Monkeys Steal Your S**T

Day nine of our trip and I’m in the sweat seat for the morning drive. Our plan is to follow other people with GPS/Google maps. Along with them we’ve decided to skip a few of a the challenges that don’t interest us and instead head straight for the Tiger Sanctuary.

Today is about seeing more of the indian backroads, maybe seeing some tigers, and trying not to get robbed by monkeys while at a waterfall.

LakeRickTeams-smallI’m going to state from the outset we have more chance of seeing tigers in london zoo. Every local we spoke to told us there was no chance, that they tigers were Sleeping, away, dead, basically we weren’t going to see them.

We were also pretty sure it wasn’t going to happen because they let us into the wildlife park in our rickshaws, which are basically tiger snack delivery systems due to the lack of doors.

Once in the park those there is a far more sinister threat – that being of horney, theiving monkeys. These cheeky little bastards aren’t even that scared of humans meaning that while I was sitting in our rickshaw one climbed onboard and stole our wet wipes.

They are also quite sexually active, with a couple of them having a bit of a playtime in the back of the ‘Bob Billies’ Rickshaw, and the alpha male monkey working his way along a wall having sex with each monkey he came across.


On our way out of the wildlife reserve (tiger reserve) we made a second stop at the lake where we made a dance video and took pictures because it was truly a lovely sight.

GK Out!

Quick Update

I’ve been slack not updating the blog on this trip, but never fear things are coming – hannahDrivingI’ve taken the less is more approach and will take some time to refine and reword my blatherings, edit the video, and sift through the photos before posting the results.

So far I’ve spent two weeks in a Rickshaw with wonderful friends, a week on a beach on the west coast (Goa) and soon will re-join my friends in Deli to explore the capital and one of the most iconic builds in the world the Taj Mahal.

LakeRickTeams-smallThis trip has reaffirmed my love/hate(frustration is probably a better word choice) relationship with the sub continent.

It’s the combination of the warm friendly people, that just can’t organise a piss up in a brewery, the way that services are conveniently offered but never quite materialise in a way that helps, and their road network that lacks any semblance of signage.

I promise more is to come for those that are interested.

WavesAs for the coming year, at the moment I have no idea what I’m doing, where I’m going or what I’ll end up in Dec 2015.

Frankly that’s the adventure I am on, and I would not have it any other way!

From The Nest Guesthouse, Palolem, Goa‎

GK Out

PS: Check out the videos I’ve posted so far
Cricket Match

Training Day

School Visit

The Plan

So the next 2 months are a mix of hot and cold, with a trip to the mountains of Austria before heading to the warm southern provinces of India to race a RickShaw.

Never one to shy away from extremes I’ve now locked in the next month and half of my life and it’s shaping up to be a killer few weeks.

Last Week In the UK

So I’m spending the last week in the UK in Cromer (Norfolk) learning to fly my new Drone and generally having a set routine of wake, eat, drink coffee at Huckleberries, play GTAV, cook myself something nice.

I love having a kitchen, and being able to cook for myself, so I’m enjoying the last week of self selected meal plan after 4 years with contiki of a rotation of the same meals.

I’ve been making everything from Steak and Chips, to a pretty nice Seafood (Prawn) Tagliatelle in cream and garlic sauce, all of which I’m happy to cook anyone with a kitchen that lets me sleep on their couch/spare room/bed.

Two Weeks before Christmas

Off to the, hopefully, snow filled mountains of the Tyrol region of Austria. A chance to improve my snowboarding, play with my drone in the middle of the mountains thanks to it’s new transportation backpack, and generally enjoy the town of Hopfgarten.

If you haven’t ever been/lived to a small Austrian market town stick it on your todo list. Not only are they great places to stay and relax, they’re gorgeous. Hopfgarten also happens to be where all my workmates are, so inturn that means great nights out, or in, with friends and there’s always someone to hit the slopes with each day!

The other reason for Austria is the Skiwelt (http://www.skiwelt.at/en/) 200+km worth of manucured runs all covered under one pass! After my time on the mountain last year I’m confident I can handle most of the intermediate runs so am looking forward to more exploring, and maybe even one or two black diamonds.

Christmas Day

I’m off on a 2h journey down to Munich to sleep in an airport. My flights to India are cheap and as such mean sacrificing a little bit of comfort. I have a 6am boxing day flight that will take me to Chennai via about 4 stops! (I can’t resist bargain basement flights)

Once in india I’ll be joined by Kassie, & Hannah (Team Trashbag) will compete in the Classic Rickshaw run and then head north to do some sight seeing. We’ll be including a relaxing stay in Goa in a beach hut and a trip to Agra. Stay uptodate with the Indian adventure by following #TeamTrashbag

You can of course also follow me on
Instagram: http://instagram.com/glenngkcoco/
Twitter: @GkellyBris
Youtube: SUBSCRIBE

from huckleberries coffee shop cromer, after at way too much caffeine! 

GK Out! 

A Ride to Remember

A few months ago I was lucky enough to be involved with the first annual Contiki Challenge For Change. This years event, the first of it’s kind, saw 12 riders from Europe and the US, take to the roads of France in a gruelling 460km bike ride. This was in aid of The Rainbow Children’s Trust (UK) and The Thirst Project (US) and was thought up by the head of Contiki Europe’s Transport Department, Reuben Giles.

As a company Contiki has links to charities and none-profit organisation and the Contiki Challenge is another way it is giving back, while also challenging their teams globally to push themselves.

While I wasn’t on a bike, I was luck enough to be asked to tag along with a camera and document the trip.

The ride brought 15 people together, from five countries, brought together all the regions contiki operates in (5 continents) in terms of fund raising, and set the stage for an even bigger event next year.

Here are the individual days videos:
Continue reading

RickShaw Run

So it’s officially on – and by that I mean paid for! Yes I’m heading back to India’s south to compete in the RickShaw Classic Run from Channai.

RollinInTheRickShaw

10 Days, some 1000km, and what I assume will be an epic adventure with Hannah and Kassie. (2/3 of the superbestfriends).

For more Check out the Race HERE

GK Out!

Winter is Coming

It’s that time of year, the time when summer season ends, I’m unemployed, and everything is right with the world.

This year is a little different as my travel plans include an extended stint in a small Austrian town, a trip back to a country I’ve already visited, and finally trying to land my next job /dream job.

After four years on the road for contiki as a tour manager I’m attempting to hang up my clipboard. The plan, well frankly that’s up in the air until I make a commitment to a few things but hopefully my next job will still be in the travel industry, still see me travelling for work, hopefully a little wider than just Europe.

India Take 2

For my 30th it’s been decided that I’ll be driving one of the least safe modes of transport, on some of the shittest roads in the semi-developed world, as I join two close friends in a Tuk-Tuk/Rickshaw race across the bottom of India.

My last stint in the country of curry was mind blowing. I found it to be a wonderful mix of food, relaxation, and insanity. This time should be no different so expect some photos, videos, and general fun as that trip progresses.
Aside from driving three wheeled death machines, and trying to land my next gig, I’m planning on improving my snowboarding and german with an extended stay in Hopfgarten Austria. The small town will be home to quite a few of my friends, has some of the nicest views of any place I’ve ever visited, and 500km of snow covered mountain to snowboard on. All in all it’s a great place to spend a few months.

So that’s my life to this moment.

From Schipol Airport – waiting for an EasyJet flight to London!

GK Out

Airport Stress

I understand that Air travel is stressful for some, especially those travelling with small children, for older people that find it hard to move around, or people that are genuinely afraid of flying. These people have a right to be nervous and skittish.

Everyone else needs to just calm down and de-stress!

People, with no reason, work themselves into tense angry balls of hate at airports. They get stressed at check-in, angry at security, and loose their minds while waiting to find out their departure gate.  This behaviour is just creating unwarranted stress for everyone and frankly I want to punch these people in the face…with a brick….twice…while screaming CALM DOWN YOU’RE STRESSING EVERYONE OUT!

Here are some things people do at airport that just needs to stop for both their and my sanity – and so I can stopped getting stressed near these people.

1)    Forcing your family and friends to arriving 5 hours before your flight departs!

I’m talking about the people that arrive ludicrously early for their flight and then build small forts out of their luggage as they wait for the baggage drop to open. Airports hate these people because it causes congestion when none should exist in parts of the airport that they have designed to be streamlined.

It causes stress because these people tend to arrive with the mindset that they are already late and camp as close to the line as possible. Then proceed to panic about every little step. They rush from check-in, through security, to departure lounge, and camp out right beneath the announcement boards. The sprint to Starbucks to get a coffee panicking that they’ll miss their plane even through it doesn’t take off for another 2 hours.

SOLUTION: DON’T get to the airport 5h before your flight.

Pre-plan your transit to the airport by purchase train tickets, or a private car, well in advance and schedule it to arrive 3hours before take off no earlier.

Trust me even with the modern security lines this will be plenty of time.

If you’re worried about falling asleep in the departures lounge, set an alarm 60mins before departure. This way you’ll ensure you’re awake, have time to go to the toilet, check your departure gate and walk there.

2)    Exceeding the Weight Limit on your Baggage.

It is clearly stated on every website, on the ticket, on signs around the airport, and finally stated clearly by check-in staff, it’s not a negotiation, it can’t ‘let you off this time’.

Here in Europe everyone knows that it’s 17kg for Ryan Air, 20KG for Easy Jet, 23kg for all big name carriers, yet every check-in has that one person that argues with the check-in staff that they should be allowed to take the extra 5kg, or the ‘didn’t realise they’d packed that much’.

SOLUTION: The MAXIMUM weight limit on baggage isn’t a target to aim for. If your bag is over 20KG for anything below a 7day holiday then you over packed.

If the check-in staff say it’s over you have two choices:
a) Throw out the extra KGs of stuff in the nearest bin.
b) Pay the exorbitant ‘over weight’ charge that the airlines levy on over packers.

There is no other option, don’t argue, don’t make the rest of us wait while you have a hissy fit. Be an adult, shut up, and pick A or B.

3)    Being Unorganised

These people irritate me most of all because they tend to be the ones with children or are running late. They fumble around, unpacking half their bags looking for passports and boarding passes. They are normally also the ones that have exceeded their baggage limit, and been sitting in the check-in area for 5hours. These people they hold everyone up.

They then make it worse by getting to security and having three litres of liquids in their carry-on, even though there is 1,000,000 signs saying 100ml EVERYWHERE plus the public services announcements that play in the check-in hall on a loop.

SOLUTION: WE SHOOT THESE PEOPLE.

No in all seriousness air travel involves three components. A Ticket/Boarding Pass, a Passport/ID Card, and Baggage. That’s it. Hell in truth in the modern era Baggage is optional.

Your passport, and boarding pass should have their own designated spot, make it the same one every time. If you can’t do this, then hold it in your hand like a child.

Speaking of children for the love of all that is holy if they can’t yet write their own name do NOT entrust them with document that are vital to your holiday.

4)    Children

Not only should the be seen but not heard, I would prefer if you tranquillise you  little terror prior to arrival at the airport. Children, in general, do not travel well. The worst people are those that think it’s adorable when their little angel is kicking, screaming, and running around. These people need to understand that if they don’t want to discipline their children then I’m going to. If little Billy/Jane keeps waking me up, I’m going to be that person that makes a scene – a crime scene .

Do everyone a favour and keep you kid entertained/asleep.

DO: Bring and iPad/Tablet loaded with games and videos
DON’T: forget to bring earphones – I don’t want to hear Pepper Pig for 8h.

DO: Drug your kids up to the eyeballs
DON’T: Expect sympathy if you don’t and have to deal with your child being hyper for 19h.

DO: Feed your kid.
DON’T Feed them sugar or things you know keep them awake.

SOLUTION: Leave the kids at home – or with a relative, just not near me. 

So that’s it for this little rant.

Had a great day on George’s Boat swimming, eating his famous chips, and generally enjoying the beautiful surroundings that is Corfu.

GK

Thoughts From The Road: WIFI & Cutting the Digital Cord

There’s no such thing as free WIFI.

Constantly, both on tour, and during my own travels, I hear people complain about paying for WIFI. The common complaint is, ‘where they’re from the wifi is free, and it’s ridiculous to have to pay. My response  is always the same:

Is it really FREE at home?

Often when I point out the WIFI at home isn’t a zero cost item they tell me they have wifi everywhere they go. They forget that even if you’re not paying the bill someone is, that no-one is giving unlimited, open, free wifi. Not even the cities with ‘free-Wifi Zones’

The wifi at Starbucks isn’t free, you’re expected to buy a drink. The WIFI in hotels that is listed as free isn’t;  It’s built into the price of the room and more than often limited in bandwidth and download amount. The wifi at cafes & restaurants isn’t free, to test this out try going in sitting down and then refusing to buy something but use ask for the wifi password, most places will ask you to leave.

Free Public wifi is limited to a certain download amount, blocked content, limited speed. It also normally requires a email address or phone number to be given to get a ‘activation code’. Your data is then monitored and analysed.

WIFI vs. MOBILE DATA

The other thing people often mix up is the difference between Mobile Data (built into your mobile phone contract) and WIFI. They’re separate things. most people today are used to having Mobile Data everywhere.

If you simply can’t be disconnected while travelling the you need to spend the cash to purchase an international SIM and top it up. Don’t complain that  it’s expensive, especially if travelling through multi-pul countries. Roaming fees are a fact of life (at the moment) and it cost what ever you’re willing to pay to be constantly online while travelling.

CUTTING THE CORD

On holiday I feel that you are doing yourself a disservice not cutting the digital cord for a week or two and seeing what life is like without the constant update from friends on ‘how much work sucks’.

There is no reason that you can’t significantly reduce your online activities while travelling. It’s all a matter of replacing checking social media with a none-digital activity.

For me I replace my phone with a book (or kindle) and a notepad. When I’m bored I read, or write. It doesn’t take long for ‘checking your facebook’ to become ‘reading a chapter of a book.’

While travelling I normally get through five or six novels. If I have bus/coach rides this can double.

That said you you don’t have to be completely WIFI/Digital free. I tend to write, edit blog posts and photos over lunch, then spend 30min after my dinner uploading and responding to online social media, booking my accommodation, and researching (and saving offline) info on the places i’ll visit to read later.

I’m not a hater of WIFI, or social media. I love them. As a marketer I think they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. I just don’t think you need to be connected 24/7 while on holiday.

From the lobby of the hotel in Dublin.

GK out!

ps: this post was written at lunch, uploaded at 10pm!

My Experiences with Ramadan

BBQ and Sharing food with friends – It doesn’t get any more Aussie.

Reading recent articles coming out of my second home of Australia, there are reports of a boycott of Woolworth’s supermarkets because they are running a ‘Happy Ramadan’ campaign.

The quotes from people offended by the posters and offers from the big supermarket are littered with the normal uniformed, and ignorant statements like ‘It’s Un-Australian’, not ‘not part of our culture’.

A few counters to their argument. For a start the holiday shares striking similarity to Lent, and the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur (both involve fasting or giving up of treasured things). The end of Ramadan is about sharing food, or breaking bread, with others in a show of community.

I’ll always remember having the privilege of spending a portion of Ramadan in the Turkish capital of Istanbul. As the sun set on a 35oC day and locals shuffled out of the mosques the city came alive with a buzz. This hum wasn’t cars, or air-conditioning units, but the sound of hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets to break their fast surrounded by family, friends, and strangers alike.

Walking the streets I received hundreds of offers of food, and tea. I was invited to sit and share with a young family as they celebrated not only the end of the fasting period but also their sons first Ramadan (Breastfeeding mothers are exempt from the fast).

On every street corner, in every park, people laughed, children played, and as far as I could see no alcohol was being consumed*. During the celebration I saw not one fight, one argument, not one person in a state of intoxication, other than that of someone over filled with BBQ meat, bread and tea.

Now to why I think this could be a wonderful new Australian holiday. The end of Ramadan is basically Australia day without the beer. It’s about getting out into the community, sharing food with your family, friends, and strangers. It is a giant street party that has the potential to bring entire communities out of their homes and into the streets.

As a bonus without alcohol being consumed it sets a wonderful example to our children that celebrations don’t required beer and wine to be present to have a good time.

For basic information on the holiday check out Wikipedia, or other none-religious sites.

You’ll discover that it shares many of the tenants of Christian and Jewish holidays with similar traditions of fasting, and is a time for reflection within the Islamic community.

And if you get a chance spend it in an Islamic country.

*Istanbul is a liberal Islamic country and as such I’m sure some alcohol was consumed but I have no recollection of seeing it and especially around the children I saw not a single bottle of beer/wine/sprits.