#45 – See the Mona Lisa

‘Mona Lisa looks as if she has just been sick, or is about to be’ – Noel Coward

Sorry to be stereotypical here, but a visit to the Louvre will always end up turning into a hunt for the Mona Lisa. It’s an interesting piece with a conflicted history, although I always wonder how much of the mystique surrounding this particular Da Vinci work is borne from the attention and focus that was placed upon it by my formative years in school.

Saying that, unlike the Louvre, the Mona Lisa is purely on this list so it could be ‘ticked off’ due to how much emphasis was placed on its “magisterial nature” whilst at school. There was no attachment, or even desire at all. The most apt description would be “going through the motions”.

At the end of the day, it is a piece of art. Not the best piece of art but, that doesn’t always matter, does it? Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is effectively the art worlds equivalent of the fashion industries designer labels. It may not be of the best quality, but it was a created by an acclaimed hand.

Plus, like the Louvre, I can say I have seen the Mona Lisa. I don’t know, but that seems to carry a bit of weight, especially with those who aren’t connoisseurs of the art industry (much like myself).

 

To see my complete bucket list, click here

#44 – Visit the Louvre

What’s the name of that famous museum in Paris? The Louvre?
I went through that place in 20 minutes
– Peter Falk

Growing up, the Louvre if often fantasised about as one of the “must-sees” for any trip into Paris – especially for art lovers of all backgrounds. The diversity of styles, and the eras that are represented are well documented, as is the vast underground and overground space that it consumes.

Although I had been to Paris previously, the opportunity to visit the Louvre always escaped me, which I found rather irksome. So, when I went to visit my friend Heather in October 2016, getting to the Louvre was a top priority which – thankfully – she was in agreement with me on. (more…)

Callum’s 2017 Adventures: Great Ocean Road & Grampians 2D1N Tour pt.1

If you have come looking for an article that will given you an in-depth and detailed travel guide to both the Great Ocean Road and the Grampians National Park then I apologise, because you are sorely mistaken. However, if you have come looking for a little information about possible places/landmarks to visit (and some kick-ass photos to boot) then continue reading about my recent journey, courtesy of Wildlife Tours Australia.

Although I left the UK to travel, I came to Aus on a working holiday visa, so I could to top up my bank account and earn some money to help fund future travel plans. However, working full-time can be quite a bore, so you do need to do things to stop you falling into a rut. Fortunately my job allows me every second weekend off and, since I am living in Melbourne, I decided to use those weekends to try and get myself completing some of recommended activities for the area. One of these happened to be the Great Ocean Road, something that I wasn’t quite able to do on my previous visit back in 2015. As the whole weekend was free, I thought I’d splash out and go for the tour that included a visit to the Grampians as well.

The Great Ocean Road officially starts in Torquay, but if effectively takes you from Melbourne to Adelaide (or vice versa). It is known as one of the worlds greatest scenic drives, which shouldn’t come as a surprise because, well, you spend the entire time with the ocean on one side of you. (more…)

#42 – Go to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

‘Edinburgh is a beautiful city and has
a wonderful tradition of supporting the arts’
– Peter Hambleton

I’ve always had a wonderful relationship with Edinburgh. When I was younger I didn’t appreciate the city quite as much as I should have done, but ever since my 18th birthday I have put in a lot of effort to get to know it better.

It’s due to my mothers branch of the family that this connection to the city exists. Although born in Essex, they relocated to just outside Edinburgh (a place called Musselburgh) when she was like three or something. Anyway, they are still there and my mum still holds a strong affinity to Scotland.

One of Edinburgh’s biggest attractions is the fringe festival, one of the largest arts festivals in the world. (more…)

#40 – Watch a show on London’s West End

‘The way the world is, I think a silly evening in the theatre is a good thing,
to take our minds off terror’
– Tim Curry

I am a very fortunate man. The older I get, the more fortunate I realise my childhood was, especially when it came to the arts. Although my parents weren’t involved in creating art directly, they ensured that I was constantly exposed to it.

Now, I’m not exactly sure when my first West End performance was, or what it was. All I know is that I have been fortunate enough to have seen plenty of shows there. In fact, I once tried to make a list of all the pieces of theatre I have seen and just ended up completely lost because not only have I seen them all over the country, but because every single London show that has a UK tour ends up coming to my hometown – Milton Keynes.

I do have a couple of favourites though. Ben Elton’s We Will Rock You because, well, Queen songs. (more…)

#34 – Learn how to drive a car

‘Always focus on the front windshield
and not the review mirror’
– Colin Powell

It’s like a coming of age thing in the UK, learning how to drive a car. As you approach your 17th, your peers and family start going crazy. Questions are thrown at you left right and centre;

  • “Have you arranged your provisional license yet?”
  • “Who are you going to learn with?”
  • “Will you go private or through a company?”
  • “Are your parents going to get you a car? What car are you going to get?”
  • “Will your parents put you on their insurance like mine did?”
  • “Is your theory test booked?”

Like, seriously. It’s crazy. The questions are never-ending and everyone asks the exact same thing. Honestly, if you’re not careful you could end up like a deer caught in headlights – just stood, staring at the people who are obviously saying words relating to learning how to drive, whilst your jaw kind of hinges open with a little bit of saliva in the corner.

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#32 – Win a photography competition

‘Photography is the story I fail to put into words’ – Destin Sparks

This one is a particular favourite of mine, because I never actually expected it to happen! No, it wasn’t a “professional” competition. Yes, it was an internal competition for my photography society rather than an external competition. No, it was not in the “advanced” category but instead the “intermediate” category.

Even still, I was the youngest member in the society and – in comparison to plenty of others – very inexperienced and limited in my techniques, especially when I first began.

What made my results at the start of the 2016/2017 season so surprising was my poor performance at the end of the 2015/2016 season not long after I joined. I mean, I was learning new tips and tricks every week that I could utilise and spent more time working on crafting and staging a photo rather than just “taking” one, so I felt even more energised by the improvement in my scores as it meant that I was further developing and improving as a photographer.

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(Untitled thoughts of one thinking about missing luxuries)

When I first set out to write this post, it was to be about certain luxuries from back home that I have missed whilst travelling. Some of these can be quite obvious, from family meals to pieces of clothing (such as my suits). However, the more I thought about it, the more I found that one element dominated my thoughts over every else.

See, whilst I do indeed miss several things, I find it is the absence of my dual screen set-up that I miss the most. More often that not, this comes upon me whilst either wanting to write a blog post or edit photos.

Unfortunately, I am someone who – unless overcome in the moment – requires a constant distraction whilst I work. Whether it be music, a film, or a TV show, I find I often work better with something happening in the background. My favourite is either a film or TV show because whilst it is simultaneously a visual and auditory distraction (more…)

(Untitled thoughts of one who is feeling inspired)

Inspiration truly can come from the most unlikely of sources when you least expect it. It’s not like I have been in need of any inspiration recently, because I feel more focussed and more driven now than at any point since leaving the UK. But it’s always nice to find something that will push you just that little bit more.

Which brings me on to something I came across this morning, which hits home harder than it may have done this time last week, due to the events in Manchester.

Whilst scrolling through FB to see how my friends back home and across the world are getting on, a trailer video for a Ch4 TV show – “First Dates” – popped up (odd premise in my opinion but hey, I don’t get reality TV at all). Anyway, this video focused on a first date between an older gent and lady. The gent was discussing how he’d lost his wife 7 years previously, as well as one of his children who had been in their 30’s. This was then (more…)

#30 – Get a Piercing

I wouldn’t say getting a piercing was a mistake, or a regret. It was something that, at the tender age of 18 I needed/wanted to have done.

Both ears. One piercing in each. A second piercing added to the left ear during the Olympic Flames tour through the UK in 2012.

I don’t wear them anymore of course, I removed them in the autumn of 2013. It was time.

Still, it’s one of those things isn’t it? They are still open mind you, if I ever decided to stick some metal back through them again.

 

To see my complete bucket list, click here