The musings and misadventures of a girl unprepared

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Travel Playlist

WARNING: this post contains a few guilty pleasures and some proper tunes. So please be nice and don't judge (too much).

I've included videos of a few of my favourites and sorted them into 'travel moods' for you all because I'm just that lovely. Tell me what you think and add your own suggestions at the bottom so I can look them up! I'm a big music geek so will give anything a listen :)

The excitable 'I'm just getting on a bus/plane/train and heading off for a new adventure to a place I've never seen before' feeling.

Train - Drops Of Jupiter (My ALL TIME favourite song)
Joshua Radin - Road To Ride On
Amy Studt - All I Wanna Do
Be Your Own Pet - Adventure
The Beautiful South - Perfect 10
Bowling For Soup - 1985
The Donnas - Dancing With Myself
JET - Are You Gonna Be My Girl?
Five - Keep On Movin'
Jackie Wilson - Reet Petit
The Jam - Town Called Malice

Basically, anything with a good beat that you can seat-bop and air guitar to, maybe even belt out to the pleasure of your fellow passengers.

The 'right, it was exciting at first but now I've been on this bus for over 24 hours and it's starting to take the Michael' feeling.

Biffy Clyro - Lonely Revolutions
Cage The Elephant - In One Ear
Stereophonics - Maybe Tomorrow
The Enemy - Away From Here (To be honest, the whole 'We'll Live and Die In These Towns' album is epic)
Florence And The Machine - Shake It Out
The Hives - Hate To Say I Told You So
Matchbox Twenty - How Far We've Come
Reel Big Fish - Everything Sucks
Kings Of Leon, on repeat. They're my fav. so I'm not really picky.

Philosophising over lifes most important questions because you are so in awe of everything you've seen and experienced. The feeling that there's so much you didn't know and you didn't even know that you didn't know it.

'Life is about love, last minutes and lost evenings,
About fire in our bellies and furtive little feelings,
And the aching amplitudes that set our needles all a-flickering,
And help us with remembering that the only thing that's left to do is live'

Frank Turner - I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous
Joshua Radin - Streetlight
Bombay Bicycle Club - Always Like This
City And Colour - The Girl
Damien Rice - Rootless Tree
Dido - Thank You
Steven Fretwell - Run
Feist - When I Was A Young Girl
General Fiasco - Sinking Ships
Noah And The Whale - L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.

The 'wanting to kill everyone you're travelling with because spending 24/7 with the same people can sometimes drive you crazy' feeling.

Absolutely anything by Rage Against The Machine.

The amazing 'life is so good right now, I'm the luckiest person in the world' feeling, when you've just woken up to another day of sunshine and you're getting ready to go and explore.

Paolo Nutini - Coming Up Easy
Electric Light Orchestra - Mr. Blue Sky
Ben Harper - Steal My Kisses
OMC - How Bizarre
Michael Franti & Spearhead - The Sound of Sunshine
John Mayer - Free Fallin'
Olly Murs - Dance With Me Tonight
Vampire Weekend - Oxford Comma
Train ft. Ashley Monroe - Bruises
Newton Faulkner - To The Light
McFly - Star Girl
Oasis - She's Electric
MGMT - Kids

The 'I wish I could go home for just a few days then come back because I'm having so much fun but this homesickness sucks' feeling.

Blink 182 - I Miss You
Michael Bublé - Home
Coldplay - Everything's Not Lost
City And Colour - Sleeping Sickness
Joshua Radin - Brand New Day
The Fratellis - Babydoll
Katie Melua - I Cried For You
KT Tunstall - Silent Sea
Nerina Pallot - Halfway Home

Because it's OK to be a little bit sad sometimes.

The 'I just want to sleep. PLEASE JUST LET ME SLEEP' feeling.

This is a list of albums rather than songs, because when I'm sleeping I like the continuity of a voice and style and the predictability of what's coming next. It's purpose is to lull rather than to entertain. It also serves as a soothing distraction when there are drugs raids in the middle of the night or the couple in the room next door are having a very loud and violent domestic.

Grimes - Visions
Rosi Golan - The Drifter and the Gypsy
Corinne Bailey Rae - Corinne Bailey Rae
Snow Patrol - Final Straw
Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly - The Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager
Ed Sheeran - +

Friday, 19 April 2013

Responses and Recommendations

I've received a few more related videos and articles in response to recent posts and I figure you lot may find them as interesting as I do, so I thought I'd share them with you... enjoy :)

Dierks Bentley - Lot Of Leaving Left To Do

'These old boots still got a lot of ground
They ain't covered yet
There's at least another million miles
Under these old bus treads
So if you think I'm gonnna settle down
I've got news for you
I still got a lot of leavin' left to do'

A friend sent me this song when I was feeling down about not having been able to leave the UK in so long. Very country/bluegrass and I love it. Music and travel really do seem to go hand in hand. Ooo I feel an idea for a future post coming on...

Lonely Planet - Germany Do's and Don'ts

I was sent this since I seem 'to have a slight obsession with the place'. Well observed. This article made me giggle though, pretty accurate from what I've observed. Also additional information on the Prost thing; NOT making eye contact is believed to result in seven years bad sex. Not gonna make that mistake again are you?

16 words we don't have in English

This is another response I received on twitter from the lovely @imogenchristina to my post Awesomely Untranslatable. I think the amount of words in these various videos and articles demonstrates the serious limitations the English language has. We need to get inventing more words guys!

It's still new and exciting for me to get responses to posts, so thanks to everyone who keeps sending me things!

And a few blog recommendations...

Antics Down Under

My friend Katy is currently travelling around the North and South Island of New Zealand to and from Auckland, then heading to Cairns and Sydney, Australia. So far she's become a Hobbit and taken part in a 15,000ft sky dive. Serious wanderlust related envy going on here.

Feels Like Freedom

This blog belongs to Ann-Sophie who I met on an exchange to Germany a few years back. It's all about her travels around the USA and Thailand with lots of pretty pictures to accompany it, which makes it just as accessible to all those who can't speak German.

NY to London: Chronicles of a Traveling Sista

This is my flatmate Shay's tumblr page about her time as an exchange student in London and travels around Europe. An interesting read for those both in- and outside of the UK, as it's kinda cool to see your country from a traveller's perspective :)

Dutch Man Walking

I met Pieter when in Atlanta last year, at the start of his Appalachian Trial adventures. It's now over a year since he started so I think it's a appropriate to share this again. He finished the hike in September so there's no new updates, but I don't believe this man will be without future travelling exploits. (Oh, and it's in English too, which is very considerate of him)

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Decisions, decisions... HELP ME

I'm currently in a major dilemma about what I should do with my summer. I've been deliberating for a few months now and have changed my mind so many times that my head is starting to hurt. So I have decided to open it up to you guys, to see if you can cure me of my ridiculous indecisiveness.

What I really want to do is get a job and a flat somewhere in Germany with some of my course mates, so I can save a little and improve my German. I've applied for quite a few positions to no avail so far, though I'm not giving up just yet. However if that falls through I need another plan in place so that I'm not stuck with absolutely nothing to do.

I have a few different options to chose from...

1. Go home to Preston, smile sweetly at my old boss and try to get my old job back, work my ass off to pay off my student overdraft and start saving for trips to Philly and Newcastle, AUSTRALIA, to visit my besties who are studying abroad for a year. However the cons are that Preston isn't terribly exciting and most of my friends will be off galavanting around the world... Plus I haven't left England since November, so I'm getting a little twitchy.

2. Stay in London and keep my job here, maybe look for an internship. I wouldn't be able to save as much as in Preston due to paying rent but it would mean I wouldn't have to faff around with getting my job back in September. Plus I'd get to experience living in London in summer without the studenty aspect which would be interesting. However I'd have to try and get my housing sitch sorted which sounds terrifying... Though I suppose I can't avoid it forever anyway.

3. Travel Europe with my flatmates. This is the provisional plan:

(NB I know Budapest is in Hungary not Bulgaria, my friend is just a silly billy)

Unfortunately I'd be missing Scandinavia and joining around 12th June. Obviously the pros are I get to travel to new places and the itinerary looks AWESOME but then I'd be very poor by the end of summer and jobless. I also have a ticket to Hideout Festival in Croatia at the end of June (fits into the plan perfectly!) so it'd be a case of selling my ticket if I couldn't go. AND that's the last chance I'd get to hang out with some of my home friends before they go away for a year.

4. Another option is to just go to Hideout festival, whilst working in Preston/London, but this raises the issue of whether they'd give me the time off to go...

Basically the question is the degree of sensibleness I should take in making my decision. Being sensible has never really appealed to me if I'm honest, life is all about taking risks and doing what makes you happy. However in this scenario, I have to consider that I can't do what makes me happy if I'm broke. SIGH at being a grown up.

Please comment/message me/slap me round the head. ANY help or advice would be greatly appreciated. In the mean time, I'm off to enjoy the London sunshine :D

Monday, 8 April 2013

Living in London

'Guess what I do for adventure? I hand-glide on a Dorito.'

I've been thinking about writing this post for a long time and have completed loads of drafts that have eventually been discarded, due to a general lack of theme/content/anything at all interesting. However I've FINALLY come up with an angle I like (and I hope you do too), for tips about living in London that can be useful to not only us poor students who have to survive here, but for tourists and travellers too. This post is also potentially going to turn into a series - OoOoOoOoOoooo - since I'm going to be here for the next three years, so I figure I'll probably have more to say in the future.

Ok, so the video at the beginning of this post is supposed to inspire you to first of all, think creatively. Life in London and especially the student experience isn't like that of any other city (well in the UK, sorry I've never lived any other country!) Going out to bars and clubs is extremely expensive and even if there is a 'student' night with 'cheap' alcohol and food, you're only going to be paying the regular prices of your home town at best. This means that you're not always going to be able to afford to go out and are going to have to think new ways to pass away your free time.

Two rather obvious suggestions are themed flat parties and investing in board games. Even so, these are two great ways to get together with friends over a couple of drinks without even having to leave the comfort of your home, as long as you don't mind having to spend a fair amount of time cleaning up afterwards - at our 90's party someone had a butter fight with the fridge... Makes for a funny story though!

Also due to the freak weather at the moment, we've had plenty of opportunities to have fun in the snow and embrace (y)our inner child. I would say apply this to all areas of life. Dance in the street, practise a rounds of 'Doh Re Mi' in the taxi til driver tells you to 'shut the hell up!', give out free hugs, sing your favourite songs in public and try/fail to harmonise with your friends, laugh at unnecessary volumes, have lengthy chats with complete strangers on the tube... Do silly things, have fun, make people smile and get strange looks from boring people, you're NEVER going to see them again anyway. If you're not hurting anyone and having fun, who cares what anyone else thinks?

I've tended to find that the best places to go out aren't always the ones advertised all over your university bulletin boards or the ones who bombard you with flyers. In fact, the majority of these events have ended in disaster for me and my friends. So my tip to you would to be say yes to (almost/within reason) everything. At university and around London there are so many interesting people to meet and unusual places to go, that you are more than likely going to be invited to something that you've never heard of or tried before and even if it doesn't sound like your cup of tea... Don't knock it 'til you've tried it. It might be a pleasant surprise. So here's a few of my favourite and possibly underrated places to visit, which I would have never discovered had I not accepted an invitation from a friend...

The Top Secret Comedy Club with Shoot from the Hip! in Covent Garden

This event is every Tuesday night at 8.15pm and I can sincerely say I don't know when I have ever laughed so hard. It's four guys doing stand up, improvised comedy for around 2-3 hours. The skits are decided by audience suggestions and steadily get more ridiculous as everyone gets more drunk - the drinks are pretty reasonably priced too! This particular skit was actually acted on a suggestion by a friend of mine. Oh, and did I mention it's FREE?! I'd recommend it for anyone really, a great night out with your mates and it doesn't finish too late if you want to have an early one or carry on to another bar.

Click here for the website and information on other events

The Gladstone Pub, Borough

This little place is a tad difficult to hunt down but well worth a look in. With a lovely cosy atmosphere and again, reasonably priced food and drinks and free live music three times a week this place is a great venue to just chill out and relax after a long day.

Click here for the website and upcoming gigs

The Slug and Lettuce, Various Locations

I know this is a well known chain but I'd just like to alert any cheapskates out there to the half price Monday offer, which is half price off ALL FOOD. It's pretty yummy too.

Cubana, Waterloo

I've been to this place a couple of times, for a friend's birthday and another time for a rather... interesting date. But that's another story. I'd recommend the Woo-Woo cocktail, though try as many as you can, they're not too expensive and get you rather giddy. The food is DIVINE. No exaggeration. Get in early though or book if you have a big party because it fills up quick!

Click here for the website

Finally, day trips. As I work every weekend I don't get much chance to go out during daylight hours, however when I've been lucky enough to get a weekend off I've managed to explore a little bit. For those of you who are like me and can't hack staying in the same place for prolonged periods of time, university can become a little frustrating. However, there is nothing to say that we can't create adventure for ourselves, even within confines of where we live. I like to act like a tourist as often as I can and find that, combined with the knowledge of my city, makes for really exciting adventures.

My university, King's College London, has an organisation called Unlocking London, which organises events and experiences for students at extremely discounted prices. For example I went up the shard a few weeks ago for just £9!!

(Instagram emilynicolastorey)

It's definitely worth checking out whether your uni does a similar thing.

The Markets

London is famous for its vast array of markets which are spread all across the capital. I'm lucky enough to have Borough Market just around the corner, with its wide variety of fancy and tasty foods, but I've also ventured a little further a field. My favourites so far have been Brick Lane and Broadway Market, both of which I explored with my two lovely girlies from last term.

Miss you guys!

The others are obvious suggestions, such as the museums, art galleries and other attractions (Big Ben, Buckingham Palace etc etc) which are often disregarded by residents as tourist attractions. Undeniably, they are, but that doesn't mean to say they can't be enjoyed by the average Joe.

My last tip would be to walk everywhere as it allows you to see lots of pretty things you'd otherwise miss if you were to take the tube. Here's a few of my favourite snaps I and my friends have taken along the way...

(Instagram mitchellckc)

I hope you at least enjoyed this post and maybe even found something useful to take away from it. I reckon a lot of these tips can be applied to other cities and not just London, so hopefully there's something for everyone. Until next time, keep smiling :)