My Top 10 Travel Moments (So Far)

Today’s posts is a quick, simple and severely lacking-of-photos look back at the top 10 travel moments I can remember from my life so far.

10. Playing Basketball in the Meadowlands Arena – At the age of 14 I was lucky enough to go on a basketball trip to New York City, on the trip we got to play on the actual NBA Court of the then New Jersey Nets (now Brooklyn Nets), it was a great experience and one I will never forget.

9. The Gambia – Feeding monkeys, a boat trip down the the River Gambie, street markets (I think) in Serrekunda, eating Barracuda caught by the local fisher-men, the entire trip to the Gambia was definitely a different experience considering at the time (age 15) 99% of my holidays had been to France.

Exceptionally hot and humid, but for the young me a great experience to see some massively different culture that the world is home to.

8. Road Trip to Lake Garda – Driving from Southampton to Lake Garda and back was quite the experience, we of course stayed in Lake Garda for about 10 days, the San Bernardino Pass on the way home was breathtaking just a shame that back then I wasn’t really into Photography nor was Instagram a thing but here is a photo I stole from my sister.

Also we got to visit Venice… which despite being absolutely baking (mid-summer, thousands of people) was pretty stunning no matter where you looked.

7. Disneyland – Disneyland as an adult while it’s fairly empty due to all the kids being at school if far improved from when I was 9, very of little of which I remember. 2017 on the other hand I do remember and it was a great trip especially the Illuminations at the end of the day. Well worth the trip.

6. The Eiffel Tower – When you’re a kid and you’re scared of heights and you start going up in the lift to the top of the Eiffel Tower and you start crying when you realise how high it is… when you get half way and your mum (the center of your universe at that age) says she will put you in the down lift you should believe her, I did!

However I was tricked! Up we went all the way to the top, I vaguely remember some fairly nice views while I crawled around on the floor trying to stay away from the edge and contain myself. Note to self: don’t always trust your parents.

5. Barcelona Basketball Trip – I was lucky at the age of 15 to go on yet another basketball trip, this time I went solo! Yes 15 year old me managed to get the correct flight, land in Barcelona Airport, find the camp organisers and then get home again all by myself at the age of 15! I class that as a fairly solid achievement for a child.

The actual trip was fairly awesome, again & unfortunately, it was before I really knew how to use a camera or Instagram was invented so sorry no photos.

I did however get to see the La Segrada Familia, Park Güell, La Rambla, etc. now I just need to go back so that I can photograph the shit out of it.

4. Blue Lagoon & Iceland – Iceland was a pretty unforgettable experience, a school trip where we managed to fit in quite a lot, including some of the amazing waterfalls such as Skógafoss and Gullfoss, standing where the North American Plate and Eurasian Plate meet, going to the small Island of Heimaey and climbing, what used to be the volcano which erupted in 1973.

That’s a small list considering how much we did but I would definitely recommend going, or going back if you have already been.

3. NYC 1st time – I still remember stepping out of the station into the middle of NYC and seeing the sky-risers tower over me. We were taking part in a basketball trip over to the Minuteman Invitational Tournament and we were staying in New Jersey (see moment number 10) so our first trip into the city was by train so we got to see a little of the city from a distance before we headed underground through tunnels, etc. then we arrived.

I wont ever forget my first trip into NYC and what is my favourite city in the entire world.

2. Bratislava – Bratislava from what I can remember was awesome, lots of drinking, looks of cool Insta-perfect buildings if you love a mixture of architect, old city buildings and at the time snow. Me and a few friends visited Bratislava for one of their birthdays and I am fairly sure its a trip which I will always remember.

I would highly recommend Bratislava if you are into a mixture of historic buildings and the occasional binge drinking 😉

1. Bar 65 in NYC – My third trip to NYC featured a bite to eat and a few cocktails in the Bar 65 at the Rainbow Room on level 65 of the Rockefeller Center, I am scared of heights but I am fairly sure that this was the best thing I have ever experienced, we didn’t get the picturesque sunset I had wished for but we got a perfect view out across NYC and if you take one thing from this post, its that you need to go and have a drink here!

What are your top 10 travel memories? Let me know below 🙂

Thank F*ck Its 2018

Aside from New York, becoming an Uncle, Disneyland and finally getting my degree the year 2017 was absolutely fucking shit, so I’m pretty damn happy that it is a new year and I can get a fresh start!

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I’m trying to save the doom and gloom but I don’t think 2017 could have been much worse, losing my Dad, Grandpa and Dog all in the space of 10 months was a bit crap so I want to start 2018 with a fresh mind-set.

I have been pretty awful at sticking to goals in the past, so bad that in 2017 I didn’t even bother, however despite not blogging about it I did have some goals in 2017.

  • Making this a .com website
  • Creating a new logo

Are just a couple of examples, I also managed to grow my measly social media following (across Twitter, Instagram, etc) from around 950 up to 1,250 a struggle considering the follow-un-follow bots on bloody Instagram!

I did a little mini-post looking at 2017 from a blogging perspective here and it was fairly good, almost 1,000 page views, so a good goal for this year is to double that to 2,000.

I also posted 25 articles so target for 2018 is 45, with the things I have planned this year that shouldn’t be a problem. Now that’s enough for the blog.

Personal goals this year I will keep short and sweet;

  1. Road trip to West Coast USA.
  2. Improve fitness enough so I don’t die during the Southampton Half-Marathon (April!).
  3. Improve my morning routine.
  4. Sort finances (pay off debt, credit cards, etc.).
  5. Start the process of becoming a Chartered Quantity Surveyor.
  6. Read more books and blogs.
  7. Post loads more on Instagram (Yes the follow-un-follow people piss me off but Instagram is still a pretty awesome place).
  8. Write more, not just on this blog but on BallinEurope & Hoopsrank.

Lastly I want to set-up a new website, very different to this blog and I wont post about it just yet, might not even happen but its just an idea for something I want to do away from work in my spare time, so we will see what happens with that.

Do you have any goals for this year? Blogging and personally? Let me know in the comments below… or if you have an article about it that I can read, maybe add to my own also let me know!

2017 – Slightly Better

What an underwhelming title. I mentioned my inconsistencies in my first post of 2017 and how I have actually had this blog for a few years (originally set up as a WordPress blog in 2009!!), its interesting to go back through my page views over the last couple, 2014 and 15 had 21 and 23 views!.. in 2016, I tried and failed to blog more often and my page views reached the lofty heights of 85 page views for 9 posts.

2017 has actually pretty much smashed all of my years combined, despite the fact that I didn’t post as much as I wanted to back in January 2017. I posted 24 new blog posts and hit 605 views!

I realise 605 views isn’t anything massive but for me to think that people are actually reading my posts without posting as much as I wanted is a massive personal boost for me.

Considering I posted 20 of those posts between January & July if I had kept post regular and possibly used Social Media more efficiently I probably could have topped 1,000 views.

During my most consistent months (April, May & June) I was averaging 126 views per month, dropping down to just 36 from July to Dec (as of writing).

While my blog runs on my homepage its pretty difficult to get accurate numbers for individual posts but my Mental Heath post back in August was really well received and the feedback I got was great so thanks to those who read it and as an update things have been pretty good since finishing exams and passing my degree!

Another popular post was my run of NYC Photo posts which you can see here, here and here if you missed them.

Again, as always, I hope to post more in 2018, I have a big road trip planned so keep an eye out for that, plus Southampton Half-Marathon which will require some fundraising for charity so expect to see some stuff on that, and then whatever else 2018 brings.

I hope you have all had a great 2017 and have an even better 2018.

I’m a Big Kid

So my next holiday is booked! Boom!

And I am going to Disneyland Paris! Damn I’m such a grown-up.

Trying to find a holiday 2 weeks before you plan on going is fricken hard, we booked time off like 3 months ago with the plan of booking and paying for something in the near future… financial restrictions and lack of free time resulted in me and my girlfriend trying to book a week long all-inclusive trip to the Canary Islands 2 weeks before our departure date. Continue reading “I’m a Big Kid”

My Bad

Hey All,

Wow its almost mid-way through September and I realised I haven’t posted anything on the site for almost a month! My bad.

August/September has been a crazy busy month, I do a distance learning degree so my academic year runs from Dec – September..weird huh? This means that July/August is revision time and exam are the first proper week of September.

That hasn’t left much time for blogging, or much else, a severe reduction in Netflix, a lack of exercise and a major lapse in my relatively good diet I had made into a habit.. I went from eating chicken & rice to getting KFC delivered.. bad I know. Continue reading “My Bad”

The Truth – Mental Health

This will probably be one of the hardest blog posts I have ever written, and I apologies in advance if it gets a bit long and a bit tough to read.

I haven’t written about this before because I feel like I will get judged, I feel like people will think and look at me differently, I feel like people will feel sorry for me, and I don’t want that, I want to feel normal, but how I feel probably is normal for someone in my situation. I think we need to agree that mental health is an issue.

I have been resisting writing about it for a while, both my girlfriend and my mum suggested I write stuff down and I instantly said no, thinking that writing things down wouldn’t actually help my situation.

They probably didn’t mean a blog but I think this is an issue that needs addressing for guys across the country.

Because I am probably in the same boat as 90% of guys, we reject emotion, we train ourselves to ignore feelings, we don’t cry, we don’t get sad, we don’t talk about it.

We should.

I have had a pretty shit year, you wouldn’t be able to tell that reading my blog, posts about New York City and throwbacks to past holidays and signing up for a half marathon I try to make everything look normal.

But I am far from it.

My dad was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor in December, 6-12 months was an optimistic outlook. I spent the beginning of the year visiting him in hospital, taking him for radiotherapy, it didn’t work, in February I was told his life expectancy was actually more like 6-8 weeks.

He moved from the midlands down to Hampshire in March and sadly passed away on the 23rd of March.

Just over a month later on the May Bank Holiday weekend my Grandpa passed away, he was 96 and had been battling dementia for quite some time.

I never expected to lose two people in my life so quickly, we had time to prepare for dad… it wasn’t long enough, but I don’t think you can ever prepare for something like that. I wasn’t prepared to also lose my Grandpa.

I have been on a downhill spiral since January and while all this has been happening I have been trying to balance work, life and university. My dissertation/final project was due at the beginning of August, I had coursework’s due the weeks surrounding my dad passing away and I tried to manage and do my best in all of them.

Recently I have burnt out, the final few weeks of finishing my final project were the most difficult, I had interview questions with industry professionals and my head simply couldn’t even process the responses I received, I wrote the questions but the analysis of the responses just went straight over me.

I had a report to write at work and that too went straight over my head and I couldn’t process anything, despite being a relatively straight forward report which had already been written and just simply needed updating, none of it, in my mind, made sense.

That inability to make sense of even relatively simple work led to me talking to someone, for the first time since all this started I sat down with someone and said “I’m struggling”.. that led to a doctors appointment which led to a counselling session over the phone.

I’m still struggling, I can literally feel myself being more agitated, angry and annoyed at stupid stuff compared with before, I got into a Whatsapp argument with a mate last week for no reason whatsoever, I am struggling to sleep, struggling to wake-up.

I know I’m not the only person in the world going through these things and I honestly think that talking about it to people recently has helped massively, but I still struggle, and I probably will at least for a few months.

I feel like I need a break, a holiday or just a week sat at home where I don’t have to think about anything, however, with exams approaching in September (I do a distance learning degree so our timetable is very weird) I wont be able to take a break until at least late September.

Getting to this point, I have no idea how to finish this post, I don’t think its finished, but I can’t think of anything else to write right now. I may ramble on again about this in a future post.

I think all I can add is please don’t treat me, or anyone else who may feel the same as me any differently, I didn’t write this post for sympathy, in fact that’s why I haven’t written this sooner, I wrote this simply to get it off my chest, rather than letting it all swirl around in my head…

Don’t worry about me, don’t think I am constantly sad, I’m not, I can still smile, I can still enjoy things, I am still a pretty happy person, I always have been and hopefully I always will be, I just need a little while to get back to normal.