Thursday, 30 April 2015

Serving It Up... Cambridge, England

Cambridge, one of England's historical university cities had been on my travel to do list for a while. Booking a coach on a whim I took no prisoners during my day of 'educational overness!' King's College passed me at a lazy pace during my punting trip but taking time out along Parkside impressed me! Oxford schooled me well, but Cambridge had something to say! Money talks, C! 

Cambridge as a university was never a prospective choice for me, this historic city of knowledge wasn't on my wave length for many reasons. Arriving brighter than early I was ready to hit the cobbles of Cambridge to be schooled by another class of university colleges! Leaving my Megabus alongside Parkside I followed a direction I wasn't familiar with, finding myself at a Dunkin' Donuts I was tripping back to a Newark state of mind! Refueled after I enjoyed my breakfast bagel and iced coffee I was hungry for Downing College, I just didn't know that yet! Entering the grounds of Downing College felt strange because it was a working place of study, something told me that I should tread with respect. Mixed with a Roman flare I admired the grounds of the college with a level of appreciation with it being part of one of the worlds most famous universities! I can't stand people who have selfie-sticks! Are you dumb?!

Founded in 1800, Downing College has been schooling students for over 215 years in a wide range of arts and disciplines. After doing some research I found that these university students have the opportunity to study Anglo-Saxon studies, Medicine and even Philosophy, something that I didn't miss from my Hospitality and Tourism Management degree that was awarded to me from the University of Birmingham. In the sun the regal student accommodation looked practically palatial from the outside, the tuition fees and rent must be murderously expensive? Difference is amazing, it separates but the contrast of backgrounds brings us together for we all have a story to tell. Cambridge was lifting me up, getting away from the usual was giving me life for certain! Cambridge's Parkside stood a few paces away from where I was standing, I knew that I would revisit that part of town. I'm not the museum type so I carried on to see more historical sights! Interesting stuff! Cambridge, we ready! Let's go!

Cambridge presented itself without a single flaw, I was served something truly lovely! With each trip I take in England I see that I'm from a beautiful country with oodles of history and charm! The Historic Centre of Cambridge was filled with a crazy torrent of tourists from an international background, not to brag but we've got a major country to represent to the world! Choosing Scudamore's I relaxed on a shared punting tour along the River Cam, I was ready for some truth to be spilled about Cambridge! Our gorgeous host guided the punt through the winding waters of Cambridge, but something told me Oxford was going to get a verbal warning! If you've got kids, leave them at the punting station! Focussing on the sights along the River Cam was the perfect distraction! King's College served 'educational overness' alongside the River Cam, so I was impressed! Let the river flow! Best of Britain? Yes, C!

The punting game looked like a popular way to spend some of that Cambridge day but for some it was a Hen Don't! I was schooled about the ways of governments past when the residents of Cambridge would board up their windows to escape an un-welcomed tax. That sounds like daylight robbery?! The flow of our punt along the River Cam was a relaxing affair, passing by numerous regal halls of residences that looked as palatial as Downing's! Gaining its name from the River Cam and the many bridges that connect the two sides of the city it doesn't take a fool to realise that resulted in the name, Cambridge. I also learnt that the status of the grass was higher than anything else, making that reference I've not seen such a well kept lawns since my Disney days! Costing only £18 as part of a shared punting boat tour I really didn't see anything wrong with that price, I noticed the talk spoken by Scudamore's was comical and enthusiastic compared to their half-rate competitors. OK? I liked it!

Embracing dry land I was intrigued by King's College as I had only seen it from a lower platform as my punt flowed through the River Cam. Cambridge's winding city centre was heaving with tourists so I ditched that hype to take sanctuary in the chapel at King's College, dodging the passing bicycles I embraced the quiet of that place of worship, still awash with tourists I blocked them out of my mind for I saw a dazzling portrait of the Madonna with child, she was serving post-pregnancy Realness with a baby Jesus in her arms! As a previous university student I don't know if I would have coped with a constant flow of tourists trying to muscle in on my student quarters? I don't think that would of been for me! Birmingham showed me greatness! From what I had seen so far in Cambridge had been more than I had previously imagined, with the picture postcard views I couldn't get enough! Oh Oxford, I told you OK?!

I captured an image of a normal Cambridge student street, fashioned in the stonework of yesterday these seemingly looking Victorian terrace houses called right at me! Tucked away from the vibrancy of Quayside I got a real cool vibe from this regal student city, I was under some kind of spell for certain! I didn't see many Midsummer Murders committed but the city of Cambridge has loaned its backdrop for many a successful television drama. I contemplated walking along the River Cam to the village of Grantchester but when I remembered that drama I recognised some of the sights from my Cambridgeshire day. As the day drew to a close I found the Clarendon Arms pub to sink a few pints of Cider, I appreciated the 18th century energy of that Cambridge public house. Let's just say some that pub golf lot were part of a certain Middle Class background! Go sit down! My day in Cambridge may have been very long but I made the most of its charms, loving a new city! That's it I'm done!

Thank You Cambridge! 

Joseph Harrison  

Monday, 27 April 2015

This Departure Lounge... Dreams For Plans!

It's true to say, travel gives me life and I won't ever stop pursuing the next adventure because that's my drug! From the west to east coast I'll always be a lover of the United States of America and its many territories but I will leave an extra match before I relight that flame! Life is a journey that will hopefully keep leading me to new places around the world. Are you in?

I long to grace fashion forward electric avenues of Tokyo, Japan! From Shibuya to Roppongi, its always been a dream of mine to hear the Tokyo culture served within that non-stop Far East mega-city. Like a kaleidoscope of colour, energy and visual grammar, you know I'm going to be recognising the neon vibe in Akihabara to be a part of the gaming culture, Pokemon is all the rage! Music leads to be a huge part of my attraction to Japan in general with the hits of Ayumi Hamasaki being a firm favourite I like to keep connected to a Japanese state of mind. Harajuku will be my playground, those kawaii Tokyo kids will serve their style but I just want to take a glance to see their individual trend! Sushi is a firm favourite of mine and I won't turn my nose up at some whale, I strive to be different! Capsule hotels will be my desired accommodation for the nights I shall be in TYO, I want to experience the extraordinary! 

Reminding myself that Asia is a huge continent that I long to explore as much as I can! China is on my radar for many reasons, some of those details I'm not going into to detail because I don't want to tempt fate! India looks incredible! From Bombay to New Delhi I know I'll experience more than what a Bollywood movie presents to an audience! I love Indian food but I long to sample some authentic dishes in their homeland. Nepal is a backpackers dream, why can't it be mine?! I'm not a trekker but I'll get to Kathmandu one day for sure! Taking it to the beach I'm up for a trip to Thailand to experience a full moon party, find some peace of mind in a Buddhist temple and much more! They might not be Drag Queens but Pattaya is where the Ladyboys strut their stuff, you already know I want to see their show! I've only been as far East as Turkey so I plan to go the furthest the continent of Asia will let me! So, from Japan to India via Thailand I'm not taking no for an answer Asia!

A visit to the continent of South America would make my life in one respect because I have a special reason to explain! Rewind to 2012 I lived in a Brazilian neighbourhood in New Jersey, USA where I got pretty familiar with the local cuisine and culture. Together with that time I also took an obscured interest in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, seeing the contrasts between the favela's and the vistas from the Statue of Christ, I'm going to be on a Rio de Janeiro hype for certain! Sunning myself on the Copacabana Beach would be an amazing experience, I could watch the body beautiful's strut their stuff in the sun! The favela neighbourhoods may look questionable but I favour the edge when it comes to a place, I seek the alternative so I know that experiencing something like that would be an eyeopener! As well as the city I would love to serve Amazonia Realness during a possible Brazilian trip! Vamos!

Peru has my heart already thanks to my best friend Fiorella Sanchez, I know that one day we'll visit the wonder of Machu Picchu! An escapade to Lima would be on the cards to marvel at the Spanish Colonial architecture, I honestly don't know when that trip will happen but I better get working, all these experience require some serious paper! I have all these grand plans and I intend to execute each one in my lifetime! Where else in South America sounds good to me? Ecuador also looks good to me, I have friends from that country as well so I could always call upon some local inside Ecuadorian knowledge before my South American trip. Mexico isn't strictly in South America but those Macho Libre fights look absolutely hilarious so I wouldn't mind grabbing an filled taco whilst watching a fight ringside! Thanks to my Disney College Program I have friends in all the best places! Coffee is nice but I would love to sample some authentic South American coffee, I can dream!

Sticking with the American vibe I know exactly where I need to turn up the party! San Francisco's Castro District is on my radar, I'm determined to follow that Rainbow vibe to have an unforgettable time! Pour me a strong drink and let the music play on! Hitting up Downtown SF would be part of the plan to make the best of my time on the East Coast, I'm all about that Golden Gate Bridge but I want to cut it up in the Tenderloin because I'm drawn to the unconventional! West Hollywood already has my full attention, getting into the groove with the muscle mary's of WEHO would be a dream come true! East L.A. is where I want to be to capture the Mexican vibe of Los Angeles, I'm very observant when it comes to American food documentaries because good food means a win! I know I've got a long way to go! Queen, I want to fly the Rainbow flag along the East Coast of the United States of America! Let's take it back!

It's been a while since I was a New York City boy, for that reason I know that I will return to the 'Empire State!' Newark must be back in my life in the future otherwise I'm going to go crazy baby! Getting back to the historic Downtown would make my blogging dream come true, I wasn't so forthright the last time I was in the heart of the city with my camera but with a second chance in the Brick City I would concur! I have a thirst to visit Chicago, that windy city looks on point with its towering skyscrapers and urban edge I know that Illinois will be sorry when I'm gone! Making it up to the 'Motor City' has to be done, Detroit has been through a tough time so I want to see what kinds of Overness is being served in such a changing city! Florida will never leave me, I pledged to my friends Zach and Dawin that I would return after my 2013 visit and I will boys! Get me back to the 'Sunshine State' so we can enjoy the golden sands of Fort Lauderdale with a strong drink or five! Yes, BB!

Take me back to the 'Land Down Under!' I had the immense opportunity to visit Sydney, Australia on the eve of 2001 to be a part of the New Year's Eve celebrations overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge. After seeing 'Priscilla Queen of the Desert' I want to take a swag and experience the Northern Territory. I'm looking at applying for a Working Holiday visa because Australia keeps its border tightly controlled. Getting back to Sydney would enable me to party within the Darlinghurst area of Australia's most famous city! I previously saw the Blue Mountains so I would be looking to be at one with the magnificent 'Uluru'. I'm not up for scuba diving along the 'Great Barrier Reef', I'm sure there's something memorable to see in Queensland, Australia. Melbourne has my attention, that colonial city looks ace to me! I better get my plan together, time waits for no one! Not even for me Australia!

New Zealand was a winner for my aunt but I'm not one for adrenaline sports and outdoor pursuits if I'm completely honest, but looking at the scenery that blesses the two islands of NZ I could be persuaded. Learning about both Aboriginal and Maori cultures will be a part of my Australasian travel plan! Living the island life sounds like a plan for certain, get me to somewhere like Tahiti or Tonga! Travel gives me life, so why can't I dream within my own departure lounge for the future?! From Chicago to Chengdu I've got the determination to execute these travel plans within the next three years, or however long it takes me to get the funds to travel and capture my experiences through this blog of mine! I need to get my drink in WeHo then take the Los Angeles Subway over to East L.A. to serve Mexican Taco Overness! Whatever happens I'm prepared to be patient, pursuing any of these travel expectations will enrich my life beyond belief! I'm ready for International Love B!

When's Boarding Time?!

Joseph Harrison 

Thursday, 23 April 2015

The Next Stop... Leicester, England!

What special thing did King Richard III do? Leicester had my attention for one day, I didn't want to leave no stone unturned! Keeping my head in the game I boarded a train to a city that was unknown to me. A sense of Coventry, you said? Is Leicester already bringing the shadiness out in me?! Leicester had me on the hunt for a 'Golden Mile' that served to me my first Dosa!

Blessed with pleasant blue skies I relished my chance to get to know Leicester to the best of my ability, I sort of knew what I wanted to see first! Without a shred of doubt Leicester straight up served urban Realness with its multi-cultured scene I could tell that this Leicestershire city would show me an edge of some sort! Choosing Leicester's Town Hall Square had to be done first, I had previously seen an impression whilst researching for my day trip. The architecture acted as stark contrast comparing to what greeted me from the railway station. Leicester's Town Hall Square acted as a pocket of calm within the moving streets of the city vibe, I didn't take much time to take in the moment because I had things to do! Leicester showed me that its a city of many personalities, I was being schooled! OK, I took a seat within the round by the fountain to think where I would go to next? Whatever else I was ready for Leicester! 

Opened in 1876 Leicester's Town Hall was fashioned in the style of Queen Anne, presumably passing a level of Royal Highness?! The weather wasn't being shady in any respect, I just needed to get out of town for a little bit so within a two hour reach I chose Leicester, another logistical compromise. We all take chances, I know my sense did the right thing to choose Leicester! The Town Hall Square represented a feeling of mild sophistication due to the weather bringing people around the fountain and onto the surrounding green, I approved! Feeling hungry I didn't make a great first choice with that fast food choice, I was really hoping for a better tasting second chance. Making my way around the borders of the main shopping area of Leicester I approved of the nearby Horsefiar Street and Market Street, believe me I've seen some colourful quarters! Leicester had front, getting on with its business I wasn't about to question that flow! Leicester has its own game to play, I respected that! Go Lei! 

A unknown king was one of the main reasons I chose to discover Leicester, what did King Richard III do that was so controversial?! Found in a car park, this royal rebel has become something of a public figure long after his death in 1485. Making the obligatory visit to somewhere with a religious undertone I stood at the foot of the late kings tomb, his presence caused enough of a stir when I visited Leicester's provincial cathedral with all the tourists wanting a photo of Rich's royal resting place! I wanted those people out of my way! I had my own business to take care! Respecting the environment I took my photos and moved on forth, I just don't like it when people try to kill my blogging vibe with their dithering, go sit down! O, did somebody mention scandal? For a place of worship that King Richard III was causing a stir for those iPad snapping few! I was out of there before you could have said 'Eucharist!'

It only took me a quick second to be acquainted with the Lanes, a cute combination of aged streets that are only a stones through from Leicester's Cathedral. A surge of development was going on around that rested King for I could only imagine the ripple effect the resurgence of Richard III has brought a wave of visitors from far and wide to this Leicestershire city?! Stopping by the Globe public house for a pint of cider, I was greeted by a lovely pub that reminded me of the Kaiser Friedrich in Bremen's Schnoor district! My pint was freshly pulled but the Globe pub had been standing since 1720! Leicester, I see the Lanes bringing something back for your city! Moving away from that legendary flare of Leicester's past I found myself within the crazy of Gallowtree Gate, fronted by so many people I took a left into the Highcross Centre but turned back round to re-enter the bustling crowd. I was surrounded within Realness, trading the city centre I wanted to spice it up! Yes, Belgrave Rd!

Here's where the Coventry connection rings true for this part of Leicester. Making my way closer to Belgrave Road, the Golden Mile served elements of Coventry's Foleshill Road with the Asian fusion capturing my attention this time in Leicester! Belgrave Road resembled a normal busy street, meeting in the middle but away from the city centre I acknowledged the alternative Indian vibe. Several sweet centres passed me as I got to know Leicester's Golden Mile, the colourful Asian fashion boutiques displayed a continual display of beautiful saris. Looking for some sustenance I wasn't prepared to convert to vegetarianism, going against the grain I ordered a Chicken Masala Dosa at Chennai Dosa. I had no idea what I had ordered but with a bit of luck my Indian style spicy pancake tasted like a dream! Getting my sweet fix was key, don't quote me on the names of those sweets but they were great! It was an escape! 

I felt like I walked more than one mile along Belgrave Road, I decided to head back for the city to catch my Birmingham bound train but found something else to grab my attention. Taking an unplanned left to find a parade of shops off Belgrave Road I found an Indian style discount shop that sold everything any good Hindu household needed. My senses were guided straight to the incense in the shop that I could smell, I was hooked by the aroma of the box so I purchased two boxes without hesitation! Back to the city I had to run for the loo, stumbling upon the Rainbow and Dove I made the best of a situation by having a pint. Maybe Leicester could be a contender for a night out sometime soon? Helsinki might be a goer with the Rainbow and Dove in the mix? Leicester's Town Hall Square looked just right in the flesh, I was even impressed by the Realness served to me on Granby Street! King Richard III, keep making those coins for Leicester! Bye, I've got to go! Leicester impressed me! 

Leicester serves 'Royal Highness!' 

Joseph Harrison 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

2015: The Story So Far...

I wanted to shake off 2014 so badly, I was so over that period of uncertainty and post-university depression so I looked ahead to the new year with much anticipation! Putting my best foot forward I believe that 2015 has been a productive year so far. From the Rock of Gibraltar to making plans for the future I'm taking each day as it comes! 2015, I expect big things from you! 

Staring London's Tower Bridge head on I welcomed the New Year with my mum and dad in Shad Thames, London. I had ventured down to Rotherhithe, Surrey Quays and Deptford before the clock chimed 2015, I was already in a New Year state of mind if I'm completely honest! Appreciating the sights of that corner of South-East London I saw it fit to head west for once! Upon my arrival to Hampton Court Palace it felt like I had crossed the finish line for the tube and bus journey took the biscuit! Blogging and travelling is my art so I will suffer for that passion of mine! I was served 'Royal Highness' within the walls of Hampton's own Court Palace, I wasn't looking for anything less than regal! Turning towards an exotic vibe I went on to find the tropical greenhouses of Kew Gardens, I had to dash! Richmond's Riverside opened its heart that January afternoon as I watched a calmer side of the Thames Path serve. Get it L!

Going to Deptford was a random choice, I was looking for some Vietnamese food as the New Year approached. After making my way through Rotherhithe I was to be greeted by Surrey Quays, choosing Mama Pho on Evelyn Street I dined on some uncomplicated Vietnamese favourites of mine! If the truth be told I would have to admit that the iced Vietnamese coffee was the best part! Aside from London I was in talks with a few opportunities in a Far East country, I was giving that avenue one more chance before my job hunt would take a different road. I saw London as my outlet to run to but with my savings dwindling and the high cost of things in the big smoke I had to return to the West Midlands to hatch a plan. When would I make my London comeback? I had to get real, sort my life out and get on with the game! University life seemed like a distant memory at the beginning of 2015, I knew deep down I needed to get a goddamn grip! 2015 keep pushing me forwards! No, T!

Well, my passport was starting to get pretty dusty because I hadn't used it properly since I went to Germany. I had looked at Gibraltar for a while but finally bit the bullet in January 2015! It seemed like a lot happened during that first month but I saw my Gibraltarian break as a chance to draw a line in the sand, to give myself a new focus for the year that lay head of me. That British Overseas Territory served me all the comforts of home but I couldn't get over their Llanito chat! Making the most of my trip I stayed over the Frontier in Spain, the border town of La Linea de la Concepcion showed me a great time. I reconnected with a Spanish vibe that I had missed from my time in America during 2012, hearing the language again and experiencing the culture gave me life! I enjoyed a full English breakfast in Gib, took a siesta in Spain and got suitably merry in the evening thanks to La Linea's many cheap bars! I was wining L! Wepa!

Landing back into Birmingham with another purpose to blog, looking at my financial situation I decided to scale back my operation to four blogs per month. I still wanted to carry Desperately Seeking Adventure into its third year but I didn't want to compromise by the quality of the posts that would be published, something had to give B! Flying high for only a quick second I enjoyed my short stint along the borderline, that time away on the continent gave me the chance to get slightly crazy but evaluate the final part of 2014 so I could move forwards. I didn't look to Birmingham for that first part of 2015 because I needed a plan to get me back there in some capacity. I always go on about hustling my grind to get me onto my next far-flung operation so I got my job interview on! Bilston wasn't giving me life so I knew something had to give, I didn't study for four years to fail! So, thanks Gibraltar for taking me to the skies and gracias to Spain for offering me an adventure! I wanted more!

Putting my Hospitality and Tourism degree to use I applied for a shortlist of possible jobs within that industry. After much deliberation I took up an opportunity to become a hotel receptionist at a local hotel in Walsall. I had a purpose in life for my post-university life had been quite unpredictable I relished in my new found employment. I settled into the groove with my training programme, learning the different functions of the hotel to understand my reception role further. Being back in a guest service environment continually enables me to make a positive difference to their stay, each day brings new challenges but nothing good comes easy. Flashing back to my airport days I can now recognise why I enjoyed working within an airport environment where the unexpected brings twists and turns. Certain elements kept me on my toes but I know in my heart so I always give my best each and everyday! I wanted more!

2015 has been good to me so far, I gained employment and ticked a destination from my travel bucket list. In the grand scheme of things I feel like I've gained something back, being able to put funds aside makes me feel good so if the clouds fill up I'm good for that rainy day. Making new friends has been a blessed thing for me to add right about now, spending so much time in one place it has enabled me to widen my circle whilst working in a job each week. I can't say for certain what the next year has for me but either way I will take each new day as it arrives, this new year has made my wake up and fix up in a way to see that going to university has helped me one way or another. I take the simple things from my check-ins, learning where people have traveled from and what their week has in store for them excites me because people all have a story, Oh, having a Starbucks next to reception is always a temptation but every job must have its perks! Make mine a Mocha Frapp V! Get me!

Even though my university days are over I made it over to Birmingham in March 2015 for an amazing day! Making my way over the city for different reasons I wanted to make the best of the day ahead. Finally paying some attention to Birmingham Cathedral enabled me to catch a different glimpse of Birmingham's ever changing Colmore Row Business District, she be looking fine! Switching up my usual Southside ritual I hit up Caffe Chino for a Hong Kong style Bubble Tea but instead of having Chinese food, I went all Turkish! Giving Smallbrook Queensway one chance I chose Rod Roj to dine on some delicious Turkish food. Did I forget something? My inner Material Girl forced me to part with some of my hard earned cash! I knew with my new t-shirt I would be looking on fleek the next time I would hit up Birmingham's Gay Village! I had been stressed out during that time, my Brummie day gave me life! Get a move on Birm! Go!

2015 has thrown some shade for sure, but with the craziness I know all will be worth it in the end! Back to Birmingham boo, you're a bitch! Hitting the road I went back down a student route to see the Joseph Chamberlain Clock Tower within the grounds of the University of Birmingham, it was a sight that I never got to during my student days but acted as the perfect excuse to revisit Birmingham. Leaving that flash of educational Realness behind me I hit the canal path to find Harborne, something told me I was going to see a village kind of vibe but I wasn't going to be deterred by that disappointment. Walking down a street that looked like 'millionaires row' I ended up in Edgbaston with one place in mind to have a drink or two! The Edgbaston Hotel looked good to me, this boutique hotel followed me on Twitter a few months previous so I went for something classy. Enjoying two fancy cocktails I was impressed with the Art Deco setting that I was loving! Don't be shady, G!

2015, We Be Ready!

Joseph Harrison