Saturday, January 9, 2016

London: The Arrival 12-28-15

Jet lag kicked in after a long 7 hour flight from Atlanta, Georgia to Heathrow, UK. My flight was miserable especially after sharing my seat WITH someone else's extremities. They kept falling asleep, not to mention, I could hear every breath because they were snoring in my ear for 3 hours. Thankfully the plane landed and we went our separate ways.

Navigating through the airport seemed simple enough and security seemed extremely friendly. A drastic change of scenery, especially coming from America.

I found my way to the trains and bought a ticket for £6 each. Because I'm traveling with my companion, we got 2. Traveling with a partner is never cheap, but if both are semi-experienced with traveling, it's not that bad and working as a team is always a plus. In addition, we met our Russian friend! Knowing a point of contact or a local in other countries can be important for navigating and translating as well.

We arrived at Green Park, about an hour away and thus, began our quest to find the key for our temporary home, found on Airbnb (check soon for my Airbnb post!).

A 2 hour journey to find the flat, landed us right in the Centre, also known as the city. Famished and dry, there might have been a bottle of Tito Vodka involved before embarking for the famous Kebab (not the American meat on a stick version).

In order to find the kebab, we needed transportation. London offers an oyster card, which gives multiple options to pay, but purchasing a travelcard allows for traveling between the train and buses for a lower amount than paying per transport. £37 was spent on each travelcard for 7 days. Converted to USD, it's roughly $53.72. This was the best option, especially when taking the wrong routes in the unforseeable future.

All three of us squirreled around the city looking for the perfect restaurant to feast on kebab. In doing so, there were multiple historical sites to explore along the way.

The London Bridge
Tower Bridge
Starbucks - Okay, I might have purchased a hot cocoa! It was cold!

Searching the interwebs for kebab, we came across Lahore Kebab House. Of course we had to go, just because the name sounded raunchy. Our meals were decently priced, but not what was expected for the international delicacy. For three meals and a can of coca-cola it ran £9.00. We were given a pita bread smothered in meat, onions, and whatever other magical ingredients I've forgotten since then. I wasn't really a fan of the taste, so I did the next best American thing. Smothered it in ketchup.

Evening was coming early since London is placed closer to the north pole (higher in latitude and winter, brr!!). The sun sets around 430pm, giving a total amount of about 8 1/2 hours of daylight. It was time to head home for the night, but not without trying out the first of many pubs!

The Daft House. The perfect place to wrap up our arrival. I ordered myself a coke and was surprised with a lemon in it. I'll never drink coca-cola the same again! We paid our tabs and went back to the flat.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Johnny Lists - 70 of the Most Useful Websites on the Internet

This is an amazing list of links to help with life. I tried a couple of them out and they seem up to date. 
Check out some of the examples below!
Definitely going to try this out! I have a hard time hearing my alarms as it is!
WooRank is a tool designed to help with optimizing your website. Going to sign up in the future!

Reference Links

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Minimalist Belongings Packed for London!

I've layed all my items out before my endeavor to London. I highly recommend doing this to make sure all items fit before making last minute hasty decisions.

Getting straight to the point.
Here's a list of all the items I'm carrying on my back.

9 shirts - 4 long sleeve collard, 3 short sleeve, 1 dress top, 1 night shirt
3 pants - 2 jeans 1 scrub
2 bras - 1 neutral, 1 sports
9 underwear
9 pairs of socks
1 scarf
2 pair of Tights, 1 cut for upper body warmth
1 pair of boots
1 pair of flip flops
Gray travel jacket
1 winter jacket
Small backpack
Cup with oatmeal and tea
Handful of zip lock bags
Phone charger
Portable battery charger
Camera and accessories
Rite in the rain book with flash cards
Keys and wallet
Cabelas backpack
Hair clip
Hair straightener


Things I'll bring less of next time:
No camera with accessories
Download online storage to back up files in case of stolen phone
No hair straightener
No hair clip
Less clothes:
Only 3 short sleeve ( 1 night shirt), 2 collard, 3 pants 1 scrub, 4 pairs socks, and 4 underwear
Less souvenirs - only light ones
Depending where I go, one less jacket

Unedited Raw Thoughts and Tips for Trips

* If you have special tips and suggestions for trips, please post them below!

Wear heavier bulky items to sace for packing
Pack a rope to tighten back
Bring hot hands for cold places
Bring same cothes, just less outfits
Grab divided laundry packets, shampoos,
Bring zip lock bags
-use same rope to hang laundry
Wear water resistant boots, nothing worse than traveling with soggy feet
Use water resistant and fast drying clothing
Purchase small souvenirs : coins, key chains = light
SMALL Souvenir ideas: post cards with stamps, coins, key chains - (light weight), pebbles,

Preload Google maps
-star common train stations and or bus stops
Use atm not currency exchange, fees are lower
Cart out usd to gbp in 10 scale for quick reference
Research local travel cards, they might be a better deal than paying per bus ride
Get Sim card as soon as you arrive (if applicable ) add paper clip
When hailing a cab, be sure to ask for estimate for total trip prior to take off ( not set at 20 euros to begin )
Make a wet and dry list. Do the dry every chance you get. Do this before you go to minimize wasting time to figure out what else to do.
I'm addition, prioritize that list 1-x
Review attraction websites to see of there are tickets sold prior to arrival. Plus cheaper.
Open CC and DC for international travel, specific countries are required
If plan on renting a car, research possible deals on the internet
And country requirements pertaining to rules and and regulations. May need an international drivers license prior to arrival.
□Look in to purchasing gift cards prior to departure??

Bring 2 outfits wash every other day instead of 4
Find spandex under shirt (stockings cut up )
Bring tervis cup, oatmeal, and tea incase unable to eat right away
Use bathrooms beforehand, even if you don't have to go
Bring a pen, pencil, and paper
You can't take pictures inside of museums, but you can DRAW!

Ladies, preplan shark week. Bring stuff just in case if it's close
Separate ID and passport in case one gets taken.
Separate money in to different pockets of hidden

Unless you're a professional photographer, take your phone, only if you know it has a good camera in it. Less weight, more time doing, more pictures. Less conspicuous aka dumb tours

Bring extra collapsible bag inside of your big back to destination in case souvenirs

Bring extra battery charger / portable power bank

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Brown Surprise

McDonald's. I never thought I'd laugh so hard coming out of this restaurant. I gave it a try in London, because, why not.

I went to the restroom. Everything started out normal. The first stall was littered with toilet paper and of course, someone managed to miss the porcelain fountain. I skipped it and found the second stall. The perfect one to do my business.

I could hear voices on the other side of the stall, kids wondering which way to go, the sound of hands washing. Because there is absolutely nothing else to do, but listen while you do your business, that's exactly what I did. I listened.

A British family entered the room. They made it to the first stall. Again still littered, the little girl goes "Ewww!!" Leading up to the second stall, was of course, me. The mother says, "There's someone in that one, let's try the third one."

A bloody scream at the top of the little girl's lungs could be heard from the line ordering food. I jumped. I had not made it that far. The mother screamed. Both had ran out of sight of the third stall. There, laying on the ground for them, was a brown man-made Loch Ness monster someone gave birth to from their arse.

Absolutely terrified, the family ran out of the restroom and patiently waited for me to come out. I started laughing. I had no idea what was lurking on the other side, nor did I want to. I hurried to the sink and quickly escaped.

The moral of the story, beware of the bathrooms and sidewalks in London.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

UK Channel Tunnel: A Quick Turn-around

The Channel Tunnel also known as Chunnel in french, connects the UK and France. This is way faster than a ferry. Travel times average about 35 minutes on the rail, but REQUIRES some pre-planning, unless you have lots of money.

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of renting a car and driving from London to Dover without purchasing a ticket before my arrival. The price was £169.00 at the window. That's a huge cost if trying to travel cost effectively. The teller was extremely helpful and said it's cheaper to buy them more than 24 hours in advance. She kindly opened the gate and back to London I went.

Had this trip been properly planned, I could have seen France AND a lot more than street lights anyways. I started driving at 1530 which would have left me with absolutely no daylight since it's a 2 1/2 hour trip.

All was not lost. Instead, I had time to write about my personal troubles to hopefully reduce everyone else's! If you do happen to take the tunnel, I want to see some selfies!

To get more information regarding the Eurotunnel, please click on the link: