I have been back in London now for almost 2 months and it has been a whirlwind of emotions and realisations deeply intermingled with dozens of other equally poignant 'tions. I find myself in a...

Let me start by saying, more so now than ever, I have no bloody idea what I'm doing, where I'm going, or if I can be bothered, but I probably can. I have one thing to...

Almost two months have passed since I arrived in London, and it was great to spend the time with my family who I have not seen for three or four years. For the most part...

In case you hadn't heard, Sarah's Travel Blog made the top new blogs of 2013 on "Almost Fearless". I am very proud of her blogging success, and glad she is getting the recognition I believe she deserves. Her writing style is fun and easy to read, and she adds an honesty to it which makes you feel like you are reading about the life and times of a real person ( a real person you actually want to read about). I would be lying if I did not admit to being a little jealous of her blogging success, my blog is doing pretty well, and my audience has shot up about 400% in the last couple months, but such is the nature of blogging, that the more success you achieve, the more success you crave, and the more popular other blogs are, the more you want to reach their dizzying heights while denigrating their "undeserved" fame. At least that is what I gleaned from the Green Eyed Monster who keeps punching me in the back of the head, evoking an angry lust for internet fame which I thought myself immune from.

Blogging Success, Green Eyed Monster

I have a lot of time to ponder, and I spend a lot of that time pondering time, consciousness, my mind, and the minds of others. A lot of preponderances amount to nothing, and most live firmly in the realm of opinion, but better out than in I always say. We consider ourselves the height of consciousness, and assume that because we seem to be the highest level of consciousness in the universe, we have reached some sort of pinnacle, that we are self aware at the maximum level one can be aware. So seldom however are we truly conscious of our existence. Most of our lives are spent floating through a maelstrom of crazy, almost psychotic thoughts. We are inflicted with a myriad of mood changes, and our ideas, opinions and feelings match whichever of these moods are most dominant at the time. [caption id="attachment_2489" align="aligncenter" width="676"]Human Consciousness Human Consiousness - Artwork by Me[/caption] Every now and then I feel a moment of clarity, my mind stops swirling, my thoughts float from the external to the internal, I feel my body and its surroundings. The tangibles around me become fake, a mere bouncing of light from one grouping of particles to another. Time slows and becomes an unruly measurement of entropy, my breath a reminder of the temporary status granted me by a molecular grouping, fluked into existence four billion years ago.

Cold weather without snow is shit, cold weather with snow is like living in a winter wonderland, it's so puuurdy. The promised deluge finally happened in London, and about a foot of snow covered the dirty old streets, dirty old houses, and dirty old people. Sarah arrived yesterday, and about 5 minutes later the snow reached settling levels, and then carried on, and on, and on. Quite the welcome for her first return to the continent in about 4 years. Despite her obvious jet lag, we made our way to a "traditional" English builders Cafe, and chugged down a hearty breakfast of eggs, beans, bacon and fried bread. The patrons supplied an authentic British ambiance, with builders hollering "over ere' Darlin'", and mothers threatening small children with a "clip 'round the ear 'ole". Sarah and I in the snow

I have had a few bad jobs in my time, but they were relatively easy compared to some of the occupations I have seen while traveling around the world. From India to Australia, from Mexico to China, if you think your job sucks, at least you don't have to do what these people do. Jobs are shit, by their very definition (anything a person is expected or obliged to do; duty; responsibility) they imply something which has to be done, and anything you have to do will eventually suck. Work on the other hand (exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something), is something you choose to do, and can bring a lot of enjoyment and fulfillment into your life, and which does so in mine. This isn't a list of the worst jobs in the world, I'm sure there are things out there which could easily be deemed worse than anything I have seen, like Thai Drug Mules, or Mc Donalds employees. These are just bad jobs, which made me grateful for the occupations I have had. Bad Jobs Mexico Bad Jobs Mexico Every morning in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, tourists wake up, crawl out of bed, and casually stroll down to the crystal clear water and pristine white beaches, to lie in the sun and forget about their woes. If they woke up a couple hours earlier, they would see the Mexican fellas with spades, scattered along the beach just above the water line, digging large holes and burying small mountains of seaweed and debris.

So I have been in London for just over a month now, and although it has been good to relax and see the family, the hankering to hit the road again, and for warmer climes, has returned. Usually I prefer the cold weather, and snow in London was a delightful prospect. At least that is what I though until returning to my home country of 10 years. I now realize that being cold is shit, and makes going outside, getting out of bed, and bearing ones naked bottom to the toilet seat, a daunting prospect. Snow in London I find myself craving the sweat and burn of the Mexican sun. Especially now that an inch to a foot of snow is forecast for London in the next week or so. Sure the snow will be pretty, covering London with a blanket of that ye olde feel, but it also means it is going to be even colder (Yes I know it is not coldest when it snows and blah, blah blah, stop being a smart ass!), and a couple days after the snow in London, the streets will turn to a muddy mush of slippery death. Schweet.

If someone told me now that I only had a year to live, and asked what I would like to do with my remaining time, I am in the fortunate position to say "Exactly what I am doing now". How many people could really say that in this world? How many people have made the life choices necessary to be doing what they truly want to do? At times I consider myself lucky to be living the lifestyle I am, but then I remind myself that this did not just fall into my lap, and that I had to work hard to get here, I had to make the right life choices which would lead me in the right direction. Where is here? Here is having not had to wake at a certain time for work in almost a year, here is traveling the world as I want to. No trying to squeeze a holiday into a month, no trying to hit all the spots before time runs out. Just traveling as we see fit, when and where we feel like. Sure I still work every now and then, but it is work I enjoy, I get to be creative and build websites, create art, and just mess about with opportunities that inspire me. When I'm not feeling inspired, I don't have to do anything. It is a marvelous way to live.

[caption id="attachment_2202" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Doomsday Prediction Doomsday[/caption] I woke up this morning filled with disappointment, it is the 22nd, and Doomsday has not arrived. To say I feel let down is an understatement, instead of looking out the window and seeing an ash covered sky, fires raging and people screaming in the streets, it is raining and there are 2 pigeons playing with a squirrel, oh what sickening torment is this? I am shocked and mortified that those bloody ancient Mayans, with less technology than the family of 10 in a council flat down the road, were not able to make a doomsday prediction thousands of years into the future. How could they get it wrong? Read the stars, stare off into space, take a bit of ayahuasca, and let baby Jesus guide you through the future while gently stroking your hand so you don't freak out.

"What?! Not another Travel Gear post!" I hear you shout. "Whoaaa, hold on just a second there matey!" I reply in a somewhat condescending tone, "Yeah sure, it has been done before, but not by me!" You're probably pondering what I could possibly write to make this addition to the "travel gear" mound worth reading? Well, because what one person thinks a necessity, another may scream "Bollocks!" to. I thought I would offer you up all the  wondrous things I myself did not cry out bollocks to, like anti-chaffing underpants and sweat towels. Sure we all wear pants an' that, but what kind of pants? There-in lies the beauty of another travel gear post. It is true most travel bloggers do a post like this at some stage, but I am always interested to see what they consider to be travel gear best practice, so with any luck, you will find my dirty knickers and electronic wizardry equally helpful in keeping yourself informed, and if not, well, Look deep into my eyes...."you loved the post, you agree with everything I have said, and you think my bald spot looks distinguished". Packing the travel gear So here are the things I have found to be most useful, hopefully it might help other travelers from filling their limited space, with the often useless bits and bobs which at first might seem essential. On readying ourselves for our long term travel, Sarah and I went out and bought the things we thought would enhance our experience, or looked shiny and made us feel like adventurers. Surprisingly we did quite well with our original purchases, and despite the odd ridiculous item (like the fold away khaki hat which shall never touch my head again, yet matched perfectly my khaki shorts, khaki trousers and khaki shirt, I seem to have a penchant for poo brown clothing) our travel gear ended up being quite useful and looking like this:

By a round-a-bout set of circumstances, I found myself having Christmas lunch with about two dozen people, all between the age of sixty and ninety. My initial reaction to being invited to the event, was one of uncertain uneasiness, not because of the age group, but just because I am not a huge fan of crowds of any age, my limit tends to be three or four people before I start to feel a little uncomfortable. Merry Christmas At around one pm, my mum and I made our way down to the communal area where the lovely caretaker/manager lady had set up a veritable banquet hall, her abilities in the kitchen, and her friendly, professional manner when dealing with her charges, are a sight to behold, and I will ever be grateful for the way she looks after my mum and the other residents. Christmas decorations hung from every available surface, crackers were strewn across the table, and the smell of Christmas lunch wafted from the busy kitchen. As we came through the door we were greeted by the residents with warm smiles and friendly hellos, names were exchanged, walkers were shuffled, teeth were put back in, and jokes were cracked. The predominantly English crowd seemed happy to share their day with this young whipper snapper, "The Australian" as I became known to those who had not heard, or could not remember my name. It has been awhile since I felt like a whipper snapper, and being around people who had truly lived, and were still living life was a much needed wake up. Being told again that 31 was young, reminded me that despite the creak in my knees, and balding head, I still have a relatively long way to go.

I without a doubt have a wealth of memories to choose from, 32 years worth in fact. Although a large number of those are heavily dulled through abuse or the tyranny of ages, I still have some solid foundations with which to build my world view and fund the old memory banks, despite their often dilapidated states. The battle I face is finding some sort of equilibrium between the desire to create memories, and the ability to live them. I have the life and times of the bold and the beautiful, the good and the ugly, the bad and the pointless. My memories cover a spectrum more fuzzy, warm and wide than the ultra violet to the microwave background. I flew and walked to Everest base camp, did yoga with a yogi while staring out at the Ganges in Varanasi, India, walked on the Great Wall of China, messed about on a pyramid in Egypt, stroked an elephant in Thailand and picked my nose in Mexico. I have a huge badly cataloged library of blurry faced memories with people and places that made me happy or sad. My tongue tingles at the fading remembered tastes which satiated a thirst for culinary experience, and my thinning stomach lining burns from the expunged hideousness of meals less than satisfactorily prepared.

..."Please don’t touch my testicles again, massage gone wrong" When writing and titling the post, I thought,now there is a catchy name, one that will stand up and make people pay attention (pun intended), what I did not foresee, somewhat short sightedly, was that this would become my most popular post, that everyday my Google search hits would lean heavily towards the internets dirty underbelly. Now don't get me wrong, I, like the vast majority of internet users, have at some point perused the hedonistic options accessible to the modern man, perhaps not quite the same hedonistic options as people landing on my post, but each to their own. It became apparent fairly quickly that I was somewhat misleading these poor souls, men (and presumably women) in search of a very different internet experience than the one I was delivering, and although I do not know your names or where you come from, I believe it only right that I atone for my sins and make good on that most heinous of crimes, the fabulously named, cock block (or female equivalent).

It is around 1 degree Celsius outside, the sun is yet to show itself despite being seven thirty in the morning, and my Qantas pajamas are having a hard time keeping the cold at bay. Sure there are heaters in the house, and they do a pretty good job, but it would take a hell of a lot more than a few heaters to eliminate the cold emanating from walls which only take in sunshine for about a month each year. In Perth the standard mantra for each summer is "It's hot", despite the regularity and consistent return of 35-40 degree temperatures, every year it is chanted with renewed surprise. In London the same chant can be found, with the words slightly altered to "It's fuckin' freezing".