Astonishingly, not only do I genuinely have a bucket list – an amalgamation of disparate things that I want to experience or achieve in my life – I’ve actually done a lot of things on that list. At some point last year I emerged in a billow of steam from the sauna of everyday life, pleasantly dazed and lavishly embellished with a fluffy towel, long enough to realise that I’d done so many of the things that I would have to make a new list.(more…)
As an alarming global pandemic sweeps through every nation like a brisk autumn wind we have all found ourselves, alas, with a lot of time to kill. Except, of course, medical professionals who have all kinds of apocalyptic hell on their hands, and may we all utter a silent optionally religious prayer for those poor, overworked souls. What I have on my hands, apart from residue of soap and hand sanitiser, is the abrupt void of nothingness that comes with a mandatory government-enforced holiday to write all the articles I never got around to at the time when they happened and, boy, do you have some delightful reminiscing coming your way, my dear reader. Let me fetch my half moon glasses, recline suitably in my chesterfield armchair, and take you via a progressively blurry scene transition all the way back to seven months ago when I went snowboarding for the first time.(more…)
I’m what you might disdainfully refer to as a ‘traveller’, and since I’ve become stranded in truly the worst place on planet earth – New Zealand’s South Island – by a virus sweeping the globe faster than you can say “Don’t lick that door handle,” I clearly have nothing better to do than erroneously proclaim myself an expert on this brand new (ish) COVID-19 thing. Due to my newfound internet-based wealth of coronavirus knowledge, plus 819 days and counting on the road, I am clearly well positioned to advise other travellers on what to do during a pandemic, as well as people who aren’t travelling, or in fact anyone bored enough to read this article. So sit back, grab your hand sanitiser and allow me to guide you through what was once the stuff of Hollywood movies but is now your foreseeable future.(more…)
Gather round my friends, grab your sticks and your marshmallows and huddle yourselves close to the glowing embers of my curious travel anecdotes because it’s story time. In this episode I thought I’d share with you some of my escapades over the last eighteen months – the weird ones where things went off-piste, because nothing makes for a boring story quite like ‘and then we arrived safely at our destination’. Besides, we like to keep it real over here on Bella’s Odyssey, and that means embracing the unexpected mishaps in life and then laughing at them together because in life I’d rather be laughing than not laughing.(more…)
I’m supposed to be this traveller, right; living out of a suitcase and being all minimalist and everything. Yet somehow I have still ended up with loads of stuff. To make anti-clutter matters worse, I now live in a house, rather than doing the van life/couch surfing thing that I was for three months at the beginning of the year, and when you have an entire room to exist in it’s even easier to accumulate stuff. It happens slowly over time, creeping up on you like a stray plastic bag in an empty car park on a slightly windy day. One moment it’s just you, your suitcase and an empty room, then suddenly you can’t even get in your room because the nine jumpers, the fifty-eight notebooks, the foam roller, the bag of bags, the six pairs of old shoes and the grandfather clock are wedged against the door, barricading themselves inside.(more…)
This may sound hard to believe given the title of this article, which is also ironic considering the points I’m about to make, but I was having a conversation with someone recently. I’ll pause to let that joke sink in for a minute.
He was about to start a job in a new city overseas where he didn’t know anyone, leaving behind all his friends and family and everything familiar; a daunting prospect for anyone. “But I’m pretty sociable,” he said to me, “at least I’m not, like, an introvert.”
“Like me,” I said, grinning.
When I first moved to the city from the small town I grew up in, way back when I was 20 and King Henry VIII was still in power, I remember being in awe of the sense of anonymity. No one knew who I was. I was a nobody; a stranger in the crowd; one more person on the bus; yet another eccentric in a top hat and fake moustache loitering near the bar in the local drinking establishments. I could be whoever I wanted. In the city it seemed like anything was possible; this was where ideas were born and people got together to change the world. Or, at least, got together to solemnly discuss all the problems in the world and compare berets until all the red wine runs out at four in the morning. What I liked about city life was feeling ‘amongst it,’ like I was a part of something and that something was important. I didn’t know what ‘it’ was or where to find it, but that didn’t seem to matter.(more…)
Shit’s about to get philosophical around here so you’d better fasten your seatbelt, although you probably won’t need it because I’m a sensible driver. Over the last year or so I’ve surprised myself with what I can achieve. I can’t stand the cliché of going travelling and ‘finding yourself’ because it conjures up images of 19 year olds returning home with braided hair and patterned parachute pants and henna tattoos and stories of mind-altering experiences smoking weed at some grotty full moon party, none of which I would like to be associated with, particularly the parachute pants. Annoyingly though, as is the case with all the best clichés, there is some truth to the concept.
However, what you see on Instagram or in the travel blogs about the nomad lifestyle is a yarn told very much through rose-tinted glasses – as is always the case with social media (a concept I already dissected a few months ago). There are some really challenging parts to this travel thing that I think should be talked about, because I like to keep it real over here in Bella’s corner of lazy sociological musings. It’s not all lounging your way around the world to sip undisclosed beverages from coconuts in sunny locations. I know, I’m as disappointed as you are.