Less is more

I’ve had a very unproductive couple of days. So this morning as I sit and with my coffee and ‘snail’ as its called in this particular cafe, I have had more regrets than I would have done if I was to have gotten blind drunk and acted like an idiot all weekend.

Is ‘snail’ a popular term, or am I slow to learn?

The phrase is ‘less is more’ and I certainly agree. Even if I have plenty of free time, being indecisive about what to do in that time means that time goes very quickly. Shall I look for accommodation? More photo opportunities perhaps? The truth is if I don’t choose soon enough, I won’t do either. So yesterday I ended up going to the gym late at night to make up for a wasted day.

If I can teach a lesson here, I guess it is to make a decision on what you want to do as soon as you can, and then spend quality time thinking of what that specific decision will consist of moving forward. The progress will come soon after. 

At least I have learned something that will hopefully help me develop.



Silhouettes enjoy lunch in the sun on Darling Harbour, Sydney.

If you ever feel insecure, exposed, introverted or vulnerable, remember the people you think are staring at you feel the exact same way about themselves. They are probably too busy looking within and self evaluating to criticise.

If the people around you are in the shadows, you probably are too. Use the anonymity to develop and progress, then you will get to truly stand out, all for the right reasons.

Living in the moment

How many of us live in the moment? Simply being there doesn’t count. I mean to actually soak in each and every last drop of a special moment that we may never encounter again. I feel it isn’t as easy as that for many of us.

Experiences are strange to me. With a cocktail of ADHD, OCD and Tourettes, I find myself thinking about thinking a lot. When I have have a special experience I try not to zone out, instead I force myself to enjoy the moment. This is hard when a portion of this time is spent telling myself to enjoy it instead of just enjoying it. It is the same (for me personally) when reading. Sometimes I find myself concentrating on a line before realising I wasn’t taking in the words at all.

I was reading this short post by croissantsinbed about the good in social media. That if it wasn’t for social media, this specific author has less reason to look for photo opportunities and be creative in this sense. I agree that social media has sharpened my focus to a degree. It however has also made me focus too much and lose focus on the moment.

My first recollection of this was at a gig in 2013. I planned when exactly I was going to hit record on my iPhone and when to end it. I wanted to show the world a snapshot into this personal experience and let them know how much of a great time I was having. Not long after this I deleted the video. I needed space on my phone (probably for another deleted video) and my singing ruined the audio. The gap in memory is eternal. When I was too busy worrying about focus, landscape mode, the back of peoples heads and the lighting, this void will forever be empty. What was the most special moment of the gig for me was the least memorable. I tried too hard to saviour the moment instead of living in it.

Now, I still have these urges to record such moments. I went to another gig by the same band in 2015 and made sure I experienced it fully without my phone leaving my pocket. It was great, but I also had that voice inside my head saying ‘you could be recording this’ which is one I kept shoving away. The other day, I had the same internal argument with myself whilst travelling home from work. I spent a lot of time taking numerous shots and showing them off on social media. Here are the photographs.

There are pros to every con. On one hand, I had to remind myself to gaze out and see the world for myself, the one I was uploading for everyone else to see from the comfort of their home. On the other, I have a great bunch of photos. I can show you and show my grandchildren in the future where I used to live in my twenties. What was a thought process during this ferry ride was that it probably wont be my last. I will take this ferry ride again and the sun will set again tomorrow. If I didn’t enjoy it fully today, I can another day. Some experiences won’t reoccur and I need to evaluate when I want to live in the moment and when to preserve that moment forever on a memory card. There needs to be a balance to this.

Social media has been a reason why I have so many photos I can look back on. Was it the reason I stepped outside on the ferry, or was it that I wanted to experience nature at its most beautiful? I hope it was the latter, however having to ask this very question shows just how present social media is in my life, and the lives of others.

Spending money can be a wise investment

I’ve had breakfast more times in three weeks than I did in three months in the UK. The weather just invites it. 

This morning is Italian Scrambled Eggs with pancetta, tomato, basil, parmigiano and hollandaise on toast in a lovely cafe just down the road. 

Can I afford to eat out every morning? Of course not! But that’s why I go out when I can. Going for a walk, trying new places and reminding myself that I have limited funds inspires me. Personally, I would rather be working class and live a little than to be wealthy and stay at home. I’m not one to save to the grave, but I will be sure to spend the next couple months saving hard and working out to kill time that would probably be spent in bars.

What is your morning ritual? Everyone’s is different, and there is a beauty in that. It also helps me find a seat.

Ps, I think the cute doggy at the end of the table wanted some…

When everything you do is for the last time

I had a very emotional evening yesterday when speaking to a married couple. Probably in their fifties, I asked why they decided to come to Sydney on their current trip. 

‘So what brings you here?’ I asked. Working in hospitality to fuel my travel funds means it is a question I ask probably fifty times a day. I don’t get bored of asking as each answer is different. If the reason isn’t a business trip, guests tend to enjoy answering and look forward to the day ahead. 

We had these specific guests booked into an upgraded room type, although they didn’t show too much emotion when notified of this. That’s fine, some people are used to upgrades. Other people can’t be pleased no matter how hard you try. Then there is rarely another answer that helps remind me that I should never judge or assume about someone I have only known for twenty seconds.

‘It’s a long story really. My wife has terminal lung cancer so this is a present from our kids.’

It is at these moments you realise that your response is very important. I’m shocked, but I can’t show that and cause unecessary stress or anxiety. I don’t want to pretend I don’t care, because I absolutely do. I simply nodded and acknowledged the awful news, telling them they will have a great stay and that we are here 24/7 if they needed anything else.

I cannot image how hard it is to accept having a terminal illness, let alone declare it to people and maintain composure. To know the day is on the horizon, everything special that you do is probably for the last time. It’s a sentence I do not want to hear from the doctor, one my dad received. He was given three months. I can only hope the lady checking in has longer than that. Life’s short.

From the hospitality side, not trying to overthink the sudden situation is better than being stuck for words, making an emotional moment worse. They mentioned the reasons for being here. We listened and treated them like any other guests but with additional VIP treatment. I’m just a human crossing their path that can simply listen and help in the small ways possible. This time, helping was to focus on their hotel stay and not the incurable disease. 
When the end is near, I know it will be incredibly difficult but we really need to focus on having this gift of life and not that it will end. I didn’t see the guests again after that, but I hope they had a great stay.

Early bird

Since I have moved I’ve been getting out of bed much earlier than I usually do. I don’t know if that is the aftermath of a very long period of jet lag, it may be due to the warm morning temperatures. Regardless, most nights I have been in bed by 10pm and wide awake by 8am. No alarm and no need to force myself to get up. 

It feels fantastic.

The sun is a huge stimulant for me. It almost invites me outside, a bit like a moth to a flame. Knowing that the temperature stays the same when I open the doors and windows feels great too. Even when I was in the UK, seeing the sun burst through motivated me more than five cups of coffee… I just don’t need to put more layers on to walk outside here.

Along with the sun, there is the knowledge that I’m in a new environment. Everyone I say good morning to is a completely new person, one I haven’t met before. The accents and the local lingo I’m picking up as the days go by. The little differences in lifestyle I’m seeing and breakfast habits. I remember how I used to feel waking up on Christmas Day as a child, a feeling that is very hard to recreate or rekindle. Waking up in a new country is probably the closest I can get to that excitement when I first open my eyes.

It’s quite shocking how much of the day we lose sleeping in. It’s currently 10.23 at the time of typing this post, a time of day that I would often not see due to being fast asleep. That was before I started travelling and when pretty damn demotivated. I would sometimes sleep a further two hours before the realisation that I’m wasting my day would kick in. I don’t want to know how much sleep that accumulates over a lifetime.

But here I am! Yesterday I managed a 10km run, being beachside certainly helps with that. 

Seeing so many people out and about lifts me and I will see this view much more in the next couple months I’m sure. 

Aaaand my French toast has arrived. Nutella, coconut flakes, strawberries, bananas, syrup and cream. A treat, after all if there is no reward what is the point in the effort? It’s all about the balance!

Everything in moderation, including moderation.