Back home in time for tea and Brexit

brexit breakfast

Oioi Saveloys!!

I’m alive. Alive in the UK that is (gah) and since i’ll be staying a bit longer than originally planned I’m going to get cracking again. Don’t want to leave you guys all high and dry. 😉

I’ve put off the flight to NZ and the next stage of the adventure for two reasons, 1) it’s bloody expensive, 2) it’s bloody expensive.

It turns out that boot-strapping an ecom store, launching a freelance business, writing a doomed album, battering my head against a doomed blog and planning an equally doomed trip across the world simultaneously amounts to a complex, emotionally conflicting and undoubtedly costly affair.

Also, despite vivid daydreams to the contrary, nobody seems forthcoming with a massive wad of cash. Boo, hiss. Thus poor ol’ Seb must toil along with the unwashed masses until freedom beckons forth once more.

Blackadder:
Oh God! Bills, bills, bills. One is born, one runs up bills, one dies! And what have I got to show for it? Nothing! A butler’s uniform and a slightly effeminate hairdo! Honestly, Baldrick, I sometimes feel like a pelican: whichever way I turn, I’ve still got an enormous bill in front of me!

I’m kidding about the unwashed masses, but not the work, unfortunately. I do enjoy it though. Mostly because I choose how and when i do it, which was the whole point. Freedom is within reach, my friends! (Almost) I’m still not earning anywhere near where i was as a full-time sales manager in London but am so much happier, dictate my own schedule and business is picking up.

Anyway, v brief update out the way – I’ve been contemplating some lessons learned from my first few steps into location independence (ew) and the realities of (wait for it) Digital Nomadacy. *Throws up*

What i wanted to focus this brief post on is a bit of an ego boost for YOU (ya bloody legend) and the importance of ongoing education.

The whole show is about you – start to finish

Let me make this super clear. You should be investing in yourself. You’re worth it. You can do it. £11.99 on a course from udemy.com is a bazillion times more valuable to you than that extra 10-bag of herb or those 3 pints during the week. Nobody will get your knowledge/success/money for you. (And it does come in that order)

And for the more aspirational readers: If you seriously want to change up your lifestyle and successfully work remotely or set up your own web-based business then you’re going to need a whole host of different skills whichever route you choose. This will take time, so get started now.

Besides, ask any recruiter – you get some serious brownie points for showing off your efforts to continually improve yourself.

Platforms & resources

I’ll be setting up a page which breaks down my favourite learning platforms which i’ll put here. Use it. Bookmark it + come back to it. If you’ve got no money – that’s fine. There are loads of fantastic free resources which i’ll be adding over the coming weeks. To take one example: A great way to get set up as a DN is through freelance coding. Harvard (yes, Harvard) have their famous CS50 computer science course + web dev course available online for free.

Here: https://www.edx.org/cs50

No coding? No problem. How about writing, teaching, sales, design, analysis, entrepreneurship… The list goes on. Don’t feel like you have to get it right first time either, most of these areas give you transferable skills so it’s not time completely lost. Just get started with an hour a day.

Get certified

Prove to future clients/employers that you’re the guy/girl for the job by getting certified. Certs can vary a lot in weight so make sure you do your due diligence first. Following on from the point about RE: computer science just as an example – EdX work with the insituations they promote to offer certification. Basically you can get a qualification from Harvard for under £100 and have a fantastic CV / LI / Upwork bullet point. You’re welcome.

This is especially vital if you’re moving into an entirely new industry/role with no prior experience of course…

Social media communities

Make sure you involve yourself in communities related to what you want to do. There are awesome for passive learning: FB groups, Discord chats, Sub-reddits and blogs galore exist for each and every topic. Don’t be overwhelmed or expect to become an expert over-night. Lurk and read, then start asking relevant questions. If you’re already an expert then these boards are still great for networking and finding work.

Mix up the media

People have different learning styles, you can find out yours here: https://www.how-to-study.com/learning-style-assessment/

Also, it pays dividends to switch up the media you use to consume content. Mostly because it keeps things fresh. Try out videos (youtube, it’s free), podcasts (soundcloud, it’s free), books (kindle, pretty cheap) etc and always remember that the practical application of this knowledge is the best way to quickly cement it within yourself.

Give yourself structure

Structuring your learning is key for the best possible results. As a rough guide, try 1 hour each weekday with a quick review each Sunday. This is what i do and find it works well for me but the important bit is to plan your education around your life in a way that minimizes barriers. (For me as much as i hate it, it’s first thing in the morning)

To keep yourself organised use:

  • Calendar (Such as ical for mac)
  • To do lists (Wunderlist, as an app and browser so you keep your to-do’s across every device)
  • Notes (Evernote or Onenote) – Use these tools for storing articles, different bits of media and related info all in one place.

And that’s a wrap

Hope you enjoyed this and found it helpful. If you did then show your love and give me a follow! Settling into this project for the long haul now. 🙂

Banger of the week:

Barcelona, Spain

Should i go to Barcelona?

Definitely. I had planned to stay for a week and ended up there for almost 3. Barcelona is the first city i’ve visited on this trip so far that i could really imagine myself living in. It’s got all the standard amenities you’d expect in a modern metropolis but comes with the added bonus of a fantastic climate (i was camping on a beach in December) and a super laid back culture – all set against a backdrop of beautiful vistas and some bloody tasty munch. (Tapas / paellas etc)

Also, you can’t turn a corner without stumbling on some Gaudi masterpiece or gothic wonder. As usual though for me Barcelona was all about the folks as i met some really beautiful souls.

What were the best bits for you?

 People, weather, laid back culture, remote working setup

Can i see more pictures?

Of course: http://www.instagram.com/how_not_to_travel

Where should i stay?

I stayed in quite a few different hostels during my time. Itaca hostel (9/10 Hostelworld) was good for the community vibes, St Christopher’s (8.9/10 HW) was essentially rooms built over a bar so good for socialising but it felt a tad touristy and if I’m honest, rather smelly.

My favourite place to stay without a shadow of a doubt was Born Barcelona. (9.6/10 HW) Walking into this gem you felt like you were the newest member in an incredibly eccentric family all bouncing around one giant apartment. The staff were fantastic, the location was central and the facilities were one step up vs the usual fair. We’d eat/drink together on the balcony each night and usually end up exploring some part of the City together.

In retrospect the team at Born really did go above and beyond for pretty much every aspect of hostel life from joining us on excursions around the city which i’m sure they’d seen a million times before, to helping us out when we were lost or stuck (daily) and introducing us to the groups favourite (low key/budget) bar in central Barcelona. Go to Mariachis for good vibes: lots of people making music, laughing and smoking weed in the street, plenty of tourist-friendly Spanish peeps and competitively priced alcohol. They even sell mead!! (Fermented honey)

Where can i work? 

If you’re not feeling particularly social then working within the hostel itself is always an option as there are usually quiet places you can settle down and get on with things.  One of the advantages of Barcelona, however, is the plethora of Co-working spaces available to nomads. There a good breakdown of spots here: https://www.shbarcelona.com/blog/en/live-barcelona-digital-nomad/ and i agree that the  Sant Martí district is the place to go. There are loads of beaches, parks and various co-working spots including the trendy Valkiria Hub.

Is Barcelona good for remote workers?

 Very – I completed a few different pieces of client work, managed to get a good volume of teaching done and spent a happy few days kicking off my latest ecom project. I’ll start sharing more info on how i’m marketing / scaling these projects as they grow.

What should i do when i visit Barcelona? 

Go check out the view of the city from bunker hill (It’s here: Carrer de Marià Labèrnia, s/n, 08032 Barcelona, Spain) you look down on the city from some bunkers built in in the 1930s and it’s the best view you’ll get of Barcelona. You’re welcome. 😀

Also while you’re here obviously you need to check off all the basics: Watch some flamenco dancing (they start dancing at a very young age and the performance is incredible) and check out all the Gaudi stuff especially Park Guel and Sagrada Família (a cathedral),

Oh, if you’re into working out check out the calisthenic park on the coast. It’s awesome getting a pump in the great outdoors surrounded by waves and like-minded people pumping hench portable speakers. (Here: Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta, 17, 08003 Barcelona, Spain)

Right, booze – Go drinking in the gothic quarter as there are quite a few trendy bars scattered through the meandering streets, definitely hit up Mariachis… Oh and you’re in Barcelona so obviously do go clubbing, there are quite a few good ones right next to each other on the coast by the marina. (DO NOT TURN UP LATE, THE QUEUES ARE HORRENDOUS)

Barcelona Cock up count: 2

Deleted my Instagram in a drunken moment of madness so there go 1k followers, gah. Also, my wallet was stolen which meant going almost a week with NO money and NO cards in a foreign country. Eep. (I was saved by the kindness of a gentleman called Juan who also happened to be a complete legend)

Learn from me

  • There really are LOADS of pickpockets in Barcelona, watch yourself, i had my wallet and some cash go missing on separate occasions.
  • Book Born Barcelona hostel
  • Escape the city
  • Don’t delete your Instagram account? … *Facepalm*
  • Scooters are to be avoided at all costs (Context below)

Barcelona story

The best bit of my stay in Spain was actually the moment i ventured just outside Barcelona. The plan was to escape the rush and camp out on a beach we’d discovered a few days before at this place called Garraf.

But… This wouldn’t be how not to travel if things went smoothly…

Juan and i heard a rumour on the grapevine that there was a man with a tent we could use. After a suitable period of procrastination and several drinks, I set off to pick up this up without closely checking the route on my phone. (Obviously)

What had seemed ‘close’ in a moment of madness was actually a brisk 2-hour walk. I didn’t realise this until 25 mins in and because i had no cards or cash and only 15% battery i had no option but to run.

I arrived just in time, overheated and disgruntled with a dead battery. After some kerfuffle asking random people in broken Spanish to borrow a phone and message the gentlemen in question i finally got hold of him on facebook.

Unfortunately he’d lost the bloody tent.

We rustled around his basement for an hour and I had to do most of the searching because the poor lad was hobbling around on crutches having clearly had some sort of recent accident. After an hour it was decided that the fabled tent of destiny was clearly contemplating a warmer climate at his parent’s place ‘around the corner’.

Thus began a completely unnecessary but undeniable exhilarating break-neck race through the mean streets of Barcelona on the back of ‘tent man’s’ scooter. Suddenly it became all too clear why my man was on crutches.

We tore it the whole way there nipping through every minuscule gap in traffic. Bear in mind that throughout this entire ordeal my arse was hanging off the back of the bloody thing – i’m too lanky to own a scooter let alone ride shotgun. Terrifying.

After 3 near misses, several excited ‘wooooooops!’ and more than a few drops of wee, we made our way unscathed into the mountains at the back of the city and safely arrived at our destination. I peeled my shaking hands off the scooters flimsy handles (the only thing preventing Britain’s finest export from flying off a ‘road legal machine’ the size of his left bollock) and crossed my fingers.

SUCCESS! Unfortunately, tent guy needed to go, so i was left with a 3 hour walk across Barcelona to get back to my hostel and rendezvous with Juan. You wouldn’t believe how dark the internal monologue got at this point – BUT WE HAD A TENT!


The week we spent on the beach was fantastic, it was a real break from hectic city life and a dose of what freedom could really taste like. Every day we’d rise with the sun and every night we’d stumble home in the dark to build a fire, then play guitar, sing and talk until the alcohol hit us and we passed out to the sound of the waves.

We climbed a couple sketchy mountains without serious incident, slept on a boat thanks to a lovely local woman we met in a bar, slept in the back of a van one particularly freezing night (thanks to another new acquaintance) and spent 5 serene/hilarious days messing around on the beach. Beauty from the chaos!

A particularly memorable moment was hiking through the hills to a Buddhist temple to meditate. Before this little break from the madness I’d never had much time for the concept but I’ve kept the habit since and find myself indulging more and more. I know it sounds a little hippy and ethereal but i can’t recommend enough taking a little time every day to stretch, meditate and just .. Be.

One final note on the fine people of Garaff: they were without exception incredibly friendly and helpful. When it became clear over the days that we were on a shoestring budget we were given gifts of food, tobacco, accommodation and beer at various points. Even without this kindness though it was clear the locals were a good sort. Approachable, intelligent and very eccentric. Case and point the nutters annually welcome the near year by holding hands and running into the freezing waves together. I’ll add the vid below in the next few days..

Suffice to say i was sad to leave and i will definitely be back.


So there we are – more cock-ups, more memories and more ‘learnings’ . Fellow and aspiring nomads, you could do a lot worse than Spain for a home from home!

That week in Garraff was particularly poignant for me because it was during this time i knew i’d made the right decision, that i was going to be travelling for a while and that things just might be okay after all.

The blog is on temporary pause as I’m kicking my heels in the UK for a few weeks before heading off to NZ, Australia then working my way through Asia.

Thanks for reading! See you soon. :D>


Budapest, Hungary

I’m aliveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

IMG_3462.JPG

Should I go to Budapest?

Hollllllly shit yes. If you’re anything like me then you’ll have a fantastic time but get very little work done.  In fact, forget work – if you’ve made it this far then it’s time to cut loose.

Budapest was an absolutely crazy place to visit for both the party scene and general affordability. We’re talking 6 euros a night for a hostel and 5 euros a night for food (Similar to Prague) which makes for some seriously cheap living if you’re earning in £’s and spending in Forint’s.

The party hostels Retox, Vitae and Grandio are all nuts. I met some of the most amazing characters and bonded with some truly incredible people. There were also some right wrong-uns.

What were the best bits for you?

Nightlife, prices, banter

Can i see more pictures?

Of course: http://www.instagram.com/how_not_to_travel

Where should i stay?

if you want to lose yourself in debauchery: Retox, if you want to dip in and out of the madness: Vitae. If you want to wallow in your own sweat and regrets: Grandio. (There’s an ‘anal room’.)

Where can i work?

Hah.

Is Budapest good for remote works?

Absolutely not.

What should i do in Budapest?

Different drinking event on at all the hostels every single day – check these out (Boat party, bar crawls, bus party, jagertrain etc etc), explore Margeret island on the river between buda and pest, swing by the Hosok Tere (a historic square), check out the view of the city from on top of Gellert hill, go climbing in the catacombs below the city, check out Europe’s second-biggest parliament and go mooch at one of the bathhouses.

Cock up count: 8 (A new record)

Ran out of money so had to lean on friends (THANKS JEFF & VIKTOR), performed an average open mic because i’d been drinking solidly for 4 days and not really sleeping, got lost in the city without my phone, was slapped pretty solidly by this jilted American girl who licked her hand first (?!), lost loads of stuff, was so confused by day 5 i followed the wrong people into this shady club thinking it was the pub crawl, got my flight date wrong, booked a really early flight so had to sleep in the airport.

Learn from me

  • Visit Budapest to party, not work
  • Pack things in an easy to access way so you can find things from your locker easily without repacking it every morning (So frustrating) and as an added bonus you won’t lose stuff
  • It turns out the slap hurts more if people lick their hands first. Who knew?
  • Make some bad decisions with some good people, that’s part of living  😀

Budapest story

I blind booked Retox party hostel for five nights having heard from some friends that this was ‘the place to be’ for Halloween but had absolutely no idea what i was getting myself into.

retoxpartyhost

After an uneventful bus journey from Vienna, i arrived at the hostel around 7pm and stepped across the dilapidated threshold into a bar full of half-naked 20year olds yelling at each other over their drinks.

‘Hm.’

The host led me up some stairs and sat me down in a common room. The speech was short: ‘There is one rule, no drugs – apart from that almost anything goes. We encourage debauchery  – oh and don’t expect to sleep whilst you’re here.’

I recorded this shortly after the speech: https://vimeo.com/307476918

They weren’t kidding, every morning we were woken up to the banging of brooms on lockers and loud hoovering – all of which paled in comparison to the gut-wrenching squeals coming from the portable speakers hanging from the shorts of hostel staff as they cleaned our rooms. (This happened religiously at around 11am when the bar opened and the general pass out time was 6/7am)

Despite the above, the staff were all absolute legends and made sure the trip was madness from start to finish, they were incredibly approachable and knew how to lead the party.

Still though – i was relieved that back up was en route as i’d made plans to link back up with some of the crew from Vienna and Prague…


It’s hard to encapsulate the madness that was our brief stay at Retox. The day some of us arrived Red Bull were filming the hostels latest record attempt for the world’s longest jager train. We failed in one sense but it was pretty clear the real purpose was to give everyone alcohol poisoning. Within an hour of arriving i’d skulled 4 jager bombs and a pint ‘to catch up’ with a friend who had arrived the previous night.

This particular pal was embracing the madness in classic form – he had a bottle of jager balanced precariously in one arm and was wearing tight denim shorts, a cowboy hat and a whip which he was periodically cracking at anyone who got too close. At some point we got hold of a marker pen to brand him a ‘cum slut’ and he still pulled. Like, every night.

Within a few hours, everyone was getting crazy wavy and i found myself shirtless, with a lovely lady on one arm and another two jagerbombs dangling from my fingers. I was also starting to lose the fear, maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea after all?


Right, what else. The boat party (at least the one run by the chain of hostels i stayed in) was pretty damn good. The view of Europes second largest parliament was awesome, check out the pic below.

IMG_3154

The music was insane and the unlimited drinks package was exactly what the doctor ordered. Everyone in my group pulled and/or got hilariously drunk and this led to several funny stories.

IMG_3156

  1. The incident with the pissy slipper
  2. The incident with the soiled trousers
  3.  The incident with the angry Australian vs the taxi driver

Other fantastic nights were the ruin bar crawl which took you around these bars based in revamped ancient buildings and a Halloween party which still leaves me wincing at the hangover.

IMG_3504

To underscore the above – If you’re single Budapest is a good place to be. Sex is just a poorly executed pick up line away.

That said, of course the city is more than just party central, there is some really beautiful architecture and a rich backdrop of  Hungarian history to discover. Check it out.

Anyway. FINALLY wrote this post – new one on Spain (Barcelona) due next week – PROMISE. 😀