So we’ve finally reached the end of the line, in many senses
of the word.
We’ve reached the end of our time in our little flat in St
Albans. We are moving in a few short weeks to the actual end of the (railway)
line and will be setting up camp in Bedford for the foreseeable. I’m excited
about the move, and really excited to get to live in a whole house, but a bit
daunted at the prospect of settling in a new area, making friends, etc.
I’ve reached the end of my 27th year on earth and
entered my 28th. It’s not quite as scary as I thought it would be,
and I had a lovely day celebrating with S and friends. So that one came
off rather more smoothly than I thought it would. Perhaps the major age-related
freak out will happen next year?
I’ve reached the end of the project that kept me holed up in
a Holiday Inn in Kent for a month. With no wifi! It amazes me that in this day
and age, a hotel mainly designed for business travel would have no free wifi
for its guests. Apparently it’s coming in a couple of months but seriously?
Holiday Inn, get it together.
In blog related news, A Nesting Nomad has reached the end of its tether with
Google+ comments and native blogger comments, and is moving swiftly on to
Disqus. Has anyone else used this commenting platform? Any experiences, hints
or tips to relate?
And finally, but most importantly, we reached the end of my
sister’s pregnancy which has been quite a high risk one. And…. I
have a new nephew! He has been so much hoped for, so much prayed for, and so
much loved already. He’s basically a miracle baby so we’re all astonished he is
finally here. I can’t wait to meet him.
After having restrained our wanderlust for far too long, Mr Nomad and I are packing our bags for a long weekend away. We deliberated long and hard about where to visit – there are just so many places we’d like to go to – but balancing time available, cost, and availability of flights we’ve decided to visit…
…the European Capital of Culture for 2014 and the largest city in the Baltic States, Riga!
We’ve only got a few short days there, and plenty we want to see, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be an awesome weekend. There looks like heaps to do – museums, trips to the beach, and even some gluten free eateries. Not to speak of the architecture, which looks absolutely stunning. Whether it’s Jugendstil or Brutalist, there’ll be plenty to take in.
My grandparents actually visited Riga back in the 1970’s when the city was still behind the Iron Curtain, and apparently very much enjoyed their trip. My parents still have the beautiful tea set which my grandparents bought there.
I’m so excited to get out of the country and experience some new places. Travel makes me happy like nothing else, so I can’t wait.
We all have those moments where life feels a little overwhelming. If you need to take a moment just to breathe and you’re not sure where to start, here are five suggestions of quick things to do that never fail to make me feel better.
NB: these are heavily biased towards those of us with an introverted nature, but I’ve tried my best to include at least one that will appeal to extroverts!
Flora || If you live in an urban environment, it can be all too easy to forget to stop and appreciate nature. I get anxious if I spend too much time away from trees, so I like to go for a walk somewhere with green things. Feeling grass under my feet really calms me down. If grass ain’t your thang, alternatively I would recommend waiting for a clear night and going stargazing. Thinking about the enormity of the universe usually puts your problems into perspective (sometimes it does the opposite, but let’s not dwell on that).
Fauna || Related to the above, it’s amazing the difference petting a furry animal can make. Not only is the actual stroking therapeutic, but it gives you the opportunity to nurture something smaller and more defenceless than you. This can be empowering and also strengthen empathy.
The arts || Altering your perception of your reality really can be a game changer. It can be something as low-brow as going to the cinema and watching a film about someone else’s life and experiences. Or you can head to an art gallery and view the world – maybe in a different time or place – through someone else’s eyes. Alternatively, try a music concert or crafting club.
Bake || This one is a winner for me, every time (unless I run out of eggs). I love the process, I love watching different ingredients combining to form something completely different, I love that you need to be a bit accurate, and I especially love that you get to eat the fruits of your labour. Also, I’m coeliac so I can’t just go out and buy decent cake any day of the week. So sometimes this is the only way I can satisfy my cake cravings.
Connect || Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while and find out what’s new in their life. Meet up with a close friend to do an activity you both love. Write someone a handwritten note. If you’re feeling a bit stressed out or unhappy, don’t worry about whether people perceive you as “fun” or not. If they accept your invitation, chances are they enjoy spending time with you. Connecting with someone else, however briefly, is sure to lift your spirits.
What are your quick fixes when you need some headspace?
I often find myself, of a quiet Sunday afternoon, having a little dream. There’s something about Sundays that makes my mind wander – the excitement of the weekend arriving, things to do, people to see, has often petered out a little in the haste of Saturday, and I generally have fewer things to do on a Sunday. That’s not all, though. I personally find Sunday that bit stiller, quieter, more contemplative. Maybe it’s the sabbath thing, I don’t know. Whatever it is, today I have found my mind wandering to holidays. Vacations, adventures, trips, tours, call it what you will; it’s only the fifth week of the year but already I feel like I need a break.
Picture taken near Split, Croatia.
Now, it may have something to do with wanting to escape the British weather, although to be honest I haven’t found winter to be too hideous just yet. This may have something do to do with the fact that this is my first winter Down South (just outside London) after 8 years of winters in Birmingham, and I am really noticing the difference in climate. However, I think it’s more to do with my nomadic tendencies, as hinted at by the name of this blog, and it’s been a little while since I’ve travelled anywhere so I’m getting seriously itchy feet.
So where have I been dreaming about visiting? Well, it’s quite a varied list. If I had to describe my travel style, I’d say “split personality” – usually I’m a complete culture vulture, and will spend days slowly pacing around museums and reading guide books until my eyes start popping out. But at other times, I love nothing more than sitting on the beach with a cocktail in hand, dozing and listening to music. And then I love food, so foodie type tours are occasionally just what I fancy. Sometimes I just want to hit the shops. So… If any of the above suit you, there may be something in my list that interests you!
Berlin – ££
I’ve wanted to go to Berlin for a long time. There’s such a lot going on there; stuffed full of history, the art scene is fantastic, interesting architecture, great nightlife… The way I’d like to experience this is a totally DIY long weekend; find some good value flights (although I will never fly super budget – it just is not worth it in my experience) and rent an apartment via AirBnB such as this one. Check out those exposed brick walls! I do speak a bit of German so we should be able to get around without any problems. There are enough museums and sights to keep us occupied for weeks, so I think we’d have to be quite selective, and I’d like to take in a bit of the local food scene as well. As a coeliac, this can sometimes be a bit tricky but the joy of an apartment is that if all else fails, you can visit a local market or supermarket and do it yourself!
Barcelona – ££
Barcelona has also been top of my list for a while now, for largely similar reasons than Berlin. My approach would be similar, too, and I’d aim for a weekend in June perhaps, when it’s warm but not unbearable and before the school holiday rush. I’d stay somewhere like this, with a lovely terrace to enjoy the sunshine. Of course this would be a cultural trip, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t anticipate a bit of shopping as well…
Cape Verde – ££££
I recently discovered a tour company that specialises in music orientated trips. Amazing! They do heaps of really interesting ones, but I think my choice would be their trip to Cape Verde. It’s an 8 day tour which takes in a visit to the Kriol Jazz Festival, lunches with musicians, cultural visits as well as some more adventurous activities. I think it sounds amazing, and I’m not normally one for group tours. Music, sunshine and beautiful scenery – sign me up.
Mexico – ££££
This is basically just because I want to visit this house. I mean… How could you not?! This would be a pure relaxation kind of a holiday – take a pile of books and a stack of face masks and you’re done. I’d maybe go for just over a week, and bookend the trip with some cultural things like visits to Chichen Itza or Tulum. I’ve always wanted to visit these ancient and enigmatic sites, so I think this could be an ideal combination of trip types.
A Nile Cruise – £££
I found this awesome looking cruise on Voyage Privé, and having asked friends who have done similar trips I’m really tempted. It’s an 8 day trip which departs from Luxor and takes in the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Horus, the Temple of Philae at Aswan, and plenty more before returning to Luxor. The food is all inclusive, and the boat looks pretty nice with a pool on the top deck and everything. I think the tour is led by a “qualified Egyptologist” (whatever that means) although I may have dreamed that, as I can’t see that in the description now. Voyage Privé is a flash sale type website which I’ve used before very successfully, so I’d highly recommend them. Their customer service is brilliant, the site is easy to use, and they give you all the documents you need in one easy step at the end. If you want to sign up, do put my email in the referral box ([email protected]) to let them know I sent you.
South East Asia – ££££
Some friends of ours have recently moved to an area in the North West of Thailand, and we would love to go and visit them when they’ve settled in. We’ve also always wanted to go to Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos (and Bali and Java but I think that’s another trip entirely) so a dream trip would involve a bit of travelling around, maybe taking in places like this elephant camp or this eco-lodge. As you can see, if booked independently these are pretty cost effective, and offer a fantastic way of experiencing the real culture of the region. It’s just the flights that are the real kicker!
Patagonia: Argentina and the Chilean Fjords – ££££££££££££
This is described as “an epic voyage aboard the National Geographic Explorer” and I’d say that was pretty spot on. This is a 20 day trip by boat, and the itinerary makes me want to weep tears of joy. Sadly, the price of this one means it will stay a pipe dream for now, but everyone needs one of those, right?!
And where am I actually travelling to this year? Well, that would be Australia. More on that to come….