travel is good for the soul

Whether you travel for work, pleasure or are a nomad ticking off one country at a time, you’ll be able to relate when I say travel is one of the best remedies for personal growth. It really opens our eyes and changes how we see the world! When I think back to my first solo trip around four years ago, I can’t help but notice how much I’ve changed and how my mind has absorbed dubious amounts of culture, knowledge, opinions, languages and the all important friendships. It would also be fair to say that my liver has taken quite a beating too…

pyrenees

Feeling pensive

 

One of my favourite things about travelling is definitely the people that I have met. It is the biggest cliche but also one of the truest. It’s crazy how you can spend three days with someone you’ve just met in hostel and feel closer to them than people you spent years with in high school. I’ve shared things with strangers whilst travelling that I’d never imagine sharing with close friends from home. It’s crazy. And I know for sure that when or if I see these people again, we’ll pick up right where we left off (which was most likely at a bar..).

Me and Erin cheese n wine night

Cheese and Wine night with a great friend I made this year

 

Bratis

Some of the best humans I’ve ever met. When I worked in a hostel in Bratislava, 2016.

 

Travelling is one of the greatest tools for not just understanding other cultures but appreciating them too. I love seeing how locals live, their traditions and how they go about their daily lives. Fascinating stuff. I think of when I was in Serbia and how whenever you enter someones home or sit and chat with a local, they would always offer a shot of Rakia. A traditional homemade alcoholic drink. Super strong but amazing. I sat for hours on the balcony of my hostel in Belgrade with the owner chatting about life whilst sipping away. Those kinds of moments are why I travel.

bayonne

The French Basque Country. 

 

People ask me often if I miss home. The honest answer is not really. Of course, I miss my family and friends but I feel that the world has too much to offer for me to be at home right now. I’ll go home in September to finish my degree, but I already know my free weekends will be spent somewhere other than my hometown. I love Glasgow and the people and it will ALWAYS be my favourite city in the world but it’s definitely not the place that I can see my settling down in.

Glasgow.jpg

Home

 

Travel has different meaning for people and that’s okay. For some it’s two weeks at an all inclusive resort once a year, for others it’s city breaks throughout the year and then there are those who can’t get enough and hop on a plane at a moments notice. There is nothing worse than people who judge other styles of travel. Just because you’re comfortable solo travelling around South East Asia for two months doesn’t mean everyone else should be. Let people take as many or as few photos as they’d like. Just enjoy the travelling that suits you!!

ss

Surfs Up in Biarritz, France

 

I’m not quite sure what the point of this post is but I had some thoughts that I wanted to share and I hadn’t posted for a looongggg time. Below you can find some of my favourite photos from over the past few months and years:

 

Let me know what travel means to you in the comments!

Hollywood’s favourite couple spotted in the Basque country…

So, a lot has happened since my last post. From trips to Spain, hungover train journeys and my very first Thanksgiving, there has never been a dull moment!!

I recently had 2 weeks off, so I decided to make the 2 hour trip south to Spain and spend a few days in  San Sebastian with some friends. The city is one of Spain’s most expensive but compared to France, everything was a steal – including the alcohol 😉 It was even warm enough to take a swim in the sea which was weird considering it was almost Novemeber… We spent most of our time either drinking dangerous amounts of alcohol, eating pintxos (tapas) or down at the beach. We were lucky enough to experience pintxos pote on a Thursday night – a drink and a small tapas for a mere 2euros!! It’s safe to say we ended up more than intoxicated that night. Our drunken states allowed us (or should I say my two friends who were looking for a pull) to fall vicitim to some pick-pockets. However, thanks to the Basque police all ended with laughs and we got everything back except our dignity.. San Sebastian is a must visit town with greats bars, nightlife and surf!

P_20171026_152343

Playa de la Concha

 

FB_IMG_1511107219386

Surfs Up!

 

Back in Pau, things have been in full swing. Work is going well and I genuinely enjoy teaching. Even if some kids couldn’t care less, most of them are keen and motivated. I don’t spend much time at home, every night I’m usually found at the Galway bar with mates or wine-ing and dining like a true Frenchman. I also spent a weekend in Bordeaux which consisted of more wine and good food. Pau might be small but its not lacking in things to do and I’ve met some of the best people!

 

IMG_20171118_164128_838

Hiking in the Pyrenees.

23847559_10210792271748424_3911078602256768514_o

When the paparazzi just can’t leave you alone… #Leo&KateWho?

 

24059438_10210792273988480_214884726616287574_o

Giving the fans the photo they want #attractive

 

24068841_10210792271788425_4311485905149571329_o

Jersey Shore got nothing on us

23960800_10154934330461338_238904365_o

My first Thanksgiving – basically Christmas minus the presents

 

P_20171111_162817

What beauties!!

 

 

As you can see, life here is top notch! I’m heading to Grenoble next weekend which should turn out some crazy stories so keep and eye out for my next post 😉

 

La vie en France

So, if you haven’t already heard, I moved to France!! For the rest of the academic year I’ll be working as a language assistant in two high schools. Me teaching children, who would have thought? I’m living in Pau which sits in the foothills of the Pyrenees, it’s also wine central so it can only be described as a 100% win-win.

22095298_1710500602336022_1836903240_o

The funiculaire with the mountains in the distance!

 

I’ve already managed to find my own flat in a residence which is specifically for young workers, so meeting people has been very easy. Although, I’m kind of tired of people asking if Scotsmen really go commando under their kilt… I also had some luck at the bank and managed to open an account. I’d heard a lot of horror stories about how difficult it was to open one but it couldn’t have been more straightforward. I even managed to bag some free home insurance so I felt obliged to go back the next day with some shortbread to say thanks. I’m 110% their new favourite customer. I have to go back again next week to give the manager my French phone number, I think it might be for admin purposes but I’ll assume that it’s because she fancies me…

21908266_1704037999648949_784084982_o

View of the mountains at sunset from my flat window….

 

You’ll all be happy to know that I’ve made some new pals but don’t worry I’m not replacing you! I’ve been out almost every night since I got here, mostly with other assistants and some Erasmus students. But, we managed to make some new French pals who are keen to go for a drink (or two) this weekend. I’ve also had to take the art of pre-drinking to a new level. A pint here costs at least 5€ whereas 10 beers from le supermarché will set you back a mere 2,80€. I’ve found a new local (sorry Ark) called Le Galway and even though it’s and “Irish” bar, the staff are all French which means I can practise the lingo.

I went for a coffee at a cafe last week to find out the guy who served me plays for the local rugby team (Section Paloise) and was on the winning NZ squad for the 2015 world cup. He also has 80,000 followers on insta (#famous). His wife runs the place but I think he just stepped in to lend a helping hand. Pau is a small town but it is definitely full of characters! There’s also been a few funny nights out but I’ll spare you all the details for another time.

I don’t start work until Monday but I’m going into one of my schools tomorrow to meet the other teachers and find out my timetable – praying for a 3 day weekend. I’m only an hour from Biarritz, so hopefully can try some surfing there and then when winter comes head to the mountains for le ski. 

I think that’s all to update for now so I’ll leave you with some pictures:

21909060_1704037979648951_1951281950_o

Winners of Tour de France (Pau stage) painted on the road

 

22127230_1710533835666032_894065247_n

Pink Umbrellas in the main square for breast cancer awareness month

 

22092648_1710531798999569_599638788_o

Cool little side street

 

21908886_1704037902982292_36054329_o

Panoramic view from the Boulevard des Pyrenees