I Want To Go Travelling – But Where?

For a while now I have been thinking about going travelling after I finish my final year at university. I saved up over my placement year and realistically I won’t get a better time to go because as soon as I begin work I will more than likely begin the cycle most go through of getting a new car then mortgage, then miserable about the prospect of working for the next fifty years of my life! So before I have to take the final jump into adult hood I think I would like to go travelling and experience different cultures and places around the world.

But where? I have thought about the typical travelling package for people my age where you spend some time in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia which does look incredible but part of me can’t help but think I would rather travel around America instead. I love how each state offers different cultures, foods, experiences and sights and feel like you would never get bored travelling from state to state.

However, ideally I would like to go travelling with someone but not sure if I have any friends who would want to travel America for a few months over the summer. I’m also not sure how much it would be travelling from state to state by myself. I could do a few Trek Americas but I’ve been told by a few people that whilst they are great experiences, it’s cheaper to organise it by yourself. Another route I could look into is graduate schemes in America however that would come with a lot of admin including looking for a place to stay and working visas.

So basically I’m stuck with what I should do, where I will go and whether I should go travelling for a year or just for a few months before my graduation ceremony in November! If you have any advice or recommendations please let me know!

If you liked this post you may also like I Was On A Billboard In Times Square or Rockerfeller or Empire State?

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4 Things I Have Learnt On My Placement Year

A conventional nine to five job might not be for me
My placement has been my first experience of a traditional nine to five job office job and whilst I have enjoyed my job and got on well with my team I don’t know if it is what I aspire for in the future. Knowing my placement is only for a limited time has been helpful on days when I feel unmotivated as I know I will be going back to university soon. However, the prospect of graduating and having a mundane office job where I sit at a desk all day staring at a screen fills me with dread. I still don’t have an answer when people ask me what I want to do with my life but I’m learning that I shouldn’t be in such a rush to figure it out. I have plenty of time to explore different avenues, make mistakes and learn along the way!

I want a job that incorporates creativity
I decided to begin blogging as my job didn’t have enough creative elements. Whilst I build websites with my team in numerous different languages there are guidelines we must stick to and our content management system has limitations with what it can achieve in terms of design. Blogging has allowed me to write content on different topics and I have been lucky enough to borrow a camera from my manager, learning more about photography. Trying new projects in my spare time has shown me I would love a job that incorporates creative elements. I would love to learn more about design with Photoshop and other programmes and continue to improve my photography.

I want to go travelling
I look forward to exploring different career paths in the future and hope to one day find a job that I love. But before I enter the world of work for good I’ve decided I would like to go travelling for a year or maybe more. I have been in education my whole life so I think embracing the freedom that comes with lack of structure or restricted holiday times will be exciting.

Every person I have spoken to has told me to go for it either saying they had the best time of their lives or they have always regretted not going. Realistically I don’t think I will ever get a better moment in my life to be able to go travelling. When I graduate I will have little responsibility holding me back. I haven’t made any concrete plans so far but I think Australia and New Zealand are on the cards with some stops around South East Asia as well. I would also love to explore some of America as I loved New York when I visited. For some reason the thought of having an apartment in Brooklyn and getting the subway into New York City each day sounds incredible!

A positive attitude is imperative
I have worked with a range of people over placement year from all walks of life who are motivated by different things. One of the biggest lessons I have learnt is how valuable a positive attitude can be. In every job there will be frustrating aspects whether it be mundane admin jobs or software not working correctly but it is how you react to these situations that matters most.

In my second year of university I frequently focused on the bad aspects of my course allowing it to overshadow the parts I enjoyed and I definitely think my productivity and efficiency was affected. Being exposed to negative attitudes on placement year was a bit of a wakeup call for me. Moaning about something not working isn’t going to fix it. Arguing with people who cannot change the situation won’t lead to a different outcome.  I have become more aware of how my attitude can affect others and affect the motivation of my colleagues. Whilst some have called me naive and told me my positivity will fade over time, I hope I continue to take a more positive and efficient approach in my final year of university and into my career.

If you liked this post you may also like What The Interview From Hell Taught Me or Employee Of A Month!

Lady Chastity and Bubba Gump

On Sunday my friends took me to London for a birthday surprise. We arrived at
midday and headed to Carnaby Street to look around a few shops and I finally tried Five Guys. Even though it almost cost my whole student loan just for a burger, fries and a drink, it was delicious. Plus they had one of those drinks dispensers which let you have whichever flavour you like. It’s ridiculous how excited I get over being able to add cherry or vanilla flavouring to my Diet Coke.

After lunch they told me we were heading to Clapham Junction for my surprise. We arrived and after a short walk ended up at a pub called The Four Thieves and my friends told me we were doing an escape room experience. We sat down and two men were walking around in old fashioned clothes staring at everyone. Shortly after, we were led upstairs and into a dark room where we told we would soon be entering the room that Lady Chastity died. We were told she owned a vineyard and had died in a fire after going mad and we had an hour to work out how to unlock the chest that held her last bottle of famous wine.

Lady Chastity

It was really dark in the room and there were a lot of creepy noises and flashing lights but it was so fun trying to work out each clue along the way. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to unlock the case in time so didn’t win the bottle of wine but it was great fun nonetheless. I would definitely recommend the experience to anyone if they were visiting London anytime soon. You might be a lot smarter than us and actually be able to unlock the chest and win yourself a bottle of wine! Afterwards we headed back down to the bar to grab a drink and sit in their pub garden for a while before heading back inside to their games room which had a brilliant race car track and classic arcade games.

Once we left The Four Thieves we headed back to Waterloo and caught the tube to Leicester Square to go to Bubba Gump. My friends had told me we were going to London and I had begged them to go to Bubba Gump because it was my favourite restaurant in New York. My friends told our waiter it was my birthday so I had to stand up whilst all the waiters sang a song at the top of their lungs. I have honestly never had better service or food. Our waiter Harold was brilliant and we ended up staying in there for three hours making our way through their drinks menu.

I realised in London how much I love cities. When I was in New York I loved how busy and fast paced the city was and London is very similar. Everywhere you look there is something different going on and I feel like it would be hard to get bored there. When we finally came out of Bubba Gump and walked back through Leicester Square it was still packed and I loved how all the different lights lit up the square even though the sun had gone down.

It only takes me about forty five minutes on the train to get to London so I really should go more often! I’ll be going up in June for #BloggersBall and in July to see Beyoncé at Wembley!

What is your favourite thing to do in London?

What Do I Want To Do With My Life?

I recently watched the Fresh Meat finale and it made me think about university, my degree and what I want to do with my life once I graduate. The finale was infused with the humour that has graced all four seasons but also encapsulated the bitter sweet moment of the character’s finishing university and starting new chapters in their lives. This got me thinking about my own experiences with university and oddly made me dread the day all the exams, dissertations and coursework is all said and done and we move out for the last time. I haven’t always loved university but it is sad to think my final year of university may be the last time I spend time with certain friends I have made along the way.

Instead of looking at graduating as a step into uncertain times without security, I’m trying to see it as a time of potential where I will have different opportunities to try new and exciting things. I am planning to go travelling for a year once I finish university and have been using my placement year as a chance to save money. I haven’t fully decided where I want to go but I think it will be the perfect time to see new countries and cultures before coming home and deciding what career path I focus on. Part of me really fancies the idea of moving to New York for a year. There is something about having an apartment in Brooklyn and being able to get the subway into the city that really appeals to me.

Unexpectedly, my placement year has caused a major shift in what motivates me. I used to be very motivated by money thinking financial freedom would automatically make me happier. Whilst I think having money can give you more access to certain experiences and activities, my placement year has shown me it is not the be all and end all.  I have realised a job I enjoy that offers new challenges and experiences has a lot more value than I first anticipated. Every job will have elements that won’t be thrilling but I hope to find a job that has the right balance.

I’m learning it is okay to not know exactly what I want to do with my life and have my career path set out and decided. I think there is a lot of pressure put on young people these days to make decisions about the rest of their lives before they’ve even got a chance to try different things. The year to come will involve a lot of planning for travelling once all of university is said and done but for now I will finish my placement year and focus on my degree and worry about my future later.

If you liked this post you may also like Employee Of A Month or What The Interview From Hell Taught Me.

What I Have Learnt So Far

I recently hit 1000 views on chinsontour and to celebrate I de
cided it was time to share my favourite chins on picture I have ever taken. Before I get into this post, I would just like to thank everyone who has taken a minute out of their days to read, comment, like and encourage!
 Statue of Liberty
I began blogging to learn new skills and ultimately make myself more employable in the future however I soon found out I really enjoying blogging. Whilst I enjoy my job, I felt like it wasn’t giving me much creative freedom so decided to set up a blog to try out more creative endeavors. That was just over two months ago blogging quickly became a hobby of mine. Without further ado, I’m going to talk about a few things I have learnt and a few pieces of advice for new bloggers.
Share your blog
I have really enjoyed running a twitter and instagram account specifically for my blog as it allows me to connect with more people and more bloggers – particularly because people use different blogging platforms. I initially used Twitter purely to share my posts but soon realised I wasn’t getting much enjoyment out of having a Twitter account for my blog. I now participate in a number of the blogging chats, reply and interact with other users and also post about topics that catch my interest. Since doing this I have enjoyed using Twitter a lot more and have received more interaction from other bloggers because I haven’t been using Twitter solely to promote myself.
 
Use other blogs for inspiration, not comparison 
There is always going to be a blog with better photos, a bigger audience or a nicer theme and it can get exhausting constantly comparing yourself to others. It is important to remember that everyone is a beginner at some point and took a while to find their style. Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t immediately get 500 followers or you find some of your posts clunky or awkward. Try different things and find out what works for you. There’s no rush so don’t put so much pressure on yourself.
The blogging community is very supportive
I didn’t realise when first beginning to blog how supportive bloggers are of one another. Many are happy to help others and enjoy interacting with people’s content. The Blogging 101 course that I am currently participating in has solidified this as a lot of other participants have been more than willing to help and give their opinions on people’s posts, themes, taglines and all other blog related topics.
It’s okay not to have a niche
Sometimes it can feel like you need to have a niche audience for your blog in order for it to be successful and without one you won’t get very far. I don’t think this is the case. The priority is that you enjoy writing your content. You can tell quickly when someone has written a post purely for the clickbait title and readers won’t stick around for long. Strive to produce the best content you can and readers should keep returning to your blog. If you naturally find a niche you like writing about or have a specific topic or genre you are passionate about then go for it! Just don’t force it.
Don’t obsess over stats
This may sound a little hypocritical as this post is celebrating 1000 views but try your hardest not to obsess over your view, visitor and follower counts. When I first began blogging I checked it continuously to see if it had changed at all and realised I needed to let it go. If a post I really liked didn’t get the readership I had hoped for I had to accept it and move on. I think it’s important not to be too hard on yourself! I appreciate this is easier said then done and everyone will like to know how many people are seeing their content and where in the world they are reading from. Don’t allow the stats to overshadow the main reasons you are blogging. Enjoy it!

My Year In Photos

WordPress emailed me a summary of how my blog has performed this year and it prompted me to write a post looking back on 2015. I began my blog two months ago and in that time I have achieved just over 800 views from 16 different countries with the main visitors being from the UK followed by the US and India. WordPress summarised these statistics with a comparison to cable cars found in San Francisco:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 820 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 14 trips to carry that many people.

I’ve enjoyed the short time I have spent blogging and am looking forward to keeping it up in 2016. I also wanted to take a minute to look back at 2015 and put together a post with my favourite photos.

Birthday

This picture is from my 20th birthday where some of my friends came to visit me at university and we all went out together. It took so long to get everyone to stand in one place for a photo to be taken!

New York

I was lucky enough to go to New York this year to visit my sister and this is my eldest sister, her best friend and I in Times Square. I had the most amazing times when visiting America and being in New York is definitely one of my biggest highlights of 2015.

Summer Ball

This photo marks the end of my second year at university. Our university has a big summer ball where everyone dresses up and a load of us went as aliens. It was a brilliant way to celebrate the end of second year.


This is the first picture I took with our new puppy Rufus! He has got so much bigger and I definitely underestimated how stressful a puppy can be at times but he has been a great addition to the family.

Bestival Crowd

Bestival was one of the best weekends of the year and I love this picture my friend took of me and Alice when we were dancing to Missy Elliot. Its not the best quality but it captured such a brilliant moment where were dancing like morons.


This is a photo of my friend Ellie and I celebrating her 21st. I was taking a load of photos of her with her cake because I knew how awkward she felt when everyone was singing to her and her mum took this photo of us. I love that we didn’t know it was being taken but it sums up the brilliant weekend we had celebrating her birthday!

Instagram Best Nine

I thought I would include my Instagram best nine from my chinsontour account to highlight the short time I have spent blogging and how much I have enjoyed it. Hopefully my Instagram will be full of new posts next year!

There are so many more photos I could have included. 2015 has been a good year but I’m looking forward to what 2016 brings. Happy New Year everyone!

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I Was On A Billboard In Times Square

Chins on Tour has gone global. Back in February Revlon were allowing tourists to get their picture on a billboard so naturally I seized the opportunity to improve the couples romantic photo in front of me with a chin or two. As we sat in Bubba Gump in Times Square we could see the Revlon billboard which was entertaining to watch as we ate our food. We went to a mixture of big chain restaurants and small, independent places whilst in the Big Apple and I definitely had a few favourites.

My favourite big chain restaurant we went to was Bubba Gump in Times Square although the theme was wasted on me as I’ve never seen the film. We got the bucket of Cajun shrimp to share for our starters and they were out of this world. If you don’t like fish, it’s probably best to avoid this restaurant but if you do then make sure you visit. The staff were great and I was surprised with how quickly we were greeted and shown to our table considering we were in Times Square. I hadn’t heard of Bubba Gump before I went to New York and have discovered they have one in London which I might just have to visit early next year. Interestingly I had heard great things about Hard Rock Café but was left disappointed after visiting as I didn’t think there was anything particularly special about our meal. Whilst the theme was cool and there is loads to look at, the music was extremely loud and ended up getting annoying when trying to have a conversation. If you’re hungry and in Times Square, head to Bubba Gump because it will not disappoint.

PRAWN2

As expected, New York was expensive and my sister had discovered a number of small restaurants she wanted to show us. Sophie had told me one of the best things about New York is the variety of authentic cuisine available and she wasn’t lying. One of my favourite meals we had was at a small Thai restaurant called Sukhumvit 51 on 51st street between 2nd and 3rd avenue. It’s a tiny place but the food was absolutely incredible and the service was fast. The staff were all really friendly and happy to help at any moment. Unlike the restaurants in Times Square, the prices are really reasonable and I made sure I returned when I went back to New York in July.

Wonjo on 32nd Street between 5th and Broadway was another restaurant that was a brilliant experience. The staff cook the Korean Barbeque in front of you which was great to watch as you waited and there were so many different flavours to try.  We also ordered some sushi on the side as we all of us love it and their California Rolls were amazing. If I remember correctly, it was relatively expensive but you pay for the experience as well as the food so would definitely recommend it if you are close to Korea town.

We stayed at the Broadway Hotel on 101st on Broadway avenue because it was a lot cheaper than staying near Times Square. We discovered a small Japanese restaurant two blocks down on 103rd street called Sun-Chan which served great sushi and I also really enjoyed their pork buns. I took my Dad there when we visited in July and he really enjoyed their Teriyaki Salmon and the pork buns. The prices were extremely reasonable and I found that it was a welcome break from all the burgers, bagels and fries we had been having on week. Although I loved all the stodgy food America boasts, it was nice to take a break and eat other cuisine that didn’t leave you feeling lethargic.

I think I will write some more posts about my time in New York as I had such a brilliant time and would love to return again in the next few years. I have got one post idea which will feature my favourite chins photo I have ever taken which I am saving to celebrate hitting 1000 views when I hit that milestone. Do you have any favourite restaurants in New York or America?

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