Reviving the Blog

•16 November, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Hello Lovely People

Well, I decided to revive this blog.  Partly because I am going travelling for three weeks so it made sense to put my blogs here rather than elsewhere.
But also because it would be nice to have a place to call my own and put my rambling thoughts….oh and rambling they are.  For anyone who has read my blog before, you will know what it is like.

It’s funny, the only time I really feel like writing is when life feels pretty crap or when I am drinking.  Usually the two happen at the same time.

My current contract is due to finish in two weeks and while the are trying to make me permanent there, it’s been a very slow process.  Two weeks out from my contract end date and I still have little to no idea what is happening.  I have been told that they are extending my contract by three months to see me through the Christmas period and so I don’t ‘drop off the system’.  But they are still waiting to hear whether or not it has been approved that they can extend me.  I also have no idea what capacity they plan on extending me.  I have asked to be put into a Project Management role, but who knows if they can make that happen.  In the mean time, I am already running two different projects for two different teams, on top of my day-to-day job.  So work is quite busy, but I feel like a fish out of water and not too sure what I am doing in the way of running these projects and I don’t have the guidance that they said I would.

Anyways, in two weeks, I finish up at work and have a couple of days off and then head to the UK for three weeks.  It is going to be pretty full on.  I get into London about lunch time on Thursday 29th November, then the next morning my cousin and I fly out to Madrid, Spain as I wanted to go see Larkin Poe in concert and annoyingly they are in London the week before I get there.  We are in Madrid for three days and then the day after I come back into London I am heading off to Leeds for the night to see Bowling For Soup in concert.  I am then back in London for two or three days and then I am off to Liverpool to see my wee cousin who has just started Uni up there.   I am only there for the night and then I am back into London for a couple of days and then I take off to Berlin for three days and then back to London where I spend my last 3 or 4 days and then its back to little ol’ New Zealand.  I arrive back in NZ on Thursday 20th December and then on the Saturday I leave for Christchurch for a week and a half over Christmas.  Back into Wellington after that and then … I either have another week off before heading back to work, or its time to start job hunting.

So I have 18 days before I leave for London.  I am quite excited, although part of me does wonder if I will want to come back or maybe I should head back to the UK and work there for a bit – I can still get an ancestry visa which will give me 5 years to live and work there and then I could apply for citizenship or whatever it is.  Or Australia is a possibility, the money in Aussie is much better than it is here and I get paid reasonably well for what I do.  Unfortunately both of these options I can’t do with the Other Half as he would require visas etc and he wants to stay in NZ so he can get Citizenship which he can apply for in another 18 months or so.  Once he has that, he can go to Aussie with no issues.  I don’t think he would go back to the UK and he would require visa’s for that or travel on my ancestry visa.

Either way, I need to decide what it is I want to do and at this point, I really don’t know.


So i wrote this a few weeks ago and hadn’t posted it.
Yesterday I got my extension for my job.  I have been extended out to the end of January 2019 and then they will make me permanent after that if they can fit me in somewhere.  Further updates to come.

The end is nigh

•2 September, 2016 • 1 Comment

Back in May it was confirmed that my contract with my current employer would end on the 30th of September.  I wasn’t really surprised as we had three people doing the same job for the three different teams.  Now that we had become one team, two of us weren’t needed.  By this point my contract had already been extended three or four times.  So having a final date was comforting in a way.

Fast track to today and there are only 4 weeks of work left.  As happy as I am about this, it doesn’t really seem to have sunk in.  Don’t get me wrong, I know that I will be officially unemployed as of the 1st of October.  But it still doesn’t seem very real.  I have been with my current employer for almost three years.  There have been parts of it that I have enjoyed, I’d like to think that I have learnt something and I have meet some great people along the way too.

But from Monday the 3rd of October I can lie in bed while the OH gets ready to go to work and I can wave him off with his packed lunch and I can do … well I’m not entirely sure what I will do.  There are a lot of things I want to do around the house.  Clean out the wardrobe.  Spring clean the house (like properly clean it), I can work on my assignments (we are currently doing the level 5 Diploma in Project Management – although by this point we should be doing both level 5 and level 6 concurrently).  But otherwise I have no idea what I will do.  I’m thinking I might temp until the end of the year.  The OH’s contract doesn’t end till the end of Dec and the likelihood is we will move to a different city in the new year.  So permanent employment doesn’t seem worth it, unless i can get a three month contract somewhere.  But I also like the thought of working a week here and there and being able to do things that I want to do.

So basically in 4 weeks time I will be unemployed.  At what point will this sink in?  Will it be like when I left London and it didn’t really feel real until I had been back in New Zealand for a week?  Maybe I will have a complete meltdown the week before I finish work (trust me, this wont happen.  The OH wouldn’t let it happen for starters).  Its a weird feeling to be honest.  I’m looking forward to what those three months will bring but at the same time I am a little scared.  I think I’m more scared of the boredom than anything else.

Anyway, that’s it from me.  I’ve gone on long enough.


I don’t know why…

•23 August, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I don’t know why I am writing this.  I actually have nothing of interest to say.  I am kind of hoping that the more I blog the more writing becomes natural and doesn’t seem quite so forced.

I have no idea what to write.

Today has sucked.  I don’t really know why.  I went to bed last night and just couldn’t sleep and then we woke up at 3am (i actually woke before this but have no idea what time it was) and have been awake since.  However, i did manage to finish one assignment and start (and almost complete) a second one.

I had a conversation with the other half a while back (actually this is a topic that comes up a lot) about how guys always seem to have hobbies and women don’t.  As much as I hate to say it, he is actually right.  Before he moved in I could always find something to do.  But now…i never know what to do with myself.  It becomes so boring.

I used to be able to come home each night, throw a record on the turntable and cook dinner, potter about the house and before i know it, its like 10.30.  Now…i come home, cook dinner and then … well i don’t really know.  We have a raspberry pi in both the bedroom and the lounge and we watch something while we eat.   I cant even remember the last time i used my turn table.  He can spend hours on the computer keeping himself amused.  But I just don’t have a hobby.  I even tried to Google it.  Good Lord, i wanted to poke my eyes out with a rusty fork by the time i finished reading that crap.
Cooking, cleaning,  cross stitch, knitting.  Honestly?  What is this, 1950?  I miss music.  Music is my Saving Grace.  Any mood that I am in, music will solve the problem.

What really annoys me (slightly different tangent) is that even though it is 2016 the world still thinks that women live in the 1950’s.
I need to buy a new iPad.  My iPad i have had for 6 years, its dying a very slow death (and i mean SLOW!).  But I discovered the Apple News App.  Which is fantastic, it satisfies my inner nerd. Great!  I can read about all the latest Tech news, new PC games (not that I play games), new gaming consoles, space, NASA, Planets, Medical stuff.  You name it and its probably in there.  I love this app.
However, Apple sucks big hairy donkey balls and makes their products way more expensive than they should be.
Next option:  Samsung Tablets.  I love my Samsung phone.  However, do you think i can find an app similar to the Apple News App?  NO!  That would be too easy.  I did in fact Google it.  I tried to see if there was anything out there that is similar.  Do you know what they came up with?  Flipboard.

Have you been on Flipboard recently?  I’m pretty sure it is designed for middle aged women who sit around cooking, cleaning and knitting all day.  Do i look like one of those people????  NO!  I tried to look for space and tech stuff but it was so limited.  Don’t get me wrong, its there, its just very limited.  It all seems to be “how to decorate this room with that”, “Bake this amazing Gluten free, Lactose Free, sugar free cheesecake”, “Knit this amazing warm jersey for your cat” “how to clean soap scum off your shower”.  Honestly, this shit bores me.  Give me autopsies (which I follow on Instagram – check out Mrs_angemi on Instagram if you want to see some awesome autopsy photos), or give me space stuff.  Give me tech stuff.  I don’t want to know how best to wash a large rug or cook an amazing roast.  Its not me.

Anyways, for someone who didn’t really have anything to say i think I’ve waffled a fair bit.  Until next time bloggers.

You are who you are.
S 😉

Isn’t it funny how a bear likes Honey?

•17 August, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I have always envied people who can write.  Those people who can just sit down with pen and paper in front of them, their laptop or iPad open and just start writing.  Writing with a purpose.  I’ve always wanted to be one of those people.  Instead I am one of those people who get this overwhelming feeling that I need to write and I can see the words in front of me, but I’m running after them and they are always just slightly out of arms reach.  Before the moment has even begun, its over.  Its gone.  I can no longer see those words.  I’ve no idea what it was that I wanted to write about.
Instead I am left with this feeling in the pit of my stomach.  Emptiness.  A moment lost to time.  Frustration.  I even dream these moments.  I am writing or reading back what I have written and in my dream the words are as clear as day.  As soon as I open my eyes, for that split second they are still there, and then gone again.

I’ve been reading back on some of these posts and cringe.  I’ve no idea what I was thinking when I wrote some of these.  It just doesn’t seem like me.  Or maybe it was and I’ve just grown up since then.  To be fair it has been three years since I last updated my blog.

The worst tour I’ve ever been on

•5 September, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I was all excited about going on this tour when I booked it back in December but when I actually did the tour I was extremely disappointed.

As usual I set off early in the morning; even though I was leaving from Heathrow I still had to be up at 4.15am.

I don’t know why but for some reason this felt like a very long flight. It was only 3.5 hours into Athens, Greece but it seemed much longer.

After dropping my bag at the hostel (and finding some very weird paintings on the walls) I set off in search of the Acropolis.  What a walk!  It would have taken me half the time had it not been for the heat and lack of shade.  Good thing I put on sun screen before I left otherwise Id be the color of a lobster.  I still came back more tanned than when I left which is a bonus.

It was 33 degrees at the bottom of the Acropolis – I hate to think what the temp was like at the top, I really struggled with it.  I definitely don’t recommend walking up there in that kind of heat – or jandals for that matter.  But I made it and i took photos and then I walked back down to my air-conditioned room.  Okay so I actually stopped and wandered through the flea market too.  Lots of cute things I could have bought had I had the room.  Lots of leather sandals and wooden penises <– yep, seriously!  Weird!

Day One – Parga

This morning I joined up with the busabout group.  Some of them started in Turkey but a lot of us started in Athens.  It was chaos down in reception – the tour guide wasnt very organised either and there were a number of groups leaving for different destinations.

Our first stop was only an hour out of Athens at a canal.  This has one massive drop to it, but apart from the canal there was nothing there – I don’t even really know why we stopped here.

Our next stop was just a lunch stop and then three hours later we arrived in Parga.  Wow this place is beautiful.  After dropping our bags off at the hotel our tour guide walked us through the streets to the beach.  The beach isn’t very big and has very little sand but the water was gorgeous.  So we spent the rest of the afternoon floating in the water and sun bathing.  After a while we decided it was too hot so we wandered through the shop filled streets and stopped for ice-cream.

Eventually we decided to go back to the hotel and change so we could go out for dinner and then meet up with the group at 9 for drinks.  We had gyros for dinner – these were better than Athens but they weren’t as good as Dimitris in Chch 🙂  We then found somewhere for desert and I had the most amazing chocolate brownie ever.  We then met up with the rest of the group for a few drinks.  Tomorrow we are off to Albania.

Day Two – Tirana, Albania

Its kind of weird that its only day two as it feels like we have been on this tour for ages.

I really enjoyed Parga yesterday but coming into Albania was quite a shock.  We stopped on our way into Tirana at a bunker that someone lives in so we can see what some of the people live like.  This was interesting.  Very small bunkers and no furniture or anything like that.  But some of the countryside out there was very similar to driving through New Zealand.  Until you get into Tirana.  We were meant to stay out on the coast but something happened to the accommodation out there and we actually stay right in Tirana.  This place is truly awful.  It looks so dirty.  We were also told not to leave the hotel as it’s not safe enough to be wandering through the streets.  However, the hotel we are staying in is pretty flash.  We have an apartment for four people with two bathrooms, a big lounge and a kitchen.  There is even a pool here.   However, driving to the hotel all you saw was streets filled with rubbish – it was pretty gross to be honest.  However, I would still like to get to the coast one day, I hear its pretty nice.

Tonight we have an included dinner (we usually only have breakfast included, so its nice to not have to pay for dinner).  Apparently the food in Albania is pretty good as they use a lot of fresh veges and fruit.  Albania is still very self-sufficient.
There is no wi-fi in the apartments which is seriously annoying and reception is ages away.

Well dinner was interesting.  On my way down to dinner I stopped to take some photos of the sun set which was pretty spectacular.  I then got down to the restaurant to find everyone outside taking photos of the sunset as it was the perfect spot.  After that was done we went inside for dinner where we were presented with pasta with tomatoes, coriander and a little bit of cheese.  It was pretty yummy and enough to fill a very hungry person.  However, they cleared away these plates and we were presented with a weird chicken steak covered in a yellow sauce (maybe a butter based sauce) and mashed potatoes.  It wasnt very nice.  But they then bought out the hugest piece of cake covered in cream and coconut.  OMG it was so good!

We are off to Montenegro tomorrow – I’m really looking forward to it.

Day three – Budva, Montenegro.

We didn’t have an overly long drive which was nice.  We got through border patrol in no time at all but sadly we didn’t get our passports stamped 😦

We got into Budva at about 1.30pm and then set off for the beach.  Unfortunately we have a massive dorm with 14 girls and one bathroom and an 8am start – this can only end badly.

Originally I planned to go to the beach and swim for a bit, but I set out on my own today and decided instead to wander through the old town.  It was unbearably hot and I really struggled with the heat here.  I walked through the old town and bought some post cards, i wandered along the beach and headed back to the hotel to shower and change before heading to our BBQ dinner.

Most people decided to head out into Budva and go clubbing, I chose to stay at the hotel.  The people on this tour are very young & immature and clicky which is awful.  There are only a few nice people and thankfully those people also stayed behind and we got to chill out in our room chatting.

The younger girls came home at 3 or 4am and instead of being quiet and considerate they were really noisy – not that it surprised me in the slightest.  Then they started shining the lights from their phones in people’s faces to try to find a power point to charge their phones.  Eventually they gave up and fell asleep – however it was an 8am start so they got very little sleep.

Day four – Dubrovnik & Split, Croatia,

I think most of us slept on the bus, they didn’t even wake us for the border patrol when we left Montenegro.  Going into Croatia on the other hand was a little odd.  Border patrol came onto the bus (this isn’t anything unusual for Croatia) but he looked at my passport and handed it back to me, everyone else (except the kiwis) he looked at their passport and took it with him.  There must be some new agreement since Croatia joined the EU or something.

Not long after this we arrived in Dubrovnik where it was exceptionally hot & being the fools that we are, we decided to walk the city walls so it was much hotter up there.  So hot that we ended up sweating like a pig (do pigs actually sweat??), it was honestly so incredibly disgusting, the sweat was literally pouring off us.  However, we weren’t the only ones so we didn’t feel quite so bad – gross though.

About half way round we gave up when we saw an early exit.  None of us managed to walk the whole thing in that heat.  I’ve never known heat like it & hopefully I never will.  After lunch we got back on the bus and set off for Split.  Our rooms here are quite nice (thankfully we aren’t staying at the booze & snooze).  Most of the group went out for our last dinner together, however as I’ve been to Split before and I leave in the morning and don’t like most of the people (including the tour guide) I didn’t go.  Instead I walked down to the markets and picked up some post cards and bits and pieces for Xmas presents and also organised my bus ticket for the morning.  It was pretty productive and I got to do it in my own time and I got to sit along the water front and watch the sun setting.  In the morning I was definitely glad I didn’t go out with the rest of the group as two of them ended up with food poisoning and had to stay Croatia Sailing in the morning.

This tour would have been much better if I had Caitlyn instead of the guy I had.  Or any of the other tour guides I had with Busabout.  Annoyingly Caitlyn finished her rounds of this tour two weeks before I went on it.  This tour would be fantastic with the right people and the right tour guide.  Unfortunately our tour guide didn’t like to give us a lot of history on each place and the people on this tour were just too young and immature.  However, I’m still glad I went.


Photos are already up here.

All the places your parents told you not to go!

•1 September, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Always watch where you are going. Otherwise, you may step on a piece of the Forest that was left out by mistake.

Towards the end of 2012 I discovered that Busabout did a Tour that goes to Bosnia, Serbia and Bulgaria, I was so excited.  I love the history here and watch numerous documentaries and movies on it as well as In The Land of Blood and Honey – a movie directed by Angelina Jolie which was seriously very well done, very graphic and a little disturbing.  My mom, however, was not so excited.  In fact the look on her fact was horror but she was only worried for my safety and I understood that.  I was fully aware of the history and violence in these countries but I needed to explore them.   No amount of persuasion on my behalf helped and as much as my mom didn’t want me to go, I went anyways – sorry mom!

Every time I go away, it always starts with an early morning, however this morning was the worst I’ve ever done.

I booked my tour back in December and I booked my flights etc in February.  Even though I booked my flights four months in advance there was only one flight left to Split, Croatia on the day I needed.  Unfortunately this meant that my flight was at 6am which meant I had to be at the airport two hours before that (4am) and its an hours drive to get to the airport (3am) and half an hour to get ready (2.30am).  NEVER AGAIN!!!

I got into Split at about 9.30am local time and I went to check out the place I was staying (Gajeta Apartments); I have to admit that it was actually pretty nice there considering it didn’t cost too much.

The weather was hotter than i expected but this is mainly because I’m so used to London temperatures, I wandered around and sat in the sun for a bit but by 12 I was struggling to stay awake.  I managed to wander around Split for a few more hours before finally coming back to the hotel.  About 30 minutes after coming back to the hotel a massive storm hit.  Torrential rain, hail the size of large marbles, thunder and lightening – the whole works.  I’ve never seen anything like it considering it was still 29 degrees outside.  Needless to say I stayed put.

The next morning I joined my Busabout Tour.  Even at 9am it was unbelievable hot but we set off towards Bosnia.

The drive from Split (Croatia) to Mostar (Bosnia) was beautiful.
When we got into Mostar we had a local guide who was a kid during the war and told us his views on the war.  Mostar was even hotter than Split had been and we had to struggle to find shade to stand in while our guide talked to us about Bosnia, the War, Communism and Stari Most (the Bridge in Mostar).
The Stari Most is absolutely beautiful from afar and close up.  The Bridge had been standing for 427 years before the Bosnian Croat Forces destroyed it on the 9th of November 1993.   We have Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Croatia and the Bosnian Government to thank for funding the reconstruction of this amazing bridge.  Along side the funding they actually managed to recover some of the original stones from the river to help with this reconstruction.

We had a spot across from the bridge and the views were spectacular.  The water was so blue and the bridge itself was amazing.  It stood so high with a tower on each side of the bridge (The Bridge Keepers) and with the weather being as hot as it is I wanted to jump in the water and go swimming, it looked so peaceful and beautiful.  We spent an hour here, we got to wander over the bridge and walk through the streets and see the little shops with all their souvenirs and restaurants.

We actually got to see one guy jump off the bridge – the bridge stands about 30 meters above the water.  You do have to be a professional to jump off the bridge as there is a certain technique to it, the bridge jumpers try and get the watchers to give tips (you have to pay to jump off the bridge) and they jump in full wet suits.  Unfortunately unskilled jumpers do try to jump off this bridge and not all of them make it.

After this we headed off to Sarajevo.  It was only a two hour drive but for some reason it seemed so much longer.  We got to have free time once we got into Sarajevo before going out for a group dinner.  There is a huge market area just down from where we were staying.  As Bosnia isn’t a hugely touristy destination the Locals were really friendly and tried to speak some English where they could.

Dinner was pretty average – its pretty stodgy in Eastern Europe; lots of meat and potatoes etc.  So dinner was pretty much just a plate of meat.  It was actually a large green bell pepper type thing stuffed with mince and rice with lots of gravy.  However, Eastern Europe does excel in its desserts, they are extremely sweet so you cant eat a lot (well I cant at least) but they are delicious.

This morning we had a walking tour of Sarajevo with another local guide.  Unfortunately I didn’t like this guy much and found that he spoke too fast and his words merged into one so I found it quite difficult to understand him which was a shame as I find this history to be quite fascinating.  But we got to walk around Sarajevo which is lovely and we got to see the spot where Franz Ferdinand was assassinated (which wasn’t on the bridge as everyone thinks, it was actually on the corner of the road opposite the bridge.

After our walking tour we hiked up one of the hills to get to the fortress and look out.   The walk itself was only about 15-20 minutes but it was also 28+ degrees and the hill was rather steep so it was quite a hike.  But we made it to the top and the views over Sarajevo were worth every second.  After a short rest and photo stop we then walked back down the hill and crossed the river and climbed up that hill to look at the cemetery that was  up there.  This hike was worse than the first as we didn’t really know where we were going and the walk was just as steep and hot.  When we got there we realized it was a cemetery dedicated to those who lost their lives during the war.  Eventually the heat got the better of us so we headed back down and walked through town and bought ice cream.  Apparently they make their ice cream out of goats milk which prevents it from melting so quickly in the heat.

This morning was another early start as we say goodbye to Bosnia and head into Serbia.

I liked Bosnia a lot, its a quaint wee city despite its history.  I expected Serbia to be very much like Bosnia but its not.
We arrived into Belgrade at about 3.40 where we had a bit of free time before our walking tour.
Belgrade is a lot bigger than Sarajevo so the walking tour felt quite rushed as they tried to fit it all in.  I didn’t really feel like I got to see the city but at the same time I wasn’t overly impressed by it either, I much prefer Sarajevo.  However, we did go up to the fortress and saw the views of Belgrade which were pretty awesome.  After our walking tour we had some free time, so i stopped for the usual postcards and got some ice cream, omg the ice cream was pretty amazing.

Tonight we had a group dinner – my food was yummy!  I had a large dried paprika (seriously, if you get a chance to eat a dried paprika (not the ground spice) try it, its yummy) stuffed with a light mince.  It wasn’t stodgy like it had been everywhere else.  It was really good!  After dinner we went on a pub crawl.  To be honest, I wish i hadn’t bothered as I was so bored, but oh well.

Another early start this morning as we head into Sofia, Bulgaria.  However, on the way into Sofia we stopped at a wee town called Niš (pronounced Niche) in Serbia.  There wasn’t much here but we did get to walk around the markets and the fortress.  Then it was off to the Serbian Border Control so we could exit Serbia and then into the Bulgarian Border Control so we can enter Bulgaria.  For this, we actually had to walk through but we did get our passports stamped which is the main thing.  After getting our passports stamped we then set off for Sofia.  On our way we encountered the most craziest storms ever.  Thunder, lightening and so much rain our driver had to move at a snails pace down the motor way.  I’ve no idea how he drove through it, when you looked out the window it was white with a sheet of rain coming down.

Unfortunately the rain meant that we had to postpone our walking tour of Sofia until the morning.

Tonight we had another group dinner.  This time it was a Gypsy Dance Night.  The food was huge platters of meat and breads and dips which was delicious and nice to have something other than just stodgy meat and over boiled vegetables.  The gypsy dancing was quite cool though, it was a mixture of Belly Dancing, Irish Dancing and Russian Dancing.

Thankfully the rain held off and we got up early to do our walking tour of Sofia.
We managed to see the Court of Justice and we walked through the Presidents residency (the out side of the building, not the inside), it actually has old Roman Ruins out in the court yard.  We saw a stunning Russian Church (St Nicholas) and finished off at the Alexander Nevski Cathedral which was spectacular from the outside (not so much from the inside).

Because we had to move the walking tour to this morning we were very short on time, so we had to take a taxi back to the hotel so we could leave and head to Plovdiv.  I have to admit, I’ve never heard of this place before so I had no idea what to expect from it.  However, I actually really enjoyed it.

Again we went on a walking tour when we got in and we saw the remains of the Roman Stadium and we also saw the Ancient Theater.  We then wandered through the old town up to the ancient fortress which looks out over the city.  We then had free time to do our own thing.  So we headed out to the post office via the main shopping street so Sarah and Steph could post some thing.  This proved to be not only interesting but hilarious too.

The lady serving us spoke next to no English and we spoke no Bulgarian.  However a guy who was next in line helped out trying to translate for us.  He then left and we were given more forms to fill out and the lady was trying to tell us what needed to be written and we were trying to guess then about 3 or 4 Bulgarian people in the queue shouted out in English what the lady was trying to tell us.  Thankfully we all found it funny.  After our post office experience we wandered back to our hotel via the Monument Unification of Bulgaria.  This is a statue of the “Mother Country” with the laurel wreath of Victory stretched into the air with her two wings representing the two regions ‘Bulgaria’ and ‘Eastern Rumelia’ brought together.  Its a beautiful statue.

This morning we set off for Istanbul, Turkey.  It was a long drive as we set off at about 8.30 and didn’t get there until about 4.  First we had to go through the Bulgarian Border patrol for our exit stamps and then through the Turkey Border Patrol.  In Turkey most people need visa’s even for a short term visit.  However, I Googled this before leaving (actually, I was Googling about the riots in Taksim Square and found this information by accident) and found that Kiwi’s don’t need a visa – this was a good thing as it cost the Aussies €45!!!  However, we did get a stamp in our passports so I was happy.

We eventually got into Istanbul and even though we had thunder lightening and rain on the way in, it was actually quite hot by the time we got in.  Turkey doesn’t allow Busabout (or anyone who isn’t local) to do guided walking tours but Caitlyn took us to the main sites to point them out.  I spent the afternoon wandering around the Grand Bazaar.  I liked this, but at the same time I didn’t.  I liked the markets, seeing all the beautiful lights and scarves, leathers, furs and bits and pieces, but i hate the thought of having to haggle for a decent price and hated the fact that shop owners would come up to you saying “i need your money, please buy something” or “I need your heart, you need my heart” to try and convince you to buy something.  Its just not my kinda thing.  But most of the people were so friendly.  After the Grand Bazaar we went and saw the Blue Mosque which is absolutely stunning from across the grass area, up close it wasn’t quite so beautiful until you get inside.  To get inside you have to have your head covered (thank god i had my scarf in my bag), be wearing clothing that covers your knees and you have to remove your shoes.  This is all fine, until you get inside and it smells of bad feet, but the ceiling inside is breath-taking.

Again, we had another group dinner as this was our last night as a group.  We had Turkish Kababs and Narghile (Shisha or Sheesha or Hookah depending who you are and how you want to spell it).  I didn’t really know what to expect to be honest, Id never done it before and i hate the smell of it, but you know, when in Rome (or Turkey as the case may be).  It was okay I guess, but not my thing.  However, I can say I’ve done it.

The next day, the tour went their separate ways.  Some of us stayed at the hostel, some moved to different ones, some left for other cities.  I stayed at the hostel, however I booked a private room for my last night.  When I got up in the morning it was pouring with rain, so I kind of just pottered about in the open restaurant (which is attached to the hostel) and drunk Apple Tea (which is delicious and doesn’t taste anything like tea which is why I was drinking it).  In the afternoon I went for a walk around the shops, grab something to eat and that was pretty much it.  The next day I headed back to London.

I thoroughly enjoyed this tour.  There was so much history to learn which I loved and Caitlyn was an awesome tour guide.

Photos are HERE

The Beginning of The End of The Beginning

•12 July, 2013 • Leave a Comment

But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.

Just over five years ago I started this blog with the intention of documenting my journey out of New Zealand, and what a journey it was.

However, there comes a time in your life when you have to stop and “smell the roses” and make some decisions based on what you want, not what anyone else wants; and that is exactly what I did.

London and I never really gelled.  I don’t really know why; I think I expected something different or wanted more from it, but either way we never really got on.  Don’t get me wrong I have loved all the travel I have done, the people I have met, the things I have seen and I wouldn’t trade that for all the money in the world.  But London and I?  We had a love/hate relationship and it got to a point where the longer I stayed here, the more depressed I became.

About 2.5 years ago it really hit home just how depressed London made me and it got to a point (on a number of occasions) where I almost packed my bags and went home.  However, I knew I still had things to do, places to go and things to see and so I stuck it out.  Instead I booked a couple of trips and tried to forget about how much I dreaded going back to London.

Things started to change when I picked up a Lonely Planet magazine with an article on Tallinn, Estonia while on a train to York with my cousin.  Looking at the photos in the article I completely fell in love with what I saw and wanted to go as soon as I could.  However, I was in York and Lincoln over a long weekend and couldn’t do any research on it until I was back in London.  (Just for the record, I loved both York and Lincoln – both beautiful towns and nowhere near London!!).  When I got back I discovered that Busabout had a Tour that went to Tallinn (Scandi-Baltic tour).  I was so excited and eventually I ended up booking the Tour.  This tour took us through Vilnius (Lithuania), Riga (Latvia), Stockholm (Sweden), Helsinki (Finland) and finally into Tallinn (Estonia).  With the exception of Stockholm (which I didn’t enjoy as much) and Helsinki, everywhere else we went were small Cities and less traveled.  I absolutely loved it (my post on this tour can be found here).  Small towns were my thing now.  To be fair, by the time I had done this tour I had done most of the big cities that I wanted to do (with the exception of Norway and Russia – I haven’t been there yet).  So I continued to look at the Busabout website and work out where else I wanted to go.  Eventually I booked the Classic Rhapsody, the Ottoman and the Balkan tours.  The classic rhapsody I didn’t enjoy as much, we went to bigger cities and although I had a great time, it wasn’t the same as the Scandi-Baltic.  The Ottoman on the other hand, was a whole different story.  We went to Bosnia and Serbia as part of this tour and I loved it (blog post to follow soon).  I can now say that I have been to these cities before they became “Westernised”.  Smaller towns definitely suit me more than bigger towns/cities.

About a year ago I started looking at the possibilities of coming home.  I started talking to friends about it and its funny the reaction of some people.  However, come Christmas 2012 I knew the time was right.  I needed to make that move and head home.   I’d achieved an awful lot in my time here and I felt that the time was right and I was ready to go home, I could go home thinking I had done what I came here to do.  So just after New Years 2013 I booked my ticket home.  I was so excited I wanted to tell everyone.  But I couldn’t.  Work wasn’t aware of the fact I wanted to go home or that I had booked my flight.  So I kept it to myself and eventually told a few close friends.  Claire was honest (as she always is) and told me she didn’t want me to go, but was happy for me – I appreciated her honesty and I knew I could trust her to keep it under wraps until I was ready to tell work.   But it turned out some of these friends weren’t the type of friends I thought they were.   There was one person who felt the need to hint at the fact I was leaving every time my boss or work colleagues were around – this pissed me off to no end and I knew I couldn’t really trust him, so I was careful with what I shared.  One person, who I thought was a really good friend was always so negative or would just change the subject.  So I really had to be careful with what I said.   I kept this quiet for almost 6 months before telling work.  It was probably the hardest six months of my life; I became increasing frustrated by it all.  Frustration is an emotion my body doesn’t know how to handle or deal with – hence my blog post a while back.

During these six months I had to deal with shipping all my stuff home.  My god this was awful!!!  I packed and unpacked and threw things out and then decided I wanted them and repacked and then unpacked and threw the same things out and eventually I got it sorted, but I tell you what, I would be insane to do that again.   This didn’t help my ever-increasing frustration.

Finally at the end of May I had shipped my boxes, moved out of my flat, moved into the box room of my cousins and handed my notice in at work.  One would think that it would all eventually sink in that I was finally going home – you know what, it didn’t.  I’m not even sure it has sunk in yet and I leave in a month and a half.

I thought that once I had handed my notice in at work things would have been easier talking about it to my friends, it turned out this was not the case.  A close friend (the same one who kept changing the subject every time I bought it up) stopped talking to me, not completely, but I used to hear from him every day, some times we would do lunch and now … nothing.  Actually even the other guy has become the same.  Funny how you think you can rely on people, but when push comes to shove they just don’t care.   But at the end of the day, they are the ones with the problem and I’m not going to sit around and wait for them to grow up.  I’ve no time for people like that.

I’ve had people tell me that I wont cope in New Zealand, especially Christchurch.  Most people tell me that I wont cope with the earthquakes, or I wont cope with being in such a small city, but you know what, I don’t really care what anyone else thinks.  I will do things my way, when I want to and how I want to.  I’m bored with people telling me what to do, think, say, wear; calling me a hipster because I like things that they don’t – at the end of the day you’re the one with the problem, if you don’t like it, you can bugger off.  These are the types of people I will not miss and probably wont keep in contact with.

So, I finish work on the 27th of August, I fly out on the 3rd of September and arrive on the 5th of September – two summers in a row!!!!  It’s definitely not been an easy ride (the last 6 months) but I’m getting there slowly, I’m stressing about my suitcase and keeping it under 20kg, but other than that I cannot wait to get home.  I should probably be worried about not having a job to go back to, but at this point I’m not too worried.

But there you have it.  I’m going home.  Its been an interesting 5 years, there have been ups and downs.  There has been a lot of travel and some great people.  I will miss most of the people I have met.

But with my passport up to date, going home doesn’t mean I have to stay there.  Remember, the grass is always greenest where you water it.