THE DAY I DECIDED TO HIKE DRAKENSBERG, SOUTH AFRICA

The Drakensberg a stunning area full of hiking trails that take in the natural beauty of the mountains and the wildlife that live there. From curvy rivers to large boulder rocks to chain ladders, there are a range of hikes that will satisfy the novice or the expert.

First off I must confess, hiking in the Drakensberg wasn’t my idea. I’m an indoor sport type woman so when my sister made the suggestion to hike, I hesitated, then after about 15 mins pondering over the idea I figured it couldn’t be that bad. I’m an athlete and the mentality most athletes have is “I can do anything athletically” 🙂 With that mentality I went along with the idea and started to prepare for our trip.

We got to

The next morning we got up early, ate breakfast and were off. There are so many trails to choose from but we opted on the Sterkspruit Falls and Gorge hike. We parked the car, threw on our backpack and made our way through the forest.

Drakensberg, South Africa

Drakensberg South Africa

The hike started off pleasurably as we walked through a small river which was very peaceful. But then the trail  increased in intensity, walking up a small incline. I quickly noticed a drop off to my left, we were walking round a mountain and if there was any slippage we were done. My heart started racing, but after turning a corner I looked up and saw clouds in the distance. Cloud formation occurs when humid or water vapor-filled air rises to the point where cooler temperatures force condensation. I took in the beauty of the moment and was calm again. Drakensberg is absolutely stunning. Drakensberg South Africa .. (31) 1

Drakensberg South Africa .. (29)

Boulder hopping and river crossings feature on the six-hour … through rocky terrain with breath-taking views

Climbing over a boulder, Drakensberg South Africa

Climbing over a boulder, Drakensberg South Africa

On the way back I found myself jogging part of the way, a) because I was familiar with the route and b) because I remembered how long it took going.

15km and 6 hours later the hike was over. I played professional basketball for years prior to this hike but I can honestly say I have never been so exhausted. I sat down on the ground and couldn’t move for about 10 mins. I was tired, thirsty and famished.

 

 

 

 

Before you start a hike you need a few things:

The right gear: I recommend wearing sturdy hiking boots, a hat, long sleeved top, sunscreen and thick comfy socks.

Backpack: I recommend durable but light backpack and fill it with water bottle(s) bug spray, bandages or band-aids and some protein based snacks.

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WHERE WILL YOU GO

Burwook Beach, Trelawny Jamaica

Burwook Beach, Trelawny Jamaica

November is here and that means it’s time to start thinking about where to break away this winter. Vacations are often marketed in packages for families or couples, but don’t let “being single” stop you from enjoying life. Caribbean Travel Expert, Robert Curley, does a great job listing a few budget-priced all-inclusive Caribbean vacations for singles or solo travelers.

Learn more

Where will you go?

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BUY EXPERIENCES, NOT THINGS

Walking The Great Wall in China

Walking The Great Wall of China

The older I get, the less material things matter to me, and I would go as far to say that I would rather spend my money on an experience rather than tangible things. Looking back on purchases I’ve made, (specifically purses, my weakness), experiences create more happiness than possessions.

We, as a society, stop appreciating things we are constantly exposed to. So that IPhone we waited in line to get the day it launched or the cute skirt we fell in love with the moment we saw it, now sits in a drawer or back of the closet.

Experiences, however, leave us with memories we can hold onto for a lifetime. Even the imperfect bad experiences can turn into a good story when you’re sharing it with friends 🙂 It’s the memories that go hand-in-hand with experiences and memories are priceless.

Experiences also give us opportunities to connect with other people. I recall flying to China and striking up a conversation with an Asian man sitting next to me who eventually told me about the best places to eat in China. None of the places he mentioned were on any China to-do list, but they were pretty darn good. 🙂

So buy that plane ticket you have debated about, set off on a new adventure and enjoy the experience of it all.

Do you agree? Let me know your thoughts

 

TSB

Sun_Beach_Caribbean_Travel_Vacation_GlobeTrotter_GlobeTrottingDiva

WHERE WILL YOU GO TO ESCAPE THIS WINTER?


November is here and that means it’s time to start thinking about where to break away this winter. Hot hot hot is how many like their vacation weather when they want to recharge, but don’t let “being single” stop you from enjoying life. Caribbean Travel Expert, Robert Curley, does a great job listing a few budget-priced all-inclusive Caribbean vacations for singles or solo travelers.

Learn more

Cool DIY Travel Bracelet

I love travelling and I always want to pick up local items along the way to remember the place I visited. Souvenirs are a hard thing to decide on when traveling.  Many of us just end up with postcards and stickers sitting in the bottom of our drawers for years. We only look at them once a year when we are spring cleaning, and eventually they end up in the throw-out pile.

It’s hard to know what to buy as a souvenir when traveling. You don’t want something kitsch, something heavy, or something expensive, and ideally you want something useful. If you look around online, there are tons of great ideas to be had. One idea that I love, is to collect stickers, buy a vintage suitcase, and then every time you go somewhere new you collect a cool sticker and stick it to your vintage bag. It’s oh so uber-cool. It’s such a cool and retro idea, but the only problem with that, is that you probably don’t want to cart around a wheel-less, bulky, heavy, pocket-less, awkward suitcase that will probably not survive too many trips the way that baggage handlers throw bags around nowadays. Ugh.

So what other cool ideas does that leave you with? Well, when you leave a country, generally you have leftover change, no matter how hard you try to spend all your last coins on chips at the airport. Then when you get home, these coins that were once precious to you, now become an annoyance. You don’t want to throw them away… after all it is money, but you don’t know where to put it, and you don’t know if you will ever return to that country anyway! So next time you are feeling anxious about your leftover coins, smile as there is an awesome answer to this problem. You can now use these coins, and mix n’ match them to make a coin bracelet. It’s a cool gift, but it is also a cool way to wear your travel memories around, and a great point of conversation when people ask you about it. All you need to do is get a simple chain from either a craft store or a jewelry store, and take the coins to a key cutter to get the holes put into the coins ( unless you know how to do this yourself ), and voilà! All that is left is the attaching of the coins with small metal rings, which you can also get at a craft or jewelry store. Then once you have given the bracelet a go, you can try doing the same thing for a necklace or key chain. The possibilities are endless!

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Photo Copyright: Darling Doodles

A Helping Hand When Traveling

It’s so hard traveling light sometimes, especially if you are heading on an extended trip, or you are heading to someplace cold. Just a couple of sweaters, a coat, and a couple of pairs of shoes, and you are already at your luggage limit weight-wise, plus you are sitting on your bag trying to do up the zipper from every angle.

This is where the curtain opens, the spotlight shines, and enter Jacket Gripper! Every traveler’s dream come true. Such a simple idea, yet one you will not be able to live without. What most of us have come to realize over time, is that if we are going to travel successfully, the answer is to carry our heavy and bulky clothing on us (or with us) and not jamming it into our suitcase that is already breaking at the seams.

Another reason to use the Jacket Gripper, is because everyone needs to carry a jacket (or two) on the plane with them, for the mere fact that most planes rides are like experiencing a ride on the Siberian Express. So how does this simple little tool work? Easy peasy! You simply hook it to the handle of your carry-on bag (or to any other part of your bag) and then voilĂ ! You adjust the strap to the size you prefer, which will depend on how low or high you want your jacket to be dangling, or depending on how bulky it is. Knowing me, I would be quite likely to have a couple of jackets on the one grip, or have a couple of grips hooked to my one bag.

I usually have my jackets and scarves swung over my bags, but the problem with that is that you have to keep checking on them as they can slip off and sometimes be lost forever. Also, they get in the way when trying to rummage through your bag. So this one little device will give you one less thing to worry about on your next trip. It can be used on suitcases, carryons and even backpacks, and comes in an array of gorgeous colors to match your bag, your jacket or your mood.

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Photo Copyright: Handy Ideas

Visit The Mystical City Of Shanghai In China

I have travelled to many places around the world over the last couple of decades, but if I needed to draw up a short list, my favorite areas would be Asia and Europe, the Caribbean. Some people enjoy the sunshine and beaches on a vacation, while others like the peace and quiet of the open country. I can vacation in any capacity depending on my mood :), but I absolutely love the buzz and culture of a major city.  Feeling the heartbeat of a country really gives you an insight into how it functions.  Having a vacation in Shanghai, China is something everyone should do.

This city is unlikely to be at the top of the list of places to visit, especially as most media only seems to talk about the smog. However, on the it is not much different from the likes of London or Los Angeles, cities which often surpass international recommended limits on dangerous gases.

Shanghai has existed for over a thousand years, but only started to really grow into a major city after the Opium War of 1842. It is now one of the biggest trading ports in the world, with many of the products that we use today passing through it. The population has been growing fast in recent years, and now numbers over 23 million people.

I landed at the Pudong International Airport, which has had some rapid expansion over the last few years. As airports go, it is nothing special, and definitely does not compare with Changi in Singapore, but then no other airport does. Taxi’s are plentiful from the airport, and are preferable to using the buses or hiring a car.

As the city is so big, there is no shortage of hotels, and I prefer to stay in a mid-priced one. Cheap usually means rubbish, and expensive is throwing money away. I have yet to stay in a hotel anywhere in Asia where I have not enjoyed myself.  The people are always polite and helpful, especially those that work in the hotels. This does not mean problems won’t occur, but as long as they are resolved quickly, then they are not an issue.

I was told by a friend before I left to visit the Yuyuan Gardens if I wanted to see plenty of classical Chinese architecture, and he was right. I would recommend taking one or more of the organized tours that many hotels do, as you will see a lot more of this amazing city than just going around on your own.

Another thing that has to be done on a visit to Shanghai is to take a river tour, as the views of the skyline are wonderful, especially if you go in the morning or evening. The Chinese are well-known for their food, and this is one place that you will never get hungry. I am a foodie and Cantonese food I enjoy very much. YUMMMM!

Getting to the city from anywhere in the world is easy, as most major airlines go there. This was one of my favourite cities on my trip to China, Shanghai was definitely a memorable experience.

 

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