Spontaneous Travel 

The importance of local escapes. 
You don’t have to go far to travel and explore, and you certainly don’t need to plan. I started today as any other with a cup of coffee and a computer screen with me typing away with my usual passion and vigour. However, it soon became clear that I was simply wasting my time and making no hedge-way. So. I set my phone to charge (it’s an iPhone…. Need I say more?) and twenty minutes later headed for the train station. 
That was half an hour ago. Now I’m on a train zooming away from my desk into the Kent countryside heading to the coast to walk the white cliffs of Dover. You’ve gotta love a travel escape. True, I’m fortunate I have the sort of work that enables me to catch up over the weekend and take the afternoon off. But even if you don’t, you can do this at the weekend instead with no fuss. Perfect! 
£5.60 later and I’m in Dover centre (return ticket) and have chosen the cliffs as opposed to the castle as they are free whilst the castle is extortionate. Admittedly the view to the cliffs is obscured by the ferry port which is a complete eye sore bad enough to make me miss my desk. (Almost). But then once you climb the steep steps up the cliff here is the reward… 


That was my view for lunch, and then after I polished off my sandwiches (fighting off three crows, a magpie and a seagull) I headed further along the cliffs to where I now sit doing the same work I would have been at home! (Reviewing my previously made notes on Rebecca West to find something useful. As of yet… nothing… but we live in hope). 

Hmm. I have just been loudly accused by a random family passing by of being a spy… can a guy no longer sit on a cliff half hidden in the flowers watching the world go by through a large camera lens whilst making notes in a pad without being bothered?? My god. 


Anyways yeh, escape your house and go somewhere! 

Kent is a fabulous place which has a lot on its doorstep so I’m lucky, but then I have always managed to find little excursions everywhere I’ve lived. The internet is a wonderful thing so make the most of it and find somewhere new to go too! (Admitedly the internet is better when your phone doesn’t annoyingly decide you’re in france and bombard you with rate advice texts and proceed to give you awfully slow web 😾). 

Thanks for reading, 

Matt. 

p.s keep checking the blog as in addition to our usual more in depth weekly reviews and these more spontaneous posts we will soon be adding photo stories grouping pics of locations with a few captions! There will be one of the Dover white cliffs shortly. Enjoy! 

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San Francisco

San Fran is the best city in the world. Hands down. Unfortunately, its not usually an overly budget friendly option to get to from Europe. As we’re an internationally followed, world-renowned organization though some of our many readers will be based in the States and thus get there easier. Also, there are cheaper ways to get there for us in Europe. For example, encourage your parents to move there and then pay for your tickets out of a mixture of guilt for abandoning you and their air-miles. Once there, though, there are options aplenty for the budget conscious explorer and here are some of my top tips to make the most of this stunning city.

Let’s start off with the Golden Gate Bridge. Once you get to SF you will be bombarded immediately with adverts showing people cycling the bridge, proclaiming it to be THE way to travel its length. But, why? Its quicker to get across and back, sure. Its also no doubt liberating zipping along with the sea breeze whipping into you etc. But then… as someone who has walked it a fair few times… I can say that from observing cyclists they either do one of two things: 1) Spend the whole time stopping every few seconds to take photos and posing with the bike in selfies or group shots as opposed to riding it. 2) Zoom along enjoying the buzz of ‘I’m riding the bridge!’ and see absolutely nothing of the view or bridge around you. Walking is free, you can take your damn sweet time, take the photos and enjoy the view.

Sticking with the walking theme then… The city’s cable cars look lovely along the steep slopes and majestic going along the waterfront, and everyone should jump on one for a journey for sure. But using them every time? The city is very manageable to walk. Whilst Al may disagree with him whinging over his tired little feet and his burning thighs in his tight short shorts, the whole city is walkable. You can do the main street, take a right up into china town, carry on down and hit the waterfront and loop back round seeing the historic boats and moving back to fisherman’s wharf and pier 39 following the water back to the Ferry Building. And for those like me who have to put up with a complainer, there are cheaper public transport options all over the place with busses and trams and the underground. So just use those cheaper ones and save the cable cars for a one off and photos if your legs have given up.

China Town. Buy ALL your souvenirs here. They’re cheaper with warehouse style shops lined up full of the same sort of knickknacks that are twice the price up the road.

The Bay is lovely, and seeing the city from the water along with the bridges (not just Golden Gate but the others look lovely in the dusk light too for example Bay Bridge) and Alcatraz is a gorgeous thing to do. Instead of paying for one of the tourist boat tours though, go to the Ferry Building and get on a ferry across the water. You get all the same views and can spend a couple of hours in a different location before heading back. The best option is probably Sausalito. It has lovely views across the water to San Fran, the journey is a leisurely pace giving you time for photos and the likes, the town itself is full of sweet little cafes and gift shops and you’re certain to see the bay’s nature of sea lions and crabs and pelicans etc.

So there we have it, some budget budgie tips for San Francisco including some of its tourist hotspots.

(Oh yeh, you may have noticed I missed off going to Alcatraz. Well, some things you should just pay for and Alcatraz is one of these worthwhile things which you just have to suck up and pay for)

Matt.