Are We There Yet? Yes!

Greetings to whoever might read this! This is a news flash advising that the WhichEverWay blog now has a new home over at www.whicheverway.com! If you are at all interested in reading more of my quirky ramblings, head on over!

Hope to see you there.

boxhead

Boxhead lives on…

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Trivia Nights Bring Out the Rage Monster in Me

I could also call this post I’m a Competitive Nut-job but the idea of a Rage Monster was just too compelling.

I imagine that mine would be truly ferocious, a jumble of claws, fangs, spikes and leathery, crocodile skin. It would have the mythical creepiness of Cthulhu, the strength of a bull and the explosiveness of ACDC.

Image by Andrés Álvarez Iglesias

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Everything You Need to Know About…Being a Tour Guide

Leaders, shepherds, mediators, teachers and a little bit of Mum and Dad; tour guides are the people who shoulder the burden of ensuring our safety and enjoyment while travelling. Enter the subject of this Q&A, a delightful acquaintance who was my tour guide in New Zealand.

Q. How long have you been a tour guide?

A. On and off for just over 11 years.

Q. What sort of tours do you guide?

A. I did 18-35’s touring for most of the time. People come from all walks of life, mostly Aussies with Contiki, mostly Americans with ISV (International Student Volunteers). The range of people on ISV was probably the biggest, from students who had everything paid for by their parents to those who busted their ass to fund-raise to get to Australia/NZ.

Q. What’s your favourite place or attraction?

A. Hmmm … I know the worst is the Trojan horse in Turkey … dumbest attraction ever. The best is a hard question, because I love different things for different reasons: Because they remind me of a person I was with when I went there, or because something funny happened, or because it was just what I needed at the time, or because I made a difference when I was there (like cleaning up in Haiti. I would never go back there, but I loved the people I met and what we achieved). My favourite place is probably the Galapagos.

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Q. What are the best things about your job?

A. Getting to really know a town, not just swinging by Paris for two days, but actually knowing Paris like I know the suburb where I live. And I actually have never stayed in touch with many people, so when I meet people like you – who we can still have a joke about talking about our feelings – how many years on!? So many tours just run together and honestly I look at photos and just don’t recall some people, like at all. They could have been on tour with me for 45 days and I’m like … hmmm … no idea! So meeting the few really cool ones is awesome. AND I love the other staff. Some of my best friends are people I know from ISV and Contiki.

Q. And the worst?

A. The absolute worst thing for me is passengers that are not accepting of where they are travelling. Nothing irritates me more than someone who is like ‘I’m not eating that’, ‘At home we have …..’ or ‘ In …… we do it this way’. Then go back there and live in a bubble. Don’t leave your house if you can’t appreciate the differences in the world. I’m not saying you have to love to eat crickets, but don’t you dare judge the people that do and don’t you dare turn your nose up unless you’ve tried it!! Grrrr!

Q. What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen on tour?

A. Oh God. How much time do you have … Probably the craziest was being chased by a guy on my tour with a knife. He told me he was going to put me in a body bag. Such a treasure. I had to take him to a psychiatric hospital in Italy and leave him there. That is probably the worst, but there are so many more! The guy who broke into people’s rooms and pooed on their tables, the honeymooners who cheated on each other and broke up and caused drama for everyone, the guy who got picked up by the police for sneaking out of Australia when he was on murder charges …

Q. Do you ever get sick of people?

A. Definitely! There are some people that you just get along with better than others, and some people drain the goddamn life out of you! ISV was hard because some students lived really sheltered lives and have never left home before and it is painful! I’ve been vomited on more times than I can remember from people getting pissed for the first time etc. I was not paid enough! And I love tour leading, but you work 24 hours a day, get paid shit money and spend your entire life making sure everyone else is okay. It’s not even a lie; some people will spend a whole tour with you and never ever ask how you are. They are all about them. It’s exhausting!

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Q. Have you had many tour romances?

A. Hahaha. Yip!

Q. What’s your policy on getting involved with someone on your tour?

A. I think it’s unprofessional, not that it stopped me! Ha! No, I do actually think that it’s very hard to not treat people differently if you’re getting involved. Everyone has paid the same amount of money to be on tour, so they should all get a fair share of your time.

Q. Would you recommend your job to others?

A. YES! It has been the best job I’ve ever had. It’s very hard to get back into ‘real’ life after having so much fun for so many years!

Q. Who’s worst: Whingers or know-it-alls?

A. Know-it-alls! Whingers can at least be told to shut the hell up!

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Photo of the Week – Oslo, Norway

Oslo, Norway

Oslo, Norway – May 2012

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Gotta Catch ‘Em All

You may have noticed by now that I am pretty comfortable with who I am. I may baulk at the thought of wearing short shorts, but in terms of my hobbies, I generally have no shame.

Thus why I have no problem sharing with you what I was doing last night. What I have been doing time and time again over the years, during school and university holidays, and periods of boredom. With great resolve, I go into my bedroom, open a drawer and pull out…my Game Boy.

Well, specifically it’s a Game Boy Colour. Yes, that’s the one there:

Gameboy

Worth their weight in gold.

Accompanying it you’ll see a red cartridge: my weapon of choice. I’m talking about Pokemon Red, one of the original versions in the Pokemon game series. Riiiiight about now, you’re probably hovering over the Exit or Back button. Look, no hard feelings. I knew when I wrote this post that it would probably alienate all you people that have no idea what Pokemon is, think it’s lame or just don’t care.

Back to me and Pokemon. I absolutely love it and have always loved it. The more I think about the game, the more I am convinced that it really benefited me as a child. It taught me so many things: that persistence is key, how to think strategically, the importance of  sound money management and how gathering information can lead to vital knowledge.

It also weirded me out from time to time. Maybe not so much when I was younger and focused on battles, collecting new species and OMG, Sand-Attack HAS to be one of the most annoying moves ever! But years later, when I was a little bit older and wiser, I found myself pulling that face where my nose is trying to touch my eyes. Did you just try and do it? Still have no idea what I’m talking about? CONFUSION! Confusion, people!

A large part of the game involves travelling around, battling other trainers and getting experience for your Pokemon. While sometimes you approach others for a battle, most of the time, the battle begins when you walk into a trainer’s line of sight. You get accosted and that’s when things get strange. Basically, if it was the real world, I would think that I was either getting rolled, being accused of sexual harassment or receiving some paedophile vibes. Check out these greetings for yourself:

That look you gave me, it’s so intriguing.

Hey! You’re not wearing shorts!

I’m a cool guy. I’ve got a girlfriend!

Eek! Don’t try anything funny in the dark!

Hi kid! Want to see my Pokemon?

Hey matey! Let’s do a jig!

Eek! Did you touch me?

Hi! I like shorts! They’re comfy and easy to wear!

Outsiders like you need to show me some respect!

You looked at me, didn’t you?

This is a tiny fraction of the greetings I’ve seen, and I’m only at Lavender Town! With reoccurring characters such as Lass, Old Man, Super Nerd, Hiker, Bug Catcher, Sailor and Gambler, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.

Given the Japanese origin of the game, I always concluded that something had been lost in translation. Intentional or not, the result is somewhere between hilarious and disturbing.

What do you think, my fellow Pokemon fans? Did you ever pick up on this? And to any other readers, it’s time to ‘fess up: what part of your childhood do you relive? Or what do you wish you could do again? Pretty sure I just wrote over 500 words on Pokemon, so you should feel able to say just about anything!

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Social Media Made me Cry

Well, not really. It made me feel quite sad, though. Sad, rejected, frustrated and pathetic.

Let me rewind.

I’d long been an enthusiastic user of Facebook, which allowed me to stay connected with valued friends inter-state and overseas. Although it caused me much chagrin from time to time, it also had handy features such as the ‘Hide’ option (your life will improve tenfold if you use this) and allowed me to create a home for all my travel photos (this home is now abandoned remember?).

Then came this blog. Rather, then came my desire to get into something ‘creative’ professionally. I needed a showcase for my writing and technological skills (I can hear you laughing!), and so WhichEverWay was born. Once I started writing, I realised it would be kinda nice if people actually read what I wrote. Or that I at least had the appearance of having a wide audience. Because, let’s face it, social media is all about keeping up appearances. You can buy fake Twitter followers for goodness sake!

tweet

Image by ivanpw

But I digress. As I strived for social media love in the way of ‘likes’, ‘follows’ and ‘shares’, I found myself descending into a deep, dark, hole where personal dignity and subtlety no longer existed. I needled, I hounded and I threw myself at the mercy of acquaintances who I hadn’t spoke to in years. While this meant I reconnected with some individuals, I also felt really, really pathetic at the knowledge I’d effectively pimped myself out.

The sadness and frustration came with my foray into all things Twitter. I simply did not understand its fast-paced, fickle world where everyone shouted their wares at the top of their lungs. What was a hashtag? How did one get followers? What was the point of it all? After several weeks of tweeting and 14 followers, I felt stagnant and unwanted. I was a social media reject.

It’s time to turn the microphone over to you: what do you think of social media? If I hear crickets, I guess I’ll know that at least I’m not overreacting…

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Photo of the Week – Pompeii, Italy

pompeii

Pompeii, Italy – October 2012

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