It’s Official

This is it. It’s official. It’s real. It always was but now it is really real.

On Monday, although her work colleagues knew she was leaving, Rach officially handed her notice in at work. On Tuesday, I did the same but not many of my colleagues were aware prior to me notifying them. I was treading on egg shells. I feel like the biggest weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

We can both now freely talk about our travel plans, we can blog freely, as well as ask for and share advice publicly.

We have 40 days remaining. We have done a good job so far in planning our adventure. We have done most of it on our own and we should be proud of ourselves for coming this far and turning a dream into reality in such a short space of time.

We still have a lot do to and a lot to learn but considering how far we have come and how much we have learned in such a short space of time, I have every confidence that we are going to have the time of our lives. I can smell the sun cream and feel that warm sea breeze already.

I can not wait.

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A Quick Guide to Northumberland

This post is a combination of my own views and experiences combined with resources or articles I have pulled together from other sources. The guide is a work in progress and Content may be added or changed regularly. The Sources can be found at the bottom of the post.


1.1 – Introduction

1.2 – Northumberland in a Nutshell

1.3 – The Northumberland Coast

1.1 Introduction

Northumberland is a beautiful county and although I was born and bred there, I can honestly say I am not being biased as I write this. I can appreciate beauty, nature and history when I see it and Northumberland has all of these in abundance.

I was born in Ashington and then I lived in Blyth, Northumberland for 30 years of my life. The Northumberland coastline is my home.

I’d often get asked on nights out or when bumping into old friends, “Where have you been on holiday, your pictures are amazing?”, “It looks beautiful, where is it?”, or “Please take me on adventures with you, where do you find these places?”. I would always reply, they are in Northumberland, maybe a one hour drive here or there down the road, right on your doorstep. You don’t realise how lucky we are.

There are so many hidden gems in Northumberland. After 30 years, I am still discovering new places.

1.2 Northumberland in a Nutshell

Travellers collect experiences. And a visit to Northumberland rewards with a diverse and intriguing selection, fit to fill many a treasure chest.

Whether you’ve got one day to spare – or a week or two’s worth, prepare to discover just how much Northumberland has to offer.

Stretching from the Scottish Borders to Hadrian’s Wall, with not just one, but two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and a National Park, come to Northumberland and you could be walking along vast expanses of dune-fringed beaches, climbing our dramatic hills and taking in glorious sweeps of valleys or just revelling in our wide-open spaces.

You could be discovering the resilient and independent spirit of Northumberland, with its turbulent, historic past. Exploring our many dramatic castles; catapulted back 2,000 years along Hadrian’s Wall or marvelling at the birthplace of the 8th-Century Lindisfarne Gospels on Holy Island. You’ll meet our characters too, and experience Northumberland hospitality which is famous the world-over.

You could be active and take to the waves kite surfing, soar through the skies on a treetop adventure, or hotfooting it along some of the UK’s most legendary walking routes.

You could entertain the children with ghostly tales at our historic houses, follow in the foot steps of boy wizard Harry Potter with broom stick training or sword fights, set sail on an island adventure or board a steam train.

Or you could just take time to relax. Star gaze under the darkest skies in England, breathe in the fragrance of some of Britain’s greatest gardens or indulge in a spot of retail therapy at our traditional market towns and villages before lingering over memorable meals with a fusion of local fare.

Northumberland has so much to offer. We’re here to inspire you and to whet your appetite for Northumberland with a snapshot of amazing places to visit and discover.

You can find out more about how to get here and travelling around during your stay on our traveller information pages. You can drop into our tourist information centres across the county too.

1.3 The Northumberland Coast

Feel the sand beneath your feet and the refreshing sea breeze in your hair with a visit to Northumberland’s magnificent coastline.

With more than 30 miles of beaches the Northumberland Coast is simply spectacular.  Promenade along piers, play at penny arcades and tuck into fish and chips whilst enjoying the sea view at retro-chic seaside towns such as Seahouses. Visit Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, a seaside village making artistic waves with The Couples, Britain’s first permanent coastal sculpture.  Discover picturesque fishing communities, clustered around sandy coves, like Newton-by-the-Sea.

Northumberland Coast

Northumberland has more castles than any other county in England.  Many of these castles, including Warkworth, Dunstanburgh, Bamburgh and Lindisfarne, stand guard along our dramatic coast.

Drive across the causeway to the unique Holy Island of Lindisfarne, the birthplace of the magnificent Lindisfarne Gospels. At the Lindisfane Centre you can turn virtual pages of a facsimile version of the Lindisfarne Gospels.

Northumberland’s coast is a giant adventure park where you can enjoy adrenaline-pumping sports like coasteering, kite and wind surfing. Or just relax with a deckchair while the children build sandcastles and go rock pooling.

Channel your inner David Attenborough with a visit to one of Northumberland’s amazing coastal nature reserves like the Farne Islands, Coquet Island and Druridge Bay.

Inland, head to the medieval market town of Alnwick, with its castle, celebrated garden and vintage shops.  A visit to Howick Hall and Garden, the home of Earl Grey tea, is highly recommended for garden and tea lovers alike.

Northumberland’s most northern area offers some thrilling history, with the Berwick Walls and ancient battlegrounds. Berwick-upon-Tweed has a rich culture, and inland you’ll find rolling hills and beautiful villages.

Tap into a rich seam of history and celebrate Northumberland’s mining heritage at the award-winning Woodhorn Museum.




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Backup Everything.

Another lesson learned today.

The website is a work and progress.  It is always changing and developing. Even if you can’t see it at the front end of the website, there are changes happening in the back of the website on an almost daily basis.

Today, while playing with a bit of code, I broke the website and instead of staying cool, I started flapping, thinking that I’d lost everything. After an hour or so of flapping, the problem was resolved but it got me thinking about the importance of backing up everything.

We have all broke a phone at some point in our lives. Accidents happen but it is an awful feeling when you lose photographs or videos of cherished memories. Moments that are sometimes forgotten without a photograph or video to remind you.

A few years ago, I spent brilliant 4 days travelling around the Netherlands with my friends. We had an amazing time. I captured many hours of amazing footage on my GoPro.

On return to the UK, I decided to take my GoPro surfing with me. I’m sure you can imagine what happened…I didn’t back it up and my GoPro was washed away by a huge wave and all of those moments that I had captured were washed away with it.

I still have the memories but as you grow older, you realise the importance of photography and film. It is a great link to your past. We can’t remember everything in our lives but with photography and film, we are able to capture moments we may otherwise forget.

Anybody thinking about travelling or long stay holidays should always realise how important it is to backup everything. You will take a lot of photographs and record a lot of videos on your travels. Always make sure that you back things up as often as possible onto a laptop, external hard drive and cloud storage because as the old saying goes, “You never know how important something is to you, until it’s gone”.

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Choose Life

The clock is ticking. We still have a lot to plan but I’m beginning to get very excited.

In my previous post I mentioned that we needed to make sacrifices to save money but every now and then you had to have a little luxury, so me and Rachel decided to have a movie night last night. We went to the Hungry Horse in Cramlington, devoured a huge plate of food each and then we went to the VUE cinema to watch Trainspotting 2. It was brilliant. I’m a huge fan of the original and It’s not very often that a sequel lives up the original but this movie did it justice.

“Choose life
Choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and hope that someone, somewhere cares
Choose looking up old flames, wishing you’d done it all differently
And choose watching history repeat itself
Choose your future
Choose reality TV, slut shaming, revenge porn
Choose a zero hour contract, a two hour journey to work
And choose the same for your kids, only worse, and smother the pain with an unknown dose of an unknown drug made in somebody’s kitchen
And then… take a deep breath
You’re an addict, so be addicted
Just be addicted to something else
Choose the ones you love
Choose your future
Choose life”

We choose life.


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Light at the End of the Tunnel

You have to make sacrifices when you are saving to travel. It can be stressful. Simple things, like going out for meals or drinks, buying new clothes, going to the cinema or other luxuries have to be cut down quite a bit.

Luckily, I have Rachel. We have lots of nights in on the PS4 or watching movies etc which helps us both save. It’s nice to spend your hard earned cash once in a while but we both know by spending as little as possible, we are going to be better off and have less financial worry when we are traveling.

I’d love to say that it’s been all sunshine and rainbows when we have been saving for months, but in reality it sucks. It can be stressful.

We’ve both had a stressful few months, we both work hard. I recently decided it was a good idea to spend more time at home. Spending more time with family before we go away makes sense as I won’t see them for a while and soon enough me and Rachel will be together everyday on our adventures. In theory it was a good idea but in reality it is difficult!

Living at home when you have lived on your own for many years, is very difficult. Lack of space and privacy can be frustrating and combining this with other factors, it can all get a bit stressful.

Thankfully for me, I have the best girlfriend in the world and no matter how stressed or angry I get, she is always there to help me and support me.

It’s all about sacrifices. I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel and it’s getting brighter every day.

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T-minus 100

Yesterday marked exactly 100 days until we set off on our adventures, so obviously today is 99 days and that means…double figures!!! Not long now.

We both returned to work on the 3rd of Jan. After weeks of spending time together and having a lazy morning and extra sleep, it was a bit of a struggle to get up.

We both went back to work and started new job roles with the potential of earning more money for our travels. My role has come with a risk but what is life without risk?

We have lots of planning still to do. I ordered my hiking shoes the other day, a pair of Merrel ventilators which will be ideal for the hot weather. It turns out I got the male pair of Rachel’s shoes, so now we are gonna have matching shoes albeit different colours.

We came across a nice backpack the other day too. Initially, we were going to go for a backpack that had wheels but after reading several reviews, we decided to just go for a nice sturdy backpack instead. The wheels and metal supports tend to bend or break and that will just be inconvenient on our adventures.

We have lots of planning to do, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Australia. It’s all to do but we will get there now that Christmas and New Year is out of the way. We need to check what injections we need, sort out insurance, Bank accounts, Tax numbers, Visas, Routes, book flights, rent vehicles.

The adventure doesn’t actually start in 100 days. The adventure has already begun.


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Happy New Year!

New Years Day is upon us…finally!

We have had a fantastic break over Christmas…a much-needed break at that. It has been brilliant spending time with all of my loved ones over Christmas, especially after recent events. I am grateful that I got to spend time with them before we went away.It has been good for me and Rach to spend time together.

It has been good for me and Rach to spend time together. It’s not often that we are both off work at the same time, so we have made the most of it. We have literally vegetated in front of the TV or should I say 2 xTV’s and 2 x PS4’s and played hours and hours of Fallout 4 together! It’s a great way to save money!

I am glad that Christmas is out of the way. As great as it is to spend time with family, I can do this at any other time of the year. Christmas, for me, is a bit of a stressful time of year and I am not a fan of the winter either!

2017 is nearly upon us and I am excited for what it will bring.

I start a new role at work when I go back on the 3rd, which I am not looking forward to but I have to do what I have to do to get to where I want to be.

April 18th will be here before we know it and I can’t wait.

Here’s wishing everybody a very Happy 2017. May it be filled with bigger adventures and more of them!


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