Bhutan – we’re introduced to the city and culture by Rinchen

 

Reflections and memories of Bhutan – sharing scattered days of my amazing trek in Bhutan with Team Black Dog Institute: Waking up for our first full fay in Bhutan. I was shattered from a huge few days of travel and had gone to bed at just 8pm! We felt back to ourselves and ready for a big day. We packed our trekking bag and prepared for a short acclimatisation walk at 3200m and above today!
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We were met by Rinchen our lovely guide and taken first to the city centre . Our first stop the Bank of Bhutan, we needed Ngutrum the local currency but it was also a fascinating experience seeing how day to day operations run.

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Nic Newling and Rinchen practice selfies.

Then off to buy some essentials for our trip at a local supermarket, always a novelty. Our last local activity was the fruit and veg market. Unlike many other markets we had been to in other countries, this was calm and relaxed. We strolled around observing the local fruits and vegetables and smiling at the stall holders. We purchased some apples for our trek and then watched a presentation on sanitation by school children from a nearby school – beautiful!

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On to the bus and we drove out of Thimpu valley along windy cliff teetering roads. We enjoyed the valley views and chatting amongst the team, quickly getting to know one another. We arrived at Dochula pass, 3150m.

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We were amongst another beautiful sight, the Druk Wangyel stupa with more than 108 stupas built by the Queen Mother in 2002. We stood on top of a lookout and were greeted by a wonderful circular restaurant, Druk Wangyel Cafeteria. Our team rested with tea and coffee while admiring the spectacular views.

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Time to trek! We walked up into the forest and continue on up, up, up for another 40 minutes. It was good to have this warmup and feel what it’s like to be at altitude. It certainly isn’t the same as walking at sea level and we gave ourselves some grace for being a little tired. The good thing is, while you stop to rest you can marvel at the forest surrounds, endless valley views and prayer flags flapping in the wind. We started at 3200m and at the highest point we reached 3500m.

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The descent was certainly easier and we really soaked up our environment. If the area we will do our trek in is even half as beautiful as this one, we’re in for a spectacular six days! We reached the Buddhist stupa again and returned to the restaurant for another incredible meal! We then headed back to Thimpu in the afternoon sunshine again getting to enjoy such wonderful views.

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In Thimpu we saw the king and his cavalcade of cars drive past. Quite a thrill. We then went for the second attempt at the Dzong Fortress. We made it in this time and were so glad we did. Beautiful brightly coloured paintings of Buddhist stories, incredible architecture and a wonderful setting in the heart of the valley. We attended a chanting ceremony of the monks in the temple of 1000 Buddhas and in the shadow of another giant golden Buddha. So spectacular.

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I also decided my goal at the temple was to get the guards to have a cheeky smile and laugh with me. Come on guys! Look on the bright side! So I posed or waved with many of them – it was really fun and they had a good giggle too.

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The afternoon was filled with shopping! Some people buying local outfits and traditional dress. Then onto a long strip of stalls and markets selling beautiful handicrafts. The items are so unique and truly Bhutanese that it was easy to quickly spend our cash. But so worth it to take a peace of this peaceful country home with us. Some haggling and joking made it a fun experience with the locals.

On then to a special cultural show organised by our wonderful local tour company. We go swept away into the culture and history of Bhutan as these women and men danced and sang so effortlessly before us. It was almost as If they were miming stages because we could not believe that these beautiful sounds could be coming from the people before us. We clapped loudly after each dance and were welcomed to join in on the last one, a spectacular experience.


Again the weary travellers had had an enormous day of activity. We went back to our hotel for a meal and stumbled across a Sweet 16th birthday party in the restaurant. We were invited to join in and sang to the birthday girl, enjoying the delicious birthday cake. Just another example of the beautiful nature of the people of Bhutan

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Tomorrow, we begin our trek! The trek to happiness!! But to be honest…. We found it the moment we landed here.

This was Day 3, 10th October 2015, of our Inspired Adventures Bhutan Trek for Happiness, raising funds for Black Dog Institute.

This is an excerpt and my own images and note. Read the full blog at Inspired Adventures. 

The day I trekked to Everest Base Camp

This is what it feels like to reach Everest Base Camp ….

“3:20pm: We had done it! We reached Everest Base Camp. There was lots of emotion, tears flowing and hugs all round. Elation! Pure elation. We jumped, we lagged, we cried, we cheered, we were ecstatic! So many months of preparation and it was all worth it to be standing here at this pinnacle!!”

This is an excerpt from the blog I wrote for Inspired Adventures. You can read more about that amazing day trekking to the base camp of the World’s tallest mountain: http://blog.inspiredadventures.com.au/2015/02/25/everest-base-camp-trek-2015/

Here are some of my favourite photos from that incredible day!

Rugged_up___ready__How_can_you_not_be_excited_when_snow___mountains_are_involved___everestbasecamptrek2015__inspiredadventures__worldvisionaus Welcome_to_my_mountains__Represent__worldvisionaus_._Between__Lobuche____gorekshep__everestbasecamptrek2015 The_famous_sign_Way_to__everest__was_gone____One_of_our_sherpas_found_the_misplaced_sign___our_head_guide_put_it_back_in_it_s_rightful_place__What_a_thrill_to_see_this_sign_and_be_so_close_...__everestbasecamptrek2015 Reaching__everestbasecamp_with_the_best__Nepalese_guides_ever_____worldvisionaus__inspiredadventures Jumping_for_joy_over__prayerflags_at__everestbasecamp___worldvisionaus__98_000_raised___inspiredadventures_thank_you___everestbasecamptrek2015 Thank_you_to_Deepak_my_incredible_Sherpa._He_carried_my_pack_all_the_way_to__everestbasecamp___kept_me_company_with_Nepalese_songs._He_clung_to_my_hand_or_arm_if_he_thought_I_might_slip_or_there_was_a_tricky_rock_section__They_are_sure_footed_as_moun Team__worldvisionaus__inspiredadventures__everestbasecamptrek2015_we_did_it___

The Team reaching the pinnacle… Everest Base Camp ONE with World Vision Australia!

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This is an excerpt from the blog I wrote for Inspired Adventures and you can read more about our entire amazing #everestbasecamptrek2015 here: http://blog.inspiredadventures.com.au/2015/02/25/everest-base-camp-trek-2015/

Here are a few of my favourite photos of that magical day trekking to Everest Base Camp!

Back to blogging – Vietnam, trekking training and sunny Sydney

It’s been a while…. but I’m back!

Again, I want to do regular posts, but I’ve had a short hiatus. I was Tour Leading with Inspired Adventures in Vietnam for #cycle4girls. An amazing experience with a team of women from Plan Netherlands. You can read more about it here:

http://blog.inspiredadventures.com.au/2014/12/23/cycle-for-girls-team-1/

When I head out on adventures, my time is focused on blogging on behalf of the team and sharing our amazing adventures. So I was still writing! Just in a different place – literally and online.

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Now I’m back it’s 100% focus on #everestbasecamptrek2015 with World Vision Australia and Inspired Adventures. I’m training all around Sydney and here are a few of my training pictures from around Sydney in the last few days.

World Vision #Everestbasecamptrek2015 training at Manly

World Vision #Everestbasecamptrek2015 training at Manly

Sydney has been amazing weather and I feel blessed to call this city home. After a few years away in Melbourne, I was more than ready to get back to the beaches and living in Coogee, it’s literally just around the corner!

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Looking forward to sharing my Sydney adventures and appreciating the small things. Live each day as if it were your last. Make the most of the world around you. And… SMILE!

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Training at Bondi

Training at Bondi

The windy city and the book club – Daily Diary

This is the second day of my active, regular blogging… and I can’t say I leapt out of bed with excitement. In fact, I woke up to gusts and howling wind barrelling down the passageway behind my window. This was not an enticing beginning to the day. A quick weather check, 17 degrees and windy in Sydney with sunshine to come. Not enough to get me out of bed and walking 1.5hrs to the city.

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This decision, made under the warmth of my doona, was in hindsight a poor choice. It turned out to be quite the lovely blue sky and sunny day. However, my wind predictions were correct. Windy and cool in Sydney and not the nicest of walking weather.

Today I worked in the city and had my Tour Leader briefing with Inspired Adventures. In 4 short days I will be off again, this time to Vietnam. I’ll be leading a team, with another lovely Aussie lady, of 30 Dutch women who have raised more than 170,000 Euros for Plan Netherlands. That’s more than $240,000 AUD. Super impressed by this group and can’t wait to meet them. The team is called #cycle4girls and you will be able to follow us on the Inspired Adventures Blog. We get briefed on all things communications, logistical and personal that will be important for the trip. It’s going to be a really interesting bunch and a very different itinerary to what I’m used to. Can’t say I’m super excited for the 100km day of cycling, but I am excited to ride amongst the big palms and enjoy a coconut or five!

I participated in my first ever book club. Tim Winton’s, Eyrie. Did I read it? No. Did I attempt it? Yes. Will I finish it? TBA. I am enjoying it so far. It’s just that I gave myself just 10 days to read it. 415 pages. EEK! I’m not a fast reader and I do tend to let my mind wander as I read. However, It was lovely to meet with a great group of girls and discuss some aspects of the book. So I now have 3 part read books sitting on my nightstand. Hoping some plane and bus time over the next 10 days in Vietnam will give me the chance to catch up.

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I went home to meet with my Dad, brother and brother’s girlfriend for dinner. My brother and I decided to play a little rough and tumble in the kitchen. He punched me, so I punched him, he punched me back, so I gave him an uppercut to the stomach, he took me in a headlock so I pinched his arm underneath in the softest fleshy part. Dad was furious… We had a ball! Love acting like a kid with my big brother, age 29, I am currently 27…. Bring back the biff!

So, the format of these daily rants are going to be somewhat disjointed. They may in fact be rants. They could be a story that stood out from my day. Perhaps just ramblings of my day as seen above.

How was your day?

P.s. I’m enjoying this already. *Feeling a sense of achievement*

Taking part in World Vision’s 30for30 Fitness Challenge

Yes… I do realise that more than a third of January is now gone but I am still keen to take part in World Vision’s 30for30 Fitness Challenge this month.

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My personal fitness goal is to do something active every day for the month of January, despite the fact that I am travelling, I will keep moving my body! Loving my role as #WVABloggers blogger for World Vision Australia and all the amazing campaigns they are running.

Emma can ride
Here are the guidelines for the challenge and you can join the event on Facebook:

Every year, almost three million children die within the first thirty days of life.

It’s a shocking statistic. And worse still, most of these deaths are preventable. Too many families in developing countries simply lack access to basic healthcare, education, treatment and nutrition that can protect against illness and save babies’ lives.

Together we can help change that!

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Join World Vision Australia’s 30for30 Fitness Challenge and dedicate the first 30 days of 2015 to making sure the first 30 days of a child’s life aren’t their last.

Just choose a personal fitness challenge, get your friends and family to sponsor you – or sign up themselves, if they also want to make a difference – and raise money to help stop millions of unnecessary infant deaths.

How does it work?
1. Set yourself a personal fitness challenge and fundraising goal to be completed in the first 30 days of 2015.
2. Create and share your online fundraising page with your friends and family.
3. Complete your challenge and help change lives.
We’ll be with you at every step of the way providing useful fundraising resources, support and updates on how other Australians are taking part too.

What can my fundraising do?
Funds you raise could help provide mothers and babies with access to clean, safe deliveries, breastfeeding support and vitamin supplements that help boost babies’ immune systems and prevent malnutrition, and vaccinations.

$250 could provide 211 women with access to essential maternal, newborn and child health services.
$500 could provide 147 toddlers with vitamin supplements to boost nutrition and protect against illness for a year.
$1000 could provide access to vaccinations for 570 children under two and healthcare for 410 pregnant women through bimonthly outreach sessions in remote areas.

Find out more and sign up today: www.30for30.com.au

 

So what have I been doing? And what do I plan to do! Here is a little summary, and also my travelling locations so far:

1 January – London to Munich – 1 hour walk around the gardens of Schloss Nymphenberg.

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2 January – Munich – Walk around the city of Munich with my friend in the snow.

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3 January – Sudelfeld, Germany – Snowboarding!

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4 January – Sudelfeld, Germany – Snowboarding!

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5 January – Landshut, Germany – Walking around this historic city.

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6 Janaury – Freising, Germany – Walking through the lovely city of Freising

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7 January – Vienna, Austria – Walking in the snow to and from friends houses with Rocco, the dog.

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8 January – Vienna, Austria – Walking to the station and around the city in Vienna.

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9 January – 2 x T25 workouts! 25 minutes of Abs and 25 minutes Rip’t Circuit training

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Also 1.5 hours walking 4km at SchonBrunn Palace.

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10 January – 2 x T25 DVD workouts. Total Body Circuit and Speed 1.0. Each 25 minutes. Followed by 1.5 hour walk, 4.2km at Karlenberg in the hills around Vienna.

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So it’s been an interesting and dynamic start to my year of exercise, I plan to continue my month with walks and excercise DVD’s regularly.

The only thing I will have to add dramatically, is my cycling!! Off an another Inspired Adventure cycling in Vietnam and then #Everestbasecamptrek2015 in Nepal with World Vision Australia!

Fitness is an important aspect of my life and World Vision is a wonderful cause to get fit for.

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All the best to everyone participating. I’m aiming to fundraise $2015 in 2015 for World Vision Australia. You can donate to my goal with an amount of $20.15 or more! Here is the link:

https://2015in2015.everydayhero.com/au/emma-lovell

Latest post on Social Biz Magazine: Raising money for charity using Social Media

As a guest writer for Social Biz Magazine, I’ve been able to explore some of the ways in which we can use social media. At the moment, I’m really into Social Media for social good. Here is an excerpt from that article:

“I vowed to raise a minimum of $4000 for World Vision Australia and to take on the mighty climb to Everest Base Camp in March 2015. Call me cocky, but I wasn’t really phased by the task (of fundraising that is; the trek is another matter altogether!). This is because I believe in the power of social media and how we can use the medium for good. So I set about raising said $4000 solely using social media and guess what… it worked!”

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Read more: http://www.socialbizmagazine.com/2014/12/10/raised-4000-world-vision-using-social-media/

Thanks for reading,

Emma Lovell, Director at Lovelly Communications

social media for social good

Why was I invited to visit Uganda as a #WVAbloggers Ambassador with World Vision?

I loved this article written by World Vision staff member, Lou Acheson, which sums up the important reason for Blog Ambassador trips far better than I ever can:

 http://blog.worldvision.com.au/blog-ambassador-trips/

As a long-term supporter of world Vision and a child sponsor of more than 10 years, it was an incredible honour to be given the opportunity to come and see the projects first hand. I have been lucky to visit Tanzania and meet my sponsor child in 2008. I’ve also attended a project in Battambang, Cambodia with the World Vision Cambodia Cycle team as a Tour Leader for Inspired Adventures earlier in 2014. My passion and enthusiasm for World Vision continues to grow as time and time again I see the valuable impact of their work

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I’m a social media professional and I follow closely World Vision’s activities on social media. I was searching through Twitter one day and saw a post about the World Vision Bloggers attending a conference all together. I didn’t even know this existed. It would be a dream come true to be a World Vision blogger and I hit reply instantly, “How do I get to do that!” The ever-responsive Tim J from the social media team sent me a reply that filled me with joy, “Email us!”

With fellow blogger @edenland Eden Riley - World Vision Blog Ambassador Uganda Trip 2014 #WVAbloggers

With fellow blogger @edenland Eden Riley – World Vision Blog Ambassador Uganda Trip 2014 #WVAbloggers

With a lengthy description of my World Vision support, my passion for their work and my blogging credentials, I was soon accepted as a blogger. WOW! What a dream. To be amongst an amazing team of bloggers and to be supported by World Vision Australia to write about a charity I’m passionate about was perfect.

Next thing I know, there was an opportunity to head to Uganda on a blogging trip. This is something I’d hoped to do since I began my travel blog in 2009. To travel, write and talk about important things in the world. I entered my application with little hope of getting in as I was new to the group. I knew I had the goods to take on the task but I also know how amazing some of the other members of the group are. Before I knew it, I was making plans to attend the blogging trip as a #WVAbloggers ambassador to Uganda. First hand, experiencing the incredible work of World Vision and sharing that to my audience.

World Vision Blog Ambassador Uganda Trip 2014 #WVAbloggers

World Vision Blog Ambassador Uganda Trip 2014 #WVAbloggers

I’m glad to be here on an educational trip and to see a side of the country that most tourists would ever get to see. Of course there are various tour companies and programs which are offered to showcase a countries various communities but there can be varying degrees of the approach to this tourism. Sometimes called “voluntourism” where people go to travel and volunteer as they go has been getting a bad wrap. This was happening immediately before I left to come to Africa, and Africa of course is the poster child for “poverty porn”.

World Vision Blog Ambassador Uganda Trip 2014 #WVAbloggers

World Vision Blog Ambassador Uganda Trip 2014 #WVAbloggers

I didn’t want my World Vision Ambassador tour to be seen in this way, because it is not. We are #WVAbloggers. We are blog ambassadors, we are taking part in an educational tour to learn about the programs run here and share that with out networks in Australia to gain further support.

World Vision Blog Ambassador Uganda Trip 2014 #WVAbloggers

World Vision Blog Ambassador Uganda Trip 2014 #WVAbloggers

I’ve only been on this tour for a few days but already what I have seen and experienced is so powerful. It makes me think more about the world around me and outside of the immediate things I encounter on the day to day. How can we share our skills, resources and knowledge to improve communities who need it? We can understand! That’s the first step and we can then educate and make an impact from the grassroots to truly bring about change. These things take time but the most important thing I have learned, there is hope!

World Vision Blog Ambassador Uganda Trip 2014 #WVAbloggers

World Vision Blog Ambassador Uganda Trip 2014 #WVAbloggers

You can experience what it’s like to help those in communities such as these by sponsoring a child:

Learn more about how Sponsorship works here:

Follow my journey with World Vision Australia in Uganda on a number of channels:

#tag: #WVAbloggers

Instagram: @Lovellyem

Twitter: @Lovellyinc

Blog: www.travellerem.com

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