Thinking about the future can be pretty scary. For every decision that we make, there are a thousand “What if” questions that can crop up. What if I had done this or that differently? What if I hadn’t said that, or gone there? This is as true for travel as it is anything else. My life changed dramatically when I said “What if I do apply to EPIK?”, which (if you are a regular reader) you will know I did back in 2013.
Last Wednesday, I had the unique experience of attending the War and Peace Revival Show. Held at Folkstone racecourse every year around this time, it is a complete ‘celebration of military vehicles and vintage lifestyle’. This year, it spanned from the 19th July until the 23rd and attracted people from far and wide (both traders and attendees alike).
But many of you may be asking the question “What is the War and Peace Revival Show and why should I care that you went there?” Well, dear reader, let me tell you. First, I should really explain what it is. Put simply, it is a fantastic collection of military memorabilia and reenactors/living history enthusiasts. It is (I believe) the largest show of its kind in Europe. You can pretty much find anything there, from First World War bayonets to Nazi Living History enthusiasts. You can see a range of events over the course of the show and enjoy live music (though the music is obviously a bit old fashioned for some people).
I ended up attending this year alongside my best friend and his Dad, who invited me along knowing my absolute love of history. They attend as collectors of military memorabilia, whilst I went with more of an eye for the reenactment side of things. That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy looking around the different stalls and merchandise they offered. I even purchased a few bits myself (a very stylish Hawaiian shirt and a new watch strap for my Timex). We spent many a happy hour following my friend’s Dad, who seemed to know the show like the back of his hand. He himself saw a few items that took his interest and would return to check them out on the other days that he attended. I could only attend the one day, however.
Once we had done looking at the sales stalls, we went to my favourite bit – the living history section of the show, where all the reenactment takes place. Though we didn’t have much time there, I took a few pictures of some American and German reenactors. That is to say, they were the countries they were portraying. Below are the shots I managed to get on my phone, as I annoyingly forgot to take my camera with me.
Overall, I would heartily suggest this event to anyone with even a passing interest in history or military things or vintage lifestyles. What you can’t find here isn’t worth finding. The ticket for the day was £18 and it has great transport links so you can even get there if you don’t have a car (although for those buying anything big, a car/van is a must)!
Check out the website for the War and Peace Revival Show for more information and pictures.
Until next time, dear reader.
So, those of you not living in a cave would have heard the news – on Thursday 23rd June, the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU in an historical referendum. I don’t know how much you would have heard about it in the aftermath (a lot, if you are on my Facebook friend list, I can assure you) but today I feel the need to post on this topic. It is something that was a deeply important issue to me for both personal and political reasons.
First, a little background for those out of the loop. We (the citizens of the United Kingdom) voted to leave the EU 52% to 48%. What caused this? It is a movement against and a discontentment with the so-called ‘establishment’ (what the ‘establishment’ is has yet to actually be properly explained to me by anyone that hates it) that has been growing since my arrival back in the UK in January. It is an issue with immigration that has not been addressed in the eyes of many and who feel left behind by a political elite seen as ‘out of touch’. It is the problems that people have with an institution that is seen as not completely democratic (which is ever so slightly rich coming from a nation with an unelected upper house and monarch as head of state). At least, this is what I have come to understand from those (including members of my family) who decided to vote leave.
Me? I voted Remain. I believe that the UK is stronger in Europe. That turning our back on the continent that we belong to, especially in such uncertain times, is an unwise move. That we were more secure, economically better off and generally more prosperous in Europe. I had wanted to believe that we were an outward looking nation. A nation that wasn’t taken in by vague promises and lies. That wouldn’t be hoodwinked by media spin and catchphrases. I think, in part, I always feared that we could be that nation though. And I believe that June 23rd proved it.
What is the result of all of this? It means that my generation, who voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU, and will live with the consequences of this for the next 50 plus years have had our futures decided by the older generation, who might have to live with it for the next 15. It means that the economy has already begun a slow decline downwards, with the pound hitting an historic 35 year low against the dollar and something like 2 trillion dollars being lost off worldwide markets. It means that the possible friendships that could have developed with the movement of young people may never happen. That possible relationships will now no longer blossom. It has already seen the rise of xenophobia and the beginnings of a resurgence of fascism in my country.
Yes. On the 23rd June, the UK decided to leave the EU. And I think it is the most un-British I have ever felt. We left to ‘take back control’, but what we’ve been left with is a series of broken opportunities, a heavily damaged economy and the Leave campaign backpedaling on the promises it made. The possibility of the UK ceasing to exist as there are calls for a second Scottish referendum. An arrogance that the world needs us much more than we need it. This insular view is embarrassing at best and dangerous at its worst. We 48% might be stuck with this decision but it is up to us to make it do as little damage as possible. Now, more than ever, the UK needs us to fight for what we believe in. Fight against narrow-mindedness and xenophobia; fight against this hatred of anyone foreign or different from us. If we don’t, I fear we are going down a path that will be very difficult to return from.
- See the Northern Lights
- Sleep in glass igloo, Finland.
- Run with the bulls, Spain
- Backpack over Europe
- See a show at the Globe Theatre, London
- Visit Edinburgh, Scotland
- Celebrate St. Patricks Day, Ireland.
- Visit the Guinness Factory, Ireland.
- Live in Paris, France
- Visit the Eiffel Tower, France
- Visit Versailles, France
- Eat French Food in France
- Tour the South of France
- Eat tapas in Spain
- Visit my Grandfather in Portugal.
- Visit Madrid, Spain
- Visit Venice, Italy
- Visit Rome, Italy
- Visit Colloseum, Italy
- Live in Italy
- Rent a mountain villa, Italy
- Visit Pompeii
- Visit Vatican City
- Visit Greece; see everything.
- Eat actual Greek food in Athens
- Visit Istanbul, Turkey
- Have a Turkish Wet Shave, Istanbul, Turkey
- Eat Turkish Food, Istanbul
- Visit Sweden, Norway, Denmark
- See the fjords of Norway
- Visit Iceland
- Visit Greenland
- Attend tulip festival, Netherlands
- Visit Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Visit WW1 sites in Belgium
- Visit Ypres
- Eat actual Belgian chocolate
- Live in Sweden (or other Nordic country)
- Visit Vienna, Austria
- Visit Berlin, Germany
- Live in Berlin, Germany
- Celebrate Oktoberfest, Germany
- Visit German Christmas Market
- Visit Prague, Czech Republic
- Travel on the Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia
- Visit Moscow, Russia
- Visit Budapest, Hungary.
- Visit the Great Rift Valley, Kenya
- Go on safari, Serengeti, Tanzania
- Visit the Pyramids, Egypt,
- Visit Valley of the Kings, Egypt
- Visit Luxor, Egypt
- See the Ramesseum, Egypt.
- Visit the Aswan Damn, Egypt
- Take a cruise down the Nile, Egypt.
- Visit Cape Town, South Africa.
- Tour Hong Kong
- Tour Beijing, China
- Visit Great Wall, China
- Visit Forbidden City, China
- Visit Mud Festival, South Korea
- Go to Korea Burn, South Korea
- Visit Ullengdo, South Korea
- Visit Dokdo, South Korea
- See Cherry Blossoms, Korea
- Hike a mountain, Korea
Visit Penis Park, South Korea
- Attend K-Pop Concert at least once.
- See DMZ, South Korea
- Go on North Korean Tour.
- Visit Tokyo, Japan
- Visit Kyoto, Japan
- Visit Japanese Sex Shop
- Find used underwear vending machine, Japan
- Eat Japanese food in Japan.
- Visit Okinawa, Japan
- Visit Hiroshima, Japan
- See cherry blossoms, Japan
Do temple stay, South Korea
- Do temple stay, Nepal
- Hike the Himalayas.
- Climb Mount Fuji.
- Celebrate colour festival, India
- Visit India (Various cities)
- Visit Japanese Comic Con
- Visit Mongolia.
- Eat Mongolian food, Mongolia
- Visit Bali, Indonesia
- Visit Thailand
- Ride an elephant, Thailand.
- Eat street food, Thailand
- Relax with a tiger, Thailand
Visit Cambodia Visit the Killing Fields
- Visit Siam Reap
Visit Sihanoukville Visit S-21 (Tuol Sleng)
- Visit Laos. Trek.
- Celebrate the Water Festival in one of the above countries.
- Travel across Vietnam by motorcycle
Eat Vietnamese food in Vietnam. Visit Ho Chi Minh City.
- Visit Hanoi
- Live in Vietnam
- Live in Thailand
- Visit the Philippines.
- Volunteer at an orangutan sanctuary, Indonesia.
- Visit Malaysia
- Visit Singapore
- Visit Myanmar Republic
- Do LOTR Tour, NZ
- Visit NZ.
- Visit Wellington, NZ
- Visit Christchurch, NZ
- Visit Auckland, NZ
- See Kiwi Bird, NZ
- Visit family in Sydney, Aus.
- See the Opera House, Sydney.
- See kangaroos, Aus.
- See a wallaby, Aus.
- BBQ on the beach, Aus.
- Explore the Australian Outback.
- Visit Melbourne, Aus.
- Go to Steampunk Festival, Melbourne.
- Scuba dive, Australia.
- Scuba dive, Great Barrier Reef.
- Visit Tasmania.
- Work on a NZ sheep farm for a summer.
- Move to Australia
- Live in Melbourne
- Visit Antarctica
- See penguins in the wild
- Visit the South Pole
- Boat around icebergs.
- Backpack South America
- See a wild llama.
- Take a selfie with said llama.
- Visit Ecuador.
- Visit Macchu Picchu, Peru. Selfie with another llama.
- Boat the Amazon, Brazil
- Trek the Amazon Rainforest, Brazil.
- Experience a festival in Brazil.
- Visit Chile.
- Bike through Argentina (Motorcycle Diaries style).
- Visit Peru
- Road trip across America
- Road trip across Canada
- See Rocky Mountains, Canada
- See Niagara Falls
- Visit Newfoundland.
- Dogsled in Canada
- Visit Toronto
- Visit Vancouver.
Visit Montreal. Visit Ottowa. Experience the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts See Montreal Rocky Horror for Halloween
- Visit all US States
- Visit Atlanta, Georgia
- Visit Austin, Texas. Attend music festival.
- Visit NYC at Christmas
- Visit Statue of Liberty.
- See Times Square.
- Go to Empire State Building.
- Visit Detroit, Birthplace of Soul music.
- Eat Southern Food, New Orleans.
- Visit Disney World, Florida
- Visit Seaworld, Florida
- Experience Burning Man
- Visit San Diego Zoo.
- Visit L.A.
- Chill on a beach, Hawaii
- See volcanoes, Hawaii
- See Aztec ruins, Mexico
- Eat authentic Mexican food, Mexico
- Attend Festival of the Dead, Mexico
- Eat Mexican street food.
- Visit Havana, Cuba
- Stay in Cuban Resort
- Visit the Panama Canal, Panama
- Visit Costa-Rica
- Visit Colombia
- Attend Mardi Gras, Trinidad.
- Visit Jamaica. Eat food.
- Become bilingual.
- Become trilingual.
- Live in another country for at least 12 months
- Teach myself to play the guitar again.
- Be in a band.
- Have a book of poetry published.
- Write more poetry
- Write for fun.
- Learn to drive.
- Get a motorcycle.
- Get at least one tattoo.
- Dive with sharks
- Write travel articles whilst travelling.
- Get a BA.
- Get an MA
- Get a PhD
- Qualify as a Teacher
- Get CELTA Certified
- Lecture at University.
- Volunteer at Orangutan Sanctuary, anywhere.
- Go on archaeological dig. Put my degree to use.
- Go on paleontological dig and fulfil childhood dream.
- Visit Las Vegas. Go to Casino. Cry.
- Go to SDCC.
- Go to any Comic Con
- Ice Skate
- Teach English Abroad
- Live in at least 5 countries for a minimum of six months.
- Write a song. Have someone perform it.
- Visit every continent.
- Get better at photography.
- Have a photo published somewhere.
- Try craft beer from every US State.
- Try a craft beer from every UK County.
- Start to exercise regularly. (In Progress)
So, any of you reading my recent posts will know that I was bitten by the travel bug pretty bad. And before you panic and head for the door, I am not about to bore you with another post saying as much. No, what I have chosen to write about today is trying to re-create that feeling back home. To try and and feel that intoxicating buzz that is travel.
We all return home for different reasons. Friends. Family. School. But being a traveler never leaves you. Below are three tips for feeling like a traveler when you are back at home!
So, I have been home since January now. Nearly 6 months. Half a year. We are fast approaching a year since I left Korea. And I decided it was time for me to reflect on this. What do I think, having been out of ESL for a year now? What are my future plans?
I don’t think it is a secret to anyone that since leaving the world of ESL I haven’t coped with life in the West that well. Although I loved being in Canada, I couldn’t work there so that was never going to be a long term solution. Montreal is a fantastic place to be (Marta is currently back there, and although it isn’t in the best of circumstances, even she can’t deny it is a great place). The people I met in Canada were friendly and treated me well. But most importantly – it wasn’t “home”.
The biggest feeling I have had since leaving Korea all those months ago is one of not really belonging anymore. Home, or what was once home, doesn’t feel like it for me. At first, I assumed it was simply reverse culture-shock.. But after a year, and still feeling the same, I know that isn’t the case. I am a traveler at heart and being at home provides me with no adventure. I get up everyday, like many, and go through the motions. But I have seen a glimpse of something different and now there is no going back. I took the red pill, and leapt down the rabbit hole.
But in doing so, I discovered something wonderful. I discovered friends I never would have met otherwise who mean the world to me now. I discovered a way of doing a job that brings you joy everyday. A job that is always different, challenging but extremely rewarding. A way of life that is unique and a wonderful community of people to share that with. Given my chance to do the last year over, I wouldn’t change much. But if I had to make one change, it would be never leaving the world of ESL.
I miss it everyday, and though I enjoy my job now, it isn’t anywhere near what I felt doing ESL. I miss my friends, my little apartment. The ajumma at the corner store who gave me tomatoes one summer day because she had some spare. The ajusshi who ran a local glasses store, and provided Marta and I with the same service a year later. I miss coffees overlooking the city of Cheongju. I miss brunch with TJ. The smiles of my kids as they finally got that word right they’d been struggling with. Their enthusiasm for Sports Day. I miss never knowing what was going on.
I miss the life of the expat.
And friends – as great as it is being home, I count everyday down as one less until I can leave again. Once the travel bug bites you, and you experience that life, I honestly don’t think you can happily do anything else.
As a wiser person than I said, “I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.”
So, it has been several weeks since I last posted on here. Despite my promises, you once again find me apologising for not posting. But it was only because I did not want to bore you. I have not really had much going on in my life worth writing to you all about.
So, what is happening at the moment? Well, the big news is that over in the UK we are on Easter Break. That means two weeks with no school, students or (hopefully) stress. This last term (or semester for any American readers) went by pretty quickly but did bring with it a rather large amount of stress right at the end.
“What is this stress?” I hear you ask. Well, let me tell you. I recently found out that I am not likely to be funded (or I think it is unlikely – people keep telling me to think positively) for my PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate of Education). This is because I have not been in the UK for the past three years, diligently working some crap job for little money in case I decided to apply for further student loans. Instead, I was abroad working (temporarily) in the ESL industry. As a teacher. Getting teaching experience. But apparently, that is not what they look for. I know what you are thinking – it makes perfect sense. I know. This means Marta and I seriously need to think of a Plan B, as I can’t be stuck in the UK for six years. I bloody hate it here.
So, fellow travellers, be aware that you too may run into difficulties if you have been abroad teaching ESL and want to come back to the UK to qualify as a teacher here. I know that if I don’t get funded, that particular dream will have gone for me and I will be thinking seriously about what I want to do.
Apart from that, Marta and I took a trip to the West Hill and enjoyed a wonderful lunch of jacket potato (Marta) and a sausage baguette (me) with some delicious cake for desert. The West Hill is very pretty in the springtime sun and I regrettably only took a few pictures the entire time we were there. I must get back into using my camera again. But being back home has left me uninspired. I want to go back to Vietnam and Cambodia, where I was happily snapping away all day long. You can see my picture of the West Hill above, and you would have seen it if you clicked on this article from my home page.
Well, that is it for me for now. I will write again soon about the trials and tribulations of trying to get my life in order. It might not be easy but I will work it out.