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  • Reading: Toril Moi's "What is a Woman?"
  • Watching: Africa with the wonderful David Attenborough
  • Eating: Choccy (it's still the holiday season, yis?!)
  • Drinking: Tea
... Just so you know.

Have graduated my masters (with distinction, woop!) and am now experiencing the joy that is job hunting. No luck so far, but am hopeful :D And also looking forward to the year ahead. Getting back into running, yoga and hoping to start a beginners archery class soon! As well as doing some volunteering with a local youth charity.

AND... my dad has bought himself a Canon EOS 7D camera with some yummy lenses so guess who gets to play with it while he's at work (and I'm sick of filling in job applications)?

Yup, yours truly. So hopefully should have some new photographs up soon.

Peace x
  • Listening to: "The Brave" by Tom James
  • Reading: A Storm of Swords - George R. R. Martin
  • Watching: Supernatural Season 7
  • Drinking: Coffee
Letting you all know I am alive. But super busy. Working on final project for my Masters (aside from the dissertation) as well as redesigning a website for one of my lecturers friends.

I'm hoping to put a few nice 3D images on here soon (I've just put one WIP up) of my current project - reconstructing a Neolithic house from the site of Çatalhöyük, Turkey.

More hopefully to follow soon.
  • Listening to: Hamster running in wheel
  • Reading: "Meditations on Violence" - Rory Miller
  • Watching: The Punisher
  • Eating: Pizza
  • Drinking: Té (it's Welsh for 'tea' apparently)
So it's been so long since I wrote on here I figured I should let people know I'm alive.

Been super-busy with work since the end of September and now am getting stuck in to my final year of my masters on top of that so lots to do!

I do have some photos I took in Yorkshire to sort through and get up here at some point (soon!) AND I have just discovered my Uni department will let me borrow one of their digital SLRs so I'll be able to practice using a fancy camera. :D

And the reason for the "hurt" smiley? I fell off my bike cycling to work yesterday morning (damn slippery wet leaves; thanks autumn!) and have the biggest black/purple/red bruise on the back of my upper thigh. So bad the main impact area is actually numb. There may be nerve damage which wouldn't be surprising considering how hard I hit the pavement. Owchies!
  • Reading: Kelly Slater's "Pipe Dreams"
  • Watching: Wimbledon 2011
  • Eating: N'omelette
Just been going through my travel photography as I want to get some printed for albums and have found a few from my Asia leg of my trip that I didn't put up on here, so apologies for the sudden influx of images from me!

It's so weird to think that this time a year ago I was in the Cook Islands enjoying island life - lying on a beach, snorkeling, visiting the local market, cycling round the island... *sigh* Good times.

In other news I am currently saving up to buy myself a proper SLR camera. I was tempted by a Nikon but the past week I've been working at the Rose Bowl for the England vs. Sri Lanka Test Match (in the Press Area) so got chatting to a couple of professional photographers and they've said straight up to get a Canon. So decisions decisions!

Also, the reason for my astonishment is I am currently watching Venus Williams vs. Kumiko Date-Krum at Wimbledon and am amazed by the high level of tennis I'm seeing. I'm rooting for Date-Krum as at 40 years old she's just won the first set against the five times world champion! Brilliant stuff.
  • Listening to: Sydney Sampson's 'Riverside' - good memories
  • Reading: 'Mastering AutoCAD 2011'
  • Watching: 'The Tribe' and 'Game of Thrones'
  • Eating: Nothing :-(
Just a quick update saying I've put up some more photos I've taken using my friend's gorgeous camera. Just messing around in the garden playing with focus, aperture, lighting, etc. etc. I like them, even if they are mostly of flowers!

In other news: I got braces the other day so my poor mouth is in a lot of pain right now. Stupid metal bits digging in to me :-( Well, it'll be worth it in the end I hope. Managed to break them the first meal I tried to eat with them mind you, so had to go back yesterday and get them fixed. Have been sticking to porridge and soup and bread mushed into it. As you can imagine, I'm starving! But apparently my friend has made me cheesecake for this evening so yay!

Anyway, I have to go and get on with reading about the computer program I need to learn for my next assignment. *sigh* No rest for the wicked, ey?!
  • Listening to: My 'Island Mix' of Hawaiian music
  • Reading: "Got Fight" - Forrest Griffin
  • Eating: Pizza
  • Drinking: Nom-y red wine from M&S
So I've put up some more photos (or will have, by the time you read this, I promise!) that I've taken with my friend's beautiful Nikon D5000. I've had a couple of chances to play with it over the past couple of weeks at various events, and last Sunday I wasn't training at my martial arts club so wandered around with in then also. Got (in my mind at least) some nice shots. I hardly ever have the opportunity to use real SLRs so I jump at the chance. My skills aren't brilliant, but I am fairly proud of the results I got.

I spent today surveying a wall in a graveyard for my course and got to play with my archaeology department's SLR also (Nikon D300) so when I get a hold of all the non-archaeological pics I took (was meant to be taking photos of the wall but I got... distracted) I shall get some of those up also.

There was also the best bit of banter from today. Before we got started with the total station and survey, one of my friends turned around and asked our supervisor if there was a risk that the lasers would reanimate the corpses... We decided that the risk assessment should read:

Risks of surveying in a graveyard: zombies

!!!

Well, we found it amusing anyway. It made such a change to be out of the labs and in the lovely March sunshine today. Also had a very good training session this evening (hence the mood - I just wanted to use that smiley!).

Hope you like the pics.
  • Listening to: Mumford and Sons
  • Reading: "The Day Watch" - Sergei Lukyanenko
  • Watching: Live at the Apollo
  • Eating: Soooup
  • Drinking: Decaff Coffee (I know, heathen!)
... for clogging up all your message boxes with pictures.

I'm meant to be working on an assignment and have somehow turned it into going through my travel photos and remembering that I'd been planning on putting more up here. I didn't get around to it, so I've done it now.

Happy New Year to all. 2011 already. Wow, where is the time going? Hope everyone had a peaceful Christmas and I hope you make 2011 a year you'll want to remember for the right reasons.

Love x
  • Listening to: "Little Willy" - Sweet
  • Reading: "The Fountainhead" - Ayn Rand
  • Watching: Castle
  • Drinking: Juice
Just a quick post to let you all know I'm starting a 365 day photography challenge. You can check my progress/bitch at me to do it at: charleys-365.blogspot.com/

Love to all x
  • Listening to: Mumford and Sons: Little Lion Man
  • Reading: Calling on Dragons - Patricia C. Wrede
  • Watching: Spartacus: Blood and Sand
  • Eating: Cake!
  • Drinking: Prosecco
Just an apology for the recent flooding of your inboxes with pics. Have had a chance to briefly look through some of my travel photos and am picking out some of my favourites. There is more to come, just to give you a heads up.

It's very odd being back home. Just think, a week ago I was in Los Angeles and now I'm in a tiny English village in the middle of the countryside. Still beautiful but a bit of a culture shock! Real life is calling again :-)
Well this is it. The end of my travels. I fly home in a couple of hours and it doesn't seem real yet.

From Australia I dropped down for a fantastic month in New Zealand doing all sorts of crazy stuff, then hit the Cook Islands for probably the most relaxing two weeks of my life. From there it was to California and the crazyness of LA, San Francisco, Vegas and San Diego for Comic Con 2010. Which was brilliant. I have had such a good time but think I am ready for *my* bed now, instead of hostels and crashing on friends' floors.

I have had such a good time away and learnt so much, about the countries and people I've visited and also about myself. It's going to be very strange adjusting back to 'normalacy'! Ah well. Real life is calling.

Photographs will follow when I can be bothered to sort them out!
Hey all,

Just thought I'd let you all know I'm alive! I survived South East Asia and loved it completely, even if there were a couple of dodgy moments! I've now been in Australia almost two months and am staying with family just outside Brisbane for my final couple of weeks. I love it here and could really imagine myself living here (well, Byron Bay anyways!), which is quite worrying. I'm off to New Zealand in just over a weeks time and think I'm going to freeze. I've been so used to the heat, which I also adore!

Anyway, if anyone wants to see what I've been up to, here's the charley-abroad.blogspot.com/ to my blog.

Until I'm on again... take care! x
  • Reading: Rough Guide to South East Asia
  • Watching: Larkrise to Candleford
  • Eating: Toffee cheesecake
  • Drinking: Tea. Again.
Well I leave for Hanoi early tomorrow morning! Not much really to say, 'cept I shall probably not be on here for the next six months. I might drop in with news if I can but not sure.

If anyone wants to keep up with my travels I have a blog that I'll be updating when I can: www.charley-abroad.blogspot.com

Hopefully when I return I shall have lots of lovely photos to put up. Until then take care! x
  • Listening to: Housemate playing racing games on the X-Box
  • Reading: "Shogun" - James Clavell
  • Watching: The new Russel Howard live dvd
  • Eating: Nothing, though I have a strange craving for pears
  • Drinking: Tea. Lots of tea.
Well this time in three weeks I shall be in Vietnam and though I am very excited it is also now starting to be tinged with slight terror. I feel very disorganised, not helped by the fact I ended up with pneumonia over the hols (really don't ask) and am only now getting back up on my feet again. I handed in my two weeks notice at work on Monday, or rather my boss has done it for me as I went to see the doctor and she has signed me off for two weeks... Lucky in some ways as it means all I have to focus on is getting better and getting my life sorted before I leave, but at the same time it's kind of sad I am not going back to work. Ah well, still get paid (I hope!).

So I'm taking things slowly but setting little tasks for myself each day. Today I finished booking my accommodation for Perth and Christchurch (I'm only booking hostels at places I'm flying into - the last thing I want after a long flight is having to try and find somewhere to stay!); emailed one of my old lecturers asking if he'll be a referee for my masters application; attempted to write more of my personal statement for my masters application; emailed the lady at the travel centre about my Oz visa and a top-up mastercard; attempted to clean my kitchen but the boys have left so much mess I didn't really make a dent in it *le sigh*

Left to do before I go travelling: decide what on earth I'm taking with me and to try and figure out how I'm going to pay for things along the route. No point taking loads of cash but I don't have a credit card - only a debit card that may or may not work abroad. I need to check. I'm looking at getting one of these "top-up" mastercards that works as a credit card but only if I've loaded the money onto it first. Suggestions?

Right now I'm absolutely exhausted. 's what pneumonia does to a person. Still feeling like I've been kicked in the ribs but I have another course of antibiotics to complete so *fingers crossed* I'll be all healthy before I go.

Right now I'm to find a snack and take my last tablet of the day, then snooze.

Happy New Year 2010 everyone xxx
  • Listening to: New Newton Faulkner album
  • Reading: "Small Gods" - Pratchett
  • Playing: Mafia Wars on Facebook... oh dear
  • Drinking: Green tea
I went home about two weeks ago now for what was my last ever week in Germany. My Dad is due to retire from the army next year and has been posted back to the UK for his last 6 months. So no more German Christmas' for me, no more Christmas markets or kasekuchen, real log fires or walks in the woods in the beautiful Teutoburger Wald. It is very sad, considering I have lived in Germany longer than in any other country in my life, including my birth country of the UK, and I shall miss it a lot.

But change happens, and I have a huge adventure to look forward to next year :D Lots of planning left to do for that but I have sent my passport away to the Vietnamese Embassy to get my visa, have already got my American visa sorted and have (hopefully) found someone for my room, just need to let the landlord know...

Anyway, as a result of this being my last trip to Deutschland for the immediate future, I took *hundreds* of photographs while I was away. Some of which have already made their way up here, others will follow.

I hope you like them.
  • Listening to: Housemates talking computers
  • Reading: "Unseen Academicals" - Pratchett
  • Playing: MarioKart on the Wii... way toooo addictive
... to be exact.

Yep, further to my previous journal entry my flights are now booked! Ahhhh!

The plan is thus: I leave for Vietnam on the 26th of January and then have seven weeks to get myself to Singapore via Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia. I leave Singapore for Perth and have two months travelling by train and bus around Australia before another month in New Zealand. Then I have two and half weeks in the Cook Islands before flying into LA. Got about five weeks on the West Coast before I arrive home on the 31st July.

Ahhhhhh!!! I am very excited but also very nervous. I've just booked my first couple of nights in a hostel in Hanoi and have realised I'm travelling through Vietnam over their Tet festival (Vietnamese New Year). Should be interesting to say the least.

So now all I have to do before I leave is get my train pass sorted for Oz, find someone to take over the contract on my room, choose and apply for a Masters course/PGCE, move all my rubbish back home, get some injections/malaria stuff sorted out and apply for my visas... Not too much then.... I might still be slightly shocked about how real this is all getting :D
  • Listening to: Builders next door talking loudly ><
  • Reading: Travel guides
  • Eating: Ciabatta with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • Drinking: Water
... give or take anyway. That's the amount of time I am planning on travelling the world come February. Now because my return flights are so far in the future (late July, possibly August next year) I cannot book anything until the end of this month, which is a plus as I haven't got my route entirely sorted yet.

The only solid part of my trip I have decided on is the Australia leg. At some point in my travels I shall fly into Perth and then get the Rail Explorer Pass which gives me unlimited rail travel on the India-Pacific (Perth-Adelaide-Sydney), the Ghan (Adelaide-Alice Springs-Darwin) and the Overland (Adelaide-Melbourne) routes. My plan is to go Perth-Adelaide-Alice Springs-Adelaide-Melbourne-Adelaide-Sydney before then getting a Greyhound bus from Sydney to Brisbane stopping at some of the places (especially Surfer's Paradise) along the route. From there I'll fly out of Brisbane down to New Zealand.

Before that however I want to see some of Southeast Asia. Ideally I'd like to fly into Hanoi in Vietnam and then travel down through Vietnam, through Cambodia into Thailand and then overland from Bangkok to Singapore. BUT safely does come to mind, especially as I am a not-very-large girl travelling by myself. I've entertained the idea of going with a group, but the only routes I can find so far are Bangkok-Hanoi, not the other way around! Which is very fustrating. So I am considering doing the Vietnam and Cambodia section by myself and then joining a tour for Bangkok-Singapore. I am loathe to do everything perfectly organised, as I want to experience the countries I visit, rather than have things arranged and sterile, but I do realise there is a fine line between freedom and safety.

From Singapore I can fly to Perth and start the Australia leg, then after New Zealand I'd like to do some of the South Pacific islands - notably Fiji, Tonga and the Cook Islands before flying home via Los Angeles. Obviously this is all time (and money!) dependent!

But it is exciting to plan, and as my job sucks and kempo has gone REALLY screwy at the moment it is one of the few things keeping me sane! Joys.
  • Reading: Eric by Terry Pratchett
  • Watching: Some wierd Emergency program
  • Eating: Blueberry muffin
  • Drinking: Water
Well I have finished university! Yay! Graduation was last Monday which was lovely. Got to wear a silly hat and gown and parents were ever-so-proud. Final results... I got a 2:1. 's alright but as I was only 2% or so off a First so a little disappointing.

So decisions on what to do next. Travel first of all, and then a Masters. In what I'm not sure. Possibly Social Archaeology, possibly a MBA, possibily on Global Politics. We'll see how I feel.

I also, and it feels very wierd to say, have a boyfriend. *shock* A lovely guy, a phd student at the uni. We got together after a long chat after a BBQ, as there were certain issues surrounding it, but I'm quite happy. He also has a habit of feeding me - he's an amazing cook and as I am fairly meh about food this is a good thing!

More good news - Insurance have agreed to cover my broken camera so *fingers crossed* I should have a new one in the next few days. I cannot wait.
  • Reading: UNESCO reports on Himeji Castle
  • Watching: House
  • Drinking: Lemsip - colds suck
Well I'm procrastinating from doing another essay and I've just come to the realisation it's my final one. The last ever one I shall do for my degree. When I had it in next Tuesday I only have two exams the week after that and then I'm done. By the end of May I'll have finished my degree and I won't even be 21. Scary!

The essay is actually really interesting - am doing a management plan for Himeji Castle. Have found lots of awesome reports from UNESCO and the Japanese Government on it so that'll help me :D

Rest of the degree is hopefully going ok. Have had three essays back all over 70 with my others all in the high 60s. Dissertation was handed in last week (eek!) and I'm hoping for a 2:1.

I'm also planning my round the world trip. Was going to leave in April but am now thinking "what the hell" so am going to leave in January.

Graduation is in July. Which reminds me, I have yet to order my gown and hat for the ceremony. Must do that, when I have money...

Talking about money... Sponsor me!! I'm doing the Walk the Wright this Sunday to raise money for the Earl Mountbatten Hospice. 26.5 miles across the Isle of Wright, and by the looks of it it's going to be pissing it down >< If you feel generous, please sponsor me: www.justgiving.com/charleypike Even if you can only spare a doller it would be really appreciated. The Hospice looks after people with terminal cancer and is the only facility of its type on the island. /end shameless promotion.
Another brief entry to let y'all know I'm back from Japan.

It was absolutely incredible and though I don't have time to tell all right now I'll stick a link up to my journal when I do :D

There will be some pics going up. Some are already up. Enjoy!
  • Reading: Breaking Dawn - my sister made me
  • Eating: Finnish chocolate
  • Drinking: Water
This will be a brief fly-in visit from me just to make two announcements:

First of all I took the test for my shodan (black belt) last Saturday and I passed!!! It feels very bizarre wearing a black belt and I'm not sure I'll get used to it but I'm very happy. My grading partner's mum filmed it all - including me kicking him really hard in the groin and then punching him in the eye - not that I was nervous or anything... :)

Secondly I am going to be away for the next two weeks and I'm going to JAPAN! Yep, I leave tomorrow morning for Osaka. Spending time in Kyoto, training at Tadotsu and then travelling up to Nara, Mt. Fuji and Tokyo. I cannot wait. It doesn't seem real at the moment, but I'm sure once I get off the plane after something like a 14hour flight I'll be suuuuuuuuuuuper excited! :D

So take care all and I'll be back in a few, hopefully with lots of wonderful photographs!