As a city boy when I go away I want to be in nature…so it might seem strange going to Dublin! You would be wrong however, within a 40 minute bike ride you can be in some truly spectacular nature.
My suggestions for a long weekend in Dublin’s nature by cycling ( a must!):
- Route 1-Howth coastal walk. From the city centre head to Clontarf Road where it’s just one long road to the Howth coastal walk, along the way you’ll see some amazing coastal views. When you get to Howth Balscadden view point park your bike and then just follow the coast for the epic sights
- Route 2-to Bray. Similar to Howth this is a cycle route along the coast but this time head up to Bray. From the city centre head to Rock Road. Then it’s just one road along the coast taking in the sights until you can’t cycle anymore
- Route 3-Dublin mountains. There are a number of trials on the mountain. I would personally suggest doing one of the Ticknock loops. I personally did the long loop as the views were amazing (See photo). To get here can be a little tricky. Look for Ticknock Road and off it you will see a marking on the map called biking.ie. This is the place to park your bike and the start of the trial. In essence once you find the trial keep to the left and you will do a loop, around 14km.
Top tips- get a bicycle with a very good seat and bring snacks… you are going to need the energy.
The sky stretches grey in the sea of umbrella’s, the clock ticks and tocks…time to go go go go.
London can be a real strange old place and when you first move here…or in my case move back you can find yourself feeling overwhelmed and often lonely. Its strange in a sea of people it can be so hard to make a connection.
Its OK, don’t despair because London can be one of the best cities to live in the world. However you have to be pro-active.
How you ask?
- You need to create a connection to the city to make friends (they won’t just come to you) there are a lot of way to do this, I have personally being using a website/APP called meetup.
- Peace in the city-Find parks and green space, you’ll be amazed at the great walking spots in London-London even has a walk that navigates the whole city, obviously don’t attempt this in one go.
- Get the right place to live-I’m not going to sugar coat it finding in a place in London sucks!!! But don’t despair get the right place. I personally find it essential in mark 2 London to be outside of central London for the tranquillity but of course I need a quick link into central London.
- Don’t try to save for the first year-one of the biggest mistakes I made when first living in London was to try to save. There is only one way forward with London is to experience experience experience. This comes with a prize tag.
Remember its never too late to truly enjoy London. You need to be pro-active!
I found myself this week almost falling into bad habits that I had hoped I shaked.
It was a cold and miserable week in England, I found myself stranded in a hotel for the week and not in the best of moods. At this low point I was starting to take my work home with me! Not in the physical sense which I have been very disciplined over but mentally .
The reason I mention this is because as most things if you want certain things in life you have to work for them. In my case I wanted that work life balance which is so important to my wellbeing. This week confirmed the danger of falling into old harmful patterns, which was the whole point taking a year off to rediscover my passion for life.
In this case it was about focusing my energies.
- Firstly, it was about clearing my mind which was one of the first lessons I learnt travelling.
- Secondly, it was about focusing my attention. In this case it was about reconnecting with travel friends and concentrating on filling my life with something outside of work.
So you ask what was the point of this story? Well the point is even when have a life changing event that helps redefine your life things don’t automatically change. Its about putting in hard work to make the lessons stick.
Finding a place to live in London can be tricky. When you have such a shortage of accommodation the goods ones go fast, and even if you find a good one it doesn’t mean the people are nice/normal.
I have been experiencing the tricky obstacles of navigating this maze. I haven’t found anything yet that was available when I want it, yet every house I have seen so far has been good quality.
What to consider?
- Central vs. Outer London– assuming your budget is the same. Central London offers excitement but is also likely to be in a smaller flat vs. Outer London offering an oasis from the chaos and some large ‘house’ house shares. Remember London has such great transport links that even being in outer London doesn’t mean its hard to get to your favourite hangout spots.
- Look for key words– words like home, friends and easy going. Having the right housemate makes such a massive difference. People who treat the accommodation as a home instead of a crash pad will pay in the long run.
- Live-in landlords– On the onehand they will look after their home but ulimately they are the boss. It can often feel like being a second class citizen in these types of shares.
- The viewing– Obviously ask questions about the bills etc but the most important ones is to find out about the people. Find out about routines e.g. work hours, hobbies (if you like quiet and they play the drums its not for you) and about house rules as these can end up being strange…..
Most of all, if possible, give your self time, in London you have to kiss alot of frogs before finding the right one.
I have been travelling now for almost 10 months (10 amazing life changing months). One of the questions I often get from friends back at home aren’t you fed up with travelling now. I understand that question completely of course, but its a strange question when every new person I meet on the whole just wants to travel forever. So I thought I would try and explain the two sides via quotes.
“I would rather have a passport full of stamps than a place full of stuff” Vs. “A man (or woman) travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it”
“I wake up each new day and wonder what I will discover next” Vs “nothing is better than going home to family and eating good food and relaxing”
“Home life is no more natural than a cage is to a Cockatoo” Vs. “There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort”
“Travel makes one modest- you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world” vs “The ache for home life is in all of us , the safe place where we can go home as we are and not be questioned”
“Travelling leaves you speechless-then turns you into a storyteller” vs “Home is where one starts from”
Where do you stand on the debate?
I have been restless lately…
In my gielded cage I wake up in the dark to see the day go bye. Back to the coldness of my crafted structure.
Then snap. I’m trapped.
With one big knock the walls crumble down. Left is a path of dust.
I stumple and turn with a smile on my face as realisation hits, i’m on the right path.
A journey of uncertainity to help discover beneath the surface.
Creating memories anew of people, sights and sounds.
I hit the centre of this giant maze. I have found the truth of my uncertainity.
It is simply balance. Then realisation, i’m truly restless.
So this post is very different from my usual articles but felt it was worth a post. For all my life I have lived with the concept of quality over quantity. This extended to having a few good friends rather than lots of more shallow relationships.
I have been recently let down by some of said friends and although I brushed it off as I do most things, secretly I was very let down.
One definition of friendship is mutual affection between people. Which made me think can you expect anything beyond this from a friend?
I think of the amazing people while travelling and have been reflecting on some personal characteristics. Do I get too emotionally attached to my friends? Am I too hard on people? In our busy mobile society are deep friendships worthwhile? Is my energy better spent on continually meeting new exciting people?
I think these questions beyond everything else I am learning will be the essential ones when rebuilding the life I want to live. Think of your own relationships, do they make you happy? do they add value? do you still want to be friends with this person?
It has just been over three month’s travelling solo and it made me ask some questions. Have I enjoyed myself? Yes. Am I still having a good time? Yes. Am I missing home? On occasion. Have I found what I am looking for? No but I am starting too. So I thought I would share a few personal reflections.
The essential nature of balance in my life– I need excitement offset against calm.
People offset against me time. Travel offset with times of stillness. In essence when I return to whatever I decide to go back to I need to work (yes it wont just happen) to find balance in my life.
People help fulfil me– eefore this journey I was becoming more introverted and like a Hermit, I had lost sight of people. I realise my personal preference is small groups of people, especially new people.
The great outdoors– before this trip I had convinced myself a good time involved civilised cocktails at an overpriced cocktail bar. I realise I am most at peace outside whether hiking, climbing, swimming, mountain biking etc.
I really cant sit still– something in my personality dictates I can’t just be still.
In the last decade this has manifest in trying to make dramatic changes in my life (this adventure a prime example). I have come to realise its because I have an insatiable thirst for the new. How I balance this with whatever new life I create will be essential for happiness. How to accomplish this is something I have another 9 months to think on.
I never think I am good enough…not sure how to resolve this one yet!
I will do a full guide to Rotorua soon, but I had so much fun in the Redwood I wanted to share. The Redwood is South of Rotorua town and is perfect for two things: Hiking and Mountain biking.
I personally did the latter with the aid of an electric mountain bike, and had so much fun. The forest had trails from children to level 6. I am inexperienced in mountain biking and managed to get to a level 3 on the way up but going down I found it very difficult.
So why go? Views, a serious workout and some good old adrenaline
So I have spent four days in paradise. Everywhere you look there is another stunning view. However just a tip this area is best explored with a car.
Coromendel:Unfortunately I only drove through this area on my way to Waitianga, but the views (forests, hills, seaside’s) were to die for. Consider a stop off at Coromendel town for further exploration.
Waitianga: This is a good central place to allow you to explore. The town itself is a bit basic but there are plenty of good quality hostels (I loved my hostel On the Beach Backpackers Lodge) and other accommodation.
Hehei: From Waitianga you can catch a ferry towards Hahei- there are so many beautiful beaches to explore however my top recommendations:Hot Water Beach (shuttle bus-don’t bike I almost died from exhaustion), dig a hole in the beach and hot water fills it, it was super relaxing. It advises that its only usable two hours before and after low tide-however I was there three hours after low tide. Cathedral Cove, you have to hike down to the cove, which in itself has stunning views. The Cove has two little golden beaches and some coves you can go inside- the best part are the views (picture in this blog)
As always check out all the latest photos on my instagram.