Keep your friends in high places

One of the things I will miss the most about living in Europe is the variety and diversity. There are plenty of countries within, and these countries are small compared with some of the mammoth nations some of you may reside. 

A two hour flight in any direction will almost guarantee you a different language, traditional national dish and with this, a great time.
I cannot wait for the weekend to be over and to make the most of this. In three days time I will depart northern England and with barely enough time to watch an in flight movie, land in sunny Spain. It has been a while since I have travelled short haul, it is nice to sit back and relax without the worry of what I am going to wear to get me through a 14+ hour flight. If you haven’t travelled long haul, choose comfort over style and thank me later!


My flatmate travels regularly throughout Europe with his job. I feel he is incredibly lucky. Then again he isn’t, if we see our careers as fate decided by the Sorting Hat, where does our ambition come into it? It doesn’t and like a muscle, if it isn’t used it starts to fade.
A group of us were chatting around the kitchen table two New Years Eve’s ago about the year ahead. My  travelling friend mentioned his trip to Germany for a conference amongst other trips. This caught the attention of another friend who is a pilot for a low budget airline in Europe. It turned out they were on the same scheduled flight, my pilot friend and my business travelling friend. How cool is that? The pilot insisted that he would do a call out, full name and all, claiming to have a very special passenger on board, special because he was the Duke of a town nearby. He stuck to his word and from this day on I take everything I hear from a pilot with a pinch of salt. 

It cannot imagine having a friend in the cockpit of a passenger jet I am flying in, the same friends I wouldn’t trust to hold my phone for a second. 

Keep your friends close, your enemies closer and your pilots in a very good mood!

My ice is too cold!

I love to give TripAdvisor a good browse in the weeks before a holiday. Nothing gets me in the mood to explore than to hear from those that have left fresh footsteps in the sand. The problem with this of course is sometimes people stand in crap on route.

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I confessed recently that I was going onto an 18-30’s holiday, what I won’t confess is the hotel. I don’t need to, it’s basic and will only be used for sleep. Nothing exciting here I’m afraid! On this kind of trip, the hotel isn’t often the luxury, more of the necessity. I did of course look at the reviews, which are decent considering our busy location. Close to the beach and close to vibrant areas. Hilariously and as always, there were some not so happy guests.

‘It was too noisy’

You’re in Benidorm!

‘If I had a pound for every time I heard doors banging from youngsters, I would have been able to pay for another week there’

You’re also in Benidorm!

‘There was only one English TV channel’

You’re in Spain?!

It is as if some people close their eyes and book whatever hotel receives the first click, expecting it to be everything they want. Of course if people want to go to a resort of this nature and have a quiet holiday I am sure it is possible with a little research. But to book such a hotel in such an area and complain about what was probably obvious and predictable all along, is a little strange to say the least. Some reviews I have read seem pretty unnecessary.

I personally cannot wait to get there and complain that the sand is too hot, the food too Spanish and that the English accent a little weird. I wonder how much of a refund I will receive…

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The internet is an amazing thing. I remember my first holidays as a child, jumping straight onto a coach from the airport, not knowing anything about the hotel we were going to until we arrived. Thankfully the hotels were great so it defeats the point a little, but stay with me. To be able to look at honest reviews from actual guests and make a decision before getting there truly is remarkable. No longer do we have to rely on companies to give undoubtedly biased descriptions and images, the internet is too powerful. Make use of this amazing opportunity and choose what is best for you and where. There is less and less excuse to have a bad holiday in 2017.

I am not going to get much sleep there, at least I have read the warning signs in advance!

 

 

 

Destination: Sydney

Time: 00.00

Check online banking. Payday is finally here.

Time: 00.05

I head to the Australian government website and apply for the Working Holiday visa.

Time: 00.35

Online form completed, I eagerly await it being authorised and sent to my inbox.

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In fact, as I wake up this morning it seems to have already been granted. Can that really be the case so soon? Not that I am complaining, I remember how long it took to get my J1 Visa in the United States.

A bunch of forms printed, filled in and sent back, an arranged interview at the embassy down in London, train tickets purchased, a day in the embassy, security checks and all belongings taken away from me and finally, a stamp in the passport. Not that I am complaining here either. It was worth it in the end. This wasn’t so straight forward for a friend as he lost one page of his documents on route. He had to wait outside for us and come down another day. Immigration have no time for that.

Their visa was a little different. I had to work for one company for 12 months. With my Aussie visa I can work wherever the work is, as long as it is no longer than 6 months with any employer. Sounds like a good deal to fuel my years holiday. Of course if any company decides to sponsor me I can extend my stay. If I do farm work for three months I will be able to extend for another year. What I find exciting on this trip is that I have no idea where I will be heading in the next few years. Will I head back to Europe? What if I find that special someone and build a family in Australia? Being a single guy in his late twenties is a little strange like that.

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I feel everyone has some kind of advantage. If you are in a relationship, awesome. I assume the relationship is one in which both people have similar interests and can feed off each other in terms of inspiration and funds to travel. If you are single you have a free pass to do what you want , when you want with little impact to anyone. Take a week or a year out, it’s up to you. If you are reliant or have someone rely on you, blog about it, tell your story and build a following, your unique perspective of what it is like to travel will be picked up by curious ears I am sure.

This may be the last year I blog from the UK. Thankfully I have a couple of years left of my twenties to blog with as much content as I can, I will make the most of it.

It is amazing that we have the option to follow people as they travel and document their lives through blogs, vlogs and social media. I am sitting here reading about lives in lands that historical populations did not even know existed, wishing I was there as this summers day is so dark I need my standing light on despite being early afternoon. If that doesn’t motivate me to get up and go I don’t know what will.

I will see you all on the other side, I will be here until then if you want me.

First image: Liam Pozz– Unsplash

Second image: Josh Wip– Unsplash

Eurovision

A couple years back, I created a great drinking game. Every time the UK didn’t get a point from the European vote, we all had a shot of whatever was on the table. I was passed out by the time we got to the danish vote.

I am not a huge fan, but I find it funny that we didn’t finish bottom of the table. Even after Brexit… Really?! 

Happy Saturday and do-the-fuck-you-want Sunday, providing you aren’t abiding by the religious rules. Eat, drink and be merry!

My phone caught the eclipse! I think?

I got up fairly early to watch the coverage today, as it got darker I decided to have a look outside, although it was pretty cloudy…

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I know I know, don’t go looking at the sun. However as the eclipsed sun dimmed, I took the opportunity to point my iPhone at it…

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A crescent! Is this an image of the moon blocking out the sun? It did indeed change shape at different stages of the eclipse.

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It looked pretty cool regardless, and although cloudy I have a new technique in time for 2026…

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…aaaand back to normality.

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Truth: The only Saviour

Religion has been an increasingly fascinating topic for me since my teens, just before leaving secondary education. So interesting a day can no longer go by without it crossing my mind, for whatever reason. Maybe that is just a part of growing up. Curiosity is a gift we all use to some degree, yet the doors to other ideas and beliefs are down corridors we rarely dare to tread, and these are the doors I have found to be much more colourful as I’ve matured.

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 I have also paid close attention to how, over the years, it has developed and played a part in the lives of people around me. One of the main points I feel I need to address in my blog is how the grey area surrounding religious/superstitous belief has contributed to a lot of negativity in the world. We are trying to progress. But to do that we need to get over our differences in ideology. A mammoth task indeed.

Religion is everywhere, putting it as bluntly as possible. And it’s still playing a huge role in our society, if not all societies. Everywhere we look we are constantly reminded of this, the good and bad. Religiously inspired architecture that has shaped much of Europe, for example. The still ever present street preachers bellowing out their personal preferences to passers by. The fantastic charities set up by certain sects. Regardless of our opinions of religions influence- it is there.

Some feel the small annoyances religion brings do not outweigh the bigger, more positive inputs that it has contributed, or the positivity and hope it brings to people that need it.

I would be the first to sympathise when due. Travelling to work every day I appreciate the view given to us from our parents, grandparents and generations before. Whether it is a castle standing strong against the test of time, or a church steeple still dominating the skyline amongst the constant growth of modern day civilisation. It is definitely a thing of beauty, when one considers its age. Most notably the craftmanship and dedication to achieve such buildings, regardless of how relevant our appreciation is to the inspiration of its construction.

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But then I try to imagine living in that kind of society. The way of life present at the time.  A one flawed with vague scientific speculation but heavy punishments for thinking outside the norm. When little was known but execution was more than appropriate for those who dare to question. How is it that jail and punishment could be so nessesary and brutal for a time when nothing (nothing worthy at least) was set in stone?

Common sense is not so common”

A quote by Voltaire in 1764, or at least was along those lines, summing up (although greatly an understatement in my opinion) the philosophers thoughts on the shenanigans religious folk got up to in his day. Lets face it, women were still being burned as witches in much of Europe. In the year 2014 it’s different, of course. Being European we now have to travel long haul to find such an activity….

What I urge any reader regardless of belief is to consider the fact that our opinions we have formed over the course of our lives could in fact hold no weight when confronted with rational thinking. But how can we do that if some people use religion for support, whilst others use it for power and control? Some after a strong personal spiritual experience, others because it’s family tradition. My first question in my first posting is to the world of WordPress:

What are the reasons behind your religious thinking?

 You have my undivided attention.