Lovelly Travels – the adventure begins

In July 2019, I made the decision to set out on a new adventure and created a new instagram, @lovellytravels, to document it. Over time. This website is going to transform to be Lovelly Travels. Here’s just a little bit about what’s to come!

Hi there! My name is Emma Lovell and I’m a World traveller. I live for travel and it’s what drives me. In 2019, I decided that I would aim to visit every country in the world – 195 according to the UN recognised list – while spreading the message about #mentalhealth.

As of 9 September 2019, I’ve visited 47. I’ll share all of these in posts soon! So there’s a fair way to go but I have a plan and I’m on a mission.
As I travel, I’ll be having conversations about mental illness and how it impacts our lives. I want to share my story, and be there while others share theirs, to continue to a mentally healthier world. It’s ok to not be ok! And I’m going to make sure that message is heard loud and clear.

My next trip is 🇺🇸. So follow along on the stories as I take you on an amazing adventure across the world.

I hope to visit all countries by the age of 40. I’m currently 32. If it’s sooner, yay. So … let’s go! #Lovellytravels

Traveller Profiles

On this site, over the years I’ve dedicated posts to the wonderful travellers I’ve met from all around the world. Simply search the category “Traveller Profiles” to see some of the amazing travellers I’ve profiled so far.

Something that I have consistently noticed when chatting with travellers is their passion for their home country. It seems the more we go away, the more we pine for our home. It also gives us a greater appreciation for our roots and the places we originate from.

Each month I will be posting a new Traveller Profile from great travellers of the world. They will talk about why you should visit their country and why they choose to call it home.

Please contact me if you would like to be one of the exciting travellers profiled each month.

Quick n Lovelly Round The World 2018

I’ve been planning to put up this post for weeks … finally, one day before our adventure begins it’s here. Tomorrow, I’ll set off on an seven week adventure around the world. And for the first time, I’ll be joined by my amazing partner, Mathew! This is his first multi country round the world adventure and I’m so excited to share it with him. Follow us at #QuicknLovellyRTW18.

Here’s the itinerary, jealousy begins …. NOW. #sorrynotsorry

Emma fly to LA – 8 May

Chicago/ Illinois – 8-11 May
LA with friend – 11 may
Matt fly to LA – 12 May
Vegas / Grand Canyon – 12-14 May
Bucks and Hens vegas – 14-16 may
Monterey – 16 – 18 May
Drive to Templeton – 18 may
❤️ Wedding – 19 may
Recover day – 20 may
Cuba 21 – 26 May
Mexico City – 26 May
NYC – 27 – 30 may
Boston – 30 – 31 may
London 1-2 June
Iceland – 2-5 June
Ireland – 5-8 June
London/ Brighton 8-10 June
Cousin’s Hens Party – 9 June
Italy 10-20 June
Positano / Sorrento / Amalfi Coast/ Napoli – 4 days
Florence – 2 days
Montepulciano – 1 days
Rome – 3 days

Fly to London 20 June

Cornwall/ Bristol trip- 3 days – 20-22 June

Stonehenge – Salisbury – Cornwall – Bristol – Gloucestershire

East Grinstead – 22 June

Cousin’s❤️ Wedding  – 23 June
Recovery – 24 June + family do
London – 24-25 June
Fly to HK 25 June
Hong Kong 26-28 June
Arrive Melbourne – 29 June
Fly to Gold Coast – 28 June

49 days – 7 weeks

I’ve told LOTS of people but for obvious reasons, have not gone into detail. It’s a lot to talk about!

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Adventure here we come!

8 countries. 7 weeks. 2 weddings. Multiple cities. WOW!

We started planning when we were invited to not one, but TWO overseas weddings which were just five weeks apart. I mean it would be silly to go overseas, come home, and go back. So the planning began.

I currently sit at 47 countries total. With four new countries on this list, I am thrilled to be reaching my 50th country on this trip and sharing that with Mathew.

My goal is to write one blog per city, and one blog per country. If I can do a daily blog, then yay. But let’s be honest – I’m going to be busy.

Please enjoy following our adventures on my instagram @lovellyem with #tag #QuicknLovellyRTW18. And if you choose not to, I totally understand 😉

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There will be photos! So many many photos!

Cath Styles is the Accidental Cougar

Love what Cath Styles brings to the table every year, but this show has been a long time coming! Cath has some amazing “Cougar” material and it’s been part of her regular sets for many years … but then! It all came true! She is an Accidental Cougar!

In the wake of becoming unexpectedly single, and even more unexpectedly turning 50, this fierce, funny feminist finds out what it’s like when your favourite joke becomes a reality!

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From break-ups to wake-ups (and make-up!), Accidental Cougar is a fresh and funny look at dating later, and ever

after.

Two jobs, two cats, two countries and four kids… nurse, comic, mother and mad international traveller Cath Styles finds a keepsake in Africa which turns her life upside down and makes her ask the big question…

Can you live your own punchline?

Cath Styles brings her new show Accidental Cougar to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2018. It’s funny, it’s real and it’s certainly relatable to many of us who’ve been thrown a curve ball in life. Come along and laugh with Cath as she navigates dating, life and everything in between.

This is a must see show at the Melbourne Comedy Festival and one of my top picks for the fest!

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Venue: The Upstairs Lounge @ Little Sista, 230 Lt Collins St, Melbourne Dates: Wednesday 28 March – Sunday 22 April 2018 (no show Monday) Time: 6.30pm
Tickets: Wednesday 28 March (Preview) $20; Full $25; Concession and Tightarse Tuesday $20; Group (+6) $22

Bookings here and at the door.

That time I was silent for 10 days

Hard to believe eh? Emma Lovell! The woman who runs a business called Lovelly Communications. The constant social butterfly. Was silent … for 10 whole days! And it was one of the most profound and enriching experiences of my life.

Vipassana is the practice of silent meditation. Totally cut off from the world with no phone, in a remote location and with no words being passed between you and the others taking part in the course. I chose to do mine in Jodhpur while traveling through my favourite country, India, in 2012. It was a massive turning point and I’m forever thankful for that experience.

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Vipassana Class of April 2012

It sounds hard – it is. But actually the easiest part is not talking. To many people’s surprise, I spend a lot of time not speaking. Because of how much time I talk to people for work, I actually really enjoy quiet time alone without using my voice.

What is hard, what’s really challenging and can almost break you, is the deafening roar of the wave of thoughts that pass through your mind. Every day we block out these thoughts with work, music, tv, talking over them and basically anything to not let them surface. Without any outside stimulations, your thoughts have free reign over your mind.

But it’s not all bad! The thoughts that come, don’t have to hurt us. They can arrive to be acknowledged and be let go. That’s what Vipassana teaches you. To observe, to be patient, to address all of the things in our mind, but not to obsess or anguish over it. We are constantly moving and changing. Things will come and go. Change is the only constant.

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My place to sit in the afternoon and just take in nature

At some point, I would like to go back through the day to day of this 10 day experience. I have notes that I furiously wrote once I was out of the course, and I actually still vividly remember a lot of it. But right now, I want to share the top 10 things I learn from Vipassana and still reflect on regularly, five and a half years on.

  • Don’t react immediately
    Take a moment before reacting – so many fights would never happen if we all took a moment
  • Breathe 
    Yes – I do forget to do this from time to time
  • Don’t let your goals get in the way of your humanity
    I was so determined to be good at meditation and be silent, that I was actively ignoring any form of human contact. You can pursue your goals and still be human.

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    My room – I freaked out when I arrived to it. In the end I loved it.

  • Eat until you are 70% full 
    You can’t meditate on a full stomach
  • Thoughts will come and go
    Good or “bad”, they will continue to come and at some point they’ll leave. Letting them wash over you like a wave is truly freeing.
  • Emotions and thoughts can cause physical pain
    Holding on to your feelings, pushing emotions down can actually create pain. And letting it go can feel like freedom. So don’t hold onto your hurt.
  • You don’t need to talk, to form a bond
    This goes for cross cultural barriers to! We can say so much without saying anything and it can be so beautiful.

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    I’ll never forget this little boy and his family

  • Not talking is easy
    Talk less. You’ll be amazed at what you hear, see and feel.
  • Compassion
    We never know what another is experiencing. I felt so much anger and annoyance towards an older woman who was snoring and snorting and falling asleep in the meditations. I thought “Just go home! This isn’t for you!” But the course taught me to think differently. By the end I thought “how brave, how resilient of her to continue despite clearly being uncomfortable and in pain”. I hugged her on the last day, it was one of my favourite moments.
  • Do your best
    You may not be the best in the world, but show up. I had to work at the meditation. I had to try hard. But I did it. Everyday. Show up and give it a go. That’s all you can do.

I’m grateful to Vipassana for all that I’ve learnt and I’m excited to say that yesterday I enrolled for my first refresher. Almost six years on, and I’m going to experience it again. I’m open and interested to see what I learn.

If you’re interested in doing a Vipassana course, visit the Dhamma website and find a centre near you. Or, use it as an excuse to go to India (I would!)

Taking the original Free Walking Tour in Munich … 11 years on!

It’s lovely to be back in Munich again. I do believe it’s my fifth visit to this lovely German city and I truly never tire of it. One thing I discovered on my first visit was the SANDEMANs Free Walking Tour of Munich. It was my first experience on this type of tour and I’ve done many around the world. I highly recommend it, so much so that I did it again today – granted it was 11 years since the first one.

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This time I’m in Munich with my Dad. It’s his first visit to Germany since he was 16 … so 45+ years! I had an idea of the things we could do and the most famous spots, after a number of visits. But when someone is new to a city and newish to a country, the basics of the history and the top cultural sites are a must. So the free walking tour was an easy choice.

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Despite being -1 degree celcius in the city today, we were happy to walk around. It’s Sunday and it was super quiet throughout the main streets. We learned that all shops are closed on Sunday in the centre. Which is quite refreshing. We quickly found the crowds – in Marienplatz! The main meeting spot of Munich and a highlight for many visitors. And thus began our two hour tour.

 
First, the DPTX9998Glocknspiel! It tours above the square and it’s bells are a delight to hear whenever walking around the city, we then watched the dancing characters and little show they provide –  depicting a famous royal wedding, jousting and the bier makers dance. Very German! Well, very Bavarian!

Next it’s on to some of the dark history of Munich – talking about the place where the Nazi party essentially started the horrible war against Jewish people – now known as the “Night of broken glass”. With the grey clouds and cold weather, you could feel the dark and terrible time that was.

On to the epic Frauen Kircher. I remembered this church very clearly and some of its history. I had thought that it was extremely damaged during WWII, most of Munich was. The point I missed was that actually the English army used the two tall towers with onion like tops as beacons so that when bombing the city, they knew they were hitting the right spot. The roof and one of the towers was damaged, but no where near as bad as it could have been. I also remembered the story of the footprint on the floor – known as the devil’s hoof. It’s a nice tale in a way and a fun thing for tourists to photograph – my foot almost fit the mark!

I won’t bore you with all the history, and we must save some things for when you go on the tour. So here are some of my lovely pics (I think so anyway) from walking around the city.

Another famous stop has to be the Hofbrauhaus. One of the most famous, if not THE most famous Beer Hall in the world. We stop there on the tour for a toilet and coffee break (much needed in this freezing weather). However, I said to Dad, it had to be our lunch place. It was lovely to go in and see so many people enjoying, and although there are many other bier halls all over the city, it’s sometimes nice to go somewhere so iconic.

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The tour ends back where we started after a swing by another church with more great stories, a wonderful food market that looked very sad and sorry but in Summer is pumping (I’ve luckily visited there in peak time) and back to Marienplatz.

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Big thanks to our wonderful tour guide Karl who gave great info, told some fun stories and gave helpful advice at the end. Highly recommend the tour.

After the tour, it was straight to the bier hall for some lunch! For me, it had to be my favourite Schweinshaxe mit knodel und krautsalat. Pork knuckle with potato dumpling and fermented cabbage salad. Yum! Dad went for the classic bratwurst. And, beers! Prost (cheers in German). Loved it! The atmosphere was great, the food was delicious and the beer as always, was wunderbar!

A walk around the beautiful Christmas markets, my favourite ones next to the Residence and the day was complete. We were a bit cold and a bit tired and we hit up the U Bahn to go home for a rest. I think there might be a seperate blog for the markets, and maybe the Hofbrauhaus too. All in all, a fab day in Munich! Danke!

Reunion with Betsy – my 80 year old Dutch friend

Today, I get to see my dear friend Betsy in the Netherlands and I could not be more excited. We’ve been talking about meeting again since we last saw each other in February 2015. We met on a cycle tour in Vietnam with Plan Nederlands. Despite being exactly 50 years apart, we had an instant bond and I consider her a life long friend. Now, dear Betsy will show me her homeland!

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Betsy loving life cycling in Vietnam, I’m in red next to her.

At 77, Betsy was by far the eldest on our cycle trip to Vietnam. I was the tour leader for the group along with my colleague Nicola. We had a group of 32!!! Dutch women to wrangle from Hanoi to Da Nang and back. It was daunting I must say. Despite her age, Betsy fit into the group perfectly. She was up for every challenged and relished the experience.

I did have some concerns about Betsy and worried for her safety and her ability with the group, but within hours I could see that this fire cracker was going to tackle anything we threw at her. From long days on the bike, to hiking up hills and partying til the wee hours in a karaoke bar, Betsy was there! I loved seeing her take on every experience with gusto and her pure joy. She truly was loving every moment and her openness and eagerness to make the most of life set her apart as a role model in my eyes.

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Betsy and other #Cycle4girls team members training in the Netherlands.

On one occasion, we were a little misled by our Vietnamese guides as to the terrain and the weather conditions which resulted in a very difficult ride. Half the group, the casual cruisers, which I was leading were soon off the bikes and trudging through mud and up slippery roads. Even the truck that drove ahead of our group seemed to struggle on the hills. I told the group to take it easy and we’d just take our time, to be safe. I soon noticed that Betsy had cut her leg. It must have been on the pedal and I felt awful that she was injured. She said it didn’t hurt and wanted to keep going but I had to insist we stopped to tend to her leg. With some of my rough first aid skills, and despite the heavy rain, we managed to secure a band aid like device to her leg with lots of medical tape. The rain was hindering my ability to execute but it seemed to suffice

After we’d got that sorted, we had to continue up the hill to meet the group. It was quite steep and I was a little worried about the strain on Betsy. We were pushing our bikes as well and I did offer that I might push both our bikes. However, I quickly realized, it was actually helping her to balance. A strong woman, and not easily seeking help, she insisted on continuing side by side. Our whole group was watching us trudge up together. Eventually, she let me take her bike.  Betsy obliged but insisted on placing a hand on my shoulder, to steady me and help me up the hill. I understood that actually it helped to steady herself and get better balance by having her hand on my shoulder. I called to the group “Betsy is helping me to keep balance, look at her go, steadying me up the hill.” The group all cheered us on and it was such a beautiful moment. When we reached them everyone celebrated with us and Betsy just had the biggest smile – I’ll never forget it. She turned to me and threw her head back in a joyous laugh. We then brought it in for a huge hug! The day wasn’t over, but that sure was a highlight.

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Betsy won our best dressed competition, it was dress to represent Vietnam! Nailed it.

Betsy and I spoke often on our trip and I would try to sit near her wherever possible. She would tell me about her family, her home, and her many hobbies and activities. This woman’s zest for life, huge smile and bubbling laughter drew people to her.

Saying Goodbye to Betsy was so hard. Standing by the bus in Hanoi. I saved her til last. We hugged for so long and so tight. She pulled me away and held me by the shoulders. “We will meet in Holland and we will sit under the oak tree and drink red wine.” She had told me about this favourite past time of hers from her lovely home and garden, we had made a promise to meet there. And I knew I would do it someday. Through tears I nodded in agreement and promised again. She embraced me and I told her “my heart is so full from having met you.” I felt truly grateful.

So, after almost three long years of email communications and beautiful hand written letters (and a few postcards from me) we will meet again. I’ve received these beautiful copies of paintings that Betsy has done. She posts them to me and on the back are long letters about her life, her family, her history and more. Every time I cry a little – it’s just so beautiful I get to share these moments with someone so far away and from such a different time to my own.

Together we will see the sights of Amsterdam, visit our. Plan Netherlands Cycle Tour friends and enjoy visiting her home town near Aalten. I look forward to sharing our wonderful adventures with you.