2020 – Not actually that bad for me

A surprise birthday present: Jumping out of a plane in Tequesquitengo – Mexico.
The White Palace with my girlfriend Karen
Chiang Rai – Thailand
Lempuyang Temple
‘The gateway to heaven’

The strangest year of our lifetime has certainly been a trying time for many. CoVid19 has caused financial instability, distrust and uncertainty to name just a few negative things.

Amid all of the negative, I have managed to find opportunities for some incredible experiences. Whilst remaining safe and healthy 2020 has seen me visit Mexico twice, Thailand, Bali and Switzerland as well as a few Caribbean Islands.

I recently found myself looking through some of the photos from my past travels, pictures that I haven’t put on social media, some incredible photos that haven’t made it off of my hard drive. I realised that I am incredibly fortunate to have seen so much of the world and I don’t find enough time to share my experiences.

In this post I hope to touch on some of my experiences from 2020 (hopefully I will go into more detail in future posts) and include a few of my favourite photos. Over the next few days I would also like to edit some of my previous posts to include some of the amazing things that I have seen over the years.

I began the year on board Harmony of the Seas with my girlfriend Karen, blissfully unaware of the crazy year to come. On Harmony we sailed out of Port Canaveral around the Caribbean to similar ports that I’ve visited on previous ships.

Coco Cay, (in the picture) Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas was one of our frequent ports of call and we also visited Cozumel and Costa Maya – Mexico, San Juan – Puerto Rico, Roatan Island – Honduras and St Martin.

In terms of work, Harmony is a very difficult ship for a Youth Staff. As it is one of the biggest and most famous ships in the world it is constantly full of children. With a capacity of more than 6,000 guests we were constantly working hard and helping out in different departments.

After We signed off Harmony at the end of January I spent a couple of weeks at home before travelling to Mexico to attend the wedding of Karen’s sister.

Karen’s sister’s wedding was an intimate service with just the immediate family and the following day we went to spend a week away on the Pacific coast in a place called Ixtapa. We had a five bedroom villa with a swimming pool and over the week we visited a different beach every day, all within an hours drive, and there were still more that we didn’t visit.

It is a beautiful area of the country, scorching hot with beautiful beaches. On one of the days we took a boat tour where we saw Humpback whales and turtles. With the beauty came danger. On separate evenings I saw 2 tarantulas, and a scorpion. On another night, Karen’s sister’s husband and I had to be creative enough to remove a small snake from the garden with a bucket, a broom and a newspaper.

After an amazing time in Mexico, Karen and I planned a week or so in the UK before flying out to Thailand, Bali and Philippines. The whole trip was planned around more weddings: a friend of Karen’s, in the Philippines and two of my Uni friends back in the UK. The plan was two weeks in Thailand, three in Bali and then I would stay in Philippines for a week and a half before returning to the UK for the two weddings whilst Karen remained in The Philippines for hers. Unfortunately, CoVid19 changed our plans and none of the weddings happened.

We arrived to Thailand and spent a few nights in Bangkok before heading south to Phi Phi Island, Railey Beach and Koh Phangan for the full moon party. At this point the fear around CoVid19 was at the early stages and there were lots of contradictory reports going around. We read news stories that said that the full moon party had been cancelled but when we arrived at our hostel we found out that it was going ahead. There certainly wasn’t the 30,000 tourists that are reported to flock to Haad Rin Beach in peak season but there was definitely thousands.

After the lush dreamy beaches in the south we spent the second week in the north of the country in Chiang Mai. We explored the old town, we went up the mountain, and we visited a number of different temples including the very impressive ‘White Temple’ and ‘Blue Temple’ in Chiang Rai, before flying back to Bangkok and then on to Bali.

Bali is where we really began feeling the effects that CoVid19 was having on tourism. We spent two weeks travelling freely, with the opportunity to take photos that weren’t ruined by hundreds of other people but then businesses began closing and we spent a further two weeks in lockdown.

During our first two weeks in Bali we rented a moped to see as much of the Island as we could. We visited temples, waterfalls, beaches as well as climbing a volcano to view a stunning sunrise. The rice fields all over the island provided incredible views and as well as the variety of birds on view, we saw a forest full of monkeys, that would steal anything that they could get there hands on, from the dwindling number of tourists. We also went on a boat tour to see dolphins.

It really was a strange feeling. We were in areas that we knew should be full of hundreds if not thousands of people but instead there were tens of people around. It was sad to see the desperation of local businesses who could sense the chance to make money and feed their families disappearing. On the 25th March we were in a town, on the opposite side of the Island from Kuta where the airport is, called Lovina. It was the ‘silent day’ a religious day in Bali where nobody is permitted to be outside of their house. The following day we tried to travel back towards Kuta, in the uncertain times we decided we would be better off closer to the airport as flights were being cancelled and we didn’t really know what was going to happen. But, in an attempt to reduce the spread of CoVid19, the local government decided to stop all travel around the Island. We were stuck across the Island, my passport was at the hotel that we rented the bike from and we had no information as to how long the roadblocks would be in place.

Fortunately the following day we were able to travel back to Ubud where we had rented the bike and just an hour or so from the airport. Lots of flights were being cancelled and the ones that were available were extortionately expensive so we ended up staying in Bali for another two weeks. After the inexplicable closing of all of the roads for just one day, with groups of up to 20 locals being deputised to block roads whilst not maintaining social distance, life was fairly relaxed for us. Hotels were even cheaper than the usually cheap prices and restaurants, that couldn’t afford to be closed remained open for us to be able to eat. We didn’t do a whole lot over the two weeks but it was certainly a nice place to spend the beginning of lockdown.

We finally found reasonably priced flights back to the UK. When we set off to the airport we found out that our flight had been cancelled. The agent that we booked with sent us a pretty useless e-mail informing us that we’d get a refund but they didn’t know when that would be. Because of a lack of any other better ideas we decided to go to the airport and see what they would say. It turned out to be a good idea as one of the staff told us to just return in 24 hours and they would check us onto the same flight the following day.

Karen spent a month in the UK with me before heading back to be with her family in Mexico. Like many others, we had no idea back in May what would come next. I was extremely lucky at the end of the first lockdown. I was working for a friend, saving some money to buy a ticket to Mexico when I received an e-mail from EF (Education First) a company that I’d worked for on multiple occasions before. The e-mail was an offer to work at one of the local camps that they were running in either Spain, France, Sweden or, where I decided to go for a month, Switzerland.

In Switzerland I was teaching English to students from around Europe and also accompanying them on their activities. The location that we were using as the temporary summer school was absolutely incredible. We were located in the Swiss Alps in a ski lodge, we slept in the hotel at the bottom of the mountain and would take a cable-car to the school every day.

The activities that we provided were a lot of fun also. There were two lakes that we visited where we could take advantage of the warm Swiss summer by swimming or playing sports. We went white water rafting, we did a high rope course, we visited an indoor skatepark with trampolines and other exciting things.

CoVid19 luckily didn’t affect us over the month. Apart from daily temperature checks, constant reminders about hygiene and wearing masks on our journey to school in the cable car, we were able to forget the virus that had brought the world to a standstill.

After Switzerland I returned to the UK for a couple of months of lockdown before flying out to Mexico where I find myself now. In comparison to the UK, Mexico is very relaxed. There are rules in place but there is not the same addiction to the statistics that there is in the UK. Big public events have been cancelled the same as everywhere else in the world but it almost felt like being treated like a child back in the UK.

For the first couple of weeks I got into a similar routine that I was following back in the UK, trying to keep up with exercise, trying to improve my Spanish and generally just keeping busy. Then we went to visit some of Karen’s family in a place called Tepic, after which Karen and I did a bit of travelling for a little over a week. We visited San Blas, Penita de Jaltemba and Puerto Vallarta on the pacific coast before heading inland to Guadalajara. In San Blas we stopped at a viewing platform by the Mangroves where we saw lots of semi-wild crocodiles (it was a natural spot where the crocodiles are fed so that tourists can see them up close). In Penita de Jaltemba I was close to accidently stepping on a baby turtle before we watched it make it’s agonisingly slow journey to the sea. Other than that we took long walks and appreciated the beauty on offer in Mexico.

A few weeks later we found a town that was still having some form of ‘Day of the Dead’ celebrations. Most were either cancelled due to CoVid19 or unsure if they were going to go ahead or not. We stayed in a beautiful town called Zacatlan which was close to the other town of Chignahuapan where Karen and I watched a show celebrating Day of the Dead. As well as exploring both towns, (With the Christmas decorations that Chignahuapan is famous for) we also visited some beautiful waterfalls in the area.

A week later, Karen and I went to visit some friends that we had worked with onboard Harmony of the Seas (Karen had also worked with a couple of them on previous ships). We got to know Cuernavaca and a small town called Tepoztlan, where we climbed a steep hill where usually you can access an Aztec pyramid and views over the town, but due to CoVid19 it wasn’t possible. The steep climb was good exercise and I was surprised by how many other people made the hike through the forest to a point with no view. On our final day, we visited a lake in a town called Tequesquitengo. As we sat having breakfast, Karen revealed that she had made a booking for me to do a skydive from 17,000 feet which was absolutely incredible. It was actually less scary than the bungee jump that I did, years ago, in Costa Rica.

I am so grateful to have remained healthy throughout 2020. During my travels, I have kept my distance from groups as much as possible and implemented the rigorous health and safety precautions that we are taught to use whilst on cruise ships. Overall, though, I feel extremely lucky that 2020 hasn’t been the complete write off that it has been for most. If you have read this far then I would like to thank you, as always, for taking the time to read my work and apologise if it makes you feel the slightest bit jealous!

Forests of fireflies – Tlaxcala

In an attempt to explore just a part of the wonders that Mexico has to offer, my girlfriend Karen and I left the busy capital: Mexico City and headed to the forests. First we visited Tlaxcala to see fireflies followed by an adrenaline filled trip to Xalapa where we did a zip-line tour and some white water rating (that I will write about in a later post).

Coming from the UK, such a small country, my definition of a long journey is very different to that of Karen. Buses, usually equipped with TVs showing movies in Spanish, run very frequently everywhere that I’ve visited in Mexico and usually provide a comfortable and affordable way to get around. As I believed that the 4 hour journey to Xalapa was a long way we decided to stop halfway in Tlaxcala. Tlaxcala is only a small colonial town so the buses don’t run so frequently and when we missed our scheduled 6am one, the journey ended up being longer than the original 4 hours as we went there via a nearby town called Puebla (where I visited later in my trip).

The trip, even with the detour, was worth while as after strolling around the churches and museum of the small picturesque town, we went on a tour to see fireflies in the forest. It was the reason that we went to Tlaxcala and it was an amazing experience.

We went on an extremely comfortable minibus with spacious seats and a big TV at the front along with about 10 other people. Our first stop, late afternoon, was to a plantation where they farmed Maguey Plants that are famous for producing tequila. But in this region the process that they use to harvest the plant produces another spirit called Pulque, one of two less famous cousins to tequila that I would taste (one time each as they are both bad) whilst in Mexico.

In the vast fields filled with the Maguey Plants, a local farmer showed us the method of collecting Aquamiel (honey water) from the centre of the big plant, around 3 litres in one go, by sucking through a tiny hole at the end of a big tube and cupping the end before decanting it into a larger container. I was not envious of the long process, carried out in Mexican heat whilst being careful to avoid snakes, spiders and scorpions.


Inside the farmhouse we were given a history of the spirit and then had the opportunity to taste it in different forms. Without alcohol, with alcohol and in various flavours all had one thing in common. They were disgusting. With lingering bad tastes in my mouth, we made our way back to the minibus for an hour or so trip to the forest as the daylight began to fade.

After playing some slightly awkward ice breaker games and stretching, in preparation for an hour walk in the dark, with our young guide, we began walking away from the small restaurant, close to the tiny cabins that some people deicide to stay in. The evening was turning into night as we walked and we began seeing solitary fireflies flittering around us.

I still remember feeling pretty excited when I spotted the first fly, lazily floating around with its butt flashing on and off. For some reason, when it’s night time in a forest, it just feels right to whisper so there was very little noise as more and more flies began zigzagging around our heads. As the forest filled with flashing lights we each found a spot on the floor where we could watch as hundreds of the flies made the forest look magical for about 30 minutes before they slowly began disappearing. Like a nightclub, it started off with a  few that were keen to get out there, followed by a mad rush and as we walked back there were the last few, clinging on searching for a mate late on in the night.

It all seemed to happen all to quickly but I had a smile on my face from the moment that I saw the first fly in the forest. It was a truly magical experience that made me want to go and watch Disney movies for the rest of the night. I’d never heard of Tlaxcala before but I’m glad that I have now!

CDMX – Mexico City

Now I’m here, on my second visit to Mexico I feel especially bad for not finishing the write up from my trip almost a year ago!!

When I was here last I did two separate visits to Mexico City, first for a few days and then again right at the end of my 6 week trip, for a week.


Mexico City, to me, felt a lot like any other big city in the world. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting but my perception of what Mexico: a ‘third world country’ should be like was wrong. The technology and shops are just as contemporary as anywhere else in the world but I guess things that separate it from other places are the way the government is run, how the education and health system works and a big gulf in the division of wealth.

I’m often asked if Mexico is a safe place to visit and I guess the reality is no it’s not. But by sticking to main areas and listening to advice of where not to go I never found myself in a situation that made me feel uncomfortable. The closest thing to crime I saw was a run-down-looking local man running (very slowly) away from a police officer, who didn’t look very interested in chasing him. The man fell over, picked himself back up and kept running, was nearly bitten by a stray dog, but kept running, he looked around to see that he wasn’t being followed but still he kept running in – slow motion.


On that occasion my girlfriend Karen and I were visiting an area called Garibaldi. Admittedly, the 5 minute walk from the metro station is not the safest neighbourhood (which is where we saw the rogue runner) but the square itself is a tourist attraction and so quite safe.

It is a square where the famous mariachi bands play. In the Square itself there are lots of different bands, with their big instruments and extravagant clothing, roaming around looking for people to pay for a single song or two. Inside the bars and restaurants bands will entertain people that sit down to eat and drink and come and ask for tips and attempt to sell CDs containing their music. We listened to 4 or 5 different bands play on a square stage in the centre of the room as we sat and ate our meal. A very authentic and enjoyable experience.

Like any other big city there are plenty of activities to do. Whilst there, I visited museums, walked through a park that surrounded a castle that boasted great views of the city, I took an open top bus tour – that took most of the day to complete the three different lines – and went up a cell tower that took you above the sky line. Unfortunately, Mexico City is one of the more polluted cities in the world and the views were spoilt slightly by a layer of smog that makes seeing far into the distance difficult.

All over Mexico, even a year on, I find myself comparing prices to those in the UK with great surprise. To go to the cinema and get a large drink and popcorn I paid in the region of £5. And that’s for seats that are classed as ‘VIP’ in the UK. It is very rare to find a meal for much more than £10 including a drink and usually I’d be paying around £4 or £5. To get the metro anywhere in the city costs about 40 pence. But my favourite bargains whilst visiting Mexico City were my two trips to the 90,000 capacity Azteca Stadium.

In the UK, if I want to watch my brother play football, in the 7th tier of English football, alongside 100 or so other people, I pay £8. To watch, first Cruz Azul and then Club America – in a party like atmosphere with tireless staff walking up and down stairs with snacks, beers and even hot food on trays carried on their head – I paid around £5. The standard of play in the Mexican top division was not that great but the players are constantly running and you can see the passion amongst them. The atmosphere from the moment I got on the metro to the stadium until way after the final whistle was awesome.


From Mexico City Karen and I went on two cultural trips an hour or so outside of the city. One was to a place called Xochimilco (pronounced Hochimilco), a place where you can pay to be ferried along a busy river way. The traffic included 100s of brightly coloured boats, with long tables under the shelter of a roof, captained by a local man at the back using a pole to propel the boat. Boats containing Mariachi bands offering their services also navigate the river and people selling snacks. On the banks you could find snacks, restaurants and souvenirs.


Our other trip was to the extremely impressive ruins of Teotihuacan (tetiwacan). The ruins of Chichen Itza, near Cancun are the most famous due to a phenomenon which happens once a year that creates a shadow in the shape of a snake, but in my opinion the ruins of Teotihuacan are much more impressive. At the North End you can climb the pyramid of the moon (not quite all the way to the top) and have an amazing view along ‘The Avenue of the Dead’ that stretches for 2 kilometres and is 40 meters wide. All along the avenue are pyramids and temples including the biggest halfway along, the Pyramid of the Sun that you can climb all the way to the top.


After a long day in the sun we were able to buy a nice meal for about £2 which, for me, is unthinkable at such a tourist destination! But that’s only because I’m constantly comparing to UK standards. As I touched on at the beginning of this, the wealth in Mexico is far from equally distributed. It can help give perspective and make me thankful for everything that I have.

Viva Mexico – Tulum

My third and final stop down the Quintana Roo was in Tulum and was probably my favourite place. Despite feeling ill, seeing a big-ass snake and swimming with a small-ass crocodile I really enjoyed my time there.

The bus from Playa Del Carmen took just under an hour and the bus station was about a 50 minute walk away from ‘Lucky Travellers Hostel’ where I was staying. Usually I wouldn’t have minded walking this distance but feeling ill as I was I decided to flag down a taxi.

The drive was literally straight along the road for about 10 minutes and the only navigation required was a quick lap of the block so we were facing the right direction. This, however, didn’t stop the driver, who knew only a few words in English, from constantly asking ‘where we go? Tell me! Tell me!’ It took me a couple of minutes to realise that the taxi driver was pretty drunk. Maybe after the second or third time of him pointed at a woman walking along the street and saying: ‘Look! Big Bum’.

Luckily the road was fairly quiet and didn’t have much traffic and I arrived to my hostel safely! The place was the first ‘all inclusive’ hostel that I’ve seen and was pretty good with free bike rental, a cinema room (shock some English guys were already in there watching football) and generally loads of space to chill out.

I forced some food down, which was average at best but I didn’t expect much better from a buffet, and took a laboured walk to the beach. Like Playa and Cancun the beach was full of seaweed but the potential could be seen beyond the brown waters and the horrid smell.

Each day the hostel organised an excursion on bikes. The two days that I stayed, we were taken to different Cenotes (pronounced say-no-tays) by a tiny Brazilian guy who originally came to Tulum for a few weeks and ended up staying for 6 months.

A Cenote is pool of water stretching underground and there are lots of them found around the Yucatan area, many linked to each other and the sea by underground tunnels. There are open, semi-open, underground and cave Cenotes. The first day we visited a cave and the second was open.

The connection of underground tunnels allows wildlife to arrive in the Cenotes and in the cave, besides many fish that would bite your toes in a free pedicure, there was a baby turtle. They also had some turtles in an old bath tub where they held them before being released somewhere (less tourist infested) later. In the open cenote I even spotted a baby crocodile in the reeds which only made me question where mummy and daddy were.


The cave Cenote was basically just a few holes in the ground. A couple of small holes were about a meter or two wide and the main hole about five meters. Down the main hole was a rugged ladder so people could climb up and down into the bat infested cave or most people just jumped the 4 meters down anywhere that they weren’t likely to land on someone’s head. I was surprised whilst inside to see a bunch of bubbles appear in the water, they were promptly followed by a man in full scuba gear who had been exploring the underground rivers.

The next day we went to an open Cenote. The guys at the entrance warned us that there was a baby crocodile around, which I spotted almost as soon I jumped in, off the man-made diving platform. It was kind of like a big pond with clear water (which made it kind of creepy) and a beautiful jungle back drop, the water was very refreshing on a hot day.

The other thing that I did during my short stay in Tulum – which is a typical thing to do in Mexico – was to visit the ruins. The ruins of Chichin Itza were impressive but these ones were visually stunning.


I took a walk through the jungle and then ducked through a small arch before being hit with a large plane with buildings spaced out on lush green grass with a backdrop of beautiful blue skies that ended with the cliff to the ocean below. The scenery was so stunning that I didn’t even think how impressive the buildings, built thousands of years ago by the Mayans, actually were.

On the way out of the ruins, again through a jungle (but a wide man made path) I was scanning the trees to my left when I had to double take. The tree which I thought had strange patterns actually had a big snake coiled around the branch. Thankfully it wasn’t moving so I stopped long enough to snap a picture and made my way out of there sharpish.

Tulum was a good way to end my week alone in Mexico before heading back to Cancun to meet my girlfriend Karen and continue my travels on to Cuba.

Viva Mexico – Playa del Carmen

The second stop on my Mexican Adventure took me just over an hour south of Cancun to Playa Del Carmen. Buses run very frequently and I opted for an ADO luxury coach with toilet, comfortable reclining chairs and a movie (in Spanish) for a bank breaking 60pesos (about £2.40). The other option was a ‘collectivo’ minibus that costs 45 pesos.

On arrival into Playa I instantly liked it more than Cancun. There are lots of bars and restaurants all leading down to the beach which unfortunately, just like Cancun, was full of seaweed that made it look unattractive and smelled even worse.


The hostel, ‘La Isla’ that I stayed at was right on the beach. From the balcony you could see along the (smelly, ugly) beach. It was also right above Senor Frogs so it’s a good thing that I can sleep through almost anything, as their music was loud until the early hours of the morning.

On my first night I didn’t even notice that the music was playing, or maybe I got back late enough (and possibly drunk enough) that it had stopped.

As soon as I arrived at the hostel I met a guy from the West of Mexico who was in Playa searching for work. He hadn’t been very successful due to the temptation to go out and party all the time. He took me to a local restaurant, away from the tourist area for cheap Quesadillas and we got some drinks to have down the beach.

We ended up going out with an American in his mid 30s on some kind of midlife crisis. He came out with no money, spent the night trying to hit on girls 15 years younger than him and always wanted to ‘find somewhere better’ than the free bars that we were confined to, as I definitely wasn’t about to pay his entrance fee. Despite this guy it was a good night with a nice vibe.

The following day I met up with some ship friends. Ilke, who I met in Cancun, came to catch a ferry with me to Cozumel and we had a nice meal with our friend Annie who’s ship, Oasis of the Seas, was docked. Annie followed me to my first two ships Mariner and Indy and we remain good friends meeting up when ever we are in the same place at the same time.

After cocktails at ‘no name bar’ where crew members visit whenever they dock in Cozumel, we headed back to Playa. Ilke and me had a couple more drinks and her boyfriend came to see us and drove us to get some street food.

The following day, not feeling good at all, either because of the all day drinking, with cheap cocktails or the street food, I watched Mexico beat South Korea 2-1 before heading for my next stop in Tulum.

Viva Mexico – Cancun

Time is a weird concept when you stop to think on it. The last month and a half has gone so quickly but trying to think back to where it all began it seems so long ago!!

Cancun was the first stop of my trip, the place famed for spring break, beautiful beaches with beautiful bodies on those beaches. I actually only saw the beach at night time and went for the more cultural option of a trip to Chichen Itza instead.

I had one week on my own when I arrived in Mexico and researched things to do on the Quintana Roo. I was unsure if it would be best to stay in Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Tulum so in the end I did a couple of nights in all of them!

When I arrived in Cancun I caught up with a ship friend, Ilke from Belgium who was living in Cancun with her boyfriend. We had a couple of drinks at my hostel and then a cocktail at a bar where one litre cost just 60 pesos (£2.10). Once her boyfriend had finished work he took us for a drive around the area.

Cancun is divided into two areas, downtown and the hotel zone. The hotel zone is where you find all of the night clubs and the beaches. There were advertisements for bikini parties that cost around £50 to get in and all you can drink. Driving along the strip with music pumping everywhere you could see why it has the reputation of being a party town.

Unfortunately the time of year that I went to Cancun the usually beautiful beaches were full of washed up sea weed and it carried the smell to go with it. I found out later in the week that it was the same all along the coast.

In my only full day in Cancun I took a tour to one of the seven modern wonders of the world: Chichen Itza. The tour could have been taken anywhere alone the Quintana Roo and my journey was very long as the tour company picked up guests from Playa del Carmen and Tulum first (and in reverse in the way back). It meant that I got picked up for my tour at 8am and wasn’t back again until gone 11pm. Lucky I didn’t have anything else to do that day!


Chichen Itza was pretty spectacular. On arrival I was sent away with a tour guide who was to do an English tour. He seemed like he had done the tour way too many times and couldn’t be bothered with the detailed descriptions of the Mayan history. After about 40 minutes, glossing over the main points, he gave us an hour and 20 minutes to look around by ourselves which suited me fine.

It took most of an hour to walk around all of the different ruins that surround the big iconic pyramid. With no shade around in the midday sun I was ready for the next part of the tour, a trip to Cenote Ik Kil (pronounced say-no-tay).

Cenotes are a combination of underground rivers that run along the Quintana Roo and there are lots of different ones to visit where you can go and swim. The one that our tour visited was quite spectacular and was one of the venues on the ‘Red Bull Cliff Diving’ circuit.


We arrived at the very top of the cave (where they would usually have the platform for the cliff divers) and looked down the 26 meters to the bottom. There were hundreds of tourists down there swimming, many wearing bright orange swim vests to stop them drowning in the 40 meter deep water.

The stairs down have a few viewing platforms where you can look at the vine covered walls that go all the way down to water level. Once at the bottom there are some diving platforms set up, the highest being about 6 meters high. When I jumped in I did my best to forget that it was once a place used for human sacrifice by the Mayans thousands of years ago.

So I didn’t see a huge amount of Cancun whilst I was there but saw enough to know that I wasn’t a huge fan. It was a bit too spaced out between downtown and the hotel zone and everything in the hotel zone seemed over priced. I’m sure if I was there with the boys to go and party I would have loved it but as it happened I moved on to Playa del Carmen instead.

Viva Mexico – Manchester bound

I can’t believe it’s been less than a week since I was back home in the UK, pouring pints and labouring on a building site. Now I am chilling out in a hostel in Tulum, Mexico having ticked off one of the seven modern wonders of the world. I’m going to share some of my experiences on my travels and many thanks in advance for those who read. I hope you enjoy!

Monday 28th June 2018

I set out for Manchester, to catch my flight to Cancun that was leaving early on Tuesday. Some research on skyscanner had helped me to locate a one-way ticket to Cancun, for just £210 with Thomas Cook.

I would just like to point out for those wondering, it was only a one way ticket because I don’t know my plans going forward and not because I don’t intend to return!

My trip to Manchester was pretty straight forward, I’d booked my ticket with ‘Mega-bus’ (or Mega-shite-bus as my good friend Loz refers to it). Obviously it wasn’t the fabled £1 that they advertise but no-one has ever seen but £14 wasn’t so bad. At the bus stop I met a traveller from New Zealand. I’d barely left my home and here I was next to a fellow traveller.

Now there are a few different types of traveller that you find out there. Some laid back, some keep themselves to themselves, some love life and all the beauties that it has to offer especially the parties. This particular traveller was none of the above. This was the type who feels the need to share his life story within the first 3 minutes of meeting (including, for some reason, the fact he only had 4 pairs of underwear with him). If you’ve met this type of traveller before you will know that he has definitely done everything that you’ve done in your life and if he hasn’t he’s heard of someone that has!

When the bus finally arrived, I strategically positioned myself far away from that dude and settled in for the 4 hour journey via Coventry and Birmingham.

When you stop being in a rush and have nowhere in particular to be, a four hour journey can actually feel relaxing and the time flew by. I arrived in Manchester and found my £11 accommodation: ‘Hatters on Newton Street’ and found somewhere to set up camp for the afternoon and watch football. I spent as much on two drinks as I did for a night’s accommodation, but the pub I found had a good atmosphere!

A lot of people hate the stress of travel but the only stress I felt all day was watching England play! Even surrounded by Manchester United fans, the much loved Lingard was taking abuse for missing so many chances (the place nearly erupted when Rashford came on). I’m willing to give Sterling a free pass for playing so badly as at the moment he seems to be shouldering all of the ill will and harassment from the British press which is usually spread out across the whole squad during a big tournament. He’s taken one for the team there.

After Kane’s stoppage time winner, the pub erupted as though we had won the whole tournament and the Mancs broke out into verse of ‘football’s coming home’. I grabbed some food and went to get some sleep before my early flight.

Hostels can be great or a nightmare depending on your luck. In my room with 8 beds I was sharing with four people. At about 4am I heard a Scottish voice shouting ‘hey, buddy, can you stop snoring’. No I wasn’t the one snoring, but I was the one that got woken up by his shouts. Not once but 3 times over the next 20 minutes.

The guy snoring was going at it. He was in a hibernation type sleep that any bear would have been proud of. ‘Hey, BUDDY, can you stop snoring please.’ at least this dumbass was being polite with his request but as the rattling snores continues I wondered what was the point in asking someone that can’t hear you to stop doing something he has no control over. ‘hey buddy, buddy! HEY BUDDY!’

That was it for me ‘dude shut the fuck up! I can deal with his snoring but you shouting the whole time is too much!’ I heard a little whimpering reply ‘well I’m sorry, but I’ve been laid here for hours’ I wasn’t feeling very sympathetic by this point so replied ‘yea well next time don’t be so tight and get yourself a private room!’

The rest of the night was uneventful before waking up at 6am to get to the station and airport.