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Callum’s 2017 Adventures: Phillip Island 1D Tour

‘Take a waddle on the wild side’Phillip Island Penguin Parade

Heh. Every time I see that quote it makes me chuckle. Anyway…

I won’t deny that my decision to take this tour on my 24th birthday was born out of pure nostalgia because, well, it was. And even though Phillip Island is home to more than just the Penguin Parade – it also hosts the Australian Moto GP on its Grand Prix Circuit – it is for the parade that I took this tour. After all, it is something I had seen when I was first brought out to Australia by my dad and step-mum on my 6th birthday, hence the nostalgia making me want to visit once more.

As with the Great Ocean Road and Grampians tour (pt.1 & pt.2), this Phillip Island tour was arranged through Wildlife Tours, although it didn’t require quite as early a start as the last tours! Nevertheless, I still ended up spending the majority of the drive fast asleep.

As the Penguin Parade doesn’t occur until after sunset (more…)

#51 – Watch the Olympics Live

‘”Inspire a generation” is our motto. Not necessarily “Create a generation” …
which is what they sometimes get up to in the Olympic village’
– Boris Johnson

Although my sport of choice is football, there is something special about the Olympics. I know it, you know it, we all know it. After all, these are athletes at the very peak of their powers, performing in the largest – and one of the oldest – sporting events in the world. Plus the opportunity only comes around once every four years!

Although I know I watched some of the 2004 Athens Olympics, it was the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games that really captured my attention. (more…)

(Untitled thoughts of one who doesn’t say thank you enough)

“You don’t know what you have got until it is gone”. A common phrase that everyone will have been told at some point or another. It’s applicable to pretty much all walks of life as well, from the unsung hero, to the all-rounder at work, to that friend who may fly under the radar but will never let you down when you need them most.

Most importantly, it’s a phrase that should resonate strongly when it comes to your family, especially your parents. At least, it does with mine. All three of them. And it is especially prevalent when it comes to social media interactions. (more…)

#47 – Visit Stonehenge, England

‘Why the ancient civilizations who built the place did not
use the easier, nearby rocks remains a mystery.
But the skills and knowledge on display
at Stonehenge are not’
– Neil deGrasse Tyson

If I’m completely honest, I have a very fuzzy memory of my trip to Stonehenge. I was quite young at the time, possibly not even a teenager, but certain parts of the day do remain crystal clear to me. The first of these memories centres – unsurprisingly – around food.  More specifically, cold sausage sandwich with ketchup for breakfast at sunrise. Honestly, when it comes to insanely good breakfast foods to have after an early start and a journey, never underestimate a good old tasty cold sausage sandwich.

The second thing I remember – or believe I remember – is that at the time of our visit there was either some construction work or excavation work (more…)

#46 – Visit the Eiffel Tower, Paris

‘The Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower. They’re monumental.
They’re straight out of Page 52 in your school history book’
–  Billy Crystal

The Eiffel Tower. The “Iron Lady”. A single structure that is synonymous with both Paris and France. This iron behemoth was once the worlds tallest structure, and is as beautiful as it is intimidating. Moreover no visit to Paris can be said to be complete without seeing it and, even though I have been several times now, my most recent visit was my favourite.

Previously I had only ever visited the tower during daylight hours, but Heather reminded me that at night it lights up, with a beacon at its peak, shining through the sky. So on a beautiful autumn evening we found ourselves gazing up at at the illuminated body (more…)

#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…)

#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.

(more…)