On The Protests in the UK and the Muslim Ban

Yeah, this one’s about politics and the Muslim ban, not travelling. Whatever.

I’ve tried to write a political article about 5 times in the past 48 hours, and every time I’ve given up and scrapped it. My thoughts are too disjointed and frantic and plain fucking furious to put into any comprehensible order. Instead, I’ve decided to simply write a list, wherein I will answer the myriad complaints I have seen about the Muslim ban protests that took place across my homeland yesterday. You might have thought that people could not find much fault with peaceful protests for the sake of the rights of fellow human beings, protests designed to show support and camaraderie with a people that is being increasingly maligned. However, you would be wrong, for this is 2017. The Second World War is slowly passing out of living memory, and humanity, with eye-rolling predictability, seems to be toying with the idea of destroying each other once again. So let’s get into it. Continue reading

The Berlin Diaries – Thanksgiving

I’m English, which means I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving and don’t really know what it’s about. Hang on. Let’s educate ourselves. Right, you wait here, and I’m going to trek to the mystical land of Wikipedia in search of answers. If I’m not back in three paragraphs, assume I’ve failed my quest, give me an honorary funeral (Viking style, please), and move on with your life. Promise me, if I fail, you will try to learn to love again. Promise me you will find another blog filled with stupid drunken travelling stories. You promise? Okay. Here goes.

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Fidel

 

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I am furious.

Fidel Castro died earlier this week at the age of 90. I have been busy over the weekend and have therefore missed the majority of news on the subject. However, when turning on my laptop this morning, I am appalled to see the ferocity of attacks against the Cuban leader. As the days go by, I am growing increasingly apoplectic at the state of the political world. A vain, unintelligent, and cruel television star is president of the USA, Britain has voted itself poorer in a referendum based on lies, the far right is on the rise around the world, and hateful rhetoric is growing, palpably. Now, Fidel Castro is gone. Cue the outpouring of hatred against him. Continue reading

That Time I Dropped My Phone Off a Cliff in Yosemite

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***You walk into my office. It’s dark, but you can see my outline through the gloom. I’m sitting with my back to you, the slatted blinds casting thin slivers of moonlight over me. My face is lost to shadow. A cigarette smoulders in the ashtray on my desk next to a tumbler of some brown liquor. You say my name and I turn my head. I bring a bottle to my lips and laugh a bitter, gurgling laugh. I ask you what you want. You tell me you want to know what really happened, that summer day in Yosemite. I turn sour, I tell you to get out of my office. I stand up out of my seat and slam the bottle down on the table, spilling liquor over a stack of old newspaper cuttings. Get out, I tell you, but you stand firm. You whisper a name. I pause. I pick up the cigarette and draw it deep into my lungs.

“Samsung S3 Mini?” I murmur, as the smoke curls out of my mouth and the embers reflect in my eyes. “I haven’t heard that name in years…”*** Continue reading

People I’ve Met: Nando

I’ve decided to begin a new series, focusing on cool people I’ve met while travelling. It doesn’t matter where you go, how beautiful the beaches are, how cheap the beer is, or how golden the sunsets, if you’re in bad company, you’ll have a bad time. The people you meet out in the world are crucial to everything I love about travelling. It’s the people you meet that will change you, more than simply the places you visit.

So here goes. First up, we have Fernando Pacheco. Continue reading

7 Times I’ve Been Conned While Travelling

You’ve got to keep your wits about you when travelling. Especially when you visit a poorer country, as a tourist you are a walking wallet. When the average local earns roughly a hundredth of your wage, you can’t really blame them for occasionally trying to relieve you of a few coins. I’ve thrown together a few of the various backpacker scams I’ve come across on my travels. I’d love to say I was too witty and wily and outfoxed the devious local populace but… come on. It’s me. I’m a half wit.

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Falling into the Grand Canyon

“Okay, follow me.”

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I took my tour guide’s hand and shuffled along after him sightlessly. Behind me was a long chain of blindfolded backpackers clinging to each other like a care home conga line. We edged our way along the path, which we knew would take us to the rim of the Grand Canyon. After a minute of feeling our way down the path, a sudden quiet implied we had reached the edge. Our guide, and my friend, a perpetually upbeat Puerto Rican named Nando, carefully positioned us in a line, and semi-joking warned us not to step forward. He gave the word, and we took off our blindfolds. Continue reading