my journey to health and well being via exotic destinations

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Spreading the word – UWS networking evening in Singapore

School assembly in Jong school, Cambodia

School assembly in Jong school, Cambodia

This week I have been rushing around preparing for the visit of our CEO, Tim Howarth, and our schools networking evening. The aim is to introduce affluent Singapore international schools to our school partnership scheme and encourage them to build a long-lasting relationship with one of our rural schools in Cambodia, Myanmar and, soon, Nepal. It only costs £16,000 (S$30,000) to build a school and £6000 (S$10,000) to maintain it annually, equivalent to US$1 per child per week. Talk about value for money! Continue reading

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New challenges: giving something back


Amazing orchid


So here we are, four years on, and I need a new challenge.

Writing the book about my mother and her war (Love and War in the WRNS, to be published in June) – one of the best periods of her life of which she was justly extremely proud – provided solace and therapy after all the bereavements and stress we have suffered over the past few years: the deaths of my mother, father and Louise, plus both Ross and I being diagnosed with cancer. Continue reading


My year 2014 in review – the ups and downs of living with cancer

Another fabulous sunset, Ngapali beach, Myanmar

Another fabulous sunset, Ngapali beach, Myanmar prepared a 2014 annual report for my blog. In sheer size of viewing numbers they surmise that the concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people; vickygoestravelling was viewed about 18,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it. That’s quite a good feeling! Keep clicking please…

Here are the most viewed blogs, illustrating the ups and downs of the year – which has ended nevertheless on a high! Clear health, on my skis again, despite being taken out TWICE in one week by beginners, and now having a duvet day to try and rest my poor old back, bum and shoulder, which are all covered in bruises! But I will not be deterred and will venture out when it’s quieter tomorrow, New Year’s Day, when everyone is hung-over! Continue reading


A year of living with cancer: travelling hopefully

The birthday couple!

The birthday couple! November

On Monday 15 December I had my check up with the Prof. I had flown in the day before and had spent the day with Tommy, first at the Bench, with a late birthday tribute to Louise (always in our thoughts),  and then in the pub with some of Louise’s friends watching the football. Consequently felt not only anxious about Monday’s appointment but also rather hung-over! Continue reading

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Burmese Days 6 – relaxing on Ngapali beach

Myanmar blog322We spend our last few days in Myanmar on the magnificent Ngapali beach. We are right up one end, staying in the Bayview Hotel, supposedly a boutique hotel, but like the majority the hotels on this beach it caters for mass tourism, with nice rooms all cheek by jowl, on a small plot. Worst of all, it suffers from sunbed–towels-at-dawn syndrome, trade-mark of the German tourist, the majority of the guests here. Continue reading


Burmese days 5 – Inle Lake, home to one-legged poling fishermen

The classic shot - fishermen at Inle Lake

The classic shot – fishermen at Inle Lake

Inle Lake is home to the unique one-legged rowers and a tourist destination like Bagan. It’s a peaceful sight, watching the fishermen cast their nets deftly, one leg wrapped round a pole. The water is calm, the air fresh but broken by the sound of the two stroke engines in full throttle as boat loads of people speed up and down – monks and school children, ladies sporting umbrellas to keep the sun off, vendors carrying their tomatoes and other crops to market and, of course, the ubiquitous tourists. Strangely we see similar birds that are common to Southern Africa, like fork-tailed drongos and squacco herons! Continue reading


Burmese days 4 – ballooning over Bagan

Pagodas at dawn

Pagodas at dawn

And so we arrive at Bagan, the centre of tourism in Myanmar, for this is Pagoda Central. From the 11 – 13th centuries, Bagan was a huge city dedicated by its various rulers to Theravada Buddhism, which was celebrated by the building of over 13,000 pagodas, monasteries and stupas. Amazingly, 2200 survive today, despite the sacking of the city by Kublai Khan – he of the stately pleasure dome – and innumerable earthquakes, natural erosion and decay. Continue reading


Burmese days 3 – the road to Mandalay

Myanmar blog114

The Gokteik railway viaduct, built 1899. Spectacular

BY THE old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin’ lazy at the sea,
There’s a Burma girl a-settin’, and I know she thinks o’ me;
For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the temple-bells they say:
“Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay! “
Come you back to Mandalay,
Where the old Flotilla lay:
Can’t you ‘ear their paddles chunkin’ from Rangoon to Mandalay ?
On the road to Mandalay,
Where the flyin’-fishes play,
An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ‘crost the Bay!

  Continue reading


Burmese days 2 – trekking from Hsipaw to Pamkam

Shan countryside, planted with maize and rice

Shan countryside, planted with maize and rice

We arrive in Lashio, gateway to North Shan province, after a short delay due to fog: the planes all do round robin-trips so one late start puts the whole day out of synch. Our bus takes us to Hsipaw, where we will begin our trek. It meanders alongside a big river for two hours, past groves of oranges, papaya and the odd pagoda; we stop and watch men extracting pebbles for building from the river using an ancient form of technology. It seems time has stood still. Continue reading


Burmese days – first stop Yangon

Shwedagong pagoda at dusk

Shwedagong pagoda at dusk

In Myanmar at last, what a way to celebrate Ross’s birthday! We trickle in from our respective destinations, all 10 of us, friends and family – Christine, Diego, Hilary and John, Jane and Trevor, Rick and Lucille –  who have come together for our tailor-made ‘off the beaten track’ adventure. Continue reading