Unfair Stereotypes

Just a random thought here…and, well…you may not completely  understand…but…I feel I may as well pose the question anyway ~ do you think perhaps that animals are a little annoyed by all of the stereotypes linked to them? That maybe they too are sick of the boxes they are often pushed into since birth? 

It’s like…they get no choice in the matter – society just straight away dictates what they should like, and not like…

Bugs GIF

We’re brainwashed into thinking from a very early age that rabbits love carrots, and that monkeys love bananas – but what if that reckoning was only brought about by some skewed, and limited market research…the same kind that often crops up with things like: ‘New study suggests men prefer watching movies, as opposed to reading – I know we only asked twenty people, but from this we can make huge quantum leaps, and over-generalise’ – or you know, words to that effect…

Listen what I’m trying to say is that maybe, just maaaaaybe – not all rabbits love carrots as the powers that be want us to believe! That perhaps some like a slice of steak…a bit of black forest gateau, a serving of Nepalese curry…who knows? And in the same way, maybe not all monkeys adore bananas! Maybe they are sick of having them shoved in their hands day after day…just because one time they said they were delicious – and that was only really to be polite to the host! Maybe in actual reality they much prefer a salami sandwich, with barely any salad – but a ridiculous amount of sauce…

Monkey Sandwich GIF

See where I’m coming from? 

Well I hope so, because the world is rife with these generalisations! For example, do all mice really like cheese? Are you telling me there no lactose intolerant mice? Not one? I find that hard to believe…so think of how life must be for those poor lactose intolerant mice…while all the other mice are having photo shoots with blocks of cheese, they are over in a corner feeling worthless because they have to nibble on plain bread instead, and feel like less of a mouse because of it. It’s not fair. 

But you see it’s animal groups like pandas who ruin it for the rest of the world. As those so-and-sos literally only eat one thing! So incredibly picky…and that spoils it for everyone, as now people see that one stereotype kinda fits, and is actually right on the money – and consequently assume that  all of the other ones are true too! AND THEY ARE NOT! I WISH PANDAS WOULD THINK OF OTHERS SOMETIMES! BUT THEY NEVER, REPEAT – NEVER – DO!

Panda GIF

They just keep nibbling on bamboo – whilst others suffer at the hands of broad, and untrue stereotypes.  Case in point, I used to be good friends with a dog who used to stay well away from bones – hated the things…but loved a nice bit of chicken, and mushroom pie…possibly with gravy, and a side of veggies. Should he have been looked down upon for his so called “life-choices”? Well no, of course not.

Perhaps you see how silly this all is now. End animal stereotypes immediately..

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Horrible Jobs/Horrible Bosses!

Hey friends! This took me a while, so I hope you enjoy it! It’s a little trip down memory lane…a look in at some of the crummy jobs I have had along the way – I could have made it A LOT longer, but we would be here for hours!

So yeah, hope you get a kick out of it – and let me know of any stinkers you’ve had, would love to hear your tales! 

If you have a video request you can leave a comment, or send me an email – if it’s a cool/interesting idea then I will get to it as soon as I can!

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Up or Down? (THE TOILET SEAT CONUNDRUM)

Since the dawn of porcelain potties there has been a vicious global debate…no sorry, not a debate – in fact I’d say it’s closer to a war. An unholy battle that seems to have no end in sight…relationships have crumbled, families have been torn apart – and billions of toilet seats have been spattered with hostile revenge pee…and for what?

Toilet Explosion GIF

I’d say it’s pride and ego mostly; which has been the unmaking of mankind from the very start of our civilised existence – and just like most of these rifts we will never budge from our own separate barracks, instead telling ourselves over and over that we have it right, and they have it all wrong; in this particular case women want the seat down, and men want it up. It all sounds so silly, and maybe it is…but if it’s so moronic a quandary then why do we have so much trouble overcoming it?

Now this debate doesn’t really affect me as I live alone and poop standing up (I enjoy the challenge) – so I feel I am at a unique position to weigh in for both sides impartially. As we know the main argument from the women’s camp is that they shouldn’t have to touch the bacteria infested toilet seat just because men are too lazy to put it down after use…well this would be all well and good if men absolutely loved touching gross toilet seats that are painted in various people’s faeces – but research suggests they don’t. There have been numerous reputable studies that have backed this up; or at least there probably would be if it wasn’t so glaringly obvious…so alas it seems only a small section of society take pleasure in such exchanges, and they are banished to a very dark and peculiar cavern of the internet – the large majority however find the prospect of handling human waste stained plastic horrifying, and rightly so… 

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But what can we do? How can we solve this age old dilemma? 

Well, I think like all arguments in life a resolution can only come by making admissions and allowances on each side; a toilet treaty if you will. So this is my proposal as an impartial adjudicator…I suggest from now on we make efforts to meet in the middle, that way things are fair for everyone. What do I mean by this exactly? Well what I’m saying is we should leave the toilet seat in the middle – not up, not down…strengthen those hinges so that it can sort of just hang there awkwardly…that way it is just as inconvenient and annoying for everyone – and no one (not man, nor woman) profits from acts of kindness or outdated versions of chivalry…instead everyone’s toilet time experience is equally as frustrating. This can be one more remnant of a forgotten age of good manners that we cut off, and do away with forever.

But actually…as I make this suggestion I can already foresee a wealth of problems…well one problem really – and that is men and their fondness for peeing on things. Because even if hypothetically we have a utopian middle of the road toilet seat situation…guys will actually see this is a little challenge, sort of like one of those game stalls at the fairground – except even more rigged…after all we don’t have a Super Soaker  as much as we may like to pretend – more of a leaky faucet if anything…better than what the ladies have for sure, but still no sharp shooter…

Cowboy GIF

So where does that leave us then? Well, right back at the start unfortunately. I am not sure there is one acceptable answer, as either side will never back down – if we wanted to blame something then maybe we could pin it on our ultra fast, ultra busy way of living these days…we are so wrapped up in our schedules that no one can afford the half a second it takes to put up/down the toilet seat…in fact it is completely absurd to even suggest anyone undertakes such an exhausting task! But yet, the saga rolls on – and a glimmer of hope remains, hope that someday some visionary like an Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, or a Steve Jobs will come through and revolutionize things for us…but until that day the war will rage on.

Peeology man…it’s a tough one. 

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IS 50 CENT BANKRUPT?! (NAHH!)

Despite his namesake this 50 Cent character is far, far, far from broke. Here I break down exactly what is going on; it’s all clever legal maneuvering rather than Monopoly style madness. Worth a watch:

So what do you think of him then? Smart guy, or total knob? Both perhaps?

If you have a video request you can leave a comment, or send me an email – if it’s a cool/interesting idea then I will get to it as soon as I can!

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Lazy Sundays (ARE THE BEST SUNDAYS!)

If you have a video request you can leave a comment, or send me an email – if it’s a cool/interesting idea then I will get to it as soon as I can!

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How to WIN/LOSE Arguments with Kids!

There is nothing more frustrating than neverending arguments with kids…especially with adults who don’t really have a clue what the hell they are even talking about (which if we are honest is most of us)…

But I’m here to help. Well, I’ll give it my best shot anyways…

Errrrrr…good luck…

If you have a video request you can leave a comment, or send me an email – if it’s a cool/interesting idea then I will get to it as soon as I can!

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50 Shades of CRAZY

I have held off telling this tale becau-shhhhhhh, quiet! Did you hear that…no? Oh…I erm…maybe it’s just the wind…sorry…sorry…

But yes as I was saying; I have taken my time with writing this story as it still frightens me a little, and truth be told I’ll probably always be a bit jittery about it…wait…did you seriously not hear that?! Oh God…please send help…she’s…here…

Scared GIF

Anyway, it was maybe a couple of months ago now – ahhh, how time flies when you are barricading yourself in a safe house, ey? And I was readying myself for a second date with a lucky/unlucky lady (not completely sure) – you see the first time had went quite well, she seemed fun, kind-hearted, and was outrageously beautiful – so much so I felt like a humongous wart of a man in comparison, like the hunchback with Esmeralda you know? …but I digress…

Despite all that I was pretty confident the second would go well too, just dinner then drinks or something – the usual set up; in all honesty as long as she laughs at my stories again it’s a good time in my book! So we met up and straight away she slipped a note into my hand before excusing herself to the bathroom – on the front it read; ‘you are my hero’…a call-back reference to the first date when she had almost aimlessly wandered into a speeding bus before I outstretched my arm to stop a messy collision – I had a new white shirt on after all, and it wouldn’t do to have been covered in blood spatter! There’d be no getting it out!

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The rest of the letter was a long-ish rambled account of how happy she was to have met me, how I’m like no other before, and blah-blah-blah, all that good stuff…I thought it was a little much, especially so soon, but I confess I was touched and considered it to be quite cute albeit in a very cringe-worthy 15 year old first-love sort of way…

During dinner things were going okay, if not a little boring – you see, I was trying to take more of a backseat in the hope of learning more about her…I mean I love to tell stories and make people laugh, but it’s meant to be a date not a stand up routine, right?  – and I had noticed how little I actually knew about the person I was sitting across from. She obliged, and talked more about her job as a clothes designer, which I thought was somewhat interesting…she’d also been abroad, living in Australia for a few years…and I attempted to pick her brains over a number of things related to that…but the replies were usually uninspired and drab…one word answers in many cases…ah well…waiter, another beer please!

But then things took a huge U-turn right when I began to talk about the kids I teach, and how dealing with Korean parents can sometimes be a little complicated. Upon hearing this she instantly broke out a rather bizarre (yet undoubtedly compelling) tale…it turns out, she had heard a strange rumour…that foreign guys in Korea often go to teach private English  lessons in children’s homes one on one – which is true. And also she’d heard that sometimes the mothers want lessons too – which is also true…so yeah, still nothing out of the ordinary here…but bear with me…

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The more alarming part of the story is that allegedly these so-called lessons are not totally as they seem on the surface…instead the process goes a little like this; foreign chap teaches the child, after which the child watches the TV, then the teacher goes into the mother’s bedroom…time…erm…elapses…and then he leaves with his wage for the kid’s education, and a handsome tip for his other extra-curricular services…

Upon hearing this I broke out into raucous laughter – regardless of the fact the story was whispered to me in hushed tones as if it were a scene from the Da Vinci Code….I simply couldn’t handle the seriousness of it all, I mean I won’t say it couldn’t happen, or hasn’t for that matter…but it’s certainly not the seedy epidemic sweeping Korea that she was trying to make it out to be!

Well, if it is I am missing out…

“So, is it true…do you do that like every other?” she asked in a stern tone, after which I noticed how her perfectly shaped eyebrows actually look rather demonic when angered, sort of furrowed into a cartoon-esque V shape. All I could do was stare back in disbelief as her eyes burst out of their sockets in an interrogative glare…she was really stony-faced about the whole thing, but I couldn’t be…

“Yeah…yeah of course! Wait…I thought it was normal? Isn’t it? I was just trying to fit in…I thought it must be Korean culture? No? Oh – how embarrassing…”

Jim Shh GIF

She giggled in a really creepy way while stabbing her fork into a chunk of chicken…I was allowed a few moments to dwell on how ludicrous a story and question it was…but only a few moments mind, you see soon she had more to say…

“You know, if I ever find out you do that, hehehe, or cheat on me in any way – I’ll call immigration, have your VISA removed, and have you deported from this country forever. Simple. Really simple. You…out…life here, over. Simple.”

I laughed uncomfortably and squirmed in my chair…“I’m serious. I’ll tell a story in Korean. You won’t be able to deny. Simple, really simple. Out. Never to come back.”

Well, it should go without saying that I stopped laughing, but I couldn’t help but carry on squirming – that was out of my control now as a flood of fear took hold. To say I was incredibly uneasy would be a pitiful understatement, in fact if you want a more crude yet accurate description: I was completely shitting myself.  I mean there I was, sat on date number two and already knowing that if were to upset this stranger in any way, she was mad enough to move mountains just to destroy my life. I’m not talking about the cheating thing per-say, not particularly my bag anyway (too lazy for that business)…but if she was willing to do that what other negative potential does she possess behind those satanic eyes? If I forgot our anniversary would she chop off my fingers and play her xylophone with them? If I couldn’t recall her mother’s name would she remove my teeth use them as board game pieces for her own amusement? If I refused any one of her demands would she feed me nothing but dog food and make me answer to the name ‘Bruno’ for an entire week???

ALL OF THESE THINGS HYPOTHETICALS SUDDENLY SEEMED POSSIBLE!

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She must have noted my sudden silence and lack of eye contact (with anything other than my plate), as she stood up and pulled a chair around to my side of the table to perch next to me – her legs outstretched over my own, as she began to massage my perspiring face with her spindly witch fingers. Not exactly awkward…I’d define the situation as err…terrifying. 

I tried to persevere as if I was completely unphased; which for obvious reasons could only last so long. When I couldn’t take it any longer I put down my cutlery and took a deep breath – I knew I had to make my escape, but anything to horrible could potentially spark her wrath, so I would have to approach it all with tact…whilst mulling over this petrifying conundrum I accidentally made eye contact with her grinning face (YOU STUPID BASTARD, JOHN!) that’s when she threw her arms around my neck and started rocking me back and forth while cooing:

“You know I’m so happy we are together. I already feel like we’ve known each other for years, and years. Can’t imagine life without you…don’t want to…”

errr…yeah…sorry to interrupt the story but I have quick query if you don’t mind? Thanks a lot, it won’t take long! Okay, so why doesn’t life have a panic button?! Or perhaps even a Mr. Burns type trap door?! Like at that point I should have been able to reach for a hidden switch under the table and had her removed from my life instantly – it was just too close to a scene from a horror movie to be real…too jarringly awful to be my actual life.  But no!! Instead I have to sit there and deal with it, all the while sweating and shaking as this mental leech attaches herself to me…

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I’m sure to unknowing onlookers it looked like quite a sickly sweet scene …but it was anything but. Instead I was wishing we were in a taller building – so I could happily throw myself out of it…certainly a solution…but not so much at a ground floor restaurant. I imagine she’d have a lot of questions to ask my bloodied, but still live body – then she’d drag me to her lair to hump before making wallpaper out of my skin, and kitchen utensils out of my stripped bones.

Oh, not to mention ruining my VISA status! (Almost forgot that one!)

Anyway where was I? I got a little side-tracked with the whole crazy killer montage thing…oh yeah, so I was in the restaurant with her latched to me like some sort of evil barnacle when I decided enough was enough. So I just pretended I was really tired and that I should probably head home – which was double-talk for: “please let me fucking leave, so I never have to see you again”.

As we parted she waffled something about knowing I was special, because she now knows I would never do her wrong…and that she trusts she’ll see me again very soon. Yeah…right…perhaps in hell, if I’m unlucky…

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Safe to say she’s blocked and deleted on three different forms of social media…if that fails then I will seek help from two priests in order to perform an exorcism…

Wish me luck, my friends. (Was nice knowing ya!)

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Kid’s Tall Tales

This internet age we live in is amazing; it brings humanity closer together, communication has never been easier, there is a wealth of information at our fingertips – and it’s true to say Storytime with John wouldn’t exist without it! So, what’s not to love about that?!

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This guy knows…

Well…whilst I accept all of those points highlighted (especially the latter), I must say I’ve noticed one thing that the internet has well and truly ruined…and it’s a big one I’m afraid…

And that is, tall tales. You remember those? When you could hear a fact from your friend, who heard it from someone else, who heard it from his cousin’s ex-wife’s pet giraffe…and yeah, naturally by the time it reached you it was convoluted and contorted into a completely nonsensical story that no longer resembled anything close to reality…but still, it kept life interesting! 

You would probably know at least one person solely renowned for being a “bullshitter”, someone who would tell “tall tales” and basically just come out with absolute tripe that no one could possibly begin to take seriously…but it was fun. and people would crowd around to listen anyway – dissecting the whole story apart, and picking out bits that may be true ,and bits that must be total fabrication…adding in what they had heard from various unconfirmed sources…and so the cycle continues…

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Lies make the world a more engrossing place to be, let’s be honest.

Now what would happen these days, huh? If someone steps out of line, and dares to dream…has the pluck to just start waffling absolute garbage they basically know nothing about – some killjoy is certain to whip out their smart phone and Google whatever it is that has came into question…

“Ah-ha-ha, I have to stop you there…it says here that sushi is technically not raw fish as not all sushi involves raw fish” 

  • complete with a smug smirk despite the fact it wasn’t even pulled from their own brain bank…urgh, makes life dull doesn’t it? 

That’s another reason I love kids. They don’t give one solitary shit about truth, honesty, reason, and logic. Much like myself. They can stand in the face of facts and argue ardently on a point they barely even comprehend – now that is dedication, now THAT should be admired! You see they haven’t matured, I guess that’s what it is – but let’s not consider it in a negative light…instead let’s herald it as a much more interesting way to view the world…

You see a child hears something, perhaps something serious and very grown up…and they don’t full understand it…so they fill in the gaps with hearsay, rumor, and their imagination…and what comes out the other end is sheer unadulterated brilliance!

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“That can’t be…is…hmm…tell me more…”

Like today for example, I was talking to some elementary kids about the MERS virus that is currently causing hysteria in South Korea, and they certainly had a lot of errr, riveting perspectives on the whole thing…like how about this? One kid told me that he’d heard the MERS virus crawls around while you’re sleeping – and goes into ladies with baby bellies…eats the baby inside and then comes out to go onto the next unfortunate victim. Horrifying and worthy of a sequel film, but a great tall tale all the same…

But did I reach for the phone? No – I argued in the traditional sense…told him it wasn’t true, and that he needn’t worry. But he insisted he had watched it on the news, and had asked his mother who had added credibility to the claim…so that was that, there was no convincing the lad.  So I admitted defeat, instead requesting he double checks his facts (you know, just in case!)

If there are any bullshitters still out there…then long may you live, and prosper – you add much to the tapestry of life, and I am sad to see your numbers dwindling.

This article is dedicated to my old friend in first grade class, who would tell me his father’s job was to be an Indiana Jones type figure who fought off villains and gorillas in some distant land someplace. I still believe you.

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The Psycho Stalker…

Some stories write themselves…and some take years, and years…well this particular one has been waiting in the drafts for a long, long time. Every time I went back to it I just couldn’t find the words, I couldn’t express all of the oddness, craziness, and horror on the page! I came close, but it didn’t ever seem quite right… 

So at long last it is done! But in the form of a video – seriously the funniest one so far, and well worth a watch! If people need a giggle…and also a way to not fall asleep at night (sorry in advance for the impending nightmares!) then press that play button!

How would you have dealt with this one? Remember I don’t know kung fu, so that’s out the window…

If you have a video request you can leave a comment, or send me an email – if it’s a cool/interesting idea then I will get to it as soon as I can!

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Please buy my collection of stories! Get it in paperback here – or on Kindle here! ALL proceeds go towards Macmillan Cancer Support!

Broke? Travel Anyway!

I often get emails, and messages from people – asking the same question – “how do you afford travel? Are you from a rich family? Do you have connections? Did you get some crazy compensation deal – and have decided to blow it all on roaming the world rather than making sound investments?!” 

Well, no. No to all of those. I wish it was something as easy as being in a car accident – and getting free money, but it isn’t. It’s kind of like The Wizard of Oz…it looks like a spectacular vision until you see the cogs turning behind the curtain. Yes, the actual facts of the matter are a lot less glossy – and  whilst this may be hard to take for some…I actually work. 

Take my first major trip on my own, for example. My year abroad studying in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

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For two years before that I worked at an electrical store, moving televisions around, and trying to sell people outdated SCART cables they didn’t want…taking overtime whenever I could, whilst also taking shifts at my Aunt’s pub on the weekend…all the while squirreling away money whenever possible. With no disrespect intended, I wasn’t like the others that were accepted on to the study abroad programme (Newcastle UK – Atlanta USA) there would be no money from my Mother, or Father…I’m one of five children, I would feel rude even asking.

But I made it – and before I knew it I was in the midst of my own travel scrapbook! Carving out new memories for myself…whether it be visa worries at passport control, attempting to make the transition to the different pace of American life, or dancing insane jigs with Waka Flocka, I had flew from the ordinary day-to-day, and was living out these once impossible fantasies!

Sounds dreamy, dreamy – I’m sure? But the truth was my budgeted money soon ran out, and there were a couple of very hairy months – I recall that after weeks of eating next to nothing I sent my parents a whimpering email explaining the situation…and I received something along the lines of – “you’ll figure it out.” And I felt it was harsh, but the fact is…you will…if you want it that badly – you will. (And I’m still alive, so I guess I did!)

Study abroad programmes can be a great way to get away, and experience a different culture first hand – there are often great schemes, and incentives – with mine I was actually reimbursed for any costs throughout the year. Which meant I had thousands to play with at the end of it all – long story short, two weeks in Greece with some of my best friends from back home. 

My second major trip came just after I graduated university- although I was recruited before I had even been given my degree…and a month after I flew out to Beijing, China.

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Again I had saved, and saved working some terrible job – this time around it was a sportswear store, selling people trainers, and trying not to touch their sweaty feet as I assisted them with trying on their shoes. Not ideal – but a means to an end. This was just so I had some initial spends, as the programme actually flew me out at no cost, and many of the site-seeing trips, and other interesting adventures were paid for, or massively subsidised.

Either way, there I was again – in a totally foreign, and unknown environment…forced out of my comfort zone…but that’s what it’s all about…I was experiencing all of the weirdness, that was so different to anything the 9 to 5 version of myself would be encountering…whether it be bizarre disputes over taxi fares, relaxed views to public pooping, or trying to sample local dishes without being sick (such as dog) – I knew these were memories that would last a lifetime.

And thanks to the cheap day-to-day living China affords, I was able to save a little for the NEXT trip…you see, that is important – always have the next trip in mind. 

My third major trip to Scandinavia came unexpectedly…but was well worth it…

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My sister – someone who has worked all over the world with nothing more than a can-do attitude, and flexibility – found a two month long  job in the Arctic Circle at a remote lodge…it was placed right between Sweden, and Finland. Did I fancy it? Well…OF COURSE I DID! There was a catch though, we had to fly out (again at their expense, so no worries) the following day! You see, sometimes the opportunity comes abruptly, and if you ponder over it too much, it will go to someone else – you sometimes just have to grab it, and say YES! 

And I certainly did. Before I knew it I was crashing snowmobiles in Sweden, experiencing The Shining effect first hand in Finland, and after I finished my contract – experiencing the raw natural beauty of the Norwegian Fjords first hand.

The work was often not pretty; six day weeks, with long hours – and if my boss was ever pissed off he would make me scrub toilets for an ungodly amount of time…but still…huski racing? The Northern Lights? Spending a night in an igloo? You can’t tell me that wasn’t worth it. 

For my next major trip, I was off to South Korea! I scraped together the last of my meager savings – put up with the horrendous visa process…and then went on my way!

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And I couldn’t have asked for more! Yet again I was flown out at my employer’s expense, provided with a cosy home to stay in for free, and continue to live very comfortably – whilst also having an amazing time, with some amazing kids, in a truly amazing country! And, using Korea as a base, I have been able to save very efficiently, which allows for a great many adventures; including a  Christmas trip to Vietnam,  an interesting excursion to North Korea’s border, a heat-stricken jaunt to Nepal…back home to England, and Scotland – then on to Italy, Hungary, and Austriathen…well, you get the picture – the world suddenly doesn’t seem as hugely inaccessible as it once did!

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You see it’s not difficult, you just make it difficult. If you really want to travel, like really, really want to…then be willing to work, and be willing to take every opportunity. Rich, or not – you’ll get there – so stop just posting random sunset photographs, with “W A N D E R L U S T” etched over them, and start planning that next trip…and start filling up your passport, and with it your little book of memories. 

~

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Please buy my collection of stories! Get it in paperback here – or on Kindle here! ALL proceeds go towards Macmillan Cancer Support!

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