“I’m keeping my head down now for the summer,
I’m out of my mind but pour me another,
I’m going to take that tiger outside for a ride,
What a life.” – Noel Gallagher.
Bishkek has been magical. It has by far been my favourite new city I have toured since I first arrived in Hong Kong in 2011. I’d love to stay here forever in Bishkek, capital city of Kyrgyzstan. But family, friends, football and wacky off the wall things dictate my travel a lot more than before. Earning money through Don’t Stop Living gave me the most important thing in my life so far – freedom of movement.
In England, in Hong Kong, in Australia I was tied down to contract work. I was working for others, waiting days, weeks for my wages. Now, self employed I have the time, money and mobility to do what I want. It dawned on me recently in Bishkek that I’m now in control, which probably explains why it felt so good coming back to Bishkek – because I can do it. Tomorrow at the drop of a hat, I can go almost anywhere I want (visa and transport availability permitting). So I plotted my journey for the next few months and it looks something like this. Come and join me and meet up with me along the way! I’ll be working along the way of course as a travel blogger but will have plenty of time to meet up and enjoy myself along the way.
I’m fed up with all this “new country excrement“, “ticking off another visa” etc. It’s boring, unnecessary and backwardly unprogressive. So I’m returning to some huge countries from my journey so far and instead will go on some touristic trails and some off the wallbanger activities within. Here’s a snapshot.
I can’t say much new that I haven’t already said but Bishkek rocks. I love this city and I will be based here for the next three weeks. I’m sorting out the first ever organised pub crawl in partnership with Apple Hostel and I’m writing some really nice stuff about the city.
Munich and Stuttgart, GERMANY
Five times a backpacker in Germany, yet zero times to even visit Munich. So we’re on! I’m excited to try the beer and food in this iconic Deutschland city on my first visit to Germany since 2007. That’s a whopping 9 years but I’m excited to tour Munich and Stuttgart and the areas around them.
I reckon I’ve spent two years of my thirty six in London so far. A full year living there, baring my ass to PR reps, and I’ve been in and out around 365 days before and after so it’s time again. Millwall Neil and I owe each other some more time and we will be hanging out like old university times, or Taiwan times. Hell – we might even go backpacking in London and become hippies in Camden.
I’m back on the sauce this time too so we can have a good old English ale! Who let Millwall Neil and I on the rip again??
Looking at those photos makes me sentimental. We had good times then we headed on our own journeys round the world. It’s going to be pure lunacy back in London all these years on with Neil. We both have more freedom now. We don’t have to be older and wiser. Who are we to kid?
Liverpool (Everton FC), ENGLAND
Again another repeat city, and I’ll be visiting my brother Danny and meeting up with my Cherries mates to watch Everton FC v. AFC Bournemouth. We’re Premier League.
Fellow Obama worshipper Chris “Knoxville” Bilsland will also be meeting up with me.
Armagh City, NORTHERN IRELAND
On my return to Northern Ireland this year, I plan to visit a few new parts of my home country. Armagh is on the list and time permitting I’d love to visit Rathlin Island too.
I’ll also be attending the Northern Ireland v. Belarus match in Belfast City, my third NI match of the season.
I’ll be returning to Italy for the second successive year and this time on the Mussolini trail to Milan and hopefully meeting up with my Vietnam backpacking buddies from Milan – Daniele and Chiara from the Sapa Hike.
My Dad and brother Marko are meeting me in Milan and we are overlanding into France as part of the Northern Ireland Green and White Army invasion of France!
Then my brother Danny will be there when we get to France. He grew up since I backpacked the world, look at him here:
OK so I will be visiting some new countries too. I’m heading to Seborga as I need at least one new country in amongst the 8 repeats. I’m guessing it’s a land border from Italy into Seborga but I’ll work it out.
Nice, Lyon and Paris FRANCE
Yes, I’m going to France to support Northern Ireland. As Northern Ireland fans, we have waited 30 years for this moment and now we have qualified so it’s not to be missed. I’ll be there for all seven matches as we try and lift the trophy outright and take it to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is the home of George Best and the place where the penalty (pelanty) kick was invented so it’s about time we get crowned European Champions and Aaron Hughes gets his 100th cap.
Long before I was a travel blogger, I wrote for Northern Ireland fanzines – Arconada…Armstrong!, Here We Go…Again and Happy Days so I will try and get some football articles written and we may see a new HWGA fanzine out for the tournament.
Poland and Kaliningrad
After the tournament I plan to tour northern Poland and Kaliningrad, with more reunions, including with Oliwia, Karolina Kokosz, Rafal Kowalczyk and Piotr Pawelski!
So that’s my next three months all sorted!! I hope some of you reading can meet up with me along the way, especially in France for the Euros.
Green and white army!
Backpacking Northern Irishman!
From Bishkek with Love,