269. There are pandas and there are pandas.

I’ve made it a habit here to frequent places where I can find Chinese people to chat with. Around the corner from a friend’s house, there is a little Chinese supermarket where you can buy cheap beer, which is why he goes, or chat with the absolutely lovely owners, which is why I go. They speak very little Italian and no English, so it’s the perfect opportunity for me to go in and make myself understood. Continue reading “269. There are pandas and there are pandas.”

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268. Lightening over the sea is one of the best things to watch in the world.

I have an incredibly unlucky track record for visiting beautiful coasts and having it rain constantly. Okinawa – rained. Jeju – rained. Langkawi – rained. I am also incredibly unlucky when it comes to having big storms coincide with a decision to go hiking. Almost every single extended hike I have done in the past year has been timed perfectly with some of the biggest rain showers that particular country has seen in recent years. But, every now and then I’m blessed with the opportunity of either a perfectly clear day or a perfectly impressive one. This weekend I got both. Continue reading “268. Lightening over the sea is one of the best things to watch in the world.”

267. Check the cinqueterre off your list, but go beyond the famous five.

If you’ve ever read a book about where to go in Italy or even just scrolled through the Italy hashtag on Instagram then you’re sure to have heard of the Cinqueterre. Five beautiful fishing villages on Italy’s Ligurian coast. There’s no denying that these colourful little villages are worth at least a little of your time, but if you’re like me then the novelty of catching a train from overly touristic, crowded villages with every other person who has come across an Italian guidebook will wear off pretty quickly. They’re beautiful, but there’s so much more to see in the area.  Continue reading “267. Check the cinqueterre off your list, but go beyond the famous five.”

266. Your comfort zone will follow you.

(Queue a relatively deep post.)

On Saturday night, I headed out into Torino. I met new people, was introduced to new things (drinks) and curled up at 6am the next morning with a gorgeous Italian who I have been getting to know here. It was great.

Whilst out, and this seems to be happening increasingly to me whenever I get talking to people, I was asked about my adventures of the last few years (many), my plans for the future (few) and then the general assertion that I must be really brave and that they’d love to live the kind of life that I live everyday if they could only summon the balls to actually do it. Continue reading “266. Your comfort zone will follow you.”

265. Try cross country skiing.

If you haven’t noticed it quite yet about me, I very much like to be outside. And so, if I am offered the opportunity to do something outdoors, regardless of what it might be, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll decline. This weekend, I was given the opportunity to try cross country skiing for the first time. I’ve seen it on the winter olympics many times and thought it looks simple enough, is clearly an amazing workout if you do it quickly and you get to be in the mountains (aka: sign me up). Continue reading “265. Try cross country skiing.”

264. Torino might just be perfect.

I know I have this terrible habit of falling in love with places very quickly. Hong Kong was perfect, London was perfect, Taiwan was more perfect and I imagine I’ll think a lot more places I spend extended periods of time in are perfect but this time I’m using the word intending the actual meaning rather than just throwing the term around. Torino might just be a perfect fit. Continue reading “264. Torino might just be perfect.”

263. Go to the cinema, go on tours and only eat with people who don’t speak your language.

It is my biggest pet peeve in the world that Native English speakers don’t bother to learn other languages (generalising). You don’t need to be fluent, you don’t even need to be good, but you can always give the basics a go if you visit another country – particularly if you intend to actually live there.

Why is it that if you visit Hong Kong or Taiwan or even Switzerland, most natives can speak three languages before they’ve even reached seven years old. And most other countries, at least have their English to a respectable standard.  Continue reading “263. Go to the cinema, go on tours and only eat with people who don’t speak your language.”

262. Being on virtually the same time zone as your bestie is great.

If you move around a lot then you tend to meet a lot of people. Often, it’s fleeting, sometimes it’s lonely and sometimes it’s exciting to be be sitting around a table with poeple from all walks of life. But, given all of this, it’s very important to make sure you have those close few people that have your back no matter where you end up in the world. I am fortunate enough to have collected the best of them so you’ll have to settle for the seconds. I’ve picked them up in various places – one on the doorstep of a grimy apartment block in Hong Kong’s busiest district. Another, on a tea plantation above the hills of Taipei. My oldest, in the classroom on the most awkward first day of highschool.  Continue reading “262. Being on virtually the same time zone as your bestie is great.”

261. Italian driving is the same, if not a little better, with alcohol.

If you’ve ever had the ‘pleasure’ of driving Italy’s roads then you’re sure to know what a madhouse it is. It is, quite simply, terrifying that, as a sweeping generalisation, an entire nation of people can collectively drive so dangerously. It’s like MarioKart with your eyes closed and instead of mushrooms and bananas you just shoot hand gestures and cuss at each other. Continue reading “261. Italian driving is the same, if not a little better, with alcohol.”

260. After living thousands of miles away, just being on the same continent feels like home.

In some ways, the more you travel the bigger the world gets. Suddenly, you find yourself amongst people who have been here and there and somewhere along the way your travel bucket list is longer than you’d ever thought it could be (mine was already going to take me a lifetime), filled with names of places and numbers of people you didn’t even know existed. On the other hand, traveling and moving around a lot makes the world feel a lot smaller. I think a lot of people think that upping and moving to a new country on a regular basis takes a lot of balls because you’re going far from the people that love and care about you, but the truth is, nobody is ever really that far away in the 21st century. If you find yourself in a situation that you’re not happy in, the simple fact is that you can jump on a plane back home whenever you want. Sure, it costs a little money, but you can always make more of that. Continue reading “260. After living thousands of miles away, just being on the same continent feels like home.”