Category Archives: Travel

The frozen North

I don’t like posting personal things on this blog, but I’ve had one of the most stomach droppingly horrible times of my life in the past few months, and I am struggling to put into words everything I want to express. I sort of feel like I should write something. I’ve had this blog since I was a teenager and I regret not having written something about the most momentous events in my life which have happened since then. But I just don’t seem to be able to, I’m not one of nature’s tweeters or bloggers. So instead I’m posting a couple of pictures, and they’ll have to stand in for everything I want to say about sadness, love, isolation, the spirit of adventure and restlessness.

Zambia and Zimbabwe

I went on a trip to Victoria Falls recently. One of these days I will get the hang of doing proper travel writing and actually say stuff, but in the meantime here is a baboon and his bag which I saw at the falls:

Baboon and his bag

Baboon and his bag

Three months of adventure, penguins, tinned food and no showers on the incredible Nightingale Island

Late last year I had the privilege of collecting field data for my Conservation Biology MSc thesis on Nightingale Island. I kind of shot myself in the foot a bit with that because it meant I had 3 months less time to write up than all of my classmates. I have little to no experience writing up scientific papers, and although I have good writing skills in general I’ve learned that scientific writing is a peculiar beast which requires weeks of sweat, blood and tears (oh, so many tears!) to wrestle into submission for those who have not encountered it before. I’ve had to get an extension for my write-up – I am very lucky that my supervisors are so kind, supportive and helpful – but living on Nightingale and working with the penguins was worth all of the trouble a thousand times over.

Continue reading

Transferring money from UK Natwest account to Capitec account in SA

As far as I can tell this is absolutely impossible if you are in South Africa because the form validation on the natwest internet banking website rejects the Nedbank SWIFT code (NEDSZAJJ), the capitec SWIFT code (CABLZAJJ) and the Nedbank clearing code (198765 Or 109509).

It seems hard to believe that I am the only person who has encountered this problem. Has nobody else ever tried to use Natwest online banking to transfer money to a Capitec account?


“Can’t make the woman out at all, myself. Know what she said to me this morning? Asked me if I’d slept well, and when I told here that it beat me how anyone could sleep at all, with a dashed lot of cockerels crowing their heads off, she said that rural sounds exhilarate the spirit, and do something or other to languid nature!”

“Cowper,” said Kitty, in a depressed tone. “‘Restore the tone of languid nature.'”

“Well, it’s a bag of moonshine!” said Freddy. “What’s more, I always thought so! … It’s my belief, Kit, the woman’s touched in her upper works.”

“No, she is merely addicted to poetry,” explained Kitty.

“Well, that just shows you!” said Mr Standen, reasonably.

Oh Freddy! For you I’d give up my favourite most comfortable pair of pyjamas with the holes in and wear nothing but the most uncomfortably and beautifully tailored clothes forever. Continue reading

A suffusion of yellow

So if there is a God, I think that maybe He doesn’t want me to go to Peru. I’ve learnt some important lessons along the way though:

  1. Don’t imagine that just because you’ve been having an incredibly shit time that you deserve a holiday. The universe will soon disabuse you of this idea.
  2. Don’t lose your passport
  3. If it’s lost, don’t try and then get an emergency passport
  4. If you try getting the emergency passport, don’t forget to ring up before hand to ask what you need so you don’t have to spend ages queueing at the police station in the city before they tell you that you need to report it at your local police station Continue reading

Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua

Well, a lot has happened, but here´s a quick rundown:
I realised quite early on that I couldn´t afford to do the TEFL course in Costa Rica as everything was much MUCH more expensive than I thought it would be, so instead I did 2 weeks in a spanish language school and then I set off for Nicaragua with a friend I had made in the school – Anna, a german girl.

In Nicaragua I visited a few places, but I enjoyed Grenada and Leon the most. In Leon I got to sandboard down a live volcano and in Grenada the hostel I stayed in really was something special.

Anna and I headed back down through Costa Rica along the Caribbean coast to Panama, where we stayed in Bocas del Toro for a few nights. We went to David after that, and stayed in a little town in the mountains near there called Boquete (or something, I might be spelling it wrong).

Anna headed to Panama City after that but I went to a turtle liberation instead with an Israeli guy called Tom who we had made friends with and travelled with for a short while. After that I headed back to CR.

I´m currently in San Jose waiting for Gavin and Verity! I guess the only reason I have actually bothered making this post is that I am pretty bored and want to distract myself! It hardly seems necessary anyway as all my friends know what I am doing already and have seen the pictures, so I suppose this is in essence just a record for anybody from the industry interested in what I did in the 3 months I took off post-graduation to travel.

One of the coolest things on my trip so far, helping those little baby turtles off on their way to the sea!