WELL that’s a wrap folks. FearInEnglish is no more, for the time being anyway. A travel blog kinda ceases to exist if you’re not traveling. To say the past nine and a half months have been epic is an understatement, and I’ve tried to channel some of this stoke through this little blog. If my posts have inspired you a tiny bit to drop everything and go on a trip somewhere or even if they’ve simply given you five minutes respite at your desk at work in between filing papers and sifting through interoffice memos, then I’m happy. I’ll keep it brief because I’m a little ball of excitement right now. I’m home on my bed (still the comfiest I’ve encountered in the whole world) my dog is playing with her ball in the other room and I’ve just written a giant list of all the shit I wanna get done this week (first up is getting a phone and number, as well as a car). The keys on my trusty travel laptop have all but given up (I’m having to copy and paste the letter p, zero, the right bracket key, and the apostrophe) so now seems as good a time as any to bow out of the blog game. But never fear my humble fans (all four of you) – I’m going to keep writing, I’m just not sure what yet (maybe a South Oz-themed bodyboarding blog?). If you subscribe to this site on the right of the page you’ll receive an email when or if I get around to doing something new. Until next time…
P.S. I’d like to thank Jetstar for leaving my bag in Melbourne and leaving me without my possessions today. I travel the world (much of it the third world) for a couple of years with no troubles, but the talented individuals at Jetstar can’t manage to get a bag on a plane to a destination an hour away. Good job fellas.
My favourite from the roll. Curious cats. Peniche, Portugal.
MY indie coolness street cred immediately went up a few notches in September when I bought an old camera from a flea market in Spain. The thing cost me eight Euros and apparently back in the day the Spanish-made model (Werlisa Club Color) was a household name in the country. My new pal Dylan Beach recently purchased an old camera at a flea market too, and I’ll use the disclaimer he wrote on his blog (which you can check out here), “Now I know at lot of photographers are going to look at this post and cringe and say the usual “oh just because he has a camera doesn’t make him a photographer” or “he thinks he’s so indie because he shot a few photos of film”. I’ll surrender to those, i’m not trying to offend anyone here.” So there you go. The results were mixed but I think some of them are neat. Continue reading
SO I arrived back on Australian shores a few days ago after 281 days overseas. I’m still not home however, I’ve been kicking it in Melbourne with a mate of mine from school who’s living here at the moment (I get home Monday night for all you Adelaideans). It’s been pretty darn rad so far. I got to my mate’s place mid-morning after picking up the keys from his swanky high-rise office, and turned on the TV to find day one of the first test between the Aussies and Kiwis being broadcast. I don’t really froth on my cricket like I used to when I was a grom but it was still sick to put my feet up and watch it while trying to relax away my next-level jetlag. Then I went to get some groceries from the supermarket but only made it as far as the sushi shop where I bought four of those big fuck-off hand rolls, which I couldn’t seem to find anywhere else on my travels. We sat next to a chick at the store who was on her phone telling her friend about how another bird they both knew had been acting like a ‘fucking bitch ay’. Oh Australia! I wanted to jump up and kiss her right there. Continue reading
Pretty scenic eh?
I REMEMBER once when I was a grom, picking up a Riptide Bodyboarding Magazine containing a feature about waves on the Cornwall coast of England. The images in the piece were actually pretty good and I remember being completely amazed that you could surf there. I knew of course you could surf overseas – Indonesia and Hawaii always featured heavily in the mags when I was a kid, and still do – but it was a shock that you could ride these sick waves in a place I never suspected would get surf. I still sometimes get that inspired feeling nowadays – like when I watched Dave Rastovich getting barrelled out of his brain in India in Taylor Steele’s film Castles in the Sky or Dane Reynolds’ Iceland section in…I think the same movie? I may not be the most competent waverider, but the knowledge that you can find breaking waves basically anywhere in the world that has a coastline is something that drives me to travel. If I can’t be good at surfing I may as well be good at getting to surf different places instead. This mentality drove me to a pretty fun yet freezing surf session in British Columbia, Canada last year at the tail end of the snowboarding season and it’s what drove me to catch a bus to Newquay, in west Cornwall a few days ago (the UK being the 18th country I’ve now managed to surf in). I was only there for 24 hours (my choice of hostel is what drove me back to London a night earlier than expected) but I still got some fun waves early and had a good wander around the town before a big storm hit. Check out the pics below. P.S. Yes, shit was cold son. Continue reading
I'm pretty sure this is the guy I'm sharing my room with.
WELL ya win some, ya lose some. And right now it feels like I’m losing some. Sorry it’s taken me a while to update the site, I’ve been chilling in London the past six days and doing the usual catch-up rounds of expat mates that are currently calling the grey metropolis home (I’ll write more about this soon). Last night I thought it would be a good idea to take a break from big-city life and get to the coast to tick off another country to get a surf in, so I booked a bus ticket to Newquay on the Cornwall coast (some seven hours away by coach). I arrived a couple hours ago to find the hostel reception closed, meaning I couldn’t check in for a couple hours. So I went to a fish and chip shop and chowed down one of the worst vegie burgers I’ve had the pleasure of ingesting (no ingredients or condiments save for the dry pattie and some flaccid lettuce) while I watched some surfers grovel in some super-cold looking 2ft mush-burgers. Once back at the hostel I tried to relax and read a surf mag but got hounded by a paralytic 61-year-old English dude (what him and his two other decrepit mates are doing at a youth hostel I’m not sure) who delighted in engaging me in conversation about the merits of the Walkman, and how it’s a damn shame they don’t make cassettes anymore. When I was finally able to check into my room I turned the light on to reveal some acid-freak “meditating” on the floor with heavy-metal blaring from his headphones (it’s just us two in the four-person dorm). He’s here permanently he reckons, which would explain the filthy garments strewn about the room. I’m seriously scared to touch anything. Later I heard him trying to show his poetry to another unsuspecting hostel guest (I think I even heard him use the word transcendent to describe his body of work, which I’m sure is just awesome). Now I’m up in my room while my ears bleed to the seriously loud Frank Zappa cranking downstairs, Googling whether I can change my return ticket to London for immediately after my surf tomorrow instead of spending tomorrow night here too like I originally planned. Aah the glamorous world of travel. But at least it’s allowed me to bang on the keys for the first time in a while. I should be able to nut out a couple more posts tonight so stay tuned for those and more over the next few days sports fans.
SO it’s my last night in Berlin and I thought I’d fill you in on the latest before I have a beer or two and get sleepy. Since we last spoke I’ve just been cruising and doing as the locals do. The other night we went to a bangin’ house party and a not-so-bangin’ club after, leaving us incapacitated for basically the entire next day. We went to a cool indie/electro gig but I kooked it and got a little too drunk so my memory is hazy. Then today we went skateboarding in this radical indoor park with a sweet bowl and mini-ramp, and followed it up with a thrift-store session, but I didn’t buy anything. I’m not really sure what else to tell you. I could get all informative and tell you a bunch about the city but that would be a bit boring. All you need to know is Berlin is really cool and fairly cheap. It’s cold as balls though so make sure you bring a sweater. Tomorrow we’ll get up super early and jump on a plane to London, where we’ll spend the next week. Again we have some accommodation with mates hooked up which is awesome for my bank balance but not so good for writing anything on this site, but I’ll try friends. I’ll be documenting my return to the coast, so stay tuned to see if there are actually waves in England. There’s some more photos from today below and if you’re still in a web-surfing mood after that swing by my friend Dan’s site on Tumblr, where you can see cool 35mm photos he’s shot. There’s a couple of me in my pyjamas in Portugal if you’re into that sorta thing. Continue reading
The old Berlin Wall and a pair of Reebok kicks.
I’M sitting in a kitchen in an apartment Berlin with nothing to write about. Well there’s a bunch to write about but I’m short on time – my girlfriend and another mate will be back with rations for dinner and some beers in the next 10 minutes so I gotta be quick. We’ve been here for a few days now and haven’t done a lot. We’ve had plenty of sleep because technically our bed is in an attic of sorts. You can’t stand up in the room and I’m hesitant to even call our mattress a single. But its super dark so you can’t tell what time it is, which results in wake-up times of about 11am on average (apologies if you’re reading this and are currently employed). We visited the East Side Gallery (a stretch of remains of the Berlin Wall that have been painted over), the memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, a museum-y kinda place regarding the Nazis and their dirty deeds (which is appropriately situated on the former site of the Reich Security Main Office of the SS – the organisational centre of most of the Nazi regime’s heinous crimes and terror), and the Reichstag, among other touristy places. Other than that I’ve just been taming mega coffees to beat the cold, drinking longnecks here and there, and eating a bunch of sushi, which I’ve been lusting after for the past few months (Portugal, Spain, Morocco, South America etc. are lacking in the Japanese goodness). Continue reading
THE Netherlands. I knew nothing about the place before I got here last week. To be honest – and this is a little embarrassing – I wasn’t sure whether The Netherlands and Holland were separate or the same country. Why the different names? And then why is their language called Dutch? Shouldn’t they all be speaking Netherlandish? Or Hollandaise, like the delectable sauce? Admittedly, the only thing I knew about the country was that it contained Amsterdam – a place I’d heard loads about (hasn’t everyone?) but didn’t know which of this constituted fact and which was exaggerated drivel. Prossies, cafes where you can legally buy and consume potent weed and mushrooms, live sex shows. I’d heard from some friends the city was a must-see, an elegant and chic fantasy-land where anything goes, while other mates told me it wasn’t worth the exorbitant prices and masses of tourists, and if I went, not to spend more than two days there. Well I went, and I’m still here (this being my fourth and penultimate day) and I can see both sides of the argument. I thought I’d break down my stay for you, share some of my experiences to broaden your knowledge about the oft-discussed metropolis. Continue reading
Current location: Porto. Photo: Mildred.
THE winds of change are upon us friends. Save for the south of Chile and Argentina in March, the weather I’m experiencing now in Portugal is the coldest I’ve faced in my nine months or so away (and it’s not even that cold, yet). The singlets and flip-flops have been packed away for good, traded for layers of warm clothes and umbrellas (actually the flip-flops are sitting in a dumpster somewhere in the south of Portugal somewhere cos I threw them out after stepping on a football-sized dog poo). My snowboard jacket has made its first appearance – in anticipation of harsh European winter temps – since hitting the slopes in British Columbia last year. The other major change of late is my hair. I traded in my luscious semi-blonde shoulder-length locks for an army-standard buzz-cut, the kinda haircut you can set your watch to (thanks Mildred). I look a little less like a hobo, and have been receiving 47 per cent less offers for drugs per day, which is good although the noggin is now a bit colder in the surf. I was trying to think of other stuff that had changed in my world but couldn’t think of much. I’ll undergo some major life changes in the months to come, and surely I’ve changed a lot over the past nine months but right now none are apparent to me. Plus you don’t wanna hear that shit. Continue reading
Praia do Norte, Nazaré, on a good day. Would you go? Photo: ibaworldtour.com
ONE of the most radical things I’ve been lucky enough to experience through my travels is getting to see and surf waves I’d only previously seen in videos and magazines. Desert Point, Puerto Escondido, El Gringo and Mundaka are a few of the big-name spots I’ve ticked off the ol’ bucket list in the past few years and they’ve all lived up to expectations in terms of epic-ness and heart-in-your-mouth barrels. It’s a pretty sweet feeling paddling out to a spot you’ve heard so much hype about and drooled over for ages, and if you get a good one you can’t wipe the smile off your face for days. I’m currently in Nazaré, Portugal – a town with a wave so heavy I’ve heard it compared to Mexico’s Puerto Escondido and Mavericks in North California. Apparently an underwater canyon (one of the largest in the world), a geomorphological accident (I’m not gonna pretend to know what that means), leads Atlantic waves straight to this spot Praia do Norte almost without obstacles. This creates waves of unusual size compared to the rest of the Portuguese coast. It’s super massive and onshore today however and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit relieved at the conditions keeping me indoors watching cable instead of being really scared in frigid waters. Continue reading