Couchsurfing, Seychelles and Living like a Local

Travel Journal Entry

Date. 10/9/15


“You think the only people who are people, are people who think and look like you, but if you walk the footsteps of a stranger you’ll learn things you never knew,you never knew”.

Sitting on the Plane from Abu Dhabi to Seychelles. Before this trip I didnt know very much about the Seychelles besides it being a popular honeymoon destination.Pretty sure Prince William and Kate honeymooned here and I remember seeing Rosanna Davidson put up some pics on instagram a few weeks ago and I think the Beckhams have a house here. Anyways its far from a honeymoon Im on. It was a free stop over between Europe and South Africa so the lady in Flight Centre showed me some pictures and advised me to stay a few nights. After looking up accommodation I quickly realised its not exactly backpacker budget friendly so I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to try Couchsurfing. Couchsurfing is a network of people who offer their couches or spare rooms for free to backpacker’s. As I Settle in and try get a few hours sleep on the plane, the guy next to me, a Middle aged man from Austrailia who is flying for the first time starts talking to me. I tell him that Im couchsurfing in Seychelles and he proceeds to tell me about his sister who met her partner on the internet. ‘No shame in it these days’ shhhite is that what couchsurfing sounds like a sleazy way to hook up…. Ugh sick feeling in my stomach…no no I must not think this way…helpful thinking patterns Elaine..helpful thinking patterns!!! Finally after making it through customs at Seychelles airport after informing customs that James my couch surfing host was a friend I met while in the UK. Emmm well dodge!anyways as I wait for him to pick me up( yes he offered to pick me up wow what a treat as a backpacker!) I begin to feel nervous again .What am I doing having a strange guy I never met pick me up and take me to his house… Before i let mind wander anymore I remember what a fellow backpacker once said to me the more out of your comfort zone you are the better the experience. Ok this is fine. Keep calm!!Moments later James arrives greeting me with two kisses emm very french. Which isnt surprising as I'm pretty sure the French settled here a few centuries ago.

James seems chatty and friendly and Im instantly put at ease. He informs me that he has to go to work for a few hours(hes a teacher at the local school)so he is going to drop me at a beach bar where I can have some breakfast and go for a walk on the beach if the rain stops. Ha well i cant see that happening. I really wish I hadn’t sent my raincoat home now after thinking it was too bulky and taking up too much room in my backpack. So i settle myself in the bar and order the cheapest thing on the menu . Fried eggs and hash browns . I’m getting a few strange looks probably because I'm wearing jeans and a long sleeve top and its about 35degrees. Oh i wish I had changed at the airport. I can feel the sweat dripping from up upper back to my lower. Being a backparker definitely doesnt allow you the luxury of giving a hoot about your appearance thats for sure.

As i sit waiting for my brekkie to come I’m seriosuly struggling to stay awake . Ive been on the go now for about 24 hours and I really cant remember the last time Ive had more than 4hours sleep. Backpacking is exhausting. Sleep is always on the back burner. Id say Ive aged about ten years in the last few weeks! I need sleep now. I look like a homeless person right now with my head bopping from one side to the other as I battle nodding off in the middle if the bar. When my food arrives I see its served with 2 slices of white bread. Score I might actually be full after this way over priced breakfast. Safe to say the organic,gluten free, dairy free diet is long gone haha. Wow how things have changed. In the past I would have actually judged people who ate white sliced bread. White bread is the devil for my insides. But honestly Im not really thinking of that as I make my hash brown sandwhich. The really shocking bit was that my stomach didn’t even react that badly….oh dear ive been eating so much bad bad food my body has adjusted ugh disgusting. So the rain stopped. So I decide to take a stroll on the beach. Might wake me up a bit. Wow this beach is stunning. So tropical. Ive seen alot of beaches but not like this. However I have a feeling that my time in Seychelles won't be about seeing great beaches but a far more exciting experience.

James arrives to collect me soon after as arranged and we head for his house. After a rather weird encounter with a friend of his and a police check point we arrive at his house. Nestled in the hils looking over Victoria and the coast this is well impressive. He shows me to my room. I have my own room and bathroom sweeeeet. I also see a washing machine. After wearing the same clothes everyday in Switzerland as it was freezing in and my supply of warm clothes was limited. So anyways the smell of days old clothes is uzzzing from my backpack. Washing clothes has to be one of the biggest luxuries. After a quick shower I decide to head to Beau Vallon beach, popular with tourists, while James goes back to work.

Of course I miss my stop on the bus. I’m the only white person on the bus now. The tourists must not venture out this far. The buses are big and crowded with people. The girl next to me is making me uncomfortable how close she is to me .I didn’t realize how much I needed my personal space. The guy in front of me just through his bus ticket out the window. That disgusted me. Littering is just something I don’t see much of. How naive do i sound right now. Anyways I hop off the bus after seeing a nice beach I can lie on for a while. I lay down my travel towel. Agh these things are vile. After 20 mins of soaking up the sun I get up before I fall asleep and wake up to one of the guys lurking around the beach too close to me for comfort. As I get dressed quickly all eyes are on me ha time to go. As i walk down the coast road I hear some guys working on a building site whistle and shout . I laugh. Alot of things here are different but some things are the exact same. I also see kids hopping of a school buses and heading over to the shop for some ice pops. I stop to talk to them. Their amused by my accent. Their English is superb. James told me earlier education is free here so everyone gets to school. I also pass some very expensive hotels and it reminds me of Rosanna Davidson pictures of Seychelles. I don’t remember seeing her pictures that portray the Island I’m seeing. Did they just stay in the comfort of their 5 star hotel.

Its seriously hot right now, really hot. Lack of water and sleep is making me feel like I’m a 90 year old woman who hasn’t done exercise for a very long time. I’ve realized when I’m tired I don’t care if the nicest beach or most famous museum is around the corner. I need sleep. I stop at the next bus stop park in the shade and wait for the next bus back to town. I’ve arranged to meet James near the bus stop at 5. I hop on the back of his scooter. He uses his scooter during rush hour as its quicker to get around. Oh this is scary. The streets are busy and James is whizzing around cars and trucks. I bump heads with him several times from his abrupt stopping. I’m so afraid my knees are going to bang of cars several times. Feeling my anxiousness he shouts ‘you gotta trust me here’. I pause for a moment. He’s right I do he knows this place. Instantly i feel calm and enjoy the ride up the hills. The views are pretty good. I finally take a nap while James has some students over for tutoring. I wake up several hours later drenched in wet and slightly disorientated. I walk out to the hall to find a note from James. Hes gone to gym and I’ve to call him on the house phone and let me know what I'd like for dinner. Awh sweet I’m starving.

I use this time to wash my clothes, look up what I need for South Africa and Thailand. When Traveling alone there is always I mean always stuff to be looked up organized and planned that’s what I do miss about traveling with others,sharing this stuff. James arrives home with dinner. Fresh fish rice and veg yum healthiest dinner I’ve had in ages. He really is very kind. We eat and move up to the balcony to taste sum of the local rum. It has caramel in it delicious. In the car earlier James mentioned that a lot of people ‘hustle’ around for an income here. I decide to ask him what he means by this. On reflection i wish i hadnt. I’ve always had a big mouth. ‘Oh you know prostitution and drugs. I used to pimp for some girls’ he slightly laughed while discussing it. Feck i wasn’t expecting that. I try to hide the shock from my face. Em how did you fall into that I ask. He tells me that his friend used to chauffeur for rich tourists and James knew some girls in the game so he arranged hook ups. Right… He then continues on about how a recent trip to Thailand wasn’t just about seeing the sights . Okey I’ve had enough I’ve heard enough. I start my social work lecture telling him about my volunteer work in the prisons where I was in contact with mostly guys who got caught bringing drugs into Australia. I told him about how hard it was for their family etc. Its obvious he comes from a good family his Dad seems to own half the island he owns this house the car James drives. He stopped off at his grannies house earlier to check on her. This guy comes from a good family he wants to make money quick. His monthly wage for teaching is equal to less than a weeks wage in Ireland and this place is expensive. I think what I’m saying is getting through to him. Elaine Doyle changing the world one pimp at a time hahaha. Or maybe not but least I’ve had my say.

Conversation switched to him teaching me about the stars, Galaxy and universe. James specialized in Physics in Nottingham University in England. Its obvious he’s very intelligent and is very passionate about teaching. I talked to him about my work. He had a very good insight into psychology and mental health. Impressive. All the time he’s speaking to me with his top off. It is very hot yep hes just warm. Thoughts of what the Aussie guy on the plane flood my brain. Time for bed i think. I thank James for all he’s done for me today. I sleep very easy that night. Surprisingly. 10/9/15 6.20 am .wake up. First thought. I love my life. I get 2 more nights in this awesome place. I swallow hard I feel the flu coming on. Finally an excuse to stay in bed all day yessss.


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