Getting lost to find myself, My Journey.

My Journey to find myself.

Why do you need to get lost to find yourself?

I knew deep down that I was lost, I knew deep down that I needed to do something, that I needed to find myself. Did I? I have no idea but it was a great time.

I left Australia on the 4th of July 2012 and returned on the 6th of January 2013. What happened in that 6 months? Well if you follow my blog you will find out, but saying that a lot happened, a real lot. I realised that life is not about making money, it’s not about building a career and it’s not about having the best things. So what’s it all about then? Well I now have no idea but at the same time I have more of an idea then before I left.

I learnt so many lessons whilst travelling and not one of them was in a class. These were life lessons and some you do not even know you have learnt until months down the path. The people that have taught me these things do not know that they are teachers, they do not know that they have taught me a lesson that will stay with me forever and that I will hopefully pass onto my kids one day. These people were just on the same journey that I was. We just happened to meet and in a brief encounter had this thing, I learnt so much about myself and about my wife, who I have fallen in love with all over again. I learnt things about myself that I did not like and worked on changing them. One major life lesson that I learnt is an understanding and respect for everyone. People are different to you, they have different ways of doing things, they have different beliefs and different attitudes towards life. This is not wrong, it’s beautiful and it makes us all unique and interesting. This makes travel exciting and constantly lours me back to explore another country to learn more great life lessons.

Travel taught me how to be calm in stressful and strange situations and that human beings are usually pretty kind and generous. I know now that I was not always very calm and quite often I did loose my composure but now looking back on those situations realise that doing so made the situation worse and certainly did not help.

I learnt that we as a race really need to pick up our act and start protecting our planet. I saw firsthand the huge impact that we are having on our environment and it physically made me sick. I think back to the huge pollution that I witnessed in Beijing. You could taste the pollution and it gave me a cough that stayed with me throughout Japan and back into Australia. I discovered a new found interest in history. History was never an interest of mine but after visiting some amazing historical sites that date back thousands of years I now seek out historical sites.

I thought I knew what it I was all about before I left. I learnt that I knew squat about pretty much everything and now feel more lost but so much stronger. I look forward to my next lesson.

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Shisha, Sangria and Painkillers. Barcelona.

Barcelona Day SheetLyon to Barcelona.

Day 5-6:

We left Lyon after only a short stay and headed for the Spanish border. We passed through the Pyrénées mountains which forms a natural border between France and Spain. We stopped at a truck stop at the border and grabbed some food as well as some free Wi-Fi. Free Wi-Fi is something that you learn to grab at any chance available. We all jumped on, checked facebook, sent emails home to family and checked our bank accounts to see how budgets where going? Then back into the Coach until we reached our Barcelona campground. We set up camp and then our awesome tour staff gave us all a “Value Added Extra” a carton of Sangria each. This was the start of the end for many of the group. Everyone got stuck into the Sangria and loaded up on the cheap booze that we all brought at the campground. Unfortunately I did not make it out that night, I was struck down by an old injury which every now and then pops up and gives me no end of pain. When I was 15 I fractured my spine in a mosh pit and now I am paying for it. Any way I stayed at camp resting with a cocktail of sangria, pain killers and some deep heat that my beautiful wife massaged into my back. Lucky enough by the morning I was much better and I was able to walk around and enjoy the city.

We went up to the Montjuic to get a great view over Barcelona and what a view it was. Pity I do not have any photo’s to show you. If you have read my previous posts our camera was stolen in Rome, sorry still a saw point. We visited the 1992 Olympic Games complex which we couldn’t get into as it was all closed up. However we were treated to a cool display of remote control aircraft, these tiny little planes buzzing around like giant bee’s was a cool look into social life in Barcelona. We wondered through the side streets and made our way to the Sagrada Família church, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926). Although incomplete, the church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This massive building is totally awe inspiring and seriously popular by tourists. We arrived there far too late to even consider lining up to enter and climb one of the breath taking spires. However the Sagrada Família church did have its use’s on our tour. One of the guys who was lost the previous night found his way to the church and just waited for us to turn up. He had no idea if we were going to that church, he just assumed it was a site to see and hoped that we would turn up some time. It turns out he got pick pocketed and had lost his phone and wallet. So really a good start to our tour hey?

My very first everHard Rock Café lunch.

My very first everHard Rock Café lunch.

My new friends, my wife and I all headed to my first ever Hard Rock Cafe for lunch one of the days in Barcelona. I was pretty excited to be in a Hard Rock Cafe and to be eating in one in Barcelona was quite a little bit exciting for me. I brought my very first ever Hard Rock Cafe shirt and a Hard Rock Cafe breast cancer band which I still have not taken off.

Richo Swinging it

Richo Swinging it

That afternoon we went out to watch a Flamenco Show at the Agua de Luna where we learnt the saying “Ole Wapa” sorry for my bad translation, which we were told to yell out at the Flamenco dancers and afterwards hit the Porte Olympico to party. This time I went out, however it was a Sunday and was a little slow out on the Porte. We wondered through the bars and found ourselves chilling out at a Shisha bar. Where I was offered once again some more pot, when I said no thankyou he then offered me coke. So be aware again travellers, drugs are very easy to get in Europe but be careful you never know who is selling to you.

Hamish and Me enjoying a Spanish Shisha

Hamish and Me enjoying a Spanish Shisha

The Shisha bar was a great place to spend the night. We sat around smoking all the different flavours, drinking and getting to know our group. I noticed that the Shisha bar had some Arabic writing on the sign, I can not read Arabic however I had just come from Egypt and thought I would give my very basic Arabic a go. I said hello and thankyou in Egyptian Arabic. Sorry I am not even going to try and write them. This worked a treat and we were waited on hands a feet. The waiter sat and spoke to us in broken English and we had a great, chilled out night. Needless to say that night we had a crash course in European tipping, being Australian’s we do not tip so we do not understand the tipping culture. So we gave this great service a pretty good tip and he was hugely appreciative.

Barcelona is pretty cool city however I was a little disappointed. I was rather surprised that the city pretty much shuts down on Sunday’s even though there were plenty of tourist around. Walking the streets and wondering through some Sunday markets was a nice way to spend our time in Barcelona. I just feel that I did not get the vibe that I have heard all about from this city. I witnessed some street life along the  tree-lined La Rambla as well as bunch of “Performers” I use that term rather loosely as they are just more scammers but are pretty cool to watch and try and figure out how they rip you off.

I found myself watching this guy with 3 small boxes and a ball bearing. It was the simple old game that you played when you were kids. All you had to do was follow the box with the ball bearing and choose the correct box. I watched for ages and no one was winning. I knew it was dodgy the second I spotted the man however I was intrigued on how he was performing the scam. I was playing along and I could pick the winning box every time, it was not hard and I was perplexed on how he was scamming everyone. I gathered that the people playing along where in on the scam which turns out is correct. The man pointed to me to choose a box so after watching for probably 10 mins or more I had realised that it was a slight of hand trick. I am still not certain when he did it. So I went to touch a box with my foot, he quickly grabbed the box and asked for money to play. I quickly walked away. It was so intriguing what he was doing and even how people get scammed by this man. If any of you know how he does it please let me know. I look forward to returning to Barcelona and to really experience Spain.