How long have you been blogging?

Today is the first day in God knows how long that I haven’t left the house at all. Not even for the bins or to pop to the shops. The closest I got was opening my bedroom window to let some fresh air in and shout obscenities to the neighbours to let them know I am still here. But that is about it really.

With this I have little to talk about, so today was the perfect day to find out I have been blogging for six whole years on WordPress.

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I like the reminders for the little boost they give me. To remember that I started all the way back in 2014 in Newcastle and have done quite a bit since. Especially travel-wise. I feel travel has been my biggest accomplishment during this time as this was what I wanted to do the most.

It seems obvious looking at my blog today, but it didn’t start as a travel blog.

But it started here, from gazing over these views of Newcastle’s Quayside from the Castle Keep whilst the city was my home…

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To soaking up Kuala Lumpur’s skyline by the pool on my 24th birthday…

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To the beautiful beaches of Rio de Janeiro…

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To moving to Sydney after booking a flight pretty tipsy at a wedding back in England (this really is how it happened)…

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To arriving back in the UK in my 30’s (only barely in my 30’s!!), working and living in London.

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I have been very lucky to have visited so many incredible places in recent years, and met some amazing people along the way. The pictures I have taken over the years don’t just remind me of the places I have been but the countless stories inbetween, some I forget for years before something brings it all back. A certain sound or smell, a food, meeting up with a friend again… our memories consist of so much. And being reminded always brings a smile to my face.

But six years… I like to think I have evolved as a blogger and writer in that time. My blog’s style has certainly changed, my writing style I don’t think has as much. Now, my main focus is to keep blogging but improve my photography. I have always loved taking photos however lacked that skill and professional camera to take truly great photos, so I am hoping to change that in the next couple of years. That is my new goal.

I have been out and about during my absence trying to take more unique shots, trying to find my niche and see photography from different perspectives. I have taken a bunch that I am pretty happy with, but I don’t plan on uploading them just yet. I am using them as more of a practice run, although I will start adding them to my blog eventually when I am getting into the swing of things.

I am also planning to upload very regularly on my Instagram feed, I started to however my trips around London have been delayed whilst we suffer this pandemic. I would greatly appreciate those that haven’t followed me there to consider it as it would mean a lot to me! Instagram is pretty much used as a portfolio for photographers (and us amateurs) and I think it is a great platform to share our photos on. Thank you to those that have!

And thank you for following me here on my blog. Six years has flown by, but to see so many familiar faces and new ones everyday is a joy.

How long have you been blogging? Have you had a milestone achievement during this time, or a favourite memory as a blogger? Has your blog changed over time?

Let me know, and I will see you in the comments.

Happy blogging!

Sam

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Is it still Sunday?!

Sundays are a great day to work. I know how silly this sounds to people that get the weekend off however I prefer working the weekend. It’s much more peaceful.

Weekends are quiet working in a residential building. We don’t have to oversee hundreds of parcels arriving, we don’t have to constantly sign contractors in and out doing whatever work needs to be done on site. And despite most residents being off work there is little footfall in and around the lobby. The quiet time is such a contrast and it’s great. Security is still present because of the increase in drunks etc outside of the building, but if anything this makes the slower days more pleasant. We can actually have conversation and the team I work with are great.

You can finally hear the lobby music playing and is a relaxing end to the week. With the virus going round the less people the better right now. Some residents are debating whether or not to return to their home countries during all of this, and some already have. Three girls left yesterday with suitcases and I’m not exaggerating when I say they were wearing protective gear from head to toe. It looked like they were about to examine a murder scene but they were just getting a taxi to the airport, the driver in his own mask didn’t really seem too phased. They took some selfies with one friend they left behind, laughing and throwing peace signs up so it was all in good spirits.

This was yesterday. I am typing this just before 11pm on Monday British time, so I know it seems a little late as the weekend is well and truly over. But today was a weird day. It seemed like a Sunday after midday as the streets were quiet and our building started to close down some of the facilities late afternoon. The swimming pool, spa and steam room have been closed to our residents in all of this, our other facilities still open. For now. It seems like just a matter of time before more is closed, not just here but everywhere. 

This morning felt more like a Monday though, as I was walking towards the roundabout people were up and about, workers working and business as usual. I saw this team installing flowers into the Alchemist’s wall, a bar not too far from me and the green exterior really is great to see in Old Street. That blue sky was welcomed too.

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At work, a business owner came in as he was using our car park. He was pretty worried about his business (not the one above), now closed on weekends as sales are half of what they were before the virus. Staff have been laid off too. It is pretty crazy to think of all the things a business has to consider to survive, a virus! Not the first threat whatsoever. But it is here and now he is having to deal with it with his team. 

Store shelves are emptying, our PM despite not calling for a full lockdown has asked Britons to refrain from mass gatherings, non-essential travel and a lack of physical contact with others. Avoid bars and restaurants, however kids still need to go to school. Many have brought up the fact that a school pretty much is a mass gathering, I am hoping there is some logic as to why classes are still on. Kids can’t be trusted to stay indoors if school is out? I am not sure.

I stocked up myself today to get me through the next couple weeks, I am pretty annoyed as I have just signed up for a gym that I doubt I will be using for the foreseeable future at least. I finally found the motivation and the universe has found a way for me to avoid it further. Perfect.

I really, really want to take some shots of London whilst it is quiet though. Have you seen the movie 28 Days Later? Maybe it won’t go this far buuuuut seeing a crowded city slowly become more deserted would be fascinating. It would be fascinating to document too, as who knows how long it will be before something makes us all go into a lockdown again. This isn’t just one city or wider state during a storm or something. It is global. As much as it is a burden there is something fascinating about that.

It is now after midnight, my eyes are closing. I would say it was a long 13 hour shift today, however time went by so fast. But it was incredibly tiring. I will stop there though as I realise those that really are working hard through this are the health workers. It isn’t an easy job at all. My thoughts go out to them, as well as those being treated and those that have sadly lost their lives. 

The mood has really changed here in the UK, as I’m sure it has in so many other countries. People are beginning to admit defeat and self isolate, grabbing what they can to get them through. I plan to have a load of soup in the next couple weeks. Something I was brought up on and appreciate much more as an adult. 

If you currently are in lockdown or believe it is around the corner, what is the one food you couldn’t be without? I would love to know.

See you in the comments hopefully, and stay safe!

Sam

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I am going to start blogging everyday again

The more I see blue skies, the more I feel spring/summer is well on it’s way. St Paul’s Cathedral looks stunning with the suns glow, as does London in general. The wind is still strong (it doesn’t want to leave after the recent storms) however it would be tragic to waste a sunny day. A thick coat is all that’s needed.

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I was thinking about my blog and the year ahead as I strolled. One thing that has always been the case with me is, the longer I stay away from something the harder it is to get back into it. And that has well and truly been the case with blogging. I thought about writing less, maybe 2-3 posts as week on my blog as I practice my photography and post daily photos on Instagram, but I feel I will struggle with that. I have been.

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When I think about posting a couple times a week, I give myself less urgency to post. I have that same ‘you always have tomorrow’ excuse repeating in my head and giving myself an excuse to put it off a little. Before I know it, one, two, three days have passed without a post. Then a week. And then it’s almost a month and I’m like ‘where the hell has the time gone?!’. Basically I think I need that daily urgency, that immediate deadline, to help me focus and keep me on the ball. It isn’t the enjoyment I struggle with right now, more the urgency and motivation. I have always enjoyed blogging, but I think I enjoy it the most when doing it daily.

One of the reasons is because I actually get it done. I feel satisfied because I am constantly putting something out there, whether it is a lengthy post or just a couple of paragraphs. I am contributing something and everyday I do this I gain more motivation for the next day. It becomes habit. And I need this to get it done at all.

And with an absence from my blog, my travels have suffered too as I am not going to travel without making sure I take my decent camera and share with you all. So I really want to share some of the smaller things with you daily (like this cone stuck on a ground light near my apartment) as I enjoy sharing these moments as much as the bigger tourist adventures I go on. I always have and it gives an insight to a city that we don’t often see.

So I think I will give it another go. A challenge to keep me inspired and moving forward. Without a daily post I have been failing to remain consistent and present, and I am hoping it really kick-starts my travel posts as I have a ton of things to see.

I’ll start Friday 13th. I believe a lot of the time we create our own luck anyway.

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I made a logo. What do you think?

Hey everyone, recently I’ve been having lots of thoughts about a logo for my blog and social media… I have had a few ideas in mind and today made the image that I thought about the most.

Now I don’t know if I prefer myself being in the display picture or having a logo for One Chance to See the World, but I think it is always good to have a design that can be associated with the channel. Especially if I am to going to start using more channels (Facebook and YouTube being the main ones) as I am feeling eager to start capturing more videos when on my wanders. I feel one logo that can be used for all platforms would provide more consistency, and would reduce the need for me to keep updating the DP when I move onto another location.

This is the logo I have decided on. So far!

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What do you think? I had a couple others in mind, one being an hour glass as a symbol of my desire to live whilst we have the time. I felt that design just didn’t look right and only liked it when I added more to it. I just want a simple logo with minimal colour that can be recognised in black and white, so I decided against that and tried this one.

This logo also represents my desire to live life whilst I can, the heartbeat/ lifeline morphing into the outline of a passenger plane representing the travel aspect.

It’s simple, gets to the point and doesn’t matter if it is printed in black or white or with the colours inverted.

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I would love to hear what you think. Do you like the idea of a logo representing a blog or channel? Or do you prefer a shot of the blogger themselves? Maybe something else with more colour or nature perhaps. I guess everyone is different and it would be impossible to ever get it 100% right, maybe the display picture is fairly irrelevant to you anyways. But regardless, I am eager to know your thoughts on this. What made you choose yours?

I hope to see you in the comments!

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Connect with me

@onechancetoseetheworld– Instagram

@octstw– Twitter

Introduce yourself– a place to share your blog and find new ones

samoctstw

Blog growth- getting those blue bars rocketing

It has been a while since I last posted something that wasn’t really travel related. It is funny because my blog wasn’t intended to be a travel blog. I had lots of inner thoughts that I wanted to get out there, and when I moved to Australia it was difficult for me to post anything but travel. That and photography.

And now I am in London I am sure travel will still be a huge part of my blog, but it will be nice once in a while to blog about other things.

The world isn’t exactly experiencing a shortage of travel blogs…

But I can see why. We all love to read about places we haven’t been to, and read other peoples perspectives of the place we call home. It is in our nature, the curious beings that we are. And I love to read what people have to say about the locations I post from, whether they are people that haven’t visited or live right around the corner.

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The trouble is, how do we get people to view the blogs? There are so many blogs out there, some that I know will feel like they were tailored for me perfectly. The problem is I know they are there, but knowing where they are is a different kettle of fish. A bit like music really. Our favourite songs are often found by chance, listening to the radio or hearing a friend listening to. But getting out there and searching really increases our chances of finding what we want.

Luckily I have met a lovely bunch of you that I talk to daily and I am glad we do. When I first started blogging, writing is all I did. Open laptop, write a post, publish and shut laptop. I was always a little disappointed when I powered my laptop back up to see that no one seemed to want to engage. It had a couple views, maybe a like or two and that was it. There are a few reasons for this.

For one, my blog is one of millions. On the journey to work (especially in London!) we don’t notice individuals during rush hour. It is one continuous blur of passers by, waves upon waves in a sea of commuters. Our brains just aren’t capable of processing all that information so fast, nor do we have the time to do so. The same with blogs. We can’t read all of them, nor can we find all of them within the masses.

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Secondly, why would anyone want to talk to me if I didn’t want to talk to them? I kept quiet for the first couple of years, and with that I was left alone. If you don’t go to other people’s parties, why would they want to come to yours? By getting out there, introducing myself and having the time for others, people were more interested in wanting to know me. It felt much better.

It is a bit like a relationship. You get out of it what you put in. You give time to your partner, they will (hopefully) devote time in return. It is how so much of life works, but sadly this effort isn’t always put in. Social media doesn’t help, we see people posting and receiving a ton of interest and engagement, it is easy to feel we can just replicate it, sit back and watch as the views flood in. I have seen first hand so many blogs come and go, and I imagine that the lack of engagement and interest is a big factor. You cannot simply set up a site and have it be successful overnight. It takes plenty time and commitment.

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Another factor is how much we blog and actually give readers something to read.

The chart I used in the picture above reflects my actual blogging stats, however in reverse. Below I have added the stats as they are currently, from 19th October 2019.

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These are my daily numbers, the tallest bar is the day I last posted. As you can see bloggers had something to read, the following days not so much. It isn’t a sudden drop, as some of my followers weren’t able to read on the day I posted and did so in the days after. But the trend is obvious. Post and get views, don’t post and, well, get less views. But to get views in the first place I had to do what I mentioned earlier in the post. Get out there and let people know my blog actually exists.

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As you can see above, February has clearly been my most successful month in terms of views. This is no coincidence, it was the month I finally announced my blog to people outside of WordPress. That’s right, until recently I kept my blog secret to the outside world, no-one knew about it apart from my mum and sister and a maybe one or two people that managed to find it. By announcing it on social media the views went from just shy of 10,000 to 17,000 in one month. It was actually much more that I had anticipated.

But since then I didn’t blog so much. I posted 42 posts in February, the closest I have gotten since is 24 in August. This was the month that I was leaving Australia, and I posted all my favourite pictures from my two years in Australia there. Frequent blogging is vital for me to receive views, and being absent clearly affects the stats. I love looking at these statistics daily and seeing how consistent the trends are with blogging.

Lets zoom into daily stats again, but zoomed out to show more days.

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Again, a clear trend can be seen. September I blogged a little about flying back to the UK, going to see Muse in Berlin and moving to London. Since moving I have only posted twice, and the drop in views is evidence of this. I used to blog daily for quite a while, and as much as this took up a lot of my time my views increased daily. Another thing I want to state here is that by posting everyday, my views didn’t stagnate. They always grew gradually every single day. Reason for this wasn’t just because of frequent blogging. It was by getting my blog out there. Introducing myself to others, reading other blogs, literally getting my username into the notification feed of others. Not relying on people searching my name, afterall how could they if they didn’t know it was there? Have bloggers actually see my name pop up in their feed was the answer. And if ten or twenty new people everyday were introduced to my blog, my views would slowly rise each day.

Blogging everyday gets me consistent views. Reaching out to new people everyday gets me more views.

Consistent blogging+reaching out=growth.

And despite my recent slow down in blogging, I am still blogging more and more each year. This graph shows my blog from 2016 to 2019.

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I think this is the most important graph of all, for any blogger. It is the one that gives me the confidence and motivation to keep going. Zooming out helps us to see that overall we are gaining ground. If we zoom into anything, whatever if may be, it looks less consistent. More rough around the edges. Even though my stats are currently seeing a fall I understand why and know that I am still moving forward.

Try it for yourself. I would love to know if yours follows the same trends. If your yearly views are dropping, try using the consistent blogging+reaching out=growth equation and take another look at the daily and monthly stats. Stick to it, watch the daily and monthly stats improve and the yearly ones will look after themselves.

Consistent blogging doesn’t have to be every day. Whether it is daily, weekly or monthly readers need to know you will deliver when you say you do. If not, followers will probably look elsewhere to where there is consistency. Whether my views are rising or falling I love looking, as the stats coincide with the above equation. The answers are there, and the stats help me figure out what to do next.

Also, get out there. I love speaking to you everyday and it makes blogging fun. I am glad I have found you all amongst the ocean of people and the only way we can do so is waving to blogging strangers and hope they are happy to wave back. Thank you to all of you that have done.

I hope this helps those that have asked me for a little advice, and thanks to you all that have engaged with me and helped my blog grow to where it is today.

Have a good weekend and happy blogging!

 


 

Rush Hour Photo by José Martín Ramírez C on Unsplash

 


 

Connect with me

@onechancetoseetheworld– Instagram

@octstw– Twitter

Introduce yourself– a place to share your blog and find new ones

samoctstw

First impressions of London

London is so different to the rest of the UK. 13% of the country’s 66 million people live here, and you can tell as soon as you get that sweaty tube into the city center. I have to go overseas to find another city as busy, New York City is of comparable size. Neither are the biggest, but much bigger than any of the Australian cities I have been living in for the past two years. Within these borders however those that live elsewhere know just how much bigger London is.

I realised this when I first landed in City Airport after this mega trip from Melbourne. The airport itself was fairly small, but one of five (or six depending on what you count as London) in the city. Googling just how many airports London has I learned that Heathrow is in fact the USA’s 6th biggest airport, followed by Frankfurt. Who knew!

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And during the tube-ride from the airport to Kings Cross I found it very difficult to remain in high spirits. The sight of concrete, the smell of exhaust fumes and constant bumping into people isn’t the best way to carry out your day. The bright blue suitcase I bought to be easily spotted on the luggage carousel felt like a big mistake on a packed underground train. The fact I even commuted with one through London was an eye opener itself. After was seemed like forever I was begging to be in my home village in the north east, it would take me a week up there to see as many people as I did on the tube alone.

But three great weeks passed, and I made my way down to London to start my job. I work close to London Bridge, right in the heart of London. For this reason I am surrounded by tourists and commuters alike, walking by some of the cities (and worlds) most popular attractions.

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This was one of the first pictures I took in the city. A beautiful morning, even those heading to work seemingly stopping to take in Tower Bridge, one of the most famous bridges in the world. I don’t want to use this post to provide too much info on the structures in the images, as I want to create individual posts dedicated to them. As I mentioned in my previous post I would like to use Instagram more and incorporate it into my blog, using the poll feature to let you decide where I visit. Then I will take the time to explore the city and dedicate posts to certain attractions and places of interest that you want to see.

Saying that, I have had time to do a few laps of the City of London, taking in many iconic sights.

A great route for a run is over London Bridge (above) and along the river, back over the river via Tower Bridge and back to where I started. The numerous tourists I have to dodge hasn’t annoyed me yet, I still find it great to live in such a buzzing area. However I am sure I have ruined many photos along the way. I have decided to give up saying sorry 90% of the time for minor bumps and things before sunset as it is just inevitable, and if I say it anymore I will probably go insane. This is why the capital is seen to have so many rude people, it is just too populated. Being polite 100% of the time is just not possible.

The shots don’t do its hecticness justice, but London looks great from here.

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The old and the new. Between the two segments of the Tower of London, the modern day highrises can be seen showing how timeless London is. Many of the cities skyscrapers have funny nicknames which makes each one much easier to identify.

How good does London look under a blue sky? Since arriving I have had great weather…

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And not so great weather.

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Day walks…

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And adventures after sunset.

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The past couple of days haven’t been as nice as the ones you see in this shot, taken roughly a week or two ago. Below is a great view of the high rises and Tower of London from across the Thames.

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Can you identify ‘The Shard’, ‘The Gherkin’, and ‘The Walkie Talkie’ in amongst these shots?

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This month is going to be a tough one for me financially. I only received two weeks pay in September as I started work mid way through the month, and I am now brought back to the harsh reality that I will be paid monthly. This means that half pay will have to last me all the way until the end of October, and London is certainly not a city that you can survive in for too long on anything less that full time pay. I will be fine, however my blog posts until then won’t really consist of too much travel. If there is anything else you would like me to post about during this time I would welcome suggestions, I recall a few people asking me to post about how to grow and develop their own blog so I could do a post on how I run mine I guess, what has worked for me and what hasn’t.

I am going to try hard to save for a proper camera too, recently I have had more of an urge than ever to use something other than my iPhone 5. As good as the shots can be from it, it cannot compare to a proper camera. It is like me putting on the glasses I should always wear, it is easy to forget how much you miss out on until you see things through a better lens.

How long will this take in one of the most expensive cities in the world? I am not sure, but I will try. Work is great. Free meals, free gym and classes across the road a couple times a week and right now I live a short distance away so no commuting costs. These will all contribute massively and are very, very welcome.

And with that, I ask you employed people out there.. how often are you paid? Weekly? Fortnightly? Monthly? Do you like how you have it currently? For the monthlies do you feel like a millionaire like me for the first week and eat noodles for the last three? I would like to know if I am not the only one.

Stay tuned guys, more posts are coming. And when I receive my first full paycheck I will- despite trying to be more sensible with my money- ensure I will have some very fun posts heading your way.

Thank you, and I hope you had a great weekend.

Sam

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Connect with me!

@onechancetoseetheworld– Instagram

@octstw– Twitter

Introduce yourself– a place to share your blog and find new ones

samoctstw

Lots of bridges, Durham, Newcastle and a sport called FootGolf

It was time to leave Germany, my flight was later in the afternoon and I also found a picture of our previous Prime Minister upsidedown just as I was leaving the hostel.

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And as I was waiting for the train to the airport with a snack that I mistakenly thought was some kind of hot dog, I was excited to be back home again with a cup of tea and some more family time.

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I chilled in this little area of the airport, and got the second and last currywurst of the trip. I ended up talking to a lovely scottish couple from Edinburgh, they even offered me a pint as they went to the bar which was lovely. I politely declined but remained chatting to them until the flight.

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The flight was delayed, the captain however was apologetic and honest about the delay. I cannot remember exactly what it was but it was human error and some break up of communication that caused it. But we took off and in no time back in a cloudy Edinburgh.

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I love the bridges you can see from my window as we were approaching, three can be seen over the Firth of Fourth. The Fourth Bridge, Fourth Road Bridge and newly built Queensferry Crossing (furthest away in the shot below) can be seen in my shot. The one underneath is by a photographer I have linked at the bottom of the post. I have mentioned these bridges a couple of times in my blog as they were used in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. One of Rockstars HQ’s is in Edinburgh. More info on these impressive structures can be read here.

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And to a bridge a little closer to home. Newcastle has seven bridges over the River Tyne, linking Newcastle (left in shot below) to Gateshead (right). They have a great history of their own, the main bridge below- the Tyne Bridge- built by a local company that went on to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Interestingly I have just learned that the bridge was desinged by the same company as the Fourth Road Bridge. The white one behind it is the Gateshead Millenium Bridge, it tilts to let boats through. The Swing Bridge in front of the Tyne Bridge, you guessed it, swings 90 degrees to allow boats to pass. The bridge I was on is the High Level Bridge, a Grade I listed structure. I was on a train at the very top, below it is a road. The dual purpose bridge is an impressive size and length, opened in 1849.

This site linked here gives an insight to each and a ranking, in their opinion, of the best to worst. It would be great to know what your favourite is!

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The weekend after my trip was a great one spent at home with my mum. I also met with friends to play a game I have never played before.

Footgolf.

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Mixing football (soccer) and golf, it was pretty fun despite being a little windy. I haven’t played football in at least two years, and it was obvious.

I wasn’t the one to put the ball in the water however. Not in this shot at least.

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Using the lifebelt wasn’t a wise decision but it was a logical one. We kept hold of it and even if the rope cut, one of us would have taken one for the team.

It didn’t work, we put the lifebelt back and got another ball.

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Despite being fun and something different, I couldn’t help to notice the holes were very similar, apart from maybe a couple. I think incorporating a more mini-golf style would have added more fun to it and kept it from seeming a little repetitive.

Anyways I got back home, very briefly, and got some energy back by getting my mum to open the chocolates I bought for her in Berlin. They were good.

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And one thing I love about being home is the scenery around us. All rural and with the odd hot air-balloon over head. By cropping the house and lines out of the shot it reminded me just how small we are in the grand scheme of things.

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I could never do a balloon ride, as amazing as it must be. The thought of being so high up in nothing but a basket terrifies me.

And not long after this me and the lads went for a couple of drinks in Durham. We went into a pub with a ‘no phones and laptops zone’ which I guess was refreshing so no shots form there. And sadly I couldn’t stay too long as I agreed to meet some friends back in Newcastle that evening. But as it is only a ten minute train ride between the two cities I left the pub, took a quick drunken selfie underneath Durham Castle and Cathedral and boarded the train.

 

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Hogwarts scenes were filmed above me! Also a good distraction from my grey hairs coming through…

I arrived in Newcastle, and had to take the shot below for a friend in Melbourne. Tup Tup (a nightclub in the city’s Diamond Strip) was well known in Australia because of the show Geordie Shore. I’ll be honest I have had a couple of fun night’s in there, and used to check in one of the cast regularly as I worked in a hotel nearby.

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It is also right next to Newcastle Castle.

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We headed to a bar underneath the Tyne Bridge that wasn’t open when I left for Sydney back in 2017. By The River Brew Co. reminded me of Eat Street in Brisbane. Eat Street was a street-food festival using shipping containers as a venue. By The River Brew Co. does the same thing, with a micro brewery and a street food market next to it. We watched the sun set and I had a taste of what was on offer.

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I just love the Quayside. This section however was all empty before hand, a ship used to be docked here called the Tuxedo Princess, used as a nightclub with a revolving floor. It was nothing but weeds last time I walked by and now, a great venue.

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I would recommend it if in Newcastle, and I will visit again on another trip to the city.

But it was time for me to get the train to London, I don’t know if I have told you this, but I had a Skype interview for a hotel in Central London whilst I was in Melbourne, and as soon as I landed in London I was offered the job. I said my goodbyes and prepared for the three hour journey to the capital.

It wasn’t as emotional as it was moving to Sydney, as I am only three hours south. Trains can be expensive (as is London!) but I hope to make regular journeys back up north.

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‘Mind’. This segue’s into my next shot from Durham, as I was walking up the steps to Durham Station I noticed these were placed on the railings.

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It is a sad reminder that many lives are lost on railways, often suicide. Traumatic for those that witness it but even more tragic for those that feel they need to end their lives. Similar to cards placed on bridges, I feel these messages are important not just for those considering doing this, but for the rest of us that need reminding that it is a real issue that we need to address.

I waited for my train, I made the journey from Bishop Auckland to Darlington, Darlington to Kings Cross.

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My next post will be from London. And I already have lots of shots to share with you and so many places to see. I have a few ideas as to how I want to involve you in my travels and I am excited for this chapter.

Thank you for reading, I will see you soon from London!

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Firth of Fourth Bridge Photo by Zhanhui Li on Unsplash


 

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My Australian Journey #5: Views from zoo’s

Today I spent my day looking through the various shots of Sydney I took from my earlier days in Australia. Sydney is an incredibly photogenic city. It has the landmarks that we all know so well no matter where you are in the world. The postcard views that you have to see if you land in this country.

The below shot was taken on the Circular Quay to Manly ferry, and to sit inside is a big mistake.

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There is another ferry that can be taken from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo, the place in the next shot below. To be honest I am becoming more and more hesitant to see animals in captivity, but not taking a visit here is almost impossible given the time I spent in Sydney. The views from the zoo are pretty damn incredible.

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But I equally enjoyed walking through the streets of the CBD away from the tourist areas. I did venture further than the CBD, however the business area of Sydney- with all its mundane suit wearing coffee drinkers underneath the countless high rises- did bring little moments of rebellion.

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Obey is the work of Shepard Fairey. I stopped to give this piece a proper look, as it was huge yet you had to be looking up to notice it. Doing a little research I found the following:

“The idea of consciously obeying versus subconsciously conforming has been something that’s important to me. ⁠

To me, the real crux is democratising my art. Public art is a way for me to reach a lot of people… I always try to find an opportunity to do a larger scale work that maintains that aspect of my philosophy, though I’m now sometimes welcome in more elite circles.⁠

I always feel it’s important for me to be outspoken, but especially right now.”

This kind of art will always hit me as I feel it is easy to get stuck in a cycle of submission- to work for other peoples gain and find it difficult to leave. We should all have the desire to live a life for ourselves and live the life that we enjoy. It is pretty damn hard to live a life purely for ourselves and our loved ones, but the aim is to get as close to it as possible.

 

Have you ever visited Circular Quay or even Taronga Zoo? Let me know what you think and I hope you like the pics of the day!


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

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Cheers!

Sam

 

samoctstw

Travel Diary: Instagram update

Hey everyone, over the past couple of days I have been arranging all of the photos I have taken in the two years I have been travelling Australia. I have found my favourites and will be posting them onto Instagram starting August 1st, ending around September 1st. I can safely say it took forever to sort through them, decide which ones I thought were worthy and find the best way to consistently upload so many photos over the course of a month. I aim to upload all of them throughout August, uploading three a day using a scheduling app called Later, created by Instagram themselves.

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This app will really help me to go about my blogging and daily duties as my Instagram pictures upload, however I will be on the app regularly as I do really enjoy using it and would love to grow the channel. It is a great site for photography and I look forward to sharing my journey through these pictures.

This brings me onto the next thing, I was going to ask you all for some help… I wasn’t sure how I wanted to upload these pictures. Should I do it chronologically, from the plane ride from London to Australia up to the current day, or in a different style? At first I was planning to upload them in a random order, and this made more sense in a way. As Instagram is focused on photography more than text, date order may not look as visually pleasing. For example if one day was beautiful blue skies and the next stormy, the page would look very untidy or inconsistent, whereas if I added pictures of blue skies together and slowly changed the pattern of uploads to match a drastically different image, this would work much better.

Buuuut, saying that, I went into the uploads folder and sorted the pictures into date order… and it didn’t look bad at all. The pictures flowed nicely and even if one does stick out, I am sure I could play around with the surrounding images a little. I went from not fancying date order to being pretty convinced this is what I am going to do. But I would love to know what you think and if you prefer date order as to appear more of a journey, or in a style that might fit a more visual theme.

I think if I upload three images a day, it won’t be too much. It would allow me to show you all my favourite pictures before I get back to the UK and explore further. I don’t plan to stop blogging, so I pretty much need to get them all on here now so I don’t create a queue for myself once I get back and start snapping more. It will be frantic, like one of those full time Instagrammers, but I look forward to it! What I may do is upload a weeks worth of my favourite shots here for you to look at as well, especially for those of you that don’t have the app.

I just wanted to give you a little update on this as I think it is a nice way to bring this travelling chapter to an end, and remind myself of the places I have been. Thank you for joining me on this amazing journey and I hope you have enjoyed reading about it! I look forward to seeing the pictures I haven’t seen for a while and with that, the memories from those experiences. Two years seems a long time ago but I remember it like yesterday. I remember getting on that flight to Singapore wondering what experiences I would take back with me and I wouldn’t change a thing. By the time the uploads are complete I will have another flight to blog about, London under my feet and Europe on my doorstep.

Until then… here is my Australian travel experience from September 2017- September 2019. I hope you enjoy, whether it is here or on Instagram.

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Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Cheers!

Sam

samoctstw

I guess this is what being thirty looks like…

I have never been one to attend a theater production on my own accord, only going along with people that wanted to and this was mainly as a child. This evening was no different as I was given two free tickets from my general manager to see the performance Come From Away, an award winning show about stranded passengers after the attacks on September 11th 2001.

The official website has this to say about the production.

COME FROM AWAY tells the remarkable true story of thousands of stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland, Canada that welcomed them. Cultures clashed and nerves ran high, but uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night, and gratitude grew into enduring friendships.

Given the nature of the story, it was surprisingly upbeat and humorous. But without spoiling it it focuses on the passengers more than the event itself.

I took a friend along, we went to China Bar for food beforehand on Swanston Street as this is very convenient before or after an event. No reservations and open 24 hours meaning you are guaranteed a good meal not matter how late. Melbourne is such a great food city too, I am certainly going to miss it when I leave.

And that first Corona went down a treat. We realised that we still had quite a bit of time left before the theater opened it’s doors, so we went to another favorite of mine, Fathers Office. This bar does a great happy hour from 5-7pm and 8-10pm, and we squeezed a couple more beers in before the show. I am not sure how wise this was as we seemed to forget we weren’t going to a rock concert, but we managed to keep it civilized.

In fact, this is the bar I posted about not too long ago when a group of us unintentionally ended up in a divorce party. You can read about here.

The theater isn’t the biggest, so everyone had a great view close to the performance. Obviously we were told not to record during it so my photos end here. It wasn’t a long show (which I was concerned about as I find it hard to sit still for too long), and without an intermission.

Pro tip: Take two glasses of the inevitably expensive wine to see you through. Security isn’t as strict as it is in a bar…

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Now we were the youngest in there by- actually that’s the thing. Not by a lot. The young ladies next to us were only a few years older, and I am worried that we fit right in. And I enjoyed it, so I guess this is who I am now.

Have any of you heard of this performance or even seen it? I believe a portion of the play has been performed live on TV shows to help promote it, so it is quite well known. I would recommend this to anyone into theater and those in Melbourne whilst it is here.

The website has a cool page with a world map, people have stopped by and marked where they are from around the world. It was cool to see someone from my city back home and how widespread the markers are.

See who is from your city, and if there isn’t one there, get tagging! 😉

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Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Cheers!

Sam

 

samoctstw