Ten Things to do in 2013

As the new year approaches thoughts turn to what I would like to achieve in 2013.  On the whole 2012 was a good year for me, now it is time for me to look forward.

Over the previous years experience I have found New Year’s resolutions are pointless.  They put too much pressure on you and are usually broken before the end of the first week in January.  So instead I am going to set myself some achievable tasks for 2013.  This time next year we can look at how well I have done or not.

  1. Purchase the domain name for the blog – If I am looking for the blog to grow I need to take control of the layout.  Purchasing the domain name will allow me to do a lot more.
  2. Take better photographs – I have recently ordered myself a Panasonic Lumix LZ20 Bridge Camera.  This will hopefully make a difference from the compact camera.  I know that despite the camera I should take more time when photographing my subjects.
  3. Spend at least two hours a day on the blog or travel planning – In life you get out what you put into it.  This is especially true of successful travel blogging.
  4. Start making contact with my fellow bloggers – I have made some contact with some travel bloggers.  Now I want to extend that to add more.
  5. Start introducing myself to the travel industry – To be able establish contacts will be a great way of promoting the blog but also hopefully promoting their products too.
  6. Attend a trade show – TBEX is probably out of my league for this year.  However, the World Travel Fair in could be realistic.
  7. Explore my local area more – As travellers we can be guilty at looking at the sights that are far away and ignore the ones that are closest to us.
  8. Make more contact with local people – The one thing I could say I am guilty of is not making contact with the local population.  It was only when I was in Bratislava that I started to do that and it made my visit more enjoyable.
  9. Sort out the travel finances – I have sorted out a prepaid card for travel.  It would make sense to transfer the spare cash I have onto the card.  I get cashback when I use it.  Sounds like a bargain to me.
  10. Upgrade my travel tech – I have a Macbook dating back to 2007 but it is starting to be on its last legs.  I travel with my IPad 2 but at 16GB I struggle to manage the memory.  An upgrade is in order.

There you go my list of ten things that I want to do in 2013.  If I achieve 50% of this I will be happy.

Finally I want to wish everybody a safe, healthy and Happy New Year.

Steve

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Photo of the Week – The Blue Church

This week’s photo is of the Church of St. Elisabeth in Bratislava.  It is also known as ‘The Blue Church.’  Built in 1907 it is probably my favourite image of my travels in 2012.

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This photo represents the beauty of travel.  Something that you will not see if you stayed at home all the time.  You can only compare with the image of the closed hospital that is opposite the church.

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Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

Photo of the Week – Celebration in Bratislava

This week’s photo of a meal that took place in Hostel Blues in Bratislava.

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Christmas is a time where we celebrate with family and friends.  It is also a time where we should be counting our blessings too.  I have been fortunate that I met so many people on my travels in 2012.  Wherever you may be I hope you enjoy your day.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

Review of 2012

As 2012 is drawing to a close it is always customary to look back.  For myself the year has brought so many positives into my life.

Bratislava Castle at Night.
Bratislava Castle at Night.

First positive is that I have sat down and set up the blog.  There have been numerous attempts at blogging but none of them had amounted to much and I soon gave up.  It helped that I chose travel as the topic.  It has given me something to focus on.  I am happy with the way it has turned out.  Now this blog has over 1,000 views.  This is very encouraging and it is going to give me more focus to keep it going into 2013.

Mosaic of Dr. Samuel Johnson
Mosaic of Dr. Samuel Johnson

Of course no travel blog work without content.  So 2012 was the year where I took travel more seriously.  The highlights were the time I spent in Madrid during the summer.  Also the trip to Prague and Bratislava in September.  2012 was the year that I felt I became a backpacker of sorts.  Also I started to enjoy the delights of staying in hostels.  While I was in Madrid I witnessed the joy of the Spanish celebrating their victory in Euro 2012.  The beauty of Prague was a sight to behold.  The relaxed atmosphere of Bratislava was something that would stay with me too.  I also rediscovered my love of London.  All this has inspired me for 2013.  I cannot wait.

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Also 2012 saw the London Olympics.  I admitted to being a sceptic worrying it would be a success.  To be proved wrong was a joyful moment.  I was on jury service during the games so I spent a lot of time watching the events on the TV in between cases.  This brought people together and you could see the response to the successes and how everybody joined together to celebrate.  For the first time in a long while I felt proud to be British.  I still feel proud today.

Overall I feel grateful to have the support of my family and friends.  Also the support and encouragement of the blogging community.  Be it with views and comments or the thank you messages for retweets.

Moving forward 2013 is going to be a good year.  Be it with more travel adventures or just connecting with new people.  I look forward to sharing it with you.

All I need to say now is to wish every one of you a happy and peaceful Christmas.

Happy Christmas Everybody from midlifewanderlust1965
Happy Christmas Everybody from midlifewanderlust1965

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

Photo of the Week – Statue of Napoleon Bonaparte in Bratislava

This week’s photo is of Napoleon Bonaparte in Hlavne Namestie in Bratislava.

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The statue created by Juraj Melis was to commemorate ‘The Piece of Bratislava’ which was signed in 1805.  I see this  as a reminder to the people of Bratislava that Napoleon is always watching them.  More importantly it is a reminder that Bratislava is a city that does not take itself too seriously.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

Photo of the week – View of the River Danube from Devin Castle

I am sorry there was no photo last week.  I am in the middle of changing computers.  The photo is of a view from Devin Castle of the River Danube.

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The River Danube is the second longest river in Europe.  It runs from Germany to Ukraine.  This photo was taken from Devin Castle near Bratislava.  What this photo cannot show is the speed of the river flowing.  Indeed it is a mighty river.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

Travel Plans 2013

Since I returned Prague in September I have been giving a lot thought to my travel plans for 2013.  Sadly I am not in a position where travelling on a full-time basis is an option.  It is a case of balancing travel with work.  Also because of finances I have decided to stick to Europe next year.  Do not worry the rest of the world, your time will come.

I may have already mentioned in a previous post that my first trip will be to Vienna and Budapest in March,  In total it will last twelve days including the travel time.  I will be using Eurolines coach service from London.  The reasons for choosing these cities were clear.  I was in Vienna in 2011 but was confined to my dorm with food poisoning so I missed out on the delights of the city.  Second time lucky I hope.

I felt on my last trip to Prague and Bratislava that I could have planned the trip better and allowed time to visit Budapest.  I am particularly looking forward to visit as I had heard good things about the city.

My second trip I am really excited about.  I had mentioned that I was looking to do a loop of the Balkans.  The only thing that could hold me back would be the amount of time work would allow me to take off.  On Tuesday I was given the good news that I could take three weeks off work.  Now I can start planning for the Balkans in September.  All I know at this moment is that the tour will start and finish in Zagreb.  Which direction I take will be down to logistics.  I am looking to take in the major cities in Serbia, Kosovo, Albania, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia Herzegovina and Croatia.

Also 2013 will see me travelling more in the UK.  Also I will be looking at the feasibility of planning a big trip where I would need to take a prolonged break from work.  This has always been a dream of mine.  At the least I should explore this.  With my plans looking clearer I cannot wait for 2013.

Until the next time stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

My Favorite Travel Blogs

My blog has been going since May.  In its own little way I am pleased with how it is progressing and in 2013 I will be looking to build on this further.  2012 has also seen an increase in the number of travel blogs I have started to follow.  Here are a list of my favorites.

Indie Travel Podcast

This is the blog that had initially fulled my desire to travel.  Craig and Linda Martin have created a mini industry with their site.  You can purchase various travel guides that cover all aspects of travel.  The also offers travel advice and links to booking tours and accommodation.  As the name suggests Craig and Linda also produce an entertaining and informative podcast.  I consider this to be recommended listening to anybody who has an interest in travel.  www.indietravelpodcast.com

Over Yonderlust

An award-winning blog run by Shaun and Erica Kuschel who have been on the road for over 30 months.  As well as the entertaining stories they it is the stunning photography that keep me returning every time.  This was rewarded by HostelBookers who gave it the Epic Photography Award this year.  Congratulations it was well deserved.  www.overyonderlust.com

Caroline in the City

This well written blog has also become one of my favorites.  Caroline Eubanks is a freelance writer and this shows in the quality of her writing.  There are plenty of posts relating to Caroline’s travels.  There are also links to her photos and videos.  Caroline is also very generous to other aspiring writers.  Every month subscribers to the blog receive a round-up of the opportunities that are available for paid and unpaid writing jobs.  http://www.carolineinthecityblog.com

A Dangerous Place

This is another blog that is starting to reap the rewards for the hard work that has been put into it.  Amanda posts look at the quirky side of travel as well as being informative.  Like the majority of blogs there are photos and videos.  What I like about this blog is the way Amanda portrays the enjoyment of being able to travel and write.  Long may this continue.  http://www.dangerous-business.com

Runaway Juno

A very successful blog that was set up by Juno Kim.  The blog is excellently laid out.  There are sections on Juno recent travels to Europe as well photo and videos.  One of her videos was featured recently in an issue of TRVL, congratulations on that.  What I most like about the blog is the tips it offers to aspiring bloggers such as myself.  It is like having a mentor you can call on.  http://www.runawayjuno.com

Disrupting the Rabblement

A blog that I have recently stumbled on and how glad I am to have done so.  Niall Doherty gives update on his travels.  Each email you receive also includes a You Tube video.  He delivers each video with wit and are always entertaining.  They shot in one take so you hear people walking around him.  To me this is an original way of letting everybody know your thoughts.  Subscribers to the blog also receive a monthly financial update from Niall.  http://www.ndoherty.com

Easy Hiker

This blog is dedicated to those who enjoy hiking the great outdoors.  Each post looks at walks around Europe especially in France and Germany.  The blog contains excellent writing as well as great photos.  I am particularly fond of this blog as both Michael and Marlys have given me support with my blog.  I do appreciate the time take to retweet, like on Facebook or comment my posts.  Thank you.  http://www.easyhiker.co.uk

There are many other travel blogs that I read and follow.  If I have not mentioned you please do not be offended.  There is no such thing as a bad travel blog.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

Bratislava – A Reflection

After Prague I thought that things would not get any better.  Therefore I was totally and pleasantly surprised what I found in Bratislava.  The city itself displays plenty of history yet it is small enough to be able to be explored by foot.

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Initially when I arrived into Bratislava I was left feeling disappointed.  It was Sunday afternoon and when I stepped out of the bus station it was though I was transported back to the 1970s and communism.  The trolley bus looked rickety and dated.  Having said that it did take me to the stop nearest the hostel.

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After being advised by the hostel to take the free walking tour it was then I discovered the delights of Bratislava.  There is a lot of history in Bratislava but there is also a lot to see that made me smile.  The city does not take itself too seriously.  Bratislava was a major city of the Austro-Hungarian empire.  At one point the Emperors were crowned in St. Martin’s Cathedral.  A lot of the old city was demolished during the 1970’s to allow for a flyover.  One could only think how much more beautiful the city would look.

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There are a lot of colours with Bratislava whether it is the bright blue of the St. Elisabeth’s Church or the greens and yellows.  This is something that town planners in the UK should consider.  A splash of colour is a great way of brightening a place.  I suspect that it would not cost too much either.

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It is also a city that does not take itself too seriously.  There are indicators of this with some of the statues you find dotted around the city centre.

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Being so compact Bratislava offers the cafe culture that I loved.  Plenty of bars, cafe’s and coffee shops to enjoy.  It allows you to watch the world pass by.  It has that kind of vibe.

This is an ideal city for a long weekend.  Spend the first day exploring the city centre.  The next day I would go and see the spectacular ruins of Devin Castle.  Spend the afternoon cycling in the surrounding countryside that hugs the Danube river.  It is only a thirty minute bus ride from Bratislava.

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My five must see attractions in Bratislava are:-

  • Bratislava Castle
  • Devin Castle
  • St. Michael’s Cathedral
  • St. Elisabeth’s Church
  • Slavin War Memorial

I would also include a trip to Shtoor Home Made Cafe.  A perfect place for good coffee, sandwiches and excellent cake.  What more can a man want from life.

To sum up Bratislava I would say that it is one of Europe’s secrets.  How long it will stay like this I would not like to say.  Whatever happens it will always have a small city feel that I love.  I cannot wait to go back.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

Statistics November 2012

Here are the statistics for Midlife Wanderlust:

The Blog

Posts 12

Views 231

Comments 16

Followers 32

Twitter (stevo120665)

Tweets 7050

Following 1597

Followers 901

Thank you to everybody who has viewed the blog or tweeted during November.  It is greatly appreciated.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve