Hello from Orlando!

Vegan Mickey waffles

Sorry it has been a little quiet on here…as I suspected would be the case, going away on holiday has played havoc with my writing and blog posting.  Finding time when we are either not busy or I am not too exhausted to even think, let alone write, has proved somewhat elusive.

So I have grabbed a few quiet moments in the early morning watching the sun rise from my balcony to pop by and say hello to you all.  I really relish my early morning sits on my balcony  – these moments when it is simply me, some animals (a bonus of staying at Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge is the animals outside – today I am joined by grey crowned cranes, zebras and our personal favourite the Marabou Stork or as we like to know him ‘Mr Patrol Stork’) and the relative quiet are my balm against the whirlwind of hubbub and activity that surrounds me.

My holiday in Orlando is proving to be a roller coaster as bonkers as some of the ones I have seen here.  It is a mixture of challenges (being here is certainly not the natural habitat of an introvert who likes their own space) and ‘yay’ moments like when we accidentally timed our boat back to Magic Kingdom to see the fireworks and the start of the electrical parade.  Oh and eating in Orlando as a vegan is a roller coaster in itself!

There is much to share with you and I promise that I will on my return.  I simply wanted to give you all a wave from sunny Florida ~ the sun is up now and I am off to play!

 

Button Jamboree is off on holiday!

Plane wing in flight

Suitcases are packed, passports checked (and checked again and then checked some more) and we are ready for high jinks and adventures.  We booked our holiday way back in June last year and it seemed so far away, now all of a sudden it has crept up on us.  Tomorrow we head to Manchester ready for our flight Tuesday morning.

So where are we off to I hear you ask?!  We are heading off to the sunny climes of Orlando with my mum to celebrate her 70th birthday last month (happy birthday mum!).  It’s my first trip to the US and my first time anywhere Disney having never made it to Tokyo Disneyland or Disneyland Paris.  I am pretty excited about a whole heap of things ~ airboat ride in the swamps to see alligators, going on ‘It’s a Small World’ and ‘ET’ (yep I am still a small child at heart!) , getting to try some of the awesome sounding vegan food I have read about in Orlando, drives to the ocean, manatee spotting….

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Me being me though there are nerves and worry mixed in with all the buzz and excitement.  Travelling always causes me no small amount of anxiety ~ ironic I know given Our Big Adventure and the fact that we are planning to do more.  I do my best not to let it stop me though and accept the doubts and occasional terror my anxiety throws my way.  Otherwise my world and experiences would be very small.  I am all ears for any tips on travel anxiety you’d like to share!

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It’s going to be quite an interesting experience going to Orlando and very different for us from our normal type of adventure.  I have found myself questioning on occasion what an introvert like me who struggles sometimes with crowds and noise, dislikes attention and finds planning often equals a rise in my anxiety levels, will make of places like Disney and Universal.  I think we will have to do Orlando our way, a little different from the norm…I will let you know how we get on.

I am planning to keep my blog up to date whilst away…or at least try to.  If it is a little quiet on there though, you know why!

Our Big Adventure

Mazda Bongo campervan

It is nearly 3 years since we put our home on the market and started planning our ‘Big Adventure’.  Countless times before and during our travels we heard the exclamation ‘you are so brave’ and maybe we were, I don’t know.  All I know is that the fear of not doing it beat the fear of doing it.  For someone who got seriously over anxious about the smallest of social occasions or even deciding what to have for a drink at my very worst, I suppose it was an incredibly big step to take and in the end I think we both stepped so far out of our comfort zones that we never could step back again even if we wanted to.

Being in a reminiscing mood today, I thought I would tell a little more about our ‘Big Adventure’.  I have mentioned it in passing in previous posts and felt it was time to put some flesh on those bones.

Before jetting off to foreign adventures, we wanted to spend time exploring our own country.  We set off in our trusty Mr Bongo and travelled up the east side of England into Scotland, back down again via the west side and then across the bottom.  Our route was based on random things such as places we had seen on the weather map, ones from books I had read as a child or simply because we liked the name.  Our Bongo travels introduced us to life without planning and how to trust that things would work out if we didn’t plan every step.  Our adventure started and ended with life in our little Bongo home.

Next stop on our travels was a week in Singapore.  To be quite honest we took a gamble booking a stopover here as we knew virtually nothing about the country and simply wanted somewhere on the way to New Zealand that wasn’t the standard option of Dubai or Hong Kong.  It was proof that gambles are worth taking – Singapore is amazing!  If you ever get the chance to go, do!  Okay it could do with turning down the humidity level, nowhere is perfect though.  Singapore is friendly, easy to travel around on public transport, full of good food, wondrous sights and a glorious mesh of cultures.

Gardens by the Bay 'Supertrees@

Photo of Gardens by the Bay in Singapore by ColobusYeti and available at Shutterstock

After a tense and stressful flight via Hong Kong (tip folks – always make sure that your baggage allowance is the same for all flights on a multi-flight trip!), we landed in New Zealand.  My head found it really weird to comprehend that I was actually on the other side of the world!  After staying with friends in Auckland for a week (including a mini road trip up to Cape Reinga), we picked up our monster camper with 2 double beds and set off on our road trip round the two islands…and boy did we see some roads!  We travelled past beaches, through mountain passes, across water, spent the night next to a colony of fur seals, saw wild penguins and laughed ourselves silly at the birds.  New Zealand is a gloriously beautiful, friendly and laid back country.  Having not been too fussed initially, I would return in a heartbeat if the opportunity arose.

Our final stop on our travels was Tokyo…for 6 months.  We had visited Japan a fair few times and wanted to experience life there.  Living somewhere is so completely different to visiting and it blindsided us for a while how much we struggled at first.  Everything ‘normal’ seemed so..well…not normal.  We did travel a little whilst there, mostly though our time was spent exploring our city and falling in love with life there in a way we never foresaw.  There were times of isolation and also of belonging.  When we returned to the UK, we left our home behind and have missed it ever since.

Buildings in Yanaka, Tokyo

The view from our apartment window in Yanaka, Tokyo

This is a simple snap shot of our travels, a topic I could write about again and again.  And I am sure that I will – let me know if you’d like to hear about any part in particular!

Anyone thinking of travelling, do it.  Stop making excuses and do it.  Before it really is too late.  It is challenging and amazing.  Our ‘Big Adventure’ shaped us and continues to influence who we are and what we do.

52 Week Dogwood Challenge

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Over recent years I have found myself exploring my artistic side more and more.  It has always been there yet I think I pushed it aside thinking that it was not something for someone like me, I was supposed to have a sensible career where I achieved many great things.  Seems so silly to me now looking back on it.  Struggles with illness, anxiety and depression lead me to explore who I was and to find things to occupy my overworked little mind.  I started trying out many things of a creative and artistic nature and this is where Mr B’s Button Jamboree came from as well as new found hobbies such as knitting and sewing.  Photography had always been something I had enjoyed doing, though it was mostly point and shot photography of quite a typical nature.  Over the last few years though I have been developing more of a sense of the style and type of photography I really enjoy doing as well as making tentative steps away from the automatic settings on my camera!  Here is a small selection of some of the many thousand that I took on our travels…

 

Phillip aka Colobus Yeti (check out his blog!) bought the 52 Week Dogwood Challenge to my attention.  It is designed to challenge and develop photography skills both technical and creative.  Despite my misgivings over the fact that about one third of the weeks focus on people photography – an area I really am not keen on, give me inanimate objects any day of the year – I have decided to go for it.  Developing my photography was on my list I drew up in the New Year mentioned in my post on 7th Jan and so this seems such a thing to help drive me on to do so.  Is quite tough putting my photographs out there for people to see, hopefully the experience will help me to develop as a person too.  So here goes…my entry for week 1 in the 52 week challenge was…

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