About Me

My photo
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!

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!

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

The Long Journey Home: Exploring Architecture

'The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilisation.' - Frank Lloyd Wright.

I blame P for the fact that, when I flick through my photo albums from our Long Journey Home, the majority of my photos are of buildings and architecture. His strong interest and enthusiasm for the subject has obviously rubbed off on me. Not that I mind in the slightest. Apart from food, something that I don't always experience to the full as a vegetarian, I think architecture is one of the easiest ways to experience a new culture as a visitor to a foreign country. And if I'm honest, I was growing a little tired of constantly photographing landscapes anyway*.

In honour of P's passion for the subject and for the fact it's clearly had an impact on my photography, I thought I'd share some of my more architectural photos taken on our trip. They help to showcase the different cultures in each country** that we passed through, and gives me an excellent opportunity to share a new love of mine: wooden shutters! Yes, you read that right. Wooden shutters. And to my joy, Russia was full of them...

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The Long Journey Home: All The Trains

Above: the train on the China-Mongolia border.

'Faster than fairies, faster than witches, bridges and houses, hedges and ditches...' - an excerpt from Robert Lewis Stevenson's poem 'From a Railway Carriage'.

These days, I prefer to share stories about my travels and life, rather than the practicalities of how I did it. I write better when I am telling a story than when I am explaining how I did it. Having completed our Long Journey Home, however, I do feel the need to spend a little bit of time talking about some of the practicalities of the trip, just so that anyone out there who might be considering undertaking this massive adventure themselves has some sort of resource to turn back to and bear in mind when they're planning their trip.

In this post, I will be talking about the trains that we took from China all the way back to London. Our aim - to take trains all the way home - was unfortunately scuppered by some unforeseeable circumstances in Munich, but I'll get to that later on.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

When Life Is Unexpected

Above: home long enough to walk Sybil a few times before leaving again... Facing off with a sheep!

'I'm not a very fast-paced person.' - Patrick Fugit.

Or, at least, I thought I wasn't!!

When I got home from our Long Journey Home on the 17th June, I kind of thought I'd have a month or so to catch my breath before plunging into the next bit of whatever life threw my way. Despite being stone broke, the comfort of home, of being with my parents, the peace, the same bed every night, food on tap... It was so welcome (if occasionally a little dull sounding) after three months of non-stop movement and travel.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE travel and already can't wait for my next trip. But there's nothing like sleeping in your own bed. But I digress.