First impressions can have quiet a big impact on people. My second, third and fourth impression of camping weren’t all that good, either.
ASSOCIATIONS WITH TENT ACCOMMODATION:
It takes a very long time to set up – unless you have a scout member with you
The level of comfort is at an all time low
Weather is guaranteed to be bad. It rains (heavily) every time
A new found love for camping has, however, presented itself. It may well be down to the decent weather that made my bitter attitude fluff up a bit – but the whole experience can really be rather exciting, even marginally comfortable, and give you a true sense of adventure. You just have to go with the right people and the right weather.
This transition happened in California when my budget was strict. To tell you the truth, I’m all the more glad for it. The campsites had fire-pits where you stocked up your firewood and doubled up to make a BBQ grill. There was a fantastic mission to create our meal with basic tools (an army knife) and the foil we cooked in was also used as our fine dining equipment.
Accompanying this challenge was managing the entire setup in the dark, eventually with a head torch – a camper’s true best friend.
Of course I was wearing every piece of clothing I’d packed by 7pm- but the food was sizzling, our little tent was poised and we had an Alaskan beer in hand – this really was alright. There was also no sign of rain.
HOW TO MAKE CAMPING A SUCCESS:
Take some padded bedding: blow up beds with duvets are a treat
Ensure you have a good supply of beer
Basics are essential: foil, army knife, head torch, matches
Go with decent company
Park close enough to the loos for that emergency night dash
Take full advantage of the surrounding wilderness
The following day you will be woken up as the sunrises, warming you up ready for the adventure ahead.
Its official guys, I live and work in Sydney, Australia!
My neck is crushed from crawling my arse across the city with that suitcase AND backpack. I don’t think I’ve accumulated that much more gear. A bottle of wine perhaps. OK two. Totally worth the neck ache…
As I was heading to my new home in Sydney I realised that this was it. I was finally settling in.
Talking about getting a job in Sydney (that’s relevant to what I’m interested in), finding a roof over my head (at a reasonable price. no sharing) suddenly seems more possible than it has for months. Sort of.
Maybe my new housemates will be the people I’ll be in contact with for years to come. Maybe not. Maybe something totally brilliant and epic is going to change from this move. Or maybe not.
Who knows – I’m just happy to be here ! Now if you’ll excuse me I have to re-arrange my furniture in my new room. Its in Sydney you know. The one in Australia. Yup I live there, no – here. Yeah its cool. Sure, no problem, I’ll go pour a glass…
Also Read On…
I’ve been fortunate enough to spend the last month on a double bed, which is rare for a woofer; I was half expecting to stay in a caravan with a blanket; there are actually two over the hill here in case more helpers turn up.
Helpers even have a shower and a toilet across the veranda making the whole farming transition that bit easier. I was rather expecting to fight with the insects as I searched for the cubicle in the far off distance during my midnight toilet break.
The heat wave has confirmed that summer is here, reaching 45 degrees, I can tell you that my English skin is breaking out in droplets just by sitting still. Two months here has not acclimatised my body yet, which isn’t helped by the room hot boxing itself during the day, despite every window being open; and I fear that this is what Asia will be like: humid, hot and damp from perspiration. Even at night-time.
To save me from this British rant of weather, making the things that are good seem bad, there is a gift that has been sitting underneath a chest of drawers in the room this whole time and I sincerely adore the person that invented this mechanism, I will look you up one day, dear fan maker.
- 9 tips for WWOOFing in New Zealand (matadornetwork.com)
- The How-To’s of WWOOF’ing | BootsnAll Travel Articles (sunnyromy.wordpress.com)
Having stayed in a fair few hostels I was anticipating Britain to give a good lead on design, we were staying in arty Brighton after all, and at the very least have a bar. I’m really trying to stop holding this single hostel as a representative for all in the UK, as I’m sure there are others that up their ‘game’ and say something extra about British efforts to accommodation. So it is with the negatives that you really get to know the good. Here is a list of growing necessities that a hostel should provide for the weary traveller.
Once we leave, promise we never have to come back
FYI - I’d love to hear about your experiences in UK hostels.
1. Let’s get excited!
The receptionist’s welcome was much like the weather: cold, wet and bleak. Whatever time you arrive at a new place, you should be greeted with a big smile, a friendly persona and a brief outline detailing the hostels services: breakfast hours, internet, maps of the area, pub crawls, activities, a-z knowledge of the best places in the area.
In this 10 minute conversation you’ve just given me confidence that I can trust you as a go-to person, there’s an ease with my new surroundings and the atmosphere is pumping, even if you’re alone its all going to be alright.
…Brighton, a seriously brilliant coastal party place for the eccentric and anyone with a sense of humour
When we finally checked in and opened our dorm room, the blocks of blue rust didn’t inspire much. The lockers to store our luggage were either smashed in or dead beat and the ones that were of potential use needed a key (not a simple padlock). Unfortunately the keys hadn’t arrived yet, although how new they could be really is beyond me, judging by the state of the iron punches.
Luckily we had a car to store our stuff, our second option was to leave our bags behind the desk, which is pretty standard in most accommodation if you’re in-between change over. Based on the quality of the room and the enthusiasm of staff we decided to take care of ourselves. Please see .1 for a further exaggerated point on this important factor of approachable staff.
3. Make me smile with your personality!
With great design comes great atmosphere and it is this extra lick of paint that enhances a hostels personality. Some hostels get crafty with their designs and take on walls as a canvas for fun and imagination, but even if the wall is a blank white colour a little touch up paint wouldn’t bust the budget.
As this hostel was just on the sea front they could have taken advantage of this for a theme: sea-shells, ropy features with blues and greens – albeit a fairly clichéd theme it wouldn’t hurt them to breathe a little extra life into this ageing accommodation.
These 3 pointers include basic comforts and safety, a social sphere and an introduction to your new environment. Is that so much to ask for on a teeny-tiny budget?! Come on Britain!
45 minute setup – 1.5 hours in sail - 10 minute capsized – 20 minute recovery
Costing 7 Euros per hour, Insurance 30 Euros for season
Although I was given a sincere promise that the boat would not turn over, it was important to know what to do if this eventually happened (which it did) and it really comes down to the simple task of swimming: fast.
My biggest fear with sailing is the boat falling upside down with me trapped in it. It turns out the few things to do during this catastrophe are:
- Ensure your belongings don’t drift far, far away
- Push the big piece of wood back into place…technical term apparently: sword (cool, eh?)
- To maintain a calm composure, naturally, whilst swimming for your life
This year’s next sporting challenge was to sail, and in Lake Constance it’s a mandatory requirement to swim the waters of this enchanting landscape. When they say ‘lake’ it appears to be a small sea, not a little enclave of water.
Highly recommended, involving lots more practical than I anticipated, although you can just sit back and cruise along in the sun once everything is in place; really rather good fun.
Note: Go on a sunny day, leave belongings in-car and take a few beers.
Fun Sailing Words
Captain Douche Bag, Boom, Jib, Fock-Affe: Fock (sail) Affe (monkey)
The sleeping eye mask has often seemed like a waste of time and it is not until you experience a sleepless journey that you find a secret love for this tiny piece of cloth.
Now I would swear by them and feel sorry for anyone that has to deal with those glaring TV screens on bus journeys or natural light peeping in through those mini-aeroplane windows. There’s only one solution (other than sunshades) and that is the sleeping eye mask.
A friend of mine has decided to re-design her own, which is pretty cool, but for those of you who aren’t quiet as crafty (like me) just pack the squash-able mask into your carry on and enjoy a good snooze! They’re often handed out for free during flight.
Flight 001 have recently come on my radar and though there products can be expensive, they are very groovy. Here are some inspirational designs if you want to look slightly less boring while you sleep. The following products ranging from £14.00, eek!
You should know now that I have never taken a travel pillow abroad.
Largely on the grounds that my Mum advised me this was a good idea, handing over a flat packed blow up pillow for lengthily, upcoming bus journeys.
…I will not be that silly poppet on the bus who inflates her pillow
So naturally I said no and laughed outrageously, as this tiny piece of travelling equipment found itself at the bottom of my wardrobe.
I will not be that silly poppet on the bus who inflates her pillow. Until of course I sat next to someone who did exactly that and fell asleep, comfortably, on our remaining 10 hour bus ride.
The thing is if you’re travelling for a long period of time, a miniature pillow could be a good investment costing £3 up. As long as it’s compact and you can endure the embarrassment of blowing this up in public, go for it. I’ve still no idea why I find this such a strange concept.
In truth I opt without pillow, but perhaps when my neck starts to crumble and needs added support, this will be my next travelling essential item.
Waking up with every fibre of your body feeling dizzy is a sure sign that you’ve just experienced the festivities of San Juan (not pronounced San Jose…) in Las Palmas. An annual event where it is believed if you run into the sea at midnight you cleanse all your sins from the year before. You can also expect bonfires, fireworks and lots of alcohol on the beach of Las Canteras. I would recommend a trip to Gran Canaria just for this festival.
Often we’ve gone for evening walks along the beach and seen a few nutters swim in the dark, complete fools I thought, but last night was one of my favourite memories of being on the island. Holding hands with 3 other gems on the Leonardo Programme and legging it towards the waves as the midnight fireworks set off left, right and centre – such a buzz; until someone gets stung by a jellyfish. We hope this isn’t a sign for the next year!
every fibre of your body feeling dizzy is a sure sign that you’ve just experienced the festivities of San Juan
A night of epic proportions followed by clubbing at bar Mojo by the auditorium, how has it taken almost 3 months to find this cluster of decent bars? And then a gradual walk home, making one final stop along the beach for the sun to rise and Las Palmas to wake up.
A dear friend came to visit the island of Gran Canaria recently and it seems that since our uni days she has developed a hilarious bubble of bad luck. The first of which was her luggage making its way to Glasgow, rather than Gran Canaria – GG / GC mix up?
Sadly I laughed (literally) in her face, which did no amount of help. The truth is I knew it would all be alright, especially as Primark was just around the corner – very in keeping with Spanish culture is Las Palmas. There’s also an M&S in-case you pine for UK bits.
Here are a few tips to calm you down when this kind of disaster strikes and you have a knob-head friend who laughs in your face:
1) Help Desk – they can do two things.
First let them know your luggage has been lost in transit, if at first they can’t find it look very upset and ask them to check the system again. This worked for my friend and they eventually located it in Glasgow, which took a swift 24 hours to be delivered to their hotel.
* Please note they should deliver your case to your place of stay. If you have to go back to the airport to collect your luggage, keep a reciept of expenses and claim later.
If not call them the following day and persevere with locating that case. Ensure you keep all your documents in one place safely, note down the contacts you will need and give them yours.
Secondly they should provide an overnight kit. This usually consists of basic needs such as toothpaste, toothbrush, basic wash goodies and an eye mask. If you go with a more upgraded airline you may well get extra fun bits such as condoms. Classy.
2) Keep valuables in hand luggage
If anything this experience re-asserted the importance of carrying those essential items in your hand luggage/ your carry on bag: medication – keeping them in a clear bag – documentation including insurance, flight and emergency contacts, back up card and money. Also take extra layers with you wear on board and seriously consider what you during flight, as this may be an outfit for the next 48 hours. Don’t wear lycra leggings.
It´s an obvious one but make sure you take good cover on holiday. If you lose your luggage and need to purchase key things to tide you over it’s good to know you can claim a certain amount daily.
4) Not all is lost
Have a good think about where you are and what´s actually happening. As long as you have your passport, medication, monies and somewhere to kip for the night you can get by. Your luggage will most probably be with you within the next 48 hours and there will be plenty of shops and amenities in budget and in distance to cater for your loss. You’ve made it through customs, go and enjoy your new location.