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Sloth in treeI am pleased to announce that I am still ‘ringworm free’ and have now moved to work in a wild animal rescue centre. This is the most amazing place. Sick and injured animals are brought here by members of the public or the Costa Rican government. Some have been trafficked or injured and others have been kept as pets. The aim is always to release them back into the wild. Sadly this is not always possible. There is a Sloth that fell out of a tree as a baby, and hence requires physio on his back legs every morning, and there is a Capuchin monkey who was tragically kept in a bar and fed on alcohol and cigarettes and is now too domesticated to fend for himself.

The  work here is enormously rewarding, we feed and clean out over 100 animals every day. Although the policy is that we must never touch them, being up close to monkeys, parakeets, sloths, raccoons, lizards, deer and wild pigs feels a real privilege. These residents live in complete luxury and eat the most delicious combinations of fresh fruits and vegetables, which we chop up every morning. I wish the same could be said for the humans…

I am staying on Isabela Island. At 60 miles long it is by far the largest island in the Galápagos and also one of the most volcanically active places on earth. Understandably, I didn’t share that bit of info with my family before I set off on my trip. My home is in the only town, Puerto Villamil, which has a population of 2000. I have to say that these are the friendliest, happiest 2000 people on the planet. I ride around the town on a bike and it is impossible to go more than 10m without someone shouting ‘Hola, Buenos Dias!’ Whilst in England road users have to stop at traffic lights, here you might have to stop to allow a family of iguanas to traverse the sandy streets. The people here live simple lives with one room houses made of concrete blocks and very few possessions, but they…

I have many things on my bucket list but camping on the side of an active volcano isn’t one. However when the opportunity for such a trip arose I knew that I couldn’t say no. One of the group volunteers in the Galápagos National Park office and he had managed to get clearance for the trip, which had never been done before. When I was told I had to submit my passport number so they would know who was missing if the volcano erupted, I thought it was a joke. Sadly it wasn’t. The Sierra Negra volcano erupts usually in October every 2-3 years, and it hadn’t erupted for 3 years. On Friday afternoon our random gang piled into pick-up trucks and headed off into the lush countryside. After a steady climb for an hour the trucks stopped and on the side of the road were 4 horses and 2…

After my unplanned, but most enjoyable week, in the city of Cuenca I started the three day journey to the Galápagos Islands. My first worry was finding a driver I could actually trust to take me on the 125 mile journey to the airport in Guayaquil, my second was how to avoid being robbed en route and my third was the notorious mountain pass I had to cross in the El Cajas National Park. The hotel recommended a ‘safe’ driver who turned up at the correct time, which was promising, and I told him I was going to the Holiday Inn at Guayaquil Airport. He looked at my blankly then said with a with a huge smile ‘Si! Si! Holida Yin!’ Relieved he knew where we were going, I settled down for the trip, momentarily. I have actually no idea how the hotel could describe old Carlos as a ‘safe’…

solo volunteering in Peru

Hello readers, or should I say ‘reader’?  The blog is back!

South and Central America are open for travel and I leave on Saturday for 14 weeks of volunteering!

When I returned from my Midlife Crisis in Asia two years ago Husband hoped that I would just adopt the normal symptoms of a midlife crisis e.g., excessive Botox, inappropriately short skirts and fancying my son’s friends. However deep down we both knew that my desire to see the world and immerse myself in different cultures had been heightened not quelled by my trip.

So this is my itinerary:

Peru-Street dog rescue

Ecuador-Sea Turtle conservation

Galapagos Islands-Galapagos Tortoise conservation

Costa Rica-Rescue centre for trafficked wild animals

Belize-Coral reef conservation

Shed with a view over Kathmandu My Nepal Trip My first few days in Kathmandu have been a challenge. When I arrived at the hostel (compound) I was surprised to see that the walls were topped with razor wire and there were huge metal gates. Foolishly I thought these were to keep the volunteers safe, but soon realised they were to stop us escaping. I had paid extra for a private room as I did not want to spend every morning surrounded by nubile 20 year olds in thongs, making me feel even more depressed about the toll age and gravity have taken on my body. Stable Life My quarters are separate from the rest of the house and it appears that the last thing to live here had 4 legs. Someone must have shooed it out and threw a mattress on the floor hours before I arrived. The only…

The Lone Traveller I leave for my trip, as a lone traveller, in less than 48 hours, so my preparations are really ramping up. I have drawn up the ultimate packing list. Meanwhile unhelpful Son decided to do something helpful!  He Googled ‘Things that can kill you in Sri Lanka’ and found: ‘Sri Lanka is home to a spider the size of a dinner plate. With a leg span that can reach up to a rather terrifying ten inches, the Fringed Ornamental Spider is the second largest in the tarantula family’ And ‘Sri Lanka is known as having the most venomous snakes of any country in the world’ Snake Wrestling Thanks Son, if only you had applied as much enthusiasm to your university research you might have kept out of the Uni Bar for a few hours longer last term. However, I did decide that I must get better at dealing with…