and cheerful with friendly staff.


What did you do?
We had lots of plans for our few days in Sami: visit Melissani, Ithaca, sightseeing. Unfortunately on our first evening I had sunstroke so we took things a little easier.

On our first day we woke to find it a little overcast with very choppy seas so decided against getting the boat over to Ithaca. We knew that we wanted to go to Melissani Cave - firstly because everybody recommended that we visited but also because the friend I was travelling was called Melissa.




Everybody we spoke to said that the best views of Melissani are at midday but if you arrive at midday you will be queuing forever. We walked from Sami rather than taking the bus in hope to avoid the queues. We arrived at about 10.30am and waited no longer than 10 minutes before we were in a boat.

The cave is beautiful. The water is so clear, the photos just don't do it justice.




Our guide was very informative - and spoke 4 languages.

It costs €7 per person and we were only in the boat/cave for about 20 minutes. If I paid anymore than that I would have perhaps questioned whether it was worth it.



By the time we left the cave the queue was building so definitely take heed the advice and get there early!

We decided to go sightseeing in the afternoon and walk to the nearby Acropolis...big mistake. The scorching midday heat was too much and we favoured an afternoon on our balcony, sipping drinks and watching the world go by. It's true what they say: 'only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.'

We did make some news friends though - so maybe it was worth it!



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Monday, 8 October 2018

Fiscardo, Kefalonia


Fiscardo was what we had been waiting for. Argostoli was fun but somehow arriving in Fiscardo felt like we have finally arrived in Greece. It is picture perfect. Water front restaurants, crystal blue sea and blossom everywhere. (As a side note, just prepare yourself for just a fraction of the hundred of photographs I took of the bougainvillea.)




Fiscardo is extra special as it was virtually untouched by earthquake that hit Kefalonia is 1953, meaning that a lot of the buildings in the village remain some of the most historic on the island.




Where did we stay?
We stayed at Villa Romantza, which I would absolutely recommend. The rooms are simple but Vaso, the landlady, is lovely. She offered to do our washing (free of charge) and couldn't be more welcoming. Villa Romantza is a 2 minute walk from the centre of Fiscardo. 

How long for?
3 nights but we absolutely could have stayed longer.

What did we do?
We ate - a lot. I couldn't even list all of the restaurants that we visited but some that stood out:
Nicolas Taverna - the lamb is incredible.
Tassia - such a lovely setting.
Panormos - great views to enjoy with a cocktail




Fiscardo is one of the most popular stops for people who are sailing around the island. Ferries come in and out of the harbour daily and it can get quite busy without the feeling of being overcrowded. Still, the harbour is so pretty you can still find a quiet spot to watch the world go by.





One day, we travelled by ferry to a nearby island Lefkada, passing the island of Meganisi.


Another day, possibly one of the best of the holiday, was spent on a boat, zipping between Kefalonia and Ithaca. We rented a boat from Regina, and I would recommend it. She was very helpful and provided everything we needed for a fabulous day at sea.


I don't know what was better, spending so much time by the water or sitting in the gorgeous harbour watching the world go by. Either way, we were sad when our time in Fiscardo was over. We spent our last day on one of the nearby (and very rocky) beaches, trying to soak up the last bit of Fiscardo that we could.



Fiscrdo...we'll see you again!





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