12 Sep 10
The title of this post explains why I haven’t made a post in the last 9 months. Ive been travelling (yet again), working and relocated back home to Sydney, Australia, leaving London behind. Follow me on twitter to stay in the loop.
Here’s the quick version of what I got up to in the first few week of my 3 month trip home, most of the links below are some pictures I took along the way.
- I worked for most of the English winter until April. I packed up my stuff and shipped it home, gladly I managed to fit it into one tea-chest box. Looking back I really miss London, there is always something to do no matter what day of the week it is. Saying goodbye to my friends in London town was a sad moment, we had so much fun, ill never forget it.
- Good Friday was when my next adventure would begin. First stop was Porto in Portaugal, followed by beautiful Lisbon and a night train to Madrid, Spain. I was lucky enough to couchsurf in central Madrid, minutes away from Plaza Mayor for a few days, I headed out to the spanish countryside to Avila & Toledo as well.
- To celebrate ASOT450 I headed to Bratislava in Slovakia in a tiny ATR 42 is a twin-turboprop plane for a night, then headed to Wroclaw for a second night of ASOT450. After two flights, catching the wrong train and being ripped off by a taxi driver I finally made it to Wroclaw only to find out ASOT450 was canceled due the Polish president and his wife being killed in an air crash. I was so drained that day, sometimes things such don’t go to plan.
- I spent a week in Poland visiting Wroclaw, Krakow (Auschwitz & Salt Mine) and Warsaw. Disaster struck again as flights were grounded in most of the EU due to the volanci ash spewing out of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. After waiting 3 hours in line to purchase a train ticket to Berlin, Germany I was over the moon. Poland was in mourning, shops and daily life was slow down to minimum, so I was glad I was leaving.
- I ended up spending an unplanned week in Berlin (I also checked out Potsdam) trying to get to get to Morocco anyway posible, I booked a 34 hour train trip to Tarifa which is on the tip of south Spain and catch a ferry over to Taniger in Morocco. Yes I was that desperate. Fortunately a few days later the planes where flying again and I got to Morocco in less than 34 hours. YAY!!!! Only downfall is I missed my tour group in Morocco by one week. Gecko Adventures which I booked my trip through didn’t refund my money or have any compassion for the situation I was in. My advice is to steer clear of them.
- I had to tackle Morocco on my own without any pre-reading before hand, in the end I visited Casablanca, Taniger, Fes, Meknes, Rabat (Capital), Marrakesh all by train. I throughly enjoyed my time in Morocco, never meet some many locals that are genuinely friendly and I stayed in some amazing guest houses (hostels don’t really exist over there).
Thats the first 5 weeks of my adventure, stay tuned for the next few weeks I spend visiting the Middle East.
01 Sep 09
Well, where do I start haven’t blogged for quite some time, but I have been tweeting away on my travels. Over 5 months of traveling I meet some great people, cities and experiences that I will never forget, I have many stories & odd facts to tell.
Majority of my traveling was with Conitki (An organised tour for 18 – 35 years old) which took me through Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia & Scandinavia. I often get asked ‘Which is the best placed you visited?’, its quite hard to narrow it down as each city/country I visited has it own unique qualities. If I had to pick one city it would have to be the day we spent on the small island of Capri in Italy, the sun was shining on this sleepy, but beautiful pebble beach town. Overall my favourite country was Norway, the scenery was breathtaking.
Im back in London and have moved into a new shared house just south of Central London & have secured a short term contract in working for a large advertisement & communications agency, so things are looking good at the moment.
Over the next few months I will be posting up a selection of the 1000’s of photos I took.
10 Apr 09
I have been without a job for close to a month now. The market has been quite tough especially towards the end of March, early April being the end of the financial year in the UK.
In the past week I have noticed in the area of Front End Development the contact side of the job market has improved quite rapidly. So much so I have attended a number of interviews and had 3 jobs offers! I can’t believe the turnaround. I start my new job on Tuesday working on a great project.
With the temperatures warming up and days getting longer now was a great time to get outdoors, here’s what ive been up to over the past few weeks…
- Sleeping in 🙂
- Finsbury Park – This 45 hectare park is just up the road, its massive spanning over 2 suburbs.
- Hyde Park & Green Park – Located in central London, had a lovely day walking around.
- Heaven Foam Party – Loads of fun was soaking wet by the end of the night.
- South Bank – Nice warm weather, people were flocking outdoors for the sunshine.
- St Johns Wood – quite high density apartments which are quite sort after. Kate Moss & Sir Paul McCartney are some hight profile residents.
- Hampstead Heath – This is one of the more affluent suburbs around London, some of the most expensive property is located in the Hampstead area. The shops that line the streets are aimed at the high end consumers. Jamie Oliver is a resident in Hampstead.
The Easter long weekend is here, I am venturing down to sunny Brighton today, going par-take in my first CouchSurfing experience – im excited!
the world is waiting for you
09 Apr 09
For those who don’t know I am a tad crazy about Armin Van Buuren. Armin Only was the first event I saw Armin Van Buuren play a set live when he came to Sydney last year (2008). A State of Trance (ASOT) his weekly radio show is coming up to his 400th transmission. To celebrate the 8 year long radio show, ASOT 400 is being broadcast for 72 hours over three countries; Germany, United Kingdom & The Netherlands. I am quite lucky that I am able to make it to Birmingham next week. Only 7 days remaining!
In my spare time I knocked up a site for the special ASOT 400 episode, I also took this opportunity to expand my skill set, this was my first PHP website. Here’s what I used…
- WordPress – The site is part of my blog working in conjunction with WordPress, this saved time from having to build the site from scratch and learnt some of the more advanced features of WordPress.
- Twitter API – Documentation of the Twitter API is extensive and well written. Using SimplePie made the process of displaying tweets on the site a breeze as it took care of the caching.
- Amazon API – I had quite alot of trouble with this API, very poorly written documentation with not many examples. One of the biggest downsides I found is the I couldn’t distingish between the MP3 downloads weather it was a single or album. I found an alternative way display just albums but its not ideal.
- Google Maps API – I have worked with the Google Maps API before, if I had more time I would have liked to of used the Street View feature.
- Flickr API – Using phpFlickr made the job easy and the well written documentation was great too.
- RSS feeds – Parsing XML feeds in php wasn’t an easy task since I was so new to the langauge, but I seem to pick up quickly
My side project is complete – http://www.armin-van-buuren.com
25 Jan 09
Had a hectic and a week of work, work & work. Headed out of London today with a friend to see my first city from away from the big smoke…. Cambridge. Its an easy 45min direct train trip from central London. I am sure your well aware of the prestigious Cambridge University, according to Wikipedia its the 2nd oldest University in the English speaking world and home to the oldest printer & publisher in the world. This year its celebrating 800th anniversary.
The main train station is a little away from the town centre, but not too far. It seems like town is based around the University & canals. Cambridge has wide open street, is surrounded by spacious green parks, the crisp clean air is inviting & clam compared to the hustle & bustle in London.
Had no idea what a punt or putting was until today; its pretty much a flat boat (punt) and putting is where a person stands up and steers the boat by levering a pole into the floor of the canal to move the punt, Wikipedia does a better job explaining. We had a pleasant day wondering around the town. Took a few pictures too.
12 Jan 09
I have had such a busy week since coming back from my 10 day trip to Paris, Berlin & Brussels. I had a good time overall but wasn’t prepared for the icy winter days in all cities. I was wearing around 5-6 layers of clothing as I underestimated the weather.
Berlin was by far my favorite city and the cheapest in terms of living. Brussels on the other hardly anything special. I caught all my trains as per booked and quite happy it all worked out. I took over 700 pictures so going to sort through and post the best ones over the next few weeks. I have already sifting & uploaded my pictures of Pairs.
I am in full swing and back at work which is strangely quite hectic for this time of year trying to meet the deadline that constantly changes.
23 Dec 08
After 6 weeks of living in London I have started to settle in, here’s a few things which I got up to when I first arrived.
- After my flight and went on my way to find YHA Central London. After hearing how good the public transport is in London things didn’t get off to a good start. The tube terminated in what seemed to be the middle of no where and it was raining. 3.5 hours later using a combinaion of public buses and various tubes I finally arrived exhausted, but relieved.
- I stayed at the hostel for just over a week, which is only a few mintues walk to Oxford Street. I was looking desperately for a job & a place to live. I was quite lucky to find a share housed within 7 days and couldn’t wait to catch up on some proper sleep (Couldn’t put up with the loud snoring of some people at the hostel – something I think I need to get use to). I now live north of London near Manor House, there is a strong turkish influence in the area, the main street is lined with countless mini supermarkets & kebab shops, no joke!
- Before I left Sydney I had already started to look for a job, but didn’t get many responses. So from day one I was looking for any front end developer roles. The week I arrived 20,000 people were sacked from there jobs which made it quite tough. After countless emails, phone calls and applying for jobs nothing was really going my way, all the jobs I apply for bar one where through agencies.
Having to explain my sitution about my visa condition, previous work etc and dealing with rude recutiers ringing up and there first question was “How much do you earn at the moment?”, when I had no idea what they were offering. After two interviews (one of them was out london, but didn’t realised until I got there) I ended up working back at my previous employer News Corp and started working the day after the interview, woohoo! I am currently working on a project for the timesonline.co.uk. Each day as you read the paper businesses are folding and jobs are going, I was lucky to buck the trend 🙂
31 Oct 08
The day has finally come, my time at NDM is almost over and I am a little sad leaving, lots of memories. Over the past 18 months I have attended some of the most driest meetings ever known to man (somehow I survived) through to some of the wildest Friday night drinks I have ever attended (which surprising I survived as well).
One of the biggest project I undertook was as the lead Front End Developer for the redesign of the Entertainment vertical of news.com.au. It was my baby from the start, I spent 5 month developing the site & additional 5 months of nurturing it. My time on this team was a very rewarding experience especially working with some very talented people. As a challenge I developed an iGoogle gadget for the entertainment vertical.
All in all the people at NDM really made my stay very enjoyable & fun and even got a few more nickname under my belt too, Oh I’m going to miss them.