I spoke too soon…

The weather has been perfect today in Melbourne. Warm enough to not need a jacket (by my standards) however as you can see from the trees winter is certainly here.

Melbourne looks great in the winter. The streets of colourful art and busy laneways keep me merry and the Nutella crepe stalls warm me up just by looking at them. It’s a great city to live whatever the season, and that season seemingly changes daily. The locals tell you that if you don’t like the weather here, wait a minute. And I’m making the most of these sixty seconds.



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Winter is coming.

I am probably in the minority here, but I love a rainy day. It sounds contradictory as I curse to myself all too often during that awful moment when I take my wet shoes and socks off, I should look at the soaked pavements underneath the sea of umbrellas with dread when venturing out. But I don’t. I just feel calm and relaxed and go about my day.


I think this mindset comes from childhood. I remember in my more lazy teenage years a rainy day would give me a guilt free pass to stay indoors and play video games. I loved being outdoors as a kid as much as I do now, staying indoors on a nice day is very difficult. I can’t do it. On a rainy day I feel like I am allowed to and that sense of urgency washes away with the sound of the rain. I get a great sense of nostalgia.

It sounds crazy flying from the UK to Australia and being happy with the rain. But I have had my fair share of summer days down under. Sunshine that I made the most of on the incredible beaches down the east coast…


And sunshine I avoided as much as possible whilst picking watermelons for ten hours a day.


The sun can be a blessing or a curse depending on what we are doing. And being from northern England, the northern Queensland heat can be intense. I only recently moved from Brisbane and the weather there was still very humid for me even in March… I had to buy a jacket and scarf and actually wear jeans immediately after moving to Melbourne. But I didn’t mind the relief from the constant humidity, how long I will remain happy will have to be seen.

I’m not sure if ‘I like the rain’ is worthy of it’s own post, but one of the reasons I got onto my blog so soon after work is that I needed to get indoors fast. It is a blessing for my productivity on the blog.

And with that I ask, are you a fan? I have met Aussies that are jealous of the mild temperatures I get back home, and Brits that have moved here for the sun and never went back. And of course the exact opposite. I know some of you need the rain right now and will through the summer, and it reminds me to be grateful if anything.

What’s your verdict?


Featured Photo by Kieren Andrews on Unsplash



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

Want to keep up with my travels? Click here for my Travel Diary or follow me @samest89 on Instagram

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

Happy blogging,


Rainy days

This morning it poured down here in Brisbane. In fact it may have rained all night as I was caught in it at midnight after watching Newcastle get beat by Tottenham… a goal that really shouldn’t have went in. The weather cleared up nicely by this afternoon.

I am not sure about you however I love a rainy day. The soothing sound of rain hitting the ground chills me right out, I have been using rainfall soundtracks on Spotify and YouTube to help me concentrate on writing too with great results. I also love that it gives me an excuse to wind down a little and just stay in one spot without the urgency to get out the house and into the world. It doesn’t feel so much like a wasted day if the sun isn’t blazing.

But it doesn’t mean the day is unproductive, more that it is just productive in a different way. Less physical and more sit and read a book or blog. It gives us a different way to go about the day and I like that. Rain has been rare in Brisbane recently so it was a positive change.

How was the weather where you are this weekend? Are you a fan of a rainy day? I feel my fellow Brits will be strongly against me on this one!


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

Want to keep up with my travels? Click here for my Travel Diary or follow me @samest89 on Instagram

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

Happy blogging,



The travel stories sound great but… did you tan?

I must admit, after booking a flight to Cairns I have had a few concerns with being exposed to unrelenting sunshine.

Then again, looking at the forecast for the dates I will be there, it seems to be very cloudy. I do hope we get a few sunny days.

However it took me back to this post about our desire for a tan, and how in the UK a sun tan is what people want to see most from our time away on our two week long Spanish holiday. It is like a trophy almost. People gather around at work to listen to your stories of that bright golden thing in the sky and what it felt like on the skin.

Let me know your thoughts on this. I am sure many people from the UK and other nations with similar climates can relate. Those that live in warmer climates, just show a little compassion to your grey skied neighbours 😉

I was with three German friends yesterday, they were travelling from Stuttgart to Newcastle for a weekend break. They underestimated the Scottish sunshine as I watched them come back from a day trip to Edinburgh. It’s there and craves attention from time to time. One of them came back more red than a Stuttgart away shirt.


Of course, the featured image isn’t northern Europe. It is Belém, Portuguese for Bethlehem. I loved this city and the regions around it, if I was in danger of sunburn it was this place. It is a shame, I used to tan so well. Maybe it was the parental guidance as a child and my clear lack of self reliance to apply enough sunscreen. I am fine with this though, it isn’t the main focus of my holiday.

It seems to be the main focus for so many people. When I arrive home after a trip, more often than not my skin colour will be the topic of conversation. Whether I tanned or not, I have to go through the cliche who-has-the-browner-skin competition.


I have five right arms. Great for carrying groceries, terrible for balance.

For many Brits, holidays abroad are simply for the sunshine. To be able to sit down outside with a beer and do nothing. To get a great tan and show everyone back home. It seems like this is what is perceived of my reasons to travel too. Not the stories of what I did or where I went, what food I tried and how much of the language I learned. Just how hard I tried to sit still to get brown enough to prove I went away in the first place.

I do often come back with a little colour, but this shouldn’t be the only evidence that any journey was worth it. If anything the lack of tan may prove I was busy doing other things, venturing away from the hotel pool from time to time. If I go all that way I want to make it worth it. I want to take this opportunity to do what I cannot back home and sample a new experience that my great grandparents were not able to.

I wonder if I went back in time and visited my great grandparents, would they take any interest in my change of skin colour at all, considering the huge amount of curiosity they must have gathered knowing I had travelled overseas? Or would they spend the whole day sitting down with me asking what such an experience was like? The smells from the restaurants, the appearance of the natives, the warmth of the rain and the height of the mountains.

The tan fades. Experiences don’t.


Originally posted 19th June, 2017

Reposted 1st February, 2018

Sydney experienced an amazing storm last night

This morning, around 4.30am in Sydney’s CBD, I was awake at work and a HUGE storm rolled in. I was at the desk and I could see the early flashes on the horizon in the corner of my eye, before long it was right above us. Although I felt like one of the only people awake at the time right before this, I would be surprised if anyone was able to sleep through it.

If there is one thing that demonstrates the power of lightning, it is its ability to turn night into day. Now I am not sure if this is due to lightning, if anyone can confirm that would be great, but I was recording the skyline hoping for a huge fork to strike as it was doing so frequently and the moment a bright flash occurred, my camera stopped recording. This was annoying, however what was amazing was that my screen froze at the moment the flash lit up the whole sky. So, I took a screenshot of the moment that was frozen on my iPhone screen. The next picture here is a screenshot of the video before the lightning. The following image is during the flash.

How amazing is that? It is like nature is turning the light on. Also notice how the Harbour Bridge becomes clearly visible during a strike.

Notice how this shot only lights up the water.

I also love how nature really doesn’t give a damn. It’s 4.30am? Do I look like I care? I am going to unleash all fury anyway. I will flash, I will roar and I will leave when I am done. See you next time I am around, sleepyheads.

This kind of nature really does blow me away and fill me with fascination, although as I have admitted before, my perception can shift dramatically in a different mindset. In periods of depression or anxiety, storms terrify me. It highlights the aspects of nature that we still don’t truly understand, the uncontrollable and largely unpredictable nature of reality that we just have to ride out like a storm wave. The reality that we are in control of only a small aspect of life and this is evident every single day.

In periods of stress-free calm, as I have experienced thankfully the past few months, I can look at storms for their beauty and appreciate how far humans have come, to the point that a lightning strike containing millions of volts of electricity can be viewed from a relatively safe, care free zone. Hopefully I stay in this frame of mind so I can take all the goodness out of these natural events before the day comes that I won’t be around to see the show any longer.

The hottest day I have experienced so far

Today it has finally hit 40 degrees, a temperature this half English- half Scottish guy was warned about and not designed for. Celsius that is for you Fahrenheit fans out there, I am sure 40f would be a completely different story. It is roughly 104 Fahrenheit if the first converter I found on Google is accurate.

The weather in the UK has never hit 40c in recorded history. Looking at this Wikipedia article it has come close, but not reached this level of heat. No doubt it made headlines back in 2003! 

Funnily enough, the 10th August is my sisters birthday, the 30th June is mine. Strange!

It is fascinating that a temperature the UK never experiences is just another summers day in Australia. It is equally fascinating to me that whilst the Southern Hemisphere is baking, the Northern Hemisphere (the UK at least) is freezing. Sometimes I don’t know if the world is incredibly big or unbelievable tiny. It depends on what I am comparing it to I guess. Big enough to be home to all kind of weather systems, drastically changing landscapes and life forms… small enough for us to cover it all in 24 hours or so. If one rock orbiting the sun varies so much, what is at the end of the universe? It’s enough to melt my already overheating brain.

It is safe to say I will be spending the midday indoors to avoid bursting into flames. Mid twenties is my comfort zone, however 40c isn’t as bad as I first feared. Thankfully I arrived in September, a good time to climatise before the heat truly hit.

Is 40c a temperature you are used to? Are you currently sitting through summer or winter? Let me know, I am sure many of my readers are used to extremes that we just don’t get growing up in the UK.

The difference between a life livable and a life enjoyable

I love rainy days, I just prefer to live in a climate that makes me value rainy days more often. That is the thing with us British folk. We get too much of what some of the world is in desperate need of. Every time I switch on the news it is another nation burning from wildfires- recently Canada and the USA and even more recently Spain and Portugal.

Wildfires in Portugal. EPA/BBC News

As I sit in this tiny cafe and type up today’s post in Northern Sydney, I can’t help but listen in to the conversation between the lovely Asian owner and a local that stopped by for a quick coffee. ‘I am so happy I don’t have to water the flowers today’ she said in broken English. Here, rain is valued a little more. Downpours are nowhere near as frequent as they are back in blighty, so there is more optimism as the pair gaze out of the cafe entrance. People still walk around in shorts and flip flops, embracing the warm droplets splashing against them on route to pick up their pre orders. Oddly, I am the one wearing the most clothing, I assumed Aussies around me would feel the cool much more than me. Then again I don’t think some people here have jeans to put on.

Our world is incredible. It is capable of producing so many variable climates and terrains; hot and cold, wet and dry, land and sea, incredible peaks and deep oceans, bright days and the darkest nights. The diversity is pretty damn remarkable. What it doesn’t have is a perfect system, these variables aren’t spread evenly to make life struggle free. I imagine earth like a car built with the most incredible engine but with wheels facing opposite directions, the most aerodynamic shell but placed back to front. Would I give this car a ten out of ten if the features were there but not implemented correctly? Of course not. The world is this car. The features are great but the design is far from perfect.

It is certainly enough to help us scrape by, thankfully humans have intervened with technology to make this more bearable. We can all praise the conditions in which we live, but what would these conditions be like without our intervention? Can you imagine no air con, no heating, no cars to escape wildfires and no roof to shelter from the storms? As much as we should all be grateful for the Goldilocks zone we inhabit, let us not forget the incredible human achievements that make life not just livable, but enjoyable. The fact that we can spend a huge chunk of our lives not worrying about our environment killing us is a luxury many people didn’t have and still don’t. To have life is a gift. To have actual leisure time to enjoy it is much more precious.



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.

Missed opportunities

I wanted to post a little earlier than usual today due to a huge roar of thunder. You know the ones you can almost feel as well as hear. The ones that put your windows and underwear to the test.

I was still half asleep when I climbed over my bed and to the curtains, looking out to horizontal rain that I can only describe as painful had I not been sheltered. I love this kind of whether but for a different reason. I was hoping to have a beer outside as I did when I took this picture a couple of days ago, I don’t think today will be the day.

Sadly I didn’t stay awake long enough to watch the whole show. My body wouldn’t let me. It is sobering to think that I can only wake up when my body says so. I fall asleep when it says so too. I only came into existence when someone else’s body said so, that’s really crazy. My atoms were always out there somewhere, not organised enough to form a consciousness. The storm today was incomprehensibly small compared to the ones I have missed over the billions of years before my existence, smaller than the ones happening right now throughout the universe.

I shouldn’t solely blame sleep with this in mind, being awake doesn’t help much either. As I have posted previously, all we can do is stare and wonder. We know some of what goes on up in space, this isn’t enough to grant our senses the ability to focus on it.

It is frustrating to know what we cant see but it is pretty amazing that our species is developing tools that overcome this. Thankfully the future looks brighter than the skies today.


And just like that, it changes. Just as the grey was becoming tiresome, the sun beams through brighter than it ever has, adding colour like it was 1967 again.

Like the good old battle of good vs evil, the positive ending justifies the unsettling lead up. The positive outcome welcomed, appreciated that little bit more.

Often the case here in the UK, probably the tenth time this cycle has repeated today. As much as I enjoy the changes, seeing the light pierce through makes me value the sun even more than I always do, enough to make me put on a jacket and experience it first hand before it falls victim to the horizon once more.

If the sun isn’t shining where you are, it will be soon!