Into the unknown

Just before leaving Newcastle yesterday, I walked down to the beach for a final gaze out over the Pacific Ocean. The sign as I was leaving dry land warned me that the path ahead is never safe, even in calm waters. 


This view is beautiful or terrifying, depending on my state of mind on the day. I guess it can be both at the same time. As I was hungover on this particular morning, anxiety overpowered the appreciative side of my brain. I sat next to the sign warning me of the consant danger of the waves and took everything in.

My problem is that I always try to wrap my head around what is not possible to wrap my head around. Life and how we got here, where we are going and what is beyond our universe. The bigger questions. I wish I could settle with not knowing but it doesn’t stop me wanting to know. Staring at this horizon is a window into the infinite. Right there is a view that could potentially go on forever. How astounding is that?! Isn’t it funny that we freak out when looking down from a height but take no interest in the unfathomable drop below earth? It isn’t the immediate threat we face daily, so I guess it makes sense. 


Even the huge expanse of the ocean is nothing compared to space. The ocean itself is a depth I struggle to comprehend, enough to trigger some form of anxiety and unease if I was to find myself far from the shore in a small boat. It is an example of nature being something much larger than ourselves, how can we expect to understand when the brains we are equipped with are much smaller than the rocks it throws about with ease? It would be incredible to possess the knowledge of a brain the size of an ocean, what would it know? 

There are things we know that we don’t know, I guess that’s a start. And knowing there are things that I don’t know keeps me stimulated, even if it is hard to take in. Although the sky is a window into the infinite, I have to be grateful I have a window to look out of.

Travel Diary: Newcastle, NSW

Being from Newcastle in England, I wanted to visit Newcastle in Australia ever since I found out there was one. Located in New South Wales, a couple of hours north of Sydney and a million miles away from big city chaos. I decided to visit on a Sunday, but even on a Monday morning Newcastle it seems to be a lot more chilled.


It has taken a lot of strength to type today as I had too many beers last night. When a pint costs you on average $10, schooners for five bucks are warmly welcomed. It was earned after a lot of walking along the coast in very warm weather, the first thing I did once I got here. I only spent one night in the city so as soon as I got to the hostel the lovely receptionist gave me a map and told me where to head. First, Nobbys Head.

I’m sure this lady was drunk. She was lovely though!

I was told Newcastle is quite industrial, to the north (or left of this image) it is clear to see. Beaches with sunbathers, surfers, jet skiers and dog walkers are occasionally dwarfed by huge tankers sailing through.



This isn’t an issue, when you are walking down the coastline over Newcastle’s many beaches, this is all out of view. What comes into view are beautiful cliffs, piers and para-gliders.

Eventually, you come to the Bogey Hole. This was cut out of rocks by convicts in 1819, pretty impressive. On VisitNSW, the following is said of the attraction.

The Bogey Hole was constructed by order of Commandant Morisset in about 1820 for his own personal use. Morisset was Commandant of Newcastle from 1819 to 1822. It was known, originally as the “Commandants Baths”. The name “Bogey Hole” was applied afterwards and comes from the indigenous word meaning “to bathe”.


I didn’t go in as it was pretty full. Instead I gazed over the horizon and waited for the occasional wave to crash over, which is an awesome sight.

Away from the waves, Newcastle has some nice architecture. I didn’t spend too much time wandering the streets, however there were some notable buildings. This one is a bar and restaurant called Customs House, where I was told about other places to go for a few beers.


The staff here were cool, friendly and informative. The people of Newcastle are very friendly, something Newcastle in England is thankfully known for, so there was a similarity. Another reminder of home was Nobbys Head, gazing out to sea was light doing so at St Mary’s Lighthouse in the North East of England, a lighthouse that can be accessed when the tide is out. This right now is receiving snow, a huge contrast to the palm trees and dolphins here in the Southern Hemisphere.

As I am typing, I am ready to say goodbye to the hostel, I can hear the horns of the huge ships entering and leaving port. I hope I have an excuse to come up again, it’s been fun. Thank you to the girl that gave me this recommendation last night, it helped with the hangover today.


Also, thank you for putting up with me being drunk. I cannot remember getting back to the hostel last night, but I will certainly remember this trip.

A quick teaser…

Well, the weather couldn’t have been any better for me to take a day trip somewhere and with Newcastle having a fair few beaches to choose from, I felt it was a great choice. 

I will have a post up tomorrow with my thoughts on this city in New South Wales, in the mean time here is a snap of the beautiful coastline on offer.


I hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend, I’ll speak to you all soon.

Sam

I needed a day trip somewhere

It is 7.45am Sunday morning in Sydney and I am on a train north to Newcastle for the day. I needed a little day trip out of the city and with rail prices being incredibly cheap on Sunday’s, I set my alarm and headed to Central Station.


As I’m from Newcastle, UK I always had an urge to visit the Australian equivalent. I get there at 9.50am and will find a nice cafe to set my laptop up and plan the day. 

After zooming in on this image I realised I can see Sydney’s skyline in the distance, Sydney Tower can be made out quite easily. 

Bye for now, Sydney!

Familiar accents in a far away land

Today has been a good day. Very busy and therefore productive, tiring and therefore a good workout. It is also one that ended in high spirits as Australia will be in the 2018 World Cup after beating Honduras 3-1 in Sydney. There were- and I am sure still are- yellow shirts everywhere in the streets and will be long into the night. Yellow shirts and football (soccer) have always been associated with Brazil, you could have been fooled into thinking you were walking back from the Maracana tonight rather than the ANZ Stadium in Sydney’s Olympic Park or out of the many bars showing the game.

This was a development very late on in the evening and wasn’t the plan for this post, however if any occasion results in fireworks it is probably worth a mention*. I originally wanted to post about a couple I met today from the UK, from my city in fact. In fact, just down the road in a neighbouring village, we finally worked out the distance after the lady said ‘you know, near the Red Kite Pub?’. Pubs are a great marker for getting your bearings if you are lost in the UK, particularly in a village or small town.

There is always a great deal of excitement when you overhear a conversation in your own dialect when abroad. You would never have spoken to them if they were sitting next to you in a cafe back home, now suddenly they are your best friends and you are planning life together. It is like our caveman instincts kick in and we need to group up in an environment of strange sounding people. No matter how far you travel, it is just a matter of time before you encounter one of your fellow citizens. This can be seen as a blessing or a curse. Here in Sydney, it seems like a Brit is around every corner. Back when I was living in West Texas, we were few and far between. I loved the opportunity to only hear my accent once in a blue moon, it made the encounter much more interesting.

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Do you enjoy meeting your fellow countrymen and women when on holiday, or do you see a holiday as a break from the norm and therefore avoid fellow citizens at all costs?

*I am unsure if the fireworks were directly related to the win tonight, however it was very fitting even if unrelated.

Featured photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

Açaí you there!

I was instantly reminded of my amazing month in Brazil as I walked by this stand. I haven’t had Açaí since then (August 2016), in fact I don’t think I have seen anywhere to buy it until now.

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I guess a city with a population of over four million is bound to offer a great variety of food and drink, cuisines inspired by the countless nationalities that have settled here. This isn’t always the case in the smaller cities, Newcastle for example, the city I lived in before moving here. It just cannot compete in terms of diversity.

Have you tried it? With Summer around the corner there is no doubt I will tuck into this little tub of heaven again, and I look forward to doing so.

Obrigado in advance!

Travel Diary: Darling Harbour

I hadn’t heard of Darling Harbour until I was taken there. What great views of the skyline!

I went with family for lunch and a look around the museum, which involved boarding two Royal Navy ships, one submarine and a replica of the HMS Endeavour. The Endeavour was particularly fascinating when walking (sometimes crawling) around, it gave a real insight as to the living conditions of the day.



The staff were very informative and friendly, one lady told me her husband was from Newcastle after recognising my accent.

What a great day to be at sea.

Views I will miss, pt 5

I have often been given free tickets to this venue as I work (well, I left my job to travel two days ago) next door. I know some of the promoters fairly well, meaning that when a gig comes up that I would like to see I have been lucky enough to get my name on the guest list. Certainly a privilege I am going to miss!

Also, check this sunset as I travelled to the gig. We don’t often get to see the sun setting here, so when we do it is an occasion, and not many sunsets have beaten this one. It’s even more interesting as it comes at a time when the sun is now setting on my life in the UK.



But back to the gig. This time it was Mac Demarco. He’s a very funny guy with some catchy tunes, if you haven’t heard of him here is a great interview on the viral channel First We Feast and its series ‘Hot Ones’.

It was certainly the most lively crowd I have seen here. One guy managed to sneak a skateboard in, how I have no idea, and one fan appeared to wave his crutch around as if he didn’t need it.


So, that’s the last gig I will attend here for a long time. The good news is music is worldwide as are the artists that create it. I may see this Canadian artist again somewhere, sometime.

Views I will miss, pt 4

This is my local, just around the corner from my house. Admittedly I don’t stop by this place as much as I should but it is great to know it is there for me when a pint is needed.


This was taken last night, it was shortly after my last day at work and as much as I am excited to move on, it was pretty emotional. They were kind to me. A brand new wallet with a bunch of notes stuffed in to help me stay on my feet when I get there. Also, this card.


And on the back!


It’s weird that everything I’m doing here may be the last for a long time, at least it means everything I do from now on is probably going to be a first.

Views I’m going to miss, part. 3

The Tyne Bridge. 


I walk by it almost every day. I certainly see it everyday, often in the distance. Always there in view from constantly differing angles via windows, water reflections and the seemingly infinite obstructions in everyday city life.


The awesome thing is, I will be heading to a world class city that has a very similar bridge, reason being it was built by the very same people, travelling across the world to spread their influence and design. A good example of what I meant by my earlier post remembering home.

I’m sure many people don’t know the story behind the Sydney Harbour Bridge, I don’t mind and it doesn’t reduce my sense of pride.