About Me

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How The Mind Wanders… is an anecdotal blog about Wales, New Zealand and everywhere in between. Originally from Wales, I have had itchy feet since I can remember. Prior to 2014, I satisfied my travel cravings with short holidays, but after finally taking the first giant step and moving to New Zealand, I am now fulfilling my ambition to explore as much of the world as possible. Along the way, I aim to continue sharing the stories of my adventures, as well as occasionally touching on other subjects close to my heart. I hope you enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy writing it!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

The Two Sides of London


'Every truth has two sides; it is as well to look at both, before we commit ourselves to either.' - Aesop.

There are two sides to London. Its public face, the one that the tourists come here to see, and its private face, the one that the folk who live here experience.

For various reasons, I've ended up sitting on the steps outside the National Portrait Gallery at Trafalgar Square twice this past weekend. It isn't a hardship - I love people watching and it's a really good spot for that particular activity. Most of them are tourists - selfie sticks abound, people haul themselves up onto the base of Nelson's Column for photo opportunities, kids run about squealing between the fountains and crowds gather to watch the street performers who juggle, joke and dance for loose change.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

On London (and why I never write anymore...!)


'There's nowhere else like London. Nothing at all, anywhere.' - Vivienne Westwood.

London is a busy place. It's a city that never sleeps (yes, I know they say that about New York, but it definitely applies to London too!). There is always something going on - the list is literally endless of all the achingly hip, cool places you simply must go to this week. There are new articles every single day in TimeOut London and Secret London about these new pop-ups, the next big thing, a hidden place that only real Londoners know about that you should go to quickly before it's too late and everyone finds out where it is.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Summer Nostalgia


'Aaah, summer - that long anticipated stretch of lazy, lingering days, free of responsibility and rife with possibility.' - Darell Hammond.

The national topic of conversation in the UK is the weather.

Waiting for your change from a shop assistant? Mention how cold and grey it is today. Got a meeting in work with people you don't know well? Talk about how wet it has been for the past three months and joke that we will soon need to start building an ark. Struggling with the small talk on a first date? Comment on the fact that we don't seem to be having a summer at all this year and ponder on whether or not it might be to do with climate change. If that sparks a conversation, it's been a win-win situation (no more awkward silences!). If nothing comes of these observations, it's probably not meant to be. Start swiping on Tinder again.

Monday, 22 August 2016

What Travel Has Taught Me


'Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.' - Henry Ford.

Whilst on my most recent trip on the Trans-Siberian railway, I spent three weeks in Russia. I had some serious misconceptions about Russia before I arrived in the country. I worried more than I'd like to admit about crossing the border between Mongolia and Russia, having heard / read some horror stories about the tough border guards and problems that arose if documentation wasn't meticulously in order. I saw a lot of Western media reports about Russia, most of them disparaging. And how could I miss the Ukraine / Russia dispute that is ongoing?

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Home Comforts That I Miss When Travelling


'Sometimes, I'll let little things get to me. Or I'll make a big deal out of little things.' - Jennette McCurdy.

My left side was aching. My knee was sore from being locked in the same position for too long. My hip screamed at me to turn over, to quit lying so still. I wanted to face the other way. Slowly, oh so carefully, I moved onto my back. So far so good. I shuffled my body over and the ancient metal bed springs screeched into life, creaking and groaning as they shifted under my weight, loud enough to wake the dead. I settled into my new position and sighed with relief as silence descended once more and peace reigned. It was 4am and as far as I could tell, none of the other four occupants in the room had been woken by the racket. Only me. I closed my eyes and tried to go back to sleep before I felt the need to move again and the whole process was repeated.

In the photos, the hostel had looked okay. A bit strange, perhaps, with its name 'UFO Hostel' and the paintings of said UFO's dotted about on the walls, but none the less okay. And cheap too. Oh, how a wide-angle lens can lie!