family

#106 – Visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa

‘I’ve been to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It’s a tower, and it’s leaning.
You look at it, but nothing happens,
so then you look for someplace to get a sandwich’
 – Danny DeVito

Truth be told, Danny DeVito hits the nail on the head with this one. In fact, the accuracy can be acknowledged by the fact that the second time I ended up in Pisa I didn’t even want to bother visiting the tower, however I made my way there with my then-girlfriend so she could experience what all the fuss was about – and I mean “fuss” in the most sarcastic of ways.

Anyway, you’d have to go all the way back to 2010 and a day trip from Florence to Pisa for the first time I visited the Leaning Tower and its Duomo. Apparently either during – or perhaps after – construction, the tower began to sink due to the ground being unable (more…)

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#90 – Be the ‘Best Man’ at a Wedding

On Saturday January 29th 2011, the evening before turning 50, my Dad proposed to Helen (my now step-mum) during a celebratory dinner at our favourite local pub-restaurant, La Collina. Present that night were myself, Helen’s parents, and Helen’s brother with his family.

On Friday 1st July 2011 I celebrated my 18th birthday with my whole family for the first time. However, unbeknown to me, a single present was held back by my Dad and was instead given to me at a small BBQ at his that following weekend. The present was a book titled (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…)

#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…)

(Untitled thoughts of one who has been away for six months)

‘The two impulses in travel are to get away from home,
and the other is to pursue something’
– Paul Theroux

On Wednesday of this past week I celebrated my six month ‘travel-versary’. That’s right. Six months ago I left my family, my friends, and my country behind in order to start afresh. To go on an epic trip abroad. To see and learn as much as possible of the world around us that I can.

Like many others, it’s a trip I decided to do alone, but not a decision I made lightly. Yes, I am having an amazing time in a country and culture that I continually learn about every day, but being so far away from the people you love and care about isn’t easy. Still, thanks to various forms of social media, it’s easier than ever to stay in contact and even though it might not be as frequent as some of them would like, every conversation satiates me and helps me push on.

Creating goals has helped as well. Of course, these goals have taken form in some sort of extended bucket list which, in turn, is going to become a new extension of this blog page.

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(Untitled thoughts of one who strongly dislikes saying goodbye)

I haven’t posted in a while I know. That isn’t due to a lack of possible content, but more because I feel there hasn’t exactly been anything to post. Until now that is.

What you’re about to read won’t be pretty, elegant or eloquent – after all, it is part of my ‘Untitled’ collection – but it will be brutally honest about my opinion/feelings on goodbyes, drawing on personal experience with the odd observation added in.

First of all, I would like to make one thing clear, goodbyes suck. At least, in my opinion they do. The dictionary definition for goodbye is: “an expression of good wishes when parting or at the end of a conversation”. To be honest, I think this is pretty weak. I believe that J.M Barrie hits the nail on the head in Peter Pan when he wrote “never say goodbye, because goodbye means going away, and going away means forgetting”. It is a poignant line that has stayed with me for many a year. Why? Well, because it is true.

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The boy who moved away

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things,
trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself,
changing yourself, changing your world.
You’re doing things you’ve never done before,
and more importantly, you’re doing something’

– Neil Gaiman

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Sitting atop Mt Ngauruhue with my mascot, Khaleesi

In my 2015 year review, the boy who started to live, I finished my post with the above quote by Neil Gaiman. If anything, it is more relevant for 2016 than in any year previously.

Why? Because over the course of this year I have made mistakes. Some were negative, but others did lead to positive outcomes. That is just on the surface though. If we look at it as some sort of checklist then;

  • Making new things? Check
  • Trying new things? Check
  • Learning more about the world around me? Check
  • Pushing yourself? Check
  • Changing my world? Check
  • Doing things I’ve ever done before? Check

If we measure 2016 against this then, without doubt, it is my most successful yet. That shouldn’t come as a surprise though. I may be extremely fortunate to have ended up in my current situation, but it didn’t come without sacrifice and hard work. So, as the year pulled into its home strait and the emotional goodbyes were had, there I was. One a plane bound to New Zealand. Now here I am in Australia, my home for the foreseeable future.

When I say it that way, it just seems to cap off a very strange year. Not so much for me, but just in general. Those working in the newsrooms have certainly earned their keep in 2016, because when there wasn’t tragedy striking at the heart of Asia, Africa or Europe, then there has always been another high-profile death. There was no such thing as a slow news week either because, if there was nothing new to report regarding the above elements, then the various forms of media outlets could always fill their boots with Brexit and the rise of Trump.

As I said, 2016? A very strange year. On a personal level though, I have to admit, it’s been pretty great… which is probably an understatement.

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A Very Aussie Christmas

Christmas 2016 is one I won’t be forgetting any time soon. Not because it was the first Christmas I had featuring the Australian half of my family, and not because it was my first Christmas outside of the UK, but because it was Christmas that took place in the middle of summer.

Rather than piling on the layers and filling myself with Bailey’s & Hot Chocolate, I was jumping in a swimming pool and watching the sunset whilst on the beach. It was odd. It was surreal. It was different.

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Callum’s 2016 Adventures: Edinbrugh, Scotland

I always feel that when I come to Edinburgh,
in many ways I am coming home – Alan Rickman

I’m not really sure that I can call a trip up to Edinburgh an ‘adventure’, purely on the basis that I have been there so many times when visiting my family. The thing is though, with each visit, I experience something new about the city. It’s always the same and yet… different.

My long weekend trip back in June followed the same trend.

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The Museum of Broken Relationships

“The Museum of Broken Relationships grew from a travelling exhibition
revolving around the concept of failed relationships and their ruins.
Unlike ‘destructive’ self-help instructions for recovery from failed loves,
the Museum offers a chance to overcome an emotional collapse through creation:
by contributing to the Museum’s collection”

Based in Zagreb, Croatia, the Museum of Broken Relationships should be at the top of any would-be visitor. As mentioned in my previous post on Zagreb, the museum provides its audience with an exhibition that is harrowing and tragically beautiful in equal measure. It’s no wonder then, that it was the recipient of the 2011 Kenneth Hudson Award for the Most Innovative Museum in Europe.

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