Travel log. Journey to Gozo. First leg – train to London.

For those who do not want to hear my ramblings about food, the consistency of my poop and a sunshine island, I recommend avoiding me until the 9th of September. For the rest of you, welcome on board the oversharing express to the beautiful Maltese Island of Gozo.

So…why Gozo? Well, to explain I have to go back a bit. A couple of years ago my big sister Nay was having a truly shitty time, which I won’t go into here as its not my story. A friend of hers from her old days as a professional dancer kindly invited her out to ‘test guest’ a new luxurious detox retreat type resort on Gozo she she could recuperate. To cut a long story short, Nay fell in love with the island, fell in love with the Amchara resort and did a Shirley Valentine – getting a job there and deciding not to come back. While Nay was there she quit or cut down almost all her bad habits, lost a tonne of weight, and looks about ten years younger. The changes on the inside were even greater with her doing so well in her work that she’s now Assistant Manager and has a confidence in her own abilities that I’ve never known in her before. Amchara and Gozo helped her find herself again and like the person in the mirror. It’s been about a year and a half now and we’ve all missed her, even though she flies back when she can. But what time I’ve had with Nay has been elbowed in between all the other family and friends and mercy dashes to buy Primark knickers that take precedence on her return. So for ages she has been pleading with me to come out.

I won’t lie. I’m a terrible traveler. I love being other places I just hate the journey there. I avoided flying for 19 years as I was so afraid I couldn’t even look at a photo of a plane without feeling a bit sick. I have hypnotherapy and a lot of determination to thank for getting myself just about brave enough to push myself on to that plane now. But I still have to have the ‘If I die, please look after each other,’ conversation with my family before each and every flight. I know…I *know* that statistically speaking it is the safest form of travel and I’m so much more likely to die eating a frankfurter than on a plane that it makes people who are phobic of German sausage more logical than me (statistically speaking). But the odds never completely reassure me. I am a worrier. You should all know that by now.

So it took a lot for me to book that plane ticket, check it and recheck I had bought the right one, print out the boarding pass, book my train and bus tickets to the airport and leave the house this morning, carry on wheels case in hand. ‘Don’t die.’ Said my 18 year old son as he hugged me goodbye, having inherited my sunny optimism.

I had to use the loo for the 5th time this morning before I left. Nervous tum. Enjoy this moment, I thought to myself. These might be the last solid poops you do for 8 days.

Because it seemed daft to go all the way to Amchara and not experience a little of the same adventure my sister went through. So I’ve committed to doing their famous juice fasting for at least 5 of the 7 days. And, bless her, my sister has promised to do it with me as a refresher to her efforts to improve her health out there.

I will be perfectly honest. I don’t give a flying fuck about detoxing. Even the word makes me uncomfortable like the other health buzz word of the moment ‘inflammation’. I already don’t smoke, hardly ever drink alcohol, drink mostly water, have a low sugar, no red meat, predominantly vegetarian diet, I’ve dramatically lowered my carbs and dairy this year and I don’t add salt or sugar to anything. Most of what I eat is cooked from scratch and I swim three times a week and dog walk often. I’ve lost a stone this year of the four stone I had to lose just being sensible like this. I’m marvelous already. But I do have a tonne of wobbly girth to lose still, and I’m fascinated to see what happens when I follow in my sister’s footsteps and do the juice fast.

This is not a mango and banana type fructose heavy juice extravaganza, but the hardcore wheatgrass shots, spirulina and veg juices that only those dedicated to this stuff manage to drink. I’m told they do amazing raw food at the resort too but I won’t be getting any. Except maybe my last day if I’m lucky.

If I want to fully embrace the Amchara experience I am encouraged to have daily self administered coffee enemas. There is a scientific reason to this that everyone raves about. My ears and eyes glaze over and my bumhole clamps up tight even at the thought. There is only so far I’m prepared to go on this adventure and I’m not sure seven days of juice is enough of a seduction for me to allow anything up my butt hole. It’s a sacred place. Things go out not in. Also, I only have one week with my sis and don’t want to spend talking through a toilet door.

But I have been warned that the juice makes you poo liquid anyway. I’m starting to panic about this. The thought of soiling my nice new swimming costume with some excretion of beetroot and cucumber doesn’t sit well with my image of a relaxing trip in the sun. We shall see if my sphincter muscles are of Olympian standards or one wheat grass shot away from needing to regress to Pampers.

So you have been warned. My travel log will consist mainly of food talk and poop talk. And there’s every possibility that there will be news reports of two sisters in Gozo having killed each other for the last remaining chick pea in the apartment. I walked past a blackberry bush on the way to the station today and wondered if I should be ramming my pockets and underwear full of them for emergencies. I didn’t. I may come to regret that later.



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