Saturday, August 31, 2013 @ 09:42 pm from England
Since I've spent the last 2 days basically working all day, I decided to head to the beach and enjoy the great weather. First, I went to ASDA and picked up some more apples, oranges and crisps for the rest of the week, then found an empty spot along the beach to lay down.
The beaches here in Brighton don't have sand, but instead are all smoothed rocks. I made a mound out of them and used it as a backrest so I could comfortably read. After reading for a while and eating lunch I was starting to warm up so I went into the water to cool down.
The water was pretty chilly so I only went in until my waist for a few minutes. When I got out I was sufficiently cooled down and stayed on the beach for another hour or so to dry off. Back at the hostel I showered then went to pick up some more soup for dinner and another loaf of bread to make sandwiches for next week's lunches.
This morning I also decided to book another week here in Brighton because it's as good a place as any to spend the rest of my time in the UK. On September 9th I'll check out of the hostel here then head to Belgium! That will leave me with 102 days to spend in mainland Europe. A week of that will be in Morocco and there are a few other countries I want to visit that don't count toward the Schengen Zone 90 day visa so that will work perfectly.
Friday, August 30, 2013 @ 08:15 pm from England
I got up and went for a run this morning. The weather was perfect for a run along the beach. It was partly overcast with a little breeze to help cool things down.
There were still some more items I wanted to knock off my todo list for work so I basically spent the rest of the day working on ClearCheckbook. I took a couple breaks to read but I ended up getting quite a bit of work done which felt nice.
I forgot that it's already Friday night again. I don't really feel like going out and wasting money on booze so I'm not sure what I'll do tonight. The lounge of the hostel seems to get pretty noisy at night so I'll probably hang out here and try to read for a bit before it gets too loud to concentrate.
Thursday, August 29, 2013 @ 08:08 pm from England
After 2 months of traveling and not sitting behind my desk working as much as I normally do, my list of bug fixes and to-do's for ClearCheckbook was piling up. It was a really nice day out today but I decided I better get some work done.
I submitted the ClearCheckbook Windows Phone app to Microsoft for approval, answered a bunch of emails, fixed a bunch of random bugs and made some updates to ClearCheckbook as well. I think I'll do the same thing tomorrow, although I'm planning on going for a run in the morning.
In other news, Holly is officially coming to visit me in Paris from October 21-28! We got the flight booked and will work on getting a hotel situated over the next week or so.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 07:33 pm from England
Not too much to report on today. I got up, ate, then went for a long walk along the promenade. I stopped and ate lunch and read for a while then made my way back. Back at the hostel I answered some emails, did a little research into other European cities and then showered.
Rather than head into Belgium on the 2nd, I think I'm going to wait just a little bit longer here in the UK. Another week should be all I need before I'm free to head into mainland Europe without running into the 90 day visa limit.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 @ 08:10 pm from England
Since I'd been doing so much walking the last few days I decided to take it easy today. I took my time this morning then went down to the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. It's free admission so I went there to walk around for a bit.
They had a few different exhibits and it was nice walking through them. I have to be honest and say that the museum and gallery in Cardiff was immensely better, but for being a free gallery to spend some time in I can't complain.
I had lunch in the gardens outside the museum. There was a family eating lunch a few feet away and a seagull ran up and grabbed half a sandwich out of the dad's hand and ran away with it. It was pretty funny to see the whole thing happen. It was definitely the most aggressive gull I've seen since I was at Sea World (those things will swoop in and grab stuff out of your hand while you're putting it in your mouth). The gull went back a few more times but the family shooed it away before it got anything else.
After lunch I went and got a haircut and my beard trimmed. It's nice having everything look a little more tame. My hair was starting to look a little ratty after not being cut or trimmed for 2 months.
I came back to the hostel to relax for a while then made dinner. I realized I could receive calls to my cell phone from my computer if I was online, so I talked to my parents for a while. There's a football (soccer) match on TV in the hostel now so I'll probably watch this for a bit, or go out for a drink and watch it in a pub.
Tomorrow I'm going to plan my next course of action for the trip. I'm thinking about heading into mainland Europe by going to Brussels once my time in Brighton is over. The trains were extremely expensive but I did find an overnight bus from London for a much more reasonable £39.
Monday, August 26, 2013 @ 06:11 pm from England
Yesterday I noticed some chalk cliffs to the east of Brighton and I wanted to check them out. Today I ate breakfast, made a sandwich and then set off eastward along the coast. After a couple of miles the shoreline changed and the chalk cliffs made their appearance.
I walked 4.5 miles down to Rottingdean. By now it was really starting to warm up (a high of 79 with humidity in the 90's). I stopped for lunch and ate by the ocean. Between the chalk cliffs reflecting the sun and blocking the wind, it was really hot. I found some stairs that went up above the cliffs and hiked up there all the way back. Up there there was some nice wind and I wasn't getting that reflection from the cliff faces.
Back in Brighton I checked out the Evening Star pub. Last night I went out and had a pint of a beer from a brewery called Dark Star and it was really good. After a little research I found out the brewery started in the basement of the Evening Star.
I tried their Espresso beer and was really impressed. I'll head back later in the week and try some of their other beers.
On the way back to the hostel I bought a few things for dinner (lemon, garlic, asparagus and some red pepper ravioli) then got back and downloaded the latest Breaking Bad and watched it. It was still a little too early to make dinner so I read for a while before the hunger really hit.
For dinner I made the red pepper ravioli with asparagus in a lemon / garlic / butter / olive oil sauce. It came out really good! It was a slightly different play on the shrimp/ravioli I made back in Cardiff but tasted just as good. I really like this combination and it's something I'll make regularly when I'm back home.
I was planning on getting a haircut/beard trim but the place was closed today due to the bank holiday. I'll try again tomorrow.
In other news, I've officially been in Europe for 2 months now. At some points it feels like it's been a long time but at others it feels like time has blown by. I feel like I've already seen and done so much but I know there's so much more left to do before I head home!
Chalk cliffs near Brighton
Chalk cliffs near Brighton
Brighton and Brighton Pier
Sunday, August 25, 2013 @ 07:54 pm from England
The weather was calling for rain all day so I was planning on just working all day. I got up around 8, ate and then saw that the rain had stopped and it was just a typical British overcast day. To take advantage of the promising weather, I packed my rain jacket, made a sandwich for lunch with an apple and orange and set off to the coast.
The Brighton Pier is only a 5 minute walk from the hostel and I came to that first. I walked out to the end but it was still too early for anything really to be happening. There were a lot of arcades and fair style games (knock down glasses, throw rings over coke bottles, etc).
After walking the pier I set off west and walked along the promenade for about 3 miles. The beach is completely different than it was up in Newquay. Here it's all smoothed rocks and there isn't any kind of cliffs. I stopped and had lunch then turned around and made my way back.
By now people were out and about and the promenade was starting to fill up. On the way back to the hostel I made a little detour and went though an area filled with restaurants, cafes and shops all on small streets. I found a place that does haircuts and beard trimming so I'll head there tomorrow. It's about time to get things trimmed up.
I came back to the hostel and did a little work and read for a bit before dinner. It's a "bank holiday" weekend so everyone has Monday off so I'm not sure if that means more people will be out tonight or not. I might head out and get a drink or two before calling it a night. Tomorrow I'm either going to check out some of the free museums (although I'm sure they'll be super busy) or I'll head east along the coast. It looked like there were some cliffs farther to the east along the ocean and I kinda want to check them out.
Storage units along the beachfront
Saturday, August 24, 2013 @ 06:25 pm from England
I got up at 5:30am this morning, ate some muffins for breakfast, then went over to the bus station. I was on a Megabus from Newquay to London. We didn't actually get into London until 2:30 (an hour late). That was a long time to be on a bus. I took a nap in the morning then read most of the rest of the way.
Fortunately my bus to Brighton didn't leave until 3:00 so I was able to make that. I got down to Brighton in the rain and checked into my hostel. My room has 15 beds (5 bunks with 3 beds each). My bed is right by the door too. I have a feeling it's going to be a long night of door slamming.
I ran over to Aldi to get some stuff for dinner and lunches for the next week. I'll probably make dinner soon (pesto ravioli, pasta sauce and some bread). It looks like the rain might be stopping. If it does, I'll head out and walk around a bit to stretch my legs.
Friday, August 23, 2013 @ 09:21 pm from England
Today was my last day in Newquay and it ended up raining pretty much all day. Instead of being able to get out and enjoy the beach one more time I pretty much just hung out at the hostel all day.
My bus tomorrow leaves at 6:15am so I'm going to get up around 5:30 to get ready and head to the bus station. I'm trying to get as much organized and packed tonight as I can so when the morning comes I can pick up and go.
Tomorrow the bus from Newquay arrives in London at 1:30pm, then I catch another bus down to Brighton around 3pm.
It's been nice to stay in one place for a while and really get a chance to relax but I'm looking forward to seeing a new city and getting the chance to see some new sights.
Thursday, August 22, 2013 @ 07:54 pm from England
I got up this morning and went for a run. I actually used my phone to track my run and it came to 6.5 miles, although the GPS signal wasn't too great so the actual distance is probably a little bit more. After the run I came back to the hostel, ate lunch, relaxed for a bit then went out and read in a park near the beach for a while.
It was another beautiful day today so being outside was my goal. Tomorrow is calling for rain which is a shame since it's going to be my last day here in Newquay.
For dinner I was trying to finish up odds and ends I had here at the hostel so I made some potatoes with onion and then bought some soup and threw the rest of my peas in there. It ended up being a really delicious dinner.
I'm going to head out and walk around town a little bit now since it's still really nice out. I'll probably get some ice cream or something too while I'm out.
Where I've been:
All the countries I visited on this trip (in yellow).
What's this about?
Traveling is something I've loved doing for as long as I can remember. I've been lucky enough to travel out of the US a few times but never longer than 2 weeks at a time. I decided that I should go see the world and experience all it has to offer. I booked a one-way ticket to Dublin, Ireland to depart on June 26, 2013. After I get to Europe I'll let serendipity take hold and see where I end up. No schedules and no itinerary… just go with the flow. That's as close to a plan as I'm making.
Who am I?
My name's Brandon O'Brien and I'm a travelholic. Before this journey I've been to 11 countries and put over 17,500 miles on various motorcycle trips through the USA and Canada. I'm a self-employed web developer so I'm fortunate enough to be able to work anywhere there's an internet connection. That's what truly made this experience possible.