Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Making Matapa with the locals..

Yesterday I had the privilege of being invited to visit a nearby village to spend a day with the locals. I was introduced to the 7 wives/ladies from each of the 7 families who lived there (and all of their children/grandchildren).

We then helped them make Matapa, a traditional Mozambique dish, from scratch. Starting with the cassava plant we washed all the leaves and threw them in a giant pestle and mortar with some garlic and took it in turns smashing it together, (was a good job there was a lot of us, it's hard work).

Next we had to scrape out a bunch of coconuts, one of the women was in charge of the machete and she was just tapping these coconuts in half; I lost my finger making a salad, I'd be sure to lose a hand attempting this. We shared the coconut milk amongst us then sat on these handy stools with a little scraping attachments on them. It makes easy work of scraping all the coconut out of its shell.

(They keep the shells to use later, they work like charcoal and can be put into irons to generate heat)

We chopped and replanted the shoots from the plants, and peeled and grated the roots.

The ladies then went into the cooking hut to start cooking the stuff whilst we played with the kids in the sand. I showed the group of kids my phone and they were loving their own reflection. We emptied one of the houses and laid down some mats, washed our hands then all sat in a big circle with all the food and drinks in the center, we said grace then passed the food around and got stuck in.

I'd never eaten Matapa before let alone helped make it with some locals. It wasn't half bad, topped with smashed nuts. Lovely.

It was a really nice day out. When it was time to say Tchau the little girl broke down in hysterics, bless her. Made my heart melt.

If you're ever travelling anywhere around the globe be sure to take up any opportunities to get involved in the local culture and learn yourself a thing or two.

Here's a few pics/clips from my day:










Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Aussie Update (Ignore bad formatting)

Well I cant believe its been four months since I last updated any of you of my travels, I guess some punk stealing my iPad kinda hindered my uploading abilities, plus my screen on my phone is smashed in a million places which makes even typing the simplest of messages an irritable task.

So wow, four months, what have I done?

So in April me and Andrea (Italian Stallion) finished up our work at the hostel in the Blue Mountains, we had a laugh, it was a decent place and didn’t have to do that much work for free board. We partied reasonably hard with the other residents even though as we we’re repeatedly informed “This is not a party hostel”, eh they didn’t seem to mind our countless games of ‘Ring of Fire’ with the wonderful German couple who also worked with us, we had a nice group and many a good time.

It's been a laugh here in katoomba. I found extra work for a month as a handyman’s assistant, learnt some new skills (stump grinding, laying a driveway, painting, removing oil fireplaces, strimming, gardening, lots of lifting and loading trailers) met some crazy people some wonderful folks and some alright kids.


A friend of Andreas flew out at the start of April and we acquired a van, the ever faithful ford econovan. We set off on an adventure with no real set path but we were headed north, towards Ayr/Bowen sorta direction so we pulled out our maps, our travel books, and used our trusty friend google to plot a route that would take us through a ton of cool places on the way up the east coast.



We set off on the 7th of April if I recall, the plan was to hit nimbin by my birthday, in 2 days time. We set off for Port Macquarie and parked up by the beach, it’s quite a nice place to be fair and we really wanted to go see some koala’s; it just so happens there was a koala hospital just outside of town so we took a trip over to see the little cuties who were on the road to recovery.




We made our way to Nimbin, on the 9th, a lotta driving but we had the ipod and the ever faithful Cure playing us some real gems, we didn’t actually get to nimbin until quite late in the evening so only had a couple of pints on my actual birthday, I did manage to nab a $10 steak which was bloody tasty, we got talking with a few of the locals and they convinced us to stay another day so we would be able to experience the legendary weekly drum circle, where everyone just gathers in the streets and plays music, throws fire, dances with hoops and has a good time, of course we stayed for that. The evening of my birthday there was this lass playing at the hotel we were drinking at, her name was Kazya (still remember her even after 4 months) and she was doing a solo guitar/singing biznitch, her last song, I kid you not, was ‘The Lovecats’ by The Cure. I literally couldn't contain my excitement and sang along, she loved it.


We took a day trip to Minyon Falls which was pretty damn cool, nice little walk, beautiful scenery and an awesome waterfall which seemed pretty deadly when we made it to the bottom, then in the evening we went to the drum circle, its was brilliant. Drinking and partying in the streets until the late late hours when the police shut us down. One of the elders gave a wonderful speech at the end, I couldn’t even try and repeat it but it was truly heartfelt and I would definitely recommend a friday night in Nimbin if you’re ever in the area.


After a cool few days in Nimbin we headed for byron bay. We drove up to the lighthouse, and back down right after (parking was super full yet they still let people up) fantastic views of byron from there I tell you now! We parked up a little bit away from the lighthouse and walked down to the beach for a swim, enroute we heard screams of children running down the steps behind us, and to our surprise as we turned around to investigate there was a giant, 3 metre long Goana, just strutting his stuff following us all down to the beach. Crazy ol’ G.

The next few days I find hard to recall but we did a hella lot of driving, we passed Boonah, Stanthorpe, Dalveen (crazy star filled sky abovedalveen, so clear and so starry!), Surfers Paradise and stayed overnight usually in the van parked up in a free camp site or just in a sly spot off the road. We’d driven well over 2,000km by now and the motor was doing us justice.

I must say now, the locations and orders of such may not be at all in the right order but it’s been a while and I am trying my best to make sure it’s correct-ish, plus It’s not like you are actually bothered on specifics and accuracy right? thought at much..

We arrived in brisbane and a friend of Carlotta’s (italian wench we shared van with) let us stay at his apartment right next to central brisbane, we walked around the uni campus and botanical gardens, which were pretty sweet. I got attacked by a random bird who flew and tried to steal my hat, to be fair there was signs to say watch out for rogue birds, which of course I laughed at and thought it a joke. We got a little tour of brisbane CBD and we went for some tasty tapas and one of the local restaurants, tapas and sangria, how can you go wrong. We took a day trip outside of brisbane to the natural arch, and some caves and whatnot, we actually got lost on the way and yelled at by a guy for being on his property, he drove up in his 4x4 screaming off his head, then when we said hello he calmed down and drove us to the way out and even scribbled us a map, he’d been having trouble with hooligans stealing off his property so was in his right mind to flip out at us. I remember this one wild turkey who wouldn't leave us alone, it was like a rhino turkey, it kept charging at us. The only way to stop it was to lead it away with a trail of grapes, I guess they like grapes?

After a few days of relaxing in Brisbane we packed up shop and made our way further north-east, we visited Mooloolaba, Sunshine coast, Noosa Heads, hervey bay, bundaberg,rockhampton, and parked at a lovely campsite in St. Lawrence. When we woke up there was tons of kangaroos just hanging out, right by our camp. This was amazing for me, It was the first time I had seen a kangaroo in straya, not in a zoo, or dead on the road(seen far too many!). I managed to get within about 20feet before they skeptically skipped off, theyre funny animals and it was awesome to finally meet some in the wild, of course I grabbed a few snaps.


We headed for bowen, which is kind of a desolate town, don’t get me wrong it’s beautiful and has some cracking beaches but the center of bowen is all it has to offer, and everything else is a long way away, you definitely need a car if youre in bowen, theres like 2 or 3 busses a day. Fun fact, the film Australia was filmed in bowen, you learn something new every day eh!

We stayed in an awesome campsite right by the sea at Rose Bay, We booked in for a week whilst we drove around farms in search of farm work, we spent 2 full days driving between about 30 farms, packhouses, the lot, signing our names to get some work when the season picked up. We had a little accident in the van when it was just me and carlotta, the satnav directed us down this road which looked like there would be a river to cross, but we had realised by now the river was all dried, so it was a river of sand, we pull up and it’s like 100-120m across, and I just go “We don’t have a 4x4 but it looks like the track here is solid enough” It really wasn’t. We were doing so well for the first 30-40meters then we started to feel the wheels slipping and next thing our van is wedged in a good foot or two of sand, stranded in the middle of knowhere in the middle of this sandy river. Carlotta was seconds away from a breakdown I was just stood outside of the van trying not to laugh trying not to cry, wondering how the hell we’d get out of this situation, then out of nowhere these two locals rock up in a 4x4 laughing at us, we nodded in shame when they offered to pull us out, I hooked the tow rope to the front of the van and the other guy hopped in to steer. It was pretty smoothly done, the van came out with little effort. But we would have been screwwed had those lads not rocked up when they did.

We spent the next few days chillaxing with all the french and italians at the campsite, and chilling down the beach, fishing, rockclimbing, and exploring.

We hadn’t heard back from any of the farms and we were all starting to run low on cash so I arranged to stay at a friend of friends in Airlie Beach, Carlotta moved back to Brisbane and Andreas kept the van in Bowen. I rocked up at a random address I was given by a friend, who said their friend said I could stay. This is where I first met the crazy wench that is Cassie, she’s a fucking legend, she has an 8 year old Jasmine, who is just adorable. I spent a good few weeks in Airlie chilling and just hanging out, then started to pick up odd jobs helping locals with a helping hand or IT help, this is when I was contacted by a lady who lived with her husband just out of town at Mount Marlow, so I moved out there for a couple of weeks to help around the house and yard in return for a double bed, xbox, dinner, and some pocket money. They had three dogs, and a bird. Kenny was a cool little bird and would always come and sit on my shoulder in the evenings as we were sipping home brewed rum and listening to music.

I moved back to airlie and carried on doing odd jobs and offering my services to the locals, work was pretty frequent, I didn’t make a ton of cash but I made enough to get by, get a few bevs in and have a good time. Since I’ve been in Airlie I have met some amazing people, I’ll list a few as it’s only fair.

Firstly we have Cassie, who is like a big sister to me now (even though the kids on the block thought I was her son, oops) shes amazing, has a wicked personality and sense of humour, it’s been a right laugh living here with her and I’m very appreciative for her taking me in and looking after me, then we have lil Jasmine, she’s a bit of a nutter, she can be nice and friendly and cute, then she can be angry, whingey, and crying, it’s ups and downs with her but she’s a good kid and the 6am wake ups weren’t too bad.


We’ve then got Janay, she’s prettymuch the queen diva of the pack, absolutely stunning with a cracking personality, we’ve had our fair share of drunken gatherings, she’s got the voice of an angel, that lass is going places!

        

I helped another lass with some tech support, fixing up her computer and whatnot, it turned out she was actually a nice woman, so I hung out a fair bit with her and her three kids, it’s been a nice few months chilling with Christine and her little anklebiters, gonna be a shame not being around anymore when I leave but i’ve been enjoying every moment here in airlie.



Cousin Reece was down for a couple of days on his tour between boat trips and island tours he was in airlie and we got to hang out, safe to say we had a few bevs, played some pool, did the pub quiz(badly), we came second from last with our amazing 3man team “pleasantly surprised” with some yankydoodle, we still won a jug of beer..?.

   

The rest of my airlie time was work, sleep, work, play, binge on tv shows, work, drink, sleep, drink, drink, drink. There’s been a ton of other locals, backpackers, and randoms who I’ve partied, slain zombies, done all nighters, and gotten up to some crazy debauchery with. All in all my time in airlie has been pretty damn good.

(Camera battery died and I lost the charger so have tons of pics still to upload but no way to upload until I replace it)

The Reef festival was the other week so I met up with some other backpackers and we had a few jars, watched the fireworks and had a pretty chillax evening, this past week I’ve been helping this fella down in airlie with his mac (using it now to type this up shh) he’s in his fifties and somehow completely wiped the whole thing, I managed to fix it. He also had a broken laptop which I'm currently working on as I type this up. This guy Mike, or William which is his real name is such a character, people look at him wrong and judge him for the tattoos he has and the badass way he looks, but the guy is awesome, he’s lived life, he’s seen some shit, done some stuff, and is possibly one of the best poets I have ever had the privilege to meet, he’s got one of those amazing poem reading voices which convey the emotions within and every poem he’s read to me so far has been touching and meaningful, I’ve said I would copy his scrapbook onto the computer if I have time this week and he was very appreciative to my offer. He has the most adorable Chihuahua too, she wears a little tshirt.

My plans now are to fly to sydney this weekend where I meet my buddy Arika and then drive to hers in Queanbeyan, south of Canberra, spend a few days there then hopefully get work at one of the local farms i’ve been looking into. I guess that’s in for now, see you in another 4 months?

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Update from a land down under. . .

Hey folks. So I've been is this magical land down under since December. Oh how time flies. These past 4 months I've met some incredible people. Some crazy scousers, cute Dutch girls, adorable Germans, Italians who I'm trying to teach English, a couple of Scots , some kiwis, some kids from Cambridge, Americans, Canadians, French, Spanish, the lot.

Its been an up and down adventure, from my first day in Melbourne, to Xmas day with the girls, to new years by the harbour with the kiwis, to the mountains with the Scots and Canadians and Italians and Germans, to the trips out in Sydney with the Language Exchange..

Its been a right laugh. The past month I've been living in Katoomba, Blue Muountains. Its been great. Met some cool kids, explored the mountains, the walks, the views, and the waterfalls. Its been truly beautiful. The people I've met on this journey I sincerely hope to stay in touch with, and if they ever venture to the lands of Cambridge (and I am home) they know they are more than welcome to stay!!

So the next leg on my journey is soon to kick off, my good friend and ever learning (badly/ how to speak English) Andrea from Italy and I, with another friend of his, are going to be looking to get a van, to then drive inland a bit to search for some farming work to provide us with a 2nd year visa. Once we get that out of the way we will be exploring around in our van stopping wherever we please to party, explore and enjoy this adventure we are on together.

So its nearly my birthday, April 9th. I cannot wait. Spending my 25th in a country like Australia is a dream come true. I really hope everything works out and we manage to find farm work asap to get that out of the way (and hopefully save some cash) so that we can really enjoy ourselves and go wild towards the end of the year.

Don't get me wrong, I miss my family, I miss my friends, the gang, the work lot, my adorable niece, my brothers and sisters and all folk from home. But I'm having a bloody laugh out here with these nutters and I wouldn't change it for the world.

If you want to make my birthday a truly magical time feel free to kick in some bucks to the funds. Past month I've been working to keep myself above ground but funds are depleting. Any donations will be greatly received. In return I'll send you an enthusiastic postcard. Hit me up for bank details if you wanna send me a happy birthday present, or Xmas one if you forgot x x

Thursday, 19 February 2015

The Dream of a No Name C...

Had a crazy ass dream last night. You came to Sydney to join my adventure then for some reason we hired a small yacht because we know how to sail?) and sailed out to sea and around some islands and beautiful beaches, snorkeling with giant rays and playing underwater drum solos on poisonous jellyfish and other random debauchery. After a day exploring we had no idea where we were, we had no signal on our phones so just floated towards what we thought was homeward, two fellas in their 20's rocked up on home made raft/boat kinda like water world stylee and they introduced themselves as 'pirates of the Caribbean' they asked if we wanted to go and explore more places with them but you gave me the 'these guys are dodgy as fuck, let's get outta here' look so we said 'thanks but no thanks' and sailed off in the other direction. We spotted a group of 20-30 men swimming from one island to another so decided to follow them, they had been working on an island mining or some crap and were swimming to next island to set up camp and rest for the night. We parked up the boat and I went to say hi. After about five minutes of chatting I hear you screech 'will the boats gone' we both have a little breakdown because all our clothes, belongings passport etc (probably hadn't figured it was a dream still or I don't think I would have cared?) those pirates we turned down earlier had only bloody gone and made off with our vessel! We were stuck on this island with no clue where to go then one dude told us about a cave which would lead to mainland, so for whatever reason we trusted him and headed through this cave.

This is where it gets a bit weird, weirder than it already is. Just as we exit the cave we are met by a beautiful beach, the sun is shining but the place is empty and has an eerie feel. We have a look around then are ambushed by a small group of Nazis who try to take us in. I take one to the floor with an uppercut to the jaw. Then I'm hit with a baton and fall off the cliffs edge into a fast flowing river, as I'm dragged away by the current I just see you getting taking a baton to the face and then carrying your motionless body away. Thirty or forty minutes I must have been gasping for air and barely keeping above the water until I get washed up on a little bay by this amazing looking house, it looked like a rubiks cube, as I approached I saw a man jump off his balcony and into a hole in the ground. A green bush droid (it was like a robot but clearly a shrubbery of some sort) sprinkled some magic dust which covered the hole with a pretty little bush. I snuck into the house and had a little nosey. There were gadgets and gizmos a plenty; huge TVs, crazy sound systems, an insane gaming station and there was a room with 'do not enter' tape covering it top to tail. Of course I entered.The room had 3 giant chalk boards with mathematically scientific scribblings and there were a couple of devices laid on the table with nuts and bolts and random bits of wiring and parts scattered on the work bench.

I heard the front door go, so hid in the closet. The guy must have been some sort of wizard because I heard him walk through the house and right to where I was, opening the door he said "I've been expecting you Will" I was thinking to myself 'what the bloody hell is this tomfoolery'. He explained how he had been developing technology to see into the future and he also had a prototype time travelling device but it was a bit iffy still and would take another day to perfect. Which gave me time to look for you. I asked the man where these Nazis would be taking you and he said they would be shipping you off to some place overseas to be a working girl, he also said that his bushdroid would take me to the port not far from here where they should be docking. We left immediately and arrived at the port in no time, I began to ask around for you but nobody seemed to know anything, or if they did they didn't want to say. I approached the last boat on the port hopefully this bloke would know something. Just as I was about to speak I felt a strong hand being placed on my shoulder. I turn around to see a Nazi general standing about 5"3 all suited and booted. He yelled some crazy words to the man by the boat who hastily unroped the vessel and gave the order to set sail. The general pulled out a pistol and told me to go with him, I jumped for the gun elbowing him in the face, we both fell into the water still wrestling for the shooter, after about 30 seconds of back and forth punches to the face I manage to wrestle free the gun and shoot the man through the shoulder blade. I dragged him onto the docks and demanding ' where is she!' In a batman voice (yeah that happened) he told me you were on that ship that just left.

I commandeered a little speedboat and made way to save you. I got on board and like metal gear solid managed to sneak through all the patrolling guard before finding you in a boiler room below deck. I disabled the engine and broke a few of the gas lines in the ship so it became a ticking time bomb. We ninja sneaked out onto the outer deck, hopped into one of the rescue dingeys and let it drop. It took me about half hour to row us to land you were just a shaking mess in the bottom of the boat,  bush droid was waiting on the shore to take us back to the scientists house. By then he had fixed his time travel device, it had enough power to perform one travel, he handed us a pistol with a silencer and said we would be taken back to when things were under control and that all we had to do when we arrived was kill our duplicates and then carry on as usual.  We arrived at one of the first beaches we visited, it was mostly empty so we followed ourselves into the trees and each popped a single bullet into our own heads, we buried the bodies under the sand and just hoped no one would find them. We took our boat back to Sydney and it was barely noon. Oh what a day..

Its weird how I remembered the whole damn thing. And I wasn't even on any drugs or drinks...


Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Fifteen Shades of Will.

I have started to write-up the diary/notes I have been making since I departed for Australia on the 8th of December; the first section is a little bit emo and soppy about feelings and stuff and how I was feeling prior to my departure, so feel free to skip through to my actual adventure. I'm copying everything I have written down. It's the first time I have even read it myself so I was pretty shocked about the stuff I was writing, but here it is; the grammar is horrendous but I will be trying to edit it when I get a chance as well as continue to update on things down under. 




Enjoy, or don't...

December 8th,2014

This last few weeks have really been a blur, a drunken emotional blur, they flew by so fast and deep down I don’t think I am really ready to go. This past week I’ve been drunk five out of seven days. I’ve been out partying and getting up to stupid shit and staying out late, sometimes not making it home until the very early hours of the morning. I’ve been working on my ‘people skills’ and trying to throw myself into new situations where I am forced to talk to strangers, and approach groups of people I’ve never met before in an attempt to prepare me for my trip of a lifetime. Today I leave on a plane to Australia for a year, if I survive, and possibly longer if things go well.

Monday was a good day, I invited family and friends over to the pub for a drink and a chance to catch up before I leave, the turnout wasn’t great but those that did come were probably the ones I actually really wanted there, the rest I invited to make up numbers and because they were cool people but not necessarily ones I considered extremely close, whereas the majority of those who did come were my closest and bestest. I managed to catch up with old friends, family members and had a few bevs with the locals, the family left early and me and the gang had a few more drinks, when the pub closed most people went home but I had already arranged to go for more drinks with the work lot, my younger brother Thomas was still knocking about so I took him with me, it was good to see the lad because I didn’t get to spend much time with him, I was glad he decided to tag along.

We soldiered on to the White Swan, one of our local watering holes. We would always go down here for late night drinks after shutting up the pub and the lads behind the bar were always a decent craic. We would always end up buying 8 or more packets of quavers at silly-o'clock and drinking until late hours of the evening, or until we were kicked out. Tonight was no different, Me, Tom, Liam, Ben, Lucy and Keziah occupied a table for plenty of drinks, some would say too many. The night was grand and we all ended up going home a little worse for wear.

Me, Ben, Liam, and Lucy had been spending quite a lot of time together these past few months and it’s been wonderful getting to know them better and it’s been a right fucking laugh most of the time, kicking the arse out of it at the White Swan. We all had our own little quirks, and our own problems, our good and bad days, but we always managed to make each other laugh and smile and get on with our shitty lives and that’s why i’m going to miss them a lot when I am in australia, our ability to get on so well with one another was great; not only did it make a great working environment, we developed a close group of mates that wouldn't judge you for your looks, or for whatever reason, they would just accept you for who you are and that was just brilliant, I personally couldn’t see myself befriending any of these people naturally but the way we were all thrown together through work made us realise that we are all only human and that everyone can be ‘cool’ or whatever. 

Liam was my fellow knife wielding kitchen monkey, we worked together at our old place before moving to this pub and I can gladly call this beast of a man my friend, he is hands down one of the funniest people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Our time in the kitchen was always filled with banter, singing, dancing, and some things best not mentioned, all in all my time there was grand. Don’t get me wrong the work was hard some days and some days we were less-abled, due to hangovers, illness, or injuries (self inflicted mainly) but we always got the work done and the moral was always high and the work was fun. Liam is also one of the kindest and caring people I have met too, some of the things he would say and do just made me smile, his advice and his life lessons were always listened to and I took on board all that man had to teach, he is a cool dude and for that I am thankful. 

Ben I have only known a short while but ever since we recruited him as a frontman for our place we clicked, he is my little brown bear, he was always a laugh to work with and we got on pretty well, some of our late night drunken discussion got pretty deep but we always had each other to keep us sane, many drunken nights were spent with this legend of a man. Part of me still thinks Ben is gay for me.



Keziah, or kizzy/kez was another gem to work with, I always admired the way she dressed, her style and persona are a dying breed but she’s just adorable. Working with kez was always a laugh, plenty of work banter, good music choices, and she was actually nice to me, which is grand!

Ed and Carlene, top dogs at the pub, were more than just my boss, they were friends. It all started back when I was just finishing up with uni assignments a few years back and was looking for work, I saw an advert for chefs in my home village of Coton where my mother lived so I spoke to Ed, I said I wasn’t a chef but I could be a kitchen porter if he had any vacancies, he told me to pop in two days later for a trial shift, I was thrilled, but in Worcester so I raced around sorting my shit out and managed to get home in time for my trial, it went well and I landed the job. Since that day my relationship with Ed just grew, he is such a laugh to work with and to be around, we’ve worked hard together and had fun doing it, he was a great boss, yeah he would give you a bollocking if you’re doing something badly but it was only to make you try harder and do better, and it worked. We started hanging out out of work hours and chilling, drinking, walking my dog, and a nice friendship formed, if that guy ever needed me I would be there, he gave me a great opportunity to work for him and I am very thankful that he took me on, his fiancee Carlene is also a legend always there to make me smile and have a good night with. 

When they took over The Alex I was more than happy to lend a and in helping them renovate, and when Ed called me and asked me if I wanted to go and work for him I was thrilled and handed in my notice that day. My time at The Alex has been great and I can't thank Ed and Carlene enough for all they’ve done for me, and for always cheering me up when I was down, they were awesome people to work for and I will miss them quite a bit while i'm out here, and Rosie the crazy rottweiler, we were pretty much best friends with our daily and nightly walks and evening cuddles, dopey ol’ pup. I’m sure if things don’t work out in australia I can just go back to The Alex and throw myself back in the cage.

We are left with Lucy, now where do I start. I first met Lucy when we took over The Alex, I came in to re-level the garden and help with fixing the place up, as soon as I met her I knew we would get along, her bubbly personality and no nonsense way of conducting herself made me smile. Now I am not the most confident person so it took me a while before I even said hello, but when I finally did I realised she was just ‘one of us’ and my confidence came back to me, I asked her name and added her on facebook, you know, to make our friendship ‘official’. Since then it’s been nothing but banter and good times with that girl, getting to know her has been great, she’s been through some shit but she doesn’t let that bring her down, she's a beautiful, strong willed woman whos not afraid to speak her mind. There were days where she’d pop in the pub on her way to the gym, or to uni, or on her way home just for one of wills magical healing hugs, she was a nice lass and I always told her I would be around to cheer her up, there’s so much a hug can do. If she was having a bad day or feeling down I would do my best to cheer her up, usually by sending her jokes and puns, possibly the worst puns and jokes known to man, but hey they got a reaction and seemed to cheer her up a little. Black Beauty; well he’s a dark horse.

Growing up and most of my adult life girls have never really been nice to me, so I was overwhelmed at how nice Lucy was, most the girls my age were always stuck up their own asses or worried about how their friends look, or how cool they were, but not lucy she just took people for what they are, and for me that was a good job, other than a few childhood friends I don't think I have any other female friends really, not real friends anyway, yeah I know loads of girls who will say ‘Hi’ if we meet in the street or whatnot but none that will check in to see how you are or ask how you’ve been, it was nice to finally get one. I think that’s why I began to fancy her, I’d never had a girl be this nice to me before.

Time spent with Lucy was time well spent, it sucked that I started to get deeper feeling for her, I didn't want to make a dick out of myself and ruin such a cool friendship, that in hand with my ongoing bad luck with women, my lack of confidence, not to mention me leaving to Australia in the very near future made me hold fire on the way I felt, which was probably a great shout, until I got smashed one night and told her I had fancied her for a while, felt like a bit of a bellend the next day but we got past it, we realised there was no point ruining our friendship with ‘stuff’ before I left for australia. 

On the monday of my gathering she was working, and came out with us to the White Swan, she was looking pretty damn gorgeous and I had no problem telling her, I was leaving in a week so I went into confident mode, one thing lead to another and we shared what can only be described as a drunken snog in front of the rest of the work gang and my younger brother, who now thinks I am a legend, cheers luce. We continued the night with copious amounts of quavers and bevs then as we all were heading to leave I was half-cut and feeling pretty ballsy so I gave lucy another, less trampy, kiss outside. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Anyway the kissing aside me and lucy are good friends and I genuinely believe we will stay good friends, it’s hard for me to even put into words how nice of a girl she is, it’s been awesome getting to know her and I just hope she will get the break in life from all the shit and get some good luck for a change she deserves nothing less.

Gonna miss the littlens!

Tuesday I was woken up by my usual alarm clock at 8am, my darling cousin Poppy and her ever faithful bodyslams and elbow drops. I’d been living there since I house sat for them a few months ago; it was just handy for work and my aunt SJ made some bloody tasty meals so I had to stick around.I had agreed to look after Poppy for the day as it was a teacher training day and SJ and Stew had work, admittedly up until about 11am she was looking after me, I was a little fragile from the events of the night before. We snuggled on the sofa with a duvet and watched her new Tom & Jerry Xmas DVD, followed by a Smurfs Xmas DVD. My hangover started to subside just in time for visitors, my brother Tim and his wife Amy had brought my little niece Julia over to play with Poppy and to see me before I left for Aus, we did some drawings, played with dolls, chatted, and messed around until lunch time. I treated us all to McDonalds, classy I know.




It’s going to suck missing Julia grow up over the next year, maybe two, while I’m away. She’s just so damn adorable and was just starting to get to know me as a regular playdate. I hope she remembers me when I come back, I spent a lot of time getting her to not cry at the sight of my face, I hope it’s not all gone to waste. I’m really going to miss Poppy too, I’ve been living here a few months now she’s been like a little sister to me, waking me up for work and to say bye before school, it’s fun to just waste hours talking about random stuff, the constant questions about everything, drawing silly things and playing with play dough, sometimes it’s just nice to be a kid again. I’m going to miss all of my family, my little cousins and siblings, but we will keep in touch on facebook and whatsapp so it’s not all bad.

Wednesday I had arranged to go for a few drinks with a local lass Francesca. I first met this girl a month or so back on a night down the pub, the work gang were down the moon, another local watering hole, and she was stood outside by herself having a smoke. I put my new brave personality to the test and went over to say ‘Hi’, I really couldn’t say what what was said that night as I was utterly bungalowed but it ended up in me telling her how adorable she looked and getting her name and number, result. I messaged her a few times and added her on facebook, again to make our friendship ‘official’ (not sure if you’re getting the joke). We continued to chat a fair bit and I would see her in the pub every now and then, I’d always give her one of my famous will hugs, from what I hear they’re damn good too. I wasn’t sure what her response would be when I asked her out for drinks but she said yes and agreed to come see me for drinks before I left for australia, part of me didn’t think she would, she’s too adorable for a guy like me, but I was leaving soon so I had to atleast try. 

We met at The Alex fairly early, her cousin and his missus was there too, they're a good bunch, we had a few drinks and a chat, it was a nice evening, it was getting late so the other two had to leave but I insisted me and her should stay for one more drink, I even offered to walk her home (such a gent I know). It was nice, sat by the fireplace chatting to this adorable girl having a couple of drinks and a cuddle, at one point I was just staring at her, not in a creepy way, but it had been so long since I was sat with a lass chatting and having a nice time, she has the cutest smile and beautiful eyes. She asked what I was doing to which I replied “you’re just so damn adorable” she seemed pretty shy, but eh I wasn’t the most confident guy either but we managed to keep the conversations flowing so it couldn’t have been that bad. I walked her home and as she left I gave her one last hug and told her to take care, the hug felt like it went on forever, it may have been the drinks, or maybe it did just last a long time, I was battling with the voices in my head, go for the kiss, don’t go for the kiss then Sebastian appeared in my head singing “Kiss de girl”. I thought to myself this lass has already told me I am a nice guy so what’s the worst that can happen? So I manned up and gave her a kiss, it was nice. 

We said our goodbyes and I left her to go to bed, as I was walking away I turn around to watch her walking along the balcony to her flat, I gave her a wave then made my way to the moon for one last drink, smiling ear to ear. I couldn’t help but feel a little bit sad though, what just happened was amazing, a girl who thought I was nice, we had a lovely evening, now i'm leaving to australia for a long time, a little bit of a downer but I hope we can keep in touch and it was nice to have at least had that night out.

There is more people I could write about but who wants to hear about all that emo shit, heartache, random fingerbang encounters, and having sex with strangers, I thought not. Moving on.

Time to say goodbye

Thursday through saturday are a blur so let’s fast forward to Sunday morning, I make it home for 6am to find my aunt curled up on the sofa, she’d been out for dinner and a show last night with her workmates and had been rushing around getting the house ready for the carnage what was about to take place, I had all of the family over for a sunday lunch, a last supper if you will. There must have been about 20 or more of us around for lunch, I slept from 6:30 until about 12:30 when I woke feeling surprisingly fresh for someone who had been drinking for 11 hours straight the night before, I showered and got ready for the arrival of friends and family, 2pm kick off. 

It was nice to see everyone and the roast dinner was bloody amazing, like always. I was forced to make a speech, I was unprepared and it was a poor effort. I thanked my family for coming and my aunt for making a roast for twenty people and said I will miss them all etc etc we then went around the table and everyone said a little something about me, it was all very lovely. As the family dispersed me and my friends headed to The Alex for a quiet few, I hadn’t properly said goodbye to the pub yet. Lucy was working and looking as lovely as ever, Ben was off shift having a few drinks so he joined us. It was good to see Tom, James, Frank and Sam for one last drink before I left, these four are by far my best friends (sorry folks). After a couple of drinks they had to head home so we started saying our goodbyes, I’m not gonna lie it all got a bit emotional, we had a big group hug then they left.

I’ve really found it hard showing my emotions lately, there’s been a ton of shit going on in my head, happiness, sadness, feelings of depressions, anxieties, times of extreme happiness, confusion, all in all a crazy emotional rollercoaster of a month or so, not wanting to leave people behind and all that soppy bullshit. I know deep down going to australia will be a bloody laugh and a once in a lifetime experience and I had to go through with it. I was never going to not go but on a few occasions I would wake up from night terrors and bad anxiety, I didn’t really feel like I could talk to anyone about it which was the worst part.

Oh well Australia in the morning...

I finished my pint and headed upstairs to say goodbye to Ed, Carlene and Rosie. I’ve grown fond of this place and spent many hours working, partying and enjoying myself at this pub and house, Ed and Carls are great friends and Rosie is just adorable, gonna miss them all. When I first decided to go to australia I was scared Ed would have a go at me, instead he said he was proud of me for doing it and that it would be a great opportunity for me to get away and explore and have a laugh. Both him and Carlene have been to australia and told me its awesome that I am going, obviously they’re gonna miss me being around all the time but they’re happy with the decision I’ve made, they’re just sad that they’ll have to walk Rosie themselves now everyday instead of me taking her, and that I won't see them over the christmas period. I printed off my Insurance and flight details, always like me to leave it until the night before to get organised, gave Ed, Carls, and Rosie a big hug then headed downstairs to say bye to Lucy.

Ben had just got back from the shop and had a box of poptarts, he could see me eyeing them up so he gave me a pack of two to have for breakfast, Lad. Liam had just got back from the Geldart, another local boozer. I couldn't handle another pint so I walked around the bar to give Lucille a hug goodbye, admittedly I didn’t show much emotion in doing so, other people were there and I didn’t want to look like bellend, so a quick hug was all she was getting. I said bye to the lads, gave them both a bro hug then left for home. I got to the end of the road and had to divert into the moon for one last rum and coke, I always popped in on my way home for a chat  with the lads on the bar and a rum and coke, it seemed like the right thing to do, one final rum n coke before my trip, we listened to some good tunes and had a little sing along to streetlight manifesto, they wished me luck on my adventures then I made for home, for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to start packing half drunk at midnight the night before my flight, I have to give myself some credit I did get a few things packed (completely the wrong stuff) and I did make a to-do list for when I woke up.

Fly Time

I was awoken by what would be the last bodyslam I’d be getting for a while. I found a packet of poptarts in my jeans pockets, a little squished but still edible, they went down a treat, cheers Ben. I got dressed and ready to pop to town for some last minute bits and bobs, I picked up poppy and gave her a big squeeze, she looked pretty sad. I asked if she was sad I was leaving she said no, she was sad that Foggy had won ‘I’m a celebrity get me outta here’, and there was me thinking she was upset I was leaving. I said goodbye to my aunt and uncle and thanked them for letting me stay these past months, I am pretty sure my aunt left to go to work so I didn’t see her cry, she’s been good to me these last few months and i'm really going to miss them all, especially getting in after a long day of work or a night down the pub to find a nice casserole or pre-plated dinner ready for me to reheat and devour.

I popped to town to grab a day-bag to use for when I didn’t want to lug around a huge backpack, grabbed a cheap one from sports world then headed back home to try and organise my stuff. I didn’t realise how much shit I had at the house, I packed my bag and it weighed in at just over 10kilos; 3 pairs of shorts, a pair of jeans, 4 tops, some boxers, socks, a towel, sleeping bag, some meds just incase and all my cables and things, pretty minimalistic if you ask me. I felt bad because I left all the rest of my stuff just scattered across my bedroom, I’ll apologise when I land I guess.

So it’s now 12pm and my dad arrives to take me to the airport, we load up the motor and head off for Heathrow, I remember talking to my dad a little bit but his phone kept going off, for work, the man works hard, not to mention a weird condition I have where regardless of who I am in the car with, if I am a passenger I just can’t strike up a conversation, I usually just fall asleep. We made pretty good time and got to Heathrow at 1:45pm and I checked my bag in and got my tickets for the plane, I got a message from my brother Charles who had just got back from a training camp and wanted to come see me off so he drove to the terminal and we had a hot chocolate and a catch up with him and dad, the time came for me to go through customs and get ready for my flight so I gave them both a hug and set off on my journey.

Fast forward 2 hours and I’m sat on the biggest plane I have ever set foot on, three rows of 3 seats, probably a hundred rows back, and it was full. I got a window seat which was cool, a couple sat down next to me, in their late fifties I’d say, they seemed nice enough. We were going to spend a lot of hours together so I tried to be polite; they introduced themselves as Tony and Linda. It turns out that we are making an extra stop in Dubai, in a way I am glad as it breaks down the journey quite a bit, Dubai is 3461miles away and will take us about six and a half hours to get to. The in-flight meal was actually pretty damn tasty, it was a lamb and potato stew-type thing accompanied by a bread roll, some really spicy coleslaw, a plastic pot of water with added minerals and vitamins, and some cheese and crackers. Croxton Manor, a nice cheddar, even with the limited space I still buttered my crackers and sliced my cheese like a gentleman, it made Tony and Linda smile. At the time of writing this we have flown 3161 miles and are an hour away from dubai, going at a steady 575mph at 39,000ft.

I’ve been writing for nearly five hours non stop now, i'm not sure why I even started but I was going to write a diary of my australian adventure but felt I needed to include the build up to my trip, hence the introduction and previous god knows how many pages of backstory.I'm not trying to be the next best selling author but its helped me a lot in the past to write things down, plus I have had 6 hours to kill and I am already seventeen pages deep. I’m shocked at how bad my handwriting is, I guess thats what happens when the last time you really put any effort into writing was ten years ago, doing computing and media at college and uni I didn't really have a lot of pen and paper action. I’ve noticed a significant improvement in my handwriting since starting this “project” (haven’t decided what I am calling it yet bare with me) but It’s been relaxing to write and kept my mind off the long and tedious flight I would have otherwise been thinking of. I’ve yet to read back through, but when I do I hope it makes some sort of sense. I guess this will become a diary, or a place of thoughts throughout my travels, I may not even show anyone this but it’s kept me entertained for hours, the couple next to me are looking over going “he’s still writing”.

I have one earphone in listening to the audio from that new release Maze Runner, sounds like an alright film, didn’t watch much of it but it sounded like a decent enough film may give it a watch at a later date. I’ve also shown off my Rubik’s Cube skills, Tony and Linda were surprised to see I could actually solve the bloody thing, I think their minds were a little bit blown away. All in all it’s been a pretty decent 1st leg of the journey, I can’t wait until we land in Dubai and I get to stretch my legs a little, nearly there.

All this writing has given me a dead hand so going to have a break, I really hope I pick up the pen again for round two. It’s been fun.

Dubai

We landed in Dubai at 4am, the city lights in the night sky were a beautiful sight as we approached the airport for landing, the way the city lit up the sky in awesome patterns was just crazy, a wonderful, beautiful city of lights surrounded by pure darkness. When we got off the plane we had a leisurely stroll from one end of the terminal to the other, up some stairs, back through the scanners, and back around to the same plane we just had gotten off, a somewhat pointless but exciting adventure. I waited with Tony and Linda in the queue and we chatted some more, they’re my travel buddies for our second leg of the journey to Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei. They’re on their way to melbourne for christmas to see their son and his wife and kids, Tony was saying they bought the littlen a Tracy Island play set, which was taking up most of his luggage allowance, apparently the kid was a mad fan of the birds. We couldn’t re-board the plane until 5am which left plenty of time to have a stretch and do some lunges. The airport itself looked pretty damn cool, with giant palm trees in the centre and crazy architecture, I didn’t think to bring my camera off the plane which was definitely a bad shout.

I'm sat on the plane now listening to what can only be described like someone trying to charm a snake back into a basket. Brunei is 4181 miles away and our route takes us over Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangkok with an approximate flight time of seven hours and fifteen minutes. Before we took off a prayer was played aloud with a video on our screens with the translation. It was something about “praising Allah the cherisher and sustainer of the world”.

It’s now 6:19am and we are cruising at a cool 37,000ft, we’ll soon be hitting 39,000ft travelling at 639mph. Another six hours and forty five minutes left. I’ve just put on The Drop which stars James Gandolfini in his last screen appearance before his passing, god bless him. One of my all time favourite actors, he played an excellent role in The Sopranos and to this day that is hands down my favourite series I ever watched. Twenty minutes in, seemes like a decent film so far. The sky is a beautiful blend of greens and blues, the best way I can think of to describe it is like on powerpoint when you set the background to blend two colours with gradient fill (bare with me) horizontally from a dark blue to a beautiful lighter green; I’m afraid that is best way to describe it, take it or leave it. The blend of colours is truly beautiful out there tonight,  man I am glad I got the window seat.

Smells like food is coming, round two. Breakfast! Me, Tony, and LInda all went for the english choice which was omelet with a chicken sausage, some potato wedges, a pot of fruit, and a croissant with jam. It was alright but when you fly economy what do you expect.  The best part of the two meals so far has to be the tiny foil topped pot of water, it helps keep you hydrated but it’s just so diddy and cute. A word of warning, open with care, I was a little forceful with mine and it ended up in a watery mess.

We are now a thousand miles into our journey and the skyline is a beautiful blend of deep blues, still looks pretty awesome. Breakfast has just been cleared so going to watch the last 50 minutes of the drop, I’m actually trying to pay attention to the film so going to take a break from writing whilst I finish it.

Well that film has some crazy plot twists, Tom Hardy plays his character superbly. I wouldn’t have guessed it ended the way it did, cracking movie, definitely going to recommend it to others. Looking out the window now as we fly over Bhopa the sky is a beautiful shade of purple. I’ve never seen so many variations in the sky on a flight before, I guess that’s something a 7 hour flight has to offer over a 45 minute flight to amsterdam. There’s still four and 3/4 hours left until we reach Bandar Seri Begawan, 2667 miles to go. I am not even sure what time or day it is in england but I’ve not slept since sunday night, Tony and Linda are having a little nap I may give it a try myself soon, I hope I don’t snore. I’ve written twenty two pages since heathrow, that’s crazy. I would have used the cool little book my sister gave me but my handwriting is shocking right now, maybe i’ll use it to write down crazy tales of australia at a later date, just using a cheap a4 refill pad for now. Fuck it going to try nap for a little, back soon.

It felt like I’d slept for hours when in reality only 45 minutes had passed, two and a half hours to go in this leg of the journey. I’m starting to feel it now, my knees ache a little and i'm starting to get a little fidgety, out the window the clouds look pretty cool, like little clumps of candyfloss floating on a beautiful blue canvas. It’s lovely up here at 41,000ft. I’m going to put that new Ninja Turtles film on to kill some time.

Half hour into the film and it’s looking promising. The lass who plays April is pretty hot too which is a bonus. I never really followed the turtles when I was a kid but I saw a few of the shows and liked the kickass ninjary, so it was good to get filled in on the origin story. Having a quick break to eat a “Chicken and Mushroom Muff” which can only be described as a lattice slice type gig. It wasn’t great but eh, a snack’s a snack.

Half hour until we land, cannot wait to have a good stretch. It will be about 5pm local time when we land, I think we have a two hour stopover here in Brunei before our final leg on this bloody long journey. I think by the time I make it to melbourne I am going to have to sleep for a whole day, I’ve lost all concept of time as we have been flying so long and through all these time zones, I hope I can cope once I finally make it down under.

I’m a little bit disappointed if I’m honest, this place doesn't have a great deal to offer. It’s very small and looks like it’s still being built, it looks just like a warehouse with tons of seats in it, a street vendor and some toilets, the next two hours are going to be fun. I’ve spent about fifteen minutes entertaining some indian kids with my Rubik’s Cube, the little ankle biters were fascinated by it. Can’t connect to the internet either, le sigh. Not had any contact with homeland since I left monday morning, not even a text message. This place sucks, I’m going to have a wander around and try and kill some time.

It’s 8pm Brunei time and we have just taken off, I was a little sad that I am in a different seat now, I miss Tony and Linda. I’m on an aisle seat nearer the front of the plane, some lass with a nice bum needed help to get her bag into the overhead, she asked me in her aussie accent and I was glad to oblige, she was sat the other side of the aisle to me, she kept dozing off and leaning closer and closer to the aisle, the drinks trolley nearly took her head off, so I gave her my pillow for stability. What a gent. There’s a little bit of turbulence as we reach 27,000ft and climbing at a nice speed of 559mph. IT will take less time than I first thought, only 6 hours until I finally touchdown in the long awaited Australia!

My third meal with royal brunei was braised beef with potatoes and peas, it came with a dodgy looking, plastic tasting chocolate mousse cake, cheese and crackers and the ever faithful foil top water pot as per. We are still 2158 miles away and flying over the Timor Sea on our way towards Darwin with a flight time of four hours to reach melbourne, the cute girl has gone to sleep now, boo. I’m upto episode nine, season two of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, then will try have a nap. They just turned all the lights down and there’s no one sat between me and the guy by the window so extra room to lounge, yay.

Melbourne - Base - St. Kilda - Dec 10th

We landed in Melbourne at 6am and I got a taxi straight to my first hostel to save hassle finding the place, I started my adventure in a place called Base in St.Kilda, thanks to some great recommendations I booked the place for a week. I checked in and crept into my room, I got a few sleepy waves as I made my way to my bunk bed but it wasn’t until about nine/ nine thirty when people started getting up. The girl above me was German, so was the fella opposite me, the other four girls sounded like a cuter version of the beatles so I assume liverpudlian? I went for a three hour wander around the beach and bay in ST.Kilda and found some pretty cool graffiti in one of the carparks and on some of the walls around the area, apparently there is a whole street in town filled with graffiti so I’ll have to go check that out at some point, It’s not been mega sunny today which I am thankful for. I’ve never done too well in the sun, something I will have to work on I’m sure.

I got back to the hostel and got to meet the girls properly; Emily, Gee, Chloe, and Zoe - They seemed like a decent bunch. It was Em’s girlfriends birthday and she was due to arrive any minute, they bought and decorated a cake and sang happy birthday when she arrived it was kinda sweet. Her name was Howie and she seemed like a decent lass too. I tried out my super absorbent fast dry towel as well and it does exactly what it says on the label, cheers Emma and Tom for that handy gift, not too sure what the plan is for tonight, the girls are having some drinks later and invited me to tag along so I may just do that, going for a power nap, feeling pretty jetlag but don't want to let it win. Later in the evening we went downstairs and the girls brought down their box of wine, it was then I was introduced to Goon, the travellers choice, it’s basically really really cheap box wine that gets you smashed, if you mix it with a bit of Solo, or Sunkist it actually tastes bearable, I decided to grab a couple of pints of cider as we headed to the communal area to play some drinking games. The drinks were flowing and we played ring of fire, god I hate that game, thankfully I didn’t lose. I had to duck out after that game to tactically throw up, the jetlag and all the cider just didn’t agree with me. I called it a night and headed to bed leaving the girls to enjoy the rest of their evening.



Thursday 11th December

I had a lay in until about 10am, grabbed some breakfast then popped down the pharmacy to get some factor 50 suncream and a bottle of aftersun, for good measure. There was a free trip at 12 noon to the “Queen Victoria Market” which is a huge market with a ton of stalls selling everything from jewellery, to fruit n veg, to t shirts, bags, and of course a ton of Australia memorabilia. It was nice to just walk around and look at all the random shit they were selling. I bought a mini tripod from my camera for five bucks, was a decent buy.

I made friends with a French bloke and a canadian/brazilian and for the life of me can’t remember names, and a german lass Kathryn (ofcourse I remembered her name she was cute and german). One of the lads was leaving Melbourne later that day and hadn’t had time to go and find that street where all the graffiti is, so we decided to go on an adventure to find this elusive place. After about 40 minutes walking and some bad directions we finally found the place, I took a ton of pictures, it was amazing, the whole street was covered in various pieces of graffiti artwork. We got there at a decent time too so there wasn’t many people around, as we got to the end of the street a group of about 30 camera wielding asians were marching around the corner, we lucked out with timing there! We then headed down by the river to start our walk back to the hostel it was lovely,the sun was shining there were rowers on the river, the buildings on the other side of where we were walking were huge and looked incredible under the sun. We got back to ‘Base’ at about half four, the girls were home and having a nap. I transfered all the graffiti pics to my phone via the cool Near field communication (NFC) technology, just had to tap my camera and my phone together to start the transfer, magic I know! I uploaded them all to facebook so folks could check out the artwork.





The girls have been faffing about for about an hour now getting ready to walk over the road to the night market, there’s market stalls, food vans, entertainment and random stuff going on there later so may have to venture over myself. It seemed pretty hip with the hostel crowd.

I had a wander over the night market it was pretty cool, there were people playing with fire poi and devil sticks and other flame related instruments. I didn’t stay long as it was pretty busy and it got a bit chilly so I headed back to the hostel for a powernap. When the girls got back we had a few drinks in the room (shit son don't tell security) then we headed downstairs for ‘Ladies Night’ where the girls got cheap drinks. Pro tip: Send the girls to the bar for you - I did. I’ve really enjoyed my first few nights here in Sydney, the gang at the moment are pretty sound, they leave tomorrow but we exchanged contact info and plan to meet up for shenanigans later in the year for sure. It’s been nice to get to know the girls a bit better over these few days, me and Howie had possibly the largest shots of vodka I’d seen in a long time, we danced like bellends and all in all I think everyone had a decent night.

December 12th

So the girls left this morning and I patiently awaited the new recruits. A group of five lads, didn’t get their names at first. They seemed like a decent. We’re getting a few bevs in tonight then heading out later in the evening I think. This is what I love about the backpacking/hostel lifestyle, everyone is up for hanging out and getting merry, barely anyone is stuck up their own ass and it’s a great atmosphere to be around.

One of the lads, Tom, just  had his results published for his final accounting exams, he passed so celebrations were in order. We headed down to the hostel bar to get our drink on, the german lass from our room and one of her friends (Tanja & Nadine) were about so they joined us, plenty of pints and 6 bottles of cheap bubbly later we had to put one of his mates to bed because was utterly gazeboed!


The next few days were pretty relaxed, I did some exploring of Melbourne city, and also had a walk around the gardens the city had to offer, I also popped by the Sea-life Center to check out the cool fish and penguins. There’s actually penguins that live and nest on the bay up behind the pier in St Kilda, me Nadine and Tanja had a wander down there one night and you can see them swimming around and nesting in the rocks, they’re pretty cute!

The day I left Melbourne I packed up my bag and went to the bus station, dropped my bag in a locker then decided to head to the zoo to kill 5 or so hours whilst waiting for my 7pm overnight bus to Sydney.

The zoo was actually pretty cool, got some nice snaps, saw some Red Pandas, Koalas, Kangaroos and the usual zoo critters. I even had a 45 minute nap on one of the greens because I had extra time to kill, the weather was nice and I had my picnic blanket so caught a few winks in under the shade of a tree.

Pictures from the gardens, SeaLife and Zoo..


December 16th


Fast forward to Sydney, I took a 12 hour bus from Melbourne. I arrived at 6am, walked to my hostel. It turns out I can’t check in until 2pm,which was lame as all I wanted to do was get my room and have a nap, I couldn’t really sleep on the bus as there wasn’t an awful lot of legroom and I was on the aisle seat. I dumped my bag in the storage room and decided to go for a wander to kill some time. The hostel was in Woolloomooloo, not far from woolloomooloo bay, where some flashy boats docked. I walked along the bay and up some stairs in the cliffside to a small cafe that was built overlooking the bay, I grabbed some scrambled egg on toast, it was bloody tasty, and sat for a while chillaxing in the cafe. Looking out the window I could see some huge battleships that were docked over in gorden island naval base. Below the cafe was an open air swimming pool it looked pretty lush, must be nice having a swim in the sun.


It was now about 9am, I had a wander down macquaries point and checked out mrs macquaries chair which is a bench that was hand carved out of sandstone by convicts in the 1800’s. The view from this spot is amazing, you just look out and can see the opera house to your left and the bridge, and north sydney across the water. It’s a cracking view and I would definitely recommend you go check it out if you are ever exploring sydney. I found a nice spot on macquaries point in some shade and had a nap, I woke up at about 11:30 with more time I needed to waste so I headed into the royal botanic gardens to kill time. It’s pretty a pretty big place so I easily wasted an hour wandering around, I ended up at ‘Farm Cove’ which is the northern part of the gardens and the view here is spectacular ,standing at the north-eastern point of the cove I was met with a panaramic view of sydney city, sydney opera house,and the harbour bridge. I had to grab a picture.



I headed back to Elephant Backpacker and sat in the TV until 2pm and finally managed to check in, it was a bit grim but it was cheap as hell so can't complain. In my room are two Kiwi lads Ben and Andrew, a French guy who's name I've forgotten, Jaana a finish lass, and some dude I saw like once. 

Tonight we got steaming drunk and went clubbing in kings cross. What is it with Europeans and circle dancing? We had a mix out with us tonight, mainly french, germans, some spanish I think and a few randoms from other places I couldn’t even guess.

December 17th

The next few days I did the touristy stuff exploring Sydney city, I wandered down the opera house, went down circular quay and walked over the harbour bridge, explored hyde park, and the domain. The evenings were spent drinking goon, whiskey and whatever bevs we could get our hands on, and hitting the town. The gang at the hostel were decent craic, easy to get along with and they were all speaking in english which helped, every now and then they would spin off into a conversation in their native tongue but generally when I was around or another english hosteller was around (I didn’t see many at this hostel) they would speak in english. I’ve started agreeing with everyone saying I went to cambridge university because I’m tired of telling them I am from cambridge and them asking if I went to the uni..hah

One of the days we nearly got in a turf war with some Somalians because Ben emptied his warm water bottle out of the window so he could go refil it and accidentally soaked the lads below, they weren’t happy, running around the hostel shouting. We however found it hilarious. It took days for them to understand how it was an accident, they had it in their minds that it was done on purpose, as funny as it still would have been that was not the case, crazy Somalians eh?

The girls from Melbourne had arrived in Sydney and gotten a place in the eastern suburbs. We arranged to hang out on christmas day, which was handy because I would have hated to be trolling the beach on my own approaching randomers asking to join their family for the day, which I would have done with no shame. The plan was to head down coogee and enjoy some drinks and banter down by the beach.

After getting back from a night out and joining the usual riffraff outside the hostel I bumped into a cool couple sat on the curb smashed out of their faces, we got talking and I said I was from cambridge and the lass, Charlotte, said they were from around-ish that way. I dont remember half of the conversation but a day or so later I wake up to her and George checking into my room, They introduced themselves and I explained how we had already met but they were so smashed they didn’t remember. Charlotte wasn’t happy because they had been staying here for a while but they had to move rooms, which still I can’t quite figure out, the way this hostel is run is stupid the two kiwis had to change rooms again so now we are all in different rooms. Apparently the girl on the front desk with big boobs was sweet talking George and eyeing him up, I can see why; hes a sexy chap, it probably didn’t help with me stirring the pot. It was funny to hear Charlotte as she got angrier and angrier at the silly wench on the reception who forced them to move rooms and eyed up her man. She must have told that story nearly a hundred times.
They seemed like a nice couple so I took their number so we could hang out sometime.

December 22nd

I checked into my new hostel ‘Sydney Backpackers’ today which was right in town center, I’m in a dorm of 16 which is pretty hectic, half are asians, there are a few lithuanians and a couple of germans. Didn’t do an awful lot my first day here, walked around town, went to the library to get some good wifi for a change and looked for jobs, with no luck.

December 23rd

I had a lie in today and just had a relaxing morning then arranged to meet up with Charlotte and George in the rocks at the australia hotel, which I vaguely remembered the location of from a tour of the rocks I did a few days ago, we had a couple of pints and it absolutely pissed it down so we hid under cover and got another pint in, after the rain stopped I left the guys to go and get a haircut and a shave.

We had arranged to have drinks at the elephant backpackers and some of their friends were coming over to join us. It’s safe to say we got utterly bungalowed and threw crazy shaped on the dance floor in world bar. After dancing like idiots for hours we finally headed home wishing “Happy christmas eve morning you filthy animals” to all the other drunks and homeless people on the way.

Xmas Eve

I spent today mostly in bed, hungover like a mofo. Sorry folks.


Sat December 27th


I laid in quite late on christmas day, I had no stocking or presents to open or anything so just chilled in my bed resting up for the day ahead. I sent out a few txts to my aussie friends and showered and packed for the beach and for whatever the day had in store. I headed down coogee beach at lunchtime to meet the girls, we sat for about an hour drinking and chilling before there were thunderstorms and severe weather warnings, the beach was evacuated and we left as it began to rain, and boy did it rain. Absolutely pissed it down for hours, it was a good job the girls had an appartment not far from the beach which we headed to for shelter. We stayed in drinking, playing beer pong, jenga and other drinking games and were merry until the late hours of the night. I partially remember a really drunk facetime with my mum and possibly some other people, and spoke to the willingham gang over a facebook call which was nice.




I woke up boxing day morning on one of the sofas, my head was hurting pretty bad. A bottle of whiskey and plenty of goon had taken it’s toll. The house was full of sloths for a few hours then we finally got up and geared for a trip down maroubra beach. The weather was amazing and the beach was pretty full, the sea was a bit nippy but was a decent swim. I made the critical error of going for a swim, then having a laze in the sun without re-applying suncream so yeah, it’s safe to say the sun won that day. I’ve been in bed all day just hurting, applying aftersun every couple of hours and feeling sorry for myself.


(Yes I've a lot left to write up (month or so) bare with me until I get on track hah)