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!

Spain: 4 days to go

Today, it is all about the Euro. Many of you liked yesterdays post so I thought it would make sense to let you all in on my next few days worth of plans (or lack of), before boarding that plane to the Mediterranean.

For the record I am not taking much money to Spain. Roughly…hold up, where is the Euro symbol on my keyboard?!

*does a quick Google*

*Alt+E doesn’t work, grabs iPhone*

Roughly €500. €400 of that will be on a Travel Card, the rest you can see in cash. Now, back to the laptop.

I will probably take the least amount of money out of my friends, I don’t feel I will need as much money this time around. It is only for a week and it won’t be involving many costly activities or travel outside of the resort. I will buy cheap food, drink and the occasional taxi to and from popular districts. I also need to save £3000 for Australian customs later in the year, I have been warned that not having this amount in my bank account is enough for them to turn me away, and I don’t want to travel for 35 hours to be turned away.

It seems this isn’t often checked but that is not a risk I want to take. Sometimes in life risks are the best things we ever do, other times they are just plain silly and if anything, hinder any opportunities awaiting us. Can you imagine the awkwardness of a 35 hour flight back? I hate being rejected from a bar for being too drunk let alone an entire country.

rejected

I have found Travel Cards to be very useful. Mine is operated by MasterCard and therefore can be used anywhere (in certain countries only) for up to three years. Any bars, restaurants, ATM’s. I was warned there would be a (grabs iPhone) €2 charge at ATM’s but with no charge for using the card directly anywhere this won’t be a problem. I would much prefer to lose a card and be able to cancel it instantly than lose a whole wad of notes with colours almost as bright as the sun. The kind of notes Hubble would be able to detect on the surface of Mars… whilst it was observing Jupiter.

Are you one to take plenty of money on a trip, or does it depend on where you are heading? I have never been one to take extortionate amounts, then again any long term travel I have done was paid for by working out there, thankfully I was paid by my current job half way through my months travel in Brazil last year. It has been a long time since I went on the typical week or two week holiday, in fact it is the first ‘lads’ holiday I have taken in my life, tradition for males in their 20’s.

27 isn’t too late, right?

Spain: 5 days to go

I don’t often go clothes shopping, usually it is shortly before a holiday. So when I walked into the store yesterday to the smell of brand new clothing, my senses were like ‘Hey! I know this smell… We are about to go somewhere!’

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I am only away for a week, so I bought cheap. Items that I won’t worry will get ruined during this period. In my experience, the further I travel the less I worry about what I wear. There isn’t that fashion expectation seen at home. I feel like I should care more about what I wear on my way to work or the grocery store more than what I do when I leave my countries borders. It sounds so strange to say out loud.*

Is it because I am travelling I feel less worry about what I wear? There is no need to overcompensate with designer clothing to stand out, all eyes are on us when we are away thanks to social media. Why try to keep up with the people that are walking to work in the rain whilst I am at the swimming pool? For these seven days, I’m winning!

Maybe it is because I am relaxed on holiday. I am away from my ‘normal’ life, the uncomfortable work shoes are left at home, I probably won’t wear a belt either. This is going to be a week of pure comfort. £80 jeans don’t guarantee that but £6 swimming shorts certainly will.

Also we are of course, anonymous. Apart from my six friends I won’t run into a boss or ex girlfriend. No one has any previous knowledge of me and the anonymity is great. Saying that I have bumped into a friend in the middle of New York City, which was incredibly strange to say the least. Trusting my friends to not post a picture online of me wearing some ridiculous outfit for my birthday (I turn 28 whilst I am away and I wouldn’t put this past them), I can relax knowing the embarrassing things I do will be in the minds of people I will probably never see again. There is beauty in such a seemingly sad reality.

One thing I am terrible for is packing. If I had as much ambition to pack as I would to travel I wouldn’t need to use movie images to portray the joy I feel walking through an airport terminal. I always forget something and that something always seems to be the thing I want to wear the most. Clue- it isn’t the captains hat. I steal that as I am departing the plane.

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I think I will pack more for my week in Spain that I will for my year in Australia starting September. This was the case during my year in the States, too. My 6 am flight was taken after an all nighter in a local pub followed by a drunken 3am bag pack. If you are away for so long, why not get most of the things whilst you are out there? I have spent an afternoon taking smashed glass and clothes soaked with vodka out of my luggage after a holiday. It wasn’t pretty. Some things aren’t built for air travel yet.

Where are you packing to go this year?

 

*Saying this, I was once approached by security walking through the metal detectors at an airport. He said there was nothing to worry about, he just loved my Spiderman long sleeved jumper I had on at the time. Sometimes the clothes you care the least about bring the compliments.

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…

rrrr

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!

 

 

 

A confession

The truth always comes out. I have lied about things in the past, hiding from reality is exhausting. That is not the only reason I value the truth, I want to be the best person that I can. So with this in mind, a little confession.

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I am going to Benidorm this month. There, I said it. I hope you’re all happy now. It feels so good to just say it and get it over with, as if the weight has been lifted. An 18-30’s holiday with seven lads, this isn’t going to be a holiday to learn about the local culture or to find ourselves. I am going to hopefully spend my time not being tied to a lamppost and having more full-english breakfasts in a week than I have here in England.

I will, as I always do, try to speak a little of the language and learn about the people. It is just a little difficult when the locals are British, although certain accents can fool me into believing they are from a different country. Our accents are fascinating like that.

I am reminded of a funny joke Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle made on a panel show, talking about the time a Scotsman had a fight with a terrorist after he tried to blow up Glasgow Airport. That isn’t the joke. That actually happened.

‘Apparently the man saved hundreds of Scottish people from getting badly burned by attacking the terrorist… How? These Glaswegians were flying to Malaga!’

During this period I will try my hardest to take interesting photographs and keep questioning life without the obvious influence of alcohol. I am confident there is more to Spanish resorts than sunshine and British people.

Photo credit: Ran Berkovich– Unsplash