unique travel experiences

Month: December 2015

Don’t go travel blogging around the world

Well that’s a controversial post to end 2015 with, especially as you might currently be planning a ‘Round the World’ adventure or be a keen travel blogger yourself. And before I continue this is not one of those posts that’s the opposite of its title stressing why you “should” actually go off travel blogging!

Keep calm and don't go travelling

Keep calm and don’t go travelling. Photo: edited from Megan Woodhouse

So why shouldn’t you go travel blogging around the world then?

  1. Travelling is bad for the environment. Exactly how much CO2 do you actually produce on a flight though?
  2. Financial security is more important. Maybe you could be be overpaying your mortgage instead?

Travelling (flying) is bad for the environment

Flying is very bad for the environment. Photo:

Flying is the worse thing you can personally do to the environment. Photo:

And let’s just talk about flying here (if you’re planning to travel around the world by land then you can be excused). According to the ETA the average personal carbon footprint in Britain is 9.5 tonnes. On just one return flight to New York each passenger emits 1.2 tonnes of CO2. That’s 12% of their annual footprint used up in just 0.2% of the year.

Short haul flight aren’t much better. A one-way flight from London to Manchester (185 miles) emits 44.7kg per passenger if the plane is completely full compared to:

Car – 7.7kg per passenger (family of four)
Train – 5.2kg per passenger (if 70% full)
Coach – 4.3kg per passenger (40 people)

So is travel blogging by its very nature a bad thing for the environment? Some travel blogger friends of mine made 30+ return flights this year. That’s environmentally disastrous. And then further to that they’re encouraging others to go off and do the same too! It’s funny how environmental concerns about the polar bears fly out of the window when press trips and the opportunity of a career travelling around the globe becomes a reality?

Financial Security is more important

Every day yet another inspirational meme appears in my Twitter feed saying you should “Quit your job and go travelling”. That can be disastrous in the mid/long term too!

Flying is very bad for the environment. Photo:

Another “Quit your job and go travelling” meme. Photo:

Some of the people advocating this might have good reasons to head off into the sunset:

  1. A mortaged house they can rent out
  2. A windfall of inheritance money
  3. Redundancy money
  4. Wads of cash already saved up

Now for people who fall into one of the groups above then great, but those blogs that advise people to just head off into the wilderness without mentioning the financial side of things could be seen as downright irresponsible.

Quit your job, sell all your possessions and then travel around the world for a year or two. So great, and then when you get back you’ll have no money, you’ll have been out of the job market for too long, you’ll be back living with your parents in your old room (which they’ve painted pink while you were away) while further reducing your chance of ever being able to buy a house. And remember very few travel bloggers can actually make a living from solely travel blogging if that’s the intention?

Yes ok, you only live once, there’s the FOMO, and “if the world is a book and you don’t travel you only ever read the first page.” I get that.  I travelled around China, SE Asia, Australia and New Zealand for 6 months in 2009 and absolutely loved it … but I’d been fortunate enough to receive a nice fat redundancy payment after 10 years working at the same company. 35 year old “you” might look back at 25 year old “you” and wish you’d got a career going first, saved up a deposit, bought a house … and then gone travelling (if you still wish to) … and all still in your 20s.

The Tory government have a lot to answer for pushing home ownership on everybody but without thinking about such things you could be screwing yourself over in 5-10 years time when you then try to get on that even more unobtainable first rung of the ladder and conform to what society thinks we should all be doing in the “rule book of life”!

Skinny polar bear: Photo Kerstin Langenberger

Keep calm and don’t go travelling

So go travelling around the world if 1). you’re financially secure to do so (or if you simply don’t give a damn) and 2), if you don’t care much about the polar bears and the impending cataclysmic disaster if CO2 levels cause the climate change to tip irreversibly. We’re only alive for the blink of an eye after all so who cares?!

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Visiting the world’s 3rd best beach bar in November!

Why visit one of the world’s best beach bars during the summer when you can visit it on a cold November morning instead? We first heard about The Ty Coch Inn from Wlyd Family Travels, who in turn had read about it in a Cheapflights article, which in turn had listed it as the 3rd best beach bar in the world … and it’s in Wales!

Plenty of places to chill out ... in the sunshine

Plenty of places to chill out … in the sunshine

The Ty Coch Inn lies a just a few miles from Morfa Nefyn, the place we were staying at for a friend’s wedding, and as luck would have it was where the bride and groom wanted us to walk as part of the Sunday morning ‘wedding party’ recovery. It was always the plan for us to walk there anyway but the fact it had appeared in a “top 10” list … on the Internet made it all the more important to go there to see it for ourselves! 😉

Browsing the website I found this beautiful shot showing the sandy bay which houses the Inn, together with the lifeboat house in the top righthand corner. That’s how it can look on a sunny day but as the locals told us it can be a mixed blessing when you get listed in a “top 10” as now the place can get a bit busier during the summer months … all the more reason to visit out of season I say!

Aerial view of the Lynn Peninsula and the Nefyn and District Golf Club

Aerial view of the Lynn Peninsula and the Nefyn and District Golf Club. Photo:

So where is it exactly? Here’s its location on Google. The Ty Coch Inn lies on the Llyn Peninsula on the hook of land that lies beneath Anglesey, to the west of Snowdonia, in Wales. Now people go to Snowdonia all the time, but not Nefyn, and that’s what makes it that all the more special. Furthermore you can’t drive to it and have to walk through a golf course to get there. Although check in advance, as if it’s out of season the inn’s opening hours might not fit in with when you want to swing by.

So once parked up at the Nefyn & District golf club (or in a car park opposite Caffi Porthdinllaen just 400 further away) walk up through the golf course along the top of the headland and you’ll feel even more worthy of the pint of Cwrw Llyn beer that will await you when you finish. Play human kites by leading into the breeze on the western side of the peninsula as the winds blow in from across the North Sea. Walk to the tip of the headland and then around in a clockwise direction on the Llyn coastal path as far as the RNLI Porthdinllaen lifeboat station at the northern tip and stick your head in to see if it’s open.

It was incredibly windy up on the headland

It was incredibly windy up on the headland. The red Ty Coch Inn in the distance

Once you’ve tired of all that drop down to the The Ty Coch inn in its relatively sheltered little bay and sample one of its many drinks – Cwrw Llyn did seem most appropriate but we went for marshmallows in hot chocolate instead. Mmmmm. You’ll know you’ve found the right building when you see the name painted up high on the roof! The inside of the pub has a cosy feel to it and a proper little fire or two but to enjoy its “beach bar” location vibe sit on one of the outside picnic tables, the beach wall or even on the sand. The latter not really being an option for us as the tide was in!

Ty Coch Inn on the roof of The Ty Coch Inn

Ty Coch Inn on the roof of The Ty Coch Inn

Inside the Ty Coch Inn

Inside the Ty Coch Inn

Our group stood by the sea wall taking in all the negative ions in the fresh sea air only imagining what it might be like on a hot summer’s day with the tide out. However 45 minutes later the tide had turned sufficiently and we began to walk back to the car park along the shoreline – that way you get the best of both worlds. A high headland blast in the wind with some stretching views of the bay to start with together with a gentle beach walk to finish things off!

The Ty Coch Inn having some running roof repairs

The Ty Coch Inn having some running roof repairs

The Ty Coch Inn way off in the distance

The Ty Coch Inn now way off in the distance


Now that’s Magic! Up onstage with Paul Daniels

I had the Paul Daniels magic set back in the 1980s but I never once thought that one day I’d be plucked from the audience to appear with him up on stage! But that happened just recently at a Mostly Comedy night in Hitchin’s small 100 seat capacity Market Theatre!

Paul getting the coin and £20 notes to magically disappear

Paul getting a coin and my £20 notes to magically disappear

My girlfriend and I took our seats early at 20:45 as we were keen to get a “front row” seat … but not too near the front “just in case”, electing for two seats on the aisle in row 3. So still fairly close as we watched first act Bec Hill perform her routine.

So far so good, a great sketch at the end in time to one of Edith Piaf’s French classics, applause and then off to the bar. After a quick ale we returned expectantly to the theatre. Claire wanted to swap seats as she felt slightly exposed on the end and she’d heard Paul Daniels sometimes liked to pick out women from the audience, but I was having none of that and stayed sat exactly where I was! Hosts Doggett & Ephgrave then reappeared, introduced Paul Daniels, the main event and then it was on with the show!

Paul Daniels Magic Set

The Paul Daniels Magic Set I had in the mid 1980s.

So after some initial introductory chit chat Paul looks over to me and says “You there with the glasses and Hollywood T-shirt?” I happen to be wearing a bright white T-shirt in a sea of darker clothing. “What’s your name? “Steve.” I reply, sounding slightly too much like someone trying to sound tough. “Oh – Steve.” replies Paul in a deep voice mimicing what I’ve just said. “Where are you from Steve?” “Hitchin.” I reply. “You haven’t fallen far from the tree have you Steve?” The dozens of witty comebacks you think you’d come up with in such a situation are sadly lacking. “What’s this Steve?” waving a mouse mat in the air. I know exactly where this one is going. “A mouse mat.” I reply. “Are you in IT Steve?” “… Yes I am.” A few chuckles, a few more japes and the act moves on with me assisting him from my seat with the famous “chop cup” routine, a privilege since it’s recently been listed as the 3rd best magic trick ever!

The biggest cheer of the night actually comes from a cameo appearance by Debbie McGee, followed by two ladies from the front row being brought up on stage for a ‘cleavage to cleavage’ card trick. While all this time I’m sitting there thinking how pretty darn amazing that was to be chatting to a THE Paul Daniels. Little did I know!

So Paul does his next little skit and then he spots me again. “I like you Steve – come up on stage!” Rather than my legs freezing as I thought they might I’m bizarrely looking forward to this and up I go. Standing up on stage you can’t actually see much of the audience as you’re blinded by the spotlights but I’m well aware that 100 pairs of eyes are staring right at me so I try not to act like a twit! And my contribution? The trick involves me shuffling a pack of cards. Concentrating incredibly hard so as not to spray them all over the stage, but also wanting to shuffle them sufficiently for the benefit of the audience. I’m up there with another member of the audience but it’s me who writes my name on a playing card which Paul then materialises after some sleight of hand “as if by magic”. But to be honest I wasn’t paying any attention due to literally being in the spotlight(s) and feeling as conspicuous as is humanly possible.

So I sit back down, my girlfriend is beside herself and I wonder what I’ll tell the people at work the next day. A short while later Paul says “I like you Steve – come up here again”! Oh no!!! 🙂

Paul Daniels wanting a £20 note from my wallet

Paul Daniels wanting a £20 note from my wallet

This time he wants a note out of my wallet! Luckily I have both a £20 and £5 note. What would I have done if I’d had no cash on me? #awkward. He asks me to remember the last 3 serial number digits (246), tears off a small corner and then asks me to hold it outstretched above me. I find myself saying the number repeatedly in my head as I don’t want to stuff up the trick and/or look stupid! More Paul Daniels one-liners, classic old school entertainment, some misdirection with some polo mints before the rest of my £20 note reappears in a … well I can’t tell you that as that would spoil the surprise 😉 Needless to say it was pretty damn impressive!


I’m still on a high when I get home. Did that really happen? And in my own little town of Hitchin just a mile or two from my front door? Next day thanks to Twitter I get hold of some of the organisers’ photos along with a “like” from the great man himself! So a lesson for next time? Possibly wear a dark coloured shirt to standup comedy/magic shows or sit a bit further back? Not at all! I’d love to do it all again!

A follow-up Tweet that evening "liked" by Paul Daniels himself :)

A follow-up Tweet that evening “liked” by Paul Daniels himself 🙂


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