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Whether you’re going to Morocco or Romania, travelling anywhere has its ups and down, but there are number of different methods that you can employ to mitigate the complications that come with being on the move constantly. How many times have you seen people forking out exorbitant amounts of money for a flight because they waited until the last minute, or having to dump a bunch of their toilets and drinks at security before getting on a plane? If you’ve been in and out of airpoints even a moderate amount of times, we’re guessing the answer is quite a lot. But with a few travel tips and hacks, you can ensure that your trip is the most pro

Be flexible with your dates

Often when people travel they have a rigid time frame that they want to stick to, often with the aim of straddling weekends and maximising their offtime. This is fine if you’re loaded, but if you’re like the rest of us it means you might be paying significantly higher rates. Flights are generally cheaper when they leave during the week or on Saturdays, and at awkward times such as midnight or sunrise which many people aren’t willing to accomodate. If you’re flexible with your time and willing to suffer through an early morning wake up call, you can save yourself massive amounts of money by booking flights during these off peak times. 

Know your rights when it comes to delayed flights

It’s not something that everyone is aware of, but travelers are protected by law against negligence on the part of airlines. What law exactly? It’s called Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004 and basically states that if a passenger incurs a significant delayed, has their flight cancelled, or is booted off of a flight due to the fault of an airline, then that airline in question has to pay the passenger a certain amount of compensation to make up for the inconvenience. This doesn’t apply to all cases, however, and generally depends on how long the delay was as well as the distance of the cancelled flight. If you are eligible to claim you’ll receive between €250 to €600 depending on the circumstances surrounding the delay or cancellation. 

Always carry an empty water bottle

It’s well known that you can’t carry liquids through airport security, but that doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t bring an empty water bottle and fill it up once you’ve been patted down. Always ensure that the water bottle you carry with you is high quality and durable. That way, you’ll never have to resort to buying horrible plastic bottled water, thus saving the environment while simultaneously saving your body from harmful BPA chemicals that can break down and enter your system. It also has the dual benefit of saving you a ton of money by not having to buy expensive water in an airport.

Bring healthy snacks with you on board a flight

Airline food is not known for being the most health conscious fare in the world, but that doesn’t mean you have to starve your body of precious nutrients and minerals. It’s a little known fact, perhaps propagated by the fact that you can’t bring liquids through airport security, but if you don’t like the food onboard, or are flying on a budget airline that doesn’t offer complimentary meals, you can simply bring your own. It requires some planning and at least a small kitchen, but before you board your next flight, simply pop down to the supermarket beforehand and put together some sandwiches or a bowl of salad - as long as there’s not serious amounts of liquids in them, you’ll be free to take them with you and enjoy them while you fly. And don''t forget to bring your plastic free cutlery! 

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Say no to plastic this Christmas

It's Christmas and that means a few things; gifts, food, more gifts and more food. Over the festive season the UK creates 30 % more waste than usual, including two million turkeys and six million Christmas trees. There's no doubt it's a wasteful time of year, however there are things we can all do to reduce our footprint at this time of year and it starts. For more information join my group A Waste Free World on Facebook.

Steel straws

500 million straws are used and discarded every day in the United States alone. That’s 175 Billion a year filtering into landfills (environment) and littering our waterways and oceans. Plastic straws are NO LONGER AN OPTION. Make sure everyone you know takes around a pack of steel straws with them wherever you go. A perfect small xmas gift are the Girls that Scuba pack of 3 steel straws in a cotton bag with 10% profits donated to Plastic Oceans.

Shampoo Bar

Shampoo is one of life essentials, but it doesn't need to be bought in recyclable plastic bottles like 99% of shampoos are. Shampoo AND conditioner now comes in bars, some with absolutely no packaging at all. You can find shampoo bars in lots of shop and online but here's a great one to try out: Shampoo bar £6.00 Plastic Freedom.

Plastic free Deodorant

Yes, there is a plastic free alternative of your roll on deodorant - and it smells even better than the one you have now too! Earth Conscience are a UK based company who offer plastic free alternatives to every day essentials! We love them and what they stand for - and they make great stocking fillers! Plastic free deodorant £7.00 

Steel Razor

Think about it.. how many razors do you use a year? Full of plastic, recyclable and they pretty much never break down. A great alternative is a steel 'safety razors" a thing of the past coming back into the 21st century! You can simply change the steel blade when you need to and keep the razor for a lifetime! Steel Razor £14.49 

Bamboo Toothbrush

Toothbrushes are another piece of hard plastic that never breaks down and are disposed off without thinking. Many wash up on beaches and lots get stuck in corals. 1 billion toothbrushes are thrown away every year just in the US, almost 100% of those are plastic. An easy and cheap swap is a bamboo toothbrush. Buy somebody a pack of 3 and encourage them to continue buying bamboo when those run out.

Bamboo coffee cup

Takeaway coffee cups contain hidden plastic - and not just inside the lid. All takeaway coffee cup, although are 'paper/cardboard' are lined in plastic. Just think about it, how could you poor boiling water into cardboard and it keeps its shape? The problem with this is that the materials cannot be separated and therefore not be recycled. So every takeaway coffee cup you've ever used - the plastic is still on this earth somewhere. An easy solution is buying a re-useable one, and one not buy one that contains NO plastic. Girls that Scuba bamboo ocean coffee cup is made of bamboo and donated 10% of profits to Plastic Oceans. £11.99

Eco-friendly Glitter

Did you know glitter is effectively just little tiny bits of plastic? Impossible to dispose of, impossible to recycle, going straight into our ocean once washed into the sink. Each box of Eco-Friendly glitter you purchase goes towards a plastic-free future. Get your sparkle on while still being kind to the earth! These loose glitters are perfect to sprinkle all over your body so that you can SHINE through festival season! Eco glitter £8.60

Beeswax cloths

Don't tell me you are still using plastic cling film to wrap your food? Where do you think that thin bit of plastic goes? On to landfills, into oceans, that's where. Exchange your cling film for beeswax cloths. I actually think they work 10x better, and they are 1000% more eco-friendly. They even come in cute patterns, easy to Whaleshark beeswax cloth £14 x 3

Moon cup

Periods shouldn't be harming our planet! Let's make them plastic free! Tampons - even without the plastic applicator - come wrapped in plastic and have small bits of plastic inside of them. Mooncups are the latest period trend! Read more about how they work here and help to create a waste free world! Mooncup £24

Tote bags

Plastic bags are a thing of the past - RIGHT? You're not actually still using them are you? Of course your not, this is why you will already own a fair few tote bags, and here's another great one for you. Made from organic cotton, with 10% of profits donated to Plastic Oceans, Girls that Scuba ocean tote bags are handy and make a difference. Get yours here.

First up, ask yourself "does this need to be wrapped" and think about how quickly that brand new wrapping paper (which came wrapped in plastic) is trashed. If it does need to be wrapped consider alternatives like:

 

-Brown paper - you can still decorate it with stamps or brown string

- Old newspaper/magazines

- Travel friend? Go into a charity shop and buy an old map and wrap your gift in the pages of the map

 

Also think, does it really need double wrapping (wrapped and then put in a bag). Think about the waste you are creating with your wrapping and do your best to reduce it. 

More ways to live plastic free
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One of my favourite things about living in Europe is being able to travel to a new country within a one hours plane ride of London. So this weekend -after a stressful week working on tons of projects - I hopped on a plane from London Stanstead to travel to Santander in the Cantabria region of North Spain, and here's why I think you should consider Cantabria as your next weekend break!

Where is Cantabria?

Cantabria is a historic Spanish community with Santander as its capital city. It is bordered on the east by the Basque Country, and on the north by the Cantabrian Sea. Cantabria belongs to Green Spain, the name given to the strip of land between the Bay of Biscay and the Cantabrian Mountains, so called because of its particularly lush vegetation, due to the wet and moderate oceanic climate. 

 

It is around a one hour flight from Barcelona, but also only a one hour and 30 minute flight from London Stansted. 

Things to do and see in Cantabria

It truly is surprising how much you can do in Cantabria in just one weekend, here are some of the things I loved doing the most (yes, in just 48 hours).

 

- MOUNTAINS, more precisely the European Peaks (Picos de Europa) located a few hours from Santander. Here you will see some of the most stunning scenery anywhere in Spain and your lungs will thank you for all the fresh air they give you. Take the cable car up and then take a walk along the peaks - if you're feeling adventurous there are tons of walks and hiking routes you can take, but if you are short on time you can just walk around the top, stop for a coffee and then come back down. To find out the best hiking trails in Pico de Europa check out this article here.

 

- Town hopping, although that may not be an official term, one of the best things to do in Cantabria is to hire a car and drive through all the cute towns the region has to offer. We stumbled across awesome markets and great views doing this. My favourite small town was La Hermida which is also home to one of Spains most famous spa hotels 

 

- Santander, yes, the name of the bank, and (of course) where the founders of the bank are from. A booming town full of culture, fashion and food, you could spend your whole weekend just getting lost in the small streets and tapas bars here, so do that! There are also many tourist attractions to visit in Santander such as Museo de Bellas Artes the art gallery and also Museo de Altamira a museum celebrates all aspects of the Cave of Altamira.

 

- Caves are famous in Santander due to their interesting artefacts and paintings found inside, some up to 46,000 years old. While many of them are closed to the public now you can still enter El Castillo a Unesco World Heritage–listed cave and perhaps the most interesting cave in the region.

Food in Cantabria
Locally made cheese, olives and Spanish wine!

Like many regions in Spain Cantabria has its own unique cusines alongside it's countries classics. Food and drink is a big part of the Spanish culture and must be embraced when you are visiting. I have to be honest - as a vegetarian who also doesn't eat fish I did feel like I was missing out a bit on some meals. A large part of the Cantabria cuisine is meat and fish based, and while it looked delicious I'm not into eating animals and still managed to eat some delicious veggie dished.

 

Pintxos - like tapas - is huge in Santander and people flood into the streets at night to enjoy little bites of seafood and meaty snacks as well as wine and beer. Some of the best places to go and eat are:

 

CAÑADΊO

Overlooking the atmospheric plaza of the same name, Cañadίo is a classy restaurant, lively tapas eatery and bar in one. 

 

BODEGA DEL RIOJANO 

A very traditional bar with old wooden beams and exposed brick work filled with traditional wine barrels and legs of ham hanging from the bar. 

Where to stay in Cantabria

The best place to stay if you are only visiting for a weekend is in Santander itself so you have everything you need around you. I stayed at Hotel Chiqui right on the beach looking over beautiful Santander, but you can take a search below to see which hotel fits your budget.

How to get to Cantabria

You can get to Santander from UK 2 ways

 

Direct flights from Stansted to Santander with Ryan Air every day

Ferry to Santander from Portsmouth or Plymouth 4 times a week.

Check out my full 48 hours in Cantabria in this video below

Thanks to Cantabria tourism board for hosting this trip and Traverse for organising it! 

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Today I turn 30 years old. I don’t have a house, I don’t have kids, I don’t have a husband. I don’t have a salary, a pension or any financial plan. I have one suitcase, and I’ve lost most of the stuff in it. I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow let alone next year. I most certainly do not have my shit together. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m exactly where I want to be, and proud that I have nothing (physical) to show for it.

 

But why aren't we all confident enough to admit we don't have our shit together like we were taught we were suppose to by 30?

The trap of society

Once upon a time there was a fairy godmother that fed us crap expectations and made us believe life went a little something like this:

 

You will meet the person of your dreams, you will marry that person and have perfect babies in your perfect house while enjoying your very well paid job (that your parents approve of) all before hitting the grand old age of 30. You live happily ever after, the end. 

 

Wait, what? 

 

Where does real life fit into that? Death, divorce, abortion, abuse, heart-break, depression, anxiety, worry, money problems, health problems and all the other things we are all to afraid to talk about; where do they come in?

 

Also where did this unrealistic expectation that you would have any one of these things sorted by any age?

JUST AS A GENERAL NOTE, YOU SHOULD ELIMINATE ANY THOUGHT THAT THERE IS AN EXPECTATION THAT YOU DO ANYTHING BY ANY AGE. YOU DON 'T HAVE TO BE MARRIED WITH KIDS BY 25. IT’S OK TO BE 16 AND NEVER BEEN KISSED THERE ’ 5 NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU IF YOU HAVEN 'T GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE BY 22. YOU ’ RE NOT A FAILURE BECAUSE YOU DON ' T HAVE YOUR DREAM JOB AT 30. THERE ARE NO RULES TO LIFE. YOU DON ' T GET SPECIAL POINTS FOR ACHIEVING CERTAIN THINGS BY A DEADLINE. JUST GO AT YOUR OWN SPEED. IT ' S NOT A RACE.
Be true to yourself
Smile at every occasion

You most certainly do not have to relate to  the way I feel comfortable going into my 30's. Hell no you don't. In fact, I hope not all of you do. We need kick ass mothers to nurture incredible children, we need caring wives to look after our brothers, our dads, nephews, sisters, whoever chooses to have a wife by his or her side. 

 

All I hope this inspires is to be the best - most honest - version of yourself in which ever wonderful way you choose to be.

 

30 shouldn't be a milestone, each day you decide to follow your dreams should be. Just know you are doing exactly what you want to be.

 

And to all my fellow single ladies out there. You've never looked so good, enjoy these moments by yourself, soon you'll be sharing them with someone else, but always remember to love yourself first. Don't be scared to be alone, these are the moments that build your strength and determination. It's pretty damn amazing what you can achieve with that mind of yours. 

Follow me being 30 and fierce around the world
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Swimming with whale sharks in Mexico

It's been years since I got a new camera - as the rise and the rise of the content creator has continued over the last few years I decided to stay doing what I know - writing and creating videos and pictures in my own way, not trying to compete with the professionals. I enjoy making videos and taking pictures but I don't like it too be too challenging and technical. Alongside running this blog I also run the largest female dive community in the world Girls that Scuba and that takes up a lot of my time. So when it comes to video equipment I need it to be small, good quality and have an easy to use editing app attached. Then along comes the Garmin VIRB to answer all my prayers!

What is a Garmin VIRB camera

Here's what Garmin say

 

"With one touch or voice command, this rugged, waterproof camera captures fully spherical video in up to 5.7K/30fps resolution with 360-degree audio, and it includes built-in GPS and sensors for augmented reality4 G-Metrix data overlays. 4K spherical stabilization ensures smooth video regardless of camera movement. Videos and photos are automatically stitched in camera, enabling fast sharing as well as instant livestreaming with the free, easy-to-use VIRB® Mobile app."

Pro's and Con's

Pros

-Shoots 360 video at up to 5.7K

- Amazing video quality

- Stabilisation when edited so no need for a gimbal

- VIRB edit app helps you create your perfect 360 video and is super easy to use

- Waterproof up to 10m without any housings

- Offers 3 different lens modes. A 360 mode creates pre-stitched video in 4K resolution using both lenses. Front or Rear Only activates only one lens and captures video at 1080p resolution in 16:9 format.

 

Cons

- The lens can scratch easily due to there being two of them. I managed to scratch one of the lens only after a few weeks of having it

- The files take up a lot of space so make sure you regularly empty your SD card to enable enough space to fill all day or have a large enough SD card

- The app freezes quite a lot

- The camera freezes if you film on RAW with 4k after 4-5 minuets of continuous filming

- Personally as I spend so much time in the water I'd like it to be waterproof past 10m/33ft so I could get some amazing 360 underwater videos

- Fairly expensive for a action camera

Little world view
Why do you need a 360 camera

This is actually the question I asked myself before I got the Garmin VIRB, but now I have it it makes complete sense. Not only can it capture angles a normal 180 lens can't, it also let's you see things in a different perspective. Much like a drone, when you see footage from above, seeing what is behind you or next to you when you are creating a video really gives the viewer a better vision of where you are. What's more the Garmin VIRB doesn't have to just be used as a 360 camera, it can also be used on the front lens (180) like a normal action cam and produces excellent results. This whole whale shark video from Mexico was filmed on the 180 front lens only mode.

So when it comes to choosing your next action camera why not consider the Garmin VIRB with it's 360 and 180 mode having everything you need in one small compact camera? Prices start from $799 USD.

 

Many reviewers have said the Garmin VIRB is the best 360 camera out on the market, and while I've never owned another one (why would I have to now) I'd totally agree!

This review is sponsored by Garmin however all opinions are my own.

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Lots have people have asked me about hiring a car in Mexico after seeing my Instagram stories of my solo road trip in Yucatan, so I figured I'd write a post on it for other solo female travellers looking to hire a car in Mexico and the things you need to watch out for. Please note this information is only valid for the Yucatan region, I'm not sure if things are different in different parts of Mexico. 

Is it safe to drive in Mexico?

It's funny, because I never even considered it wouldn't be until so many people asked me if it was safe. I guess some people had heard stories I hadn't, but either way, I was completely safe driving in Mexico - and I drove down some pretty notorious routes alone. But then again, I am used to the solo travel life now, and know when to keep my wits about me.

Is it easy to drive in Mexico?
enjoying life in Tulum

Yucatan is super easy to drive in, especially around Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Mahahual and Xcalack. It is seriously all just one straight road with hardly any traffic. You'll never get stuck in a traffic jam on this side of Mexico. I never came across any hard roads to drive. Make sure you have Google maps on at all time and screen shot any routes you think you will lose signal on. 

Do you need to hire a car in Mexico?

To be honest, yes. It is a lot easier to get around with a car and gives you the freedom to go where you please. It's easy and cheap, so really why not. Before I hired a car I couldn't see what an advantage it would be, but as soon as I did it really improved my travel experience. For example a lot of the cenotes in Tulum are far a part and having a car allows you to go to the ones that the busses don't. There are also some destinations busses and collectives don't go to. And if you want to get of the tourist traps and off the beaten path, cars are really the only way to go.

How much should a rental car cost in Mexico?

You will see prices online for as low as $5 a day for rental cars. THIS IS NOT THE RIGHT PRICE. That doesn't include insurance which they will hit you hard for when you go and pick up your car. Car insurance is compulsory in Mexico and they WON'T accept your insurance you have from your own country. You have to take there's. So look for prices which include insurance. I rented a car in Tulum for $25 (550 pesos) a day, and an average/normal price is anywhere up to $40 a day.

Where should I rent a car from in Mexico?

It doesn't really matter where you rent a car as long as you rent one with insurance, never be tempted by the ridiculously cheap rentals, you'll get burnt on extra insurance. I rented my car from Tulum - there are tons of car rental places all offering around the same price, if you can rent a car when you are actually in your destination you'll be able to haggle the price. Remember, 600 pesos is a normal/good price per day, you shouldn't have to pay more than that for a basic car. 700 for a bigger car.

 

If you want to book online before you go book through these companies

 

lastminute.com

Things to remember when renting a car in Mexico
I ran out of gas... in the middle of Mexico
  • You have to take their insurance, so rent a car where the price includes insurance
  • Make sure you fill up a full tank of gas before you go anywhere. Some roads don't have many gas stations, especially the road from Tulum to Xcalak/Mahahual (3 hours to the next gas station)
  • When filling up gas make sure you watch the amount of $ on the screen going to the amount you asked for. Some gas station workers have been known to scam tourists by not putting the full amount in. Make sure you also check the amount you are handing over and the change they give you.
  • Mexicans drive how they want - stay alert. The rules are whatever they make up on the day
Have fun on your Mexican road trips!
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Yucatan in Mexico has become increasingly popular with tourists and travellers alike, with places like Cancun, Isle Mujeres and Playa del Carmen booming with tourism. But you know me, and you know I'm looking for the path less trodden, off the tourist tracks where the crowds haven't yet found. So let me introduce you one of the last unspoilt destinations in Mexico; Xcalak.  

Where is Xcalak?

Xcalak is the southernmost town on the Mexican Caribbean coast, on the border with Belize and within the Xcalak Reef National Marine Park.

On the tip of a peninsula that borders the Caribbean sea to the east and Chetumal Bay to the west. It is about 4.5 hours South of Playa del Carmen in car - let's talk about how to get there. 

How to get to Xcalak
Riding around the town - home to just 300 people

Nothing worth doing ever came easy, hey? There's a reason not many people make it down to Xcalak. Especially as most towns in Yucatan are so easily accessible, but this gives Xcalak its extra charm, and in my opinion worth every hour of travel.

 

Car

Really, this is your only option (or group private transfer) . Xcalak is actually really easy to get to from Playa or Tulum, it is literally one road with no traffic. It will take about 4.5 hours from Playa and 3.45 from Tulum. You can hire a car from around 600 pesos a day from wherever you are leaving from. Just make sure you fill up on gas before you leave. There is only one Permex (gas station) once you have left Tulum. 

 

Bus

There are only 2 busses that go to Xcalak from Mahahual, one super early around 6am and one at 6pm. You can get an ADO bus to Mahahual which is about an hour from Xcalak. From Mahahual you will have to get a taxi to Xcalak which will cost you around $30 if you miss the bus (or however much the taxi driver wants to charge you - at this point you don't have much of an option).

 

So, yeah, hire a car.

The sun sets better in Xcalak
Things to do in Xcalak

First up you need to know you aren't coming down to Xcalak to go wild and fill your days with activities, second up, you need to know Xcalak is home to some (if not THE) best scuba diving in Mexico. So, if you scuba dive you are in for a treat, if you don't, well isn't it time you learnt to scuba dive?

Tarpin fish - hundreds of them!

Scuba Diving 

I honestly think Xcalak has some of the best scuba diving in Mexico, the reefs and corals are untouched, the fish aren't over-fished, the waters are free of other divers, and the manatees.... oh, the manatees. It is also the gateway to Banco Chinchorro a biosphere reserve with a collection of inhabited islands and the Northern hemisphere's largest coral atoll. I've written a full guide to scuba diving in Xcalak over on Girls that Scuba so head over there and check out what dive sites you shouldn't miss!

 

Bird Watching 

So, this is a thing I've never done. If there's an ocean I'm going to be in it, and not looking up at the sky. BUT, one thing I do know is there are some awesome birds flying around on surface intervals ;) For more information on bird watching go to a much more reputable source (which isn't hard) like XTC dive centre excursions. 

 

Fly Fishing

I know nothing about this also, I didn't even know what it was until I asked in Xcalak. So... fly fishing....you can do that in Xcalak. I think.

Where to stay in Xcalak

There a few places to stay in Xcalack so you really don't have many options. Because competition is low prices are fairly high and there's no real budget options in Xcalak.

 

Flying cloud hotel

This hotel is apart of XTC dive centre, located right on the beach looking out onto the ocean. It's clean, spacious and really you never need to leave the 'complex' if you are a diver. You can eat, sleep and dive there - they even offer packages for exactly that.

Rooms start from $100 a night.

 

Costa de Cocos

A great restaurant which also has some basic accommodation starting from $75 a night (note, I haven't stayed here, and it hasn't come very well recommended).

 

Xcalak Caribe Lodge

Located in the 'town' not on the beach this basic guest house starts at $72 a night

 

Sin Dua Villas

Super nice villas on the beachfront, family run, starting at low season at $110 per night.

 

Casa Cangrejo

Great for big groups, but equally awesome for couples wanting a baller house all to themselves. We had friends staying here (2 people) and they hired the whole house for $60 a night, and it's HUGE. It sleeps 12 people, has 5 bathrooms with a huge kitchen, beach area and includes kayaks. It's kind of creepily big for 2 people, but good for a party! Only available on AirBnB - get £15 free AirBnB credit from me here.

 

AirBnB

There are random AirBnB accommodations that pop up based on availability across Xcalak and it's worth checking up to see if there are any deals. You can also get £15 free AirBnB credit from me here.

Casa Cangrejo
Where to eat in Xcalak

If you thought there were limited options on where to stay there's even less on where to eat. If you are staying in an AirBnB or hotel with cooking facilities you may want to cook some meals - but if you are like me and can't/won't cook you can eat out every day at these options:

 

The Coral Bar and Grill 

Part of XTC dive centre, this will be your go-to option with tables and chairs on the sand looking out to the beach. GOOD coffee, a selection of Mexican and international food (no fish served here - they are conscience divers) all at super reasonable prices. Also if you're in to the "who's who" in the diving world you may just meet some big dive and photography names, or at least a Girls that Scuba member ;) Great for post-dive and evening drinks too, opens late.

 

Costa de Cocos

A little bit further down the beach is Costa de Cocos which brews its our beer - yeah, seriously - called Tarpon ale, and you absolutely can't come to Xcalak without drinking a few of these IPA's. They also do awesome pizzas and Mexican food. Great for an evening out, if that's even a thing in Xcalak.

 

Leaky Palapa Restaurant

Who said there couldn't be luxury cuisine in Xcalak? Leaky Palapa combines gourmet cuisine and friendly service in a tropical garden setting to achieve the perfect balance between fine dining and the casual charm of the Mexican Caribbean. Run by two Canadian expats, the Leaky Palapa is more like a supper club than a restaurant. There is a set menu with different themes on different nights. Many have said its worth the trip to Xcalak just to come and dine here alone. Opens in November each year until around April.

Are you sold on Xcalak yet? Come here to get away from the crowds and experience Mexico at its finest!
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Pictured: Regi Domingo, ocean activist and conservationist

You need to be a better human, I need to be a better human, we all need to be better human. And it's not an option anymore. We are killing our world, our oceans, and everything inside it.

 

You don't need to read this article, but you need to be a better fucking human - so read this article. Because if not you, then who?

Stop using plastic. Now

Plastic; made from fossil fuels with a huge carbon footprint, a material that will still be here in hundreds of years. Something that so many talk about being 'recycled' yet it has been PROVEN only a tiny percent of it actually is. Leaches toxins into food and drinks, causes hormone disruptions and cancers. Pollutes our oceans, kills the marine life and birds. Enters our food chain and goes into our bodies.

 

So why exactly are we still using plastic? Give a shit about the world? Join A Waste Free World to find ways of living without plastic.

We asked nicely ;) #awastefreeworld

A post shared by A Waste Free World (@awastefreeworld) on May 15, 2018 at 2:15pm PDT

Stop eating meat and fish to excess

Excessive meat-eating is partly responsible for an epidemic of obesity — now one of the most costly social burdens. Over-consumption of red and processed meat is contributing to the rise in diseases such as heart disease, type-2 diabetes and certain cancers.

 

What’s more, this pattern of excess is a key driver of environmental damage and a serious drain on water and land. The livestock sector accounts for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, roughly the same share as every car, truck, plane, train and ship put together

 

I'm not saying you should totally give up meat and fish, just be conscience of how much of it you are eating and where it actually comes from. Is the fish you are eating sustainable?

 

Finding it hard to give up or cut down? Seek inspiration in Paul McCartney "Meat-free Mondays" or check out this TEDtalk about being a weekday vegetarian.

Stop smoking. For the ocean
Picture by Surfrider Foundation
Get scuba dive certifed

I truly believe to realise the scale of the problem you need to see it with your own eyes. One of the most beautiful things you can ever learn to do is to learn to scuba dive and to experience the ocean yourself. Being face-to-face with fish, from big to small, young to old, endangered to, well.. even more endangered, will open your heart and allow you to recognise what the oceans would be like if we keep mistreating them. The first time you see plastic in the ocean, the first time you see fishing nets, the first time you see a shark without its fin left to die, will be the last time you don't do anything about it. Lose your heart to the ocean and commit to making a change.

Look after animals, they can't speak for themselves
Speak out

Be angry, ask for help, tell others you are confused. Don't ignore the problem. Use your voice to make a change because you CAN make a change.

 

Start a petition

Start a social media page to encourage change

Talk to goverments

Attend confrences

Listen to TEDtalks. Share them

 

However it is you do it. SPEAK. 

 

Be nice to people. Tell them they are awesome

Because since when did we become so un-empathetic? Why are telling people our feelings so damn hard? If you think someone is awesome TELL THEM, what will happen to them if you TELL THEM? As humans, we need confirmation, affirmation. We need to know we are doing something good. If you aren't telling someone they are awesome - and they are - then who IS telling them? What if no one is telling them. Tell that person you've always thought is awesome that they are. Tell your inspiration that they are truly that. 

 

Be nice to people, everyone is fighting their own battles. Give people more time, allow yourself to see the best in them.

 

Don't shame others for not being perfect, congratulate them for trying their best. You never know who might be the next person to change the world - and maybe they just need your words of encouragement to spark the change.

BELIEVE

"Those who don't believe in magic will never find it"

 

We CAN change the world, we WILL change the world. We just need to be better, we need to work together, we need to believe it's not too late.

* sorry for swearing, but it got your attention didn't it

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I've visited Bali nearly 10 times during my 7 years of travelling the world. This small island in Indonesia has a huge draw to it, seeing not only myself but hundreds of thousands of tourists and travellers return year after year. But, I have to say, I've noticed a huge difference in some places in Bali over the years. Kuta is just - no - too busy, too many street hagglers, over-priced bars and restaurants. Seminyak, it's trendy sister is even starting to overflow with tourists riding up the prices, so you can imagine this trip with Thai Airways I was on a mission to find a new secluded hideout. And I found just that; let me introduce to you Pemuteran in North Bali.

How do you get to North Bali?

Obviously North Bali is in the North of Bali... but how do you get there? From Seminyak, Kuta, Canggu and surrounding areas you can hire a driver or book a tour. We took a tour with Tour East Indonesia through our contact with Thai Airways who took us in a mini-van all the way to North Bali - Pemuteran - which took about 4 hours with the Bali traffic.

What to do in North Bali

Snorkle the Bio-rocks

More then sixty Biorock coral nursery structures have been installed since June 2000 in the Pemuteran Village Marine Protected Area in Northwest Bali, Bio-rocks are artificial reefs that encourage new coral growth usually in places where corals and reefs have been damaged. We got to snorkle around the Bio-rocks and see the growth and positive effect they have had on the ocean.

Scuba Dive

While we didn't have time to scuba dive on this trip you know me, and you know I can't go far without finding a place to dive. I'd heard about diving in North Bali through Girls that Scuba and was so happy to see lots of dive centres along the beach and people descending underwater with tanks! If you have a few days, why not learn to dive in North Bali?

Stay in a luxury hotel

One of the best things about the 

Pemuteran area of Bali is the amazing luxury resorts - without the crowds.  The luxurious Amertha Bali Villas Beachfront Resort and Spa is blessed with a magnificent location nestled on the crystal clear waters of Pemuteran Bay with a backdrop of nine majestic mountaintops. The Balinese believe the energy of the hills connects to the energy of the holy Bali Sea.

Marvel at the rice fields

Bali is famous for it's rice fields - but the more known ones in Ubud are overrun with tourists trying to get the perfect picture, but as you head up North those tourists get smaller and smaller and you may just have a whole rice terrace to yourself like we did here at Royal Saranam Resort & Spa.

Explore the area

On your ride up from central Bali there are tons of places to stop off and marvel at along the way, some popular things to do are to visit The Royal Palace of Singaraja and The Gedung Kirtya.

Check out what we got up to in our week in Bali with ThaiAirways

Huge thanks to ThaiAirways for hosting us on our trip to Bali and to Tour East for providing the tours and activities! If you have any questions about North Bali just leave them down there in the comments! 

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Living the dream and flying high with Thai Airways

It's not every day you get to fly business class to Bali so I couldn't help but share my experience with you all in a review! Thai Airways fly direct from London to Bangkok with its state of the art Airbus A380-800, departing lunchtime from London and overnight from Bangkok and I got to fly "Royal silk class" both ways! This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me, and something I'd never done before, and I was quite simply blown away at how incredible it felt to fly like this!

Priority check in

If you're anything like me you get to the airport as late as possible to avoid any extra travel hours, and being able to checkin without a que certainly made all the difference. No que equals more time for coffee after checkin!

Lounge Access 

While Thai Airways don't have a lounge at London Heathrow we got to relax and use the amenities of the lounge between our flight from Bangkok to Bali. Being able to wind-down in a lounge between flights really makes all the difference - I've spent many a layover sitting in uncomfortable chairs or no chairs at all. While you are in the lounge you can snack on local and international foods, have some drinks, use the WiFi or watch T.V. Layovers fly by in Thai Airways lounges!

Photo by travelupdate.boardingarea.com

Royal Silk Class

From the moment you step onboard you are treated like royalty. The Airbus A380-800 has 60 Royal Silk Class seats, however they are so spacious you barely notice anyone around you. Handed a glass of fresh juice or champagne you are in luxury comfort straight away and the reclining chair is your lounge, office and bed all in one - all above the clouds.

THAI's Airbus A380s and newly modelled Boeing 777s and 787s, chairs can transform to 180-degree fully flat beds - unlike many other airlines business class. With a fully flat bed there is no difference between being in your own or being onboard - I slept so well, I woke up so surprised I was still on the flight and not in my hotel bed.

Lunch starter on board Thai Airways Business class to Bangkok

As soon as we sat down we got presented with a menu and choices of lunch. I chose the veggie option which wasn't far off like having dinner in a restaurant. A restaurant in the sky! Once I'd finished my lunch I was almost immediately asleep in my comfy chair and the hours whizzed away. In my hours awake I watched some of the 1,000 hours of movies available and drank champagne! My 11 1/2 hour flight went so fast and I wasn't even ready to leave once we'd landed in Bangkok, so lucky for us we still had another flight in business class to Bali!

Should you fly Thai Airways Royal Silk?

OF COURSE! I found the whole experience simply incredible; like a hotel in the sky! Flying can be tough - especially long-haul flights so having the luxury of business class can really make your trip a whole different experience. I will most certainly be flying Royal Silk with Thai Airways again - see you there?

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