Archive for Travelling
Another three months fly by. Since my last ‘I’m alive’ update, I’ve spent more time in Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and now I’m in Hong Kong / China for the months of May / June. Not much else to report – an update about South East Asia on No Film Left is coming soon.
Life goes incredibly quick. The last update on this site was Christmas day 2012. Since then I’ve left work full time, started to travel the world instead and been to Thailand and Burma. The adventure which is my life is only beginning, so don’t expect many updates on here at all. Musings on travelling can be found over at www.nofilmleft.com.
Thanks for all the support, but don’t worry about me. I’m alive – I’m just getting away from time wastes like Twitter and casual blogging to focus on experiencing life.
You might’ve wondered what I’ve been up to the past couple months (I gave a hint something magical was on its way). It’s no secret I’m a fan of travel and the more I do it, the more I fall in love with the culture around it, the writing on display and the people creating the stories. So, I decided I wanted to become part of that community and when I decide something like that, it generally means creating a website.
Thus, I present, No Film Left.
That name might confuse you. It might make no sense. In reality, a website’s name isn’t really a concern for me. If anything, something non-stereotypical gets people clicking.
Anyway, for a bit of background, it’s good to read the About Page. Over the coming months you’ll see all sorts of content go up while this site remains a professional portfolio and Faces of London handles the photography.
It is only possible through your support I can do these things, so if you have the time, following on Twitter (@NoFilmLeft) and liking the Facebook page would be really appreciated. Comments and subscriptions via RSS are equally welcome.
It’s safe to say the only bad thing ever to come out of Barcelona was Iniesta’s strike against Chelsea several years ago, (although who’s laughing now). Everything else about the Catalan city is perfect. Yes, Las Ramblas is known for pickpockets (word of advice, get some street smarts and you’ll be fine), and at the moment the whole of Spain is suffering from a horrific unemployment rate, but aside from that, the city chugs along offering sun, sea, fantastic food, beautiful women and good times.
Last week was the fifth time I’d visited. Thanks to a family connection in nearby Sant Cugat, I have an obvious reason to keep returning. Then again, even if I didn’t know anyone living there, the result would’ve been the same.
Unlike Madrid which parties as though the very activity is going out of fashion, Barcelona is a lot more laidback. In fact, so many books, articles, travelogues and TV shows have been written about the city that there’s not really much for me to say.
Arguably it has everything – very few things are missing from its repertoire. It’s rare for a city to live up to its hype. Often you’ll be unlucky with meals, hit a bad run of weather or just fail to click with the people. Barcelona seems to have a supernatural power to avoid all of these issues.
The only thing I’d not done before my latest visit was experience its nightlife. The first three times I came were for family reasons. We saw sights, but I was a lot younger so I wasn’t keen on taking in what I saw. When I came in January I managed to tick some of its impressive activities off my list.
The reason for not going out was because I was staying with family to keep costs down. This time, fresh from my success in Madrid, I went for a hostel (San Jordi Sagrada Familia) in an effort to meet people and to enjoy the city at night.
Friends’ recommendations are the best kind, and Phil’s hostel suggestion proved perfect. Much like the Madrid version, San Jordi runs club nights every evening. I say evening, but early mornings is a more accurate description (Barcelona is notorious for starting at around 12pm and that’s considered early).
Having now experienced a fair few sunrises, I can definitely say, like everything Barcelona-related, its nightlife lives up to the high standards the city sets itself. It might’ve been off season, but bars downtown were full of people and the main stretch of clubs, conveniently positioned on the beachfront, are a mix of super trendy and cheaper dancehalls.
What every club has in common is good atmosphere. In England I’ve really gone off nightclubs – the majority focus on getting people as drunk as possible, are filled with vile people and play commercial crap that must drive DJs insane.
People go out in Barcelona to have fun. Sure, there’s alcohol, especially when there are so many tourists involved, but overall it’s an experience that leaves you fulfilled, not questioning why you put yourself through a night like that.
I could go on, but I’d be veering into thoughts that don’t strengthen this argument. I think the best thing about Barcelona, even when I’m working, is that I feel totally relaxed. I’ve always waxed lyrical about the importance of the sun and how happy it makes people.
I’m a firm believer in the theory that if England was subject to the weather of the Mediterranean, its national traits wouldn’t be self-depreciative moaning and constantly talking about the weather. Instead we’d all just be happy and welcoming to everyone we see. There certainly wouldn’t be any page three Metro stories about whether we’ve got a week of good weather on the way.
What can I say about my time in Madrid? After a month of sorrow from my grandfather’s passing, getting away from everything (and without a cold) to reflect on life was quickly becoming a critical requirement.
I left England expecting to hostel hop around Spain, but in the end spent the entire week in the capital. This was due to one thing – people. Living in London, let alone England, can be a depressing life. Everyone has so much, but at the same time, so little.
Having returned to stormy England, I’ve come away from my week with a rekindled passion for the road, the people that enthusiastically inhabit it and the sheer ecstatic feeling that comes from sharing your life with strangers.
Everyone knows who they are and the memories I’ll take away, both in my mind and in the book I made everyone sign, will be with me forever. Japan ignited my love affair for meeting new people and Spain has confirmed it for me.
Goethe – “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”
The only problem now is that I have to visit America, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Colombia, Australia, New Zealand, Quebec and all the other cultures that have briefly, but undoubtedly, enriched my life.
To do what I do is thanks to the lifetime of support from my friends and family, as well as the determination to achieve what I want without negative people rubbing off on me.
I think being in a situation like Madrid or Japan is the only real time outside of family where I feel truly content with myself, the image I project and the quality of my life.
Oh, and the beautiful women that were just too much fun to describe definitely help.
And Leo, the Australian who is a living example of just how easy it is to travel the world for extended periods of time. To him I am eternally grateful for putting up with my excruciatingly bad Australian accent and for hanging out for the week. He’s taught me more about myself in 6 days than many of my friends have in 6 years.
There are too many people to thank so from the bottom of my heart, I end with a simple ‘stay in touch’ and see you all soon.