A ‘Pre-Adventure’ Adventure

Thoughts…

It’s become bog standard protocol to want to get to wherever it is we’re heading to in as quick a time as viably possible, hasn’t it? I mean, this is no bad thing really, I guess. Of course we all have our (busy) lives we’re leading and usually a time schedule that we’re leading them by. Again, no real bad thing. As those peculiar little play dough puppets so eloquently sang for us once; It’s life, Jim…”

We all know that the world has become a smaller place. Long gone, it seems, are the days we would take our time getting from point A to point B, to travel to one part of the world to another part of the world by boat, train, or whatever overland or water means available. Granted when these modes of transport were higher in demand it was because, in these times, they were the only modes of transport available. Now though, now we have means from the sky. Those high endurance metal pods that whip us through the air and deposit us safely back down on land hundreds, thousands, of miles from whence we came. They can take us from one side of the world to the other in less than 24 hours, a slightly lesser, and comparatively impressive, time different to the once 6 weeks that it used to take. A design that has defied all laws of nature, but has opened the world in abundance to us all. A design that has allowed us to see places that perhaps without, we would never have got to see. Yes, the airplane certainly has served us well. And it’s on these grounds that we have come to love and depend on the creation of those two young inventor brothers that go by the name of Wright.

…But, there is no denying that we have become creatures of convenience. If it can be done quicker and (not necessarily) better then we want to know how to do that, and do that we shall. We’ve become a fast paced nation. Most things are at our fingertips ready for consumption at high demand, at any given moment. Ready for imminent action.

As a generalisation, we have forgotten what it’s like to stop and smell the Roses.

So then, isn’t it, or wouldn’t it, be nice to, from time to time, just….

…slow…

right…

down.

Who here can remember the last time that you just took your time? Stopped, and really took notice of your surroundings. Those same surroundings that are usually either zooming past as you, for instance, drive the motorways rather than take in the scenery of the countryside roads. Or are missed because we stare at our phones (come on we all do it) rather than out the window on our train ride commute to work.

All those little bits-in-between moments, lost. Gone.

The sad truth of the matter is that yes, nowadays it’s not always possible to always take our time. It’s unrealistic to say otherwise. We can’t just start changing our entire lives and routines. In a way, we do have to conform in order to keep up. We also have responsibilities and commitments, loyalty to family and friends. We want to be strong, reliable people. These are all positive qualities to have and can reward us with feelings of pride and self worth. Nothing wrong with that. There’s not much that irritates me more than these excuse laden, self appointed ‘anarchist’ types, drenched in their own entitlement! Seriously guy, go get a job and join the real world! ‘ – This, I assure you, I am not even remotely trying to encourage.

But, guys, every now and then, if we are open to it, we can create the illusion of time. Instead of always thinking of the destination, how about taking into consideration the journey. All there is to be noticed, gained or accomplished along the way. This can be interpreted to many different aspects in life. For example your commute to work as mentioned above. Or, instead of the motorway why not take the scenic route to your great aunt Mildred’s a few county’s over for Sunday lunch. Or, on a broader spectrum, enjoying the journey of life! Towards the idea of wanting to fall and be in love one day, or wanting to make your way up the work ladder towards your dream job. Keep in mind your end goal/focus for sure, but have fun along the way whilst you’re doing it. Be spontaneous, adventurous, maybe even a little daring. Take risks (nothing illegal though obviously!), fall in love three times over, spend time by yourself, take that gamble, move out of your hometown, move out of your home country even! Whatever! My point is, you will get there in the end, that time will pass – But ask yourself, in what way, though, would you like for that time to pass?

Whoa! Okay sorry guys, I’ll reign it back in again now.

So, from a more simplistic approach, another such example, and really what this post is (supposedly) inspired from, is the actual journey to the actual destination.

Finally, I hear you all say, she’s getting to her point…

 

When I knew that I would be heading back to Nepal to see the rebuild, I started looking at alternative ways to get there rather than just hopping onto a flight from my home airport (London). I started thinking of all that land, all those places, all those modes of transport between me and Nepal. I started thinking how exciting I’ve always thought it would be to get the Eurostar to the continent, having never travelled on the Eurostar before the idea of it still held an air of mystic to me. Getting on a train with your cup of coffee, sitting by the window and watching the countryside go by outside. A short time of darkness, I imagined, before then coming through on the otherside, and voila…you’re in Europe!

I liked the idea of this.

And so, I continued on with these thoughts…

I had always fancied Bruge. I imagined little cobbled streets, canals and, of course, the chocolate!

Going back to the ‘time’ thing I was talking about earlier, I had some time but not a seemingly endless amount like I had last year. It would be impossible of me to travel entirely overland to Nepal. But this is the point, utilise what we have. Stretch our journey and imaginations to create something unique yet still within our capabilities. Start thinking about your “‘Pre-Adventure’ Adventure!”

So back to Bruge…

I wondered, “Perhaps I could fly to Kathmandu from Brussels. Or Amsterdam isn’t too far away, I could fly from there…I’ve never been to the Netherlands.”

So I began my search for flights. Flights from Brussels and flights from Amsterdam. I began looking at Google Maps (because I love maps), and also to get an idea of how far these places were from each other and to learn the logistics of getting between.

I spotted Nijmegen on the map. I have a friend who lives in Nijmegen. I spotted Cologne not too far from Nijmegen. There’s an international airport in Cologne.

Hopefully you can see where this is going…

Not long after this revelation, I had a Eurostar booked from London to Bruge, a couple of nights booked in St. Christophers Inn’  hostel in the old city. I had messaged my friend to say I was heading to Nijmegen so be sure to be free for a beer and a catch up, and had booked the ‘Barbarossa’ hostel there. And finally I had my flight booked from Cologne, Germany, bringing me to Kathmandu.

Phew!

To me…this was exciting. I had stretched out my journey towards Nepal by just four days, but within that time I was getting to see and do new things, gain new experiences. And I was finally getting to take the Eurostar!

My point here isn’t to tell you to go off and do exactly the same as me. To you the idea of the Eurostar and walking around a couple of European cities might sound like a total snooze fest! But perhaps you can start imagining your own idea of a pre-adventure adventure!’ Look at the map of where you are planning your next trip, is there anywhere in between you could visit? Could you take a short road trip to a regional airport rather than your local and stop somewhere in between? Better yet take the train and relax with a beer or a wine (or a coffee lol)  whilst watching the world go by outside the window or talking and laughing with whoever you’re travelling with. Treat yourself to a hotel in the city you’re flying from the night before and tag on a musical or a play. Silly things like that. Are you flying to a destination where the transfer is then ages away? If the arrival port is nice, or at least interesting, then why not stay there for a bit! Take your time…see the bits in between! For example I’m going to Sorrento later in the year. Flights in and out of Naples and an hour or so by train between the two. So I’ve decided to have a couple of nights in Naples as well. Now I’ll get the chance to eat pizza that is made in the birth place of pizza! I mean really it’s every foodies dream, surely!

So anyway guys, the ball really is in your court. Some of you may think I’ve waffled on about the biggest load of baloney, and that’s okay …but to others I might have set a seed, sparked an interest, got you thinking. And that really is the whole point of this post 🙂

I added on four days in Europe, and I absolutely loved it!


Now for an imagery journey of my time in Europe

Bruges:

Arriving into Brussels

I’m not entirely sure what it is about train journeys that I’ve recently come to love. Perhaps it’s the idea of constantly being on the move, passing through towns and villages and cities. The idea of being able to sit and enjoy a coffee or a beer or a wine whilst travelling to somewhere new and exciting (hopefully). I don’t know…I just really enjoy it.

IMG_3056

Arrived at my hostel…

IMG_3189.JPG

…”what time is that clock saying?” – “Beer O’clock you say? Hmm…don’t mind if I do!”

IMG_3186.JPG

 

And so I did…

IMG_3053 (2).JPG

So, I was told chips and mayo was a thing in Belgium??

IMG_3066 (2).JPG

Well I was thinking I should probably have some food to soak up a few of those beers, and having heard that chips and mayo was a thing in Belgium I decided, ‘hey, why not!’ Other than the fact that I like chips and I like mayo (a lot), I really couldn’t understand why it was a thing! No matter…I thoroughly enjoyed them anyway.

 

It was the architecture that I loved about Bruge…

IMG_3103 (2)

IMG_3109 (2)

IMG_3172 (2)

IMG_3161 (3)

 

And the cobbled streets…

IMG_3185 (2)

IMG_3152 (2)

IMG_3120 (2)

And the canals…

IMG_3160 (2)

IMG_3177 (2)

IMG_3096 (2)

Overall I just found Bruge to be the prettiest, quaintest little city. If you want something that is worlds away from home, but nothing more than a hop, skip and a jump away then really I couldn’t recommend it more.

 

Nijmegen

Helloooo Nijmegen…

IMG_3199 (2)

I didn’t actually arrive by train lol, but it’s where I got dropped off. I caught the Flixbus from Brussels direct to Nijmegen. Flixbus is a really great value option for getting around Europe. Cheap bus tickets taking you all over the continent.

Arrival at my hostel…

IMG_3201 (2)

A bit more of a low key hostel than where I stayed in Bruge. I think this one was more of a converted home. But it was in a great central location.

A pretty city

Nijmegen is relatively quite a small little city with most things that you need and would expect from a city to be right on your doorstep. A cute little park to walk around…

IMG_3232 (2)

Coffee shop culture…

IMG_3254 (2).JPG

Cool, and local, architecture…

IMG_3226 (2)

And being in the Netherlands, a little bit extra…

(the ‘other’ type of coffee shop culture)…

IMG_3241 (2)

Whilst I don’t partake in this this activity, I did absolutely want to go and check out where these coffee shops were. It was funny, just like people who pop to the pub for a drink, these guys were popping to the cafe for a smoke. It all seemed pretty casual to be honest. I also insisted for my friend to show me the red light district, sheer curiosity as to what it looks like. Again so funny, these girls were just at the window, some sat having a cigarette, some sat scrolling on their phones. Very non-threatening or seedy really. Very bizarre.

(and bikes)…

IMG_3223 (2)

Waalbrug

Nijmegen has a really beautiful water area. The ‘Waalbrug’ –  or ‘Waal Bridge’ in English. If there is ever a festival happening in the city this area is sure to be a big part of that. Live music, local beers, and a beach style feel to it.

IMG_3216 (2)

IMG_3230 (1)

I got to eat some cheese…

IMG_3259 (2)

…and drink some beer…

IMG_3249 (2)

I would say that was a successful couple of days in a Dutch city.

Seesya later Nijmegen…

IMG_3274 (2)

 

Cologne

I didn’t have much time in Cologne, just a few hours. Enough time though to walk around to see the nearby area…

I just loved the colours of the buildings. Again all with that high rise style architecture…

IMG_3277 (2).JPG

Lots of outside eating places along the riverside…

IMG_3280 (2)

When I got to Cologne it turned out that there was a Gay Pride festival or parade going on in the city. Lots of music and brightly coloured clothes and face paints. You can’t see it too well, but on this bridge there is what must have been thousands of people parading with music blaring. It was good fun….

IMG_3281 (2)

Before I left Cologne I sat and purchased (you guessed it), a German beer…

IMG_3288 (2)

I got a nice feeling from Cologne, it actually reminded me a lot of London’s Southbank. It’s a shame I didn’t decide to stay a night here – but oh well, we can’t have it all! Lol.


 

So that’s it guys, some info on my ‘pre-adventure adventure!’ I had a really great time here in Europe and has made me fall in love a little more with my home continent, I really do need to get to know it more. I got to enjoy a lot of train journeys and some bus journeys and to watch the world go by outside my window. 

I am now in India after having spent the best part of two weeks in Nepal (blog posts to come). This evening I am heading for Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, and then on to Manila and then Spiti Valley (Kaza to be exact). 

As always I will keep you posted with my happenings from around the Globe 😉

Live, Laugh, Travel

IMG_7205 (2)

2 thoughts on “A ‘Pre-Adventure’ Adventure

  1. Great post Jen – really enlightening and so very true. I just want to pack a bag, hop onto a train and……. xxxxx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s