Alphabet Dating: L is for Levison Wood

Alphabet Dating – L is for Levison Wood

An evening with Levison Wood

ABCDEFGHIJL… something’s missing?!

Our ‘K’ date should have occurred in February but we went to Costa Rica (which unfortunately begins with a ‘C’ so doesn’t count – I’m not gonna start pulling that Kardashian shit on you) and then March happened along with our ‘L’ date sooooo….. here it is – L is for Levison Wood!

We went to see Mr Wood on his UK tour, giving talks about his various exciting escapades. For those who don’t know who Levison Wood is, he is a British Explorer famous for walking everywhere. But when I say walking, don’t be expecting some gentle National Trust type stroll through the English countryside, oh no, his first television show called Walking the Nile showed him walking the length of the Nile from Rwanda to Egypt, through some quite harsh and dangerous climates.

An evening with Levison Wood

Levison’s second television adventure Walking the Himalayas saw him walking the length of the world’s highest mountain range. While his ‘thing’ is walking everywhere, there was one point on his journey where due to some political unrest of some sort in Nepal, he and some people who were accompanying him on that particular part of the journey ended up having to take a short taxi ride to a nearby village. Ironically, the one time Levison decides to get into a vehicle, it shoots over a cliff and hurtles 150m down a mountain, nearly killing everyone in the car.

Thankfully no one died, although this isn’t the first time tragedy has struck one of Levison’s adventures. During Walking the Nile, he was accompanied at one point of the journey by some journalists. Tragically, an American journalist named Matthew Power died from heatstroke while accompanying Levison in a remote part of Uganda. Reminding us just how dangerous these expeditions can be.

Levison Wood’s most recent adventure saw him Walking the Americas. Starting in Mexico where he met his friend, a Mexican fashion photographer named Alberto, who walked the entire journey with him. And ending triumphantly in Colombia. Me, hubby and my two work friends who also love Lev actually got to meet Alberto on the night. He was incredibly funny and charismatic. I asked him where his favourite place was and he said Nicaragua but Costa Rica was his second favourite. He told me that Nicaragua was alot cheaper than Costa Rica too!

me: * adds Nicaragua to the ever-growing bucket list *

Meeting Alberto from Walking the Americas

We didn’t get to meet Levison himself but we enjoyed listening to him tell his stories, from backpacking along the Silk Road in his youth, to the time he lost his wallet at a theme park and it was returned by post to him from someone in the Army. He wrote back to thank them and then to ask advice on how to get into the army. Because that was how he was going to fulfil his childhood ambition to become an Explorer!

He inspired me by saying that you should take opportunities when you can, because even unpaid jobs can lead to bigger things. For him, this was an unpaid job he took after leaving the army where he delivered a couple of ambulances from London to Malawi for a charity project, which, to cut a long story short, ended up with him landing his first television gig!

At the end of the talk there was a little Q&A session which if you’re curious – his scariest moment was the car crash in Nepal. He was also pretty scared of a situation involving walking into a field where there were landmines in Africa. He wouldn’t tell us where his next adventure was but I know wherever it is, he is there right now as I am writing this. And there is another expedition in the planning for next year which will see Alberto accompany him again. As for Alberto, the thing he missed the most about his everyday life while he was walking the Americas was in actual fact his toilet!!!

See, I told you he was funny 🙂

Now hubby and I are playing a guessing game of where we think Lev might travel to next but I guess we will just have to wait and see!

Walking the... Nile, Himalayas, Americas - what's next?

Things to make you feel uplifted today

Things to make you feel uplifted today

What a week. What a horrible tragic week for news. And it makes me sad that the world can be such a violent hate-filled place. But I don’t want to give the negative action of others any more attention, this blog is a happy place, my happy place I want to share with you. So in order to lift my spirits (and hopefully yours) I thought I would write a post of a few things to make us all feel a little bit uplifted.

1. Baby Pandas

I know it’s old news but this video never fails to make me smile. Everybody loves baby pandas! Fun fact: I actually tried to apply for that panda nanny job that was buzzing about the internet a while back but my lack of Chinese language held me back. D’oh!

2. Chef The Movie

Chef the movie soundtrack

I love this film! It’s just so nice. Alright, nice isn’t the best word and there’s alot of swearing in it but ultimately it’s a feel good film about pursuing your dreams. Plus there’s alot of food porn and a catchy soundtrack – who could feel sad listening to latin music?!

3. Everyday Heroes

Kangaroo Dundee - an Australian Hero. I was lucky enough to visit his sanctuary in the Aussie outback. It was my favourite thing!

I’m tired of the media. If it’s not doom and gloom, then it’s pointless gossip about pointless “celebrities”. How about we turn our attentions to inspiring people who actually do something worthwhile?

Last month I wrote a post about Kangaroo Dundee, a man who dedicates his life to rescuing orphaned kangaroos (which he has actually read after my husband sent a link to him without me knowing!). But Kangaroo Dundee isn’t the only real life hero out there. There are many, many other people committing random acts of kindness, dedicating themselves to a cause or just generally being good, honest, inspiring people – why don’t we talk about them from time to time? I decided to create a pinterest board to honour these heroes, it’s early days yet but you can find it here.

These are things that make me feel uplifted right now – how about you? Share your happiness below!

5 things I have learnt about blogging

things i have learnt about blogging
Image: Unsplash

As I mentioned in my Life Lately post, I have been blogging solidly for a year now (and up and running for over 2 years), so I thought I would share some of the things I have learnt about blogging in that time.

1. Don’t force it.

If you’ve lost your blogging mojo, step away from the screen and take a break. Don’t post for the sake of posting and if you start forcing your writing, it will only become a chore. Do it when you are feeling the passion to do it and if that means not posting anything for 3 weeks, then so be it. I should know, I stopped writing for over a year because I lost interest, but I eventually missed having this creative outlet and now I am back and more enthusiastic than ever (even if I don’t have the time to post as frequently as I would like to!).

2. Get involved in social media – but don’t let it take over.

Quirky Little Planet has a presence on a whole bunch of social media platforms but if I was to invest the time and energy necessary into each and every social media account, there would never be any time left for blogging! This is not my job, this is my hobby. Although I haven’t been on social media for very long, I am finding that twitter is my biggest success and particularly enjoy getting involved in twitter chats, it’s a great way to connect with like-minded individuals. Which leads me to…

3. Connect with other bloggers.

Read other blogs. Leave nice comments. Everyone loves receiving comments and ‘likes’ on their blog. And if you enjoyed another blogger’s post – share it! Tweet it! Whatever – spread the love and you may find that they will reciprocate. Oh and if someone leaves you a comment, be sure to reply to it.

4. Don’t sell yourself short.

Once you start to become more established, you will undoubtedly be contacted by companies wanting to work with you, and as a newbie blogger, this can be very flattering. But first of all, make sure that the company is the right fit for you and the over all style of your blog – don’t just do it for free stuff. Secondly, make sure you mention whether a post has been sponsored – be honest with your readers. Thirdly, you should receive remuneration for your work – be it a post that has been paid for, or a free product to review. Don’t buy into the whole “SEO benefits” rubbish, because they are just taking advantage. If it doesn’t feel right for you or your blog, then politely decline.

5. Be original. Be you.

Just because all the popular bloggers are writing about this or that, it doesn’t mean you should too. Write about what you feel passionate about! If you’re lacking enthusiasm for a subject, believe me – it will show. And it will kill your enjoyment in the process. My blog is predominantly a travel blog because this is what I enjoy and I like to write about my first-hand experiences, but you don’t have to have a niche. And while I don’t condone copying, it’s ok to be inspired by others but be sure to give credit where credit is due if you’ve obviously used someone else’s idea for a post. Oh and one more thing, don’t compare yourself to others, as Theodore Roosevelt said “Comparison is the thief of joy”.

What advice would you give to yourself as a newbie blogger? 

Life

Me, Myself and I

While I was sitting here procrastinating about writing, I had a little mooch around the Blogosphere and found Suzie‘s Me, Myself and I post in collaboration with Sare. So I thought why not get involved so people reading can get to know a little more about the person behind the blog.

So here goes…

1. Name 5 things on your bucket list.

It’s no surprise they are all travel-related – and I have a bucket list as long as your arm! But here are 5 I’m really feeling right now.

  • Road trip round New Zealand – something I will be ticking off very soon!
  • Go on safari in Africa
  • See the wildlife (or possible even volunteer) in Costa Rica
  • Visit Cuba
  • Travel Thailand beyond Bangkok

2. What was your favourite toy when growing up?

I absolutely loved Polly Pockets when I was a kid! I even found a few items in my parent’s loft a couple of months ago which I was going to turn into jewellery but just didn’t have the heart to.

polly pocket vintage toyvintage polly pocket toys

3. What are your top 3 blogs that you follow?

Ohh don’t make me choose! I follow loads of great blogs – all quite different, with a mixture of topics and personalities. Variety is the spice of life!

4. What would be your dream job?

My dream job would be International Woman of Mystery – I could fly around the world reviewing hotels and stuff. On a more realistic end of the dream scale, it would be quite interesting working with animals.

5. If you hadn’t started blogging, what would you be doing instead?

If I wasn’t blogging I’m not sure what I would be doing. I’m not very good at hobbies so no doubt I would have tried and given up a few more by now. I quite like blogging though, it makes me feel productive!

For more info about Me, Myself and I, click here.

And to follow me on Bloglovin, click here.

 

Hyper Japan 2015

This Saturday I attended the Hyper Japan Festival at The o2 in London, an exhibition dedicated to all things Japanese. Naturally, being a bit of a Japanophile myself, I was eager to attend.

We opted for the Saturday morning slot (9am – 3pm) which was perfect as it wasn’t too busy when we arrived just before 9am but getting quite hectic by the time we left (around 2pm).

I will admit I spent longer choosing my outfit for the day than I have spent picking out some wedding outfits! Although I didn’t go full on cosplay, I wore some accessories I bought in Tokyo (cat tights, robot earrings, Alice in Wonderland bag) and threw on a light summer kimono over the top of a black skirt and pink top. I also pinned all my hair up and slicked on the red lippy and winged eyeliner… I guess I looked somewhere between a wannabe geisha crossed with a 90s girl band member.

However, I was happy to see that there were plenty of cosplayers walking around inside the o2 and I even asked a few of them if I could take their photographs, all of them happy to oblige. It’s funny because I saw more Harajuku-inspired outfits here in London than I did in actual Harajuku while I was there!

Hyper Japan cosplayers

The festival was quite disjointed within the o2 as it wasn’t in the arena itself, but dotted around outside, where the restaurants are. We headed to the main section first where there were many stalls selling food and gifts. We posed for a picture with Domokun and were given some free Snapea rice sticks from the Yushoi stall – they were pretty good!

Hyper Japan London

I personally found that alot of the stalls were quite expensive, which I guess is understandable as they are selling Japanese imports but when I paid around £5 for a box of KitKats in Japan (expensive enough!) I wasn’t prepared to pay £17 for the privilege here. There were many etsy stalls selling cute crafts and jewellery but many of these were UK based and appealed to the Japanese kawaii lovers rather than being authentic Japanese themselves.

I did end up buying a necklace though. Anyone who knows me knows that-

  1. I love quirky jewellery
    and
  2. I love animals

It seems to me that I have a bit of a thing for baby pandas at the moment and treated myself to this super kawaii necklace from Little Moose.

kawaii-panda-necklace

We were in need of some refreshment so headed up to the Maid Cafe where we had Dorayaki (basically like two pancakes with a filling in the middle). I opted for strawberry and the maid drew a little face on my Dorayaki in chocolate sauce – much like the real Maid Cafes of Akihabara but much much less expensive!

After our yummy pancakes we watched a performance on the stage below. Although I’m a Japan fan I’m not really familiar with any J-Pop acts so I have no idea who the group were but the crowd seemed to love them.

Next we headed into the Hyper Game and Anime Park – a section full of people playing video games and shopping for anime. I know very little about anime and the queues to play the various Nintendo games were too long for my patience so I just stopped by to have my photo taken with Pikachu before moving back to the main section for some lunch.

Hyper Japan 2015

I was surprised at the lack of seating and lack of sushi in the food section, but between us we had vegetable noodles, okonomiyaki, tempura prawns and gyoza. And later on we bought some ice cream from one of the stalls – I chose yuzu flavour (Japanese citrus) sorbet. Yum!

Hyper Japan was a good experience but I definitely didn’t need any longer there, I would have also liked to have seen a few more interactive stalls and freebies but if you need a kawaii culture fix then this is the place to come. Next time though, I think I would like to go cosplay for the full Japantastic experience!