My friend Shannon and I recently decided to conquer Taiwan’s highest mountain – 玉山。To climb this mountain, as with many areas within Taiwan, you must obtain a mountain permit at least a month or two before your climb. For two highly disorganised individuals, this took a lot of thought, mostly along the lines of how can we possibly know if we’ll be in the mood to climb it on that particular day, can’t we just decide the day before? – alas, we acquired the permit, got ourselves sorted and put the matter to rest until the day before the climb. Continue reading “249. Sometimes getting there is the hardest part.”
North East Asia’s highest peak lies in the centre of the beautiful island of Taiwan. At nearly 4000m, it’s a relatively easy climb safe for the last 50m up to the summit where you’ll need to traverse and haul yourself up some rather dangerous looking rocks. The whole thing is beautiful, with sharp cliffs and tree covered slopes and waterfalls and endless mountains in the distance – I only know this part because we saw it for about twenty minutes, the rest of the time we saw white cloud and nothing else. Continue reading “248. Climb Yushan but choose the right circumstances.”
After a long summer of hot weather and minimal rain, Shannon and I weren’t expecting that the weekend we decided to tackle Taiwan’s highest peak would be the worst weather in the world. Pouring down rain, zero visibility and freezing temperatures were something we weren’t exactly prepared for – add that to the list of things that render me incredibly disorganized as a human being. Shannon and I both turned up lacking proper waterproofs and instead decided to ask a policeman for two of his largest bin bags. Shannon fashioned a lovely bib from hers, whilst I opted for chic skirt – sure to hit the high street any day now. Whilst they both did the trick for the most part, don’t turn up to a mountain doing the same thin
Picture this. 3400m or so high in a lodge on the slopes of Yushan, Taiwan’s highest peak, braving the torrential rain and freezing temperatures sit two wholly unprepared foreigners. Whilst they sit sporting every layer they own that isn’t wet, a kind local wanders over and places two glasses of homemade port on the table to warm their bones. Sorted.
I left the UK over two years ago but it feels as though I was waving goodbye to my Mum in Manchester airport security only yesterday. In those fleeting two years, I’ve had some of the most incredible adventures with some truly beautiful people and I can honestly say I’ve become a better, stronger, happier and more me version of myself than I have ever been. I’m sitting here today realising that in exactly three weeks, I’ll be on a plane heading back to the motherland, and as such I find myself to be this walking mess of excitement, the deep stomach butterfly kind of dread and, most prominently, sadness. Continue reading “245. Say you’re sad.”
I’ve never really been too bothered about Halloween. It all seems a little bit too commercialised and, if nothing else, far too American for me to willingly jump on board with. But, when you get to spend your Halloween with Taiwanese kids, you might change your tune pretty quickly. There are few things that are cuter and I’ve never seen any group of people quite so excited about the idea. Continue reading “244. Halloween is best celebrated with little Taiwanese kids.”
There are certainly things in life that I recognise that I am good at and bad at – certain characteristics I attribute to myself. I’ll begin by saying that a runner is not one of them. I am certainly not a runner. I’ve always been relatively into sports and I’m certainly very outdoorsy, but running has always struck me as being very boring, not to mention something that my body is definitely not designed for. I stand by those points. Continue reading “243. You can do anything you set your mind to.”
Pretty much the only way to get yourself around Cambodia, without having to hop on and off overpriced aeroplanes, is to take the bus. Let me tell you now that Cambodia is not the smallest of places, nor the most developed, and therefore getting from A to B can take a lot of time and a lot of energy. Continue reading “242. Sleeper buses are the one.”
There are some places in life where joining the back of a queue is not worth your while. For example, if you’re in a Taiwanese night market. I learnt pretty quickly that just because the Taiwanese think it’s amazing, doesn’t mean I will too – I’m talking about you stinky tofu. But there are occasions where jumping on the bandwagon pays off. Continue reading “241. Do stumble on the best banh mi shop in the whole of Ho Chi Minh.”
So here comes the biggest understatement of the century – Cambodia is incredibly beautiful. I’ve spent the last two years in Asia, I’ve seen some stunning places, done some brilliant things and I’ve only ever been moved by a country and its people in one other place besides Cambodia, the country which I now call my home – Taiwan.
Cambodia is full of stunning scenery, ancient temples, endless rice paddies and more sky than I’ve even seen in my life. But, the most beautiful thing about this place dwarfs any natural beauty of the landscape – its people. The Khmer people are some of the kindest and most humble I have ever met and there’s something truly touching about their way of life. Continue reading “240. Cambodia is beautiful.”