A Travellerspoint blog

Tea stains

Inspiration and motivation is hard to find sometimes, you can't conjure it out of nowhere, yet looking for it is also requires effort which I usually don't have. So as I'm sitting on the airplane on my way back to London, thinking of something to motivate me to write, I notice that without realising it I've managed to spill tea all over my tray table.

This small clumsiness on my behalf reminded me of the coffee and tea stains that cover my iPad case and the coffee spill that stained my Guinness factory shirt the first time I wore it three years ago. I also realise that whilst I'm writing this that I have no idea whatsoever where I'm going with it, so far it's looks to be about stains.

Unlike some people, I've never really been the type of person to look at someone and wonder what they are doing with their life, what they are thinking or where they are going. I usually just watch people, watch the way they do things, like they way the three people next to me are all reading different things. Then I look down at their shoes, I've always judged someone by their shoes which is so hypocritical of me because the majority of my shoes are falling apart, but that doesn't mean that I am too. I understand quite well that this is probably quite strange of me, but to be honest it entertains me.

But this has lead me to wonder whether other people are looking at me and wondering what I am doing with my life, what I'm thinking etcetera. If I were to answer these things I wouldn't know what to say, I have no idea what I'm doing with my life, I mean I know that I will get on the tube and go to my friends house as soon as I'm off the plane. But after that, no idea.

I started working when I was 15 years old and have done so ever since, however this now has been the longest time I've not been working. So that also means this is the longest time I've been without a regular routine, a regular routine keeps my mind on track. It means I know when I have to get up in the morning, I have my clothes lined up for the next day, and my weeks worth of food already decided and ready to look forward to.

The lack of income has made me put myself on a budget, I won't run out of money but I will never feel at ease knowing I have no backup if something comes up. This budgeting means I will most likely stay in my room all day instead of going out into the city, I have no idea what to wear which means I definitely won't go anywhere either. But the thing that gets to me the most is I have no purpose to my day, I have no reason to get up. Normally at work I would set goals, which I would look forward to doing the next day, being able to push myself further to achieve what I want, I enjoyed working overtime just so I wouldn't leave anything unfinished. My morning coffee would be my inspiration but it is now my maybe midday coffee and that's only if i can find a mug in the house.

So going back to my abnormal judgement of people depending on the shoes they wear, I start to think it may be correct. Maybe I am falling apart a bit like my shoes, my favourite pair of sandals broke a few days ago and instead of mending them I just threw them out. Does it mean something if I'm not finding the motivation to fix and mend these things, am I not bothering to help mend myself either?

Well we are going through some turbulence right now, so this food for thought will end here the way it started, with tea stains on my tray table.

After thought note to self : quit your whining Jess, you're on a five month travelling holiday, deal with it.

Posted by jtontheroad 06:17 Archived in Turkey Tagged london travel istanbul shoes plane Comments (0)

Pieces of a puzzle, falling into place

semi-overcast 12 °C

It will be around a year ago now when I was sitting at my work desk, realising that this was not for me, I could not stand being in that dead old town and dead end job for much longer. So a friend of mine told me to go home, run myself a bath, make myself a cup of tea and figure out what I need to do. I realised I needed to be back overseas, so not too much later I had booked my one way ticket over to London and started the countdown. From then onwards everything has just happened in its course and this is how I am where I am right now. There is not a thing I could change because I have been so lucky, after thinking things were never going to work out they always managed to over time.

I decided that I would fly over and spend a few days in London, go to a few agency interviews and then travel for about a month. I knew that in that month travelling I would meet people, well I didn't know for sure but I was betting everything on it because if i had some other people in the same situation as me it would be a lot easier. I was right though, I met the most incredible people from that trip who I am still very close with. I decided I wasn't ready to figure out my life or start work yet so I jotted my way around Ireland, it was the second time I had been there and it was just as adventurous as the first.

However there comes a point when a sense of normality is necessary though, I needed a regular routine, a normal diet and a place to unpack my bag. So from there began my nightmare of finding somewhere to base myself in London. I almost made the mistake of agreeing to the first place I saw, luckily I then went on to look at another 14 places and realised I wouldn't be in the right place had I chosen it.

In the meantime I had managed to get myself a job as a supply teacher at a school in south east London, I was living in a hostel dorm of 12 people and commuting to and from work from that. I finally found a place and moved in a week later, I settled with this place, it was a lovely big room but it was in an awful house with. It came with no communal areas and a range of flat mates that wouldn't speak a word to me, it was also in one of the worst areas in London, I had picked well.

On a regular Friday afternoon, I had finished work for the day and was sitting in a cafe using the wifi because the internet didn't work in the house. I received an email from a travel company I had had an interview with a week prior and it turned out they were offering me an IT admin position. It was something I didn't even hesitate with, I accepted and was due to start the following Monday, so within in minutes I phoned up my current supervisor with my heart racing and said I would not be returning to the school.

The only reason I got the flat was because it meant I wouldn't have to pay for transport to and from work, that was the only reason I was staying there and since I was no longer working at the school I decided I wanted to leave the house. So I investigated every avenue I could take to get myself out and into somewhere else when my good friend offered up the other half of her bed to me.
I was now living in a house full of people my age and with the same interests and ideas as me, I was working in my dream industry and finally getting my 9-5 routine that I wanted.

It was about two months in when I received a phone call from another travel company offering me the position of a lifetime, the chance to work in Paris over the summer. To my surprise I actually had to think about this decision, I had just adjusted to my new routine, I was comfortable in London and wasn't sure if I was ready to up and go again. However that pondering thought didn't last long and two weeks later I was Paris.

I couldn't picture what I would be doing right now or how I would feel if I hadn't have had that job opportunity, it has changed my thoughts on the ways things should run and my work ethic. The decision to move overseas wasn't so I could party and run a muck around the world, it was because I knew I could see myself starting up a life over here and that's exactly what I'm trying to move towards. It is still a long way off because I still have no real base, no current income and am still in two minds about what to do in the foreseeable future but I have faith that in time it will fall into place.

I think this last year has been a puzzle and each decision has been a piece, sometimes you can't find the right ones or you try and make the wrong one fit and have to try again but you get there eventually and that is where I am today, sitting on a coach on my way to Istanbul and wouldn't change a thing, however my puzzle is still far from finished and I'm excited to keep working on it.

Posted by jtontheroad 07:11 Archived in Turkey Tagged london paris travel turkey istanbul puzzle Comments (0)

Lose yourself

When exploring new cities and countries you should always immerse yourself into the culture. You should be out there seeing the sights, learning the history, eating the food. I find it best to go off the beaten track, move away from all the tourists with their maps and their slow paced walking.

I like to lose myself in the city, go down the side streets and find the good little shops, the ones that don't cater for the foreigners but sell actual local goods. Eat at the restaurants where no waiter understands what you're saying and whatever you order will just be a surprise of traditional cuisine.

I always say you never truly get to experience a new place until you get lost in it, and I've pretty much lived up to that saying everywhere I've gone.
However, there are some places I would not recommend getting lost in as a blonde (fake blonde), ridiculously white girl in your 20's. Some of these places would have to be Morocco and Turkey, how I know this you may ask, because I may have done just that recently.

Apparently I stand out like a fog horn in these countries and no matter where I go, what I wear or who I'm with, I get all sorts of unwanted attention. Let's say if I'm on my own and wearing a dress (mind you I had stockings on and a winter coat) in Cappadocia, a group of 50 teenage Muslim school girls will encircle me and point at my clothing, and talk about my long legs (no idea what they were looking at), and touch my hair.

I am always respectful when going into religious buildings or very conservative areas. I just wasn't expecting to see these school girls but the attention received here was quite nice, as I got a chance to speak to these young women and hear their thoughts and views on the world.

However, when you are in a small beach side town wandering around and a Turkish man speaking next to no English comes up to you and won't stop talking to you, it's a little less fabulous. One thing you shouldn't do is show him any sort of interest, you should walk away and not in the way he is directing you. You should also definitely not agree to go have tea with him in a cafe, and when you arrive you see there is a woman there waiting for you.

Definitely don't let them get your full name, email address, travel plans and somehow befriend you on Facebook. If you do these things, the pair will try and get you to come back to their house for 'tea', they will send you numerous messages asking where you are, what you're doing, to go and meet them immediately.
At what point should you stop being polite and just leave the situation, right after finishing your tea which you did not pay for and run out of the cafe and hide in an Internet cafe for about two hours before venturing back out into the real world.

That is the advice I would give a young blonde white girl travelling on her own, but situations like this don't always happen. Understanding the difference between locals who just have a genuine interest and fascination towards the traveller and locals who have an ulterior motive lurking. On my travels I have met some incredible people, I travel to meet the people because I'm a people person and like to think people enjoy meeting me too. So giving myself the opportunity to get lost in new cities and meet different people is more than I could ever ask for. I will just always remember to listen to my gut because so far it's served quite right in every situation.

P.s mum don't worry, none of this stuff happened to me, I'm just thinking through the eyes of many other people :P

Posted by jtontheroad 08:43 Archived in Turkey Tagged cappadocia muslim kusadasi Comments (0)

Pampered like the Gods

As I walked in through the stone carved archway and into 'Alaadin Turkish bath' I'm greeted by a young Turkish woman, probably only a year or two older than me. I'm then taken into a small change room and she tells me to undress and gives me a piece of material which I'm fairly sure was an old torn in half table cloth. So I walk out of the change rooms clinging onto the cloth to make sure it covers most of my body, I could only really get it to cover one half of my body, I chose the bottom half.

Into the sauna I go, she covers my face in a mud mask and I sit in the stifling heat watching the sweat drip down my body. After a short time I am joined by a man wearing a similar cloth around his bottom half and he starts a fabulous conversation with me in Turkish, which I reply to with a number of smiles and nods. Not too long after I'm taken out into this beautiful bathing area, all marble stoned with a large hexagonal platform bench in the middle with another six joining open wash areas off each edge. She takes me into one of these areas and fills up metal bowls full of water and douses me in it, washing my face, my hair, soaking the cloth and keeping me fighting for air as she washed the mask off.

Then she takes me and lays me down on top of the platform, putting a hot water bottle under my head which did nothing to support me, it still very much felt as though I was laying naked on a rock. I was then treated to a Turkish skin peal, which involves a lot of exfoliation, all over my body. Again came the dousing of water and then the cloth was removed and I was covered with an abundance of soapy foam, from head to toe. I swear if I had breathed a little too hard I would have slipped right off the bench!
However the young lady made sure I wouldn't slip off as she gave me a foam massage, the woman didn't speak much but she did say 'does the lady want soft massage or hard massage', the latter was my definite choice.

I was washed off again but this time with much warmer water which was a lot more pleasant for me, then I continued on into a jacuzzi where I died of relaxation for about 20 minutes before having a hot shower. Before each time I moved from one place to another my lady would wrap the soaking cloth around me, so after I showered I was expecting the same. However when I got out of the shower she had a large Turkish bath towel (which could cover three people easily) and it was warm too, little bit if heaven here, although I did feel like a child being wrapped up by their mother after a bath.
I thought the whole experience was over but I still had a massage to come, I was taken into a small room with about three large heaters beaming down on the massage table. This made the whole thing very comfortable and I could feel the heat on my body. After that was all done I had to get changed, which felt weird after not having anything on but I had Turkish apple tea waiting for me at the end.
A lovely Turkish experience, and everyone said I was looking like a new woman afterwards, boom, skin as smooth as a babies bottom. Thank you Turkey, never thought a stranger bathing me could be so rewarding.

Posted by jtontheroad 05:26 Archived in Turkey Tagged cappadocia turkey turkish bath alaadin pampered Comments (0)

In a flash

Sometimes I find it hard to remember specific details of things that have happened in my time, it all just comes back in flashes. These are some of the things that constantly pop up I my mind when I think of my time in Paris. Wouldn't change a second of it.

- Sitting in la Nouvelle Eve at a table with a group of some of the greatest people, watching the show, overfilling our glasses with endless amounts of champagne, sipping away far too much to the 'like fire' song.

- Having 10 or more jäger bombs lined up in a row, bartenders setting them all alight and downing as many drinks as possible. Especially those green shots that tasted like mouth wash, or my endless supply vodka red bulls. Having the bar boys chase me and pick me up in order to feed me alcohol. Carrying each one of my friends out of the bar and home, and having the same done for me. Sobering walks home back to the hotel with a good friend. O'Sullivans you could have easily been the death of me.

- Dancing in the streets with a bottle of some form of alcohol, fete de la musique meant the streets were completely filled with people and music, an endless night of street parties. Ending up at our dancer friends apartment house party after knocking on the wrong door for about ten minutes. Screaming at people down the streets for no apparent reason but not backing down.

- Criticising the architectural structure of the Saint Denis Cathedral because it wasn't all in line, appreciating the tomb stones of the noble and royals of France. Walking circles around the cemetery, then the town, following numerous signs towards 'parc' hoping it would lead us to an actual park. Giving up and just ending up at the cemetery, sitting on a bench, eating lunch in a comforting silence.

- Saying goodbye to a friend and ending up in tears, not because of them but because of my own selfish reasons which provided endless laughter.

- Parisian lunch for two, enjoying the last few days together.

- Sharing pizza and salad and three in a bed all snuggled up after a lazy day around the hotel.

- Sitting on the concrete wall outside the hotel almost every morning, desperately trying to sober up or trying not to die from the ever impending hangover.

- Walking back into the hotel after a night out and saying 'Bonsoir' (good evening) to the security guards, but having them correct me to 'bonjour' because I had come back so late that it was in fact now morning, oh so fun.

- Bumping into a colleague in town during the day, deciding it would be a good idea to go to a pub before noon. Then ending up leaving O'Sullivans in the early afternoon because we had managed to become ridiculously hammered and had places to get to in a hurry, being drunk in afternoon ended up being far too much fun.

- Desperately trying to finish my ice cream before it melted all down my hand as I watched the flash of bicycles ride by in the Tour de France.

- Jumping up behind the crowd to watch the parade of soldiers walk past on Bastille day, deciding that it would be a great idea to eat a hot crepè on an even hotter day.

- Making our way to the campsite in stifling hot heat, not speaking a word the whole time because of my stubbornness. Then making our way back by jumping off the coach in the middle of le champs élysées and parading our way down the streets like we fit in, which we clearly didn't in our polo shirts and backpacks.

- Crying in a friends room because of the impending death I was sure was going to happen through my self diagnosis.

- Sitting on the side of the road sharing the best falafel kebab I've probably ever had and not regretting a moment of it, until the next day.

- Holding a friend close on my last evening and not letting go if our lives depended on it.

You can't regret a moment you do, let go of the grudges you have held. Always carry on and make the most if your time because these are some of the best memories you will have.

Posted by jtontheroad 05:24 Archived in France Tagged paris france friend best cabaret musique Comments (0)

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