31 December 2013

2013: The Story So Far...

2013 has passed us by and I have to say that it was a good one. I miss 2012 but I have hope for 2014 because I know that I shall find my golden ticket. From my Louisianan holiday to the days spent beside the Bosporus. I can't say that I don't miss my Newark days because I do, I'm not one for moping about for I've been to some places and made memories this year. 

Taking to the skies I said farewell to my Industrial Placement in Newark I made my way to New Orleans and then Orlando to conclude my 2012 American adventure. Me and my friend Fiorella spent time in the French Quarter in New Orelans for two lovely days, even though the weather fared to be dreary we had a great time. My next Delta port of call was Orlando, where I was reunited with my Disney diva Zach Airstarr! Call me sad but I loved transiting through Atlanta Airport! 2013 was staring me in the face so I wasn't about to give up, it was time to keep pushing on. But nothing can last forever so it was time for me to return back to Bilston to continue my degree for the new term. I travelled so much throughout 2012 so I had ambitious plans for the year ahead of me. Life has changed! Bilston is great but I enjoyed an outstanding year in the USA, looking back through the crazy working hours I would do it all again!

January turned into February, I resumed my studies in Birmingham, moving forward onto my next chapter. I had grown close to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Newark Airport so attending lectures was a shock to the system. Being back home was super cool in the respect I got to meet my then baby cousins for in a few months they would be turning one, so being back in Mother England wasn't that bad. As the semester progressed I kept the faith that I was going to get through the course, I was back in the Maltings away from my shared apartment on Lafayette Street so that was another bitter pill to swallow, but I had to just be happy with that situation. I had a mission to travel as much as I could through 2013 so I could relive the excitement and adventure of the previous year. I had Ireland and France in my sights so I kept my head high and embraced Birmingham again. 2013 certainly began with a bang, I wanted things to get better month by month! Things would improve! 

Getting back to University wasn't that bad but I did love being back in Birmingham, I do love my student city! I moved back to the Maltings to find a new challenge, let's just say it was an eventful first semester back. I jetted off to the far flung paradise of Huddersfield! Taking my first National Express coach trip from Birmingham to Huddersfield proved to be a bearable experience, I had a great time reuniting with Paolo Fiorello who I had worked with at Newark Airport. We missed Thomas Johnson from this trip so we met again a few weeks later in Tom's hometown of Northampton. I loved Northampton, some people don't think its got much to offer but I think its quirky. The Las Vegas three made their third meeting in April for we spent the day in London, us boys were about town! Working in a airport is great, Newark Airport is a dynamic place, seeing people make their flights each day. Oh Britney B!

I booked my flights and a bed in hostel, seeking adventure in Dublin in March. I saw many places like the Ha'penny Bridge and Kilmainham Gaol both sights impressed me much! I wasn't completely satisfied by just seeing Dublin for the whole trip so I took the Enterprise train link from Dublin Connolly to Belfast, Northern Ireland for a day of discovery. I loved Belfast for it showed me a slice of its dark past, a Taxi Trax Tour that took me around the Protestant Shankill Road area of Belfast, across the Peace Line and finally into Catholic West Belfast. Europe never looked so good, I loved being back in Birmingham where I found Caffe Chino for a Bubble Tea or three! American's don't have a clue about Eurovision so I was overjoyed to be at home watching the contest streamed live from Malmo, Sweden! 2012's winner Loreen came back from her winning show with a new song along with her winning anthem 'Euphoria'. Get me to the Village Inn, I really needed to werk! Summer time of my life?

I wasn't going stateside, I had a series of trips planned. France showed me Bordeaux, Cognac and Jonzac. I stayed in Chatenet, a small hamlet, located 50 minutes from Bordeaux Airport. Thanks to a promo deal with Monarch Airlines I purchased my flight to Bordeaux and then to Barcelona, another trip that proved to be amazing! I wanted to get back to Europe to experience something extra. I embarked on my Spanish adventure from July 1st to July 5th starting in Barcelona for two days I took in all of the sights including La Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell. Moving onto the charming town of Tarragona for my third day I loved life and lapped up the culture. I lived it up in Sitges, a rainbow seaside town and it was eventful! Yes, Spain loved me right! 

I had to take one more holiday during the summer of 2013, it was time for Turkey! I took a few days out to spend one weekend in Istanbul, I loved my time in Istanbul for its such a dynamic and exotic city that definitely kept me on my toes! Take me back to Istiklal Caddesi where I found a Topshop and Turkish tea house on the same street! I spent three weeks in the Turkish holiday town of Calis Beach that is located along the Turquoise coast. I missed two holidays in Turkey due to my American work commitments, I suppose I couldn't have everything but I loved what I experienced in Turkey. I spent the day lazing at the world famous Oludeniz beach and finding a bargain or two at Calis's Sunday Bazar. It was time to finish my degree at University College Birmingham. Time was ticking!

Rounding off 2013 with another foreign trip me and my brother Lewis went to Amsterdam for a great weekend. Mary Jane Holland was about so things were just fine! But things had to get back to business, my studies kick-started my final year of education for my degree. Birmingham has showed me something new, with the festive season upon us I had to make the best of what time I have left in my student city. Things are changing there but I'll always have my student haunts to remember. From seeing the new Library of Birmingham to spending the last days of sunshine at Cannon Hill Park. Friends come and go so I was ready for the change, if you don't make the cut then move on. Studies were getting really intense so my blogging had to take a back seat but I got to see my Portuguese lovely Ines Ladislau whilst she was on a layover from her Dubai flying duties for Emirates. 2013 wasn't so bad! 

I would like to say that my blogging is starting to pay off, with a Christmas video for Visit Birmingham and an invitation to a Berlin tourism event. Things have been challenging trying to balance my studies with blogging so I kept things local around Birmingham so I could have the best of both worlds. Visiting Cadbury World to find out that Bournville is really sweet like chocolate and experiencing the Frankfurt Christmas Market kicked off the festive season just right. In November I took the train up to Liverpool and Chester for the night, seeing the RopeWalks and reuniting with my Disney friend Kat, also extending my trip to see the Clock Tower in Chester for a few hours I really liked that place. Looking back on Christmas 2013 I have to say that I got into the Christmas spirit good and proper, I ate, drank and got very merry indeed. After being back for the year since my year in Newark has been a challenge to say the least I can say that 2013's been great! Will 2014 be beyond!

Thank You and Goodbye 2013!

Joseph Harrison

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