fun

#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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#85 – Drive a Jetski

Jetski’s. Are. Awesome. They really are.

As someone who doesn’t do much driving, hitting the waves on the back of a jetski was a really amazing experience.  I did this up at the Whitsundays in 2015 following an early morning skydive.

The jetski tour was all across the bay, taking us to several little tourist spots. Although you can fit two passengers on a jetski, since I was on my own I was riding by myself. The tour itself lasted for around 2hrs and, as I became more confident, I became more adventurous, taking more risks, including cutting across waves to get some airtime! (more…)

#24 – Take a ride in a helicopter

‘The helicopter: the flying carpet of the Scientific Age’ – Michael Hampson

Helicopters. They really are something. If you haven’t been in one before, I implore you to do so at some point.

I was quite lucky I actually got to ride in one at all actually. It was the only way to get up to Franz Josef Glacier, and then get back down again. Considering that the FJG Ice Hike isn’t able to take place under poor weather conditions – and there had only been 8 hikes in the previous month – I was worried that it wasn’t going to happen at all. So, when it did… happy days!

They are pretty things you know. Agile. Sleek. Speedy. Smooth as hell when it comes to take off and landing.

Like I said, Helicopters. They really are something.

To see my complete bucket list, click here

(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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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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Callum’s 2016 Adventures: South Island, New Zealand pt.2

I was in New Zealand and met this girl. Her sister dared me to bungee jump, so I did!
It was a spur-of-the-moment decision.
I wanted to impress the girl, and it worked!
– Theo James

Queenstown: 07.12.16 – 08.12.16

Queenstown, adventure capital of the world. Home of endless activities, mountains of food and hours of drink. Queenstown should come with a warning really, something like ‘beware, once you arrive you may never want to leave’.

My time in Queenstown was split by a day trip to Milford Sound, so I’ll split up my writing about it in a similar fashion.

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Callum’s 2016 Adventures: North Island, New Zealand pt.2

‘There’s a real purity in New Zealand that doesn’t exist in the states.
It’s actually not an easy thing to find in our world anymore.
It’s a unique place because it is so far away from the rest of the world.
There is a sense of isolation and also being protected’
– Elijah Wood

Hobbiton: 20.11.16

Without doubt, the Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tour is a must see for any LotR and Hobbit fans. Not only do you learn some amazing behind-the-scenes information, you also discover the insane attention and care that was put into ensuring every detail of this set was absolutely perfect. If that isn’t enough, then there is also a pint of ale or cider at The Green Dragon thrown in for good measure!

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Callum’s 2016 Adventures: North Island, New Zealand pt.1

‘New Zealand is a country of thirty thousand million sheep,
three million of whom think they are human’ 
– Barry Humphries

The back end of 2016 saw me begin the biggest adventure of my life thus far; moving abroad. The destination? Australia. My flights were booked, my visa paid for and granted. I was all set to go. But first there was somewhere else I needed to be. New Zealand.

Beginning in Auckland, I had given myself just shy of 6 weeks to travel through both the North and South Island’s, finishing down in Christchurch. It was a lot to fit in in such a small space of time and help was definitely required.

After my success with Oz Experience whilst travelling up Australia’s East Coast the previous year, I made the decision to book myself onto a Kiwi Experience bus pass. Fortunately – due to some fantastic discounts on offer at the time – I was able to purchase the ‘Whole Kit & Caboodle’ pass, which included the additional passes for the Bay of Islands, Milford Sound, and the Deep South.

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Callum’s 2016 Adventures: Paris, France

‘Paris is the only city in the world
where starving to death is still considered an art’
– Carlos Ruiz Zafón

If you haven’t done so already, I would really encourage you to take the Eurostar. Not only does it visit plenty of destinations, if you pick the right trains it can be very inexpensive. For example, my return trip to Paris cost a grand total of £61 – and that includes a £3 booking fee.

The purpose of my visit to Paris was to see a friend of mine – Heather – who I had met in my hostel in Edinburgh. As I had mentioned in that earlier post, I had just clicked with everyone I met in that hostel and – with my upcoming trip to the other side of the world – it felt like an opportunity to good to turn down.

Rather than stay in Paris, I booked an Air BnB in Fourqueux, which can be reached via Saint Germain-En-Laye. I’d 110% recommend staying here as not only is it affordable, but the host is just one of the loveliest people you will meet.

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