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Remember, Remember, the fifth of November.

Don’t know about the 5th of November, but November 2015 is one month that I’ll certainly be remembering for years to come – most notably because it was home to the most exciting fortnight of my travels to date! Over the course of 15 days, I travelled from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and San Francisco, via the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Venice Beach, Santa Monica and the Valley of Fire. I won’t ramble on about that too much (pretty much because I’ve already rambled on about it here and here). But expect a lot more America posts over the coming weeks!

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OK, here’s a bit more of San Francisco – mainly because I can’t get enough of it!

What else has been going on?

What, two weeks in America isn’t enough for you?! Cor! But seriously, I genuinely haven’t done much else this month. I missed out on Guy Fawkes day celebrations because I was in America. I missed out on World Travel Market because I didn’t have any available holiday. BUT I did manage to meet up with some lovely, lovely friends.

At the very end of October I went along to Traverse Mingle at the Hilton London Bankside. It was a beautiful hotel, neatly decorated with all Halloween odds and ends, but there was only one real reason why I ventured out of the house that evening:

…to see the amazing Sophie from Luggage Tags and Ticket Stubs for the first time in over two years!

besbians(Oh yeah, and I also got glasses within the last month or so…but I lost them in America, *slow clap*)

If you don’t already follow Sophie’s incredible blog, I’d recommend you take a look. I’ve known Sophie for years – even before we both started blogging – when we were working at the same weekend job during university. In 2013, Soph flew to China to begin teaching English in Xi’an. After that, she moved to Beijing to work as a radio presenter. She always has the best stories, which I’ve loved hearing about over regular Facebook messages over the years. And now, she’s back in England for the foreseeable future! Hurrah!

 What else has been going on in November? Well, I ticked off another of my #25before25 goals, completing a Go Ape assault course. We completed the course in Trent Park, North London, which is well worth visiting for a day even if you’re not wanting to go all James Bond on the ropes. There’s a petting zoo, acres of forest and a little cafe for a cosy cup of tea or coffee (and cake). For those not familiar with Go Ape, it’s a two-hour high rope course suspended in the trees. Think ziplines, rope nets, tunnels – the works. Of course, you’re all strapped in; not that that allayed my fears in any way, shape or form.

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During and after the course – can you sense my relief in the second picture?!

I’m not good with heights. Or exercise. Or anything involving adrenaline. So it was all a bit of a shock to my system… BUT I managed to get through the whole course. Somehow. Don’t get me wrong, I hated a good 80% of it, but it was a great achievement to have. Not sure I’ll be doing it again any time soon though…

Of course, November will also be remembered for one other reason: the atrocious attacks in various countries and cities, including in Paris. Even though I was in America when it all happened, I remember walking around in a bit of a daze, all while reading up on the escalating violence in Europe.

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Spotted in a window in San Francisco

Just a few weeks later, I was at a Courtney Barnett gig in London, and I couldn’t help but think of those poor people in The Bataclan – innocent people shot down while they were enjoying themselves; causing no threat to anyone. There was a noticeable alertness in the air, especially when during the encore we all saw four security guards run down the stairs towards the exit. We all exchanged glances: What should we do? Should we follow them? Thankfully, everything was OK. But it’s got me determined: we can’t let this threat from terror stop us from enjoying life. We cannot allow terrorists to succeed.

Blogs I’ve been reading

Following on from above, one of the best blog posts I’ve read this month has been, ‘Why I’ll Continue To Travel In The Face Of Fear’ by The Grown Up Gap Year. It sums up my views perfectly.

Looking ahead to December

This month, I’m 100%, resolutely staying in the UK. I’m so excited about Christmas it’s unreal. I can’t wait to spend my weekends discovering new Christmas markets, finding Christmas light displays, and mainly just staying indoors to hibernate with Netflix.

I’m also looking forward to a bit of a break from work at Christmas. So far I have no huge plans for Christmas or New Year – but I’m sure things will come along before much longer!

That’s my November summed up for you – how has your month been? Do you have any exciting December plans?