Journal Lifestyle Travel

10 little big things I’ve learned in South East Asia

Travelling through south East Asia has already taught me so much about the world, life and myself (cringe!). I could go on about the pursuit of happiness, how important family is, the kindness of strangers, blah blah blah. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all very valid and life changing stuff.

Everyone wants to tell you how to change your life with big, bold, life changing advice. I probably will too, but for now here are 10 little things that blew my mind.

10. The Bum Gun is amazing.

Holy crap, why have I never seen this in the UK. I’ve seen the Bidet in a lot of homes but man, that’s a lot of work. Using a Bum Gun on the other hand, means not even having to get up and you’ll save a ton of money on toilet paper.

Imagine a garden hose next to the toilet that instead of using to spray on your on your flowers, you spray on your flower… *wink wink, nudge nudge*. Next level cleanliness.

9. Thai Chili Paste is the shit.

It comes in a tiny jar and starts with a consistency similar to strawberry jam – mix this with anything and turn your boring, lifeless, good-for-nothing food into a gourmet treat. Rice, soup, pasta, even spread on bread. A little goes a very long way and sits firmly in the “Why did I not know about this as a student?!” category.

8. Planning is okay but not essential.

With a plan you’re unstoppable, without one you’re unpredictable. Throughout this trip the only things we planned were accommodation over Christmas and New Years near the start of our journey, and even that changed. It’s good to have to have a roadmap but don’t be scared of the dirt track.

7. You’re going to worry, even if it’s about not worrying.

What makes us human is the constant questioning of every possible variable in our lives, all the damn time. Are we fed? Thirsty? Safe? Is that mouse coming back when I’m asleep? Are those guys gonna steal my kidneys? If it happens it happens, don’t worry,  – or worry that you need to not worry.

6. Plane wings can flap.

They shouldn’t, but the way I’ve seen a plane (from the inside!) bounce across the clouds is kind of reassuring. Those things are resilient.

5. I’m a tourist.

Calling yourself a nomad, traveller, explorer, wanderer doesn’t change the fact that you’re a tourist. You’re touring the world. It sure makes us feel superior and cultured to try and avoid the ‘touristy’ places, and perhaps we’re not the stereotype of a tourist but the fact is – if you’re not a local, the only people you’ll be kidding are other tourists. And yourself.

4. Money can buy happiness.

Not in a sense of a literal exchange of money for happiness, but in the sense that if you know you’ve got enough to eat, get from A to B (and worst case scenario C) and a bed for the night, then there’s a less worry and more happy… just remember number 7 and don’t get too bogged down.

3. Bugs are everywhere.

Embrace them. The majority of them won’t kill you especially in the UK – there’s nothing to worry about – and they’re an affordable source of protein (there was an ant colony in my Pineapple).

2. Home comforts are awesome.

I can’t wait to get back and play Playstation, order a Domino’s pizza and get a Pick ‘n’ Mix and that’s okay. The things we miss fill the mind with happy nostalgia.

1. Face value means nothing.

You may think the fancy (and relatively expensive) beachfront restaurant will have better tasting food than that of the guy standing outside his home serving food from a stand in unmatched plastic bowls onto rusty tables with questionable hygiene standards, and, well, you’d be wrong.

Also, just because something looks artificially colourful, doesn’t make it sweet.


Journal Travel

The Story through Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

Where did all the tumbleweed come from?!

Sorry my updates have been a little but non-existent for a while. Truth be told, a lot has happened in not a lot of time and blogging seemed not that important.

It’s been one hell of a ride! I’ll do a quick run-through of everything in hopes I’ll write a longer post for each place in more vibrant detail (and with some pretty pictures too!).

So where did I leave you hanging? Oh yeah…

Luang Prabang, Laos
Retrospect is a funny thing. I remember writing how Laos was a weird one but when you look back on old times you only seem to remember the good things. I loved the elephants, the mountains, the sheer beauty everywhere I looked and the bakeries.

Flight from Laos to Vietnam
We flew from the quietest airport I’ve ever been to, Luang Prabang — from boarding the plane to taking off within 15 minutes. Flight time was about 50 minutes and was great. The clouds looked like candyfloss and we even got an inflight meal (albeit rushed).

Hanoi, Vietnam
Touchdown at Hanoi’s airport, pick up a SIM card and get transferred to our hotel. Drop off the backpacks and head out for food. The place is heaving. Traffic everywhere, street food galore. This is far removed from where we just came from.

We find a place next to the train tracks, sit on the children-sized stools and blindly order whatever it is they sell. The guy comes out with a portable stove, frying pan wrapped in foil and plates upon plates of raw meat and veg (and a few little extras too). It gets lit up, we start cooking and before we know it have already fall head over heels in love with Vietnamese cuisine.

The rest of the time was spent walking around exploring the streets and markets and tasting what else was on offer and holy crapdogs I discovered Vietnamese Coffee. It’s incredible. Hanoi is also where I truly learned how to fearlessly cross a road of non-stop oncoming traffic.

Sleeper train from Hanoi to Hué
Next stop was Hué (pronounced Hwey). We took a sleeper train there (14 hour journey?), it wasn’t as nice as the one from Bangkok to Chiang Mai but it wasn’t that bad. We both had top bunks (always, always, ALWAYS try and get the bottom ones!) which meant we were stuck laying down for the majority of the trip. This train has 4-berth cabins and has a door that closes and if needed, locks, all four passengers in the room. We were bunked with other travellers so not all bad.

WEYHEY! We arrived safely and almost instantly regretted our decision to stay for 5 nights after everyone we spoke to who asked how long we were staying said “Woah! That’s a long time.” and that’s coming from the people who lived there… even our hotel when we checked in. We reduced it to 2 — not that it wasn’t a nice place but because there wasn’t much to do.

Truth be told it was actually really nice, I mean, except for clouds blanketing the whole place making everything grey and also being targeted for money by some begging schoolgirls. I’ll get into more detail later but the gist of the story is that this small group of schoolgirls, fascinated by Charlotte’s blonde hair and “pretty nose” started talking and asking questions. One would shyly come over, ask a question, we’d answer and they’d run back to the huddle giggling. I assumed they were practising their English and were just curious of western faces. In part they probably were but then they started following us, picking up toys, showing them to us and then brazenly just outright asking for money by saying “mini, mini!”, over and over. The employees didn’t seem to mind this happening…

Train from Hué to Da Nang
We took a 3-hour train ride from Hué to Da Nang. Whilst waiting for the train in the station we had a few photo-ops with some Asian peeps who really wanted a photo with us. We thought it was a bit odd at first but soon realised that it was likely because we are just too damn awesome for people not to have their photos taken with us.

The train ride was okay. The blanketing clouds seemed to not want us to leave Hué as they started crying for the entire train ride. We rode round the mountains and saw our first glimpse of the sea from Vietnam.

Da Nang
We stayed in a hotel called The Finger. Innuendos aside it was a scenic place to stay. Our hotel was really far away from the city but really close to the beach. It was wet and cold so that didn’t work out too well for us. This was made up to us by being placed on a high floor looking at the colourful homes below us. If we were in the city the view wouldn’t have been nearly as humbling. We explored the city (taking a taxi there) and decided to do the long walk back, over the Dragon Bridge (where a mother and daughter pulled over their moped to get a photo with us… not even making this up), through the streets of the homes we overlook. Such a different vibe from one side of the river to the other.

More markets, more walking, more colours, more smells. Beautiful. Time to take the taxi to Hoi An.

Taxi from Da Nang to Hoi An
It took like half an hour. Really close, nothing to report.

Hoi An
Now, for travellers who like exploring places on foot, this is an ancient city made for walking! Aside from the barrage of women who follow you asking to take a look in their shop (only down one or two streets), this is a lovely place. The cakes, the coffee, the lack of scooters and cars and oh man, the Vietnamese doughnuts! Ring doughnuts, red bean filled doughnuts, coconut (real, shredded coconut) doughnuts, peanut (real, crushed up peanuts) doughnuts and the not-to-be-forgotten deep fried banana pancakes. Also more Vietnamese coffee. Damn that stuff is good.

We walked along the river, visited the night market, ate at an amazing restaurant (Vy’s Market Restaurant & Cooking School), rode bikes to the beach (still cloudy but the first beach of our journey!) and then headed back to Da Nang to board our next sleeper train.

Sleeper train from Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon)
Same 4-berth cabin, same top bunk situation. The only changes were our fellow bunk-mates below. A few times actually and this time locals, probably commuting. Also I saw a mouse peeking at Charlotte from the luggage storage by her head… for the sake of a good night sleep I didn’t tell her until morning (and I made sure it was gone because I’m an amazing travel buddy).

Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon)
The locals call it Saigon, I call it a place for some retail therapy! Shopping malls galore and with Christmas approaching what a better time to hit the shops. After the disconnect from good old materialistic capitalism I needed an prebuilt ecosystem of commerce and eating. We browsed the shops and enjoyed the artificial lighting but in the end the only things we bought was junk food were food related items.

We were there for Christmas and we heard that Christmas Eve was celebrated by the Notre Dame Cathedral. They weren’t kidding! Hundreds, no, thousands of people lined the streets. Cars jammed in human traffic, people with spraycans of snow, vendors selling food. It was great! That is, until the spraycans of snow were turned on us. Kids chasing each other with cans, spraying and laughing. One sees us and for whatever reason gives a cheeky spray, cautiously waiting to see our response. We laugh, he does it again. Oh, and now his mate does… oh look, there’s like 5, wait, 10, oh crap… 15 or 20 kids surrounding us spraying snow! Not at each other, just us! All in good fun of course. We escaped with massive smiles and somehow a celebrity status as girls and boys pulling is left and right to get photos with us. Like, really, what is it with all these photos?

Then we hit up Dunkin’ Donuts for some good eats getting a lot of looks questioning our moist appearance.

Christmas Day rolls around which is a weird one when you’re not with family. The receptionist calls us and tells us they need to come in, we’re curious as to why but seconds after hanging up the phone there’s a knock on the door and two extremely happy Vietnamese girls. “Merry Christmas!” They roar as they stampede into our room with a plate of fruit, a luxurious looking box, a bottle of champagne, a rose in a vase and a letter we’re not allowed to open until they leave. Still dazed and confused I open the letter — those cheeky monkeys — miles away from home and my family still surprise us with gifts on Christmas. Inside that box was some classy cheesecake with Merry Christmas written on it. It tasted so good and maybe the champagne was thinking for me but I really missed home.

We explored the city more, walked by the river and checked out some local cafés, took countless selfies with Christmas Tree’s, visited the War Remnants Museum (recommended if you’re near), ate more doughnuts (or donuts) and then prepared for our next country. Cambodia.

Coach from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to Phnom Penh, Cambodia
We boarded the coach and settled down for a 6/7 hour coach ride from Vietnam to Cambodia. We go through the border, a lot of standing and waiting and such, finally get Ito Cambodia and stop for lunch. Get off and go inside a terrible place with terrible food and terrible people, pay over the odds for chicken and rice (and crushed up bones), pay, don’t get change, ask for change, “tip!”, I say “no tip!”, get change, give a tip, have it ungratefully laughed at (but still taken), eat, board the coach and hope I don’t get food poisoning. Half way there we get pulled over for a random police security check, an hour of worrying after we’re on the move again and get to our accommodation above Jay’s Diner.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia
We arrive, settle down and get out for some food happy to reach our new destination. We find a place to eat and strike lucky as it’s really good, unfortunately I receive some really bad news and try to hold it together for the rest of the night. The next day we visit the Killing Fields and S-21 Genocide Museum. Interesting, moving, heartbreaking and inspiring. If you’re in Cambodia I’d suggest going out of your way to visit those two places. So far Cambodia hasn’t been the happiest of places, in fact, it’s quite eerie. The rest of the time was spent exploring, visiting night markets, eating, drinking and booking our bus ticket to Siem Reap.

Coach from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap
Cambodia doesn’t have trains and we’d heard the buses are okay and the roads are fine. Liars. The internet lies! Who knew? Long story short and I’ll definitely be posting the longer story up — we almost die when our double decker coach drives off the road, down a hill almost tipping! We get stuck at a 45 degree angle thankfully because of a small mound that got wedged under the front bumper. We hitchhike the rest of the way with two Australians (thank you for stopping!), two Germans, a Russian, an Italian and a Dutchman. The driver tries and stops us from leaving but we had a hard time trusting the coach before it left, let alone now. We stop for food enroute and get to Siem Reap.

Siem Reap
We arrive in Siem Reap (barely) and Charlotte gets her stuff stolen. I don’t know why but Cambodia really doesn’t like us! We ask the hotel staff a out the police and they say it’s closed until morning so Charlotte does what she can (blocks her sim, sets her devices to auto format when they connect to the internet). It’s not been a good day. The next day we go to the police station to get this sorted. We go in, start talking, I get asked to leave, Charlotte gets interrogated by three Cambodian police officers shouting at her that they “DON’T BELIEVE YOU!” because she can’t prove she was pick pocketed. They refuse to file the report even though they write it out and refuse to investigate further. Today isn’t so good either. I email the UK embassy in Cambodia. No help either. The next day we get and recover by the pool and relax before visiting Angkor Wat on our last day in Cambodia (also New Year’s Eve). The next day we fly to Bangkok because screw getting anymore Cambodian busses! Flying was pretty scary as well as more Asian planes went missing a day or so before.

Flight from Siem Reap, Cambodia to Bangkok, Thailand
Flight time was about an hour. We land in Bangkok and don’t make the same mistake of booking a taxi inside the airport like last time and instead go outside and get a taxi from the taxi rank (still convincing them to turn on that damn meter!).

Bangkok, Thailand
We decide to stay closer to the action this time. The first place had no windows and terrible service so deciding we want to stay in Bangkok longer move out and check in to a 5 star hotel for a change — The Berkeley (always check hotel websites directly, I got a cracking deal). Another reason for the lavish accommodation was for a solid internet connection and some extra space to I had some freelance work come in. Bangkok consisted of poolside pizzas, shopping mall exploration, Starbucks, work and room service. I love room service. These things can’t last forever though which is why we decided to head over to Phuket.

Flight from Bangkok to Phuket
Only animals and insects are supposed to flap their wings to fly — imagine my surprise when I look outside of the plane window and seeing it think it’s a bird! The turbulence was horrific for the entire journey. Landing was cool though as we come in so close to a beach that you think it’s going to land on it. It doesn’t. Still lands on a runway.

We check in at the AllStar Guesthouse which is in the perfect just-off-the-main-road location and has a really great host. We’ve finally landed somewhere consistently sunny! We get drunk the first night and explore the markets a little. The rest of the time was spent eating, sunbathing and swimming in the sea. We were by Karon Beach and we’re lucky enough to watch the sunset over the sea while laying on the sand. Southern Thailand wouldn’t be Southern Thailand if we didn’t visit an island so we head to a still relatively untouched place called Koh Yao Noi by speedboat.

Phuket to Koh Yao Noi
We left our guesthouse and caught the local bus to Phuket Town, from there we were asked by everyone where we were going and everyone pointed to the same bus (by bus I mean small truck with two wooden benches drilled either side in the back). Finally get to the pier, and pay the little extra to take the speedboat over the Longtail boat to Koh Yao Noi.

Koh Yao Noi
We arrive and get taken to Suntisook Resort. We get a little wooden hut, no AC, mosquito nets above the beds, hammock outside. This place is great. It’s such a modest hut and there’s nothing to do unless you hire a scooter and drive a while to the town.

The family who run the resort have a restaurant which we ate at at least twice a day and after eating there and hiring a scooter and eating at the rusty table of a vendors house I can honestly say that it is the best tasting food I’ve had in Thailand. Roasted Duck Soup, Noodle Soup with chicken, vegetables or shrimp, Papaya Salad, Massaman Curry with steamed rice. Urgh. Incredible. Our hut was just on the other side of the road to a beach which overlooked mountain islands in the distance, when we found out that the sun rises behind them we made sure to wake up extra early to catch it and I have to tell you, it was the most beautiful sunrise I’ve ever seen in my life.

Koh Yao Noi is a tiny island where the people are mainly Muslim. It’s just north of Koh Yao Yai and is still untouched. The people are friendly, the food isn’t westernised, there’s not a lot to do so relaxation is at a maximum. I doubt it’ll stay this way for long as once everyone gets wind of it it’ll end up like the rest of the tourist inhabited islands. Actually, I should probably just delete this whole section.

Longtail boat from Koh Yao Noi to Krabi
The Longtail Boat is a wooden boat driven by an engine in the rear which has a long pole coming off it with a propellor on the end that drives the boat. We had the pleasure of boarding it and riding up close and past those distant island mountains that we saw from the shore as we made our way to Krabi.

This is where we currently are, staying in a nice condo with a balcony that sees the sun set. We’re a walk away from the main areas but it’s nice. It’s peak season here but it seems really quiet still and the prices compared to everywhere else are the highest for food and drink at the restaurants. Lucky for us this is the first place that has cooking facilities (and a rice cooker!) which we’ve already taken advantage of. We’ve taken a long walk along the beach, seen hundreds of tiny crabs (is that why it’s called Krabi?!) and are excited to beach it up while we’re here. From here we head to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia before landing in Singapore where we’ll leave South East Asia and start the second half of our journey though Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

One last thing — I try and upload at least one image a day to my Instagram which makes it the most up-to-date place to follow me around the world. So what are you waiting for? Follow me!

Journal Travel

Tickets Booked, Here We Go!


Last week I was freelancing in London and Charlotte came up to meet me for lunch. We went to EAT, got some food and made the call and officially booked our tickets to travel the world!

Charlotte did all the work (thank you!) — comparing prices, speaking to agencies and sorting out insurance. All I had to do was I fork over the cash for my ticket.

We’re leaving in November and gone for 6 months so we’ll be back in time for the British summer. Hmm, maybe we’ll go to Malta again instead – then we know it’ll be a sunny summer!

This is our route:
London > Abu Dhabi > Bangkok > Singapore > Australia > New Zealand > L.A > New York > London

Abu Dhabi is only a 3 hour stop-over but the airport looks so awesome it’s made the list.

It doesn’t quite feel real yet. When we booked I got a surge of ‘woah, it’s happening!’ but that’s died down — probably because my mind’s focus is on Modest Industries; sorting out bookkeeping, accounts, business banking, branding, etc. On top of that I’ve had a fully booked freelancing schedule but that’s nothing to complain about.

Knowing me I’ll be sky high on a plane, it’ll sink in and I’ll be like “holy crap, it’s really happening!”.

That said – I still need to buy a backpack and actually get my travelling stuff sorted.


Topping up the travel fund

The raincoat is on. I’ve been back in he UK for almost a month and while Charlotte and I sort out vaccinations, tickets for our round-the-world trip and some other bits and bobs, I thought it was a good opportunity to top up the travel fund by freelancing in London.

Getting into freelancing is brilliant, but due to some new legislation most recruiters need to work with individuals that are part of a Limited company or under an Umbrella company. I decided to set up a Limited company (again). I set up Modest Innovation before my last job and as nothing happened with it I dissolved it.

Fast forward a bit to now and after speaking to a few recruitment agencies — I explained what I did, what I was looking for and they told me what they did and how they worked. I said my rates and they said they’d let me know if anything comes up… after the first week I didn’t hear anything, then all of a sudden — BOOM!

I get a one day gig.

That one day turns in to five with the prospect of more ongoing work — I even had to turn a few jobs down which I don’t like doing but until I perfect the clone companion I’m working on, I can’t be here, there and everywhere…

Anyway, now I’ve had a few ‘official’ freelance gigs and it’s going good, I’m proud to introduce Modest Industries Ltd. My new company!

Freelancing is something everyone should get into if they can. It gives you a sense of pride and financial freedom. If you work hard, you’ll make money. If you don’t, you’ll just scrape by, and that’s the beauty of freelance. Plus, my boss is, like, totally a hottie!

I’ve also started doing this thing which I never used to do, but DAYMN it just makes days waaaay better. I did it a couple of times and now it doesn’t feel right to skip the ritual. It’s also a great way to make sure you’re never late for anything. This is what I do — every morning I have to be somewhere, I wake up extra early and get to where I’m needed an hour before I start. I find a coffee shop nearby, order a coffee and just sit. Maybe read a few articles, check Facebook and Twitter, send some emails and just sip on my coffee and chill.

It’s an awesome start to the day and I find I’m more productive for it and procrastinate a lot less.

I’m excited about the new company. Not just because I’m my own boss but I’ve got some cool ideas for the branding of it. I want to go for this whole ‘evil brainwashing corporation’ type thing. Think BioShock vs. Visioneer with a bit of FallOut thrown in. It’ll be a lot of fun and I think being in a creative industry I’ll be able to get away with it.

I hope.

I’ve got to cut this post short because I’m writing it on my phone and I keep getting WhatsApp messages pop up from my brother who has just learned to make SubWay cookies… (Good luck with your marathon, Steph!).

Journal Lifestyle Travel

Travel Tip: Whatever you pack, pack less.


Over two months since leaving the UK and I’ve come to realise I’ve packed way too much shit.

Taking only hand luggage, I bought the 21″ Aerolite Holdall for about £12. It’s perfect for RyanAir’s tight restrictions and when you’ve got to where you’re going, you can unpack and fold it up to the size of a book.

Aerolite Folded Up

If you’re going to stay a while in one place where you can unpack, it’s perfect. If you’re travelling from place to place, you’ll do better with one of these bags.

This is what I originally packed:


MacBook Air 11″ + Charger
iPad Mini + Cable
– iPhone 4S + Cable
– Apple USB Wall Plug
Remington Beard Trimmer + Charger
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Toothbrush + Travel Case + Charger
Kindle + Charger
Olympus OM-D E-M5 + Charger
– Four Camera Lenses
Apple EarPods
Clip-on Phone Camera Lenses
– Two pairs of glasses
– Two pairs of sunglasses
Field Notes Expedition Notebook
Field Notes Pen
Fisher Space Pen
Double-Edged Razor
– A Book on Javascript Patterns
– Misc. Toiletries
– Passport / Money / Cards / etc.

Bags / Cases:

Aerolite Foldaway Holdall
American Apparel Gym Bag
Muji Hanging Toiletries Case (to store camera lenses)
ColcaSac Laptop Sleeve
– Glasses Case
– Fab Toiletries Bag (for actual toiletries this time)
Neon Pink Nike Heritage Small Messenger Bag


– Havianas Flip Flops
– Nike Roshe Runs
– Blue Suede Shoes (bargain from Primark)


– Hoody
– Jacket
– Pair of Jeans
– One Belt
– Two Short Sleeve Shirts
– Three Vests
– Seven T-Shirts
– Two Pairs of Swimming Trunks
– Four Pairs of Shorts (one pair for working out)
– Seven Pairs of Trainer Socks
– Nine Pairs of Boxers

How the hell did they let me on the plane with all that stuff?!

On top of that, during the course of this trip I’ve realised that most of my T-shirts are heavy material and dark in colour and all of my shorts are more for going out (i.e. not that comfortable to always wear), so while here I’ve also bought:

– Three T-Shirts (lighter materials than what I brought with me)
– Pair of Shorts (more comfortable than my other shorts)

I told you I over-packed.

Waste of space

This is all a waste of space.

– Blue Suede Shoes
– Hoody
– Jacket
– Pair of Jeans
– One Belt
– One Short Sleeve Shirts
– Five T-Shirts
– One Pairs of Shorts

I plan to swap my camera for a good compact and leave all this at home:

– Olympus OM-D E-M5
– Bulky Charger
– Four Lenses
– Muji Hanging Toiletries Bag

I could also leave behind my book on Javascript Patterns. 20 items. Twenty items taking up precious space and adding unnecessary weight.

I didn’t bring a towel, but I have a travel towel that’s coming with me when we explore South East Asia.

A great idea I’ve had to free up even more space – which I’m not sure I should publicly admit – is underwear. Instead of boxer shorts (which actually take up quite a bit of space) I want to find out some fresh looking Y-fronts that’ll keep me cool and packing light.

Why did I originally pack so much? I have no idea. Maybe it’s something to do with wanting to be prepared for everything. Whatever it is, I’m guilty as charged.

Next time you’re packing your bags, pack less and have a great time.

When have you taken too much stuff away with you? What should you have left behind?

Journal Travel

Yesterday I stepped on a Sea Urchin. Twice.

Black Sea Devil

Original photo by Pavlo Boyko

What’s an Urchin even doing in the Sea? At first I was like, ow, and then I was like, oh man I gotta get those spikes out.

Whilst having a paddle along the seafront in Sliema, I had unknowingly (at least the first time) stepped on a sea urchin. I thought it was a sharp rock at first – one leg sharply raises, the other one sharply drops, that’s when I figured it out. Right heel, left toes. Impaled.

The general consensus on the internet is to remove all spikes (I think I still have one or two buried), soak the area in hot water or vinegar. I soaked in vinegar because apparently it dissolves the spikes left in. I’m not sure about this, but it stunk the place up. It’s like i’m living in a bag of Salt & Vinegar crisps.

I couldn’t sleep last night because I went on the internet to see what damage those cute little hell balls could really do. You know, some life preserving research.


I’m going to die.

I’m experiencing none of the symptoms and the areas didn’t and haven’t swell up, get red, go pussy or anything. Yet. But after reading about a guy in the exact same situation that just removed the spines and then a month later ended up paralysed from the waist down (which was the good outcome!), it kind of freaked me out. That and the stories from people say that their injury healed perfectly but then 3/4 weeks down the line there were complications. I don’t want any complications! How can a doctor even diagnose a future complication?!

There’s nothing I can do and that freaked me out. Today I’m a bit sore, but most likely that’s from me playing surgeon.

Let’s all take a minute to look at some of these creatures with a quick Google search.

Damn my will for seafaring adventure.

Journal Lifestyle Travel

Quitting my job: the story so far

Quitting my job: the story so far

It’s been over two months since I threw caution to the wind, quit my job and set out to travel the world with Charlotte. Let me catch you up on the story so far and living in Malta.

Riki-Rewind back to May. It’s my last day at work (and coincidentally everyones first day in our new office), I handed in my equipment the previous week to the office move so with nothing to work with and everyone busy unpacking their stuff and settling in, I had the day to get tweaked on ‘Goodbye Coffees’, frolic around the new building (which btw was a fantastic upgrade to the previous office) and check out the area.

It was a good last day.

That evening I had strategically planned (after wrongly assuming my office was still going to be in King’s Cross…) a trip to Paris on the Eurostar. I figured if I’m going to leave work, I’m going to leave in style. Going from a full time job in London to being unemployed in Paris within the space of a few hours felt incredible. Charlotte and I were on our way to the world’s most romantic city.

We stayed for three days and walked EVERYWHERE. Like, 8-10 hours a day exploring kind of walking. It was great, but man, that’s too much. Still, we unintentionally saw all the main sites and had a Nutella crêpe by the Eiffel Tower. We loved every minute of it, even if we were staying in the sex district, a 5 minute walk from the Moulin Rouge.

The feeling of not having to go back to the UK was a feeling of freedom. There was nothing stopping us from carrying on round Europe, but alas, we headed back to the UK, stocked up on chocolate that didn’t make it past the border… because we ate it. All of it.

A few weeks pass, we bought a one-way ticked to Malta and we’re packing only hand luggage for a three month stay. We figured just taking hand luggage would be good practice for backpacking South East Asia. And it was. Most of the stuff I thought I’d need I haven’t touched, so that’s good to know.

I have a Brother living with his girlfriend, Yana, in Malta. They’ve been enjoying our company for about a month now and I got to say, Malta is an amazing place and for short holidays from the UK, return flights for under £100 per person is a no brainer.

An all day bus-pass here is €1.50 and I recommend going to Valetta – Malta’s capital city and Mdina – Malta’s old capital (walled) city which has a population of less than 300 people and they put rubber horse shoes on their horses to reduce noise. While in Mdina, have lunch Fontanella, their cakes are as good as the view.

So anyway, in Malta we were going to spend time preparing for our travels and sorting stuff out, though we haven’t really planned anything yet, I’ve definitely ticked some things off my list:

  1. Finished my portfolio website (mobile responsive and super sexy, of course).
  2. Got this blog up and running again. Still working on the look and feel.
  3. Topped 10,000 points on Treehouse (where I learn programming).
  4. Built Sweat Roulette, a simple fitness web-app with Charlotte.
  5. Had a press interview about Sweat Roulette.
  6. Made the news (half a page!) with Sweat Roulette.
  7. Joined some freelancing websites to make money while travelling.
  8. Got a tan.
  9. Read some books.
  10. Jumped off a cliff. Everyone else was doing it.

And that’s all taken place in Malta within the space of a month when I’m not at the beach – there’s something to be said for having time to do things.

And that brings us up to now.

I’m still looking for potential revenue streams so I can become location-independent, being a designer/developer is a good start due to only needing a laptop, prime for remote work.

Being ‘always on’ is taking its toll though, so I’m probably going to take a week off from the internet soon which I’m definitely going to blog about.

I’d love to hear comments about what you want to hear more of – my travels, making money travelling, the geeky bits – let me know below, yo!

Not everything makes the blog, so follow me on Twitter and Instagram and say hey 🙂

To be continued…

Journal Lifestyle Travel

How to make money while travelling

Make Money Travelling - Marcus Michaels

I’m still trying to figure this out, but the way I see it is that the ideal way to make money is by not doing anything, or doing something of little time / effort that you can do from a phone or laptop.

These are my solutions so far. They haven’t made me much travelling money, but if I reckon if keep at it, they should be a viable income stream at some point.

Journal Travel

Choosing a Travel Backpack

Following on from this post, and with the help of friends sending me links, I’ve narrowed it down to 4 potential carry-on companions.

1 | Minaal | | $299 (Yup, Dollars).

This looks like the ‘Apple’ of travel bags, and as such, it has a pretty hefty price tag but it looks amazing and has some great reviews. If I have a sudden windfall of cash and frivolity, I’ll have to hope they’ve got stock for international delivery!

Minaal Carry On Backpack

Journal Lifestyle Travel

The Quest for my Travelling Backpack

In or around September, Charlotte and I are setting off to travel the world. Maybe I’ll do another blog post on that further down the line if anyone is interested. Anyway, travelling requires certain equipment. First and foremost; a backpack.

I’ve been passively looking for a reliable backpack that I can take travelling for the past few months. I’ve seen a couple of good bags that have potential, but nothing that’s made my pull out my wallet.

To make this a bit easier for me, I’m going to make a list, (check it twice) and go from passively browsing, to actively looking. I’m gonna be looking so hard, they’re gonna call me the backpack hunter.

My list will have two sections. ‘Nice to haves’ and ‘Must haves’.

Must haves:

  • Fit all of my stuff in (obviously)
  • Sized so I can carry it as hand luggage (RyanAir is 55cm x 40cm x 20cm)
  • Durable
  • Water Resistant
  • Separate Compartments (one for the main bulk, another for documents, etc.)

Nice to haves:

  • Doesn’t look like a travellers backpack
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Laptop section

I don’t actually know exactly what I’m taking yet either, so that’s something I’ll have to figure out as well. Ideally I don’t want to take much. I don’t really want to take anything but I’ll need at least a few vests, underwear, toothbrush, laptop and a camera so I guess I’ll start with that.

Have you been travelling and are full of tips on what to look for in a bag? Let me know, I need some guidance! Leave a comment here or tweet me @marcusmichaels.