Sasieology

Aim to achieve your dreams

Watchet

Posted by Sas on May 22, 2015

I’ve been a bit absent from WordPress recently. There are two reasons for this. The first is technical issues. I’ve been getting used to a new laptop, and it’s taken me a while to get everything working together and access to my photos. Also, I lost my internet connection for a while when I upgraded my router. It was my own fault, I didn’t read through the instructions first and it was only when I’d disconnected the old router that I realised I had to phone up to get the new one working. Which would have been fine, only I needed my account number. And everything record I have of that account is online, and I couldn’t get online because I’d turned the router off. You can see my problem, it was a vicious circle.

The second reason for my absence is that I’ve been spending a lot of time preparing for my trip to the US. I’m really excited, but also bricking it slightly. I’ve put in a lot of work to get the most out of my time away, especially is Alaska, and I can’t wait to share it with you all.

Before I head off, I had to write about my recent camping trip to Watchet in Somerset. Admittedly, May Bank Holiday isn’t the best time of year to camp in the UK. Although, as you can see from the photo below, one advantage of camping in May is that you don’t have to fight for space.

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If it was just me, there is no way I would have braved the wind and rain to spend two nights in a tent (which was also on a really steep hill, although it doesn’t look like it in the photo). But, my two godchildren had been begging me all winter to take them camping again. Once I’d persuaded them that maybe we should wait until the wind chill was at least above zero, we compromised and I promised I would take them before I left for the States.

The weather wasn’t great, but it certainly wasn’t as bad as in some parts of the UK and we didn’t let it ruin our fun. Situated just over the bay from Minehead (you can just about make out the white tent of Butlins in the above photo if you look closely), Watchet is possibly the friendliest place I have ever visited in the south of the UK (and, believe me, that’s a huge compliment, I’m from Lancashire). Everyone was so lovely and helpful, especially to my two young godchildren. We were all made to feel very welcome.

We stayed about a mile outside Watchet, and there is a lovely path along the cliffs into town that even the kids didn’t complain about walking. We weren’t overly impressed by our campsite. It seemed to me to be a caravan park that had a field too steep for even caravans to park in, so the owners decided to charge people £14 per night to pitch their tent there. We did our best with the hill, but kept waking up every couple of hours and having to shuffle back up the hill again. Where we rolled against the bottom of our tent also caused it to flood the first night, although thankfully the weather was nice enough on the second day to let it dry out. It took all three of us to man the barbeque as well, as the sausages kept rolling off the grill!

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My Dream Trip is becoming a reality!

Posted by Sas on May 5, 2015

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Five years ago, I took a trip of a lifetime to the USA. The Grand Canyon had been top of my bucket list since I was in high school, and seeing as it was my 30th birthday and I’d been paid a bonus from work I thought I’d treat myself. I spent two weeks travelling from Los Angeles to San Francisco, taking in Joshua Tree, the Grand Canyon (at long last!), Las Vegas and Yosemite National Park along the way. So, what do you do when you’ve crossed off the number one item on your bucket list? Well, you make another list of course.

And so, after a quick flick through the travel brochure, Alaska became my new dream. People keep asking me ‘Why Alaska?’, and in all honesty it just looks like an interesting place to visit. Plus, it’s another step towards my goal to visit every state in America.

Five years later, I am almost there. It’s so close I can smell the glaciers. Of course, though, simply visiting Alaska would not be enough for me. When it comes to travelling, I’ve always pushed myself slightly out of my comfort zone. Following other inspiring travellers on WordPress has only encouraged me more. People like Nicole from Thirdeyemom and Lesley from Bucket List Publications have spurred me on to ask myself what more I can cram into my trips, and inspired me to seek out new destinations and bigger adventures. The last time I visited the US, I finished my trip in San Francisco. Some of the women I met and travelled with were continuing on for an extra week to Seattle. Although I wouldn’t have been able to stay anyway due to work commitments, I’ve always regretted the fact that I missed out on that week. And going back just to travel that one area seems like a big journey from my home in the UK. When I started to plan my Alaska trip, I asked myself if it would be possible to do both. Could I start back in San Francisco, where I last left the USA, travel to Seattle, and then up into Alaska all in one trip?

After a lot (and I mean ALOT) of arguing, bartering and debating at work to the point where I almost walked out of my job, I managed to book four weeks off. I did a quick google search to check that my plan was even possible in four weeks then booked the flights and figured I’d work the rest out later.

This is the reason that I have spent most of the past four months, when not at work, buried in bus timetables, ferry schedules and maps of the USA and Canada. I am pleased to announce, that after a lot of stress and mild panic, I’ve figured it out. There were a  few points where I almost said ‘sod it, I’ll just fly straight to Anchorage’, but in the end I’ve managed to squeeze in everything I wanted to do. Should everything go to plan (fingers crossed), my trip of a lifetime will take me to:

Sacramento, CA

Portland, OR

Seattle, WA

Haines, AK

Juneau, AK (TBC)

Yukon Territory

Skagway, AK

Homer, AK

Seward, AK

Valdez, AK

Wrangell-St Elias National Park, AK

Tangle Lakes, AK

Denali National Park, AK

I am soooooooo excited and cannot wait to share my journey with you :)

Posted in Bits on the Side | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

The Street Art of Brighton

Posted by Sas on April 28, 2015

During my recent trip to Brighton, I could not help but be distracted by the abundant and amazing street art all over the place. The main purpose of my trip was to visit Vegfest, but as soon as I ventured into the Lanes and North Laines in search of vegetarian restaurants and awesome clothes shops, I was surrounded by colour and imagination. My camera was virtually clicking away by itself. I’d spot a piece of street art, walk over to check it out, and then see another piece on yet another side street that I hadn’t noticed before. Before I knew it, I was three or four streets away from where I had intended and an hour behind schedule. I got some great photos, though, and I just had to share them with you.

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Travel theme: Trees

Posted by Sas on April 27, 2015

The same trees, two ways.

I’m not great at photography, but I do like playing around with photographs and seeing what I can produce. From the same shot of woods in Austria, I created ‘cool’ trees and ‘warm’ trees. Which one do you think looks the best?

Click here to join in this week’s Travel theme.

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Motion

Posted by Sas on April 24, 2015

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This is one of the many photos I took when travelling by train between Innsbruck in Austria, and Pisa in Italy. Although the majority of the landscape was a blur (those trains move fast!), I could still see differences as we crossed over the border between the two countries. The increased number of mopeds was a sure sign that we were travelling further into Italy.

Click here to join in this week’s photo challenge.

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Vegfest Brighton 2015

Posted by Sas on April 21, 2015

Brighton is one of my favourite places that I’ve ever visited. Known for being a lively, gay-friendly beach resort on the south coast of England, it’s also like the mothership for vegetarians and vegans. I would move there, but the huge selection of vegetarian restaurants and shops would lead me to eat too much and be in a lot of debt. However, I need no excuse to visit Brighton. So, when I found out that I was free the weekend of Brighton Vegfest 2015, I immediately booked my train ticket. And, the two day extravaganza of everything vegan you could ever imagine all under one roof did not disappoint.

Due to it’s location on the south coast, Brighton is usually one of the few places in the UK to get some sunshine. Unfortunately, that was not the case on this visit. This was the ‘sea view’ from outside my hostel on the Saturday morning…

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That blurry, vague shape that you can see in the background is Brighton Pier by the way! Booking a hostel right on the sea front also suddenly didn’t seem like such a good idea when I had to traverse along the edge of the building to get anywhere due to the incredibly strong winds. Lucky for me, and the other 12,000 people who attended, Vegfest was entirely indoors. My one piece of advise would be to get there early, or chill out in Brighton for a while and wait for the queue to go down as it was very long…

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DSC_0107When we did eventually all make it inside, it was definitely worth the wait. Hundreds of stalls advertising, selling and advocating everything from the world of veganism. Loads of charities and other great causes spreading the word about how we can save the world by living plant-based/vegan. A comedy festival with back-to-back vegan comedians for the whole two days. Two rooms with back-to-back presentations about lifestyle and nutrition. An entire room of fresh, tasty, vegan food. Performances, kids’ activities, vegan wine and a pedal-your-own smoothie station. Basically, heaven for vegans all under one roof. Here are my highlights from the weekend.

By far the best thing about visiting Vegfest was all the lovely, interesting and knowledgeable people I got to meet. Where I live in South Wales, we are lucky to have vegetarian restaurants and I live in a vegan-friendly neighbourhood, but I don’t often get the chance to mingle with so many people who have the same beliefs as me. I pestered nutritionists, charity workers, activists, chefs and many other experts with soooooo many questions. And they all patiently listened to me, answered what they’d probably already been asked a hundred times and expanded my knowledge.

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There were so many talks and presentations, it was impossible to attend all the ones that I was interested in. So, I decided to divide my time between subjects that I already had some knowledge of and subjects that would push me out of my comfort zone, surprise me and help me to move closer to living completely vegan and be more environmentally conscious. As a result, I listened to experts on children’s nutrition, vegan body building, hunt sabotage, eating raw and the Vegan Society.

After all the listening, asking questions and shopping (lots and lots of shopping), the food court beckoned. There was so much delicious food to choose from, but it was so busy in the Brighton Centre that the queues were massive and lots of vendors quickly ran out of food. In fact, that would be my one criticism of Brighton Vegfest in general. From listening to people who had attended n previous years, this year’s festival was a lot bigger and a lot busier. It was overwhelming, especially on the Saturday.

Whilst in Brighton, I also found some time to visit the North Laines. This is my favourite part of Brighton, and I filled up on some yummy food at vegetarian restaurants Wai Kiki Moo Kau and Iydea.

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I would definitely love to go back to Brighton Vegfest next year, by which time I’m sure I’ll have a hundred more questions. I’m also seriously considering dropping into Bristol Vegfest to see some of the talks I missed.

 

Posted in Plant-Based Living | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Early Bird

Posted by Sas on April 18, 2015

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I am not naturally an early bird. However, I do like getting up early. If I can drag myself out of bed, I find those early hours much more productive. I particularly like getting up early when I’m travelling. It means I get to visit places when they’re nice and quiet (I don’t like crowds), and I get to take people-free photos like the one of the leaning tower of Pisa above :)

Click here if you’d like to join in with this week’s photo challenge.

Posted in Photo Challenges | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Wall

Posted by Sas on March 15, 2015

This week’s photo challenge (click here to take part) has made me realise just how many photos I take of walls.

I take A LOT of photos of street art on walls…

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Sometimes it’s the textures that draw me in…

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I even got to walk around the top of the city walls when I visited LuccaDSC_0114

Posted in Photo Challenges | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

Travel theme: Fantastic

Posted by Sas on March 14, 2015

Ailsa’s travel theme this week is a fitting tribute to the author Terry Pratchett, who sadly passed away on Thursday. Growing up, I read a lot of books and I am a massive Discworld fan. I am lucky to say that I met Pratchett once at a book signing in Preston. He was a lovely, gracious man. There aren’t many people who have left me starstruck, but he definitely makes the list. His ability to transport you to a magical, fantasy land has inspired my writing and photography for years. I wonder how many of these photos I would have taken if I hadn’t had knowledge of the Discworld at the back of my mind.

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Click here if you would like to join in with the travel theme.

Posted in Places I've Been | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

(More) Street Art in Cardiff

Posted by Sas on March 3, 2015

A while ago, a friend told me about some great new street art in Cardiff city centre. It took me a few weeks to get down there with my camera and check it out, but now that I have I really wanted to share the photos with you all. I love this city!

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Posted in Bits on the Side | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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