Family Life

Repatriation

03/08/2019

Repatriation. Noun. “The return of someone to their own country”

It was something that I was always aware would happen one day, but as I climbed mountains and rode the wake I had filed the thought of repatriation away in my brain to a place where it wasn’t even considered and threw away the key.

That was until a few months ago.

The Sultanate of Oman has been my host country for the past 7 amazing years. Granted, it was only just over a quarter of my life that I spent there but I can whole heartedly say that they were the best years of my life so far.

Note the past tense, they “were” the best years of my life. I am no longer in Oman.

And if you follow me on social media you will probably have noticed my uncharacteristic changes and lengthy silences. Normal service shall resume shortly. I was taking some time to make sure that I was happy in real life and not just on social media.

Currently I am in the Motherland, Bonnie Scotland, devouring all the amazing delicacies and putting on a lot of weight. Comfort eating? Definitely. Let’s call it winter preps. I honestly forgot how tasty Scottish food is. But back to the point…

 

“But you love Oman, why would you leave?”

Obviously the common question but still it is not something I can quite manage to give a consistent answer every time I am asked or come to terms with just yet.

Things changed. Situations changed. That’s life though, right? The universe gave me multiple signs that it was time to step out and after ignoring it for too long it was time to grow a set of balls and do something about it. Pair that with the warmth of my family welcoming me back with open arms, I ran to them for the family love that I craved.

So here I am after all those years of building a home away from home, now back in my original home trying to make it feel like a home. That’s a lot of ‘home’ without being sure where you should be and if it’s the right thing.

My heart is truly aching for my Oman life. I miss my friends, I miss the lifestyle, I miss the random occurrings, I miss my big car, Heck I even miss the insane summer weather!

 

 

“If you walked away from everything why are you so happy?”

This sounds really strange but I’m so thankful that I am British. We are so blessed to have a chance to return to a country like this as a default, a base. Brits all gripe and moan about tax and the such like but in reality it is an amazing place to call home. Stable, secure and relatively safe. Throw in free schooling and NHS and you would be a fool not to appreciate these things. There are much worse places in the world to go.

I’m also proud of myself to be able to change my situation. We all know that change is scary but imagine how scary it can be thousands of miles from home and you have to now change every single thing and somehow sprinkle some magic dust to make it work for the best. Having an all seeing, all hearing 5 year old by your side certainly adds to the pressure as their little eyes are always watching.

I’m immensely grateful for all the amazing opportunities that I had during my time in Oman. If I didn’t have these and hadn’t met all the amazing people along my crazy path then I couldn’t have grown into the strong, capable and determined person that I am today.

 

“So what is next?”

Ahh-haa, the million dollar question! Heal.. Find my spark.. See what lights me up.. Enjoy my life!

We are now based in Scotland and plan to lay down our foundations & find our new flow. Spencer will start school, the dog can live out her golden days off the leash in green fields and I will continue to work on my projects. From there, who knows?!

Will I end up in Oman again one day? Insha’Allah.

We never truly know what is in store for us but I do know that my life is never going to be boring.

Trust in the magic of new beginnings

For everyone who followed my journey through my time in Oman I want to say THANK YOU! When this website was named ‘The Duncan Adventures’ it was intended to follow our adventures in life, not just in Oman, and that is exactly what we shall continue to do.

Until then, thank you a million times & stay classy x

Adventure Time

Adventure Meets Luxury | Escape to Anantara

27/12/2018

“Set yourself a goal that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning”, even if that bed is complete 5 star luxury!

I don’t know about you but I am feeling burnt out as we fast approach the end of the year. When the lovely Anantara Al Jabal Akhdar invited me to come and catch up with them at the top of the mountain I couldn’t say YES fast enough.

Perched on the side of a spectacular canyon allowing views to the villages and farms nestled into the steep mountainside. The location is breathtaking and one of my favourite places in Oman to escape to. Waking up above the clouds feels so serene and calm.

Who doesn’t love a bit of luxury?! Think bubble bath, fluffy robe and then a huge comfy bed to myself – Bliss! But it’s not in my nature to sit still for THAT long, so after a good sleep – I actually don’t remember the last time that happened – I headed outside to do what I do best – Adventure!

That sounds more like me, right?

This is my second visit to Anantara’s challenging Activity Wall which is a natural playground of rocks, via ferrata cables, suspended ladders, zip lines and ultimate adrenaline pumping fun as you find yourself clinging on for dear life high over the canyon cliff side.

Since the last time I visited in 2016 the resort has now opened up the second phase which I was told held more surprises and more nail biting drops.

Delicately stepping each foot across the rungs of a metal ladder as it sways under the weight of my body I can see the deep unforgiving crevasse in the rock below me – This is just the beginning of the Phase 2 part of the activity wall. Terrified and exhilarated already I knew it was worth the 2 hours drive from Muscat city to get here.

Passing along the narrow ridge on the mountain side with small hand holds I move my caribinar along the via ferrata line. I know that the harness has me safely secured but still, a fall at this elevation is going to the scary no matter what.

This truly was a great way to spend a morning!

With big plans for 2019 to open Phase 3, the countries longest zipline which will run across the canyon and into a neighbouring village, I’m certain that I shall be returning to Anantara again in the New Year to check this one out!

To check out the adventure video click below:

 

Have a great day!

Heather x

Other Stuff

Wadi Ta’ab – The Extreme Wadi

06/12/2018

From one adventure to the next, the season is here and I’m still on a mission to seek out the incredible things that Oman has to offer and to keep pushing my own limits.

After hearing wild tales of Wadi Ta’ab this has been on my adventure list for a long time. With my brother arriving in town I rounded up a couple of friends, Sarah and Lauren, and managed to get us places on the ever popular trips with Wadi Adventure.

The 3.15am alarm call certainly wasn’t ideal but sometimes you have to sacrifice a little sleep to have the time of your life.

Wherever we go, we like to bring the energy and in the middle of all those rocks you will find us, the crazy ones.

After all, we only get one shot at this life. Why waste it doing things that don’t light up the fire inside us?!

When I had heard previous tales about Ta’ab I knew of people freezing with terror as they are faced with the huge 45m abseil into the rocky bowl below. If you freeze or freak out there isn’t much else to do but gain your composure and get that sh*t done because there isn’t any way back…

Abseiling 45m over the side of a cliff is no joke. Like seriously, it’s terrifying.

Thankfully I had the calming influence of Asim to reassure me that he wouldn’t let me die. Or at least “I’ll try not to”, it was better than nothing. My heart was racing, my hands were shaking and I had already had to go and pee behind a boulder to get that over with just incase I peed in fear. You might think I’m joking but I’m not, this was a lot of trust to put in someone and in the equipment.

As I lined myself up on the cliff edge and leaned my body backwards to assume the position of the abseil I agreed with Asim “No one has to die today” and he laughed. He looked calm & confident which reassured me a little more.

Because I like to punish myself, I took a quick peek behind me as I began to repel down the cliff edge. Dammit. I wish I hadn’t done that. This was high!

As I got into the rhythm of the descent I became more comfortable in what I was doing and the fear became less and less. Thankfully the hand shaking became less too. It was magical. I felt like a badass adventurer that totally had her sh*t together. That’s pretty much one of my favourite feelings because it doesn’t happen often, so I had to document it. Taking my GoPro from inside my lifejacket I halted my ropes and posed for a selfie half way down.

Look at that smile! 50% – Delighted! 35% – Total fear and 15% – This selfie better work!

I don’t know how to describe that achievement other than AMAZING!

After the main 45m abseil was completed, every subsequent abseil felt like a breeze. It was enjoyable and I found that I was daring myself to be faster on the descent and more competent. When you enjoy what you are doing you then have the ability to take the opportunity to enjoy the views and appreciate the location. It was gob smacking at how beautiful and amazing this place is.

Well, it feels super beautiful until your day dream is interrupted by having to squeeze your butt into a small space in the rock and wriggle your body down inside the cavern as a river flows in on top of you. This is a good test claustrophobia levels! Ahhh the things we do for fun!

 

Life at 100 mph finally catches up with me and amongst all the abseils and safety checks I was found curled up and grabbing a quick power nap on a rocky ledge. By this point the exhaustion level was very real!!

We continued to perservere through the massive rocky caves & boulder fields jumping in and out of water pools, some impossibly deep and some that felt impossibly long as we swam through them. The November chill and little direct sunlight making it’s way past the high valley walls, the water was extremely cold to jump into time and time again as we progressed through the Wadi.

Now for the part that would break most people…. And the reason I don’t have any pictures of this section was because I needed to have full concentration with a 350m vertical free climb up the wadi walls. Again, Im not joking. A 350 METER VERTICAL FREE CLIMB. This requires endurance, strength, calm attitude and concentration.

In some sections we perched our bodies tight against the rock with our toes balanced on a narrow rock ledge and our fingers grabbing a hand hold certainly no bigger than a iPhone. It’s easy to type now but after hours on the move and being dunked in frozen water  again and again we were feeling pretty drained.

This is not a challenge for the weak and unfit.

After a strenuous 9 hours in the Wadi, and said to be one of the fastest group times they have ever had on this route, we were exhausted and relieved to reach the village and the finishing point.

The “What the heck just happened?!” look on my face explains it all.

My summary of the trip may sound horrible, it wasn’t, but that is the real story of what goes into these trips and what is behind the smiling selfies on rocky ledges.

Ta’ab was wild and exhausting and every kind of wonderful I could have imagined it to be. It was worth every single rial spent and the struggle of that horribly early wake up call.

I frikkin’ LOVED it!

The Safety Part: If you are heading into locations like this then PLEASE go with an experienced guide – This is not a Wadi you can just turn up at on your own. This is serious stuff where ropes, harnesses and experience is essential. I highly recommend the Wadi Adventure team on this trip. Asim & Ahmed were amazing from start to finish keeping us all safe and calm on a new experience.

Want to see more of my day to day life? Find me on Instagram.

 

Have a great day,

Heather

Adventure Time

The Great Crack | Insta Inspo Adventure

06/11/2018

‘The Great Crack’ is another adventure that came from ‘Insta Inspo’. What the heck is that?

In simple terms, It’s when you view something on Instagram and it sparks an inspiration in you – And believe me, It’s a very real thing! That is exactly how and why I ended up heading out of town in search of a crack in a rock… I’m crazy, I know.

I had seen on Instagram a kickass picture of a woman standing high above an incredible crack in a rock. The picture lit a curiosity in me that I had to follow. After contacting her and leading on to contacting some other people I knew what I had to do.

The information was a little vague, All I had was a picture of where I wanted to be and a Google pin. Thankfully that turned out to be everything I would need.

Following the Google pin I headed out of Muscat for Rustaq and followed the directions from there. Dramatic mountains and contrasting fluffy clouds filled the landscape beautifully making it an enjoyable car journey – Oman is a country that I never get bored of experiencing.

Eventually the tarmac road disappeared and we were heading uphill at a very steep gradient with sheer cliff drops and winding turns. This is not a road for the faint hearted or the erratic. When I say “steep gradient” I’m not joking. This is a twitchy ride for those who don’t enjoy mountain roads.

Eventually rolling into the sleepy town of Wajmah it was a welcome relief to get out of the car and stretch the legs. Quaint and sweet this is a traditional village almost like it is a preserved way of life from years gone by. Apparently 300 people used to live in these little houses nestled into the crevices of Jebel Shams but to this day only one family remains.

The silence was both bizarre and beautiful, never have I been in a habituated area where all I can hear is birds & bumble bees – Not even the noise of a car or a machine. My car was the only one for miles around.

The view of the village from the hike. Spot the red car, the only one around for miles at the time.

If you are also attempting the hunt for ‘The Great Crack’, There is nothing in the village directing you to the location and it’s unlikely you will find anyone to ask either – You have to use the Google map and your brain as you snake your way through the almost abandoned village streets and out the other side next to the falaj. The empty streets & houses are so quiet it’s almost eerie.

The crack in the rock is visible on the high mountain side for miles around. I could see it but had to figure out how to get to it. But isn’t that part of the fun when you have to figure the route out on your own?

After around 3km of uphill hiking and scouting the way the pin takes us closer to the point. As the rocks dramatically change from loose shale to the black, volcanic looking, rock thats when we know we are in the right place.

First laying eyes on that crack in rock I had imagined from Instagram and travelled to see was so worth it.

It’s dramatic, impressive, dangerous and so perfect. The cliff side drops off 80 meters into the rugged rock & darkness below.

Toking for something more thrilling? It is possible to abseil into the crack, and it has been mapped out by people before. You might have to find yourself a good guide for that one.

So that’s it, The challenge is set for you. You have the pictures & the pin is detailed below, So what are you waiting for? Grab some friends, a 4wd and try a new adventure! If you find it I would love to see your adventure pics too.

With thanks to Ahmed Alrahbi for helping me locate this area.

How to get there:

This pin takes you right to the crack location: https://maps.google.com/?q=23.214657,57.307714

Head out of Muscat for Rustaq following the pin. Remember you have to attempt the incredibly steep road to Wajmah village. A 4×4 and a driver with a steady nerve is a must.

 

Other Stuff

Hiking the Al Amerat Hill

01/11/2018

If you have ever been to Muscat, the chances are you have seen the Al Amerat road as it snakes up the high mountain above. It’s a daily commuter route for hundreds but I’m certain not many people look at this route and imagine what it looks like from the top.

Sometimes you have to go off the beaten track to find the beauty in life.

I first blogged about this route back in 2016, read here, and recently I have been back here a few more times for fitness and bringing people to see the world from my point of view.

This week I took a group of ladies, and my trusty dog Luna, to this location for some great exercise and an excuse to be outdoors. What isn’t awesome about that?

This is the kind of mission where you have to use your brain & initiative – There is no actual route to follow, no mapped out path and no safety measures – the mission is just to climb to the highest point possible and enjoy the stunning views.

On this particular day the cloud was a welcome barrier from the harsh sunshine but on a clear day to view over the city is spectacular. It also allows you to spot your favourite landmarks like The Grand Mosque and Fahal Island.

Doesn’t it look intriguing? If you are in good health and ready to explore I would advise checking this one out.

Want to try it for yourself?:

When driving from Muscat up the hill towards Amerat there is a parking area half way up the hill on your right side. Pay attention because its a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ kind of thing.

This Google link will take you to the place where you can park your car: https://goo.gl/maps/yAbmm5CsZbF2

Get out your car, walk to the large Oman flag blowing in the wind, turn around and look at the high peaks behind you. Start walking uphill & best of luck.

The terrain is extremely loose and dangerous so I would advise to wear proper shoes & take it slowly. If you are in decent fitness it will take you around 1 hour & 15 mins each way.

Adventure Time

The Wonder of Al Ain Sahban

29/10/2018

What is a weekend without a little adventure? This weekend was no exception, The place I was headed for was Al Ain Sahban, a sulphur spring near Al Buraimi.

Ain Sahban is a place I’ve heard stories of and seen pictures of but the 3 hour drive from Muscat city was always a little off-putting but in an effort to tick more locations off my list I made the effort. Believe me, I wasn’t disappointed. It really is an amazing world when you take the effort to venture away from the built up areas.

The place is incredibly beautiful!

And on this particular day it was incredibly peaceful and serene – Just what I was looking for!

 

There are reported health benefits of sulphur springs like relief from arthritis, fibromyalgia and skin diseases like psoriasis and eczema. Never one to pass up an opportunity, I lathered it on too. I’m not sure if it helped my health any but it certainly was amusing to be even whiter than usual, something I’m always teased for; Six years in the Middle East and I still don’t have a sun tan.

 

This beautifully tranquil location proved to be worth the three-hour drive from Muscat just for a slice of nature with not another soul around.

 

How to get there:

You can reach Al Ain Sahban by a regular sedan car but it is best to cross the off-road bumpy landscape in a 4X4.

Google map link: https://goo.gl/maps/sE3Uc39igQr

Take the road from Muscat to Sohar. After arriving near Sohar, take the turn that leads to Al Buraimi, passing by the Crowne Plaza Sohar. Follow the road for some time until you find a brown mosque, enter the small tunnel to your right. There are small, sporadic green signs in Arabic that lead you to the destination of Al Ain Sabhan spring.

Please be sure to be respectful to the local environment when visiting – The charm in this place is the serene nature and impressive lack of human touch.

Adventure Time, Expat Life, Family Life

Life Lately 2018 | Adventure Time

06/06/2018

“Do you ever sleep?” A question someone asked me recently which I take as a great compliment.

Yes, I do sleep. No where near enough but sometimes the fun and adventures come first.

Where have I been? Where does the time go? Why am I a lazy blogger? So many questions and time is marching on. Let me fill you in, mostly through pictures, on what has been going on in my crazy world.

Let’s go from January 2018 to June 2018 and recap on the whirlwind life…

If you caught my post before you will notice that I broke my ankle at the end of November 2018, but don’t panic – it’s ok and please don’t feel too bad for me – with all the stupid shit that I do it was inevitable that something was going to happen sooner or later. So retraining my ankle became my priority if I wanted to continue my adventures.

The end of 2017 looked a lot like this. Regular training, determination & nutrition healed the injury quickly.

The best way to heal is to get back outside. On a long hike from Jebel Hatt to Misfat Abreein.

There were some mountain trips with some hairy friends, some goats too..

Zip lined into the sunset at Millennium Hotel in Mussanah

Hunted for dinosaurs in Wadi Al Khoudh with Spencer. Weirdly, we didn’t find any.

A last minute invitation to a Holi party ended up like this.

Afternoons like these, flying over the golden beaches of Sawadi

This was VERY cool, being driven in a water taxi by double Olympian Roman Hagara

Then on board with the Redbull sailing team at the Extreme Sailing Series 2018

When training for Everest, I made the Duncan crew join in too

And of course everywhere I go, my mini adventurer wants to come too. At 4.5 years old he has a real taste for adventures, the outdoors and danger! Here we are loving life at the Jebel Shams Challenge.

 

With summer in Oman in full swing, what do we do when it heats up again? We continue the adventures, of course! You just have to think outside the box and accept the inevitable – you will get very sweaty!

Kayaking is a great way to stay active and keep cool

Strapping my wake board on again after a broken ankle felt amazing!

Nothing like head butting the ocean a few times to wake you up! 

We have been loving Trampo Oman, the indoor play area for children and bigger children like me. The shade and AC  whilst staying active is very welcomed sometimes!

Or you could head out and find yourself a plunge pool to cool off. Look out for the nibbling wildlife!

So that takes me too the present day, the start of June 2018. We are now well and truly under the smothering blanket of summer time in Oman where most people either leave for the summer tend to go into hibernation for a couple of months.

How do you cope with the summer if you don’t like outdoor sports? Here are some suggestions..

  • Try a new gym class like UFC Gym
  • Start a new season or 4 on Netflix
  • Feed your brain with an online learning course
  • Try out an indoor play area for kids and adults like Trampo Oman
  • Volunteer your services with someone who needs you
  • And if the heat gets too much then head to Salalah for the Khareef season or the cooler mountain altitudes.

Have you got an activity to recommend to me? Get in touch and I’ll try it out.

Until the next time, it’s Cheerio from me and my squad of crazies!

Heather x

Other Stuff

The World’s Most Dangerous Airport

06/06/2018

Perched precariously on the edge of a mountain cliff side, I recently flew from the World’s most dangerous airport and survived to tell the tale. Phew!

Despite the short flight time of just 40 minutes from Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, to reach the modest mountain dwelling of Lukla – this is not your average plane journey. Lukla airport has the hefty reputation of  being the world’s most dangerous airport!

There isn’t any luxury service on board the 18 seater plane

You cannot pinpoint one particular reason why it has earned this fearsome title. It is a combination of many small things from the changeable weather conditions to the airport set up. All factors combined it strikes fear into even the toughest of travellers.

The town of Lukla is the starting point to many spectacular hikes and adventures in the region including the Mount Everest Base camp and the Annapurna circuit, this tiny little mountain hub is almost essential for all visitors during the Nepalese trekking seasons.

Nestled into the mountain side at almost 9,500 feet above sea level, it’s not your typical runway.

Built back in the 1960’s by the famous mountaineer and Everest legend, Sir Edmund Hillary, there isn’t much wiggle room for error with a runway measuring just 1,729 feet long. Barely enough length for a plane to gain elevation, it also helps that the runway is built on a downward slope; this means that your plane starts the engine and you almost swoop off the edge like a children’s slide.

With 2,000 feet of sheer mountain drop below, it’s sure to get even the bravest of travellers’ stomachs in a vice.

With pilots flying on expert skill without any visual aid, this is definitely not your average airport.

The majority of flights fly between 6am and midday due to more stable weather patterns in the turbulent mountain air. What the tour guides don’t tell you is that flights are almost always fully booked and if you aren’t lucky enough to get a seat on one of the prized morning flights then you can guess that you may have to wait until the following day to fly… or perhaps the day after that as we soon learnt.

Sitting waiting in the airport with no visual screens for information or any direction from the airport ground staff it can be a frustrating wait in this extremely basic airport. Think so basic that the window frames don’t have any glass and there isn’t even a tannoy for information.

Let me give you some advice after we were stuck there for 2 days: Expect to spend at least a few hours here. Bring something warm to wear & sit on – those plastic chairs are cold on your tush which you have already dragged up a mountain and back down! You will need plenty of snacks to keep you going as the only food place sells Pringles. To curb the boredom bring a book, crossword or pass the time by saying your prayers before you swoop off the end of the runway.

Sounds crazy, right?! What if you don’t fancy your chances of flying at the world’s most dangerous airport? You are limited to just two choices.

(1) You can take an 11-hour bus ride from Kathmandu to the town of Jiri and endure the 5-day-up-hill hike to reach Lukla.

(2) Perhaps dig deep in your pockets for a few more hundred dollars to pay for a private helicopter transfer.

 

The relief of landing safely in Lukla airport after a VERY bumpy ride!

Despite all of this, the novelty and anticipation of flying from Lukla airport is all part of the adventure of visiting the region. Surrounded by dramatic mountains, goats roaming the runway to keep the surrounding grass in order, and the buzz of excited travellers, there is something incredibly endearing about this mountainside wonder.

 

Stay tuned for the full Everest story coming soon!

Heather x

Expat Life

Should I move to Oman?

30/05/2018

“Should I move to Oman?” – Without a doubt the most popular question that appears in my Mailbox and sliding it’s way into my Instagram inbox.

I’m not going to tell you that ‘Yes, you should move to Oman’ because one shoe does not fit everyone. But I can certainly tell you about my life here and then let you make up your own mind. But seriously, yeah, you really should move to Oman – It’s awesome!

It is almost 6 years since I left my little life in the North of Scotland and took the gamble on a new life abroad. Even though it was the craziest thing that I’ve ever done in my life my attitude was perhaps a little blasé, it probably still is. “What is the worst that could happen? We move home” I told myself, and I’m probably still telling myself that. Now years down the line I still didn’t move home because this is a country that I’m still exploring and enjoying every single day.

 

Let’s just be real for a second: Every location in the world will have it’s ups and it’s downs. There are good and bad laced through every society and I’ve had my fair share of shitty days in Oman but I can honestly tell you that there is not one single part of me that regrets starting a new life here.

So what has 6 years in a forgein land taught me?


  •  Find your passion. I’m actually embarrassed to admit that I literally had no interests in life. I had no motivation or hunger for anything, apart from food. That changed when I met new people, expanded my circle, saw what they were doing. It’s possible now that I have too many passions from Kayking to Hiking and Wakeboarding.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. You are hundreds, probably thousands, of miles away from home. Of course things are going to be different. If you can’t embrace them, just accept them and don’t sweat it. You will only end up exhausted and frustrated.
  • Ignore the Jonses. Especially in the Middle East it’s easy to get into the lure of a fancy life with fancy cars and fancy trips all to impress others. Have fun but live within your means.
  • Go with the flow. Life is constantly changing, people are constantly coming and going. Expat life especially is very transient. The people who are your besties right now might not be in the same country as you in 6 months – make the most of your time with them. They leave but right around the corner there will be someone else destined to come into your world.
  • Do you. This is your opportunity to be who you want to be, a fresh start of sorts. If you want to salsa dance then do it. If you want to learn a language then do it. Heck, if you wanna go all Britney Spears from 2007 and cut all your hair off then do that too (Just remember a sun hat, you don’t want to burn). Just do you.

What is my favourite thing about Oman?


The people and the outdoors life.

The Omani people are so kind, curious and welcoming. If you make an effort to learn even a tiny bit of the Arabic language in a greeting it is so well received. It shows that you, the alien from a strange land, are trying. And so you should, we are visitors after all.

But for me the standout thing about Oman that keeps me passionately in love with the place is the outdoors. From the rolling golden dunes of the Wahiba Sands to the underwater paradise of the Damaniyat Islands and everything in between, Oman is insanely beautiful and simple with it. There aren’t trashy aqua parks and European style resorts – This is a country with raw, precious nature that is accessible to all.

I could honestly talk all day about the amazing places in Oman and my wacky experiences along the way. There is just something so magical about exploring here that it never gets old.

Where is my favourite place?


There are two places that jump out at me for different reasons- Jebel Akhdar and Wadi Arbeein.

Jebel Akhdar, or known as the Green Mountain, is just somewhere that makes my soul feel calm. I don’t know why but I just feel happy to be there. Don’t fancy camping? Check out the luxury Anantara Hotel also, it is divine.

For adventure I love the mountains, ocean and desert but one place that always sticks in my mind is Wadi Arbeein. It is one of the rare places in the world that I have travelled to where I didn’t see one single piece of trash along the way – I pray that it stays like that!

Swimming in the fresh pools it is so clear that you can open your eyes underwater, or just relax and let the little fish nibble away at your feet. For the more adventurous people you can try and find the secret waterfall (around a 5 hour strenuous adventure).

What do I dislike about Oman?


Living in the 6th hottest country in the world is no joke, this summer is brutal and long.

If you can perservere with the hot air burning your eye balls and endure the 1st degree skin burns from your seatbelt then you totally deserve the winter months. The country comes alive with fun and positive vibes!

How do you survive the summer? Pretty much just stay indoors – Watch Netflix, Join a gym, Water activities.

 

Sounds good, right? Now this is the part where I need you to use your brain…

Oodles of excited new Expats, possibly much like yourself, send me questions about which area of the city to move to, which phone network they should use, which car rental place they should try – Remember, Google is your friend. I can help to recommend you in some things but in others if you are taking the plunge to a new life you have to figure these things out for yourself. Enjoy the adventure. Be independent.

 

Have you got any more questions that Google can’t answer? Drop me a mail or come find me on Instagram.

So, what are you waiting for?! Accept that job, take a risk and see what the world has to offer. What’s the worst that can happen?

 

Adventure Time, Fitness

The Road To Everest

30/03/2018

“Aren’t you scared?!” The question I’ve been asked several times this week. In just a few days time I set off to Nepal in the hope of a ‘trip of a lifetime’. Oh, and tackle that tiny thing called altitude as I embark on a 14 day trek to Everest Base Camp.

The answer is no. I am not scared. I am excited, eager, grateful and ready to get started!

The Mountain Vibes:
So why do I crave the mountains?
I believe that everyone in life has a happy place, the place where they feel calm and content. For me, it seems to be out in the wild with a backpack on and usually covered in dirt, although the dirt isn’t necessary – it just happens. My stresses melt away and things that bothered me before seem insignificant after a good dose of the outdoors life. 

For years I have dreamt of visiting the iconic Mount Everest but I have to be realistic that my body would be unlikely to handle the altitude of something so momentous as summiting the highest mountain in the world. After reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2016 I became very sick from the effects of altitude. Thus, my sights turned to the famous Everest Base Camp.

Whilst some people scoff at “just” Base Camp as opposed to making it to the mountain summit, the life journey I dream of doesn’t necessarily mean standing on that mountains summit. I don’t have to achieve that to find happiness. For me, it is the journey – Being in the Himalayas, on an incredible adventure with amazing people and experiencing things with my own eyes. 

At an altitude of 5,364m, Everest Base Camp is 500m lower in height than the height of Kilimanjaro, where I have previously visited, but that doesn’t mean that is going to be an easy journey. Hiking for 14 days is physically tough on the body so this requires some training to prepare.

Training:

Although you don’t need to be super fit to visit Base Camp I want to give myself the best possible chance of achieving my goal so staying strong & healthy has been important over the past few weeks. After breaking my ankle 4 months ago, and spending 6 weeks of that in a cast, the main focus to prepare for the journey ahead is to strengthen my ankle and surrounding muscles again.

Training outdoors so frequently has given me so many amazing opportunities to see new places in Oman and try out new trails. From the top of Jebel Shams to the boulder field of Wadi Arbeein and dozens of places in between I’ve hiked it and climbed it in persuit of physical fitness.

Inside My Kit Bag:

My bag is almost packed and ready to go with my trusty mountain gear once again. I say almost because I’m a girl, I’ll probably cram a few more last minute items in and worry about the weight of the bag.

Thankfully most of my outdoor & cold weather kit survived, and still fits huraaaaay, from the last Kilimanjaro trip so that has saved a lot of money. Decent kit doesn’t come cheap!

If you ever embark on a challenge like this my one piece of advice, well I’ve got oodles but this is important – Don’t scrimp on the cost and quality of your boots & socks! You need these babies to take care of your feet & ankles. A rolled ankle or even a blister could cause you immense pain and ruin your trip.


Trusty and well worn boots from The North Face

One thing I have learnt to pack better this time around is a medical kit. Last time I just brought the basics like pain killers and plasters but this time I have the things that really come in useful like tweezers,  probiotics and coconut oil – It can be used for just about anything! Like, really almost anything. Google it.


Kit bag packed with many helpful items

With every trip and adventure I throw myself into, I find another piece of my puzzle in life. Eventually I will know who I am supposed to be as an adult, so my hope with this trip to Nepal is that I find a couple more pieces of my puzzle.

Stay tuned on my Facebook & Instagram pages where I will be updating at the slightest whiff of cell network to share my adventures and random shenanigans along the way.

Heather x