Adventuring We Will Go!

adventure photo.jpg

I think I have about an hour before I really ought to climb into bed and let my weary head rest up a bit.  I am going to use that hour to start a post with my answers to Game On – S2 Created by A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip!

Take a look at Rory’s original post for find out all the rules and see his original questions:

Game On – Series 2 – Adventures and Travels

Are you ready for an adventure?  Well, if your bag is packed and you have your passport and boarding pass ready, I think we should embark on our journey along these fabulous questions!  I am not going to make this journey without you!

Q1] What is the last holiday you took?

Back in July, I spent two entire weeks visiting friends and family in the North of England and North Wales.  I tried to keep up with blogging and filled my posts with holiday spam!

All my holidays now are spent on visiting family.  I have not been on a “holiday” holiday for many years…I think it was Texas USA perhaps…but even that was not a holiday as such, though we had an amazing time out there.

Turkey…was the last time I went on a beach and relaxation orientated holiday…although we were bored after a day and went gallivanting every other day.  We went scuba-diving in Turkey which was pretty awesome!

Q2] What is your most favourite place in all of the world that you have seen?

Oooooh la la….how could you ask a question like that!

When I was in the north of Sweden our friends took us to see a frozen waterfall.  There were icicles all the way down.  It was one of the most exquisitely beautiful sights I have ever beheld!

Q3] Do you think travelling enriches your life, your learning, your wisdom or it’s just time off?

Oh yeah..of course I think travelling is enriching.  It often opens your eyes to looking at the world in a way you have never had the opportunity to do so before.

All teenagers should travel to Africa.  It would stop them complaining about not having the lastest phone or sneakers.

Q4] What is your favourite mode of transport?

That would have to be boat for me.

PQ5] In your opinion what is a great quote that symbolises adventuring and travelling?

I have never thought about quotes other than “LIFE IS ONE BIG ADVENTURE” but while I was researching quotes to see if any were familiar, I found this:

That’s quite an inspiring little ditty – is it not!

Q6] Since you have begun travelling have you noticed any change in who you have become as a person?

I think I can say yes to that.  Especially after visiting West Africa when I was about twenty-two.  This is going to sound really stupid, but as a teenager, I started to think our family were poor, and that we were missing out on so many things our school friends had.

I realized when I first left Europe that perhaps half of people on this planet do not have a flushing toilet.  Things that I have had my whole life and take for granted like a shower with warm water, electricity to boil the kettle, to toast a slice of bread or central heating, not to mention all the services the local council provides like refuse and recycling collection…there are literally millions upon millions of people who have never had those things and yet…from what we saw, many of them were happy, healthy and incredibly kind to us.

Life was so warm (literally, it was roasting hot!) colourful and people were so friendly and gregarious.  I picked up the journal I kept during my time in Ghana when I was at my parent’s home recently. I still plan to write some posts about our adventures out there and the very special people we met.

When my sister Mandy and I returned to England, we had a completely different outlook on the world than the one we had before we left.

PQ7] What is a great song to get you in the mood for adventuring? [provide link please]
Q8] When on holiday, travelling or adventuring – do you take books/kindle to read or simply rest on the knowledge that your time away is enough to provide all your stimulation anyway?

reading book on beach.jpgOoooh very rarely have I had chance to read when I have travelled.

It seems like a nice idea, lying on the beach and sunbathing and reading a book, but my holidays have usually been to visit friends abroad and they always arrange a jam-packed schedule of trips and excursions.

I think I took a book when I went to Turkey because my friends said they wanted a beach holiday to relax – but it didn’t end up that way!

Q9] Five best holidays you have had and list why?

Oh dear…

Ghana because we had the most incredible dive into African culture and art and music and food.  People made that holiday very very special (well, we did a lot of work out there, but we had chance to spend some days relaxing so I am going to count it as a holiday)

Sweden was spectacular and full of surprises – an adventure beyond all our expectations!

Romania was beautiful and so interesting.  We had so much fun out there and made some amazing friends.

Houston, Texas, USA  when we were staying with friends who lived there. We just happened to plan our first ever trip to the States when it happened to be “All-Stars” basketball weekend in Houston.  I mean “Hello! Welcome to America!”  I have to write a post about that trip one day…it was memorable – to say the least!

Belgium with Mandy, Milly and my mum – we bought so much chocolate.  Then when we came home we wrapped it all up into little parcels with ribbon to give to friends.  It was really nice to have a girly holiday with my sisters and my mum.

Q10] Do you have a favourite blog that deals with adventuring or travelling that you read before you go?

I have not been abroad since I started reading blogs.  I have been reading the posts of several travel bloggers regularly.  Their posts are often quite stunning and they put lots of ideas in my head about where I would like to travel to.

My Dusty Flip-Flops is my favourite travel blogger though!

Q11] Are you a soloist traveller or prefer company?

If I had to, I could travel on my own (as in the transport part of it) but what is the point of travelling without someone wonderful to share it with?

PQ12] What is the most significant lesson you have learned when adventuring?

Don’t forget your toothbrush!  Nah…

I think I would have to say that my travels have confirmed that the mod-cons of the western world do not make us happier.  I have often found that in lands where there was less in a material sense, people were so much happier and friendlier.  I am dying to tell you about a family from Liberia we met…I think I will save it for another post.

Q13]  When in a new location, what are the first five things you check or do to ensure your adventure/holiday is successful?

Ha ha – define successful!  The only thing we worry about is making sure we don’t forget which date our return flights are back because we are having so much fun.

In Africa – drink lots of water! (3-4 litres a day)

In Northern Sweden – don’t go outside without your hat! (in the winter of course)

In Spain –      Cereza =        Cerbeza = 

In USA – don’t eat for three weeks before you go, and don’t eat for six weeks after you go!

In Germany – rules are made for breaking! (Ooooh er – there is a post I need to publish to explain that.)

Q14] Are you a rigid planner for adventures, or just throw a few things into a bag and let the day take you wherever?

At one stage I think I would have been a planner, that was in my nature.  However, almost every holiday I have been on turned out to be an adventure because I let go of worrying and let others whisk us off to the most unbelievable places – way off the tourist route.

When we trust our friends and let them surprise we have been amazed at what they have arranged for us.

PQ15] In your opinion what do you think is needed to make an adventure/holiday really successful?

Friends or family abroad who know the area, and have the time to introduce you to the delights of life in that land. I would rather be in a sleeping bag on the floor of my friend’s living room than in an all-inclusive hotel.  Friends abroad make travel wonderful.

Q16] When adventuring do you have a traditional routine or just go with the flow?

I like trying things I have never tried before!

I go with the flow…some of the friends I have travelled with have a bit of a routine or holiday customs.  But I am happy to “go with the flow” so long as that means seeing new places, eating new foods, singing, dancing, fascinating culture or history or art, lively people, gorgeous scenery.

Q17] Are you totally relaxed when holidaying/adventuring as in let your hair completely down, or hang on to a sense of reticence?

During the day, I love anything outdoors, any opportunity for climbing, hiking, swimming, sailing, scuba diving or anything active is something I would grab.  I love feeling like a kiddo and availing myself of any energetic and unforgettable activities.

I have had a lot of fun when travelling…there is something about being “on holiday” that makes me even braver.  I have done a lot of singing and dancing when abroad and I certainly do have some tales to tell!

Or maybe I will tell them in future posts!

Q18] How important is adventuring/holidaying away to you?

travelerI have always loved opportunities to travel.  Of course I want to travel again in the future.  Right now, my desire to get back to my home on the other side of London is far greater than any desire to travel elsewhere.  I feel lost at the moment.  I hardly have the appetite for anything like adventure until I am feeling settled back at home.

You see it is a wonderful thing to travel knowing you have a home to return to.  I have a very sweet abode currently, but it is not MY HOME.  I need to be home before I have the appetite for travelling.

Q19] Are you completely and utterly true to your personality when ‘away’ or do you become someone else?

I don’t think I change as such.  But the playful side of me is allowed more fun and expression.  I seem to laugh a lot when I am abroad.  For years I have had a jam-packed schedule (don’t we all) where I am always thinking of the next task ahead and it is nice to be on holiday and not to worry about what my next job is.

For some reason I have always felt the need to be a bit of an “entertainer” with friends. When I am abroad on holiday I think I need very little encouragement to get the party going!  I like to see my friends enjoying themselves as much as I am!

PQ20] Are you deleting any questions, if so which ones?

Q4] Recently l read, and it’s not new about windowless aircraft which will be the future of air travel, what are your views on this?

Windowless planes???

Q21] You have been gifted a 42 day holiday of your dreams all expenses paid – where would you choose to go?

Six weeks!  Ask me this month…. I think I would say South America because I never have been and I would love to go!

Ask me in December and I would say Australia to see my wonderful Goldfinch!

An Ingenious New Public Transport System

Sleepy headed…

Heading for bed…

Forgive me….

The picture prompt from The Haunted Wordsmith  The Haunted Wordsmith arrived on my WordPress reader page just before I was about to leave home to go to work.  I did not have time to start this post but I have been thinking about it all day.

bagan-1137015_640

https://pixabay.com/en/users/judithscharnowski-1826923/

As soon as I saw this scene, I felt very relaxed…which is probably why staring at it now is causing me to grow so very sleepy.

It reminded me of a post I read recently by Stephen T Stephen T, the creator of Armageddon Cafe:

https://revelationsend.wordpress.com/2018/07/22/fighting-with-your-own-mood/

Sometimes, the pace of life in London (if not everywhere else in the modern world due to technology) is breathtakingly fast and often frankly exhausting.  Stephen has been on what looks like a very lovely holiday.  But in his post he mentioned something I often find a challenge myself.  Sometimes, we are so wound up with the pace and break-neck speed we have to function at, it is rather hard to relax.

Even when we physically distance ourselves from work and other demands on our time and energy…it is hard to switch off mentally and sometimes emotionally to everything that you know is waiting for you as soon as you get back.

Aaaaah!  That’s why this was a very welcome picture prompt.  It looks like a great pace to function at.  I wonder if we could all agree to slow the pace of life down?

Can we get rid of the motorways and the underground and just take a hot air balloon ride to get to the places we need?  I am sure I would start each day and end each day feeling so much better and more serene.  Perhaps we could adopt a new national transport system – hot air power (and I am sure there are more than enough people full of hot air to fuel the new transport method) and we could travel by balloon from now on.

Aaaah….bed is calling….

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/08/01/worth-a-thousand-words-16/

Two Men Parked Outside In A Big Black Van Staring At My Windows

Black Van

It’s OK.  The decorators are here!  They pulled up outside the house at 5.30am in a big black van and have been watching my windows, for any signs that I am up and ready to let them in.  At first I found it incredibly intimidating.  Now I comprehend why they do it.  If you are a tradesman or tradeswoman….or tradesperson…ugh…Let’s start again!  If you are a plumber, electrician, painter, decorator…chances are you find it easier to use a vehicle for work.

If you have a trade and you have to travel to various residences to complete tasks then you will likely have to take tools, dust sheets, paint or whatever else you might need to be able to carry out tasks.  It is helpful to have your own vehicle to carry with you all the equipment and materials you will need.

Now in most parts of the UK it makes sense to be a driver.   Roads move fairly freely, in many areas there are few restrictions or charges to park your vehicle on a residential street.  But think again in London!!!  Traffic congestion, restrictions on parking in most areas, and then when you do find a pay and display area, it can cost a lot.  On the road I live on you have to pay-and-display between the hours of 8.30am to 6.30pm.  It costs £2.90 per hour, however, you are only allowed to park for a maximum of two hours.  It must be a nightmare for a tradesman with a vehicle.

This is why the decorators are here so early.  Now I understand, I make the effort for them.  I have been up since 4.45am.  I am rather house-proud so I always do a tidy up and basic clean in any rooms they are likely to enter.  As soon as they arrive, I send them a text message to say I am up and about.  They love it!  I let them in at 5.35am.  Am I not one of the nicest customers/house-holders?  I can see they are not wasting any time.  If they can get the work done and then get home missing the rush hour traffic jams completely…well good for them.  I am happy to adjust as it makes sense…now that I actually understand why they are sitting outside in a big black van staring at my windows at 5.30am.

Although I am a driver, I have rarely used a car since I moved to London (only when I was asked to drive on behalf of the infirmary I worked for – but that was a fleet car).  But I have felt that I just don’t need to drive at all, not for myself.  The only thing I miss, is not having a car to do a big weekly shop.  Instead, I do two of three small shops each week and I am sure I end up spending much more money.

Now…I really want to talk for a little while about buses.  I have been preparing tomorrow’s post…and be warned it is a weepie!!!  I need to shrug it off and dismiss it from my mind for a while.  So to do that I would like to think about those gorgeous shiny red double-decker motors that tourists love to take photographs of.  If you are not remotely interested in London buses….this is a signal to stop reading now….

The public transport system here is amazing.  I can walk to the end of my road and every 4-8 minutes there is a bus that will take me on a 48 minute journey for £1.50.  The bus route runs 24 hours a day!

Elsewhere in the UK the story is not the same.  In the town where I grew up, we had to walk fifteen minutes to get to the nearest bus stop.  The buses were supposed to come every 30 minutes, but were often way off schedule.  They certainly are not 24-hour routes.  They normally start at around 6am and finish at around 10pm.  Our town had no train station.  There were some villages that had a bus just one day a week.  It would pass through at around 9am and then make the return journey at 4pm.  For many residents it was their only way to travel into town to do their weekly shop.

When I first moved to the south of England I lived in a fairly rural area (actually it was a little taste of paradise)…half-way in between Andrew Lloyd Webber and Princess Kate (I never hear anyone calling her that) neé Middleton’s family.  For three and a half months I worked in a nearby town.  It just happened that those months were November through to February.  My hours were 9am-1pm each weekday.  To drive in a car it took about 25 minutes.  However, I had no car back then.  So I had to catch the bus.  Well three buses…that is on the journey to work…and two buses on the way back.  I woke before 5am every weekday.  I had to walk 20 minutes to a bus stop where a bus would take me to a village.  There I had to wait in the cold, in the dark for another bus to appear.  At that time of the morning there was no direct bus service.  The wait for the next bus was schedule as 23 minutes, but it was sometimes much longer.  Some mornings I remember it was bitterly cold and I had tears streaming down my face because the cold was so painful.  I would arrive in the town center just after 8pm and then I had to wait for a third bus to take me to the business park where I worked.  I worked out I was traveling anywhere between five to six and half hours each day, but being paid for four hours per day.

Are you feeling sorry for me yet?  I hope so!!!  What did I face when I reached work?

My job involved dealing with customers, a few of whom behaved rather obnoxiously.  I am going to say something controversial…Customers are not always right…and if I owned the business there are some customers whom I would have asked to leave and not to come back again.  The numerous occasions when I have looked at a cashmere sweater which a customer wants to return, and wondered to myself, “have they tried to feed it through a shredding machine unsuccessfully and then decided just to lay it our on their road and drive over it several times?”

However, I am one of the most uber-polite people I have ever known and I even admire myself for the incredible ability I seem to have to remain completely calm when somebody is outrageously rude and unreasonable. I am able to explain a company policy clearly in a respectful way and hold my ground. Nobody was surprised though, when I gave my notice in.  They thought it was a miracle that I had never been late and never had a day off sick after standing around in the freezing cold each morning for all those months.

I have another story…it is too long for this post.  Look out for it in the future…I think I will call it “Teenager Tantrum Leads To Traumatic Travel Tale” or something like that…it is really the story of one of the most provoking teenagers I have ever had to deal with…but it will also demonstrate to you how unreliable the public transport system can be in some parts of the UK.

No, here in London, I truly do not miss having a car.  Public transport is wonderful. Yesterday there was a huge change to the train time-tables here.  Plenty of people are upset and full of angst about the changes…but for most travellers, they will get use to the changes within a few weeks.  For me…I cannot complain.  Compared to my public transport experiences elsewhere in the UK…London is a breeze!

Come on London Buses!!!  Woo-wooh to hopper fairs!!!

Buses