Well Hello

Getting serious side-eye at the Charles Bridge, Prague

So I venture into the blogosphere, already overcrowded by similar young narcissists who think their ambling thoughts are worth reading. This is the sort of project I am frequently inclined to start and tend to abandon before I've truly begun, but hopefully I can make this into something worthwhile. I guess this post is a way for me to dip my toe into blogging, and also lay out what I hope to achieve here.

First off, about my travel philosophy. "Collecting cities" is a broad description to what I love about travelling, that is discovering somewhere new and making it familiar. I say cities because they are a bigger challenge than small towns or villages, for while I am perfectly comfortable making my way through my father's village in southern France, that's because it would take about two hours to traverse it all on foot. Conversely, the thrill I get from visiting Paris, Santa Barbara or New York and feeling completely comfortable is a larger achievement. I feel like I have got into the rhythm of a city when I am able to navigate public transport alone to meet someone, or recommend a café that serves excellent local food.

French feast in a cafe opposite Saint-Paul Metro station, Paris (photo c/o Kitty)
Now here's what I hope to achieve here:

1. Keeping myself on track. Vague statements written here are published online, and which is about as close to a written contract a commitment-phobe like myself could make. So if I say here that I'm going to Australia in the autumn, I need to follow through. It has been published to the Internet, and the Internet forgets nothing.

2. Learn by doing. I am definitely the kind of person that has to experience something in order to fully understand how it works, which unfortunately often means trial by error. If I can write down my mistakes, or happy accidents, here then hopefully I can use my previous experiences to make the right choices in the future. In terms of travel, this mostly applies to researching my destination ahead of time, more than just where to stay and what to do...but I'll come to that later.

3. Provide some practical advice. If eventually I acquire readers I don't personally know, or if friends and family happen to know people in similar situations, I can share my knowledge and experience on certain matters to do with travel and studying abroad. I hope to be able to provide a good insight into the academic side of studying at British and American universities, as well as the stages of emotional attachment and homesickness that are part of extended periods abroad.

Studying abroad isn't all fun and games (nah, it totally is)

4. Share my pictures.  Now I'm far from professional in my photographic ability - in fact for many years my attitude was simply to point and click while still walking.  I've certainly improved, although my images are still highly unlikely to be gracing the windows of travel agencies any time soon.  However, they are first and foremost personal - I remember exactly where I stood when I took each one, who I was with, and what we were talking about.  These pictures come with stories attached, and by sharing them I hope to relive the good times with the people who were there as well as those who were not.

So that's my manifesto I suppose. I'll begin proper blogging soon, and I hope this little corner of the Internet provides some enjoyment to somebody as well as myself.

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