When my travel exemption to leave Australia and return to Scotland was approved, my friend Emily told me that I should rename the blog ‘Any Available Track.’
Given that we’re still in the middle of a global pandemic, this is an excellent idea.
Current available tracks for me are now the UK. With large parts of Australia in lockdown, I feel incredibly lucky that I was able to return to Edinburgh to see Barry. Now that I’m here, technically, I could go any number of places now as borders are a lot less strict. But there are so many uncertainties and just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should.
So for now, the available tracks are Scotland and Northern Ireland (being with Barry comes with NI family responsibilities after all).
See you in November, Melbourne (please don’t cancel my flight/quarantine space – also, let Barry in too).
We’ve had two and a half lovely lazy weeks on Ko Lanta. Okay, they weren’t lazy, we were working. We just weren’t running all over the island ticking off the tourist bucket list.
We were running and walking the beach every day, sometimes a quick dip in the sea, avoiding sea lice as much as we could. Definitely spending longer than necessary reading books in a hammock.
By our second weekend, I was ready to explore a bit more. I was also ready to spend a day in water that didn’t try to sting me. At one of our regular restaurants, the staff convinced us that a snorkel trip would be worth it so we booked a day out to Ko Rok and Ko Ha. I’m not sure why they print prices in the brochures. Every booking agent will give you a better price.
Family and work events have taken Barry and I directly between Australia and the UK in recent years, without exploring any of the many places in between. This year we were lucky to have a bit more time on our hands. I finished my contract at the University of Edinburgh in September. With the deadline for Australia set at Christmas 2019, it meant we had a few weeks between leaving Edinburgh at the end of November (after some work and Barry’s family things).
We were last in Thailand in 2014 so it made sense as our ‘on the way to Australia’ destination. As you know, I love a tropical island. As you know, Barry stresses about the quality of the internet, especially on tropical islands. Luckily, Kohub on Ko Lanta takes all those worries away. It didn’t take us long to agree on our 3 week tropical working destination.
With Barry running his own company, HappyPorch, it means I sometimes get to go to lots of interesting places when there’s a team meetup. Places like Madeira, Bulgaria, Porto, the French Alps, Morocco. And, in 2019, Liverpool. Doesn’t sounds all that exciting in comparison but I’d never been and Liverpool was named European City of Culture in 2008. And of course, The Beatles.
As I’d finished my contract with the University of Edinburgh and was now a footloose and fancy free tourist (also known as a lady who lunches a lot with friends in Edinburgh), I was free to join the team for whatever Liverpool might bring.
More cycling! I wanted to go as far north in the UK I could possibly get for my birthday on 21 June. And without flying. So, Barry and I took our bikes on the train from Edinburgh to Aberdeen and rolled onto the overnight ferry to Shetland.
Shetland feels like a cross between Scotland and Iceland. There are no trees, and lots of rolling hills. Shetland ponies look a bit like Icelandic ponies, only smaller. Apparently there were (are?) also Shetland sheep and cows and pigs, also small in stature so they’d need less nutrients to stay alive during a harsh winter (which is every winter, right?). Clever.