Tag Archives: healthy

So, it’s been a little while…

So, it’s been a little while since my last post.

As you probably know from your own life, things can get hectic from time to time and I let things slip. Sorry! That being said, life is good.

Since my last post I’ve done a reasonable amount of travel – internationally to Taipei, London, Brussels and Kuala Lumpur and I think that is it… But mostly I’ve just been working, saving my pennies and thinking about when we might next get away. At this stage we’re planning on September – somewhere in the Pacific which will no doubt be amazing.

So, a quick round up of my travels of late:

I was anything but the healthy globetrotter in Taipei. Great city, though Karthi and I ended up extremely unwell with the worst food poisoning I’ve ever experienced in my life. Hello four days in our hotel room. Once I get over that experience I promise to share some more positive stories about the city, including seeing a panda for the first time. Words can’t describe how excited I got, even if it was in a zoo.

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London was amazing. Freezing, but amazing. I was lucky enough to visit two of my close friends and just spend time hanging out. I worked a bit, helped them with some of their wedding plans and generally just relaxed. Oh and I shopped. Tourist highlight? Seeing Big Ben covered in snow. Very different from my last few trips to London which have all been in Summer. I also really enjoyed living the London lifestyle for a week – seeing how my friends live over there was definitely a tick for the expat lifestyle.

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Brussels is still a blur. I visited for a conference but packed in as much as I could. It was great to experience that city for a second time (though my first time in winter). There was more snow here too, which always makes me happy and I really enjoyed getting to know some of my colleagues better as well 🙂 Yes, I promise I indulged in Belgian chocolate – in moderation, of course. I’ll have to share some photos from that trip in another post.

Finally, Kuala Lumpur – a quick trip to visit Karthi’s mum which was really lovely. I felt so welcomed and I really enjoyed visiting a warm destination for the first time in a while. A lot has changed since my last visit to KL in 2006, and it was very different seeing it from a local’s perspective! The food was just phenomenal as well, which was mainly thanks to the amazing hospitality of Karthi’s mum and aunts.

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I will try and draft a fuller update on each of these trips in the coming weeks! In the meantime, I’ll be planning my next trip! Any recommendations for pacific destinations?

Cheers,
The Healthy Globetrotter

There’s no place like home…

As much as I love to travel, there are times when it is good to be home. Right now is one of them. Having travelled across three Australian states over the last three days (at the time of writing) and with two packed trips coming up in the next month, it is nice to be home. Even if only for a couple of nights.

The immediate relaxation I felt when I walked through my door got me thinking, what are my favourite things to do in Sydney? There’s no doubt about it, I love to travel. But I really do appreciate this beautiful city I live in, so thought I might dedicate a couple of posts to the place I call home.

Sydney Sydney2

This is the view from my apartment, which may give you a small hint as to why it is so nice to be home.

One of my favourite things about Sydney is its proximity to the beach, especially with the number of coastal walks available. The Bondi to Bronte walk (or even further through to Coogee if you prefer) is one of the most popular.

I don’t do the walk as often as I would like, but make a point to do it whenever I can. I’d highly recommend it to Sydney locals and visitors alike. Here’s why:

Bondi1

Bondi6 Bondi5

Bondi2That’s right, the view is pretty spectacular. The walk from Bondi to Bronte is 4 km one way, or 8 km return. On a hot day pack plenty of water and always wear sunscreen – you’ll need it. 

So next time you’re in Sydney, pack some exercise gear and make the trip out to the beach to enjoy the walk. More information about the walk, including how to get there, can be found here.

The Healthy Globetrotter

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A busy time of year… and a peek at Tasmania!

Somewhat unintentionally, I’ve had a bit of a break from writing. However, as I’ve just returned from Tasmania and have a whole lot of travel coming up in the next month, I figure that now is as good as time as any to get back on board!

The end of the year has been hectic, as it is for everyone I suppose. Mine has been marred with injury, with back and hip problems keeping me from my regular exercise routine, as well as a pretty hectic work schedule. That said, I’ve had a truly excellent December thus far, and can’t wait to visit my family tomorrow to celebrate the festive season properly!

I’ve spent the last week in Tasmania, in Australia’s south. It wasn’t my first visit, but given the last time I travelled there I was 16, it is fair to say that I appreciated it a whole lot more this time around!

Hobart, Tasmania’s capital, is pretty spectacular. Lonely Planet ranked it as number 7 on its list of top ten cities, best in travel for 2013. I like to think i’m ahead of the curve. Kidding!

We stayed on the harbour at the Hotel Grand Chancellor. I’d highly recommend the hotel, particularly a harbour view room as we had – the views are pretty special:

Hobart 1

The hotel also has a pool, which meant I was able to get in some exercise even though I wasn’t able to run. Not all bad:

Swimming pool

We spent Saturday morning at the Salamanca markets (even though it was raining) and attended a beautiful wedding in the afternoon. Thankfully the weather cleared up in time for the reception in Sandy Bay.

This photo was taken from a private residence, but I’d highly recommend heading to Sandy Bay to check out the views:

Sandy Bay

The Museum of Old and New Art (or, MONA) is a must see in Hobart. The privately held collection is very special. Some of it is a little bit controversial, but I believe there is a route around the gallery you can take to avoid the nudity and more controversial images if you choose.

We just wandered around, reading about all the art work on a handy iPhone/iPod touch (which was part of the admission fee). This was my favourite room:

Hobart 3Hobart was pretty special, and it was just the start of our trip. I can’t wait to show you more of Tassie and show you why it is rated as a such a great place to visit in Australia.

Until then, wishing you and your families a very merry Christmas (if you celebrate it), and a wonderful New Year.

The Healthy Globetrotter

 

 

Running the World: Singapore Style

Staying fit and healthy while travelling isn’t always the easiest task. You’re away from regular routine, around delicious food and if you’re anything like me, switch to a holiday mindset as well. It’s pretty much a recipe for some weight gain (and an amazing time) unless you’re determined to avoid it. While I’m all for the amazing time, I am preferable to avoiding any excess “baggage” on the way home!

As I’ve previously posted, I love to run in new destinations to get the lay of the land and stay healthy while travelling. As an added bonus, with the help of a pocket camera or phone (I normally use an iPhone) you can capture the sights too. Often you’ll be able to see things you’d never have had the opportunity to if not for your run. Just another reason to pack your exercise gear and get moving.

So, without further ado, here’s the latest edition of Running the World. This time, it’s Singapore Style:

Merlion – Iconic Singapore. Taken while running across the esplanade

Singapore Skyline – the big white building is the Fullerton Hotel where I stayed

A word to those keen to join my Running the World fun – Singapore can get pretty warm, I’d definitely recommend taking some water with you for the journey.

Further, make sure you know your destination and assess whether it is safe to head out for a run at the time you plan (and if you’re new to exercise, take advice from a doctor before starting!)

Marina Bay Sands

I followed a path provided to me by my hotel, ending around Marina Bay Sands. As an aside, the shopping here is pretty great. It also has a “canal” at the bottom of the centre and little Venice-style gondolas you can ride on if you feeling up to an ultra-touristy experience.

Coming across the other side of the esplanade, this was taken just near my hotel towards the end of my run

Now you might be thinking what sort of run can I be having if I keep stopping to take photos?! Excellent point. However, a good way to still get a great workout in is by doing interval training. Running as hard as you can for a burst and then slowing down to a jog, taking a picture and then repeating the process!

Having a little fun outside the Asian Civilisations Museum, pretty much where I finished up my run!

Here I am at the end of my run, having a little fun at the Asian Civilisations Museum.

My advice? Exercise doesn’t have to be a boring part of your travels. It can totally add to your experience and is one of my favourite things to do upon arriving at a new destination.

So, where are your travels taking you next? Are you game to join Running the World?

The Healthy Globetrotter

The kindness of strangers: Istanbul

Not long ago, I was in Turkey and I loved it. However, having just seen Taken 2, I feel like a few of the Istanbul locals may have gotten a bit of a bad rap.* But here’s the thing: two of the kindest strangers I’ve ever met call Istanbul home.

Beautiful Istanbul… despite the start to my adventure I loved it here.

I’ve previously alluded to the fact that my arrival in Istanbul didn’t quite go as planned. It was only with the help of two strangers that I arrived at my eventual destination and able to commence what was an absolutely amazing trip.

Upon arrival, I caught a taxi from the airport to meet my friends at our well located apartment near the (Sultanahmet) Blue Mosque. My driver only spoke Turkish, but nodded when I showed him my destination and drove off in the direction of the city. After around 10 or 20 minutes, my driver made a call, spoke briefly to his friend and then handed his phone to me. Confused, I accepted it and raised it to my ear.

The friend explained in English what my driver couldn’t: There had been a major accident on the bridge into Istanbul from the airport, meaning that if we took a taxi the whole way to my apartment, I may be in the taxi for several hours (which would also cost me several hundred dollars). Instead, my driver wanted to recommend I take the ferry, saving me considerable money and time. It might not seem like much, but as an English speaking tourist in a foreign country travelling alone, I was a prime target to be taken advantage of. The driver could have just kept going and left me with the fare and hours wasted. He chose not to and I thank him for that.

Upon arrival at the ferry terminal, my driver didn’t just dump me at the curb. He took me all the way to the terminal carrying my backpack, showing me where to go and how to buy a ticket. As an added bonus, there were some fairly fabulous views on the ferry.

A nice surprise on my way into Istanbul

Views from my unexpected ferry ride!

The ferry ride went well and upon reaching the other side there were numerous taxis lined up to take me to my apartment. So the problem? No one would take me.

I asked almost 20 drivers to take me to my apartment. The responses I received ranged from “too close” to “I don’t know it”. I even offered to pay extra money on top of the fare to those that stated my destination was too close, but to no avail. All of them pointed me in the right direction – up a steep hill. I wasn’t keen but as I had no choice, off I set:

  • Without a map;
  • In 35 degree celsius weather;
  • With 15 kilograms on my back; and
  • Wearing clothes suitable for a Copenhagen summer and an overnight flight (read: jeans and a jumper).

I asked for help along the way, but it was fruitless. However, after approximately 45 minutes of walking around looking for my street, I saw a man standing outside a hotel. He was young and smiled at me as I approached. He probably thought I was a guest at his new hotel; I wasn’t. But it didn’t matter, he treated me like one. 

Where I found my saviour!… Image via: http://www.ayasultanhotel.com/en/galeri.html#

By this stage, it is fair to say that I was in a bit of state. Upon explaining my predicament, the man told me that while he didn’t know where my apartment was, we could use the hotel’s computer (and google maps) to find it. Inside the hotel, he sat me down (in air-conditioning: Best. Ever.) and asked someone to bring me some tea. He then looked up my apartment and gave me instructions to give my friend who he insisted come and collect me (thank you, Anurag). Beyond nice and this kind stranger wouldn’t even accept a tip

Picture me, sitting exactly where this photo is taken from. Looking like a complete exhausted mess. Image via: http://www.ayasultanhotel.com/en/galeri.html#

The cynic in you might think that my cab driver just had somewhere better to be and that my friend from the hotel just wanted a good review on trip advisor, but I choose to believe in the good in people. Yes, I could have been better organised, prepared for the weather and the walk, but the kindness of strangers saved me on this trip (and that ridiculous walk totally counted as my exercise for the day). I am so grateful for that!

We all need to be cautious when travelling, but sometimes you’ve got to have a little faith too.  Who are the nicest strangers you’ve met when travelling?

The Healthy Globetrotter

P.s. In case you’re wondering: Time taken from my flight landing until my arrival at the apartment? Over five hours.  Without water. On zero sleep. Yup, it was an ordeal. The take away? It didn’t ruin my trip. Remains up there with the best of them.

*Ok, so obviously the Albanians got a worse rap than the few Istanbul locals who were helping the Albanians, but i’m yet to travel to Albania. When I do visit, i’m sure i’ll meet some kind strangers there too and i’ll be sure to tell you all about it. 

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Cycling the world: Vietnam

I recently posted Running the World, explaining why I always pack my exercise gear, even on short trips. Here’s another reason: cycling.

Now, before I go any further, I am not a cyclist. I’m shamefully scared of cycling on main roads (why do buses and bikes have to share the same lanes here?!) and don’t own a bike in Sydney. That said, there are some great riding trips you can do around the world. I’m all for them when they occur in the countryside!

I travelled to Vietnam with Intrepid Travel. While I love travelling independently, their small group adventures can be very enjoyable, especially if you want to see a reasonable area in a short space of time. As part of my trip, there were several optional activities including bike rides. Without these rides, I wouldn’t have been able to see half as much of the country side in the same amount of time. Definitely worth the work out!

Incense!

Now, to be honest, taking photos while bike riding isn’t exactly easy. Further, as I was riding as part of a group, I didn’t have the freedom to stop the way I could choose to if I was running by myself. However, it does allow for some accidentally artistic captures!

Totally accidental but I love this shot! 🙂

I loved the scenery riding around different areas of Vietnam. It was truly beautiful. I especially loved taking photos of the workers in the rice paddy fields!

I also loved riding alongside a number of the locals. The people in Vietnam were beautiful, particularly so out in the country – away from the hustle and bustle of the city markets where I did find there was some pressure to buy, buy, buy! That said, I can’t exactly complain – I loved the shopping, particularly getting clothes tailored in Hoi An.

Often we were lucky enough to be out riding when many children were on there way to school. The kids were lovely, sometime oblivious to us, sometimes engaging. Either way, I found it fascinating.

School kids

I loved Vietnam and can’t wait to get back there. There is so much more to see and I’m excited to share more about my adventures there soon!

In the meantime, have you cycled anywhere around the world?

The Healthy Globetrotter

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Singapore Zoo

So as you’ve probably realised by now, I’m in Singapore. For me, the best thing about visiting a city more than once is discovering new things. The second has got to be the memories!

My current visit has reminded me just how much I loved visiting the zoo last time I was here!

For those that know me personally, this is probably not much of a surprise. I love the zoo and animals. How can you not? This is the very definition of adorable:

Baby!

Assuming you avoid all the ice-creams and chips that are usually on offer, the zoo (any zoo! In this case, Singapore Zoo) can be a really healthy day out. If you have the desire to see the animals (and the zoo is big enough) you can definitely get in a solid day of walking, all while enjoying the animals! With 2800 animals over 26 hectares, Singapore Zoo definitely meets my criteria. Win.

One of my favourites at Singapore Zoo were the rhinos. This one was beautiful. I loved that he had a little birdy playing on his back… that was until I realised that the little birdy was in fact picking at the poor Rhino’s skin.

Rhino! You might notice the “third love photography” – don’t worry, I’m not stealing photos, these photos have just come straight from my tumblr!

I know, I know, there are better ways to see animals. In the wild. On safari. But as I recently learnt during a Roar and Snore sleepover at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo (post coming soon!) the conditions animals are kept in at zoos worldwide have improved rapidly over the years. Further, many zoos (including Singapore) participate in critical conservation and breeding programs to help save endangered animals from extinction. In my view, that’s a worthy cause. Let’s face it, until such time as I make it to Africa (fingers crossed for 2013!) the zoo will have to do.

African Crowned Crane

Out of all the zoos I’ve visited in the world (and trust me, there has been more than a few) Singapore Zoo sits high on my list as one of the better zoos out there. In my view, it is pretty special.

Clearly designed to allow you to get up and close with the animals, that’s exactly what I did:

Zebra!

Hello little fella!

Pensive

Next time you’re in Singapore, I would definitely recommend the zoo! Though don’t forget to skip the unhealthy snacks that can come with a day out and focus on enjoying the fresh air and walks instead!

Do you have a favourite zoo?

The Healthy Globetrotter