Friday, 18 March 2016

High on life

I am taking on the world and winning this week. It is such a refreshing change from the pile of rejections I have received these past two years. Words can't describe how elated I am with everything that's happening. I mean, I worked my ass off, but I still feel like the luckiest girl in the world. So, I wrote in a post last week about all the news I am waiting to hear back on, and well, the craziest thing happened. I got them all. I have been accepted to study US History at Oxford, and I was awarded another Undergraduate Research Scholarship.

In all likelihood, this means I will be going to California twice in the next year. The scholarship value is £1,500 and has been awarded to me to study the student drug trade on the east coast in the 1960s. This is also the topic of my dissertation at Oxford. So, this summer I will go and scope out materials, lay down the primary research, then, if I find there's still more that I need, I might have to go back near Christmas time to gather the rest.

I am going to visit my sister in Canada first, and say hello to my beautiful nieces. Meet baby Brooke! Exciting times. I then hope to go to NYC for the fourth of July. I'm also looking into the possibility of going to the Republican convention in Cleveland, Ohio. I would love to see Donald Trump talk in person. It's also has the potential to be the biggest and most pivotal event in US history, it could see the break-down of the two-party system. And to say I was there when it happened? Well, what more could a US History student want?

Pondering the possibilities ahead of me haha.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Looking for adventure? My top 4 favourite locations to get that adrenaline pumping.

1. Death Road, Bolivia.

Well, the name says it all, doesn't it?! Featured on Top Gear, this 61km out-of-the-way dirt track is bound to get your heart pumping. After building another safer road nearby, Death Road itself, fortunately, has few cars on. Most of the vehicles en route only pass you if they are busy tailing the hoards of BMXs braving this route. Last year, from what I understood, there were two deaths. The road is so bumpy, you have to constantly stay focused. Some parts are wider than others, but on the whole, it's still terrifying! I found the ride quite difficult towards the end when parts were uphill, but I managed to stick at it and am thankful I did. Great day, great experience and highly recommended. It cost £45, and the company we chose (Adventure on Wheels) were great. Check the day here:

2. Sky diving, Brazil.
For £110, I skydived near Iguazu falls with the company 'skydivefoz'. With your legs dangling over the edge, and your life in the hands of a stranger, taking the plunge at 12,000 ft is a frightening prospect. However, freefalling over the border of three countries (Paraguay, Argentina & Brazil) with the friendship bridge in the corner of one eye, and Iguazu falls in the distance, easily makes for the best thing I have ever done in my life. Hands down would do again without a moment of hesitation.  I wish I had photos from the event, but for an extra £80, it will remain a fond memory etched into my mind instead! Read more about it here:

3. Rock Climbing, Koh Phi Phi, Thailand.

£22 with SpiderMonkey, I feebly attempted to scale those cliffs behind me. Honestly, I was hopeless at the activity, my arms were physically shaking after my first attempt. I have no upper-body strength! The views, however, were brilliant and if you have upper arm muscles then you're sure to love it. My guide was brilliant, it was just us since nobody else had booked on. Since I tired out quickly, instead of cutting the day short, he took me with him to meet his friends who attempted to teach me to tight-rope walk. That night I went back to the bar and his friends put on a whole fire-show. Having featured on Thailand's got talent, it was very impressive! Overall a very unique experience and a lot of fun. See more pictures from the day here:

4. Scooters, Vietnam.
I don't think I've ever been as scared as trying to navigate traffic in Vietnam on a moped. At first, I was petrified to try one of these things, but I came to love it very quickly. Pretty much everyone who has ridden one that I had met also had a gnarly story about the injury they had gained. Some were far more expensive than others, especially if you get injured on a Thai island. All of the hospitals are very used to it though! The thing is, nobody in Vietnam knows how to drive or respects any sort of road rules. In a way, it's good because if you get stuck and don't know whose right of way it is, it doesn't matter! Because they don't know either. But it's also terrifying not knowing the moves other people are going to make. I find myself wanting to rent a scooter wherever I go now, it's such an easy way to get around and so exhilarating zooming along with 'Life is a Highway' blasting in your ears. So rock n'roll.

So, there we have it! Why don't you go out and find your own adventure? Have fun and let loose, there's nothing quite like it!

Sunday, 13 March 2016

What does the future hold?

Right now my life is all up in flux, I am waiting to hear back from a few key applications to see what direction my life will go in after graduation in June. Half of me likes the fact the possibilities are endless, the other half fears the unknown.

My first choice for September would be a masters at Oxford University in US History, however, my grades last year just fell short for their required threshold so I'm not very hopeful on that front. I have been accepted onto a law conversion course otherwise, but I'm not sure yet how I will fund it since I was unsuccessful in my million vac schemes applications. I still have training contracts to apply for, but I'm waiting to hear back from Oxford first before putting effort in for these again. Finally, I have also applied for a £1,500 research bursary that I'm due to hear back on this week, if I get this I will be studying the drug-trade in 1960s California.

I'm just desperate to hear back from all of these so I can start booking my next adventure! If I don't get Oxford, then I'll probably push back my law conversion to January and work the month of July, go away till November, then work till January. If I do get it, or decide to start law conversion in September, I'll just travel from July till end of August. I originally thought I wanted to do the whole of the US, but the idea now is becoming less appealing as the best way to get to everything is by driving, and I can't do that solo. But, I think I'll start in Toronto, head to New York, do the North-East then fly to Las Vegas, visit the Grand Canyon, go to Death Valley + Yosemite then LA and San Francisco. If I have longer, and do leave it postpone till January, I'd love to learn to dive in Honduras as it's the cheapest place in the world and well... I like cheap places, sunshine, and a completely different way of living. I'd also like to go to Alaska though... So I don't know!

Potential trip?
I recently started watching the TV series 'Departures'. You can find it on Netflix. If you're constantly dreaming about travel though, as I am, I wouldn't recommend it as I have some serious envy and can't stop creating dream routes on tripline. I love it because it shows both the pros and cons of travels. It's about two 27-year-olds that drop their jobs and just travel the whole world together. There are 3 series and each episode is in a different place/ country. I can really relate to Justin too because it's nice to see someone who equally loves their chocolate on the road haha. But also, because he often finds the hikes hard, and doesn't particularly like climbing. It's nice that they're not the stereotypical adventurer you tend to see that just emphasise good cuisine and long treks. The only thing that I didn't like as much was that in the first series, they always knew locals in the places they were going, making it unrealistic for other travellers. But the second series sees more random adventures. It definitely fuels that wanderlust within. It's easy viewing while chilling out too. 10 out 10 stars.

I've also been procrastinating in other ways. I decided I wanted to write a program to help me with my planning, but realised I could do it on excel. I'll change it one day to be more user-friendly but whatever. I've been looking for an app that allows flexibility in planning. If I fall in love with a place, I want to see how much time it will take off my overall adventure if I stay there a few extra days. So, by changing the number of days, it automatically changes all of the arrival/ departure dates, and I can see at the bottom how many 'days remaining to play with', which will turn negative if I add too many to show me that I need to remove some days in other locations. Obviously all the locations and dates are totally arbitrary at the moment, was just working out how to convert a date into a value, that's where Excel comes in handy!

Anyway, enough of that, I'll update more with my travel plans as I find out my future in the upcoming 2 weeks! Wish me luck, xoxox.