Leaving on a jet plane...

ive just endured a big boy journey. a 38 hour UK to NZ long haul with a couple of stop overs. the joys of buying cheap seats and flying on xmas day aye?! i never really had another option. but its cool. i like it. i often boast that if i had a good book and my laptop and an endless supply of airline food and beverage, i could fly to nz and back again. people look at me strangely. but thats alright. im alright with being a little strange.

throughout the trip i pondered a few things that annoy me on long haul flights.

the first being airport announcements.

they are often an incoherent dribble in an undetermined language, rattled out over tinny speakers that ruffle my fuzzy airplane head.

ive had the unfortunate pleasure of falling asleep in some muggy equatorial airport and drifting in and out of consciousness like i was fluttering through a dream where my name was being broadcasted across a sea of people in a crowded space.

it wasnt a dream. i missed my flight due to the incoherent smack the attendant was dribbling. the speakers were shit. my name was severely distorted and i was left stranded with $2.50 in my pocket and no ticket out of a hole that i desperately needed to crawl out of. airport announcements, i know your trying to be helpful, but fuck, slow down, speak clearly and upgrade your bloody speakers so that they are audible.

the second thing that grates me are muffled farts escaping down the aisle.

the pockets of mouldy mustard flavoured waft casually linger around the aisles, bouncing off the compressed air compartments with no where to disperse.

come on. i know, in fact we all know, how good it feels to let one slip, in fact, the smell of ones own farty aroma is a pleasurable indulgence,a guilty pleasure, but christ, to gas out a windowless box with innocent fare paying strangers less than 5 cm either side of you.

come onnnn!!! cop on. dont drop it likes it hot. airplane food is rank at the best of time. after its passed through your bowels its even more vial.

say no to flatulence at 30000 feet. its far from flattering and it flounders...

that brings me to airline toilets.

no matter where you go, its usually a bombshell. the tiny cubicles inside the cabins, theres no room to swing a cat and certainly no room to drop a bomb.

theres no escape from an asian airline meal thats just been flushed down the loo at 30,000 feet. they should have neutral odor spray or something.

have you ever had to sit opposite the door of a toilet on a long haul flight? torture. you need a WW11 gas mask with industrial earplugs to stay sane.

and finally, babies on board.

yup. up there with the worst. upon boarding a plane and making my way to my allocated seat, my eyes are cast upon the seats around me, wheres the kids? the inevitable screaming little munchkins that are going to pierce my eardrums for the entirety of the journey. wails and high pitched screeches.

im acutely aware for little babies its a result of eardrums being tested so i concur its tough. but its not just the crying or the babies, its the kids kicking the seat behind me. its the constant bullshit chatter and niggly little arguments they get into with their siblings. its the waking up at 3am to watch the cartoons and talk about them until breakfast is served.

but i made it without loosing my cool. its all part of the parcel. long haul flights on a budget airline. you get what you pay for. fun and games....minus the console on air asia....

This made me laugh...

This made me smile

Will be back on the writing bandwagon pronto....stay tuned....

Been busier than this panda bear.....

Visual treats on a sunny Sunday morning...

Ive been mad busy lately smashing out assignments, assessments and even a couple of dirty 3 hour exams. Got plenty more on the horizon with the next couple of weeks sending me back deep into the books. Good times tho, learning is a beautiful thing. I like watering plants as much as I like feeding my brain.

Needless to say Ive been writing loads, but my blog has been neglected. So on this sunday morning with a pile of work ahead of me, I want to leave you with a few visuals. Sometimes more powerful than words themselves.

The man who rarely spoke, speaks louder than words...

Bit more upbeat, hitchhiking trip around the world...

Walking down portobello road yesterday with my sister, I noticed this, you gota love the bluntness of Banksy. He hits it where it resonates....

repeat after me:  I am free

And lastly, people are awesome.

The Anticipation of Travel.

Its an itch that scratches red raw. An urge that jolts me from my sleep. A reoccurring nightmare that I want to relive, over and over again.

Life in this city is great. Its vibrant and bustling with almost too much to do and see. If feels like there is a whole world on your doorstep. In reality there is. This is a crazy world, within the world. Its an assault on the senses upon walking out your door in downtown W1 London. But what my senses really crave is a true sensory experience. A real escape to a self-prescribed utopian land that dreams are made of. Whoever said 'We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us' couldnt of been more right.

Life escapes the majority of us. We wake up daily and get on with the days proceedings and then we rest our head down again later that night, wrapping it all up and storing it in the memory bank, appropriately labelled 'yesterday'. This process rolls like a tumbleweed across some peoples lives and thunders down the tracks like a snowball in others. We all play this game of life with a different twist. We all escape daily. Its just that the boundaries are different for all of us.

For that Im eternally grateful. My self imposed boundaries on life have been cast wide. I fostered an early desire to travel when I first possessed the means to be able to do so. It wasnt imposed on me, it was a choice. A desire. A relief to a personal itch.

I have travelled extensively. It surpasses anything I have ever done in my life due to the experiences Ive had, the people Ive met and the places Ive seen. I have attempted thus far in my short time on this earth to not let life escape me.

The days pass quicker each year however. I look behind me and see my youth slipping away in the dust that Ive kicked up. Settling over the roads that Ive walked upon, etching the memory of my footprints into history. My history as a human being on this earth.

Im a lucky man. My footprints have been left in some pretty amazing places. But the traveler within me knows that my feet would love to walk again. Theres only so much walking around London one can do.

But its not all melodramatic. Christ, youd think Id been padlocked to a wall for the past year. Ive walked the shores of Spain, France, Ireland and New Zealand and I feel like I havent even put my shoes on. I spose its that undying want for what you cannot have in a way. Cos if i had my way, Id eat peaches every day...

I have worn the dust of many foreign streets, but to brush it off would surely be a crime.
I have the memories of many foreign adventures, but to forget them, would surely be a sin.
So, breath in the dust, and keep the memories in.
- Rowland Waring-Flood

Walk on...

Flashpacking at a music festival...

Boasting & roasting the accolades for the 'Best UK festival for 2010', understandably there were high expectations for Bestival 2011 and suffice to say, they were all met.

Apart from maybe the blue sunny skies, but hey, where are we again....yup, the Poo-K.

Public Enemy perform on the Main Stage on Friday afternoon.
The best part about festival fancy dress? Wigs can cover up how disgusting your hair looks after a few nights of camping.

Last year, 55000 people set the Guinness World Record for the most people dressed at any one event.

This year, there were easily over 50,000 people and Saturday was reserved for the best dressed with all the beasts coming out of the bushes in their Sunday best.

Feeling a bit hungover? You can dance it off with a morning dance routine Mr. Motivator (or this oddly-dressed crew) at Bestival.

That's one use for old music magazines and vinyls...

There were countless highlights, but musically I would have to bow down to the legendary set played by DJ Shadow in the big tent, kudos to Chromeo for some old school quality.

Magnetic Man pumped out a fizzer and a comical Village People set were but some of the highlights.

Nope, that's not fancy dress. That's just The Village People, who brought hits like 'Macho Man' to life on the Main Stage.

Gutted I missed Primal Scream but thems the breaks at a festy loaded with numerous stages, tents and many many musical gods.

Our crew were all classically dressed in all sorts of outfits, until the heavens opened and the jackets came out sending us running for our.....wait for it.... "Boutique Camping zone"...

Yeah yeah I know, cringe cringe, whats that about. But this was a plan well-planned and as for the execution, well, it was kinda messy, but executed nonetheless....

The Octopad, was a saving sanctuary only 5min from the main stage, with its own block of clean toilets, warm showers and food stalls.

All of these amenities were seriously milked over the course of 4 nights, with 2 of those nights experiencing really shitty weather.

The Octopad (on the right) came with 4 beds and mattresses, wooden floors with carpet and electricity. Ha. Loose.

This was definitely Glamping at its best. 'Glamourous Camping.' An extension of Flashpacking ideals, this is camping with all the bells and whistles.

Now I realise I am getting older and with it comes concessions. I passed my 31st birthday whilst out 'Glamping' at Bestival. Whether the two are interconnected is something I will ponder over the days that will unfold before me.

I suppose I will just have to wait to see if my next travel adventure involves touches of Flashpacking. Only then will I succumb to the fact that things are seriously changing in my life hahaaaaaaa....

But until then, its good to try new things. Mix it up. Take an Octopad over a wet pup-tent.

Take a poo on a clean seat.

Choose life.

Choose a job.

Choose a career.

Choose a family.

Choose a fucking big television.

Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin can openers.

Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance.

Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments.

Choose a starter home.

Choose your friends.

Choose leisure wear and matching luggage.

Choose a three piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics.

Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning.

Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth.

Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself.

Choose your future.

Choose life . . .

Shit Happens... (in Colombia..)

The backpacking road is full of surprises.  

And sometimes, shit happens....

Journeys of potential-bliss can turn into freakish-nightmares in a matter of minutes. 
Such was the situation I found myself in on a sunny-Sunday afternoon staring out the window of a Colombian bus on a 22-hour journey towards Ecuador.

Shit happens

It all started back in Bogota at the Platypus Hostel as I was stuffing the last of my belongings into my backpack. 

I was out in the courtyard in a hurry to say goodbyes to fellow backpackers that I had befriended during my brief stay. Familiar faces, smiles and waves.  That goodbye-blur on a Sunday morning in a foreign hostel. 
No one really wants to engage you, its too early, its Sunday, acknowledgements are sufficient. 
The unspoken backpacker code murmured and nodded. Respect, keep calm and carry on.  


This Dutch dude pokes his head out of the door, I recognized his face hazily, I had seen him around, perhaps we had chatted, shared a few brews around the courtyard with the many other backpackers that stayed in the infamous Platypus Hostel in central Bogota. 
It was a Partypackers hostel, the type of place you meet some of the Gringo trail's interesting characters.

"Hey man, you going to Quito?!  its a long trip man, take these, they'll help.." 
and with that he stretched out his hand from behind the half-opened doorway.  I shook his hand, instantly noticing the press of a small packet in my palm at the same time.

"Sweet mate, cheers, good luck on your travels" 
and with that I was off to Ecuador...

Before long I was on the bus, belting into the lush countryside in the early hours of a relatively quiet morning for Colombian standards. We zipped past the outskirts of Bogota and into the wider green countryside of Colombia, or Locolombia as its often referred to by its inhabitants. 

San Agustin Countryside

I had the blessings bestowed upon me to sit besides a young women and her fat chubby son. 
El Gordito, he became quickly registered in my inner thoughts now spiralling out of control. 

‘Fuck it’ I thought.  He was restless. Big and burly. A right handful for his young mother. A notable presence wedged in between the pair of us.

"This little fatty bom bom is gonna piss me off
I caught myself quietly muttering out loud in plain english. And as if he heard my cue, he proceeded to drive his toy car up the side of my leg. A shy smile from the young mother and I found myself rebounding back her smile. He's cool, just a harmless youngster. I looked out the window from the aisle seat, only 21 more hours to go.  Shit...

It was two hours and thirty minutes into the ride when my hangover really started to kick in. 
The cumbia music thrashing out in the tinny speakers somehow had eluded my attention thus far, now it was grating the side of my tender head. 

I hadn't taken sleeping pills before on a long distance bus journey, but somehow the next few hours of fatty broomm brooomm driving his toy car up and down my leg and this ear piercing music was not going to cut the mustard. 

The trump card came in the form of two white pills. Small and tablety.  Knock-out-nuggets of savior in this hour of need, several hundred kilometers from Quito in a loud rickety bus with the stifling midday heat creeping up on us all. 

Chill pill!

I reached into my pocket, leaning up on one arse-cheek hanging out the aisle,  and in one smooth motion, dropped the pills in my mouth as I chugged on some of my luke-warm apple postobon. 

'Later gator' I smurked down at El Gordito...

My head must of lay dormant for a period of ten minutes, trying to shut everything off and slip into sleeptopia. I flipped over to look out the window. 

rurality bites #3 - the cows strike back

And the cumbia band played on. 

It felt like an hour and my pill action had bore no harvest, I was still awake. Fatty brroomm brroomm had been restless as per usual and the cows were still passing in the blurry rush outside the finger-marked window. 

I felt hungry but I felt sick at the thought of food. A wave of nausea swept over me. Ahh, could this be it I optimistically pondered, I dropped the shutters on my eyelids and lay my head back to rest.

No matter how much you butter it up, there is no way to describe the feeling when a sudden surge of diarrhea grips you. 

An inferno roars within you, tears through your innards and shoots down through your intestines at a lighting pace. Your stomach tightens and your sphincter is overcome with a sudden urge to relax, to release the immense pressure building up behind it. 
And its that very urge that you must combat and defeat within the 10 second onslaught of a flush of instantaneous diarrhea. 

If you let your determination down, you can kiss your dignity goodbye. 

No, this cant be happening, I frantically tried to regather my composure. The young mother and Andreas (fatty bom boms real name) had looked up at me, I must of lurched, squirmed or maybe even let out a terrified yelp. They smelt something coming...

I was so focussed on keeping the back door locked that I lost any sense of my movements and/or vocals. 

It took me 1.5 seconds to not only realise the gravity of the situation ahead of me but the catalyst responsible. 

I had been done. I had slipped down a double dosage of laxatives. 

The joke was on me. My thoughts were climbing over top of one another, I tried to sit up straight, I started to smile, I gripped the aisle hand rail, I took a deep breath. 

Thats actually quite funny I thought. I bet they are pissing themselves with laughter right now. 


This was going to be the mother of all battles. Fighting off a double drop dosage of laxatives whilst sweating out a hangover with loud music on an uncomfortable bus with an irritating seat partner driving his toy car up and down my legs every few minutes.

I took my breathing down and tried to scramble some thoughts together for a plan of action. 
I needed a toilet.  This was no flashpacker bus.  That luxury didnt exist.  

Sweat started to gather on my brow. I needed toilet paper. Nah first things first. No amount of Colombian one ply toilet paper is going to mop this badboy up if the dam bursts. 

Another surge started to swell within me. The tide started to turn somewhere deep in my tummy. I started thinking, this is it Den, your all over here, its the 'laxative-express' hurling down the tracks hard and fast.....

A million thoughts crossed my mind. Kiss goodbye to all the dignity you have stored away whilst on this trip Denis, in fact, explain to the raging bus driver in your fumbling spanish that his seat is soiled.  Explain to those around you who are pulling out handkerchiefs faster than you can scramble your words together. 

Look the young mother and Andreas in the eye and say 'sorry, i shat myself.' 

I clenched my dignity with all my might....

And it burned, burned burned....that ring of fire... that ring of fire.....

Google Analytics Code