Archive | April, 2012

Don’t expect the unexpected, or it won’t be a surprise

5 Apr

This may sound inappropriate on more than a few levels, but I’m in love. And we’ve only been out once. Twice if you count the time I picked her up. Since then we’ve spent a lovely but all too short afternoon going up and down the Thames in the beautiful London sunshine.

Before this attempt at clever writing gets any more nauseating and/or horrifying, I’m going to just tell you that “she” is a bicycle. Oh and before you think it, no, “bicycle” is not a metaphor. Here she is:

Bike at a train station, well-aware of the irony

Whether you think my writing is clever or nauseating, it can’t possibly be worse than the idea of liquid karl (eeeew!). Anyway, what I really want to talk about is stumbling upon the unexpected. I say this because getting my bike the other day involved a trip out to Brentford, West London. After changing out of my writer’s outfit and in to my civilian clothes, I set off safe in the knowledge I could be feeding some poor tweaker’s habit (as it turned out, I wasn’t).

Upon arriving early and strolling in at least a 20m circumference around the station, I stumbled across the Boston Sandwich Bar. Fresh-made sandwiches with almost any filling you want, and cheap. London cheap anyway. A fresh 9-inch baguette stuffed with chicken and coleslaw was only £2.60 = $4 AUD. I’d love to say my most exciting purchase the other day was the bike, but as I’m almost certain Oscar Wilde once said: “Sandwiches are the curse of the travelling Australian classes”. Or something like that.

There’s also a lot to be said for changing your routine once in a while. In my attempts to stave off “travelling expansion” as I call it, I try to go for the occasional jog. One day this week, instead of turning left out of the front door, a particularly large and menacing-looking bee forced me to reconsider.

After offering it my phone and wallet, it showed no sign of moving. So I begrudgingly turned right, with little knowledge of where I would end up or what insects might be lurking there. Lo’ and behold, by the time the last Toto track had finished motivating me to Rocky-esque heights, I had found not one but five (5!) pubs and a brewery. All within easy stumbling distance to my place.

The point is we can spend literally hours “mining the diamond” as some call it, looking for great stuff to do and places to go. Sometimes however, the greatest stuff is just stumbled across with no warning or searching.


Thanks for reading, safe travels. J

The people’s “travel” blog: Suggestions required

3 Apr

I’m never one to hide the fact that I’m worried. As I write this, I feel the distinct pang of worriedness for two three reasons:

  1. Will I ever find a real English word to use instead of “worriedness”?
  2. With the year 2015 fast-approaching, I’m worried the idyllic leap forward in technology depicted in Back to the Future: part 2 will turn out to be unrealistic. I want my damn hover board.
  3. I’ve already been referred to as a “travel” blog on the social media I frequent.

Not that I am ungrateful for this. Not at all. If I get any exposure at all outside my circle of friends, its that much more than I have bothered to get for myself at this point. Believe me, it’s appreciated.

This tag does present a few problems though. For one I feel that whenever someone mentions this blog in conversation (which must happen at least once each lunar cycle), they are doing this:

For two, I’m almost certain to run out of “travel” things to write about, and before long this will become a “nothing” blog. As such, I am determined to slowly drag my way back to credible travel blog status. Which means I need your help.

Believe it or not, I would love this blog to be of some actual assistance to someone when and if they decide to travel. So I am asking you, the less indifferent reader, to comment below with suggestions of things I should experience in London and its surrounds. If you’ve ever lived in London, been to London, or read about something good to do in London on a lavatory wall, I would love to hear your suggestions.

If this sampling platter of fine batch-brewed words (also known as this blog) makes it past the next lunar cycle or two, I’d also love to take your suggestions about wider Europe. But for now we’ll keep it local y’all.

Peace be the journey, thanks for reading. J

(don’t forget to comment)

Travel lessons: what you can do without

1 Apr

Unless you’re the heir to an organic milk fortune, chances are you can relate to this post in some small way. That is because most of us have at some point had to live in a state of relative poverty. I mean relative to the usual high life of organic hazelnut frappucinos and faux-leather boat shoes, not the sort of living where Bob Geldoff won’t stop pestering you with offerings of blankets and malaria injections.

Whether because of moving out for the first time, going to university, or an unfortunately miss-timed investment in the trucker hat industry, we have all been forced to consider the question of what we can go without. Travelling overseas for an extended period of time is no different. Some might say the very ability to travel overseas makes this post somewhat of a farce, and they’re probably right. If this is you, I have no hard feelings if you want to use your mouse to navigate back to something more fulfilling. Otherwise, on with the farce post.

For instance, since coming to London I have discovered that I can go without a car, washing clothes after every wearing, novelty cuff links, and Nickelback. If I’m honest though, I did discover a while back that we can all do with a little less Chad. On a more serious note, I also can no longer afford to consider the moral implications of buying cage eggs instead of free-range. It tears me up every time I can assure you.

While this is admittedly a challenging situation, there are indeed some positives. For one, it is comforting to know that faced with the inevitable slump in the price of crocs futures, I will be able to ride out the hit to my portfolio with non-organic cherry tomatoes and mass-produced lager. People who know me will know how much it hurts to say that last part.

The point I guess is that it’s good to know you can live within your means if you need to. In other news: next weekend, while being a time of reflection and spirituality, also has the tendency to be one of the most boring on the calendar. So after reflecting, spiritualising, and checking to make sure Geldoff isn’t hiding in the bushes with a syringe again, I will either be attending a Championship football game, or watching the rowing between Oxford and Cambridge*. Either way I will no doubt have some hilarious anecdotes to share.

*Weather permitting. I have no intention of getting my tailor-made Vietnamese coat wet. If it does rain I will simply transcribe an episode of Two and a half men for your enjoyment.


Safe travels as always. J