About me and my blog…

My name is Maya and this is my attempt at writing a blog!

Actually, that’s not true. My name isn’t Maya. Maya is the name I was given in when I was in Nepal, and I love it, and so I thought I would try it out as my writing pseudonym…

Most of these emails were written over several years, and they were mostly my messages home to my friends and family while I was living abroad or travelling, so although I’m only just getting around to putting them onto a blog, I will post the original date it was written on, and try to sort them by country/year as well. They are a combination of travel blogs and general musings on life when in the UK, as well as more recently, my forays into knitting, quilting, sewing, cooking and other such crafty hobbies. I’m afraid there may be a few gaps here and there, although I will try to fill these in when I can. I have also changed a few names here and there to respect other people’s privacy, as this blog is about my experiences, and is not intended to cause any offense to anyone.

The title of my blog is a line from an Andrew Marvell poem called “To his coy mistress”, and I have shamelessly plagiarised the title of my blog not only from him, but from two of my closest friends who already have a photo blog with the same name! Luckily they have given me permission to use the same name for my blog, so they deserve the credit!

To give you a very brief overview, here’s the quick chronology of what I’ve been up to:

2002-2003 – Undergraduate year abroad at UCSB, (University of California, Santa Barbara), aged 21-22 (I’m afraid my writing style at 21 was overly excitable and I may have abused the use of exclamation marks to an alarming degree….). During this trip I also visited to Mexico, New york, and Colorado.

2004-2005 – After graduating from Uni, I moved to Suwon, South Korea to teach English, aged 23-24. During this time I also went on holiday to Vietnam and Cambodia.

2006-2007 – I flew from Seoul to Australia to spend 3 months in Sydney with family  before moving to Kuwait to teach primary (Year 2 and 3), aged 25-26. During this time I also travelled to Bahrain, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Beirut.

2007-2008 – I moved to Kathmandu, Nepal, to volunteer at an orphanage for 10 months, aged 26-27. At the end of my stay I travelled around India and Malaysia/Singapore for a couple of months.

2008-2009 – I decided to give up on teaching and re-train as a humanitarian aid worker. I studied on a Masters programme that took me to France, Liverpool, and South Sudan, aged 27-28

2010 – I moved to a satellite town outside of Delhi, India, to work for a private University as Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, aged 29. During this time I travelled around northern and central India, Nepal and Kashmir.

2010-2013 – I started a new job at an NGO and relocated to Oxford. At this stage in my life (29-32…) I decided to buy a house and become a mortgage slave, so sadly my travelling adventures tailed off a bit due to a massive lack of funds, although I did manage to get to France, USA (Colorado and Texas specifically) and Qatar….

2013-2014 – Got deployed to support the Super-Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda emergency response in The Philippines for a year (aged 32-33). I visited family in Australia, The Isles of Scilly and Thailand during the course of the year. I also got published in a book, which was very exciting!

2014-2015 – In December 2014 after a brief trip back to the UK from the Philippines, I was deployed to a new emergency response in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI).

2015 – After 8 months in Iraq, during which I also went on a fabulous R and R break to Jordan, I came back to the UK for some holidays, downtime, and then got another job working in Oxford again for the rest of the year. (age 34) I also visited Madrid for a short work trip and sightseeing weekend, and went to Canada for a friend’s wedding!

2015-2016 – At the end of 2015, and crossing over into the beginning of 2016 I went on a fantastic long holiday to Thailand and Australia.

2016 – 2016 was mostly spent in Oxford, (age 35) but I also took a trip to Washington (USA) for work, visited Australia again on some family business, and went on a 2-week work trip to Dakar, Senegal, and also then spent 6 weeks in Nairobi, Kenya.

2017 – I had another trip to Senegal, and also a short trip back to Iraq (age 36). I also took up pottery in a new class which I adore, so lots of photos of pots! I also went on a mini-break to Italy with a friend (my first time in Italy!), a mini-break to France to see some family, and another mini-break to Holland with my brother. A packed European schedule! I also went camping in Cornwall and went to a lovely festival, and started an adoption process.

2018 – Lots of work trips! Specifically to Berlin for a few days, a work trip to Uganda, as well as a holiday to Cuba over Easter which was AMAZING! I also had a mini-holiday in France and another work trip to Yemen in August. I also got approved as an adopter (at age 37) and waited to be matched with a child! At the end of the year I went to Australia to have Christmas with my family.

2019 – After returning from Australia, I had a work trip to Afghanistan and another work trip to Ethiopia. While in Ethiopia I was matched with a little girl and in June (when I was 38) the match was formally approved! I met my daughter on the 4th July for the first time, and spent the rest of the year on maternity leave getting to know my daughter.

2020 – Still on maternity leave, and my adoption was formally finalised by the judge in January, and we had planned trips to France and Australia to spend time with family. Sadly however the Covid-19 pandemic put a stop to all travel and we spent many weeks locked down at home instead… I went back to work remotely and it was mostly all about Covid.

2021 – I started 2021 with Covid (age 39) and was really ill for a while, most of 2021 was all about lockdowns and restrictions and working from home still, and our Australia trip got cancelled a couple more times. I turned 40 but my fun extravagant 40th was pretty much cancelled due to Covid. However I also decided to adopt another child and started the approval process all over again. I met my next daughter and by the end of the year got approved as an adopter again! And I also accidentally bought a disaster house which we moved into….

2022 – My second daughter finally came home! I went back on adoption leave and started finally trying to re-plan some missed holidays and trips again…. Most of 2022 was about adjusting to being a family of 3 and doing some local holidays like camping in Wales etc.

2023 – This is the year of HOLIDAYS! This year we FINALLY made it to Australia after 3 previously cancelled trips, (4th time lucky!) and we have holidays planned to Portugal and France as well as camping in the UK. Can’t wait!

To see the full range of places I’ve been, check out the “View topics” page.

5 thoughts on “About me and my blog…

  1. Hi there,

    really enjoyed your post on Guiuan! I was there too, but we must have just missed each other. I was working with Radyo Bakdaw and am researching it for my PhD. I read that you were a karaoke judge and was wondering if you would mind filling in a very very short questionnaire about the karaoke? It’s really short (did I mention that before?:) less than ten minutes I’d say, maybe five, and it would help me out a lot. It’s all anonymous of course.
    The link is http://www.surveymoz.com/s/IQ5SS/ if you know any other humanitarian who attended or participated in the karaoke in anyway it would be amazing if you could forward the link to them.
    Cheers and all the best on your travels,


    • Hi Viv,
      Sure! I’ve just done the survey now.
      There are actually two posts on it – one describing the experience and one with pictures from the day, if you want to see the photos of the event.
      I actually still have my judges’ badge, it was one of my most prized possessions in the Philippines response!

      • Hey,
        that’s amazing! Thanks so much! I’ll definitely have a look at the other post! I found my judges’ badge the other day and it really made me smile 🙂 good times
        Thanks again!

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