Travel, Uncategorized

Solo Travelling

So you have your heart set on going somewhere but you have a problem, no one wants or can go with you. The very thought of passing up this opportunity or missing out on your dream trip can be horrible, and leave you in a devastated state with a bunch of what ifs playing on your mind for the rest of your days. But why should the fact no one can travel or join you make you miss out on what could be an amazing life changing experience? The answer is simple, it shouldn’t!

For several years I was always finding cheap getaways online and finding trips abroad which I was desperate to go on. I never did half the things I wanted to do or go to 90% of the places I desperately wanted to go to for the simple fact that, well, I didn’t want to go on my own. This held me back so much. It was killing me inside knowing that I love travelling and had a chance to visit so many different places but just couldn’t because “my friend’s couldn’t”. But not that long ago, in a spur of the moment decision I booked up a single return to Berlin. I just did it, I decided in that moment it was now or never and just went ahead with it. Shizer! That put me in a position where I had to go, or else I would lose out on money, the trip and also further potential bookings. This was a massive step in the right direction and I would emphasise that if you’re ever in that position then go ahead and do it, you will look back in the future and thank yourself for it.

Now of course the very thought of travelling alone can be daunting and scary, it’s only natural to feel that way. It’s funny that when we see a potential opportunity our minds simply focus on the negative elements rather than the positive ones. That was my problem, I grew up in a rough area so my first thought was always “what happens if someone jumps me or mugs me or something even worse?”. Obviously there are some dangers out there in the big bad world, but I’ll go into more detail further down the page.

If you are seriously looking at solo travelling then honestly go ahead and do it. The biggest regret you will have is not doing it. Honestly, you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve when you step outside your comfort zone.

Meeting people:

One of my biggest fears about travelling alone was about meeting people. What if no one speaks English? What happens if they don’t like me? What happens if I have nothing in common with anyone? These are all genuine fears but there’s no need to panic. On my first solo trip I went to Berlin which is an awesome city! But I had all those negative thoughts about meeting people, I spent a lot of time being anxious before I left and when I got there. Fast forward 12 hours from when I first got there and I was like a zombie crawling in the door of my room at the hostel at 05:30 in the morning after having an absolutely amazing night and meeting some awesome people!

There are a good few ways to meet people when you’re travelling, here’s a little list of some:

  1. Pub crawl – I’ve discovered on my travels that many hostels/hotels do pub crawls within the area you’re visiting. Even if the place you’re staying at doesn’t there is sure to be one nearby. Pub crawls will cost you some cash but they are definitely worth it.
  2. Go online – with apps such as tinder and grindr, meeting people close to you is now easier than ever. If you want to try and get to know people prior your arrival why not try searching Facebook for the place you’re staying at to see if there is anyone else like yourself that has written on it. Online forums are usually filled with people looking to meet people, they’re definitely worth a look in aswell.
  3. Face to face Conversation – the hardest but at the same time easiest way to meet people. Staying in a hostel, especially in a shared room you are bound to engage in conversation with the people you’re sharing with. If you smoke, if someone is out having a cigarette at the same time you are why not try and start a conversation? Don’t be scared to talk to people in bars or clubs, or attractions. Making small talk with people can be hard but it can sometimes lead to good friendships.

Travelling by yourself can have it’s perks. The freedom of being able to do what you want, whenever you want, however you want can be amazing! Being able to just get up and do what you want without having to worry about if your friends want to do it or not is great. But, at times it will get tough. If you are going to somewhere where English isn’t the main language it can pose a whole lot of problems. Transportation, currency, and a whole load of other things can cause problems too. When travelling alone you have to make sure you are well prepared well in advance. Here are a few useful tips for planning your trip.

  1. Language – if it is a foreign country you’re visiting, try learning a few useful phrases before you go. Or take a back up list on your phone or on a piece of paper.
  2. Transportation – definitely worth a look into before you go. When I arrived in Berlin it took me over an hour to get the right train, after asking about 10 people and spending about 20 minutes on Google trying to find the right train to take. If you research what trains, buses, trams etc.. You need to take and their times before you go it will save a lot of time and stress for when you get there.
  3. Emergency supplies – when I travel, I always take a few extras just incase of an emergency. I take a small torch, rain poncho, hand warmers and a small first aid box. There is an extremely low chance I’ll need them and they take up a little room but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Taking things such as toilet roll and a pen and paper can always be handy depending on where you’re going aswell.
  4. Documentation – to be on the safe side it is always best printing out confirmations or bookings you have made. Taking more than one copy for things like your boarding passes is ideal aswell, if you keep them in separate places then in the small chance you lose them you should have a backup waiting for you.
  5. Know where you’re going – I know this sounds kind of obvious but it is important you do as much research before you go as you can. Finding out the distances between where you’re staying, attractions, means of transport amongst other things should give you a rough idea. Looking on things like Google maps and perhaps taking a few screenshots or printouts should also help you should you become lost or lose your Internet connection.
  6. Staying safe – regardless of where you’re going, you have to always keep your wits about you. Do a little reading into the area you’re going, see what places people tell you to avoid or that are high in crime. Find out if any crime in particular is common at certain places and be sure to avoid venturing into any neighbourhoods or alleyways that look dodgy. If you’re out after dark always try and stick to well lit or populated areas, and make sure you know where you’re going.

Solo travelling is honestly a life changing experience, you will be amazed at how much you learn about yourself and how much your confidence grows from doing it. You will not regret it, you’ll look back in the future and simply thank and be proud of yourself for going ahead with it. It took me years to finally pluck up the courage to do it, and since then I’ve been a further two times with another two booked for later dates. It is such a big step but it’s definitely worth it. Sometimes you’ve just got to decide to do it, otherwise you’ll look back in years to come wishing that you had. I hope this has helped and if you are going to go on a solo travel of your own, Happy travelling!

If you are looking at travelling and would like to save as much cash as you can check out:

https://outsideofthewell.com/2016/01/12/travelling-on-a-budget-2/

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Educational, Gaelic, Uncategorized

Scottish Gaelic Phrases

Are you interested in learning Scottish Gaelic? Or perhaps you’d just like to know a couple of words or phrases? Learning Gaelic is now easier than ever. From multiple books, apps, TV shows, and youtube videos to councils and universities offering courses. Gaelic is going through a bit of a revival at the moment and interest in learning this beautiful language is growing more and more, day by day.

Scottish Gaelic, is a notoriously hard language to learn. It is nowhere near as simple or as basic as the English language. The Gaelic alphabet only consists of 18 letters, which means there is no J,K,Q,V,W,X,Y, or Z. There are a lot of differences regarding verbs, nouns etc… So it can be a bit of a head nip to learn.

I have written out a small list of phrases with their Gaelic spelling and their pronunciations in English written underneath them aswell. The pronunciation is written the way it sounds in English. These are some fairly basic and common phrases but hopefully they will give you a better understanding and help set you off in the right direction.

For example:

How are you (English) – Ciamar a tha sibh? (Gaelic)
Kimmer uh ha shiv (pronunciation)

Fine, thanks – Tha gu math, tapadh leat
Ha goo ma, tappuh let

Where are you from? – Co às a tha thu?
Coe ass uh ha oo?

I’m from (Glasgow) – ‘S ann à (Glaschu) a tha mi
Sa-oon a (glass-choo) uh ha mee

What’s your name? – Dè ‘n t-ainm a th’ort?
Jaen tannam uh horsht?

I am (John Smith) – Is mise (John Smith)
Iss meeshuh (John Smith)

I’m pleased to meet you – Tha mi toilicht’ coinneachadh ruibh
Ha mee tolleech-tch koen-yochugh roo-eer

Excuse me – Gabh mo leisgeul
Gav mo lishk-yal

You’re welcome – ‘S e ur beatha
Sheh our beh-huh

I don’t mind – Tha mi coma
Ha mee coe-muh

I’m sorry – Tha mi duilich
Ha mee dooleech

I love you – Tha gràdh agam ort
Ha gragh ackum orsht

Do you speak gaelic? – A bheil gàidhlig agad?
Uh vil ga-lick ackut?

Yes/no – Tha/chan eil
Ha/chan yil

Good night – Oidhche mhath
Uh-eech yuh va

Cheerio – Cheery
Tchee-ery

Good morning / evening – Madainn mhath/feasgar math
Madeen va/fesskur ma

That’s good – ‘S math sin
Smashin

Who is this/that? – Cò tha seo/sin?
Coe ha shaw/shin?

Introduce us – Cuir an aithne a chèile sinn
Koor un ann-yuh ch-yaeluh sheen

My goodness! – Mo chreach!
Mo chreach!

Congratulations to the both of you – Gu meal sibh bhur naidheachd
Goo m-yal shiv voor neh-ochk

Our music our language – Ar cànain ‘s ár ceol
Ar kahnan sar k-yawl

Keep Gaelic alive – Cúm Gàidhlig beò
Koom ga-leek b-yaw

For anyone genuinely looking to further their Gaelic skills then i’d highly recommend “Everyday Gaelic” by Morag MacNeil, which is an excellent book that is so easy to read and understand. Glasgow university offer courses aswell as do most of the councils in Scotland, with most of the council courses free. You have to book well in advance though as they have a tendency of becoming fully booked very fast. If you have access to BBC alba then it is always worth a watch, there is a programme called “speaking our language” which is well worth a watch.

Suas leis a’ Ghàidhlig!

Uncategorized

Life without a phone.

How breaking my phone turned out to be a pivotal learning point in my life.

Technology these days, becoming more and more advanced they can baffle even the greatest of minds. Pretty much everything you need can be compacted into a handheld device. Telephone, internet, camera, apps games etc… Mobile phones these days have pretty much everything you could ever ask for. They are a life saver! But are they really though? I recently broke my phone and in the short hours that followed i found myself in an unfamiliar situation, a period of panic and anger almost like a lost puppy looking for it’s owner. The more i thought about it however, i realized it was potentially a gift rather than the curse i was so greatly focused on.

It started when i dropped my phone out of my pocket on a recent road trip i was on, the screen cracked all over instantly and the touch screen was completely ruined. To make matters worse however i then decided to leave it lying on my roof as i went to open the boot of my car about ten minutes later, crushing the phone and jamming it between my boot and the body of the car. It seemed that subconsciously i was hell bent on destroying my phone, although i think it was pretty obvious luck had abandoned me that day!

Thoughts were rushing through my head at this point, what if someone needs to phone me or vice versa? What about the pictures i have taken, the articles and notes i had written? Is all the music gone from my phone, the passwords for different accounts i have saved to remember me as i had forgotten them? And most importantly, what about my tinder matches? Will i loose them all? Panic and feeling helpless had became my main emotions at this point. So many hours of work, memories and effort gone into this little device we call our phones, all to be lost forever!

We went for dinner not long after i had unintentionally ruined my life (at least that’s what it felt like at the time anyway) and i was forced to do the unthinkable… Socialize with my friends. I know, the horror! In 2016 a man being forced to engage in conversation with his acquaintances around a dinner table whilst on holiday instead of not talking and everyone being glued to those tiny screens in their hands. What a nightmare eh?! Whilst conversing i thought about the current generation at the moment. The generation that i firmly believe will suffer in a social aspect in years to come. Phones have made it so easy to talk to people now that face to face chats are becoming a thing of the past. That may sound a bit extreme but it is partially true. Think about it, how often do you see a group of people sitting at a meal or in a pub or wherever and they’re all on their phones? Now that i didn’t have one i was noticing it more and more and was slowly realizing i was one of these people. Seriously though, i can’t remember the last time i spent a day or night with friends without checking my phone at least ten times. Text messages, facebook, snapchat, instagram, whats app notifications etc.. There always seems to be something happening on my phone. So been given the chance to actually sit and talk to my friends (albeit the majority of chat was mainly jokes directed at me for having broken my phone) it was actually, pretty nice to be honest.

Over the next few days i discovered i had been more productive without my phone than in the last month with it. I was able to study for work, do a lot more research on several topics i was interested in and finally read a book that i had bought a month before. No distractions, no constant pinging or vibrating and my focus was on what it needed to be rather than something of no relevance. It was awesome. I was managing to do more studying and research in one day than i would previously have done in a week, which is pretty crazy!

I noticed as well that my sleeping had improved greatly over the short period without my phone. Since i was young i have always had problems sleeping. Most nights i stay up late reading comments on Facebook posts or reading blogs etc pretty much everything rather than sleep. When i finally put my phone down and try and sleep, I’ll toss and turn for a wee while before checking my phone again and repeating the same process over and over again. Finally getting to sleep about two hours after i had intended to. Without my phone however? I’m forced to go to sleep when i go to bed, no distractions or notifications to keep me up. Something which annoyed me at first but once i realized the improvement of my sleeping i embraced it with open arms.

It really puts things into perspective when you look at it from a different angle. Instead of focusing on the negatives which to be honest tends to be my thing, i was able to look at the positives and the potential benefits that can come from an a thing you think has no benefits.

Being in a positive mood and thinking with a positive mindset was not what i expected the outcome of breaking my phone to be. The withdrawal symptoms, and the fear of change that had initially taken over when it first happened i thought would stay with me until i got my phone back. However, after the experience and the different frame of mind i was now in i was happy to have proved myself wrong. Although i was severely devastated to have lost all my information and months of hard work, i learned a valuable lesson. My phone shouldn’t have control of me, it shouldn’t dictate how i live my life and my world should definitely not revolve around it. It’s not the end of the world loosing or breaking a phone, it can be a well needed kick up the arse to help you focus on the things that matter. I’m glad i broke my phone in truth, as it has helped me open my eyes and see just how much i can achieve without it but also how much of a hold it had on me in the past. I have definitely learned a valuable lesson and will make sure i don’t end up as addicted to my phone in the future as i was in the past. If you are on the same page i was I’d encourage you to at least think of how much of an unneeded impact your phone has on your life. We have survived for thousands of years without phones, and I’m pretty confident we would continue to survive without them for many years to come.

Controversial, Uncategorized

The problem with the MSM and independent news outlets.

For many years now I have been an avid follower of many independent/unorthodox news outlets. I used to (and am now ashamed to admit it) be a keen follower of certain mainstream media outlets such the sun, daily mail, Fox and the BBC etc to give me information and keep me upto date with what is happening with the world.

I used to take everything the mainstream media said as Gospel, I was a sheep consuming every little last word they told me. A drone, incapable of making my own mind up and believing every single article I read. Which was in the long term creating a hateful and resentful mindset which was changing the very beliefs and views I pride myself on and stand by.

For example, a good number of years ago when I was around 16 I began reading articles from the daily mail with regards to Muslims. I was starting to believe that Islam was a hateful religion, that all the Muslims throughout Britain were trying to enforce sharia law and that they were all terrorists sympathisers with the same ideology. Because I was so uneducated about Islam I allowed this hateful, xenophobic propaganda to consume my thoughts and it soon began to subconsciously radicalise me. Luckily for myself, I began to do my own research into Islam and Muslims in depth. What I found was far from this “hateful group of terrorists” that I was lead to believe they were, I found a peaceful and misunderstood religion that was being held responsible for the actions of a very small minority of extremists. It was round about this time I started to have my doubts about what I was reading and watching, a blessing in disguise you could say.

Many other things happened which made me start to question the big news outlets and media, the main one for me was the BBC during the Scottish referendum. I honestly couldn’t believe how certain things were being covered as to the sheer blatant biased reporting in favour of the union. Being involved and present at a lot of events/incidents during and after the referendum I knew positively that what they were reporting was either blatant lies or a distortion of the truth.

For the last couple of years I have been following a number of smaller/independent news outlets on Facebook and online. Outlets which I myself truly believed were genuine and neutral, with journalists who actually reported things fairly. The main focuses on these outlets were things that I took a massive interest in, such as politics, equality, corruption and stories of what had happened that day all over the world. But within the last year I began to question what they were reporting, and the way they were reporting it. I myself, am a left wing type of person. This created a problem because the sites I was following I soon found out were the same, so I was getting my news from their perspective of it. Which suited mines. The problem being is that I wasn’t getting the whole story, I was getting propaganda. Some would post videos ridiculing or complaining about something someone had said, but when I watched the whole speech on youtube I began to notice they were editing parts of the speech to suit their agenda.

Most news outlets will lean towards a side. Left or right wing, liberal or conservative or will be a mouthpiece for a certain government, monarchy or company. Trying to find a fair and balanced news outlet is like trying to find a needle in a haystack, it’s extremely difficult but there is a chance you will.

As Denzel Washington once said, “If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you do read it, you’re misinformed”. That is a saying that is so so accurate, it is scary! The only advice I can give is that if you read a story or watch a video, find another outlet reporting on the same story or video and watch it. Make your own mind up about it, research into things yourself and absolutely question everything.

You have to bear in mind whenever you are reading an article, or watching a news story you are getting that story told from the journalist’s perspective and their respective employers own opinion on it. So even this article you’re reading which I have wrote has been written by my perspective and it’s based on my opinion. I hope for the people who watch or follow these outlets/pages that you question what you are reading or viewing in the future and try to get the whole story not just someone’s personal opinion on it.