Imagine waking up to a new world…

Just imagine, you have been asleep for the past two months. You awaken from the deep sleep. You put on your shoes and open the front door, the sound of traffic hitting your ears is for whatever reason not heard. You look down the street, everything just seems a little odd.

The neighbour that you stop to chat with on route to the shops, he crosses the road the moment he sees you. Anyone you pass tends to keep a few feet away, looking concerned. They wear gloves and masks. Further down the road, the train station often too crowded is now worryingly empty. Commuters look up to the timetable with less urgency and more confusion.



You check the board to see the date. It must be a Sunday right?!

‘Monday’ you learn.

An announcement over the speakers thanks the population for staying home and saving lives. Advising to travel only if absolutely necessary. To do what you can to stop the ‘spread of infection’.


Shops are shut. Adverts thank care workers for their hard work on bus stops and electric billboards. It’s apparent something major has happened. But is it all of London? The UK? The world??

You hear radio coming from a nearby house, broadcasting the words of world leaders. It is clearly further than my neighbourhood.


Only some people take to the streets. The odd police car goes by, looking as if they are keeping an eye out for groups or people that shouldn’t be out. Some people look like they are out for exercise. Some to keep everything tidy. Some because they don’t know what else to do.


Imagine if this is the world we woke up to without any prior knowledge.

If you had no signal, no family in the area, no wifi…

How would you react?



Due to the Coronavirus outbreak I am somewhat limited as to what I can do in London, but I aim to post as much as I can during this time. I promise to have some great posts coming your way once this is all over as I continue to explore London.

Stay home, stay safe and happy blogging!



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Where would you go?

All this free time has got me thinking. Thinking more than doing actually. I would usually kill for this amount of time off and now I have it, I feel lost at sea. I don’t have the small windows of free time in the day before or after work. Before the virus hit I could manage what free time I have that day and decide what to do in that time. I have 30 minutes free? Write a quick blog post. An hour? Cook. Now I have all day and I am crippled by indecision.

I should let you know about my work situation before anything. I work in a luxury residential building and as I have to be present at work for fire checks and security in general, I am still required to go to work. I have been provided a letter by my company to show the police if they ask why I am outside. It is classed as essential/key work as someone needs to be in at all times. I work with a team of about 15 or so, however due to the outbreak we have put a skeleton rota out and limited the amount of people working at any one time. So I worked four shifts in a row, and now I am off for nine days. This will be the case for the foreseeable future.

I feel fortunate, I don’t mind working as it keeps me from constant isolation. I am not getting transport to work so human interaction is minimal. I probably walk past three or four people on my way to my shift, even before the lockdown. Most of the residents have either went back to their home country for a few months or are self isolating, so I have minimal contact at work with people. I have gloves and masks if I choose to use them.

Everyday is seeming more like a Sunday. In and out of work. The photos I took in January and February couldn’t be further from what the areas must look like now. Busy tourist areas are just a memory now.


After sitting down and (finally) deciding on my activity for today, I tried to get a little more savvy on Lightroom from Adobe. For those that don’t know, Lightroom is a piece of software that allows you to enhance your images. Change the lighting, shadows, colours etc. You can also set your preferences to keep a certain theme for photos, making sure a collection of photos has the same lighting and colour schemes, great for platforms such as Instagram. It keeps a portfolio consistent and gives your photos an identity. I am still working on that identity.

I really like the above photo, I saw a girl directly in front of me and centered her right in the middle of the shot. Piccadilly Circus provides the backdrop with a street performer in between. Street performers will be feeling a little lost right now I am sure. As will everyone in the shot. I really want to visit Piccadilly Circus during lockdown though, it is London’s little version of Times Square and a place known for bright lights and constant activity. The complete opposite of what it is now.

If I had to choose a place to visit during a lockdown, it would probably be Times Square. It would be so eerie to walk the abandoned streets, car horns replaced with quiet bird song. My footsteps being the only human intervention in an area known for being full of life. The huge advertisement boards flashing without anyone to gaze up at them. I have always loved abandoned places purely because they had a history which is a complete contrast to what they have become.

If you had to choose, where would you like to visit in a post-apocalyptic style scenario? Knowing you would be the only one there to take it all in. I would love to know.

Speak to you all soon,




Due to the Coronavirus outbreak I am somewhat limited as to what I can do in London, but I aim to post as much as I can during this time. I promise to have some great posts coming your way once this is all over as I continue to explore London.

Stay home, stay safe and happy blogging!



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The impossible task of listing everything I want to do in London

Hey everyone, I hope you’re having a fantastic weekend. A much better one than mine as I eagerly await my first paycheck, looking through the window at the London skyline like a dog waiting for walkies.

Roll on the 31st.


But I have tried to remain productive outside of work and compile a list of things I want to do in London. I recently told you that I was planning to do more on Instagram, using the platform’s polling feature to put two London activities in my story every week and see which one people want me to do. Two attractions that follow a similar theme, and with the list I already have, I won’t run out of things to do very soon.

An example of this is below, I have done a bunch of these and have enjoyed putting them together.

trafalgar square vs piccadilly circus

So far I have paired a few things up, and still putting a bunch of things to do in the list. For anyone from London or those that have spent time in the city, I will add the current list here and would love if you could help me think of more cool and interesting places.

The list so far (not in any kind of order) is:

Emirates Air Line cable car

Go up to London’s Sky Garden

Big Ben (warning- under construction until 2021)

See Tower Bridge lift up

Covent Garden

Borough Market

Try an authentic curry in Brick Lane

Have a crispy battered fish and chips in Camden Town.

Changing the Guard ceremony in front of Buckingham Palace

Meet the Beefeaters at the Tower of London

Trafalgar Square

Piccadilly Circus

Go sightseeing on an iconic London red bus

Visit Aldwych abandoned tube station (if open)

Soak up spectacular views of London’s skyline at The View from The Shard.

Take a boat trip on the Thames

See the Apollo 10 command capsule at the Science Museum

See Egyptian mummies and the world-famous Rosetta Stone at the British Museum

Tuck in to a pie, mash and liquor at one of London’s pie shops

Try the Chinese cuisine in London’s Chinatown restaurants

Visit Crossbones Graveyard, a graveyard for medieval prostitutes

Drink coffee in a Victorian toilet at the Attendant

Oldest prison in England (Clink Prison Museum)

London dungeons

Tallest bar in London/ Smallest pub in London

North London Derby

Take a tour of Wembley Stadium

See graffiti at Leake Street tunnel

Visit Karl Marx’s grave at Highgate Cemetery

Visit London’s oldest red telephone box

Walk over the famous Abbey Road pedestrian crossing

Take a Harry Potter Walking Tour

See the neon signs at Gods own Junkyard

St Pauls Cathedral

Visit Greenwich and stand on the Longitude 0 line

Brixton Market

Visit Pudding lane (Great Fire of London) and learn more about Samuel Pepys and his diary

Find the pump that cured Cholera in Soho

Have tea in the 300 year old Twinings tea shop

Visit a Roman Temple dedicated to Mithras

The Post Office Railway

Last Tuesday Society (not sure what this is exactly but it sounds strange and intriguing)

See the oldest surviving Surgical Theater in Europe

Stay overnight in London Zoo

Banksy’s ‘Designated Graffiti Area’

Churchill War Rooms

The Traffic Light Tree

Temple Church

Seven noses of Soho

The Embassy of the Republic of Texas

End of current list


A lot of places already!!!

Thank you to those that have already provided suggestions, this list will keep me going for a while. But then I need to take into consideration that I will try to do most of these, and if my posts are ‘this or that’, the ones that aren’t successful will have to be done at some point too! Maybe I will do a new poll for the losing options once I have made my way through.


I am currently living really close to Borough Market and the Shard, both seen in the picture above. I have tried hard not to have too many wanders into the tourist areas before I get myself a new camera on payday and do some proper blog posts on the locations I visit. But I have been working full time anyway which has helped. So far I am happy to just have some casual wanders day and night around the local neighbourhood that is Southwark.


Despite feeling a little anxious to be moving into London’s city centre, I have felt very safe on all my walks and on public transport. One reason for this is because it is just so busy all the time, no matter the time of day. I feel safer in numbers, and despite the higher crime rates inevitable in a city of 10 million, I would much rather be around a high population if it happened and not down some dark back alley in the middle of nowhere. The constant sirens of the emergency services and sight of police everywhere is welcomed too. Not that I want there to be a new emergency every ten minutes, but knowing that they are there protecting the city.

And with that I haven’t met too many miserable people either. The common belief (particularly being from a much smaller city up north) is that everyone looks down and that London isn’t a particularly friendly city. But I have found that most people I have engaged with have been pleasant, even in the most chaotic of crowds. I am hoping this isn’t just beginners luck and it stays like this whilst I live here, I can only imagine how many people I could possibly meet on my adventures and I am really, really looking forward to getting out there and exploring properly.

The beginning of November will be when I am back in the zone.

Thank you for bearing with me over the last month or so, I haven’t blogged much since moving back to the UK but it will all be changing in a week or so. It is all about finding routine and I am settling in well and cannot wait to do some more solid full time blogging in London.

Let me know what you would like me to do, have a great weekend and see you all soon!



The websites I used for these activities are linked below.



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Watching a certain action movie being filmed in Edinburgh!

I have done quite a bit of travelling since coming back from Australia. I have been back for one month now and had some much needed rest days between blog posts, but not too many. Edinburgh to the Isle of Wight via Bristol as I recently shared with you, then a few days in my hometown with friends and family. This is what I counted as my ‘rest days’, knowing I am home having some proper cooked meals in a place I can totally relax is the best rest possible. I then headed back up to Edinburgh to stay with my sister overnight before a flight to Berlin.

And as a certain something was being filmed in the Scottish capital, we went to check it out.

Durham Train Station

And after a glorious journey up the east coast of the country I arrived in Edinburgh.


The weather was perfect. Blue skies to complement the Scottish flags under a blazing sun. I wonder if this will make a movie look far-fetched… yes I can take all the storylines and car chases, but sunshine in Scotland?! Come on now.



Above is St Giles’ Cathedral. A dominant building on the Royal Mile, this was one of the film locations for the movie Avengers: Infinity War. I am sure fans of the Avengers movie’s will recognize the sets, although it is beautiful to see regardless.

Below, Cockburn Street which was also used in some scenes. Next door to the ‘Scott Brothers’ store is a shop for Harry Potter fans. I didn’t look at the sign however it was called ‘Diagon House’ last time I was here and I assume it is the same store. I made a very quick post on this here, as well as show you the outside of the coffee shop JK Rowling used to write her novels in.


But on this trip it was another huge movie franchise. Fast & Furious 9 is partially being set in the city and I managed to find the filming of it with the help of my sister.

But before that, a message from Vin Diesel himself.

Thankfully we didn’t have to go far, Waterloo Place was the location we found the filming taking place. It is just a couple of minutes walk from Waverley Station and on route to Carlton Hill, a great place if you want some amazing views of Edinburgh.


A stuntman chills on a lorry between takes

Between takes, the street was open for pedestrians only. The road was fenced off from either side, only vehicles used for the movie were on the street. We managed to get there as a scene was taking place and I got this bit of footage.


It was cool to see the drone camera capturing it all, and to imagine what it will look like on the big screen. It is a fairly small street, so takes only lasted a few seconds.

The scene ended, the street opened and we walked to the other side. The staff didn’t mind us recording as we went past, we just had to keep moving and were reminded continuously as we made our way through. It makes sense though, I can only imagine how long it would take to create a movie of this size.




The street was filled with everyone you can imagine that would be involved in such a production. Crew, actors and stunt doubles, volunteers, first aiders… it was pretty exciting to walk through and see them putting it together. My sister loves this kind of thing, and is was actually a paid extra in the movie!!



Below, all the camera work and the majority of the team on this particular set.


So I have to admit here, the actor seen in the first video wasn’t Vin Diesel, but his stunt double. This was made clear as we walked past the bus.





As we made it to the other side, we decided that today was the perfect day to climb up Carlton Hill. This is the best spot to take in the whole city, in all it’s natural and architectural glory.

Athur’s Seat. In person you could actually see people right on the cliff edge, walks up there are very popular but I haven’t done it myself.


Cranes. Lots of Cranes.


The National Monument of Scotland


What I love about Edinburgh is that both a busy city and quiet natural beauty spots are a short walk away. It is that perfect size for me, with just the right amount of everything.


I have realised climbing is becoming more and more of a challenge as the years go by…


Above are views from Carlton Hill, looking over to the Firth of Fourth and Leith, where my sister currently lives.


We made it back down, and the street used for filming seemed a lot quieter. With this we walked through the cities gardens on route back to the flat.


I cannot get enough of the beauty of Edinburgh. So many amazing buildings on a dramatic landscape, it is no surprise the city is home to numerous World Heritage Sites.

Below is one of my favourite buildings in the city, Scott Monument.


This is a monument for Scottish author Walter Scott, and stands just over 200ft tall. It is possible to climb the stairs to the very top with some great views over the city.


Love bagpipes!


Posing in front of Edinburgh Castle


And I will leave you with Wojtek, a ‘beer-drinking soldier bear’ adopted by Polish troops during war that helped carry ammunition before ending his days in Edinburgh. It wasn’t a memorial I was expecting in the city centre, but one I welcome.

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed the post from one of my favourite cities in the UK. Are you a fan of the Fast and the Furious movies? Let me know and let me know if you have been to Edinburgh!

See you all soon.




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My Australian Journey #13: Sunshine, rain and experiencing the super-moon from Manly

Is there a better view from a train station? I would love to know. The long platform with open views out really make you focus on the harbour, and with the cruise terminal being so close by it really dominates the view. The Harbour Bridge and Opera House team up to give one remarkable window view that would give any commuter a good start to the day.


As you can tell, I spent a lot of time around the harbour. It helped that I worked just out of view to the right of the above shot, and would regularly take the ferry to Manly Beach. I believe the picture taken below was during the royal wedding, which gave me a reason to take the shot with Prince Charles and Princess Diana on the coin.


Come rain or shine, Sydney is very photogenic. Which is why I have so many damn shots from here. They’re never ending! However each and every one is a good reminder of a fun trip, whether with intent or just aimless wanderings.


And sometimes, my travels with intent bring surprises. I recall the night of the supermoon, and it being a cloudy evening. I didn’t go out of my way to see it, but walking down the concourse in Manly I remember just how bright it was in the sky. It really drew me and I decided to head to the beach to get a more unobstructed view. The shot below makes the beach seem pretty empty, however there were hundreds of people behind me taking similar shots. I am glad I had a more empty shot that could focus on the moon, but I really like the people here gazing out to it. It adds something in my opinion.



And with that, a question. What makes you most happy? A walk in the sun, or a lazy day with the sound of rain hitting the window pane? Gazing at the stars at night or dozing on a sunny beach? I think I am truly happy with varied weather, I am one of those weird British people that doesn’t often complain about the weather back home. I go insane with too much of one. Maybe that is why I have been so content with hotel work too, the shift patterns see me working underneath the sun and the stars depending on the day. The consistent inconsistency keeps everyday different.

I hope to see you all in the comments, have a great day wherever you are!



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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My Australian Journey #12: The steepest train journey in the world


Above, the Road Builders Memorial in Katoomba, NSW.


Rotary Club Of Katoomba
Centenary Project 2005








And a year ago I was complaining about doing 88 days farmwork…

But to rewind even further back, this was my view from the Blue Mountains as I was about to step on what was described as ‘the steepest passenger railway in the world’. And as always, with anything described as ‘steepest’, ‘tallest’ or ‘fastest’ I headed to the bar first. Thankfully there is one located at the top, and a couple beers helped me to calm my nerves. As many of you know I am not the best with heights, and a beer takes the edge of it. Before long I headed down to the entrance and waited for the train to arrive.


Although it is as steep as a roller coaster, it was pretty slow as I watched the train on numerous occasions move forward and disappear over what seemed like a pretty sudden drop. I do have more pictures over here in the post from the day, and I am uploading them and a video to my Instagram story shortly. It was a great experience with breathtaking views.

I also added a post on my love for abandoned things and places. if you would like to look, I have linked it here. There were interesting discoveries to be made of things either left to fade or just abandoned before opening, even more impactful in such dense wooded areas.

I wonder if they have this button working again…


Being so close to Sydney, I went the first time by myself. I thought I went for a day but looking at my original posts from here I only just remembered I stayed in a hostel overnight! I’ve stayed in too many hostels, they all blur into one over time. But before I knew it I was back in the big city, back to the crowds and protesters.

I decided to add this shot as it isn’t something you can walk by in the street without a second glance.


These are today’s shots from my daily throwback posts of my Australian Journey, many, many more to come and as always, more of each experience in the links. There won’t be many more from Sydney as I really need to move onto the next destination on my travels, Newcastle. Then farmwork, the east coast from Cairns to the Gold Coast, and plenty of shots from my longer stays in Brisbane and Melbourne. Too many pictures and memories, so little time to share them!

Thank you for reading, and I will see you all again tomorrow.


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

Follow me @samest89 on Instagram and @octstw on Twitter

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




My Australian Journey #8: Rainbows, sunsets and street performers

I’ve realised that I have way too many pictures from Sydney, if there is such a thing as too many. I am trying to upload all of my favourite shots from Australia on Instagram throughout August, and even by uploading three a day I will probably not get done until mid September. This is troublesome because I will have been in the UK for a couple of weeks already, and would have already been to Berlin and back!


So I either have to upload at a more rapid pace (like 5 or 6 times a day to Insta) or I have to sort through my favourite pictures and find the best of the best. The S.A.S of snaps which I have done already, but narrowing down a second time will be hard. But it is a good dilemma to have, I would much rather have too many than not enough.


With each photo I take I have more and more of a desire to buy a professional camera. All of my current photos are on an old school Iphone 5s, and still I really like the quality of the pictures on it. I cannot imagine how good it would be to be in possession of a quality camera or drone, and how much more of a desire I would have to get out and about with it. We are lucky to have great cameras on our phones these days, but I know if I had a proper camera I wouldn’t look back.


And I dropped this in water very early on in my Australian journey, around the same time I took this shot. I was at a party, went down to grab a beer and splash, iPhone dropped to the bottom of the bucket of icy water below. But it has lasted all this time, with just one replaced charger port since then. It has served me well.

So I have a very busy upload schedule to stick to, and thank you to those that have followed me on Instagram. I haven’t been this active on the app before but I am enjoying it. It is great for photos.

And I will leave you with this video of the glorious sunset and rainbow I got to experience in Sydney, not long after a storm. It was a very memorable ferry ride and I remember feeling lucky to witness it on the ferry. I also remember feeling pretty damn lucky to be able to travel to the other side of the world and enjoy moments like this, reminding me why I enjoy travel so much.

I hope you enjoy the clip!




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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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.


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.


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.


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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My Australian Journey #4: The day of the bushfires

This day was a walk in the park. Like an actual one and one of my first nature walks after arriving and working in Sydney’s CBD. I can’t tell you how many times I flinched at hanging branches that resembled snakes or jumped at the sound of rustling leaves. But one deadly aspect of Australian life did occur. Bushfires.


Now I am petty sure this was a planned burning to prevent actual wildfires. I doubt the firefighters around us would have let us stay here if not, and the sign highlighting the risk of fires was ‘only’ at ‘high’.


Phew, I guess.

Here is the moment one of the helicopters picked up water to take to the fire, it was pretty damn impressive to see in person and shows that despite nature being incredibly powerful, we have came a long way and can fight back at times.

I was talking to an American couple that were living in Sydney at the time, as you can hear from the accents. It probably would have been better if I wasn’t chatting over the footage (who likes their own voice on video anyways?) but that’s something I cannot help.

More of this experience in this post and plenty more pictures too.

Have a great Sunday! I am sadly having to work nightshifts this weekend, so having a very chilled couple of days which is helping me greatly with uploads and blogging. Let me know what you’re getting up to!


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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My Australian Journey #3: Blue skies and skylines

I much prefer a blue sky in any photo. It adds so much more to a shot and just gives off a warm, happy vibe. It does for me anyway.


The shot above is one of my favourite pictures on my whole working holiday visa. I love the brightness and the bright white flag blowing in the wind before an impressive skyline. The skyline is the main reason I used to enjoy a walk around Darling Harbour and I have plenty of shots in this post from September 2017.



I took a couple of shots here, this one and when I was waiting at the traffic lights at night, decided to try and get another shot from the same angle. I like looking at both together, it’s like travelling in a time machine.


I think the theme of all my Instagram uploads is a blue sky, or pictures with lots of colour. It puts me in a good mood, which is probably why I like street art so much. Bright colours to raise my spirits, especially at times when I need it.


Expect lots of sunshine and colour in my upcoming posts!


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.