Tag Archives: thoughts on travel

Why Is It “Great” Britain? They Made A List

14 Sep

I know to the outside world it seems that this blog is a professionally run and eddited internet publication. No doubt whenever you think of how and where all the journalistic gold is produced, you inevitably conjure up images like this:

Or maybe this:

The reality is in fact quite different, and the only thing that changes in my writing environment is the billboard outside my local coffee conglomerate getting swapped. It was a welcome sight to behold when George Michael was replaced with David Guetta, let me tell you.

The true nature of BBS actually entails teetering on the brink of various catastrophic problems. Of the two most common dangers, one is toppling into complete irrelevance despite having relevant travel things to report on. Curiously, the other is running out of travel things to report on.

Luckily when things seemed their most dire, I remembered a loyal reader had sent me a newspaper list titled ‘What Makes Britain So Brilliant?’

I thought it would be an interesting idea to peruse this list and pick apart some of the reasons why Brits incessantly refer to their homeland as “Great” Britain. Seems awfully presumptuous to me. First things first, I thought it deserved a better title. So here is a selection of the top reasons why “Great” Britain should be renamed “Better than the hat with plunger” Britain:

By the way, that’s not an insult to Britain. How cool is that!?

(Editor’s note: all the reasons in quotation marks are taken from the article verbatim, it should not be misrepresented that I am British)

  1. “The Earl of Sandwich’s groundbreaking concept of putting a savoury filling between two pieces of bread.” Hard to argue with this one. Though I did do some research a three second browse of Wikipedia to discover that the rough idea of a bread-like substance surrounding different types of filling had been around for some time (thousands of years in fact). However it must be said that if The 4th Earl of Sandwich wasn’t such an enthusiastic gambler that he didn’t have time to leave the poker table for a proper meal, the humble sandwich may not be the staple it is today.
  2. “Our politeness – no matter how irritated we get, we are always too British to say anything.” This doesn’t however, mean they won’t whinge about the weather, the government, immigrants, the government letting in the immigrants, and immigrants controlling the weather.
  3. No matter where you are in Britain, you’re never far from a pub.” This one is true and a credit to British society. One of the few things I will gladly declare that Britain does better than Australia.
  4. “Cream teas. In case you’re wondering, Cornish is jam first, Devon is cream first.” I’ve actually no idea what that sentence means at all. If anyone knows and it takes less than two sentences to explain, drop me a line.
  5. “Our international language. Travelling abroad is a doddle.” This one I understand perfectly. Basically if the person at Starbucks (who doesn’t get paid enough to care if you get your caramel macchiato or just the contents of a wrung out washcloth) doesn’t understand you the first time, you should speak louder and slower before getting frustrated that everyone don’t talk like us the way they should. Or you could go to Australia or the United States.
  6. “Some of the very best museums and galleries on the planet. Free.” I actually agree with this one too. If you like looking at things (and I do!), this is the place to be.

OK that’s my pick of the reasons why I now live in “Better than the hat with plunger” Britain, and maybe you should too. Or at least visit us over here. Despite all my “wry humour” (as my writings have been referred to in the social media) it is an absolutely fantastic place to be. And if you don’t like it, I promise there’s other places nearby.

It also occurs to me that posts may become less frequent as I’ve sadly resumed the drollery that is regular work. I will endeavour to keep updating you on all things “travel-y” and otherwise.

Thanks for reading, safe travels. J

Why Travel? Who cares? Just do it!

12 May

No doubt you’ve been looking forward to the resumption of regular posting here. I know the feeling. Since I was too young for Vanilla Ice the first time round, I knew my life would never be complete until I knew he was back performing ‘Ninja Rap‘ to live audiences again.

I’m almost never one to let complete laziness stand in my way though. So despite my best efforts to the contrary, this past few days I’ve been doing some serious journalistic contemplation (thinking). Not just about what happened to the career of Joshua Jackson (as so often plagues my thoughts), but about the reasons us humans travel.

I’m not just talking about my general aversion to anything approaching real life responsibility, every Australian in London has that. I’ve been contemplating the type of travelers we are, as illustrated by the things we do when we travel to new places.

I recently used my “tweeting feed” to inform loyal followers that this is the reason I travel:

I applaud the use of sustainable wood blocks rather than conventional plates.

It may seem slightly excessive to travel several thousand kilometres and various time zones for a coffee and croissant. Fair enough too, but we all have different reasons to travel and I don’t have to explain myself to you or anyone. Leave me alone. My reason to travel is food. On the other hand Lil Jon travels the world in search of the finest Crunk Juice.

I’m told to this day, the best can be found high in the Tibetan mountains where “Crunk Monks” extract it from a natural spring.

Others travel for the history. I most certainly appreciate this, but for me this is best in small doses and preferably when it is not annoyingly touristy (“no I don’t want to buy a replica you’ve fashioned out of match sticks.”)

Still more travel for the social aspect. This is one of my favourite reasons to travel, and comes second only to food as far as I’m concerned. After all, what better way to get to know people than to sit around a cheap hostel sinking (insert cheapest drink here)? These people will be friends for life and a source of free accommodation in whichever city it is they inhabit. They’re most likely fantastic people too (you all know who you are).

Sadly there is one reason some people travel that is less fun than an hour of power with Crunk Juice. That is the people who travel only so they can tell others how awesome their travels were. I’m well aware of the irony of writing this on a public internet weblog, but at least you have the choice of navigating to something more interesting.

I love swapping travel stories and hearing about others’ experiences, but some people tend to want to crowbar their travel stories in to any and every conversation. I’m sure they were awesome, so was Vanilla Ice. But crucially, I choose to talk about Mr. Ice only when I know my audience is interested in white, early 90s rap.


Word to your mothers, safe travels. J