256. There’s skiing and then there’s Italian skiing.

Italians seem to do everything with flair. They’re just ever so cool. This past weekend was my first time skiing in Italy with a group of Italians and it transpires that their skiing is no different from anything else they do – cool.  Continue reading “256. There’s skiing and then there’s Italian skiing.”

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255. Speaking Chinese in France and speaking French in your Chinese lesson will not get you very far.

It turns out that cracking out your Chinese in the French mountains doesn’t tend to lead to successful communication. I suppose there are much bigger problems to have but ideally I’d really like to get to a point where my brain can fully engage with a conversation in the right language.

By the end of my week in France, I was just about speaking the correct language again. Lo and behold, I came back to the UK and had a Chinese lesson where it took me doubly as long to answer anything because I kept thinking it in French first.

250. Don’t trust Manchester airport with anything.

You know that phrase: ‘if you want something done properly then just do it yourself’ – it turns out it’s entirely true.

On my way back to the UK, good old Beijing airport managed to not put my back on my transfer to Manchester, which is, all in all, great news when you get off an eleven hour flight and you’re standing in Manchester airport at five in the morning watching the carousel come to a halt without having delivered your luggage. Joy. Continue reading “250. Don’t trust Manchester airport with anything.”

249. Sometimes getting there is the hardest part.

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.”

248. Climb Yushan but choose the right circumstances.

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.”

247. A bin bag is not a substitute for waterproofs, but it is certainly a start.

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

245. Say you’re sad.

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.”