British Police have big helmets

I thought I’d give them praise, they don’t get it often.


Did you know, a pregnant lady can pee in a policemans helmet if the urge comes about?

This may however be a myth after googling it. I found the following question posted online from a curious guy:

I read recently that a pregnant woman has the legal right to urinate in a policeman’s helmet. However, at this year’s Notting Hill carnival all officers refused my girlfriend this honour. On what grounds can they refuse such a request?

I will ask, after a couple more pints.

Marrying for a passport

I love working in the tourism/hospitality industry. I see new people everyday, hear constantly varying accents, listen to interesting stories and learn about new places to visit. Some days make me want to attach a hip flask to my belt, at least there is a balance.

I need that kind of diversity to keep me stimulated at work. It hasn’t been enough to keep me in my job as I will be travelling to Sydney soon, I don’t think any job would prevent me from travelling but this one has kept me in one place since 2013. It is the many nationalities I see daily that probably triggered my move, a constant reminder that there is a world out there that I choose not to see every time I do not hand in my leaving notice. I was born in one corner of the world, many people stay there. I have colleagues that are confused as to why I could leave a job to do something as ‘unimportant’ as travel. I couldn’t disagree more. Employment is important and money is obviously a main fuel for the ability to travel, however work isn’t always a sacrifice needing to be made. I will work in Australia to fund my adventures, why work where I have always lived when there may be an employer out there willing to hire me on the other side of the world? From experience in working abroad in the past, a job can be so much more enjoyable in a new environment. New people, new climates, new food, all much needed stimulants in my life. It is like a life hack I have always sought. That being said, I will miss my job and the stories along the way. Some stick with me and I often find myself questioning life along the way. The story I am about to tell is no exception to this and as always, I would love to hear your opinion on this, regardless of what side of the fence you stand.

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So two days ago I met a very attractive female, I am guessing in her 40’s. She was very friendly and in my circle so it was inevitable that I would converse with her at some point. Her accent did not match the passport she had on the desk next to her, she left it out whilst arranging her handbag. She got out of a taxi not too long before this moment, so I am assuming she only just arrived from the airport. The passport was British, I thought it would be a good ice breaker to ask the question.

‘So where are you originally from?’ I finally asked out of curiosity.

‘I am Brazilian, Sao Paulo.’ She responded with a smile. The question, thankfully, was welcomed.

‘Ah okay, so where do you live now?’ Wondering where in Britain someone from the land of golden beaches and palm trees would plan to settle.

‘Scotland’ She chuckled. ‘It is a long story’.

Of course, ‘a long ‘story’ is often seen as an invitation to ask more, or at least makes us want to. What I didn’t ask is whether or not she did indeed arrive from the airport. Anywhere in Scotland to Newcastle (the most northern city in England before the Scottish border) would be a very short flight indeed. Car or train are the usual and most practical choices.

‘So what made you move to Scotland?’ I asked.

She then looked at her British passport and tapped it twice before glancing up at me with that smile that didn’t really go away. This really happened! I chuckled and accepted her answer. I don’t know if this was the most appropriate question to ask, however I felt she said the bar quite high with her last action.

‘May I ask, are you still married to this person?’ Spoken a little softer as it isn’t really a conversation you want others to listen in on.

Of course not! But he is one of my best friends now‘ Was the answer, which gave me the impression that he was as in on this as she was. She didn’t seem to be bothered by my curiosity, probably because I didn’t really show any signs of shock or offence. I felt like I was talking to a Bond girl, you know when Bond is at a bar and the girl, in a very relaxed and composed manner, speaks openly in a way many others would feel uncomfortable doing? Thankfully, the topic was marrying for a passport, not the way she plans to see me die as I tell her how pretty she was.

Since then I have questioned whether or not this is acceptable. Not that I feel marriage is something that people should feign, but we are all victims of circumstance. I didn’t do anything to be awarded a British Passport, other than be born here. Thankfully, I have enjoyed the benefits of living here and the freedoms a British passport provides, currently ranked 3rd in terms of its power on Passport Index which is an interesting site to view if you want to view how many countries you can enter visa-free.

I have visited Brazil and Sao Paulo and loved it. It would be illogical however to compare travelling for one month to living in a nation and I would be lying to suggest this incredible nation was without problems. All nations have problems. As much as I love looking back at my photos I know there are people in them that would move to a more prosperous place if they could. I have friends that have a great life and live in SP. I also know a couple that live in Edinburgh, he is from Brazil and they married for love and are still together in the UK.

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But the question still goes through my head. If someone is to contribute positively to another nations society, working hard and finding love once here, is marrying to get here as much of a free pass as say, having a winning lottery ticket? We don’t often show hate to people that have won the lottery, despite the lack of work that went into achieving a life of luxury other than handing a £1 coin to the cashier in exchange for a ticket. There is actually less work ethic shown here than marrying for a passport, and agreeing to marry someone for a passport is probably more moral than pretending to love someone that is purely being used for a passport, as weird as it sounds to say that. I am sure that it is the deceit that is frowned upon in this case, there is honesty in a winning lottery ticket, incredible odds in replace of skill. This is known by all and is an accepted way to become wealthy beyond belief.

What would I do if I was living in conditions that I hated, knowing the ways in which I could free myself from them and into a life I enjoyed with more freedom? I do not know but I know people do, and I now know someone that has.

Featured Photo by STIL on Unsplash

Respect existence or expect resistance

I love this quote! The eerie graffiti is located on the west coast of Scotland, the location of the UK’s nuclear warheads. My sister currently lives in Scotland and recently had the opportunity to visit Faslane Peace Camp set up nearby by protesters.

 

I was reading this post by My Simple Life on her visit to Hiroshima and thought it would be silly if I didn’t offer a glimpse of my sisters brief day visit. Around the camp, trees hold posters with nails and cable ties, displaying the reasons why we should abandon our Nuclear Deterrent. The UK has four Vanguard-class submarines, one on patrol whilst the other three undergo maintenance and prepare for patrol. Each submarine can carry 16 Trident missiles, each missile carrying 8 nuclear warheads. Each warhead, eight times more powerful than the one dropped on Hiroshima. To think these warheads are located a three hour drive from where I type this is a little concerning. I’m out of range if something was to go wrong, right?

The Internet has slightly differing stats, although the message is still powerful

The Trident nuclear deterrent is in question here. Some say it is way too costly, operating Trident each year costs the UK roughly £2 billion. Some say it is pointless to run, if we were to be attacked by another nation, the deterrent clearly didn’t work and it would be too late to do anything. Of course, it is also seen as immoral, we have seen how deadly such an attack can be. At the peace camp, two Hiroshima survivors planted a tree that can be seen below.

Pretty powerful and I can certainly see the appeal of a world without nuclear bombs. If only it was that easy.

Travel Diary: So long America, it was fun :(

I wanted to find an image that represents the USA in differing ways for this post, I decided on this picture taken in Austin, TX.

The famous yellow taxi. Glass highrises dwarfing the one storey eateries lining the grid traffic systems. Right lane driving. These all stand out to me as a British traveller.

My home city of Durham bans building over two storeys high in some areas to prevent obscuring any views of the cathedral, or so I was taught on a geography trip back in school. Grid systems would be ideal, sadly this is impossible when our city was built when horses were the main mode of transport. It was also important to build in an area that was difficult to conquer, common throughout Europe. It is a city that has always taken my breath away, not just because of the views but the effort needed to walk up to the market place. You can see why the centre is pedestrianised, and how this spot was perfect for the building of a castle and cathedral.

Credit: Van Rhijn Aerial Photography

But this post is about the New World. Today, I received notification that my US visa expired. It isn’t something that I have looked to renew as I have spent the years since 2010 in Malaysia, Brazil and short breaks in Europe. A lot happens in this space of time. I lost my father and uncle in recent years which of course took the wind out of my sails. I had no ambition to travel at all but thanks to great friends and amazing family, I got back on my feet. I would love to have went back the States and it feels weird that I haven’t, I made great friends and still keep in touch.

Sometimes we don’t get upset that something is over until it is over. I haven’t thought much about the visa still being valid but now I see it isn’t, I slumped a bit. If anything it is a reminder that I need to visit this great nation once again, one so vast that one image alone cannot portray the United States of America accurately. I miss the food, the friendly people, the numbered streets and alphabetised avenues and people thinking I’m Irish or Australian.

My visa expiring has inspired me to visit again one day!

Pre-travel goodbyes

I love the inside of this card.

Happiness is living your dreams whilst you are wide awake…

It is getting to that point in which I receive the good lucks and all the bests. When it starts to hit me and the feelings of excitement dwindle a little, the realisation hits me of the sacrifices made in moving to another country. I won’t see my family for a little while. My ‘little while’ may be a long damn time for some, it depends how you perceive one year.

They need me and I need them. I also need to live, if my family didn’t do the same in their youth, what stories would they have to tell me? Would I be here at all?

Thank you to the two Scottish Margaret’s for this one!

The reality is that even though my family will miss me as much as I will miss them, we all have a duty to self progress. To be a little selfish and to treat ourselves as much as we want to treat those we love. What better way to show how much we love family than to give them something to be proud of? To show them how well they have raised us, the ambition and drive placed within us materialised in the form of a plane ticket and new footsteps in unspoiled sand.

My visit to Texas back in 2010 was the longest I have been without family, thirteen months. Oddly, I was always someone preffering to stay at home. I loved my home comforts. I assume university helped me out of that comfort zone, after my second trip to New York City during my degree. I realised long-haul wasn’t a scary experience and thanks to the Jet-stream over the Atlantic, the return journey home was a pretty short one. If I remember rightly it was only 6 hours 30 minutes (ish), sharing the whole back row with one friend. A journey back home from another part of the UK may take that time (driving of course) and that would be without such homesickness. Homesickness for me is prevented by not thinking of how far away my family are in miles but in time. No matter where we are in the world, family are pretty much in reach within 24 hours.

Please forgive the quality of the images below, I used a cheap camera. I didn’t have a smartphone back then and have never owned a professional photography camera. FYI, the first picture was from my first visit in 2008, when the foundations were still being cleared and prepared for One World Trade Center and memorial. My visits to NYC have been 2008, 2010 and 2011. The One World Trade Center is under construction in a couple of images, snapped in 2011 after I left Texas and flew from New York to London. I still didn’t own a decent camera!

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The first two visits were only short breaks, five days each. I remember flying to Dallas on that first long stretch away from home. As the green card was being placed on my tray and the captain announced how long of the flight was left, it finally hit me that I would be away for a year, starting there and then. A year! I am glad it hit me when it did, if I felt the same feeling of reluctance earlier I may not have bought my plane ticket. The feeling didn’t last long, my brain instantly stimulated by new accents and weather, new foods and sports. When I did need to contact home I could do in an instant thanks to Facebook and Skype. The whole experience wasn’t as daunting as I feared it would be whilst I filled in the green card. I still firmly believe it was the best year of my life.

I also seem to remember more of that year than I do all the years since combined. Despite having many more trips, a year of travel consists of so many stories and new experiences. Similar to how we feel about aging, time flies the older we get. As a child everything is new. Every colour and word, every animal and sound. The more our days become increasingly similar to the last, the less we notice the hands moving on the clock. Travel for me is a time machine slowing down life. When I think of being away for such a long in Australia come September, I think of the benefits.

Like a gym session, don’t worry about how crap you feel doing it, think of the results!!

The things we do differently 

As much as I prefer sunny weather, I love getting up, eating a full English and gazing out of a rain soaked window. 


I love it because it isn’t universal. Some people hate the thought of black pudding or baked beans during breakfast, maybe opting for fresh pieces of fruit looking out onto palm trees and crashing waves. Sadly I cannot have that today, but there is a great cafe hidden within my apartment complex that does a lovely fry up.


As much as I desire civilisation to merge and rid ourselves of the cultural bias that has us thinking differently and constantly at war, I love how our tastes and home comforts vary. I love how some people have never tried baked beans on toast and may one day give it a go on a trip to the UK. I love how there is still so much I haven’t tried and will do for the first time in, hopefully, the near future. 

It is seemingly paradoxical that I love to travel and experience other cultures, at the same time I wish to live in a world in which ideologies don’t continually divide us. Sometimes my blog may seem to contradict itself and my thoughts may do the same, bare with me!

What did you have when you woke up today? It’s 16.53 here, and I am still full.

Travel Diary: British flags on Spanish coasts

After stepping onto a plane without a cloud in sight, nothing speeds up the holiday blues like stepping off the plane and into the pouring rain. At least my swimming shorts were put to good use one final time, a two and a half hour flight certainly makes the difference and shows how far we can now travel in such a short space of time. For that I choose to appreciate the horizontal rain hitting my face as I walk down those soaked metal steps into British summertime.

There are some places in the world that I enjoyed but probably would not travel back to. This destination was certainly one of them, it was a blast and we met some great people… why wouldn’t I go back in a hurry? There was also some very pretty scenery and can be seen in my last post here, although from the resort it was hard to take photos without the masses of heavily built up areas obscuring the view.


Of course, a concrete jungle can be an attraction within itself, New York City and São Paulo to name a couple. Benidorm doesn’t have the same effect. It isn’t of the same scale and for this the buildings do not have the same impact in my opinion. There was the odd building that caught my attention, the In Tempo for example which can be seen below. Sadly, this beautiful building has not been occupied since completion in 2014.

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AFP/Getty Images

Another point is that almost every building in the popular drinking resort is covered in British flags. Don’t get me wrong, seeing Union Jack bunting tied between palm trees was a fascinating sight, it is something you cannot see in the UK. It is however for me a sign that I should probably stay away, one thing I certainly do not want to see when travelling is British people blasting out Sweet Caroline on karaoke. The odd one or two is great but when Spanish accents are almost a rarity, I sometimes think why did I travel in the first place?


I went with friends, I wouldn’t go with family or girlfriend. Some sights we witnessed walking into what we though were typical pubs were too explicit to mention on here without breaking some kind of WordPress violation. For a party holiday in a home away from home it is ideal, as much as I would like to see it as anything but I really can’t!

But why should I? It didn’t seem like Benidorm tried to be anything but that. Both Spanish and British people were advertising the cheap full english breakfasts they had on offer at the same time offering us free shots, not knowing if we had just woken up or were finally heading to bed. It seems like that is the way. I remember one waitress saying how nice it was to have a group of males sit down and behave whilst having breakfast. When that is a rarity at breakfast, I would not like to see her norm…

Regardless, I am pleased I went, after all it was an experience that I wanted to have and if I told my readers I didn’t have a bunch of laughs and a great catch-up with some friends I haven’t seen for a while, I would be lying. Did I have fun? Plenty. Will I book next year? Not unless my friends did and asked me to go.

Will Benidorm always be such a resort? Even a gorgeous £72 million skyscraper built as a symbol of transformation died as the drunks stumble back to the cheap concrete hotels around it. It would take a lot of work to change it’s image, maybe one day this skyscraper will be the image of said change, with the Spanish flag rising here once again.

Cars are modern horses

A sausage, bean and chese melt, the first in a couple of months as I have really tried to cut down before travelling this year. A large coffee because they ran out of regular cups and were feeling generous. This holiday is off to a flying start!


I love airports. They fascinate me. After a very stressful last minute pack I have finally made it to the airport. I am lucky enough to have a very convenient metro system that takes me from the city centre to the airport terminal doors in roughly 20 minutes. This means I can enjoy a few bevvies and not worry how much the airport parking will cost for seven days, all for £3.30.


Ports of the air, the new and quicker way to travel and unseen for centuries. Oh how lucky we are to have them. Sea ports are great and all, however one cup of coffee and a pasty would not be sufficient to fill me travelling by sea from the north of England to the south of Spain. Isn’t it amazing to be able to travel such vast distances in so little time? I would get over it but I do not want to.


Like the car is the new and improved, air conditioned horse of today, airports fill our increasing demand for travel. What is next, the space port? Vaccum-tunnel port? Whatever it is I am sure to be as excited as historical sailors would be to see the ports of today.

dd/mm/yyyy… or mm/dd/yyyy?

I fly today, 27/06/17 is finally here. That may be 06/27/17 for some readers, which has always baffled me. I find it very hard to read it this way- dd/mm/yyyy always seems like the logical approach, mm/dd/yyyy is like typing ‘United States of America, New York City, North America’… A huge mind fuck.

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Finished packing: Check.

Passport and money: Check.

Headphones: No idea where they have gone, which has really frustrated me as I take them everywhere. The cheap in flight headphones will have to be smuggled through customs, hopefully they don’t die after a weeks usage.

Skyped with my mum and convinced her I would come back alive: Check.

Booked last minute travel insurance in case the above doesn’t totally go to plan: Check.

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I always thought that the longest month I would ever have would start December 1st. As a child I remember the pure excitement of making a list, checking it twice, and waiting to see the presents in my living room come the 25th. This excitement never died as a child. As I get older this is still a day I cherish but it doesn’t have the same magic. The excitement for me is now in travelling outside of my borders to a place I haven’t been. Somewhere that I am not required to work eight+ hours a day and can dip my feet in the cool waters. It sounds so simple yet so desired by any adult I know. I am drinking alcohol at 11.45am on Tuesday, weird to so many, secretly desired by as many.

I will blog daily for the next seven days, I will not be able to engage with the WP community as much- wifi issues, additional charges and all.

What is your favorite day of the year? Mine changes often and today, it is today.