10 of the best locations for landscape photography in North Devon

10 of the best locations for landscape photography in North Devon

Grab your camera and head to one of these North Devon landscape photography locations!

If you are a lover of landscape photography, then North Devon has so many picturesque and photogenic locations. However, if you don’t know the area it can often be overwhelming to know where to visit for the best photo opportunities.  As someone who lives in the area, and is passionate about many of the locations I’ve come up with my top ten North Devon photography spots to visit for landscape photography.

1. Westward Ho!

Did you know that Westward Ho! is the only town in Britain to have an exclamation mark in its name?! It has a vast sandy beach that extends for two miles north of the village of Westward Ho! and is backed by a pebble ridge. The pebble ridge leads onto the grassy plains and salt marshes of Northam Burrows.
Westward Ho! has numerous beach features which make excellent subjects for landscape photography including wooden groynes, rock formations, a sea pool, remains of a Victorian pier, rock pools, beach huts as well as the vast sandy beach.

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A post shared by Kim Stone (@kistography) on

A post shared by Kim Stone (@kistography) on

2. Instow

Instow is on the estuary where the rivers Taw and Torridge meet, between the villages of Westleigh and Yelland and on the opposite bank of Appledore. The beach is perfect for landscape photography as it enjoys few waves because of the sandbanks at the mouth of the estuary cancelling out most of the ocean swell. There are also a large number of boats anchored on the sand which make great subjects. Further down the beach towards Yelland, there is a very photogenic wreck and old jetty.

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A post shared by Kim Stone (@kistography) on

A post shared by Kim Stone (@kistography) on

A post shared by Kim Stone (@kistography) on

3. Hartland Peninsular

The magnificent cliffs at Hartland Quay with their incredibly contorted rock layers are always worth a visit and at low tide, there is plenty of sand, rock pools and rocks to scramble over. This wildly beautiful bay offers an ancient quay as well as some of the most spectacular geology in Northern Europe,

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A post shared by Kim Stone (@kistography) on

If you drive to Brownsham National Trust car park on the Hartland Peninsula, near Clovelly, you can enjoy a lovely walk which encompasses both woodland and sea and takes you to the spectacular Blackchurch Rock.

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4. Clovelly

Clovelly is well recognised for its steep cobbled streets and quaint cottages but it also has a pretty harbour. This is such a quaint and picturesque location.

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5. Woolacombe

Woolacombe has a long expanse of sandy beach or venture half a mile down to Barricane which is a small picturesque location with rocky outcrops and rock pools.

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6. Croyde

Croyde is a village with old world charm, based on the west-facing coastline of North Devon. It’s sheltered bay makes it a fabulous location for various water-based sports. There are three fantastic sandy beaches to choose from and some pleasant walks along the cliff top footpaths.

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A post shared by Kim Stone (@kistography) on

 

7. Great Torrington

Great Torrington is a small market town in the north of Devon, England. Parts of it are sited on high ground with steep drops down to the River Torridge below. Torrington is surrounded by 365 acres of common land surrounding the town on all but the eastern side.

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A post shared by Kim Stone (@kistography) on

 

A post shared by Kim Stone (@kistography) on

 

A post shared by Kim Stone (@kistography) on

8. Bideford

Bideford is a historic port town on the estuary of the River Torridge. Bideford has an old arched stone bridge which was built in 1535 and spans the River Torridge. The tree-lined quay still bustles with fishing vessels, cargo and pleasure boats.

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A post shared by Kim Stone (@kistography) on

 

9. Barnstaple

Barnstaple is the main town of North Devon, England and possibly the oldest borough in the United Kingdom. The River Taw flows through the centre of Barnstaple. It has a traditional pannier market as well as fine buildings and attractive narrow streets and alleys.

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10. Ilfracombe

Ilfracombe is a seaside resort and civil parish on the North Devon coast, England, with a small harbour surrounded by cliffs. The seaside town is home to renowned artist Damien Hirst’s famous 20m high sculpture, Verity. This picturesque harbour town is steeped in maritime history and remains one of the key working fishing ports in North Devon

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Which of these North Devon locations is your favourite landscape photography location?

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A place to learn – Education in Cambodia

My trip with Edukid taught me so much about education in Cambodia. On our last day visiting Care For Cambodia schools  with Edukid, we visited a school just outside of Siem Reap. This visit was probably my highlight of the entire trip. The Edukid delegates and children all had a wonderful time. There was so much fun, happiness and laughter. The khmer children fully immersed themselves in our ‘British’ traditional sports day events including a sack race and egg & spoon. The event was finished off with a 1.5km race.

The children were so enthusiastic, cheering each other on and embracing the challenges.

Education in Cambodia - Siem Reap School Sports Day

Sack Race!

Education in Cambodia - Siem Reap School Sports Day

Sack Race!

Education in Cambodia - Siem Reap School Sports Day

Water cup challenge

Education in Cambodia - Siem Reap School Sports Day

Egg and spoon race

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is also the school that left a lasting impression for me and I would like to do something to help.


All of the schools we visited were established beneath the teachers own home – this school was no exception. The red plastic chairs you can see in the pictures (below) were hired in, especially for this sports day event…because the school doesn’t actually have their own tables or chairs. The children are either taught on the floor or the teacher uses his wooden bed frame as a makeshift table. You can see the bed frame in the first picture. 

Education in Cambodia - Care for Cambodia SchoolEducation in Cambodia - Care for Cambodia School Education in Cambodia - Care for Cambodia School

 

 

 

 

 

To buy tables and chairs for this school will cost just £350 and I have pledged to raise the money to fund this for the school. The tables and chairs will be sourced and made within the local village, meaning that the money also goes straight back into the local community.

If you feel compelled to help towards the purchase of the tables and chairs, you can make a donation to my justgiving page and the money will go directly towards helping this school: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kistography

The Education system in Cambodia

 

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”

Nelson Mandela

History of education in Cambodia

Over 40 years ago Cambodia’s education system was destroyed at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, which saw the destruction of all schools and intellectuals were executed. Although, since then the education system has been rebuilt – it still has a long way to go.

According to UNESCO, only 1.6 per cent of Cambodia’s Gross Domestic Product (GNP) is spent on education. The GDP on education in most western countries is anywhere between 5.5 to 6.4 per cent.

The number of children entering education in primary school is increasing and the gender gap is closing, however completion rates for primary and lower secondary school are low. Parents are unable to afford the indirect and direct costs of schooling and many children are required to stay home to help with chores, field work or accessing the labour market.

There is also the problem that due to the insufficient funding, there is a lack of quality education and resources. Much of the education centres around learning by rote – rather than child-led and child-centred teaching practices. Also, children often repeat years and there are many over age children in the primary system who have not transitioned into secondary education. This all contributes to the high drop out rates as children are bored and become unmotivated.

There is also a gap in the provision for early childhood education. Less than 26 per cent of three and five year olds have access to early years development opportunities. Social and languages skills are developed in early childhood and it is important to embrace this stage to facilitate their academic success.

We were lucky to have the opportunity to visit a rural State school in the Preah Sihanouk Province (photos below). The school was closed for the summer holidays but even so – the lack of resources, basic equipment, teaching materials and the state of disrepair was concerning. The library was empty – the books worn, tattered and barely usable. 

Cambodian State School

Cambodian State School Library

Cambodian State School Library

Cambodian State School Library

Cambodian State School Classroom

Cambodian State School Classroom

Cambodian State School Classroom

Cambodian State School Classroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Schools are frequently overcrowded so often have two shifts – one set of students in the morning and another in the afternoon.


 

NGO support for education is vital.

 

This is where the work of Edukid and Care for Cambodia comes in. Using the donations they receive they provide supplementary education in their village projects during the afternoon and each child is provided with a school pack which contains everything they need to attend school for that year. Edukid currently supports 2015 children.

It was delightful to witness the children receiving their school packs:

Edukid - Cambodia School packs

Edukid – Cambodia School packs

Me with children receiving Edukid – Cambodia School packs

Edukid - Cambodia School packs

Me with children receiving Edukid – Cambodia School packs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Here are some photos from a few of the CFC run schools we visited during our trip.

CFC school near Phnom Penh

Children enjoying activities in a CFC school near Phnom Penh

CFC school near Phnom Penh

Children enjoying activities in a CFC school near Phnom Penh

CFC school in Preah Sihanouk Province

CFC school in Preah Sihanouk Province

CFC school in Preah Sihanouk Province

CFC school in Preah Sihanouk Province

CFC school in Preah Sihanouk Province

CFC school in Preah Sihanouk Province

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


How you can help:

Through Edukid sponsorship for £20 a month:

  • A school pack containing school bag, uniform and study material for one child
  • One hour’s supplementary education every day after school
  • Supervision and monitoring of the programme both incountry and externally
  • You will receive annual reports, films and lesson plans and further teaching resources.

Download a sponsorship form here

Alternatively you can make a one of donation via my Justgiving pagehttps://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kistography

SOURCES:
https://www.unicef.org/cambodia/3.Education.pdf

http://www.phnompenhpost.com/columns/education-and-its-role-cambodia

http://careforcambodia.org.kh/about-cfc/our-projects/

 

 

 

To have nothing, is not an excuse to do nothing.

There are many stories to tell from my time in Cambodia with Edukid and I intend to share them via here, on my Facebook and my Instagram. Some full of hope, some inspiring and some also full of sadness.
 
First off, I’d like to introduce you to the most empathic, selfless, driven, kind-hearted, gentle and caring woman I have met – Bonnie.
 

Watch Bonnie talk about her story here:

 

 
I had the privilege of meeting Bonnie on several occasions during our trip. What struck me immediately, was that consistently she was always putting others first. Whether that be fixing one of the groups broken flip flops, spending a bus journey making origami frogs for one of our younger members, sorting out a confused coffee shop order or cooking for us at the Homestay. It’s just instinctively and intuitively in her nature. No education or training can provide someone with these qualities. However, what education can do is enable someone to embrace those qualities and facilitate opportunities for them, to pay them forward on a much bigger scale. Bonnie had the tenacity to recognise this, when she decided at a young age that she wanted to study medicine. Her desire to study medicine was instigated after she witnessed a pregnant lady and her unborn child die – because they were unable to afford medical care.
 
However, as Bonnie conveys during the video – studying medicine was going to be fraught with barriers. Notwithstanding the cost, there was the fact her parents didn’t want her to have an education as they felt she’d be better off earning money collecting recycling, then marry a man and become a housewife – a fate already decided for many girls in Cambodia.
 
Fortunately, Edukid were able to find a sponsor for Bonnie to allow her to attend university and study medicine. Her sponsors were among the delegates on my trip and it was an honour to be there the moment that they met each other for the first time. Through their generosity, Bonnie will be finishing her medical studies in 2018 and she hopes to become a gynaecologist.
 
Of course, Bonnie has bigger dreams than “just” being a Gynaecologist. She has ambitions to also open a clinic in the slum areas of Phnom Penh. There she will offer free health care to those who are unable to afford it (all delivered around her “day job”). Already, still in training, she makes herself available 24/7 to anyone who needs medical care (often woken at 2 or 3am to see people).
 

A truly altruistic and magnaminous human being. Hopefully, through Edukid we could make her clinic a reality.

Please consider making a donation to Edukid – my Justgiving page will remain active indefinitely: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kistography

Other ways to donate: http://www.edukid.org.uk/donate/

Choum reap lear Cambodia

After an incredible 11 days in Cambodia, sadly, its now time for me to begin my journey back to the UK.

Our itinerary has been so jam packed that its been impossible to blog everything as it has happened, however when I’m back home I fully intend to share the stories, descibe the places we visited, explain the experiences we had and introduce you to the incredible people we have met along the way.

I have so many tales to tell and challenges I want to take on.

From hopelessness to hope.

So yesterday I arrived in Phnom Penh and met up with the Edukid delegates who I will be spending the rest of this week with. We enjoyed an evening meal together and did our introductions. The group comprises of children, teens and adults, from various walks of life, different areas of the Country, but all with the same goal – to try to promote and support the work Edukid does in Cambodia.

 

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

“From hopelessness to hope.” This is how one of the Edukid delegates descibed our day, today here in Phnom Penh and I think this sums it up rather eloquently! Our day started with a visit to S21 Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide.

Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide.

Tuol Svay Pray High School sits on a dusty road on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In 1976, the Khmer Rouge renamed the high school S-21 and turned it into a torture, interrogation and execution center. Of the 14,000 people known to have entered, only seven survived. Not only did the Khmer Rouge carefully transcribe the prisoners’ interrogations; they also carefully photographed the vast majority of the inmates and created an astonishing photographic archive. Each of the almost 6,000 S-21 portraits that have been recovered tells a story shock, resignation, confusion, defiance and horror. Although the most gruesome images to come out of Cambodia were those of the mass graves, the most haunting were the portraits taken by the Khmer Rouge at S-21. Today, S-21 Prison is known as the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide. Inside the gates, it looks like any high school; five buildings face a grass courtyard with pull-up bars, green lawns and lawn-bowling pitches. The ground-floor classrooms in one building have been left to appear as they were in 1977. The spartan interrogation rooms are furnished with only a school desk-and-chair set that faces a steel bed frame with shackles at each end. On the far wall are the grisly photographs of bloated, decomposing bodies chained to bed frames with pools of wet blood underneath. These were the sights that greeted the two Vietnamese photojournalists who first discovered S-21 in January of 1979.”

It’s really hard to find words to truely articulate the experience of visiting S21. This was evident as we all gathered at the end of the tour for our Tuk Tuk ride back to the hotel – somewhat pensive, contemplative and reflective. I’m glad that I was in the situation where we visited this as a group, as it enabled us to share our thoughts and experiences on the journey back. We were all touched in different ways by the exhibits. For some it was the reality of standing within the confines of the cramped cells, for others it was seeing the faces of the victims depicted in the countless photos, for me it hit home when I spotted an English man had been caught up in the atrocities. John Dewhirst, aged just 26, was on a sailing trip with New Zealander Kerry Hamill, and ended up in Cambodian waters. Their boat was seized by a Khmer Rouge patrol vessel and they were brought to S21. The circumstances of their deaths are unclear. One thing is for sure, they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. About halfway through the audio tour I decided to stop listening as it all got a bit overwhelming. The physical reminders, visual images and paintings were over powering in their own right.

After the museum visit, over lunch we got to meet Care For Cambodia who work in partnership with Edukid. Here we were blessed to meet Srey Da who’s story you can watch here:

Srey Da – Edukid

Tomorrow we will be travelling to Srey Da’s village to see the difference she and Edukid have made in supporting the children to receive an education.

We had a small amount of time to browse the sensory layer cake that is the russian markets. Clothes, jewellery, watches, trinkets, motorbike forks, live crabs, a rainbow of fruit & veg…it’s all sold here! I didn’t buy anything here this time, but thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being there with others as they haggled and bartered for their goods.

Our day was rounded off nicely, when during late afternoon, we all piled into Tuk Tuks and headed off to meet with a group of University students that Edukid are supporting to study. They had organised for us to have a boat ride on the Mekong and they’d prepared a selection of local cuisine for us to eat, which included frog, Amok and fish egg soup! My daughter had challenged me to eat something unusual whilst in Cambodia, so this was the perfect opportunity! I decided to try frog and I’m pleased to say it was actually really tasty!

We had lots of opportunities to mingle and chat with the students. Their grasp of English, significantly better than my Khmer! Their commitment and dedication to their education is inspirational. When we visit the village tomorrow, we will get to meet a number of the students again, as remarkab they now volunteer as teachers in the village, selflessly paying forward their gift of education.

We had lots of fun when we were set the challenge of getting the funniest group photo. Here’s my groups efforts!

 

 

And here is all of us together:

All templed out!

7th Wonder of the World

As mentioned in my previous post, the khymer temples at Angkor Wat are a must see if you’re in Cambodia doing the tourist thing.

Here’s a little overview of the temples from Tourism Cambodia

ANGKOR WAT was listed in World Wonder List

Angkor Wat, in its beauty and state of preservation, is unrivaled. Its mightiness and magnificence bespeak a pomp and a luxury surpassing that of a Pharaoh or a Shah Jahan, an impressiveness greater than that of the Pyramids, an artistic distinctiveness as fine as that of the Taj Mahal. Angkor Wat is located about six kilometers (four miles) north of Siem Reap, south of Angkor Thom. Entry and exit to Angkor Wat can only be access from its west gate

Angkor Wat temple Cambodia

Temple tickets = good value

The entry pass is definitely good value ($62 for 3 days) – especially if you make the most of it and see as many temples as possible…although, having said that it’s really easy to end up templed out as many of the temples end up looking the same.

Ta Prohm is the temple I found the most intriguing as the walls have been overgrown by trees in places and it’s fascinating how nature has taken hold. 

Haggled and hounded

When you arrive at any of the temples be prepared to be hounded by sellers peddling their wares, persistently! They’re mostly adults but children as young as five or six hounded me, relentlessly trying to get me to buy their freshly cut mango & pineapple, postcards, magnets or guidebooks. They would follow me around, loitering beside me at every twist and turn I made.

 

Small children at Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Buying from children is a big no-no. It keeps them trapped in the poverty cycle when actually the best solution for them would be to go to school and get an education (and not to be forced to work). It takes quite a lot of strength to resist their charming English pleas (“pineapple, fresh, cheap $1), but you must politely decline and walk on by. After a while, you get used to it.

Monkeying around!

Also in and around the Angkor Wat site it is very likely that you will see monkeys (Long-tailed Macque). They are a delight to watch but beware – they will go for humans, especially if they think you have food or water!

Shortly after taking the photo below, of the monkey admiring its reflection in the moped mirror, I turned around to photograph another monkey and felt a jolt on my back, I spun around and the monkey had jumped onto my backpack… Much to the amusement of three children looking on! Fortunately, it jumped off straight away but i definitely wouldn’t have wanted to get into battle with it! 

Monkey at Angkor Wat - cambodia

I definitely recommend a visit to the temples. They are a sight to behold. I was lucky enough to spend three days touring them during my trip to Cambodia. I hope to return one to see them again one day.

Sleep is over rated anyway!

Arrived in Cambodia, but no sleep for 35 hours

Navutu Dreams Resort - Cambodia

By the time I arrived at my hotel (Navutu Dreams Resort & Spa) I hadn’t slept for 35 hours, so as you can imagine I was far from a fully functioning human! Even the exhilarating, white-knuckle, tuk-tuk ride in from the airport, hadn’t done much to wake me up. After doing my best to remain compos mentis whilst the receptionist talked me through check-in, I headed straight to my room and grabbed two hours sleep.

One thing I had paid attention to when the receptionist briefed me, was that they offered a free community village tour which they run in the morning and afternoon. I decided to do the tour in the afternoon after I’d slept.

Community Village Tour

I was met at the hotel reception by my guide and also my Tuk-Tuk driver (‘To-To’). It had rained during the afternoon and the tour took me through puddle filled, sodden dirt track roads, which weaved through the bustling local community.

As we wobbled along in the Tuk-Tuk, the guide explained about the people, houses, buildings and land as we passed them. We reached a track which appeared to be in good repair – compared to the one we had just left, the guide told me that the community pays to keep it maintained otherwise it would just be a pot-holed mess like the others. 

We headed out along a track which cuts through the flooded farm fields. There was flooding as far as the eye could see. I had spotted it as we flew into Siem Reap airport. Miles and miles of land underwater. Along the way we passed numerous groups of people just at the edge of the flooding – they were chatting, cooking and fishing and seemed so happy and at peace. We carried on along the track until we reached the end, where the tuk-tuk driver pulled over.  We then stood and chatted for at least an hour, watching the sky come alive as the sunset. 

Cambodia - Siem Reap flooded land

Breaking the cycle of poverty in Cambodia

My guide (on the left in the above photo) told me a bit about his life journey in Cambodia. He explained how he felt that he was lucky as when he was a young teen, he had gone to live with a monk to get an education, which is where he learned to speak English. His ability to speak English so well had enabled him to be a tour guide. This allowed him to break the cycle of poverty he’d grown up in, growing up in Phnom Penh.

He shared many stories with me as we stood chatting – my favourite and most touching being how, out of principle, he made the pledge that he would never eat dog (although most of his friends do). He revealed this was because he had a pet dog when he was growing up, who he was very fond of. He returned from school one day to discover it had ran off, and as he searched for it for days, he soon discovered it had probably ended up at the ‘dog market’… Since then he has refused to eat dog.

He then told me a tale of how his friends tried to prank him into eating dog one day. When he left the table, they’d concealed dog meat below his chicken – but luckily he noticed before he ate it. He said it had made him so angry that he wanted to fight with them…but he was better than that so didn’t!

It warmed me that, like me, my guide was in awe of the sunset (despite him living here, he didn’t take it for granted). As I snapped away with my camera he was happily snapping pics of it with his phone.

Siem reap night photography

Once the sun had set, it soon became dark, so To-To drove us back to the hotel We dropped the guide off and following his advice, I asked To-To to take me to the old market in Siem Reap to get something to eat. After finding a suitable restaurant near the markets and I finished off by grabbing some pics of the wonderful illuminations.

illuminations at Siem Reap - Cambodia

I popped my long haul cherry! Travel from the UK to Cambodia.

First time long haul flight musings!

As I travel to Cambodia, this is the first time I have ever flown long haul and it is proving to be an enlightening experience for me! As I write this, according to the techno-wizardry on the headrest screen in front of me, I have flown 2583 miles and I’m currently 37,000 feet above Chelyabinsk (wherever that is?), with 3100 miles left to travel.

Journey of the pink suitcase!

travel to cambodia - pink suitcase

1) For weeks I had been suffering ‘anxious, avoidant suitcase attachment disorder‘. When you have never travelled long haul before – your mind is awash with questions and curiosities!

My mind has been chewing over what will happen to my precious little pink fella as I travelled between airports from Heathrow> Amsterdam> China> Cambodia. Well, guess what…my cheeky little rectangular bag of possessions is currently making its own way there, shadowing me along the route, hopefully meeting me at my destination! How’s about that?!

Charging up!

2) I’m a tech geek kind of girl, so also causing me worry was how I would go about charging up my various gadgets (the tablet I’m writing this on, my kindle and my iPhone). Well, who’d have thunked that in this day and age planes would come equipped with USB charging points… Evidently, not me as Schipol Airport mugged me off £18 for a European power adapter plug! OUCH!

airplane-flight - travel to Cambodia

Battle of the armrests!

3) With an 11 hour flight, I figured the sensible thing to do, would be to get some sleep… I mean the airline kindly provides a wafer-thin blanket, a dwarf size pillow, a scratchy eye mask, ever so slightly reclining chairs, a playlist of soothing and enchanting whale song, seats that only jus accommodate your average size 12 Westerner… and luckily for me they also generously provided me with two adjacent passengers who were more than happy to hog the armrests for the entire 11 hour flight! With such comfort afforded to me, I’m sure you can tell I was very appreciative of my two ten minute power naps!

On the subject of armrests…what’s the deal, because in theatres, cinemas and on planes I always seem to dip out on that front? Answers on a postcard!

Hangry Kim! Proceed with caution!

Long haul flight - In flight meal

4) Nobody needs or should have to endure a hangry Kim. Conscious of avoiding this predicament and oblivious to the seemingly continual provision of free airline meals (having only ever flown budget airlines previously), at Schipol Airport, I decided to grab something to eat. I opted for some unidentified chickeny pizza. Little did I realise I’d get hot meals during each flight. We had two on the 11 hour stretch.

Sprint for depatures!

airport-departures - flight to cambodia

5) …On arrival at Schipol, I was very diligent as soon as we landed and checked the departure boards to ensure they married up to the gate information printed on my ticket… ’07’. The departure board did match, so after a brief search I found (what I thought was the right gate). I settled myself down for the two-hour wait beside ‘Departures 07’, right beside a charging point (with the aforementioned, gold plated(?), £18 power adapter), to charge my phone and make use of the free Wi-fi.

Whilst guzzling down my aforementioned UI chicken pizza, out of curiosity I thought I’d browse the Schipol Airport website to see what departure information they had for my flight. As I scrolled down through their website, I was immediately perplexed to see that my flight was open for boarding. I looked across at the nearby gate 07 and the display boards were showing a New York flight?? 

Confused, I thought I’d look at the airport map. To my horror, I quickly discovered that Schipol Airport was, in fact, EIGHT times bigger than I’d realised, with gates A through to H! So, ‘D’ didn’t actually stand for departures after all – it was ‘Gate D’! A quick scan of the map revealed I actually needed G07… Which was over the other frickin’ side of the airport!

I hot-footed it over there (as fast as one could without looking like a lost muppet, who’d been sat at the wrong gate for the last two hours)! Punctuality is something I pride myself on and I still managed to make it to the (correct) gate with 20 minutes to spare! PHEW! That was a close shave.

6) on a final point….Note to self regarding this first encounter with long haul… China blocks every social media…so there was no Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp or Twitter for me!! I had to go all retro, old school and people watch there instead! Quite a refreshing opportunity and the time passed really quickly.

Check my next blog posts for further updates on my travel to Cambodia.

Going Solo – travelling to Cambodia.

ON THE OTHER SIDE OF FEAR LIES FREEDOM & HAPPINESS

Cambodia - solo travel. Blossoming flower

Anyone who has known me for a long time now will probably agree that after years being single, I have grown into a strong, determined, independent woman…however, don’t let that fool you! In just over a week I will be travelling to Cambodia with the charity Edukid and it’s a daunting prospect! 

The thought of travelling abroad, across the other side of the world in fact, solo, unleashes a contradictory and stomach-churning spectrum of emotions for me. Whilst it definitely seems liberating, thrilling and exciting, I’m not going to deny, it’s also daunting, overwhelming and terrifying!

I’m a firm believer in facing your fears, so taking this on is actually quite exhilarating! Looking forward to those butterflies in my stomach and what lies beyond them.

I have four days in Siem Reap on my own, staying at Navuta Dreams Resort (which I booked using Mr & Mrs Smith vouchers I won in an Instagram competition). I will then join up with the other delegates from the Edukid trip.

I’m very excited about my first time in Asia and I fully intend to embrace the culture and whole experience.