Ten Five Top Travel Tips if you are Living Abroad

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Hello again!

Well, after 13 years of travelling, I thought I might pass out some simple, but very important travel trips. Some are very important if you are travelling, and some are for if you are relocating abroad. This list is for general relocation, and travel. I will do one for Norway at a later date.

1. LOCATE, LOCATE, LOCATE

Whenever you are travelling to some of the world’s more ‘exciting’, albeit, more dangerous places, remember to inform your local Embassy or High Commission of your contact, and next of kin details. It saves a lot of time, if the worst ever happens. It is also checking out the FCO (or your countries version of it, the ‘Foreign and Commonwealth Office’) with any information about that country. For more information, https://www.gov.uk/browse/abroad for more info.

2. PHOTOCOPY OF YOUR PASSPORT

Like the boy scouts say, always be prepared. Keep a copy of your passport complete with a copy of your travel insurance. If travelling in Europe, you need to get a EHIC as well. Easy to apply for in the UK, just go to https://www.ehic-uk.org/

3. LOOK UP WHERE YOU GOING BEFORE YOU GO

Sounds simple, but websites like trip advisor, and foursquare are a very good source of information. Being well advised, and a good plan, can make or break a holiday, and especially if you are moving.

4. THE PATH LESS TRAVELED

Never, ever just follow the flow. Some of the best places are not easy to find. The best way, in this sailors mind, is to go to the local pub, and mix in. Making an effort always pays dividends.

5. DOUBLE CHECK YOUR PASSPORTS AND VISA

Always, always check your passport is well in date. Remember, some places do not regard your passport as valid if it has less than six months left on your passport. Always check well in advance of any visa requirements before you go. It can stop a lot of embarrassing incidents.

Welcome Back (for a week) Rolf!

Today Rolf is coming back to Norway for a week, and is also the reason I having my leaving party a little earlier than Normal.

It is a shame that Bjørn will not be at this leaving do, but then again, we are doing it in our special way, by having a “wine and cheese” evening another day. Replacing “cheese” with “Crank”, “Crank: High Voltage”, and “The Lego Movie”, whilst having one imperial tonne of Wine.

It is a really posh affair. It’s all the rage, you know. They all just missed out!

It’s going to be good to see Rolf again. Looking forward to seeing my fellow Brit (well, he is an honorary Brit) for a few ‘Reassuringly expensive” beers, and see how my new house mate in making a new home for himself in Ely.

The last message I got was that we has in the business lounge at Amsterdam airport, so I am assuming a few Gin and Tonics will be partaken before the flight!

Have a safe trip mate!

Stay safe!

RIP Robin Williams, and The Horrors of Depression

I’ve just read in the Guardian , that one of the most talented and warmed hearted Comedians, Robin Williams, has passed on.

He played a massive part in my childhood. My first experience was watching Channel 4 after school. It was always “Mork and Mindy”, “Happy Days”, and “Crystal Maze”, without fail, it was my ritual. Must of driven my Mum insane, but she is a great mum, and always let me.

Mork and Mindy always had me in stitches. His ability to both be outrageous, while also being spot on, was amazing.

This ability to be two roles, and serving up two emotions, at the same time, was there in every role he ever took. Mrs Doubtfire, in which was a splendid film, would have just been a stupid movie if anyone else played the lead. But with him, he brought his magic, and made the unbelievable, believable, and the manic insanity of it, seem sane.

In ‘One hour photo’, he also showed his amazing range as an actor. A thriller, of a man who works as a photographic developer in a supermarket, that becomes obsessed by a family. It both scares you, and makes you feel intensely sorry about the man, who just wanted to reach out and have company.

It now looks like there was some truth of this back story in his life. A man whom was intensely worshipped and loved, but was lonely and depressed. Funny on the outside, and down and out internally.

I can completely relate to this. When I was on Submarines, I was deeply unhappy. Spending months underwater, in a job I didn’t like, with a crew I didn’t click with, was painful for me. I masked my emotions with humour. Always being the happy one, the partying one, the one who always smiles. Inside, I was tormented, and hated my whole existence. For two years, I carried on regardless, kept my stiff upper lip, and went about my duties.

One new years, after two years of being a Submariner, my parents came to visit me in Glasgow. I gave them a tour of the boat, and was my usual happy self on the outside. In the evening, my Mum and my Dad, we were having a drink at the hotel bar, when my Dad just looked at me and said;

“It’s okay, you know. You don’t have to do this. Are you happy?”

That was when I cracked. My Dad had seen right thru me, and all came of bare.

If it wasn’t for that moment, I don’t know what I would have done. For me, there was no way out. I can cut myself off from the family, and from my friends. Looking in hindsight, of course there was a way out. It was just a job. But depression makes you blind.

I’ve had a great life, bar some mishaps, after that point. I thank my Dad wholeheartedly for honesty, for his compassion, and for him and my Mum being there, when I needed it the most.

I feel so, so sorry that Robin Williams did not feel that he had an out, and that he didn’t let his guard down.

I hope that what we take out of this, is that depression isn’t just someone being “a bit down”, but is serious, and requires the support of love ones, of friends, and more importantly, belief in oneself that there is a way out, that you can truly be happy once more. That can only happen if we stop lying to ourselves, and admit there is a problem.

I was lucky.

May you rest in peace, and find solace in your new place in heaven Robin, making God giggle like a school girl.

And may the rest of us learn of the importance of depression, on ourselves, and with our family and friends.

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Leaving…. On a jet plane. Leaving Bergen

Tick, Tock, Goes the Clock

For soon the time approaches

Tick, Tock, Goes the Clock

For Kieren’s leaving Bergen

That’s right! After three or so years, with a short 9 month gap in Somalia last year, I will be leaving Bergen town, and will be moving back to “The Shire” of Cambridge. I am looking forward to it. New place, new challenges, and a new chapter.

Whilst I have loved Norway, I have to admit ‘Bergen’ isn’t for me. If there has been anything I have learnt about myself over the last month, is the fact that I am indeed a country lad, and not a city boy! I have a few close good friends, but considering one has already moved…. to Cambridge (Rolf liked it that much, he stayed! :) ) and will be my new ‘House mate’, that will be fine, and the ones I leave behind, will always be there.

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My mate Bjørn will be a massive loss, but considering we have been “shipmates” for nearly two years, and always click whenever we meet (we say ‘click’, others say ‘act like sarcastic arseholes’) we will always stay the best of mates. We even have a Bjørn guestroom at the new place, in case if he gets the urge for nice beer, Indian food, and a burning desire to leave Bergen for a weekend.

Siri, Kristel, Karen, Emil, Fredrick, Mariann, Marianne, Finn, Billy, Thor, Tom, Asa (but not for long, you!!), Joar, Jo… you will be missed. It’s been particularly annoying with Emil, as everytime we try to arrange something, one of us gets sent somewhere stupid.

Last time it was Emil doing back to back ’24’ watches, and me, it was being extended on patrol. Well, at least we never need to worry about that on my side shippers! Door is always open mate, and I feel there are quiet a few pubs we could drink out of Gin in Cambridge :)

Joar, been a pleasure working with you, and hope we can arrange a “steak and gin” evening, before I leave! The gin pennant is always close up in Cambridge, more than welcome to visit!

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Jo, we will always have Djibouti. I wish we didn’t, but hey, we do :) You are one of the best communicators I’ve had the privilege to work with, and skinny dip with, in the Seychelles. A sentence I never thought I’d write in English!

Work faster, never harder :)

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I never manage to see Siri much, one of the disadvantages with both being busy bees. Whenever we do meet thou, we just pick up from the last time, and life is sweet, and normally, slightly alcohol tainted :) Thanks for being in charge of Team Awesome whilst I was away, and being a cracking travelling companion to NYC and London. Always here for you, and if you ever need a friendly face, remember only a cheap flight away!
Kieren Lovell, at your service!

Billy! My first mate in Bergen and my first in the Norwegian Navy! From the moment we met, it has always been a great laugh! I know that there will not be a need to push you for, and your lovely girlfriend, to come and visit me in England :)

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Christian, my boy! You insane North Norwegian b*stard! Love ya mate! They don’t make them like you anymore, and that’s a bloody shame! Still check the mail every morning, to see if there is any news on my Lorry! :) Lost in ze post :) Think me, you, Bjørn, Thor and Tom might need to do Cambridge again in December!

Thor, my fellow Harry Deeper! Hope you are as awesome as always, and that we *definately* need to get a few scoops in before I leave! Remember to go down for longer, shipmate (*cough*).

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Last, but definitely not least, I would have to give a big shoutout to Tom. Tom, I think you are amazing. Life has thrown one imperial fucktonne of shit at you, and you always come up smiling and positive. You are a fighter, and I have to say, it doesn’t feel like me and you are friends, it feels like me and you are ‘Shipmates’. Keep your chin up.

Don’t worry, I’m not leaving straight away! But I need to arrange something with all of you guys before October. Then I’m out of here!

Remember: It’s not goodbye, it’s see ya later!

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Last day in Sundøya :(

I am now coming to an end of my great trip to North Norway. Today, we went fishing for the last time….

One Cod, and Ten Pollock!

Of the catch, have to say, I got six of the little blighters, but not the Cod :)

I have had a fantastic time up here, and have to say the welcome, and the kindness of her family, is just amazing. They went above and beyond, and I can not thank them enough.

Thank you for making a good summer a great one!