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…

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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..).

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

 

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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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!

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Playa de la Concha

 

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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!

 

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Hiking in the Pyrenees.

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

 

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Giving the fans the photo they want #attractive

 

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Jersey Shore got nothing on us

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My first Thanksgiving – basically Christmas minus the presents

 

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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 😉

 

Winter in Alicante

Alicante in the Costa Blanca, Spain is a vibrant little town with heaps to do. I found a return flight with Ryanair for a total of 17 pounds just before christmas and couldn’t help myself. I stayed at X Hostel and it was amazing. Check out this video montage I made of my time there!!

Mad(with it)ness in Madrid.

Madrid. The Spanish capital famous for flamenco and sangria in mass quantities. I spent 4 nights in this incredible city at the end of June with some mates I went to school with. Despite it being 35℃ for most of our trip – a temperature most Scots have never experienced – it was so so good.

Hostels are probably the best places to stay when you go to a major city like Madrid. Not only will you meet loads of amazing new mates but you’ll often have endless opportunities to see and do things at a much discounted price. We stayed at Way Hostel and it is genuinely the best hostel I have been to. Ever. The staff were so friendly and remembered you by name – something chain hostels don’t have time for. There was a real sense of community in the hostel as over 70% of guests were solo travellers. This made meeting new people incredibly easy. I even found out that not all Australians watch Home and Away (can you believe it) and that they refer to sex as “putting one through her”. Banter. Also, smaller independent hostels like Way genuinely want their guests to have an amazing time unlike many chain hostels whose main aim is to make a large profit. If you plan on staying in a hostel, stay here. There are endless amounts of activities on offer from Flamenco nights to Pub Crawls and even a day trip to the town of Toledo – a  UNESCO World Heritage Site!!

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Drinking games at the hostel. Who can say no to free Sangria??

A great way to see Madrid is on foot. Many hostels will provide free (tip based) walking tours and you’ll find out so much more than you would on the overpriced bus tours. Again, if you’re travelling alone or just want to meet new people, the walking tour really helps you do that! The walking tour we done took us to all the top places like the Royal Palace, the Opera and the Cathedral. However, we also got to see some places that aren’t typically included in paid tours such as the “Beverly Hills of Madrid”. At the end of the tour our guide told us of all the places to avoid and recommended where we should go for food and drinks. She even invited us to lunch with her at a local restaurant which was so good. I just don’t think you’d get this type of experience with the better known tours.

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The Royal Palace, so Royal that not even the King lives there..

The fact that there are no beaches in Madrid shouldn’t put you off visiting. If you’re looking for a cool spot to sunbathe and go for a swim then check out one of the city’s many public pools. The weather was so good when we visited so we wanted somewhere to cool off and relax. We chose to go to a public pool around 20 minutes from our hostel by foot, which is not bad, especially when the weather is so nice. The entry fee was €5 but this included somewhere to store your belongings. You could choose from two different sized pools and there was areas where you could just chill with some snacks. There are lifeguards too so don’t worry if you’re not quite Michael Phelps.

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Piscina Municipal Peñuelas. A great place to get away from the busy city centre.

Nightlife in Madrid is incredible and I mean fucking out of this world. I recommend you start your night by going on a pub crawl, either one at your hostel or some other hostel. Clubs or Discotecas don’t open til around 2am in Spain so you’ll have plenty of time to get out your tits by the time the doors open. We visited Madrid during the week and were told it wouldn’t be that busy. I would like to see it on the weekends because, fuck me, it was busy! But in a good way. On Monday we decided to go to the Fucking Mondays event at Independence club. It was amazing, entry is €10 but that includes 2 drinks. Beers are around €2 and Jägerbombs are also €2!! The place is huge and plays a mixture of English and Spanish chart music. However, be aware, the DJ shouts “Fuuuuckinggg Mondayyyyysss” into his microphone like every 15 mins and it’s so so funny. Me and my mates still mock him when we’re on nights out. I would also recommend going to Planet, where for €10 you get unlimited Sangria or Beer for one hour, check out EnBabia club too.

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Clubbing with a group of French-Canadians at EnBabia.

Other cool spots to check out are Sol, the main meeting point in Madrid. It has lots of street performers that are worth checking out. Also, Retiro Park is a must see, it’s huge and also has row boats that you can rent at €5 for 45 mins. If you have time, visit Prado Museum, where you can see some of Picasso’s work! Don’t forget to drink unhealthy amounts of Sangria and beer whilst your in Madrid!!!

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On the row boats at Retiro Park.

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