Why India Surprised Me

I didn’t get groped in India on the first day. Not once. On the second day I even took the metro, and forgetting about the women-only car at the front, crammed myself in with all the men. But no groping. One man even accidentally brushed against my forearm and then held up his hand in apology. What was going on?

Jenny Far Away’s Travel Wish List 2017

Every year Lonely Planet publishes their ‘Best in Travel’ list for the upcoming year, and this time a reader suggested that I should make my own list! At the time he mentioned it, I was actually in the process of seriously thinking about my holidays for the next year or so, so it was timely and appropriate! Of course by just now when I’m getting around to publishing it, it’s the holiday season and everyone is shopping and making Christmas wish lists. I have one too, it’s just not stuff. So here’s Jenny Far Away’s Travel Wish List for 2017!

The sun rising over Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat

Haraam! The Day I Bought Pork in Oman

I’m driving slowly along the street, looking carefully at the shop names while also dodging haphazardly parked cars and wayward pedestrians darting out in front of me. Suddenly my destination is there, on the right, and I am a little astounded that it actually exists. I park across the street and get out of the car, heart pounding, already feeling a little ashamed of myself. My face reddens a little as I walk towards the shop. I feel as if all eyes are on me, aware of what I am up to.

Life in Sohar: Jenny Far Away’s First Impressions of Oman

Did you know that in Oman, if you run a red light, you can face a fine of 500 rials (about USD $1300) and four days in jail? Yup. They take their red lights seriously here. This is just one of the many, many things I’ve learned about life here in Oman. I’ve been in Sohar for two weeks now. I’m adjusting, slowly, and will be really settling in and doing more exploring as soon as my home is ready to move into. I can’t wait for that. But in the meantime, here are a few of my first impressions of Oman.

A Visit to the Orphaned Wildlife (OWL) Rehabilitation Society

Daisy stared at me from behind the bars of her enclosure, curious, willing me to come closer. Robust and healthy, she looked just like the owls I saw in the wild a few weeks ago. The difference? Daisy can’t fly, can’t hunt, and thus can’t survive in the wild. So she’s here, at the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (OWL), a non-profit raptor and owl rescue centre that takes in injured and orphaned birds of prey.

Whanganui Inlet at low tide, showing its seaweed and deeper channels trailing through the mud flats.

New Zealand Walks for Wimps: Knuckle Hill Track and Kaihoka Lakes

The panorama from the top of Knuckle hill is incredible; from 342 metres above sea level you can see most of Whanganui Inlet, and in the other direction nothing but trees. The drive to get here isn’t too shabby either. The road winds around the inlet, crossing streams and small bays. At low tide it is stunning with tiny channels snaking their way through the mud flats and seaweed and the late afternoon light giving it all a silvery glow.

Cosy Nook, Southern Scenic Route, Southland, New Zealand

Western Southland: The ‘Other’ Side of New Zealand’s Southern Scenic Route

NZ’s Southern Scenic Route is more than just the Catlins! That stretch of road is famous for a reason, but what many people don’t realize is that there’s another side to it. The Southern Scenic Route actually extends West of Invercargill along the Southern coast of New Zealand and up to Manapouri. It winds its way through farmland, historical and cultural sights, and past endless gorgeous beaches, with far less tourists around than in other parts of the country.