Footage of an impressive storm in Cairns (and I would love a little feedback!)

Do Australian summer storms always look this good? Obviously my iphone camera couldn’t truly capture the moment, but I gave it my best shot. It is safe to say- and it probably seems apparent to my regular readers- that I love a good storm.

​ I was planning to blog everyday whilst on holiday, that obviously wasn’t the case and I am sorry for that. One of the main reasons was that I struggled to connect to WiFi and I was often soaking wet from the Great Barrier Reef, swimming pools or spilled beers. I did have an amazing time and I have very much looked forward to telling you all about it. New blog post for the Travel Diary tomorrow.

As it has been a few days since I last posted, I have realised how long it takes to respond to comments and look at my notifications. Not that I would change that for the world, however it concerns me as I don’t want to miss some of your messages. It made me think of how busy I will be in the next couple of weeks relocating away from Sydney (which is sad times indeed) and won’t have as much time to blog although I will. 

So I was wondering what you all thought about this. Do you like my daily updates, or prefer a post every three days or so which would allow me time to respond to comments and maybe create one larger post each time. I enjoy daily posts, and it keeps me on my toes. But once every 3-4 days may also be great if I can keep my audience interested and create something a little greater perhaps whilst keeping up with comments.

What did you think of the storm, and what are your thoughts on my update frequencies? Daily and short or a little less frequent and longer?

Many thanks in advance, and I will see you tomorrow.

It is good to be back online!

Sam

Happy 60th birthday to my mum!

This is me, having a final photo with my mum and sister before starting my two day journey to the other side of the world. Our last photography together as I boarded the train for London before departing from Heathrow to Sydney. It was my mums birthday yesterday (on the 15th) and unfortunately I wasn’t there to celebrate it with her. Of all the perks of long distance travel, being away from family isn’t one of them.

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She loved the flowers we sent her, although I hope she didn’t forget to take them home after having a few too many glasses of fizz during lunch with friends. Sometimes I wish I was able to be at every milestone occasion, but I have to remember that it isn’t possible. But to be present at all, even if it is via FaceTime, is just as good if it is the only way possible. Technology allows us to be there at the click of a button, something generations past were not able to. No longer do we have to resort to a letter in the post and hope it arrives within a couple of weeks. Although the flight is roughly 24 hours, high quality, video communication is instantaneous and free over WiFi. How incredible is that?

Thank you for being the best mum I could have asked for and always being there for me. Although I wasn’t there to celebrate with you, the high chance that you will be able to visit me in Australia- a dream destination of yours- keeps me motivated. This makes being so far from family very worthwhile indeed, and that it is important to remind myself of the reasons to travel in the first place!

 

TBT to when I met Seasick Steve

I decided to walk to work today and make the most of the great weather, as my time in the city will be coming to an end around mid March. Sometimes you don’t realise you miss something until it’s gone, it was a mix of this feeling and this post that motivated me to leave the house a little earlier and not waste the views on a busy rush to work on public transport. 

I felt chilled, the sun was shining, I was in the mood for a little bit of Seasick Steve on Spotify. I was also in the mood for a beer but that wasn’t really an option.


For anyone that hasn’t heard his music, he has a great sound and a great personality. I was thinking of many clips to show you of him, however my chilled stroll meant it would have to be his song Summertime Boy.

Not bad surfing for a man in his 70’s. 

It reminded me of the time I met him in person. A perk of hotel work, he walked in and booked a room there and then. He was staying in a hotel further out and realised that he could have accommodation practically next door to the venue, sunbathing on the balcony before his gig. He truly is a summertime boy it seems.

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Originally posted June 2015.

Lovely guy, I mean I had to tell him what city he was in, but that’s the life of touring I imagine. It was a pretty unexpected meeting.

But he was very humble, and appreciatetive. He had time to chat and asked what I was getting up to. He left for a little bit but came back, this time album in hand. He previously asked if I wanted a ticket for his show but I very sadly had to decline due to work. With that in mind he wanted to give me his latest album Sonic Soul Surfer.

  

I was very grateful. Not to mention chuffed, I’ve always loved Seasick since I first watched him play his DIY one-string guitar. I made sure he knew I had seen him previously at Leeds Fest 2011, and will again at the Isle of Wight Festival later this year.

Have you ever met a person you are a fan of? 

Roll on June.

Reposted 15th Feb 2018

When things go wrong

Think positive, as they may have also went well. I had to do a last minute nightshift last night (yes, after getting up early and going on the road trip in my previous post), and upon arriving at my station to head home this morning, the trains weren’t operating. 

Instead, I had to catch the replacement bus service.


This bus route took me around Sydney in a way I haven’t done before. I haven’t been on ground level on the other side of the water looking over to the CBD and the Opera House, so it was very much worth it. 

Even if it was 7.30am.

Sometimes, the things that get you down and in a mood can be the things that get get you out of it again. I am pleased I was able to have this view of Sydney.

Hello from Wollongong!

I had a quick trip south of Sydney today to a place called Wollongong, although we didn’t venture into the city. Instead we stopped of at a great pub for lunch and had a drive over the Sea Cliff Bridge, which can be seen if you look reaaaally closely in the below image.



It was a great drive, however it was sad to see so much of the bush around us black from fires. It really shows what challenge firefighters have to contain a wildfire, as well as how easy it is to set one. 

There were some pretty nice cars along the journey, with some pretty happy dogs inside them. 


Lunch with a view.


What are you doing this weekend? Let me know, and have a great one!

Sam

Super Bowl 52: Will I ever learn?

I enjoy getting caught up in major sporting events. The current problem with watching american football for me is the timezone. I wanted to watch the Superbowl yesterday, unfortunately I couldn’t as it was on around midday here in Sydney, smack bang in the middle of my shift. Instead I watched these highlights later on.

Midday on a Monday didn’t stop many Sydneysiders gathering in bars and casinos to watch the game on the televisions that tuned in around the city. I am sure many American tourists were able to watch the game and enjoy a beer in the sun… It was a pretty friendly timezone for those that were without work commitments.

But a confession. There are a few things I still don’t get about the sport, things that I have been too lazy to actually research and has been the only thing that has held me back from getting really into the game. I am ashamed of this.

There are a few questions that stand out for me. I am sure I have plenty more however an understanding of these will be enough for me to actually watch a game with a greater enjoyment to confusion ratio.

1. Those yellow flags thrown on the field from time to time, what offences are they acknowledging?

2. The knee down in the end zone after a punt. I’m not sure of this one either.

3. A fumble. How does a fumble differentiate from an incomplete pass? Does a player have to simply touch the ball for it to be classed as a fumble? Do two hands need to be on the football before it’s loose? Does the football have to avoid touching the floor?

4. At 6.47 in the highlight video, after analyzing the replays to determine if it is a touchdown the referee states ‘The receiver possesses the football and becomes a runner’. Does becoming a ‘runner’ change the play? Are runners restricted to certain limitations or have to adhere to differing rules?

So much to learn, so little time.

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I could Google the answers to these, but that would be boring. With the majority of my audience being American, it would be silly to not make a post of it and speak the community. Much more fun.

Did you watch it wherever you are in the world?

And last question… was it a good thing that the Eagles beat the Patriots?

 

Featured Photo by Martin Reisch on Unsplash

Thank you to my 3000 followers

I finished work last night, the ninth late finish in a row. My extended family here in Sydney asked if I could go over to babysit very early this morning as they were participating in a 10k run today, needing a last minute babysitter. I would have hated for them to have had to cancel, so I went over to their place and stayed overnight ready to look after their kids- a 3 year old and 11 month old- at 6am.

They were well behaved and I have had a nap since, so I’m happy.

As a treat (yes, 28 year old guys need treats too) they took me up through the Northern Beaches for lunch.

This place is beautiful. What a place to have a home, although we do not know anyone that resides here. It is an area they cycle through frequently and I can see why. Scenery like this does indeed help with the motivation.

We then headed to The Newport, a bar/bistro that was waaaay bigger than I had imagined. They had bars and places to order food all over the place. The heavy rain earlier in the day meant that it wasn’t as busy as it usually is (apparently, it seemed pretty busy to me) and finding a table was easy. Immediately I told myself I would come back here, it had a good vibe.

The food was good, the views were good. The cold beer was goooooood.


Throughout the day I reminded myself that I hadn’t blogged. I was happy though to take the above snaps to share, and I was even happier to realise I had hit 3000 followers when checking WordPress on the go. 3000 followers that have enjoyed my travel diaries, my photos of forest fires and fish burgers and my opinions on anything that I feel I want to have an opinion about. It is really amazing for me to do what I enjoy doing and have you all enjoy reading. It is like the best win-win ever. As always your continued comments and feedback help me to keep going, as are your likes and kind words of support.

Whats next? To keep going. Keep at my blog and keep documenting my travels. Keep engaging with the WP community and looking for inspiration everyday. I am having fun, so I will stick to the routine.

It is now 1.21am, meaning I haven’t blogged all day yesterday. That freaks me out a little, but that does mean technically you will get two posts today. What the second one will be about I have no idea, but that is the fun in blogging. I spend much more time looking around for inspiration.

How is your day going?

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.

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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.

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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

I’m going to the Great Barrier Reef!

I got paid yesterday. I checked my banking app three or four times after waking up to see when the pay would go in. I also had Skyscanner open on the browser at work ready to book flights. One of the worries I had was that the flight prices would increase with the departure date creeping up. 

Tip: Delete your internet history or use a separate computer when booking flights. If you have already looked at flights on your browser, the website may bump up the prices on your second visit. I looked the day before yesterday and the prices were between $350-$370 depending on the departure time. Deleting the history didn’t just work, I also found a new flight for $312 return! Bingo.

This was all pretty last minute, two days ago in fact. One of my friends from England is visiting in Feburary, she is staying with one of her best friends in Sydney for a few days and then they are making their way up to Cairns. I am meeting them up there after she messaged me with her plans. I booked the time off and went from there. 

From the 18th to the 24th of Feb I will be blogging from Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. Thankfully I will have some more sights to show you in a completely new location. A refreshing change for my readers and no doubt a very fun experience to have. 

I am staying in a hostel, and I don’t mind at all. I have only stayed in a hostel on my own, so being with a few friends will be fun. I feel this is the time to experience true hostel life whilst I am a twenty something backpacker on a temporary holiday visa. 

I would love to hear from anyone that has been… any recommendations as to what to do and where to visit. Any lesser known bars or food places, any tips and tricks for a week long hostel stay.

Those that haven’t been, anything you want to see in particular in Cairns? I am sure the Great Barrier Reef is the top pick. Don’t worry, I will have that covered for sure.

So in the meantime, the above is a great picture I found on Unsplash. I felt I needed to add a photo to provide a glimpse of what it will be like and to add some colour to the post, I don’t like posting without an image. I will try to match this with my own shots as best I can. 

As always, I’ll be here everyday until then with my daily ramblings. Speak soon!

Sam

Featured image by Yanguang Lan on Unsplash.

Don’t be sorry

I see a trend in blog posts through the feed starting with the words ‘I am sorry’. Sorry for not blogging more or not putting a post out there for a while.

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Why be sorry? The beauty in blogging is that you can do it your way. It is one of those things in life you can do almost entirely on your own terms. Thinking of posting at 3am? Go for it, there will be a population that are actively looking to read at this time. Thinking of switching to a different topic? Your choice completely. In a world that expects so much of us, blogging is a great relief for me. Something I can do when I want, how often I want and on what topic I want.

Maybe the apology is for letting down readers. More often than not these apologies come from bloggers that have smaller communities and are just getting used to the whole blogging thing. If this is the case, don’t apologise, this is your work on your terms. If readers like what you do I am sure that they will appreciate new material regardless of the wait more than an apology. I am sure the more your blog begins to grow, the more commitment will be shown to the blog and there will be less need for an apology. If the dedication is there to provide material for the readers I am sure time gaps between posts will shorten and apologies will cease.

This was my early morning thought as I grab a coffee and open WordPress, it is 9.45am here in Sydney and already VERY hot. I started to blog to find a place where I could be free to say what I want, I can’t believe it has been four years since my first post. Time does fly.

My advice to any blogger starting today is, don’t apologise to a community you haven’t built yet… Do your own thing as we don’t get enough chances to do so in life!