What a whale of a time! – Tales of Travel Gone Wrong

I LOVE food! I am a real worldly foodie and am a true believer that tasting the food of country I am visiting is key to immersing myself in the adventure. The culture that comes from food, the history that food possesses. It may seem like I am reading into it but I am not, I know that food and eating habits change historically and it is one certain way to explore the culture.

Now, this was a particularly tricky one for me. Norway is one of the only countries in the world who is still legally allowed to hunt whales. Whaling has been largely banned because of the decreasing number of whales on our oceans, this beautiful creature that is becoming extinct has to stop being sought after for its meat and oil. So bearing these things in mind and the fact that I give to the WWF every month to help protect and rehabilitate a lot of animals, this goes against all my gut instincts to eat whale steak.

How can I, a self admitted lover of animals (except spiders and scorpions, who likes those?!) actually eat a whale? It was a moment of travel exception. I am a true believer that if you are abroad you should fully integrate into the life and culture of that country. We were in the middle of a fish market and whales everywhere, we could not miss out on this opportunity.

Looking back on it now, I feel slightly itchy inside every time I think that I chewed a whale steak and devoured it. I don’t think it will ever happen again. Regardless, it was a fascinating experience and if you ever get the opportunity… try it without any guilt.

Walking in Krakow

For all you people who believe there is more to life than an underground/subway, you are right! There are so many places that can be discovered by foot and truly appreciated after you have lost yourself in a really quirky and romantic cobbled street to get there. The sights you miss when you simply rush from tourist spot to tourist spot in a subway is deeply saddening, so my mother and I decided to save the pennies and work our leg muscles, and walking Krakow was a treat!

With lots of people and companies harassing you to take their guided tourist train tour, to join their groups and do their thing, it is pleasant to step back from all of that and just do what you think is right. Discover the places you want, get to know a city in your terms and to find the hidden treasures only you will come across in your own path.

Walking the city centre

Krakow’s Main Square hosts a variety of interest. If you walk around the whole square, hidden behind the cafes and all those esplanades you will find some plaques identifying the houses, who they belonged to and their historical importance.

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At the very centre of the Main Square you will be able to see the Cloth Hall. It used to be a building where people would come to trade all sorts of goods, but now it is open every day and showcases the most stunning handicrafts from Poland for you to buy. Great for souvenir shopping.

You will also find in the city centre St Mary’s Basilica. This iconic building is the cover of most postcards of Krakow and though it may seem like a simple brick construction from the exterior, the inside tells a very different story.

You will get a chance to spot some horse and carriages which you can take a lovely tour of the city in. I personally did not take one, but found them all very charming and the horses very sweet. It is a miracle that they keep the city so clean and not smelling of manure with so many horses around.

Make sure you have one of your meals in the Main Square, with so many restaurants available you can enjoy some real treats.

Further afield

Still a short walk away, you can follow a road directly to the Wawel. Here you can enjoy the castle, the cathedral, the Dragon’s cave and so much more. No more than a 10 minute walk from the Main Square it is definitely worth a visit and has so much to offer.

On your way to Wawel, make sure you take a quick peak at the St Peter and Paul Church. Such a beautiful building and it is worth spending a few minutes being mesmerised by its interior. Simple, beautiful and yet haunting. I definitely recommend it.

The Ring Gardens! Surrounding the entire centre of town, a ring garden which is worth walking around to see the city from a different perspective, enjoy the greenery and fresh air as well.

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Krakow is a very easy city to see by foot, so unless you are venturing out to the concentration camps and the salt mine, save your money, save the environment and put your best walking trainers on! I think everyone should feel encouraged to enjoy their cities by walking and discovering some really lovely hidden gems.

 

I want it all! – Travel, Career & Love Life

I have to say in many ways I feel I have become the typical millennial. I seem to be in this weird generation where we all kill ourselves working more and more, we take part in extra activities and build freelance careers next to our full time jobs. My closest friends are all investing in houses, getting married and probably will start sprouting out the most adorable babies in the next few years. Where as I am here, sat in my office lunch time typing this and thinking to myself, selfishly perhaps, but I want it all!

I have always, as far as I can remember, been a busy bee. I can’t help myself and seem to be constantly working and thriving for better. I want to exercise, and write, learn languages, relax, do dance classes and drama society, I want it all! I have yet to crack the magic behind time management/sleeping enough to seem alive at work, without having to give up all of my interests. More so, I have yet to master the art of saving without spending, as at the moment everything I save is because it will be spent in my 3 month long trip. So what, I am only 24 and this will be the trip of a lifetime! And as much as I am keen on boarding a plane and abandoning Europe for 3 months of madness, adventures, Spanish speaking countries, gastronomical discoveries and sunshine, I am not willing to sacrifice my entire life for this.

I really do admire my adventurous friends, who decided to give up the security of a job for the nomad life that is paired with an array of mesmerising experiences that maybe I will never get to live. I also admire those who have been so hell bent in having a successful career that at my age can afford a mortgage and a diamond engagement ring for their partner. That is great! Both of these in my eyes are amazing achievements, but they are not the path I want to pave for myself, because having one without the other for me is downright depressing. So I am really here because I want it all and WILL have it all!

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First of all, having built a career in media, events and marketing for the last three years, I decided that before I move out from my parents’ house, where rent is cheap as chips and I have the love and support of my family, I would take the plunge and take a sabbatical for three months. I realise that this means that for three months of a year, a quarter of the year, I will receive no paycheques, and this is where I have had to quickly perfect the art of saving. However, this does mean that for 3 months I get to gallivant across South and Central America knowing that upon my return to the UK my job is securely waiting for me.

A lot of people have also asked me, ‘what if you don’t want to go back to that career?’ to which I answered, I will always want to go back to something because I am actually a self-assumed workaholic. However, here was the sudden change of plans. Having decided on my three month trip, booking most of it and being almost done with the payments, I also decided to change careers! I no longer will return to a job in media, events and marketing. No. I will return to a job in education, a job which I start in September and will be waiting for me upon my return. I was very lucky that my new role accepted the terms of my previous job regarding the trip, and feel that actually this is a really nice combination. Not only am I going to go off and discover the world, I will return to a job in the field in which I want to pursue a lifelong and stable career.

See, I want it all! Most people feel they cannot pair the two together, but with a bit of determination and downright gumption, anything can be achieved. I feel I had quite big cojones to decide to change career when I am about to leave the country, however I wouldn’t do it any other way. I am excited at the prospect of being able to indulge my adventurous side and then return to a life of incredible work, to such a worthy field as education and feel the daily rewards of seeing young adults reach and surpass their potentials.

I have not yet finished my rant about desires and balancing a lifetime of needs into one thing. I have clearly shown that I can make my working life workout alongside my life long dream of a trip. I have yet to truly testify whether my love life can survive too, but I am willing to give it a valiant shot. When my boyfriend went travelling for 2 and a half months, we did not break up. He went and I stayed and we continued faithful and very much in love. There were times when missing him felt like agony, however, I feel in the long run it has strengthened our relationship and if anything has made me believe that I can take the 3 month trip and we will be fine. Which we will, absolutely! If things are meant to be they will and I just have to believe. I have friends that have separated from their long term partners precisely to go travelling, but I won’t give him up for my 3 month journey of self-discovery. He continues to be very much a part of the person I am discovering and the life I am building for myself. So I truly want it all.

Like I have told you before, and continue to say, I truly believe you can make it all work for you. I postponed my travels for nearly 4 years in order to get to a point in my life where I felt confident enough to do it, and secure enough in my career too. I am proud of the choices I have made so far, and yes they may or may not work in the future, but at the moment they have been difficult choices that have brought me great success. In a roundabout way, people get to the places they want to and this is my long journey to get it to where I want to. I hope it all works out, but this post is only really to ease the minds of those who feel that to travel you have to sacrifice the other life you have built up. You don’t. You just have to re-arrange it a little bit to make it all fit, like a neat puzzle piece.

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