My 3-year journey around the world gave me so many amazing memories. Since you’ve joined my newsletter, I’d like to share some of them with you!
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These are 33 of the best stories and pictures from November 2016 through July 2017.
Photo credit: Of course, I took all of the pictures. However, all 33 pictures were enhanced by my friend, Simon, from Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, UK. If you’re in Cardiff, Wales, check out his Bitcoin ATM!
Stories and Pictures #1 – #11
Click on any picture to enlarge it.
Pavey Ark, Lake District, England, UK
Sheep dominate the landscape of this region. Believe it or not, there were sheep all over this mountain, even all the way at the top. I guess the grass at the top must taste pretty dang good!
I went on this hike about a week after the US Presidential election in 2016. On the way up, I met one of the few hikers that were out that day. After a minute of talking, he asked me my thoughts on Trump. This has become a running theme of my journey: the longer an American talks to a non-American in a foreign country, the more likely the American will be asked to give their thoughts on President Donald Trump.
You can find a lot more pics from my time in the Lake District on my old Facebook page.
Related video: Let’s Take a Walk to the Old Dungeon Ghyll
Related video: A Drive Through the Lake District – England
Ecuadorian Embassy, downtown London, England, UK
When I got to London, I chose to visit the most powerful place on earth: the Embassy of Ecuador. Since the 19th of June, 2012, Julian Assange from Wikileaks has been living inside of the embassy. Some of Wikileaks staff has been living there, too.
Wikileaks has exposed mass government corruption around the globe, especially within the US. Instead of prosecuting those who’ve broken laws, Bush, Obama, and Trump in the US, as well as Cameron and May in the UK have reacted with unashamed, bold hubris. Politicians in both countries have shown no interest in addressing exposed war crimes, glaringly obvious political corruption, or the fact that all of their spy programs are completely illegal according to their own laws. Instead, many of them call for Assange and Edward Snowden to be murdered by their governments without a trial.
We all know who has the moral high ground in this story.
The Coco-Cola London Eye ferris wheel, London, England, UK
This picture was taken from the Westminster Bridge. To the right is the Sea Life London Aquarium.
I went on a late night stroll with my awesome Air BnB host. She worked at Parliament and gave me an incredibly private tour. We went to an underground chapel inside Parliament, private office space, and backchannel ways of traversing Parliament.
The best part of the tour was when she took me to one of the three, incredibly exclusive bars inside Parliament. One of them is for the Lords, one of them is for the media, and one of them is for everybody else (Parliament employees, Members of Parliament, etc). She took me to the third bar for drinks. It was quite an amazing, surreal moment.
Into the port at the Isle of Wite, England, UK
When people ask me where I’m from, I always say, “I’m from New Hampshire.” So, I wanted to visit the county of Hampshire, England – or, “Hampshire 1.0”, as I call it. I looked on a map, saw where Hampshire was, booked my accommodation, and jumped on the ferry (there are no bridges to the Isle of Wite).
There’s just one problem: the Isle of Wite isn’t in Hampshire, it actually has its own county. The island became a separate administrative country in 1890 and it was made its own ceremonial county in 1974.
Still, this was one my many, many happy mistakes that I’ve made while traveling. If I hadn’t made that mistake, I wouldn’t have met my amazing hosts, discovered the Isle of Wite, or been able to share the next pic with you: a beautiful sunset!
Another silver lining: After I left the Isle of Wite, on my way to the train station, I was able to walk around Portsmouth for a couple of hours. So, that means I actually was able to visit Hampshire 1.0 and Hampshire 0.0 (because the Isle of Wite used to be part of Hampshire County). Win, win!
Yes, I know, I’m the weirdest traveler of all time. If you haven’t already said it, you can say it now 🙂
Related post: Portsmouth pics and beer challenge
Looking west through the English Channel, Isle of Wite, England, UK
I bought a week-long bus ticket and made my own bus tour on the Isle of Wite. It worked out really well. The bus system goes all over the island for one flat price.
I was seeing most of the island for a pretty cheap price. My plan was going perfectly! Until, there was one moment that almost turned tragic.
I need to set the stage for you. I know the beautiful sunset above feels warm, but let me tell you, that strong December wind made life freezing cold, even with my hoodie, a jacket, a winter hat, and gloves!
One day, I got off the bus at a stop that I hadn’t been to before. I walked around, took some pictures, and realized there really wasn’t anything else around. Not a single cafe, restaurant, or any business was open because it was Sunday and out of season.
I checked to see when the next bus was going to come by. Five minutes. And the next bus wasn’t for… two hours?! Damn, I’ve got to get going!
I quickly found the location of the next bus stop and ran there just in time. The bus door opened. It was the same bus driver who dropped me off. The driver smiled and said, “I was hoping I’d see you at this stop. The next bus isn’t for a couple of hours!”
That bus driver was super nice. He even stopped the bus for a few seconds at a beautiful spot so I could take an extra picture. There really are some great people in this world!
Below are links to more pics and stories from the Isle of Wite. After you click on the links below, be sure to click on each pic – most of them have accompanying stories.
Wales Millennium Centre and Pierhead, Cardiff, Wales, UK
My time in Cardiff, Wales got off to a horrible start, but I turned things around in a big way. As I type this, I’ve been traveling internationally for over a year. I can very easily say that my first host in Cardiff turned out to be – I’m going to try to keep this as polite as possible – easily the worst host of my entire journey.
I was able to get out of that accommodation and into one of the best accommodations of my journey. I made some great, new friends that I still stay in contact with today. One of them includes an Irishman that I tried to match drink-for-drink for nine hours. I lost (I’m sure you can figure out what that means!).
I’d highly recommend checking out Cardiff. It’s a beautiful port city with beautiful people… and beautiful bars. Lots and lots of beautiful bars with beautiful beer!
Below are some more pics from my time in Wales.
Watching the Six Nations at Three Sisters in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Here’s another mistake that turned into something quite incredible. I researched where to watch the Six Nations Rugby tournament, then headed to what I considered to be the best spot. I made a couple of wrong turns and stumbled upon Three Sisters bar, named after the mountain range in the Scottish Highlands. The sheer size and intensity of the crowd was truly remarkable. There had to be 1,000 people inside and outside of this bar! There were countless TVs, including one that was about 15’x10′.
The next night, I went back to watch the Super Bowl. There were only about 50-100 people there. It’d definitely be the reverse in America. The US and the UK share very similar cultures and tastes. Clearly, sports are not a part of that similarity.
Below is a link to more pics and the full story about my happy mistakes that day!
Related post: Two mistakes led me to awesome!
Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
When I arrived in Scotland, I posted something on Facebook about being in Edinburgh. One of my friends replied, “I’m in Edinburgh, too! We should hang out.” I completely agreed. Among other things, we went for an easy, popular hike up Arthur’s Seat. From there, you can see breathtaking views of the city and the port.
Edinburgh is truly a uniquely built city. I’ve never seen anything like it before. It’s built on multiple levels. Imagine you’re in a big city, downtown, walking over a small bridge. Then, you look over the side of the bridge and you see, the bridge wasn’t built to cross a river. It was built to cross another road. Those buildings you’re standing next to? Those aren’t the first floors, they’re the fourth floors! The architects who built Edinburgh hundreds of years ago are incredibly impressive. They should be recognized and commended for their talents. What an amazing city!
Below are links to more pics and stories from Scotland.
Hanging out with a herd of Highland cattle, Scotland, UK
I couldn’t spend all of my time in Scotland in one city. The lure of the Scottish Highlands was calling me! I booked a 5-day bus tour. It was easily one of the best travel decisions I’ve ever made. Our bus had some great travel mates. We had great conversations as we were driven from one perfectly chosen location to another. The scenery along the way was regularly astonishing.
if you want to visit the Scottish Highlands, the best travel tip for you is to book a bus tour in the late spring, summer, or early fall. Make sure you book it several months ahead of time. Those are the most popular and expensive times. I happened to be there in the winter, so things were cheaper and more available, but the weather was quite cold and rainy – the norm for the entire British Isles for a good part of the year.
Despite the weather issues, I was able to take hundreds of incredible pictures and videos, and meet some great people!
Below you can find a lot more pics and stories from my 5-day Scottish Highlands bus tour.
On the Scottish Highlands bus tour, Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, Scotland, UK
We also got to see Doune Castle (not pictured here), which is the main castle featured throughout Monty Python and the Holy Grail. If you’d like a tour of Doune Castle, please note that it’s only open from April-September and if you before you buy a bus tour, make sure the bus will stop there long enough for you to take a tour.
Sinn Fein HQ with Bobby Sands mural, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
Taking a Blackcab political tour of The Troubles with the legendary Billy Scott was definitely one of the most amazing experiences of my life. This guy is a pro. He told me the tour was going to be about 1 ½-2 hours. It took 3 hours and 40 minutes! He really took his time with me.
This photo is crucial to understanding The Troubles and their effect on the current state of Northern Ireland politics.
On the right, you can see probably the most famous mural of one of the most famous casualties of The Troubles, Bobby Sands. He was a volunteer for the Catholic Nationalist IRA. He died from a hunger strike while he was in prison.
On the left, you can see that this mural is painted on no ordinary building. It’s the headquarters for Sinn Fein, currently the second strongest political party in Northern Ireland. It’s commonly known that Sinn Fein is the political wing of the IRA, considered by many to be a terrorist organization.
If I were to ask you to take a look at only one post on my entire website, it’d be my 49 pics from my tour of The Troubles. I include some of the stories that Billy told me on the tour. It’s truly powerful to see.
View stories and pictures #12 – #22
View stories and pictures #23 – #33