14 days, 8 magnets, 4 countries

Like my postcard post, where we sent my Mum 9 postcards from 4 countries on our road trip, we also bought ugly magnets for James’s mum. The irony that you’re in a beautiful country and you buy a crap fridge magnet to remember your time is just wonderful. We didn’t buy any for ourselves but we do have a tacky tulip from The Netherlands that I’m in love with. Are there any better souvenirs than that over priced rubbish? Nope.

I took photos of the beautiful locations of where we bought them.

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The locations? In order;

Bruge, Belgium

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

Frankfurt, Germany

Cologne, Germany

Bonn, Germany

Dusseldorf, Germany

Leeuwarden, The Netherlands

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

 

 

Was the camping trial a success?

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The long drive home started at 10 am ish and straight into dense and misty rain. Lucky we left when we did and we didn’t have this when packing the tent away this morning.

We had two goals today before leaving. That’s how we travel actually, we generally make a loose goal for the day. No plans, no agenda, just a thought that pops up on the day. So yesterdays was to walk to the beach in glorious sun, shorts, bikini on, ready for beach life and unfortunately we couldn’t do that. Though still managed to visit them. We probably did more yesterday because it was raining to be honest. Today we wanted to have cream teas and dip our toes in the sea. Not at the same time. Well, preferably not.

I like to think of myself as a fun person, I’m pretty playful and in my head I can imagine me jumping into the sea. In my brain I ran in with my arms in the air, screaming but getting a great buzz while freezing my tits off. I’m wild in my head. James and I just aren’t extreme sports people really but I would like to be. The bravery escapes me. I don’t mind getting wet or cold, it’s just effort isn’t it. I need to sort that shit out. That’s another summer goal to do; one extreme sport. I have one is mind.

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Anyway! Cream teas were delicious and the sea bitterly cold. The teenagers serving us our scones and tea were surfers, obviously, who isn’t? We were agreeing it’s a shame about the bad weather yesterday and he said ‘but it was great for surfing!’ We could have been like ‘oh yeah! It was!’ or asked if he surfed, which is what he implied. Instead, us fatties scoffed our scones and went silent with a look on our faces that clearly we couldn’t relate to him. At least James bought a hoodie last night to fit in. As soon as we turned up he said that I really fit in with the style, where as he was wearing working men trousers, timberlands and a water proof jacket. I rocked up in a hoodie and flip flops. He needed a hoodie. I’m only joking though, it’s a town where you can’t not fit in. Everyone does, as you are.

Also if James really wanted to fit in you wouldn’t exactly buy a bright red one with ‘Newquay’ and ‘Lifeguard’ on. It’s the same one that I bought 9 years ago – but I remember paying £20 and his was £10. Mr Hip-Hop from the first night (who we did end up bumping into at the clubhouse last night) said ‘new jumper?’ I replied ‘how could you tell?’

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The scones really were delicious though, I swear down I’ve never had such good scones before. Although I can’t remember how they pronounce it in Cornwall – it’s an age old argument among the English. James and I say scone as in gone. Well, now typing this up I think I say it both ways because in my head I said scones as in cones. It’s so troubling. I did have a worry about whether the cream goes on the top or bottom too, let me google it now. Yes! we did it right. Well that didn’t change my life at all.

I suggested a brilliant idea to James. Seeing as we both have crap balance we know we will never become pro surfers. Life goal ruined. So we have a plan that one day we will go onto the Cornwall beaches with all the surfers, in our wet suits, act all gnarly and do the dude hand symbol, like look really cool and hip. Then blow up a rubber boat, run slowly into the sea and surf the waves with that. We would also have beers in our boat.

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On the journey home I asked James what song reminds him of our road trip through Europe. I’m very much a sentimental person and music, smells, certain things remind me of experiences. There’s a deodorant by sure that really reminds me of Avril Lavigne. A certain song reminds me of the start of our relationship. A certain type of jingle makes my brother dance around doing ballet in my head. One of the surfer pubs we went to threw me back to being 17 with how everyone was dressed and the music playing. You get the picture. So his answer was Somebody To Love by Queen – when the song kept loosing signal but I would still screech out the words, then the song would start again two seconds later so I would re-sing the same words and then it’ll stop again etc. Mine is Handlebars by Flobots. How James was shouting out the words while we were driving through Germany. I’m so sentimental, those memories are very special to me.

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That was all for our first camping trip. The end. People doubted the idea because it was so far away and for only two nights – but I so recommend it. I don’t recommend it if you are seriously lacking sleep and hungover, the drive there was a bitch, but the journey back was wonderful. I take sickness pills and they generally completely knock me out but I fought it for a few hours out of guilt of being a passenger. I should have just slept because I was a zombie but on the inside those travel pills made me feel amazing. They completely chill you out and for someone who has anxiety everyday it’s just mind blowing. Don’t worry, I’m not a travel sickness pill junkie. But then after about four hours we were both buzzing and having a hoot of a road trip. It was all a hoot. Hoot.

 

A day of rain on the Cornwall beaches

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We woke at 6am to rain pelting on our tent ceiling. Slept wonderfully besides that. It was a good idea using an air mattress and a bed topper. Felt like an actual bed, there was no slumming it. Except for the rain, campings best friend.

We had planned to walk to the beach after our cooked English breakfast but here we are driving instead. As dirty as you can get in the rain in a muddy field, the shower this morning was glorious. Because of the already wet floor from the rain and the shower splashing I had to really practice the art of balancing to be sure my trouser leg wouldn’t get wet. Maybe other women are brave enough to get changed out in the open to avoid this dilemma and also maybe other women didn’t have a perforated ear drum when they were young and so their balance isn’t a bit off. The floor was all grassy and muddy from the rain anyway, it was dryer in the shower.

I managed to poop without worrying too much too. Well, the second time I went to brave it that is. The first time there was a women straightening her hair. You’d think because it’s a campsite everyone poops there, it’s fine, but if there’s a lady straightening her hair on a campsite while it’s pouring down outside, cats and dogs I tell you, I can’t exactly have a shit in the cubical next to her without her judging me. She probably farts roses and butterflies.

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We ended up driving around the coast with no plan nor map. Beach to beach. We stopped off at Constantine bay and bought a tea from a bloke serving it out of converted toilets. Now that sounds gross but it wasn’t, quirky more like. He recommended the next beach along, which is where we are driving to now. He and his wife moved here a year ago and he said it’s this beach that made them move, which I misunderstood at first – I thought he meant it made him move away and I was confused whether he was saying it was nice or a shit hole. When we left he said that’s another beach ticked off your list and James said we should actually do that – have a check list. Haven’t got any ideas of how to yet but that could be a plan for the future.

Beautiful beaches, possibly even more so in the dramatic weather. It was decided that if we were to move down here we would have to learn to surf or at least walk around in wet suits all day.

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The rain only stopped once the evening came. You hold hands with the weather when you do get-aways like this don’t you, your days are structured around the elements.

You see a seaside town for what it really is when it rains because without sun there’s not as much to do. Or there is but you spend longer doing it in the sun. It makes you chill, slow down, have a drink, lounge about. We didn’t get to sit on the sand and bask in the heat but that didn’t stop us going onto the beaches in our trainers and prayed they didn’t get too wet and sandy – my Birkenstocks are still soaked through from this morning. This part of England is stunning though. There’s still dodgy looking areas but they’re usually right next door to a modern or beautiful building, all very intertwined. Then again, in the sunshine I bet you hardly even notice the ugly parts with your rose tinted glasses on.

 

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Nipped into Walkabout for a drink. Choosing pubs that only have sea views is a win, a big recommendation. There was two groups of stag doos in Walkabout. One quiet, having a laugh but all definitely adults and probably work on computers. The other all dressed in football kits, handing out yellow and red cards, had a ref whistle and used it a lot, and all of them absolutely fucked. Sure the football team looked like they were having more fun by the sheer noise but the quiet group will at least make it the whole night. This was at 6pm ish, I give half of the football lads till 8.

The waitresses looked like they wanted to kill themselves when they served them food. They clearly hire pretty, young girls and I felt so bad for them. I wanted to be like ‘look, I’m 26, I have no make up on and I’m wearing a hoodie; I’ll serve them for you.’ 

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James is having a nap – it’s 9pm. You can’t question that boy, it’s okay, let him do him. I on the other hand have started to boil some water for a pot noodle. Now this is what I remember of camping. I bet my best friend, a pro camper, is turning on her comfortable sofa by the fire, watching TV.

He’s pretending to be mad but not really pretending that I told him it was 9.30 so he would wake up, when it’s just 5 past. Then told me off for being ‘too rough on my crocs’. I did it out of the goodness of my heart and also because there’s no entertainment that I’m used to here and I want attention. Innocent. Yes, I know I said let him do him, but see.. I’m drunk. Plus he has to wake if he wants to go back to the clubhouse tonight for a drink. It’s pot noodle time. The diary can wait.

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Hoping not to bump into the bloke we got chatting to last night. Everything seemed safe, everything was a laugh and then.. uh oh.. the worst thing possible happened.. he makes music. ‘Want to hear it?’ no ‘sure’.. He played us his music and then 3 tracks in he began to rap along. Then it all made sense, why he was telling us so much information about his ex wife, his kids (who were adorable) and his life story – he’s that person. He tricked us at first, it didn’t add up till he was basically selling himself to us, before we just thought he was friendly like we were being. They reel you in while you still think they’re cool and then when it’s too late you’re trapped and suffocating in the hip hop that’s playing from his phone. It’s still friendly, I suppose, but I’m really not a fan when people self promote themselves to me, especially when I’ve just met them and especially when you’re just having a laugh and a chat in a pub. And all you can do is humour them, pretend to believe in them. Then as soon as we went back to our tent James (which I was so surprised about because he can tolerate self promoters) was the first to be like WTF?! and we laughed and laughed into the night.

Top tip to everyone in the world: never meet someone and force them to listen to your music.

 

The camping trial – Newquay, Cornwall

Really, really tried to wake up at 6am. Managed 4 1/2 hours sleep which is pretty good considering we were at a Kiss concert last night. I had 5 alarms on which bloody hurt my hungover head and I gave it my best shot at snoozing and ignoring them, hoping it was a different day. Once I did get up to try and get out some of this alcohol poop that’s still lurking inside of myself I couldn’t straighten my legs and had a small freak out. Too much exercise and standing I suppose, and I recon I slept in the fetal position all night after hearing the devils music.

My brother made a funny comment that Kiss was a sign of the devil back in the day, less so than other music about, it was still glam rock, but you know what I mean. They dress up, act scary, then play a bop that’s harmless that everyone sings along to. I compared them to the Spice Girls actually, they wear the same footwear at least. There was a really dramatic bass solo by Gene Simmons. He looked up to the heavens as blood began to drip from his mouth, then back down at hell as he strummed his bass guitar, the blood pouring out of his mouth and off his extended tongue. To finish he breathed fire. I know right.. Then straight into another one of their innocent songs while everyone raised their hands in the devil sign. I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day. It was funny from an outside prospective, I really enjoyed it.

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Oh lovely, James got me a coffee from the petrol station. So we actually left at 7:46 after packing those last few bits that are easy to pack so you wait till the morning – rather than being sensible and do it in advance so you can leave on time. Travel pills taken, travel bands on, burnt marmite toast eaten, sunglasses on and we were out of the door. Then back in because we forgot pillows. And again for the water. Then the tea and coffee. We really aren’t organised humans.

4+ hours of driving on 4 1/2 hours of sleep.

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My past experiences of camping are the duke of Edinburgh award, caravan holidays with my best friend and festivals. All enjoyable and successful? Yeah, both. When it came to putting up this tent though, well let’s just say we got there in the end. I wanted to document it and also our first meal but you actually have to continuously do stuff. Surprise, surprise. I remember the part of doing the tent as soon as you get to your destination, check! I remember getting stuff done before you relax, check! I don’t remember my legs hurting this much but that’s unrelated (even though you’d expect that on DofE but I was a youthful 14 year old at the time). I don’t remember being this tired but again probably unrelated because the lack of sleep. Also don’t remember it being this confusing on how to get water. I walked around the toilet block twice before I decided to use one of the 5 taps. I styled it out by going to the bathroom and just looked like I was curious about this campsite – like all the campsites I’ve been to were completely different, like I was a pro just taking my time. James said he would have just used the first one he came across. I overthink.

I don’t know why I do stuff like that to fit in. It’s okay to be a beginner. It’s good actually, that’s where everyone starts and sometimes it’s even more enjoyable.

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I think our backgrounds of festivals make us paranoid about our belongings. We decided to leave certain things in the car and that wasn’t even my decision. Miss Overly-Cautious-But-Then-Still-Doolally-And-Unorganised over here, no it was James, Mr-Everything’s-Fine-Everything’s-Okay. Here we are putting our 3 burner stove into that back of the car and everyone else here leaves everything out as they go off and enjoy their lives. They could be local I suppose and we are Londonised.

We haven’t ventured out yet but you know it’s Newquay when the couple next to you, both with long, messy hair, hang their towels and wet suits on the car to dry. Like I’ve said before; stereotypes are real. The couple on the other side, with their child, are the same too. The mans long hair pulled back in a bun and the woman wearing a Kevin and Perry sun hat. It’s not called a Kevin and Perry hat but when your eyes are burnt with an image you just can’t unrelated to that. It’s not khaki and she’s not moaning and trying to act cool, don’t worry – it’s white with flowers on. Of course. All I wanna do is do it. Then there’s me sitting in the car with my feet on the dashboard (only originally to come searching for my notebook) drinking gin and tonic, hair hardly in a bun anymore and grass covering my leggings. Listening to the sounds of wildlife as some ducks waddle past me and James’s snores coming from the tent. Yep, camping is good.

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My G&T is gone, I need a wee and it’s four o’clock now, we better go have a little explore. I have a date planned for James tonight, which I decided in January actually but haven’t gotten round to doing it. For this date I needed a seaside town. As we are randomly here after booking it on Friday we may as well go and do it. Ready? It’s simply to go to an arcade with £40. The dream. Those penny machines won’t know what’s hit them. Fuck the adult ones at the back, who actually uses them when you can watch your 2ps drop down and if you’re really lucky win a minion keyring? I still have mine attached to my keys from Broadstairs in September. James still has Masha and the Bear attached to his backpack.

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I’ve been feeling antsy since we came back from our road trip at the beginning of May. I want to live that lifestyle, you don’t get it where I’m from. It’s similar to the feeling of being in a seaside town. Active, grounded, everyday things feel more special and exciting. I’m not sure how to word it, nor word what I’m thinking but it was so refreshing and liberating to be back out there. I haven’t got the money to travel, it requires a lot of hard work and saving – as it should be, earn it. Meanwhile camping is perfect, I’ve decided. £13 a night at this campsite. I wrote a whole lot of drunk scribbles in my travel diary about how cheap 13 quid a night really is – when if you pee in public it can be 50p. You get the idea, also get why I didn’t add those notes even though it felt like a revelation while I thought them on the toilet.

Thoughts from the bath – the big 2.6.

James: ‘I know everything for this van will go your way because you’ll be like ‘but on YouTube they did this, on YouTube they did that,’ and I’ll be like ‘I want a hammock.’ ‘No, no, no, no you need a 7 point pin clicking one and a bed at a 7 degree angle that only opens on Tuesday’s if the full moon is out because it saves 2.5cm when you’re shitting.’ That’s what you’ll be like.’

I’ve thrown around the idea of living in a van for a while. Here’s the suggestions from James of what jobs we could do while living on the road ;

  • Pimp and his prostitute
  • man with a van
  • freak show
  • burglars. Specifically cat burglars
  • clean drive ways
  • bandits
  • land pirates

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Satisfaction. This word keeps floating around in my brain and popping up at really inconvenient times. What will satisfy me right now? What will satisfy me in the future? What would satisfy my partner? Now it sounds like we are talking about sex but I’m not, I just don’t know how else I can word that.

I turned 26 yesterday. Age meant nothing to me, notice how I write in the past tense? Since yesterday I’ve had an ‘oh, shit, where has that time gone?!’ moment. I know others have it, one of my best friends is always in shock of her age. I was always pretty chill about it. When my sister was 26, 5 years ago, she seemed so old and so far away. I’m not where I saw her at. Not that it was a goal to be like that, it’s just strange that you reach unreachable goals and you realise it’s all completely different.

I joked all day that I was turning ‘the big 2.6.’ only because it’s not a 21st, it’s not a 30th, it’s 26. Closer to 30 than 20 but still a bit in limbo. And I feel like that’s me to a T. A bit in limbo.

Have I done enough? I don’t know. From my prospective, no, but others may say yes. But at the end of the day it’s a no. Nope. You have a lot more in you. (This is a pep talk, encase you haven’t caught on. I literally only have right this second.)

When I came back from my road trip I tried and still am trying ways to get out of this slump. It’s specifically a slump about not travelling. It put into prospective how much I want to change things in my life. What I want to do to feel how I like to feel. Feelings are important to me, I have a lot of them.. Probably the same amount as you.. Just knocking my ego back down. Unfortunately it’s brought up how much I can’t live how I want or live any life that’s progressed from where I am now without money. You can’t go down any path any more without a lot of money, it’s a dead end. Gone are the days where you could have a ‘normal job’ but still be able to buy a house. You need a lot of money.

Money.

I hate money. I don’t think it’s just people without it that hate it. Let me know?

There’s too much of a system for me. I’m not a system person. It’s fine if you don’t mind it, follow what was set out for us all. Personally though, I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to rent or buy a house. I’m not afraid of hard work to get there, that’s not it. I just want something different. As my Mum said, I live to play. (Which doesn’t mean no work! Writing, blogging, being artistic is play. Work can be play.)

There’s things about being an Adult (notice the capital A. I’ll be an adult – little a) that I don’t like and I’m resentful that you have no choice. Yes that sounds millennial but yes I’m just being honest.

All the time people talk about being mortgage free. Mortgage free everything. That’s the goal for Adults. Mortgage free. The dream. Cool. I don’t want a mortgage or to rent. To me it sounds like rent (and waste your money and have no life outside of that and not enough money to save to buy a place (been there)) or buy (and put a ridiculous amount of money into a property that you’ll be paying off for the rest of your life while watching programs about how to be mortgage free (haven’t been there but sounds yucky and seems impossible with England today)). Then this is the part where my depression likes to jump in like ‘Surprise motherfucker!’ from Dexter.

This is where my thoughts are unconventional. Why not live in a van? Mortgage free. Live on land you can’t build on with it. Don’t follow the same route as others. Someone once told me I couldn’t make my own route, that proper bummed me out. Not because I believed her but because she didn’t believe in me.

All I can conclude as this water is getting cold is that I have to save. That’s all I can do right now. I want a plan of some sort but that’s not possible. You hate money but you need it. Just save.

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Fixing what’s unsatisfactory

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Creating meaningful surroundings is important to me. I’m not a designer of any sort. I don’t have rules… I purposely like to kid myself that I’m breaking rules but I have no clue, I could be following a rule book unbeknown to me.

That’s what I was doing today. Concentrating on my room. It’s not done, this is where I’m up to. Everyday I view my surrounds as something to decorate, I suppose that’s just a creative mind, but I don’t always act on the urge, hence this post. There is a need in me to fix everything to what I find pleasing though.

I wonder why when something is important to me, like decorating and styling, I don’t become more knowledgeable on it but rather I allow it to be what it is. It’s an natural interest, I like stuff, but at the same time I am particular on what I have. I like to collect things from different places, I like to make things, I don’t need my possessions to scream what interests I have but I like them to portray my personality. That’s why it’s homely to me. That’s why I feel comfortable in my room.

And how does pleasing me work? How do I ‘find’ what is pleasing? I suppose, I say reluctantly, that must come down to some sort of rule – the juxtaposition of the objects. It’s like pretty faces are usually symmetrical. I don’t know. I’m just not sure, there’s probably a science behind it. With people who are Doctors. Hello, I’m a Doctor of Style. You wouldn’t believe them though, would you. You’d just think they’re being cocky.

My room is divided into two categories; things I’m satisfied with and things I’m not. I wasn’t aware of this till recently and all it comes down to when I have a feeling that something isn’t right. Which is an okay problem, I suppose, but it occurred to me that I could just fix them. Anything that gives me a sinking feeling just correct it till I’m all chill inside.

That’s obvious isn’t it. When you live in a space you don’t often see that though.

So here I am fixing what doesn’t satisfy me and I’ll update you in the future whether these changes have worked.

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IMG_0857 1covering the sides

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bed side table

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shelves

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This is where I kind of gave up and had a walk, food and a bubble bath. I’m an easily distracted creature. This one was a tough one though. I still don’t think it’s right but I think I’m done playing for today so I’ll sit on it a bit and see if my dissatisfied senses tingle.

It does look kind of cute. It’s growing on me already.IMG_2916

 

The sun came out this evening, finally

Over the years I’ve documented this field and my walks in it. I walked it in slippery mud, in crops taller than me, read The Power Of Now in it, collected things found and, as you could imagine, lost weight. I haven’t been since I joined the gym, which is a bloody shame really, but this evening with nothing to do and the sun suddenly shining after a dreary day, I went for a glorious stroll on my own. Glorious.

I didn’t plan on taking photos but I can never help myself with this field. I only had my phone though. What a good way to end a day.

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