Making a decision

How do you decide?

How did you used to decide?

Have you changed your decision-making process? If you have how has it changed. What made you adopt a new strategy?

We find ourselves in the grey area between lockdown and not yet in the new reality without physical restrictions. Businesses need to adapt and change through this ebb and flow of changing guidance. As individuals we are faced with moral decisions that weren’t part of our everyday previous experience. Do be aware that this continuous need to make decisions can result in decision fatigue.

During Lockdown, many people enjoyed the simplicity of their life.  Being told to stay home, stripped out many decisions – how to travel, where to eat and what to choose to eat from a menu of options. It was simple, lunch would be something from the kitchen.

This gave bandwidth for some of the bigger issues. What do you want to do with your life? Am I happy? Am I doing what I want to be doing for the next 5 years? How is my lifestyle affecting the planet? How can I make changes in my life to create a more sustainable future?

Decisions are an opportunity for us to say something about who we are and what our values are. We become the authors of our own lives.

As philosopher Ruth Chang explains in her excellent TED talk on how to make hard choices:

Far from being sources of agony and dread, hard choices are precious opportunities for us to celebrate what is special about the human condition, that the reasons that govern our choices as correct or incorrect sometimes run out, and it is here, in the space of hard choices, that we have the power to create reasons for ourselves to become the distinctive people that we are.

How do you make a good decision?  Think long-term: who am I to be? If you know what you want in the future, you have a direction for your life. This is your vision for you and the world you want to live in. When you decide, how does it enable this reality to come in to being for you, your community and the planet?

If you are unsure of the destination for the next part of your life, get in touch with me. A complementary 20 minute call and I can help you to clarify your next steps.

It’s impossible to know whether the choice you’re making is 100% correct. We can only decide with the information we have at that moment in time.  Instead of feeling powerless, remember that your gut can be just as powerful a reason to make a choice as all the information and opinions you’ve already gathered.

I don’t just use reason to make a decision. To weave the life I want, I my values are the warp threads and I’ve learnt to listening to my gut wisdom. How will you make decisions in the future?

Glastonbury Feeds my Soul

About now I would be returning home from an amazing week at Glastonbury Festival. I spend a week volunteering. My job is in the Lockups. They are a safe place for people to check-in their valuables, so they don’t have to leave them in a tent or worry about misplacing them.

Glastonbury is like nothing else I have experienced. It is it’s own little world for the week. Some of the usual culturally accepted ways of doing things on the outside don’t apply.

People are friendly.

Anyone will help anyone at Glastonbury. There is a real sense of community and kindness. If you are a bit lost, just ask. If you want a recommendation, just strike up a conversation with a stranger.

It is liberating

You can wander where you want to see what you want. My soul relishes the creativity and freedom. If you like something you can stay, if you don’t you can head off to find something else. This makes the Glastonbury crowd very discerning. If they don’t like it, they will just leave. There are too many other good things to see and do.

You are a life-long learner

There is so much to visit and learn. Information is interesting and challenging. It is presented through many different forms of art – theatre, spoken word, talks, clever graffiti art in huge installations, exhibitions, VR, music and more. You can learn so much trying out new experiences about yourself. Your views of the world and how it “should be” are challenged.

Getting creative

You can learn new skills in Green Crafts area. There is an opportunity to have a go at making a stone or wood carving, stain-glass, willow weaving, blacksmiths, sewing, leather workshops and many many more. I made a bone ring inspired by Viking archaeological finds. By doing the workshop, I was stepping closer to the experiences of my ancestors and their lives.

The earth is revered

The festival raises money for charities that stand up for the rights of the earth. There are no single use plastic bottles, no plastic cutlery or plates. All the food waste is collected, sorted and composted. The wasted is sorted to make sure all the recycling is taken out. Beautifully painted colourful bins all around the site are labelled so people can take responsibility and sort their waste.

There’s lots of information about the state of the planet and what people can do to make a difference. We can always make a difference by our individual actions. With information we can hold decision-makers to account and be clear that we want change. We want to look after our home, our planet for us and future generations.

Diversity is celebrated

No one will have the same experience at the festival. You just can’t get round the whole site in a weekend. The site has a rich diversity of food, music and experiences. The international cuisine is incredible. I miss my dinner to the best fresh falafels I will eat all year. The huge diversity of music all over the festival. There are huge stages and little intimate gigs, all with something different.

The circus and theater areas are filled with entertaining street artists walking around. Block 9 is the gay scene, and everyone is welcome. The Unfair Ground is the shadow-side of the festival. Shangri La is a huge art installation, it’s like walking round a film set. Every year it has a thought-provoking message – such as Corporate-Hell. I love the challenge, the wake up. We do just become complacent, not challenging the ideas our society is built on. This work brings those challenging perspectives to many thousands.

Community

We are all there to enjoy the experiences of the festival. Music, dancing, creativity, learning, making new friends and may be going for a healing session in the healing area. People dress colourfully, you will see some great fancy dress costumes. One year I saw a Top gun squadron out for the night in their cardboard fighter jets – genius! We are all there to connect and enjoy.

You will see all ages from little babies to the elders. There is no age limit on enjoying yourself!

Being in nature

For a whole week we eat, wash and sleep in nature. Camping, noticing the weather and adjusting to the situation day to day. We camp near an old oak tree that often has a kestrel nesting in it. We hear the blackbirds dawn chorus. Walking for miles across the site every day and dancing. Our bodies are happy.

Every week can be Glastonbury!

Listen to your heart and do what makes you feel good and free. Don’t waste your life, thinking I’ll do it tomorrow. Do it or do something better. Live your life!

I weave these elements in my life because it makes me happy. I try to be helpful and will give a lost looking tourist a bit of help. Kindness makes a better world. We are part of one race – the human race. Let’s build our community and support each other to build a better world. Let’s celebrate our rich diversity, it what makes us unique, it is not a threat.

Being in nature is good for us. There are plenty of scientific studies to show this. I love being out in nature and I am distressed that I am picking up so much litter after my fellow humans. We need to look after our planet and act responsible. This isn’t just about our hedonistic life, this planet needs to support future generations. We will need to modify our lives if we want humanity to continue. There are lots of things we can do and learning is the first step. Become aware of how your actions affect the earth and others through what you consume and choose to do.

We all make a difference. Each one of us is a logo piece. We can come together and create a beautiful giant structure or we can choose to isolate ourselves. At home we can volunteer in our communities, bringing our skills, passion and expertise to create a better world. Covid has shown us he creativity and resourcefulness of people. We need to continue to be creative and resourceful as we build a better world so we don’t slip in to old toxic ways. I believe we have been reminded of our own agency to be kind and build a better world. I believe we can do this if we want to.

Have you been to Glastonbury?

What are your take-a-ways?

How do you feel in Lockdown? Life of Pi

When we check in with each other at the start of Zoom calls, there’s a standard question: How do you feel? I wondered, how do I feel? So I have been internally scrolling through the emotions that the Pandemic has brought up in me and others, looking for ways to convey how these last couple of months have felt. It’s like a film rather than life. Ang Lee’s 2012 film Life of Pi comes to mind, rather than some end of the world epic.

If you have seen it, you will remember it has a peculiar story. A ship goes down and the only two survivors are a boy called Pi and a Bengal Tiger called Richard Parker, travelling together on a tiny boat, in a vast ocean, with no particular direction. In our reality, our homes are our boats. We are cast off from our social groups, each other, isolated by social distancing. We are individuals or small families in our own space, with the wide world outside, but one that seems strange and inhospitable to us now.

Some of us have supplies in the boat and some of us don’t. There are people who were very fearful, hording food and toilet rolls. They felt a need to prepare for the coming unknown. By buying lots of resources they were controlling what they could, in a world that felt out of their control. These unique times are triggering our fears at many levels. Showing us our subconscious thought programmes. We choose whether to act on them, go out and panic buy or manage our fears and reassure ourselves there will be plenty for everyone if we share. Every day we can make a new choice.

For some, it may not be possible to go out and get food. Some people’s sense of self is being challenged, something that challenges our very foundations. A friend, who never thought of herself as vulnerable and old, has had to grapple with this label, this identity that was imposed on her a few weeks ago. She was categorised in a way she would never label herself. To be labelled as old and an unwelcome drain on NHS resources, is brutal, when you see yourself as vibrant, creative and productive. These labels are being given to many, it’s not only about age. To be out mixing with people who may or may not be carrying the virus, for those with medical conditions, is putting themselves at risk. We are in lockdown to stop a surge of cases that the NHS can’t manage. We are staying home by choice to save lives. How do people who can’t be independent any more feel about the supplies dwindling in their boat? Do they feel more isolated, more fear? Do they feel powerless? Do they feel a burden on society? Are they grappling with their mortality?

In the film, Pi is on his own, in a small space, a boat, in an inhospitable environment trying to survive and share the space with something unpredictable, something that could easily kill him. Around us, Covid-19 is invisible. The fact that we can’t see this threat makes it more menacing in some ways as it could be anywhere. This results in people feeling very stressed, there’s a collective fear around the world. The mind repeats “there’s a threat!” all the time, “watch out it could be anywhere, be vigilant, be very vigilant.” Being full of fear for our own safety all the time is exhausting. We just can’t sustain it. The stress affects us negatively and results in our immune system becoming compromised.

The awareness of death portrayed in Life of Pi gave it an emotional depth, a tense quality. A sense of Pi wrestling with his views of God. Which god and what form did god take? How could God allow him to be on his own in such a harsh environment? Why was God testing him? In the film, Pi shows his ingenuity, he overcomes problems and grows in confidence and knowledge. At some points in the film he’s enjoying life and thriving, he’s adapted to the new life.

There are moments of extraordinary spellbinding beauty within the film. Nature is magnificent, fascinating and humbling. The light of the sunset on the water made me cry it was so beautiful. I see more people out walking, noticing spring, day by day as the leaves on the trees develop. People are slowing down and noticing, sensing and feeling the world around them. They are excited to see a butterfly or bumblebee. The notice the beautiful flowers, and they sense something has changed in them, they’re noticing the colours are more vividly. We are now in the moment, appreciating what we see and sense. We feel life, we are realising what’s important as the distractions are stripped away. We are really living life, not rushing past it.

Pi has to find a way to live with the tiger until they get to land. We too have to find a way to live with Covid-19. Being in constant fear will harm our health. We need to find a way to coexist on the planet. The virus like the tiger is part of nature. We need to treat it with respect and look after our own health and not get depleted by being constantly fearful. The lesson is do not live in fear,  live the best life you can. Each day has 24 hours, you can spend them feeling sad or happy, you choose.

My question to you is, how are you feeling? If you are uncertain, fearful, how will you manage your fears so you can live with the tiger and enjoy your beautiful life? If you or someone you know wants support with this transition, join me on Navigating Change and Strengthening Resilience. Friday 8th May 1pm register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/102840903912

Sarah Nicholson

Finding opportunities through the Menopause

Whether you are at the start, middle or end of your menopausal journey, one thing is true, this is a new phase of life. A change in hormones affects how we feel inside, about ourselves and our lives. In this blog I will suggest how you can transform challenges into new opportunities to step out and shine. Life is for living!

My journey begins

Earlier this year my confidence just seemed to fade away. I was able to function, do my work, socialise and get about, but I felt empty inside. My confident-self had drained away and I couldn’t understand why or how? Some nights I was hot and sweaty, was that me or was it just a bit warm this summer? What was going on with my body?

These are symptoms of the perimenopause caused by changes in hormone levels. Feeling low, cross and irritated, irrationally angry, rage or upbeat and then low are all symptoms some women experience. Now I recognise them as such, they are no longer bewildering and overwhelming. Feeling relaxed and happy with myself and my current stage in life is very important. I accept that this is a natural process and welcome the transition. Being open, letting it flow easily rather than resisting it.

But still the challenges are out there and my feeling of a complete lack of self-confidence was very real. How did I get through it? I accepted that this was some sort of temporary feeling that had no external reason. This analysis helped me feel better, it was just a matter of step by step, getting back to the whole me. The way I did this was simple. I listened to my body and set myself some great fun goals to work towards. I didn’t push, I just let myself move towards them.

Prioritise yourself

Being very busy at work, the pressures of running a home and finding time to fit in family, friends etc. can mean a residual level of stress in your body. If you are stressed, your body is already challenged. Reducing your stress allows your body to cope with things in a more natural and flexible way. Taking time out for yourself, sitting and reading a book in bed, enjoying your garden or walking in nature can help you feel less stressed. Self-care is important, it’s not a nasty self-indulgence as some people think, it de-escalates things, allows us to regain our equilibrium and our strength. This is a crucial step; you need to get your footing right. Prioritise yourself.

Yoga is a wonderful way to let the stress drain from your body. Find a teacher that works in a way that suits you. I like to listens to my body, doing what it needs in the yoga session. Ask around to find a good yoga teacher, that’s fun to be around. You can’t banish stress if it feels serious and strict. Meditation, massage and acupuncture can also provide relief from stress and lift your mood.

Be mindful

Emotions can sweep us off into an internal storm. Being mindful (awareness) of what you are doing at each moment in time can often help you feel relaxed and better able to manage mood changes. Be conscious of your body and how it feels from the inside. Notice what you are doing and how if feels on your body, on the outside. It’s a way of linking back to the real and not getting swept out-of-control by an emotional tornado. Notice the little things, the smell of a beautiful rose, focus on its delicate beauty and incredible colour. You can delicately touch its petals. Use all your senses to notice and feel what you are doing in the moment.

Living in the moment

The past is done, there’s nothing you can do to change it. The future is the future, you can’t control it. What you do in the present moment is all that matters. When you live in the moment, you are completely present for your friends and family, which is the greatest gift you can give. You notice more, life is richer. Living in the moment, can reduce anxiety levels because you don’t worry about the past or future events.

Lots of laughter

You choose what you do with your time. Doing something that makes you laugh will make you will feel closer to others. Giggle therapy is just so good for you and it stimulates your immune system. I feel so much better after a good belly laugh. I went to see Russel Howard in Leeds and was laughing uncontrollably at one point in his show. I came out feeling lighter, and the laughter didn’t end there as we were sharing funny stories from our own lives after the show. Choose to hang out with good positive people that make you laugh.

Keep in touch

My friends are also noticing their bodies changing. Being able to share our experiences of life and our bodies is important. This social support stops us feeling isolated. It’s important to have others to go to in times of need. Pick your friends wisely, you don’t want drama and negativity. Solid individuals who know, that this too will pass, willing to just listen, understand and who believe in your ability to cope.

Positive thinking

How you think about the menopause influences how you experience it.  Studies show that negative beliefs held prior to the menopause can be predictive of a more difficult time. For instance, the more catastrophic your thoughts about hot flushes, the more intense they will be. How you feel about yourself and your life is crucial. If you’re over the hill and past it, as a Western culture obsessed with youth and beauty may have you believe, you feel there’s no hope.  But Chinese women described menopause as, “wisdom and maturation,” “a symbol of achievement,” and “a time to start enjoying life.” They’re just starting to get into the stride of life. They don’t experience as many negative symptoms of the menopause as western women. Choose your thoughts and think positively. The best is yet to come.

Keep a diary of things each day that bring a sense of joy and make you smile. Its best if you can do this before you go to sleep and set your mind thinking positive thoughts. You will start to think more positively, looking each day, for the good things you are going to write down in your journal. Your life will become much happier as you focus on the good things each day, negativity slips away.

Transitional phase

Not all women report feeling negative effects of the menopause. Zoe Ball even has some advice for other women who are going through “the change”… Have more sex!

See this as a transitional phase, it is the adolescence of older age but better than adolescence of youth because menopausal women have confidence and experience. This is a time of choice and should really be about finding out what you really want. Now is the time to take charge and shape the remaining chapters of your life.

Find a couple of pages in your journal, and title them “To Do List”. Next, think about some things you’d like to do in the future. There’s lots to live for and enjoy doing. Write them in a list and tick them off as you do them. You can buy some beautiful underwear, go on a course, visit somewhere new – whatever excites and challenges you, write is down. This is a time for exploring who you are and connecting to your inner wisdom.

New opportunities, new challenges

This third phase of our lives enables us to look inwards. As infants we look outwards learning about the world and ourselves. In the mother phase we nurture and create, giving ourselves and our time to others. Now is a time for self-development and inner work. Your “To Do List” should have challenges that allow you to try new things, test out new hobbies or interests. Physical challenges that push you a little further. Maybe, like myself, you’ve been wanting to do something for a while and haven’t got around to it yet. Pop it on your list.

I’ve wanted to walk The West Highland Way ever since I heard about it. This summer I made the time to do the 96 miles. It wasn’t until I was walking on day two, did I really feel in my heart, what a great gift this was to myself. This act of self-love, time for me in nature, doing something I love – walking and exploring, it was simple and yet so profound. It was a key moment, filling up the empty space inside I’d been feeling. I gave myself time to think, to be and regain my feeling of self-confidence because it was time to just know me again, no distractions.

This is a transition phase, an opportunity to become who you are meant to be. To do this you need to push out of your comfort zone and develop in to the new you.  Whatever your challenge, prioritise time for it. A long-distance walk, canoeing in the wilderness or cycling in North Wales, make time for a journey into yourself. If you want support and guidance to plan your journey, sign up to Adventurous Spirit. Whether you are travelling near or far, go on that inner journey and step into your power.

I’m developing a new course designed to help you navigate the emotionally roller coaster of menopause – you can read more and register your interest today – Wisdom Queens

The importance of adaptability in a crisis

On Tuesday Italy went into lockdown. This is the first time a country has quarantined itself in my lifetime. This is a new experience for me, seeing how the world is choosing to deal with this challenge.

I attended a great training course on Wednesday. We talked about how to deal with environmental problems such as earthquakes, fire and rip tides. We also covered acts of terrorism and shooters as they target areas with lots of people. We watched a film of people panicking, a streetlight went out and people screamed and started running, because some ran, others ran, they didn’t know why, the fear-based reaction created panic. This may sound all doom and gloom but it’s not. It’s thinking about possible problems and making a plan, a strategy to deal with them. We hope for the best and plan for the worst. If something does go wrong, you can flip into doing something you know rather than panicking.

FEAR

The virus seems to have created a lot of fear. It feels like a fear-virus in our consciousness. Being in all this fear isn’t pleasant. Panic buying and hording is fear-based action. There’s helpful information explaining what the virus is, how it’s transmitted and advice on sensible actions people can take to stay safe.

I had planned to go to Valencia next week. The Festival I was visiting has been postpones at the moment but they intend to run it in the future.

The week after, My plan was to go to Florence in Italy. I am now not going. Am I upset? NO. It doesn’t matter if I go now or in October or next year. Things can be rescheduled. I’m not fixated on going now. I’m flexible.

Getting target fixation can mean that your mind gets such a narrow tunnel vision, you lose perspective. You are so set on the target; it can mean your other senses are compromised. This isn’t good. When we’re travelling or anytime in life generally and we are faced with a situation we need to ***** it. This is thinking on your feet:

  1. Does it look wrong? If there’s something not quite right about the situation, don’t do it
  2. Does it feel wrong? Trust your KNOWING – don’t do it
  3. Don’t get target fixation – this compromises your ability to think objectively – this can be deadly!

My assessment of the situation in Italy is:

  1. Florence doesn’t look right the streets are empty
  2. It doesn’t feel right, my insurance won’t be valid
  3. I can go another time; it will be okay later in the year

Italy is just an example, but whatever we are doing in our lives, we should use these three checks. Always trust your gut instinct and don’t do it if it doesn’t feel right.

BEING FLEXIBLE

Flexibility is hugely important it’s a state of mind and a way of being. Move with what’s going on around you, adapting and flowing. We still need strong roots; we need to know ourselves and trust in ourselves and our ability to cope and adapt. Knowing that you have lived through worse challenges gives us confidence as we are facing a challenge.

We are in a time of uncertainty and I encourage you to step back and see the bigger picture. Know that this too will pass. Be flexible and see what opportunities a change of plan offers you. I have plenty of books that are waiting to be read if I need to self-isolate. We need to treat each other with kindness as we move through this time doing our best to adapt and change as needed. Being in control is a figment of our imagination. Anyone that has been affected by a serious sudden accident or bereavement will tell you. Life seems to be in control, but we don’t control life. Life is a force of nature. We need to flex with it doing our best to adapt and learn as we go.

Be like bamboo – flex in the storm, not like a ridged tree that is blown over. Adapt and move. There are so many choices every day – millions, you can change the course of your life in any single moment. What will you choose?

The world doesn’t need me to support women to go travelling independently at the moment. I will return to that when it’s useful.

Currently I am looking at delivery online training to those looking inwards right now and using this time to reflect and refocus on their life.

More details coming soon…

Learn more about me here

 

Workshops

WORKSHOPS

Learn more about ExploreDiscover’s range of exciting travel workshops for women and book online.

“ASPIRATION”

“If you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there” This workshop will connect you to your inner compass so you can get clear on the direction you want to go in.

Learn More & Book

“Grounding, Passion & Power”

This workshop is designed to help you look at your life from the foundations up. If the foundations aren’t solid, whatever you put on top will fail in the end.

Learn More & Book 

“Menopause – Grounding, Passion & Power”

This workshop will not give you medical support, I leave that to the medical professionals. This is designed to support you to develop the foundations of your life.

Learn More & Book >

“VISION”

This workshop will support you in getting clear on what you want to do with the next phase of your life. Our life journey is made up of phases.

Learn More & Book >

Sign up today for information on the “Adventurous Spirit” online course

A step by step guide on how to prepare mentally and physically for your adventure.

Book a Complementary 20 minute phone call with Sarah to discuss which workshop is best for you.

Testimonial

"I chose the ‘Know YOUR Way’ workshop because I felt overwhelmed and was struggling to find focus and meaning. Although I felt I didn’t have time to do the course I knew it was important to make the time. Sarah was great, down to earth and easy to talk to. She helped me reflect and to recognise my self sabotaging behaviour and fears that were holding me back. I left the course with new insights and having created a clear step by step action plan of how I am going to make my dreams a reality, with short-term and long-term goals. After finishing this course I fulfilled one of my dreams and organised an amazing family trip, travelling round Cost Rica. Before the course it felt impossible. Invest in your future happiness. I would recommend this course if you are feeling lost and need clarity and guidance on how to make profound positive changes in your life."
Jen Todman

Solo not lonely – Make your own adventure this valentines day

Love yourself this Valentine

As we edge towards another commercialised holiday celebrating being loved I ask, must you be in a relationship to feel love?  Must we be defined by the vision of a loved-up couple whispering sweet nothings and sharing a bottle of something sparkling on Valentine’s day?

Is there a valentine’s day card that reads ‘Dear Me, You are worth it and I love you for everything you are‘?

I hazard a guess at no, but we don’t have to be constrained by these stereotypes and our limiting beliefs of what we are worth.

Investing in yourself, practising self-love and being kind to yourself despite cultural expectations is such a powerful action and can really make a difference to how you see your life.

Solo does not have to be lonely

Being solo in life doesn’t have to mean being lonely and unhappy.  Quite the opposite.  Discovering your inner purpose, aligning with your inner compass, going after the life that you want and all the adventures that brings, fills you up with new respect, new love and new dedication to you and everything you want to be.

Solo female travel has increased hugely in recent years. Google searches for ‘solo women travel’ increased by 32% in 2017 and 59% in 2018. The search grew to a jaw-dropping 230% increase in 2019. So women are getting out there, travelling on their own and experiencing the world just for them.

How do you feel about doing something for yourself as we move to Valentine’s Day?

What would your adventure be?  Where would go? What would you do?

This is the real juice of life. This stuff makes you sparkle from the inside out.  Kick back on the cultural lovey-mush and find you own romantic adventure with you.

Top 5 ways to practice self-love this Valentines

  1. Do something special just for you, massage, explore new foods -cook yourself a recipe from another country
  2. Write a list of all the places you’d like to travel
  3. Go for a walk, just with you and relish the sensory experience, enjoy your body
  4. Write down your goals and aspirations for 2020
  5. Invest in you. What courses can you do or which books can you read for self-development?

 

If you feel like you need a little support in reaching your goals and aspirations, my Womens Travellers Tribe could be for you.  A group of like minded women, supporting each other, learning new skills, empowering each other.  Read more about the tribe here – WOMENS TRAELLERS TRIBE

Could Valencia be the perfect City for your first solo travel?

The answer is yes!

I’ve just returned from a research trip to Valencia as this is the destination of my first graduation trip following the Adventurous Spirit course.

And I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.  Valencia is the third largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona. It’s a beautiful, vibrant and thriving city full of art and culture with great transport links making it easy to get around.

Despite the heavy rain and storms during my time there, I made the most of the rich history and culture

Here is a useful guide on things to do in Valencia and here are my top tips for an adventurous city break:

 

My top tips for travel:

  1. Pack your trainers and explore the city on foot
  2. Use the metro, easy clean and fast
  3. Tourist buses give you a different perspective of the city

My 3 must see attractions:

  1. The Fallas in the street in March or the Fallas Museum all year round
  2. Iglesia de San Nicolas
  3. Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias

My top 3 places to eat/socialise:

  1. DDL boutique
  2. Tapas at a great looking place
  3. Jimmy Glass Jazz Club

 

If you think Valencia could be the place for you, you can find more information about Adventurous Spirit and the graduation trips over on the website.

3 Ways to challenge yourself in 2020

 

What’s a challenge?

Whatever’s a bit difficult for you – something you can’t do easily is a challenge. Doing something a bit difficult is a way of learning a new skill, developing your knowledge or competence and increasing the number of things you can do in life. When you do something new and you master it, it feels great. You are on top of the world. How are you going to challenge yourself in 2020 and get that feel-good factor?

What do you want to try/learn this year?

I love to cook and so I booked on an Asian Cookery Class in York this summer. It was great fun cooking, drinking wine and eating the delicious food we made. What would you like to try/learn?  A new skill? Something fun and physical like axe throwing or more detailed such as a jewellery making workshop.

What are your personal development goals?

One of my 2019 goals was read a book every month. It didn’t need to be a huge book, but it did hep me refocus back in to reading. I love reading and learning. What do you want to learn in 2020? Do you want to travel and be able to speak the language a little? Could learning a new language be your development goal?

What are your physical goals for the year?

In August I walked the West Highland Way a 98mile path in Scotland. It was fabulous and my goal for 2020 is the Dales Way, another long distance walk this time in England. I also want to spend a week cycling in the Orkneys exploring the countryside and ancient sites. Do you want to walk, cycle, paddle somewhere? What would you do? Where would you go?

These are dreams. A dream written down with a date becomes a goal.

Join me on 6th January for the Adventurous Spirit FREE challenge week and set some plans in motion!

Decide to make your 2020 the best year of your life!

Is it your time to go solo?

You don’t need to wait for anyone else to join you on your fabulous trip. Just go and do it! Plenty of ladies are traveling on their own. The BA Global Solo Travel Study of almost 9,000 18-64 year olds found that over 50 percent of women have taken a holiday by themselves, with 75 percent of women planning a solo trip in the next few years. Why not go for it yourself in 2020? Where have you always wanted to go to… Thailand, Spain or some amazing landmark, to see a breath-taking natural wonder such as the Northern Lights or be part of a wonderful cultural event? Which trip first? You can go on your own.

When I speak to ladies who want to travel alone but feel unsure, there are a few recurrent issues.

  1. Can I get the money? Yes, you can, read this Blog.
  2. I’m not confident enough to go. You can develop your confidence to enable you to go traveling.
  3. Is it safe for women to go traveling? The answer to this last one is yes and I’ll share my thoughts on why.

I’m Sarah Nicholson. I absolutely love traveling…. however, I am culturally aware and extensively research the countries I am planning to visit.  Listed below are some of my tips.

Don’t assume anything. Be alert but not alarmed. You need to be aware of what’s going on around you.

COMMUNICATE

Be friendly and smile. You will meet some wonderful people who will help you as you travel the world. Learn a few local phrases like; hello, how much, no, yes and thank you. If you mean no, say it with your words and your body language. Don’t give mixed messages, be very clear.

CLOTHING

Don’t wear an expensive watch, jewelry or clothing. Leave anything that you’d be upset if you lost it, at home. Don’t look like a target. Remember many people in the countries we travel to are dirt poor. They need to make a living, and exploiting tourists is a way of surviving.

PERSONAL SAFETY

Taking care of yourself is your highest priority. Be aware that when you’re tired or sick you naturally let your guard down and are more vulnerable. Get plenty of quality sleep so you’re at your best. You need to make sensible decisions.

Read about the current scams operating in the countries you are planning to visit. Type into your web browser eg  ‘scams in Morocco’. Your personal safety is the most important consideration. Be aware that culturally they may do things in a different way to your home country. In some countries, a woman walking alone at night is an open invitation for sexual harassment. I arrive in the light and plan my route to and from my accommodation in the daylight so I’m confident later. If walking isn’t a good idea, I get a recommendation for a taxi or tuk-tuk. I make sure I know which are the no-go areas in a city and I stay away. Use what you have learned about the country to plan your trip and make it safe.

GUARD WHAT YOU DISCLOSE

I trust my gut instinct about strangers. I am always friendly but don’t need to disclose that I’m traveling alone. If I feel unsure about someone, I let it slip that someone is waiting for me at my accommodation / next destination.

LUGGAGE

I can’t stress this enough, the less luggage you take the better. Be wise with what you pack. It is liberating to realise how little you really need in life. You can wash your clothes along the way. I have one bag on wheels or a backpack (not too heavy) and a little daysack.

My backpack/luggage goes everywhere with me. Yes, this includes to the loo/toilet. NEVER put your bag on the back of a chair.

If you’re traveling on night trains, secure your bag with a cable lock so it can’t be removed.

MONEY

Never put your money in your back pocket. Use small denomination notes like a local. Estimate how much you will spend for the day and keep this amount in your day purse, hide the rest. I use a money belt, with the notes in little plastic bags.

Travel with a minimum of 2 credit cards! It can be a challenge when you arrive in a new country to know which bank card will work with which ATM machine. Having your money slit into different accounts gives you options. Avoid using public ATMs on the street, go into the bank. You can use an RFID sleeve to protect your cards from being scanned.

EATING OUT

Don’t eat from restaurants in the major tourist area. Walk at least one block away and eat with the locals – the food will better and cheaper. Use your instinct to pick the one run by the best lady, she will look after you.

COMPUTER SAFETY

There are fewer internet cafés than there used to be. People seem to travel with a tablet or iPad. DO NOT use public computers to access bank accounts. To enhance your security, use a VPN on mobile phones/computers to access bank accounts.

Before you leave, create a travel email address. Scan your passport and email your travel documents to yourself.

PHONES

Check your contract before you leave and know you can do abroad. If you use a travel SIM make sure the provider speaks your language.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Always take out travel insurance: if you can’t afford travel insurance then you can afford to travel. Check what your travel insurance does and doesn’t cover, e.g. does it cover repatriation? Most don’t cover adventurous sports such as riding a horse or a motorcycle. If you want to be able to go skiing or white water rafting while you are away, make sure you buy the correct policy.

Expect the unexpected

As I said, I love traveling solo but also like to keep it stress-free. I plan my trips and love learning about the places I’m going to explore. If you want to find out how to plan your own trip, sign up now and join me on Adventurous Spirit in January. You will be traveling solo in 2020. Where will you go first?