Part of the idea of being a digital nomad is to “not be a tourist”. As such, it’s often best to find the most authentic experiences that you can. This is rarely accomplished by hanging out in a hotel, nor even a hostel (which tends to be a more international versus local experience).
On this day, I was fortunate enough to meet up with my friend Sarah Feeney from Notting Hill (a friend from Arizona). I hiked from my little room at the Greyhound pub (The Monkeys in the Trees Hostel) to her home a couple of miles away. From there, we were looking for something in the immediate area to do. Across the street is Kensington Palace.
I often hear people cracking jokes about traditional British food. Namely, that it’s not very good. “Everything’s boiled,” I hear them say. “I hope you like boiled, salted porks and overcooked cabbage and flavorless shepherd’s pies”.
The first day of international travel is almost always a rough patch for me. Without fail, I get sick. This time was no exception, as I finally caught the cold going around (the one that lasts days and makes you feel super sluggish). Couple this with very little sleep, the sudden timezone change, and a LOT of walking after I finally landed in the middle of the London new years, and I was the walking dead.
Taking the train to west London, I immediately realized it was bitter cold. My leather jacket wasn’t enough, and I had to fish for my gloves and scarf. Without a proper internet connection, I began searching for a Starbucks to get on Google Maps and get my bearings (next time, I should prepare more thoroughly). Slowly, I mapped out a walking route to the hostel. The 1.4 mile distance felt monumental given my sickness and tiredness. However, I was not ready to pay a fortune for a London taxi.
I arrived at the Monkey in the Trees Hostel, which is in an area near the borough of Hammersmith, near a very old market (Shepherd’s Bush Market). The hostel is actually part of a pub called The Greyhound. The pub is on the bottom floor, and upstairs are the bunk beds.
Unlike “pubs” in the West, many pubs in England seem more like family locations, and during the early evening the pub / hostel is swamped by families with their kids running around, while mom and dad drink pints.
I met with two wonderful Chilean women, Esi and Ninia. We immediately clicked and spent the evening together, making it to Leicester Square, which is the closest available place to watch New Years fireworks without having to pay a monumental ticket price. We arrived via the “tube” railway. A costly but effective mass transit system ($6.00 or so per one-way ticket).
Esi and Nenia met up with almost a dozen other Chileans who they had encountered the night before quite randomly. This left me feeling slightly awkward, as I don’t speak Spanish. And, by around 1 AM I wanted nothing more than to pass out.
We ended up in a Mexican restaurant. I was not that interested given that I was born and raised in the American Southwest, and it was about US $8.00 just to enter the place.
I needed a strategy to wake myself up, so I took a small shot of hot sauce. The others thought I was crazy, but it cut back my cold symptoms and gave me a second wind of energy.
Now with more energy, I managed to get a lot of exciting shots of different streets in the early hours, including Chinatown and it’s huge hanging orange lamp / orb.
Ended up having a lot of fun. I have yet to meet a single Londoner who does NOT have a sense of humor. This makes meeting random strangers both very fun and easy.
Returned at 5 AM. Despite everything I’d been through, I could only sleep 3 hours (maybe because of my cold). I woke up and had the complimentary breakfast, and then got to work on my computer. Around noon, the real tiredness set in. I returned to my room and passed out for five hours.
We’ll see what tomorrow brings
Clearly, my updates on this site have been less frequent as of late. As there’s only so much time in one day, I find most of my days are spent either creating new Kindle ebooks, or working in other business areas. In fact, truly, this whole year has been a period of my life dedicated to work, launching entrepreneurial projects, and trying to maintain some semblance of consistency in regard to things like sales. The reason is because at the end of this year, now merely two months away, I’ll begin the next fairly long expedition.
Here are some plans for this trip, in what is my current (final) itinerary:
Dec. 30th-8th: Depart to England, stay with some friends out there until around the 7th. Enjoy New Years in London.
Jan 8th-14th: Catch a flight to (ridiculously expensive) Zurich, Switzerland. Head to the Lifestyle Design Convention, with my VIP ticket where I’ll be having dinner with Steve Pavlina and other marketing and blogging leaders. When the conference is done, drink hot chocolate on a mountain somewhere. Bonus if I meet a beautiful Swiss girl with pigtails.
Jan1 14th-28th: Fly from Switzerland to Istanbul, Turkey. Two weeks in a youth hostel. Food blog Turkish cuisine. Explore Constantinople, as it was once known. Post photos to this website.
Jan 28th-Feb 14th: Spend remainder in Turkey going across the Nicean coast, making it to Antalya and Fethiye, both ancient world coast towns. In Fethiye, there are sarcophagi built into the edges of the mountains. Chronicle some of these lost civilizations, post them to my website.
Feb 15th: Somehow get back to Istanbul, take a flight to Zagreb, Croatia
Feb 15th-March 15th: Spend a month in Zagreb, being around good natured central European folks, enjoying the low cost of life in Zagreb, plus it’s famous party scene
March 15th – April 15th: This will be time spent in either Zagreb or Dubrovnik, “a stunningly intact” walled medieval coastal city. The weather will finally start to thaw from the long, cold winter–and tourists from around Europe and Russia will be flocking to Dubrovnik.
April 15th – July 15th: The rest of my time in Prague, enjoying spring and summer in this famous and beautiful city.
July 15th: Either return to the USA depending on family reasons and / or business reasons (have I amassed 10k in credit card debt, or am I fully self sufficient? that’ll be a big factor), or take a flight to India to begin the next half. In that case, I’d be going from India through back to Thailand, landing then in Japan for autumn, and likely beginning the new year in Hong Kong or Shanghai.
When the exploration renews, I’ll be keeping everyone updated here at CyrusKirkpatrick.com. So if you’re interested in seeing what I hope to be photos of some awesome places, then be sure to check in around that time. With any luck, I’ll plan to chronicle my adventures one day at a time for the length of the trip.
See you soon, in fact — if you happen to have a place to crash in England, Switzerland, Turkey, Croatia or Czech Republic… Let me know and maybe I’ll literally see you soon
Life as a travel blogger must be ideal, right? Live anywhere, enjoy the blue skies, work on your laptop, make some updates to your site, get paid, and then get back to surfing.
Sounds amazing in theory. However, blogging is no picnic (something I make clear in my book, How to Actually Make Money Blogging). I’ve run several blogs before, and a highly functional operation can be VERY profitable, but there are some big downsides, as well.
I highly suggest reading this post to its entirety if you want to learn what the lifestyle of a travel blogger is *really* like — and why I personally think blogging is not always the best option for obtaining a mobile, freedom oriented business.
EDIT: This book is currently an Amazon Best Seller in both the job hunting and adventure travel categories. It’s taken months of work but I’m finally a best selling author! — Hey everybody, I have a brand new book up this week. Below is my description from the Amazon.com page. Basically, I’m selling it dirt-cheap, and it’s about how to make money on the road and live to your full potential. Continue Reading
All photos were taken in April 2013 and are copyright to Cyrus Kirkpatrick, all rights reserved.
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The spirit of Pyongyang (“city in the flat-land”) has endured for thousands of years, and despite being continually shattered by warfare, it always springs from the ashes in some unique way. The form the city has taken in the last century is perhaps the most peculiar in its 5000 year history; it is now a city of forbidden sights – a showcase capitol of a socialist utopia that never quite achieved its promise. It is a city filled with lights, grandiose monuments, amazing breweries, high-quality restaurants, hard-working people, and dark secrets.
This current upload suffers from some problems. I was hoping KVOA would have better people scripting their website because I’m cut off toward the end in mid sentence! Nonetheless special thanks to Ryan at KVOA for making this really cool package about the North Korea trip that was featured this morning on Channel 4.
Presenting 15 (+1.. 16!) of the more interesting photos I pulled out of my huge archive of pictures from the 2013 North Korea trip. There’s a lot more pictures left to post, but these are just a few of the ones that seemed to jump out at me. Please wait while this page loads.
Click on any image to expand it.
A waitress serves DPRK party members in a busy restaurant.
New buildings in Pyongyang.
Our government guides take photos of us.
An upscale North Korean watches people with a cigarette.
A girl from the industrial city of Kaesong poses for me.
A Pyongyang traffic girl and a rundown truck.
Members of a wedding party.
Myself posing with two guards on the DMZ.
A woman at the Pyongyang bowling alley around 8 PM at night.
Farmers somewhere to the north
A man attends a class in the Great People’s Study Hall
A woman attends a class in the Great People’s Study Hall
A military cycle on the streets of Pyongyang
A crowd assembles in Kim il-Sung Square
Juche Tower rises above the city.
The Pyongyang skyline.
CNN caught up with three of the guys from our group in Beijing after returning from this year’s trip into the DPRK. Featured on the video are several of my buddies: Josh, Patrick and Joseph. The segment does a great job expressing our feelings about the trip and the contradictory nature of going into this country.
There are pictures of me and the rest of us featured in the group shots that are shown during the segment.
This is must watch!
Was Oprah Winfrey once in North Korea at the town of Nampo? Was she really hanging out with Patrick Stewart and “Bond”?
Could “Bond” be Sir Sean Connery?
That would be barrels of awesome.
(Edit; Some have pointed out that “Bond” is “Bono” which makes more sense. The “o” is curved inward a little bit, so I thought it was a “D”. Here’s to hoping it was Sean Connery).
I found this guestbook signature at a rural hotel in the depths of the DPRK this week. It could be a prank by another wandering adventurer, or it could be the real deal. Either way, this unusual guestbook entry gave me and my group a double-take.
What do you think? Is there any information out there about Oprah Winfrey coming into the DPRK? Does the handwriting match her own?
If so, it wouldn’t be the first surprising signature found in the country. Another member of our group, Michael Bassett, signed a book near Kim Jong-Il’s mausoleum with Dennis Rodman’s signature right above it (no pics were allowed in this place unfortunately).
For those who arrived at this page for the first time and do not believe I was in North Korea this week (March 30th – April-6th 2013) in the height of all these tensions, here’s my pic. I’m an American.