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Homecoming – Last day in SF bay area (JVP netanyahu demo, and /official/ new friend). Bus ticket drama. Glasgow returning – spontaneous outing to The Lost Boys at amusement park.

February 18, 2017 Leave a comment

JVP Netanyahu demo and Official New Friend

Wednesday. Chilled day with Y. He was working from home. I was lazing about and got snuggles during his breaks. Then I headed into SF for Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) demo protesting Trump’s meeting that day with Netanyahu and their shared values of racism, wall-building and hate-mongering. Was cool to be with other Jewish progressives, though a little disappointed there was only about 40-50 there. It was a 2 hour demo and I was only there for last bit so there might have been more attending in total as folks were coming and going. I liked the connection between zionism and to USA rhetoric and policies on migration and borders, which was expressed in chants and handmade placards.

After the demo a couple of Bay Area friends I had originally connected with from Gaza (from my trip in 2003) met me and I really enjoyed how easy and grounded in affection these relationships are. Partly I think it might be that usa (partic west coast?) culture is more emotionally demonstrative anyway, so i might just be experiencing that and feeling it as “ooo these people like me, its safe for me to open up to them too”. But regardless I’m starting to really value these other reasons for being in bay area besides Y, and this works well as both Y and I like spending time with other people too when we’re together.

I had this waffle/diner food craving, and as this was my last opportunity for it for a while, we headed to Mel’s. Mel’s is both fun, and cliched/OTT, but I’m a tourist and I kinda enjoy the OTT so I love sitting in a Happy Days set! We even used the booth side jukebox! Excitingly someone joined us who I’ve only before met with when I’ve been also meeting her partner who is an old friend of mine. We both agreed that meeting without him made us now Official Friends. She was also excited to be in SF itself, as she does the common Easy Bay resident thing of hardly ever coming over into the city.

Y joined us, and then a bit later New Official Friend, Y and I decided to go for Mexican food in the Mission – hey its my last night! I’m totes allowed 2 suppers! Then we went for a wander and ended up at the top of Dolores Park enjoying the view over the city before grabbing Indian deserts on our way to the last BART back to the East Bay. For I still needed to pack and then get up at 6am for my flight home!

Bus ticket drama

At SFO I was probably over excited by the TSA dog – so cute, though it looked pretty skinny. Luckily the excitement was not reciprocated so I got through security uneventfully, though the same was not true about getting from Edinburgh airport back to Glasgow…

So I’d managed to lose my purse containing my return bus ticket and debit card at Reykjavik airport on the way out. Pop quiz: a) I did the responsible thing and phoned lost property about it as soon as i realised, or b) I procrastinated making the scary phone call and then decided I’d just see them when I transited on my way back home only to find out that the lost property office was only open at 8:30am, was after my 4am-7am transit time? Ooops! Of course I had a chain of backup plans in case my purse wasn’t even in the airport:

1) pick up return bus ticket with bank card in iceland.
2) use debit card stored in chrome to buy bus ticket online and choose sms ticket option
3) use Y’s credit card to buy bus ticket online
4) convert $20 at edin airport (and take on chin the double commission whammy of both converting a small amount and an airport booth – I just need £11:60 for the bus ticket…)
5) once am in uk and time is more respectable (i landed 9am) start calling round friends to either buy me a bus ticket online / rescue me from airport
6) hitchhike – lots of Glasgow folks use Edinburgh airport and I was due to land at peak time (9am)

Ok, fine, so I couldn’t get my bus ticket or debit card… i just drop to option 2. After all I’ve used my card online so often I never even have to look at the CVC anymore. It turns out that my memory of that 3 digits is perfect unless its 5am and I’m on dodgy airport wifi with no way to just look at the back of the goddamned card! Fine, I’ll use Y’s credit card – he’d given me one that was about to expire anyway in case options 1 or 2 fell through. Except it turns out the citylink website doesn’t accept non uk billing addresses. Argh! More time passes and I’m like, bugger this, I need coffee[0] and then realised i could get citylink tickets on megabus website too. So off I go but now I’m struggling with the verified by visa password and Y is busy.

However the coffee was def working – some more googling and it turns out you can buy bus tickets at edinburgh airport’s tourist information booth! They’re bound to accept card payments, and Y’s given me his pin so i’m sorted! There are buses at 9:30 and 10:00 and I’m desperate to just get to my own bed by this time.

[09:00] Luckily our flight lands a bit early and I race through immigration and to the booth (in post coffee alertness at Reykjavik I’d pre-memorised the route from the online airport map)

[09:15] Possibly over sharing I tell the v friendly “welcome to scotland” person that i’ve just arrived back from travel abroad and so don’t have cash yet and so want to buy the bus ticket using my credit card and am hoping to make the 09:30 bus. She says she’s going to make sure she can give me the ticket before taking my money and then has to boot the computer an go through the complex online system. “I don’t think we have to waste time filling in your phone number and email address. I’ll just tick that you refused to give them to me”

[09:18] The printer is jammed and after several minutes she gives up trying to fix the feed and goes to another machine which thank the universe spits out the ticket.

[09:23] I put Y’s credit card into their card reader, but instead of asking for the pin, it says “payment accepted. signature required” and directs me to remove the card. So she prints the receipt and asks me to sign it. I squiggle “Praveen Kumar”[1] and hand it back.

[09:24] She flicks over the card (d’oh! of course she was going to do that! i’d forgotten that was even a thing. when was last time you signed for a card payment???) and the signature panel is blank… “Do you have any other ID with you?” Me, feigning calmness but running lateness “Oh no, I don’t have an other ID with me!”

Lets recap : 1) I’ve told her I’ve just landed off an international flight. 2) As far as she’s concerned she’s addressing a white female with an English accent. 3) The card is for an American bank with an Indian male name.

“Well I think you’ve been kept waiting long enough trying to get it printed. Turn right and then right again to get to the bus stop”

I LOVE BEING BACK IN SCOTLAND!!!! And I am very appreciative that I have bucketloads of white privilege which I am benefitting from – doubt this would have been so easy had Praveen Kumar been trying to use a card with a white chick’s name on :(

Friday – Spontaneous outing to The Lost Boys at amusement park

I arrived home at about 11am. Obviously first thing I did was put the kettle on. Ah tea, now things seem more reasonable. Ok, so I’ve had maybe 6 hours sleep since Wednesday, and I should probably change my clothes, but all I need to do today is stay awake til 8ish, go to the bank to get cash out across the counter, and get a few groceries in for the weekend. Then I’ll sleep like a baby and wake up some time tomorrow, go to the LGBTQ boxing club, and my timezone should be all fixed ready for 12 hour shift on Sunday. By 4:30pm I’ve done bank and shop chores and have cash and am planning a quiet evening and then sleeeeeeeep.

img_20170217_194454517.jpgAnd then, this being Glasgow, a friend invites me to a Glasgow Film Festival screening of The Lost Boys in a secret location, buses leaving from the GFT in 90 mins. So much for the early night plan! Accompanied by motorbikes revelling as they rev their engines to full blast we are transported to M&Ds amusement park. We bump into another friend and play on the rides opened up specially for the occasion, the park packed with excited adults in vampire/hunter dress-up squirting holy-water-pistols at each other on the big wheel and maximal audience participation through a favourite teenage movie. Much glee!

Walking home from the bus, much sleep deprived but very content with how lucky I am to come back to Glasgow, where being “cool” means showing your exuberance, participating to the max. Not sneering, but rather thrilling at and cheering on others’ dorkiness and throwing themselves into the spirit of whatever hijinks is going on.

 

 

[0] food and drink seems to feature a lot in today’s blog… To add more, as wow air doesn’t give any food on the flight I’d packed another really good picnic; hard boiled eggs, oranges, humus and veg wrap (didn’t taste good on the flight though – i know taste buds are supposed to be different on flights), smoked tofu and jerky. This time didn’t have the conveniently under 100mls water-tight containers i had last time, and the liquor store seemed confused about why i’d want a *small* bottle of alcohol (merkans and their super-sizing!) so decided to buy booze in duty-free as obvs you can carry that onto the plane. Except then I realised once aboard that i wasn’t sure if i’d be allowed to carry it onto my second flight if i took it out of the heat sealed duty free bag and opened it. so i relied on snoozing and copious pre downloaded star trek to get me through instead. I’d turned down a pal’s offer of a “medicated” jelly bean which given the TSA doggie (such cute eyes!) was lucky!

[1] Name changed to another Indian male name for privacy reasons.

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Last day in London – cycling the superhighways and final LEJOG packing.

September 1, 2015 2 comments

Went for delicious South Indian lunch in Tooting along the CS7 cycle superhighway. Good points: wide, clearly marked and hence mostly clear of the traffic queued up alongside. Bad points: whoever thought coating most of a cycle path in blue paint that turns slick in water was a good idea in Britain?! Buses and lorries were really good to cycle around – very respectful and giving nice wide berths and purposefully avoiding cutting us up. Taxis and smaller delivery vehicles were totally a different, variable, story.

Then some last minute shopping in town. Prob only did 20 miles in total today between lunch and then this afternoon’s shopping, but it also felt like nothing to do, so hopefully this bodes well for not feeling the strain horrifically, although obviously it will be a massive step up from 20 miles lightly laden to full camping gear. And the hills of Cornwall… But also we’re not going for speed and we will have all day. I expect it to be tough, but that I’ll cope. Most worried in case its wet and cold and miserable all the time. If its at least a bit sunny I’ll enjoy the feeling of flying that I get from cycling and even pushing the bike up hill won’t be unbearable.

So here’s the obligatory pre packing photos.

Obligatory pre packing shot
Top row : panniers, bike helmet, waterproof jacket (not very good and failed to upgrade today. Hope to find better one in shop along the way), foldable down day pack.

2nd row : Small things (details below), camping mat (multimat adventure air), tent (force ten helium 200), sleeping bag (force ten nano -5), toiletries (details below), rainbow flag for pannier rack

3rd row : cooking pots, stove (vango), gas cylinder for stove, warm hat, microfibre towel, yellow dry bag for clothes, clothes (details below), pink laundry bag.

Small bits and pieces

Small bits and pieces

Emergency poncho (my equivalent of generation game’s cuddly toy!), USB rechargable torch/power pack, tent pegs, survival blanket, head torch, spare guy rope, knife, emergency whistle, chain wire saw, compass, thermos flask with integrated tea/coffee strainer. bike lock (purely for deterrent whilst inside cafes etc) travel mug, stove, pans, pirate bandana.

Toiletries etc

Toiletries etc

Nitrile gloves and first aid tape. Moisturiser with 15 spf, small bottles half full with colour safe shampoo and conditioner (my hair is currently dyed blue and I want it to stay that way as long as possible!), multi purpose travel soap, foldaway toothbrush, toothpaste, ear plugs, menstrual cup, toilet paper, eye ointment and mirror to apply it with.

USB cable and plug, kindle, 16gb USB stick with both USB and OTG connections, another USB stick, pens, zip lock bag.

Clothes

Clothes:

(Above is just my tops rolled up)

6 pairs knickers. 3 pairs sporty type socks, 1 pair airline socks (for keeping dry and wearing in sleeping bag only), silk long johns, swimsuit, waterproof trousers (sadly just boil in the bag type), 1 pair long quick dry trousers, 1 pair 3/4 length quick dry shorts, 2 cycle tops, 1 short sleeve quick dry top, light summer dress, long sleeve merino thin top, thermal but thin polo neck top, fleece.

Some other stuff is in Vince’s bags, mostly sporks and bike tools. Got 2 water bottles – one which fits into cage on bike. And little handlebar bag with clear top for phone and room for road snacks.

Train Glasgow -> Manchester. Leaving Glasgow for lejog trip

August 27, 2015 Leave a comment

About to leave from Glasgow CentralOn the road again. On my way. My bike, beloved, is there. I’m really doing this! This trip is really happening! Can’t believe it. Unreal and exciting. How will it be? Will it be wet, cold, miserable, punishing hills, saddle sore? Wet tent, cold sleepless nights? Will we get injured? Robbed?

A month on the road! Oh what a wonderful thing I have brought about for myself. A glorious month of waking up somewhere new. Seeing miles pass by. Flying along country lanes, along rivers, waking up surrounded by nature, feeling progress made under out own steam.

But first a friend’s wedding, then a few days in London, and then the train to Penzance.

Small towns, tea shops, local flavours, the rhythm of the road, morning coffee and home made cakes. Hospitable hostelries at the end of a day in the saddle.

Passing Carlisle now. Always feels significant, in either direction. This time, feel the travelling south to go north. Winding up the miles that we will later unwind. Today 100 miles took just over an hour. In a few weeks this same leg will take a few days. Reminds me of the bus home after doing the West Highland Way, except this time its the other way round.

Bike next to em on the trainI packed whilst I was full of nerves still. I ended up ignoring the packing list that I’d made in a more sensible headspace and don’t have the best stuff. But I worked/saved up for months to afford this trip so I have money in the bank if I upgrade any of my gear along the route. Unlike most of my long distance walking / wild camping trips we will be passing “civilisation” regularly.

What I lack in physical (or mental) prowess, I make up for in bloody minded stubbornness. Several times I’ve walked with feet so sore I was crying, but kept myself going. Barring theft or injury I will complete this trip. And it is both a challenge and a gift that I have made for myself (with a lot of help from my best friend/travelling companion).

I plan on posting a photo and short diary entry most days. Hope they don’t get annoying for folks, and won’t feel in any way offended if you turn off notifications.

Categories: lejog Tags: , ,

Facing forty – defining my age rather than letting it define me.

August 21, 2015 Leave a comment

Wow CCCamp was such fun, inspiring and helped me on several issues.

First off a really moving and powerful talk involving folks from http://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/ helped me look at my own relationship with activism and burnout. As Lili (one of the woman abused by the cops by unknowingly being subjected to a two year relationship with a spy) said at the end, we mustn’t let the paranoia and pain and fear from state repression chase us away from our struggle for a better world, but look at what roles we can do it we can’t face the coalface (I can’t recall her exact words but watch the whole talk for yourselves) such as cooking or other support roles. This reminded me of one of Rachel Corries’s emails, reflecting on how massive the horrors she was facing were, and that whilst she couldn’t see clear ways she could stop the assaults on Rafah, she could wash dishes*. So I realised I can look at what I can still do, even as my burnout is making it difficult for me to be involved in day to day organising. And this reinforced that yes I will continue to develop/improve/solidify both my first aid (and [tropical] nursing) skills and technical skills, particularly digital security, sysadmin, internet services etc. In this way I can support and help look after those people, organisations and movements who are more directly involved in creating positive change. I tend to take a long time making decisions and orienting my life focii so this is part of longer process that has been going on a while, but was yet more encouragement that this is what I should be doing.

Camp also reconnected me with a couple of friends from my past life (as a programmer), which I was very happy with. And reminded me of those past times and those aspects of myself that were more expressed at that time, and which I am turning back towards now. :)

Another biggish thing I’ve been dealing with is my imminent 40th birthday and some minor crisis around that. Some of that is due to the different ways people treat me when they find out my age. Other problems are wanting to do so much, and suddenly facing my mortality – do I have enough years of health for all the adventures and experiences and projects and contributions I want to make with my single chance at existence? What does it mean to be leaving my 30s? None of this is helped by people saying “oh you don’t look 40” as if that is something I should be happy about, because to be 40 is so shameful and terrible?

Its easy to internalise all that rubbish society and those around me seem to be saying about ageing. All the minor ways people let it be known that leaving our twenties, let alone our thirties, and especially for women, is basically leaving life. We fade from independent existence, there only to support those who are still ripe and at their prime. Fun, adventure, experimentation, creation, sex… those are young people affairs. And the dread that those much younger than me express about the horrors of entering their mid twenties makes me shamefully cringe to be approaching forty.

So what exactly was it that I had internalised about ageing, particularly within a female body? At forty surely my body would be decaying as it began an inevitable tilt towards decline and death. I ignored images of wrinkly marathon runners and pictured only my elderly patients, as if that was any less biased a sample! I allowed myself to listen to those around me who talked of their aches and pains and unreliable bodies as due solely to ageing. Additionally I would become less desirable. “Will you still love me when I am no longer young and beautiful?” sings Lana Del Rey because youth and beauty are indivisible. Less so in LGBT/queer subcultures, but still present is the understanding that whilst older men can be attractive, women wizen. We have a brief blooming, where we actually burn too bright, and the attention and fetishisation of our teen and twenty-something bodies is scary, frustrating and threatening to experience. It could feel like being forced to visibly carry around high value currency as you try to go about your every day life, but are now constantly vigilant and afraid of attempted theft. Intellectually stimulating conversations with interesting people frequently deteriorated to clumsy movements knickers-ward. But the messages I’d received was that this was now over and I was to be flung from the frying pan to the floor. So part of my fear was definitely that, though those I find attractive have always spanned a wide age range, somehow nobody would ever think me hot again. (Spoiler: To those that are yet to come down this path I can assure you that those fears are unfounded ;D )

An end to adventure also seemed on the cards. I felt a similar crisis when I approached 30, and internalised those messages from society that I should settle down, get a mortgage and judge my worth at achieving the perfect nuclear family and career path. Happily a super awesome friend reassured me that “your thirties are like your twenties, only better because you’re more sorted” – second spoiler – pretty much! But turning forty … this seems a much bigger deal. That is definitely middle aged territory, and how many stereotypes does that evoke? Even without a television or much other connection to mass media, I was still bombarded with messages about how people like me (ie the middle aged) behaved and were interested in and wore and occupied themselves with. None of these reflected my existence. And yet somehow it seemed inevitable that this was my future. That was what it would mean to be forty.

At some point when I was wrestling with apparent contradictions between my Judaism and my anti Zionism, half believing what I was being constantly told (by non Jews and Palestinian sympathisers almost as much as from within Jewish communities) that a Jewish identity incontrovertibly included certain rightwing political beliefs, I stubbornly turned around, put my chin in the air, and declared to myself and anyone who would listen that actually as I am Jewish, what I am also therefore is a part of what it means to be Jewish and therefore the set of beliefs that those who are Jewish have includes anti Zionism. I was inspired by that moment when Ged turns to his shadow in Ursula Le Guin’s Wizard of Earthsea and neutralises his nemesis by naming it Ged also and changing shadow into man, rather than fleeing from it and allowing it to define him.

And so now I turn to my forties, and declare “This is who I am”. My life, my being, is not defined by turning forty. Rather the definition of what it means to be forty, soon must expand to include me. My choices, my lifestyle, my modes of dress and presentation, my priorities and interests emanate from all that I am. They are influenced by my age in one crucial way – I have learned over the years that the only constant companion that I should listen to is within me, and messages from outside are merely suggestions to be considered. For life is short, and if I am in the middle of it now, there is not so much left to waste being anything other than me, to the max.

I turn forty in a few weeks. Earlier this year I decided to mark this by cycling from Land’s End to John O Groats (LEJOG), partly as an excuse to finally do it, partly as a fuck you to those that would tell me that I am now past it, but mostly as a frightened response to the crisis I was still wrestling with. Regardless that the latter was a bad reason to make any decision, I’m excited to be going. Now that I’m over the hump of my mid-life crisis, and feel freer than ever to be me, more deeply and expressively and fully than I can ever recall, I am looking forward to this adventure. No longer is LEJOG a route to escape the reality of turning forty, but a path to celebrate it head on with something to challenge and excite me. And when it is done, I have so many plans for the coming year – I want to learn electronics and conductive yarn crocheting, fully re-enter the communities in Glasgow and wider afield, I want to go away with MSF from September 2016, explore Scotland’s highlands and islands and improve my skills at doing that, develop sysadmin skills to better support political organising and activism, grow street/action medic collectives and networks and trainings, dance, adorn myself with blue hair and glitter and finally get that octopus tattoo I’ve been wanting for years and wear whatever crazy clothing I feel like without reference to what anybody else thinks. Wooot to being forty!

Sleeping at Brussels-Midi (Bruxelles-Midi) Train Station #TravelLikeAGirl

August 12, 2015 1 comment

Had lots of “Don’t do it!” responses to my request for information about sleeping at Brussels-Midi during an overnight connection off the Eurostar, but only one person who said they’d done it, and they’d obviously survived to tell the tale!

There are daily cheap (59 euros!) trains bookable in advance (eg try https://loco2.com/ ) from London to Berlin. The catch? You arrive into Brussels at 22:38 and your onward train isn’t til 06:25!

IMG_20150812_051005777We went looking for free wifi/toilets and found both across the road at the Hotel Ibis, which has a surprisingly reasonably priced bar, and was open until 1am. We left before it was closed however in order to make sure we were in the station before the last train departed so we wouldn’t get locked out. We found a lot of people already camped out in the main waiting area, so nested in a corner nearby (safety in numbers!). I found some free newspapers to sit on in the paper recycling bin.

At about 2am a security guard came around and (quadlingually!) asked to see our tickets. There were two of us on one ticket, but we’d bumped into someone travelling to same event on the eurostar and so there were three of us – however he gave a very cursory glance at the one ticket and didn’t ask for the third person’s ticket before moving on. Over at the main seats I watched him examine a different person’s ticket for about 30 seconds. The difference? I don’t know about anything else but the latter was black and all in our party are white.

IMG_20150812_051235835I slept curled up around my bags, with passport etc under my clothes. I’m a very light sleeper and don’t move around much in my sleep so this was safe. The security guard was wandering around all night and there were a dozen fellow travellers in the waiting area.

The station reopens just after 4am for the first trains to the airport. And there was noise all night from cleaners, and then the usual train station tannoy announcements once the trains had started, so it wasn’t the best night’s sleep I’ve had.

But it did feel as safe and (un)comfortable as the many nights I’ve spent at international airports. Although there were three of us on this occasion, I’d feel safe doing it alone as a single female due to the numbers of other passengers and that I’m a light sleeper. YMMV.

IMG_20150812_055830946There was also a charger point nearby, pedal powered! I only got about 2% into my phone after 4-5 mins of pedaling, but still a good idea and might be better if there were a few of you, or you were desperate, or you were a bit taller – was a bit awkward reaching the pedals, designed with Germans rather than stumpy Brits in mind!

Categories: travel Tags: , ,

Personal update / diary : Balancing travelling with staying still

July 20, 2015 Leave a comment

I look at a map, I spin my globe, I hear about other’s travels and oh my, those feet get itchy. I love traveling a kinda ridiculous amount. Feel so free and content and happy and where I’m meant to be when I’m on the move. And so I have made travel a part of my life. I don’t want to have a big once-in-a-lifetime round the world and then settle down. And I want to be able to contribute meaningfully to those places I have privilege of going. So, 11 years ago I began my nurse training, and last year I did a Diploma in Tropical Nursing (DTN), and now I have the qualifications, and some of the experience and skills (and anyway that’s an ongoing project) and so the world is my oyster more than ever before.

Here is my 2015, past and plans:

  • Jan – last month in London, completing DTN
  • Feb – month in South India travelling and visiting friends there.
  • March – arrived back to Glasgow mid March (after London – India – London). Went to bangface festival
  • April – Passover, including hosting a seder. 3 day hackathan. Three friends staying for 5-7 days each (not at same time)
  • May – mostly quieter, apart from long weekend camping trip.
  • June to mid July – longterm lover from India/USA came to visit for 6 weeks. During this time also went to Edinburgh for a weekend AFed meeting, camping with another old friend for a few days on side of Ben Lomond, went to Barncamp in South Wales for a few days with couple days either side visiting folks in the area.
  • End of July – Manchester/peak district for AFed meeting and summer camp.
  • August – 11 day trip including epic train journey Glasgow to Berlin for £67. Then back via Oslo. End of August friend’s wedding near Manchester
  • September – Cycling Land’s End to John O’ Groats for whole month (yeah I know people can do it quicker, but I think this pace will be nicer and more interesting and *enjoyable*!)
  • October – London Anarchist Bookfair. Wilderness first aid training for 3 days (also in South England)
  • November – had been planning on going away again for 4-6 months

And that’s just the big stuff. In between have been plentiful day trips and discussion groups and online courses. I’ve learned python and been part of a small group migrating an organisation to a new server. I’ve socialised, maintained multiple relationships (sexual/romantic as well as platonic and familial – sorry to those I’ve not spent as much time with as I’d like) and worked as a nurse to fund it all.

And I’m happy with my life! I feel blessed that it is so full and interesting and full of amazing people and love and glitter and spices and music and mountains and adventure and learning and meaningful action and fun.

But every decision to do something is a decision not to do something else. And what I want right now is some more time doing things that my very footloose lifestyle makes more difficult, especially learning and doing and nurturing relationships (especially the platonic ones which can easily get elbowed out in polylife). So I decided not to go away in November. I’m still going to go away for 4-6 weeks this winter – I really don’t like the grey – but probably not til January.

And this gives me the space for other projects. I’m excited about building a robot. And doing more wilderness first aid courses. I’m looking forward to spending more time with people I adore. And sorting my flat out so that its a better nest to enable me to do other things. I want to do some winter camping too.

I also need some way of topping up finances whilst I’m away. It might be that I can get my first aid and nursing qualifications and skills to a point where I can get paid. At the moment, because I feel uncomfortable in debt, that makes travelling less pleasurable – needing to constantly look at my budget and feel pressure to have best ever time as my bank balance only ever goes down whilst I’m away.

When I started looking to travel every year, it was breaking free from the stay in one place anchors that required energy in. Inertia and commitments and fears and finances. But I needed to – I felt trapped and my life seemed lacking and the rest of the world was so unexplored and inviting and yet so far away. And now I need to find that other balance. I know that for me I also need to spend time in one place, doing the things that are best done with a more rooted home. Whilst I can do some on the road, I am not great at that yet. It might be that my travelling style is not optimal for me yet – maybe I’m moving around too frequently, still in the once-in-a-lifetime mentality of needing to cram it all in, and so not doing those other things that I want in my life which are doable on the road. For example I can do online courses whilst I travel, but these would be easier if I’m somewhere for at least a week. And actually I really like that more in-depth feeling for a place you get from some familiarity.

But right now I’m happy with my decision to be a bit more in Glasgow for the next 10 months. I am going to apply to MSF to go away in September 2016. And as I said, I’ll probably have a 6 week trip Jan-Feb – maybe to South East Asia, maybe to East Africa. But rebalancing for now means more time on the aspects of my life that scratching my itchy feet meant I have been neglecting for past couple of years, and want back :)

Categories: diary, glasgow, personal, travel Tags: , ,