You last heard from me in Switzerland, at the Lifestyle Design conference. On a whim, I had decided to make my next stop Istanbul, the largest city in the region (and in Turkey). There are plenty of things to do in Istanbul for eccentric, nomadic backpackers like myself.
After leaving London, I caught a flight out of the distant Luton airport to get to Zurich. From the window of my plane, I saw a cascade of snow-covered mountains open the gates into Switzerland. Landing in Zurich, I realized the city was filled with old-world architecture and a lot of fancy clock-towers. As I always do in a new city in a new country, I proceeded to get hopelessly lost.
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”.
What’s it like to walk from the edge of Shepherd’s Bush on London’s far West end, all the way to Waterloo St around Southwark? The answer is very hard on the old feet. This personally invented London walking tour concluded with going back up the edge of the Thames, across Westminster bridge and finally to a SoHo underground station, reaching a total of around 9 miles of walking.
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
Reposting this from the Romanian travel blog “DraculasCastle.info”. Gotta add Romania to my bucket list (note: my bucket list never goes unfulfilled for more than a couple of years at a time).
Christmas Market, Sibiu, Sibiu County, Transylvania, Romania Sibiu was included on a list of cities with the most beautiful Christmas markets in the world. In a related article , Spanish newspaper El Mundo recommend seven cities around the world worth…
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.
These North Korea photos were taken around April, 2013. Those in urban city centers enjoy a higher standard of living than others. Most go home to large residential developments and condominiums; often with limited water and electricity, with several family members to each room. North Koreans often work six days per week. The meandering tourism industry (primarily from China) represents many urban jobs in hospitality, as well as a constant need for civic short-term employment, such as construction and infrastructure. Markets exist in unvisited sectors of Pyongyang; where tourists have never been allowed to go. During a stay in a city like Pyongyang; you are required to be accompanied by a government approved guide at all hours, except when you are in your hotel. – Cyrus
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