Travel like a Champion

2017 has personally become the most travelled year. Having gone to 11 different countries, nearly one per month.

I started this month in Barcelona, doing a quick city-break. Then travelled to Switzerland on a family event; now I am in Germany in my second home and I still got some more country to visit before the end of year. So writing this blog is turning out to be somewhat poetic.

This blog is intended towards the rat-race running, working man (or woman) who wants to incorporate travel into their life. I do have a full time job with very limited holidays and somehow I’ve managed to fit in quite a bit of travel this year. Travelling smart definitely has its perks and rewards but also needs a little bit of research and planning; this is quite a good jumping off point.

In my current lifestyle I like to travel to multiple destinations on a budget rather than blow it all on a super mega one-off trip.

Having only 20 working days to expend on holidays every year, I always find it effective to book around the weekend, either leaving on a Wednesday or Thursday and returning on either Monday or Tuesday. 4 or 5 days is plenty for me to explore and enjoy a new country.

1.  Skyscanner

You don’t have to be rich to travel, all you need is to think smart i.e. travel smart. If you are limited on funds and still want to go out there and see the world. The key is you have to be open about the destination and the dates that you are willing to travel there.

Skyscanner has this amazing option where you can explore all destinations on all possible dates. Then pick the cheapest destination and dates and you can just go!

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This really works out for me as I am flexible with my dates and mostly with my destination. This is gold when it comes to european city breaks as you really keep the cost down if you are really efficient with booking your trip.

2. Hostelworld

If you’re on a super-budget, hostels are always a good option. I was quite skeptical about staying in hostels until I actually stayed in one. First time in Berlin; and I’ve actually enjoyed so much that I prefer to stay in hostels on every city break. You can get a pretty good overview of the hostels in one area and what they offer on hostelworld.com

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Alternatively you can use Airbnb, especially if you are in a group. You get the feeling of living as a local and it usually works out cheaper than hotels.

3. Couchsurfing

If your into travelling, you have probably heard of Couchsurfing, I tend to use it when I travel solo, but I think that is a completely different blog in itself.

It is a social media platform where you can meet locals and/or like-minded travellers, I’ve met a number of good people on there and even managed to stay in contact with some of them. One of the best ways to meet people is to go attend preplanned events in the area or turn up at a ‘hangout’.

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A combination of these will allow you to travel continuously throughout the year and keep yourself entertained while you are there.

Happy New Year. And happy travelling.

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Brecon Beacons

In the past three months, I’ve taken mini getaways during long weekends to nearby European countries; Slovenia in May, Germany in June and Denmark in July. So I decided to spend the month of August, The wonderful ‘British Summer’ in England and explore the spectacles within. One of the places that I had my eye on was Brecon Beacons National Park. Me and my fellow friends packed our bags and headed to this little patch of greenery located within Wales (that still counts as England right?). Made a little stop on the way at a little gem called Tintern Abbey. Quite the unique historical landmark, a well preserved Abbey which I personally refer to as the Naked Church (which is probably wrong anyway).

Later that evening we checked into our Airbnb, probably with the most peculiar host I’ve ever experience (maybe that story will make it’s way into my blog one day). After relaxing for a few hours, we drove in total darkness up ‘dangerous’ gradients on narrow roads to find a peak spot for stargazing. It does sound crazy but it’s good to live life on the edge sometimes. To my surprise, we were the only ones there. There usually is a few other odd people like us looking for the same thing, but today we were totally alone. We spent a good couple hours looking up the sky with our jaws dropped and managed to capture a few good shots, I think I may have caught the Milky Way in one of the images, but it’s quite faint. Let me know if you spot it as well.

The next day we spent the entire day hiking and chasing waterfalls in the national park. The weather wasn’t too great as you will see from the images, but we had low expectations as a the British summer was now long gone; so it wasn’t too much of a negative point. Overall, a well-spent weekend. Enjoy the pictures!

Berlin by Bike

I primarily went to Berlin for the marathon, my second major marathon and third international race.

This time last year, running an international race was way out of my comfort zone; after Amsterdam and Paris, this has now evolved into my comfort zone, my new normal. So I just jumped on the plane, didn’t have a place to stay, had no itinerary, just figuring things out and making stuff up as I went along. The pure essence of spontaneity.

I’ve kind of warmed up to solo travel now. I’ve made a good number of friends, speak to a lot of interesting looking strangers (especially backpackers, they always have good stories to tell) and just get involved in random activities, doing whatever the heart desires. Keeping an open mind.

I ended up staying in a hostel (for the first time ever), I was always skeptical living in a shared dorm room but it actually turned out to be fun. I’ve met an array of characters from all around the world, old, young, solos, groups, nomads and many people who came to Berlin for the marathon too.

Berlin as a city was quite awesome, even though it is the capital of Germany it was relatively small and can be easily explored by bike. For the few days I was there I was able to explore most of the city, meet a couple of friends, ate some good food and of course run the marathon. Berlin, I will be returning.

Enjoy the gallery!

Bristol Balloon Fiesta

Having missed this immense event in the past two years, I was adamant to attend this year. Bristol is just under a 2 hour drive from my home, we so jumped into the car and made the trip down there. It’s a great place to visit, especially on a day like this even more so on a rare hot British Summer’s day like it was this year.

It is one of the biggest balloon fiestas in the world if not the biggest one. Usually a four day event, from Thursday to Sunday. Lots of people, activities, entertainment and most importantly food. It will definitely be a great day out with family and friends. They have two mass ascents each day, 6am and 6pm, depending on weather conditions of course. This year it went to plan and wow the views the surreal.

We were sitting in the mass ascent from the take-off point. The view from the Clifton Suspension Bridge is apparently epic; I would imagine the  views from the actual hot-air balloon would be super-epic. Definitely will try that out if I get the opportunity. I will be returning.

Enjoy the pretty pictures ;)

Durdle Door

What was turning into an uneventful Sunday afternoon suddenly turned awesome when we decided to take a quick roadtrip to The South Coast.

After a two hour roadtrip in amyrani (my audi) and smurfie (sister’s fiesta) through many motorways, twisted roads and all kind of weather changes. We arrived there.

Upon arrival we were greeted by a huge amount of mist or fog (or whatever it was), it looked like a winter’s morning. I was so perplexed; it was beyond my knowledge that these occurances happened during summer especially in a beach sort of environment.

We couldn’t see anything, even at close range. For a minute we were thinking of turning back and driving back home with disappointment. That of course seemed wasteful so we thought of taking a walk down to the coast and see what the situation is down there.

Fortunately, the mist faded as we headed down but there was so much gust. I almost had to fight the wind just to move forward. Even though the horizons had limited visibility, the view was simply stunning. Many wouldn’t believe that such a sight would exist in the UK, it looked somewhat Mediterranean.

I will be going there again when there on a day with more sunshine. Enjoy the pictures.

Albert Bridge | Battersea

Summer is at its dawn and nights are getting warmer; everyone knows that feeling, when you can walk around at night without a thick layered jacket and still shivering, because that’s how freezing it gets in London Town.

What turned out to be a spontaneous night drive through London turned out to be even spontaneous-er (is that a word? It must be) when we decided to make a stop at the first sight of bright warm lights, even more striking with the reflection underneath it. 

I’m usually with a more civilised group of people when such things happen, but that time I was with rebels. We decided to sneak a little exploration onto the Albert Bridge located between Battersea and Chelsea. 

That area is quite a treat during the day but at night it’s just something else. Of course I needed a signature picture at the place to mark the memory, along with a few experimental long exposures (I’m a sucker for long-exposures, you can find the settings within the image). 

Enjoy the pics and feel free to explore the place yourself (especially during the warm nights). 

Windermere | Lake District

This is a much delayed blog post, eight months to be exact. A trip taken in April this year; but I was going through the pictures and it felt like it would be wasteful if it wasn’t shared among the rest of you.

A little back-story; I just had completed a major deadline at uni and it felt like it would be anti-climatical if it wasn’t followed on by an awesome reward. So I spontaneously planned a trip to Windermere (kind of sounds like a place located in Narnia) in Lake District after discovering this hidden gem on Instagram #ijusthadtoseeit

Me and my photographic adventurer friend jumped into the car and took a six hour journey up north. It was a 5am start so we witnessed the first golden hour coming through the misty roads on the motorway. Hate me if you want to but being a morning person has its perks. The rest of the story can be seen in the pics (all RAW edited using lightroom) >>

For those of you who were intrigued until this point, I’m going to reward you with a secret link to a small vlog we made during certain random points during our journey: http://youtu.be/utWdb_7arks  Enjoy!

Feedback will be much appreciated.