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Adventure Travel

Facing my Fears – Caving in Budapest

I am petrified of being in confined spaces. Cole knows this, but he still insisted we go caving in Budapest to face my fears. It was a terrible idea.

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Cole caving in Budapest

The idea of caving in Budapest is akin to my kind of hell. And Cole’s dream adventure.

Squeezing through chest tightening gaps 20 meters underground in the pitch black? Silence surrounding you while being covered in dirt? No thanks.

Cole caving in Budapest

I guess being claustrophobic does not really help my case but caving in Budapest was not high on my to do list. So when Cole told me that’s exactly what we were doing. I was petrified.

However, being the stubborn adventurous and competitive person I am, I wanted to overcome my fears. I smiled, nodded and told him I would be fine.

How wrong I was.

Caving in Budapest

I woke up with a deep feeling of dread in my stomach. Breakfast tasted like sandpaper. Coffee did nothing to ease the nerves, and Cole’s excitement and attempts to lighten the mood with terrible jokes about getting trapped were no help at all.

My nerves were rattling more than the ancient bus as we trundled up to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Before I knew it we were at the caves and suiting up. With every layer of protective gear I strapped on I felt more and more trapped.

Four Jandals Caving in Budapest

Putting on a brave face for the camera.

I tried to make small talk with the others on the tour but when I told them I was claustrophobic they looked at me like I was insane for coming caving. Maybe I was.

All too suddenly we were at the entrance. I had expected a big opening that would get gradually smaller so I could at least see some light coming in. Wrong again.

It was just a door. A locked door.

As I stepped through the void I started thinking maybe I can handle this.

CRASH!

The guide slammed the heavy door and locked it with a resounding clank that still haunts me in my sleep. To me it was the sound of fear. I was trapped.

Irrational thoughts flooded my mind.

What if I lose the guide and I can not get out because I don’t have a key? What if we need to get out in a hurry and we lose precious seconds while the guide unlocked the door?

As the guide went over the safety talk I gazed blankly into the darkness. I took nothing in. All I could think about was the door and my uncontrollable shaking.

Shaken out of my inner nightmares as everyone begins to move I see the guide is pointing down a 10m ladder into a hole no larger than 1 meter square. “I thought we were already in the caves!” I exclaim. They all laugh as he confirms that is exactly where we are going.

It was the last straw. I had to get out.

Backing away I grab hold of Cole’s sleeve. He has already noticed my anxiousness though and is hurrying me out with the guide close behind.

With every step towards the door my stress levels lowered.

I cannot explain how good it felt to walk out of that cave.

I gulped fresh air as relief, happiness and freedom washed over me.

As quick as it had begun my caving experience was over.

For Cole it was just beginning as he left me with my eBook on the surface 2 hours as soon as I was free! Can’t say I blame him.

Caving in Budapest

Extra Travel Information:

Try caving in Budapest with the awesome guides at Caving Under Budapest.

Fly to Budapest easily from pretty much anywhere in Europe with Jet2.com and we recommend staying at Marco Polo Hostel as they are quiet and have a brilliant breakfast buffer.

This is a post from a series called Facing my Fears. It helps us to step outside our comfort zone, in comfort. Check out the rest of the series here.

Disclaimer: We were invited to step out of our comfort zone by the Visit Hungary Tourism Board for our trip to Budapest. As always our thoughts, recommendations and fears are always our own.

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30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Laurence

    September 7, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    You know, sometimes we just need to say no to things. You totally made the right decision here – I’m actually amazed you made it inside 😉 I can’t imagine how scary that would be if you suffer from claustrophobia!

  2. Tom @ Waegook Tom

    September 7, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    Adela, I totally sympathise with you here. I freaked out when I was almost at the top of a mountain (I have a terrible phobia of heights) and had to sit down and wait while my partner and his family made the last bit up to the top. I felt sooooo relieved when I realised that nobody was forcing me to do anything that I didn’t want to do.

    Also I LOVE your facial expression before going in the cave, it is priceless haha!

    • Cole Burmester

      September 13, 2012 at 6:04 PM

      Cole hates heights too Tom so at least I have him beaten there haha. I am just lucky he didn’t mind going on without me.

  3. Ele

    September 7, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    Bookmarked both the post and service provider. That’s the Budapest I want to see.

  4. Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey

    September 8, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    We’re proud of you! At least you tried. Caves aren’t my favorite thing in the world either and I’ve never been in one with a locked door which is just extra creepy. Maybe try a doorless cave next time…

  5. Arti

    September 8, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    I would have the exact same feelings as you had before you set out on your adventure. The photos are wonderful, give a feeling as if I was down there in the dark space with you!!

    • Cole Burmester

      September 13, 2012 at 6:03 PM

      Thanks Arti 🙂 It was lucky Cole continued on so that we could get the photos haha.

  6. bronwen burmester

    September 9, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    Great post Adela and neat phtos and I would have been just like you adela, brave Cole….but not me!

  7. Mike

    September 9, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    You don’t look afraid on the pictures. You were really having fun and overcoming your fears. Congratulations to you Cole.

  8. Jess | GlobetrotterGirls

    September 10, 2012 at 5:21 AM

    I totally get this. I never knew I had a fear of caving until I was deep inside of one! Turns out, I’m claustrophobic! I’ve done some caving since, but I know all that build-up dread. Good on you!

  9. D.J. - The World of Deej

    September 11, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Totally feel you on this one…I hate the dark and enclosed spaces…You made it further than I would have!

    • Cole Burmester

      September 13, 2012 at 4:40 PM

      We can hang out on the surface next time then D.J. 🙂

  10. Suzy

    September 12, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    Wow – good for you for even tryng! It looks like Cole had a great time, though. Caving isn’t the first thing I’d think of when I think of Budapest. That’s why travel blogs are so great – always new ideas for traveler! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      September 13, 2012 at 4:45 PM

      We didn’t even know the caves existed until just before we went. Was such a unique experience. It is where all the hot water comes from for the hot baths.

  11. Callie

    September 13, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    That sounds scary! No shame in sticking to the surface 🙂 I hear you – I went with a group to rappel down a waterfall in Ecuador once and backed out once I was all strapped in and literally hanging over the ledge. The guide had to pull me back up as everyone was watching…

    • Cole Burmester

      September 14, 2012 at 3:37 PM

      The rappling sounds awesome (sort of). I might freak out because I hate heights haha.

  12. Ali

    September 15, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    Caves are NOT my thing at all. I didn’t realize it until recently, but I don’t like the enclosed spaces and extreme darkness. Doesn’t help that I whacked my head on the stone when I was in there.

    • Adela

      September 15, 2012 at 12:20 PM

      Ali I totally know where you are coming from – I can not think of anything worse than enclosed spaces and extreme darkness. Some of us are just not meant for caving

  13. Nat

    September 16, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    I would be exactly the same, I don’t think I could have even gone through the door. Looking at the photos too things certainly did seem to become tight. I notice Cole is wearing a GoPro. Have you managed to edit the video? It would be great to see 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      September 17, 2012 at 9:37 AM

      The video is quite grainy actually. Need to learn a few more editing techniques rather than just using Windows Live Movie maker. We have had ours for a while and do love it. Just need to use it more. Going to check out your review now.

  14. Jemma

    September 17, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Awwww you can totally see the fear in your eyes in that picture! Well done for having the guts to turn back, I think having the guts to do that is commendable. Caving is my worst nightmare too, can’t think of anything worse than being in a tight tunnel like that. Just thinking about it gives me the heebie jeebies, so kudos to you for even suiting up. If my boyfriend suggested it to me I’d tell him to go play in traffic! 🙂

  15. emma@greenglobaltravel

    September 18, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    Well done you for trying anyway! A lot of people wouldn’t have done even that much.

  16. Stephanie - The Travel Chica

    September 20, 2012 at 12:40 AM

    I’ve seen the movie The Descent and could never ever do this.

    • Cole Burmester

      September 28, 2012 at 6:17 PM

      Haha we luckily didn’t encounter any flesh-eating monsters 🙂

  17. Adrian

    September 26, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    I would say, This was one of the awesome adventurers you had. I can understand how terrible it was for you but that’s the real taste of life.

    • Cole Burmester

      September 30, 2012 at 5:22 PM

      Pushing yourself past your own limits is what makes life so interesting!

  18. Trudy

    October 30, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Wow. Love your face in that pic. Sounds amazing but I just don’t know if I could do it. You are awesome for trying!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 31, 2012 at 10:43 AM

      Adela gave it a good go! The problem was the slamming of the door. But at least she decided to stop at the start and not halfway through when we were crawling on our bellies 🙂

  19. Craig Makepeace

    March 1, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Yeah, this freaks me out! I could never work in an underground mine or anything. Let me see light 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      March 1, 2013 at 4:42 PM

      It was an awesome experience Craig! Well for me, Adela not so much haha.

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Adventure Travel

Is It Time to Find a New You at a Thailand Retreat?

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If you feel like you a lacking a little direction, or that you have become lost in the hustle and bustle of your faced paced life, do not despair. There is hope. Spend too much time buried by work and inevitably the world will grind you down, but it needn’t. You can do something about it. The answer is a lot simpler than you may think (and more affordable, too).

You have to act though. Indifference or accepting that nothing will change will result in exactly that, nothing changing. What you need to do is interrupt your life and take a step back. Now this doesn’t mean falling off the radar, or a sudden change in your career. You just need to invest a little of your own time in yourself and book yourself into a personal development course at a Thailand retreat.

 

Isn’t That Strange?

No, it isn’t. Again, you are not changing the world in which you live, rather you are looking to change how you live in the world. A getaway at a retreat can help you do this. So, lose the negativity and cynicism and think about the possibilities for a moment. If you feel strange about going alone, why not round up your best buddies and go together? (Click here for more guy adventure tips)

 

A Little Self-Therapy

 

If you work hard, and feel constantly exhausted, at some point things are going to get even worse – be that your physical or mental health. By looking after both your body and mind and learning healthy practices at a retreat, you’ll fortify both your mind and body ready for the rigours of daily life once you return to it. The techniques, practices and understandings that you will gain by attending a Thailand retreat will help you to not only cope, but to thrive. It is like learning a shortcut to happiness that many simply do not know about. Brilliant right?!

Burnout is a real problem in society, and prevention is a much better solution than trying to find a cure. It is likely that you will have to keep working in your employment and that life will throw all manner of things at you as you battle onward, but learning to cope whilst smiling, with a stronger fortitude and greater will to succeed is a more certain way of becoming a success before you become a casualty.

Through mindfulness practice, physical activity such as yoga and stretching, and incorporating meditation, you are adapting a holistic approach to your own health, happiness and self-development. This can help you become mentally stronger, physical fitter, more at ease with yourself and life, and aware of the world in which you live. You can actually learn to live rather than exist. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Life begins at the very edge of your comfort zone, on the outskirts of familiarity and away from your normal habits and routine. Rather than shun it, or even fear it, you can learn to embrace, experience and even enjoy it too. This isn’t changing what you do, but how you do it. It isn’t changing who you are, it is letting you become the true you, unleashing your full potential.

A Thailand retreat based around health and self-development puts your wellbeing at the very heart of the programme. This isn’t self-indulgent but rather self-fulfilment; letting your life exist beyond the limits of your expectations. It is time for you to look after yourself that little bit better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Adventure Travel

Preparing A Holiday With An Anxious Relative

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As much as you love going on holiday and planning a trip to a region of the world that you don’t know, it can be a little frustrating to travel with relatives or friends who are naturally nervous about discovering new things. You know the kind: They won’t try exotic food in a restaurant, in case it wouldn’t agree with their stomach. They look at your travel pictures with envy but always find an excuse not to join you on your next adventure. And more importantly, they try to avoid travelling abroad if they can at all help it. Be kind before you launch into criticism. They can’t help feeling anxious about everything. And maybe, if you want to help them relax a little, it’s your responsibility to make travelling as easy and enjoyable as possible. However, you’re in luck, because we can help you with that. All it takes is a little bit of planning and thinking ahead to get them sorted.

Get informed at first

If your friend or relative doesn’t travel often, the best thing you want to do is to convince them to come on a trip with you that is poorly planned. First things first: It’s about defining when it the best time to visit your destination of choice. You wouldn’t want to accidentally pick the monsoon season when going to a tropical country, for instance. That’s exactly what this handy website is about : It helps you to find out when is the best time to visit where with monthly weather overview based on observations from the previous years. In short, if you’re travelling with someone who hates being cold, you can direct them towards countries that are warm in winter, for example. As silly as it might sound, knowing what kind of weather to expect can be a great help for a nervous adventurer: Knowing what to pack is already a step out of the unknown zone.

Get the health check

You can’t easily decide to travel to any country without planning. For health reasons, there is a number of regions in the world that require vaccinations to keep you safe. You’d better keep yourself informed of the health requirements in advance, as some vaccinations need to be started up to 2 months before your departure. The typical countries where you’d be expecting additional health vaccines tend to be around the south and south-east Asia. Hepatitis A and B is a common risk in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, and even the Fiji. In India, you need to be aware of risks of rabies and Japanese encephalitis in addition to more common vaccinations. You also need to ensure that you and your relative are up to date with routine immunisations such as tetanus and diphtheria. The bottom line is that even though there are little risks for cautious travellers, you don’t want to take any chance.

Do you need authorisation?

If your friend or relative has only travelled to safe and known areas, such as Europe for instance, they may not be aware that certain countries require visitors from abroad to apply for a visa, aka an official authorization to entry the country. If you intend to visit Belarus, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine, you will need to apply for a visa, which can take several weeks and require an official letter of recommendation from your destination hotel. Visiting South Africa, North America also require a visa, as well as some areas of Asia. Additionally, you need to ensure that you have free pages for control stamps in your passport. It might sound stressful at first, but it’s something that you can easily clarify in advance so that you don’t need to worry about it during your trip.

Protect your holiday

The main reason a lot of people feel anxious about travelling abroad is that they worry that anything might happen to them while they’re outside of the country. The fear of not knowing how to sort out common health and finances issues forces a lot of people to stay at home while they should be thinking about travel insurance instead. If your friend or relative is worried about falling ill on holiday or about losing valuable items abroad, you should take a look at standard travel policies to ensure that you can find an appropriate answer to their worries. From overseas travel insurance to snow sports insurance, you can find a lot of options to cover for most accidental situations smoothly and easily. More often than not, you can get an expert insurer to define the best-suited policy for your holiday. This will save you a lot of time searching as an insurer will be able to rely on the data of previous travellers to advise you.

Know how to spend the time

But I can’t travel to India: It’s a long flight, and I’ll get bored!

If that’s the kind of comments you get, you can reassure your friend or relative immediately: There are plenty of solutions that stop you from getting bored during your long journeys. Reading always is a good idea, especially if you’ve got a Kindle so that you can fill it with several books to keep yourself occupied while travelling. Some people might prefer audiobooks, however, if you’ve got a long flight, you’re likely to want to use earplugs and rest your senses. There are also plenty of online games that you can play with a smartphone, so it’s impossible to get bored!

Not one for tech gadgets? A simple crossword or sudoku book can do the trick and keep you busy until you’ve reached your destination. If you’re sitting aside, nothing is stopping you from playing a card game or a small board game. In short, getting bored is not a fatality!

Get a guidebook

How do you know about the best places and monuments to see when you’re visiting a new place? It’s obvious: You get a guidebook like every other traveller. Guidebooks might sound old-fashioned, but they are filled with useful information about an area, from where to stay to what to see. More importantly, you get a detailed breakdown of prices, which makes it a lot easier to plan your trip. As a traveller puts it, in a guidebook you find information that you didn’t know you needed, which helps you to prepare the best you can for your holiday. Besides, you can be sure that gathering knowledge about your destination will be handy to reassure your nervous co-traveller. Knowledge remains, after all, the best weapon against the unknown.

Pick your book

Do you need to know the language?

Most travellers would tell you that speaking English is enough to get by in any destination of the world. However; you need to be aware of one important fact: Just because English is the proxy language by definition, it doesn’t mean that everyone will understand you. A lot of people don’t speak English at all, and therefore you’ll need to be able to ask for directions or a cup of coffee in the local lingo. Why does it matter? You don’t need to be fluent to ask for things you need abroad, but you can be sure that locals are more likely to help and understand if you say it in their language. More often than not, you can get by with a simple phrasebook, from ordering food in a restaurant to finding the way to the art museum.

Prepare a visit plan

What if your friend would agree to go on a holiday but doesn’t know where to? You could inspire them with a list of the most wonderful sites to visit in the world. Stonehenge in England is a great destination for history lovers to enjoy the mysteries of the past. You can even organise walking among the famous stones on specific days! If you want to take their breath away with a fascinating historical site, try to Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. If you want to seduce a nature-lover, take them to the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, which is the world’s largest mirror. Or you could visit the Great Blue Hole in Belize, which is 407 feet deep and can be easily seen from above – no need to dive, thankfully!

Decide on a budget in advance

Let’s be honest: Most people avoid travelling because they’re afraid of spending too much on the go. In reality, it all comes down to clever planning: If you know in advance where you’re going to stay and what’s around to see and visit, you can plan your budget accordingly. Of course, there will always be the unexpected expenses in the form of a cocktail night at the local bar, or a really cute jumper that you simply couldn’t live further without. But for all these, you can rely on a budget app such as Trail Wallet to keep track of your expenses throughout the day. In a few clicks, you can get an overview of how much you can afford and how much you’ve already paid.

In conclusion, the secret to turning a travel-anxious friend into a travel-happy holidaymaker is to share your planning secrets with them. Yes, travelling takes a lot of preps. But it means they can enjoy their trip with their mind at peace!

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Adventure Travel

Top 5 Things to See in Dubai on Your Next Holiday

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Dubai has quickly become a top destination for travelers from around the world.  It offers an impressive mixture of the best of modern architecture, stunning scenery and is a shopper’s paradise.  So, what are the top things to see during your holiday to Dubai?

Burj Khalifa

You can’t miss the Burj Khalifa when you visit Dubai – at 828 meters high, it is the world’s tallest tower and dominates the city’s skyline.  But the building is far more than admiring.  There is an observation deck on level 124 that is a must-see part of visiting the city while At The Top Sky Lounge is on level 148.  If you want a meal amid the clouds, At.mosphere on level 122 offers quality meals.

Palm Jumeirah

Another impressive man-made wonder of Dubai, Palm Jumeirah is a palm shaped man-made island and one of the largest artificial islands in the world.  It is home to a host of high quality hotels including the Waldorf Astoria and the Atlantis, The Palm.  It also has its own monorail that runs along the ‘trunk’ of the tree to connect it with the mainland.

The Dubai Mall

As well as enjoying the glamour of Dubai on your next holiday, you can also enjoy some of the highest quality shopping.  The Dubai Mall is more than just a shopping mall – there are 1200 shops, 150 restaurants, an indoor theme park, a waterfall, ice rink and even an aquarium and underwater zoo.  It takes shopping to a whole new level!

The Dubai Fountain

Standing outside the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Fountain is equally impressive and stands at the entrance to the Dubai Mall.  It is the world’s largest choregraphed fountain system reached 150 meters high with colorful, illuminated jet sprays that are timed to various musical pieces.  There are two shows a day on afternoons and evenings so plenty of chances to watch it in action.

Dubai Creek

Dubai is the epitome of a modern city but that’s not to say there isn’t history amid the stunning skyscrapers.  Dubai Creek is the heart of the old city, where the original Bani Yas tribe settled.  Here they started the pearl diving and fishing trades and the area slowly built into a trade center.  Now you can visit the gold, textile and spice souks as well as take a ride in a traditional abra boat.  It is also great value at just AED1 for a ticket.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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