When I started my job three and a half years ago, I defaulted to flying British Airways because other colleagues did. However after getting rapidly tired of being put on a creaky old 747 for the trip to Boston and back, I switched to Virgin with their nicer planes, better in-flight entertainment, and overall better quality of service.
I’ve not flown BA since this time last year, when I hopped over to Italy. On that occasion, we were delayed by 60 minutes whilst sat on the tarmac …
Continue reading “British Airways”
You can see a full gallery of pictures from this trip here.
My first visit to New York City was in February of 2015. You might think that the depths of winter is not a great time to do any sort of sight-seeing and you would be right. My boss and I were in Burlington, MA., for several weeks of work and there’s not an awful lot to do on a weekend around there – save for going into Boston which each of us had already done.
We hatched a plan to drive down to NYC for the weekend, where I would get my first ‘bite’ of The Big Apple.
As it goes, the drive to New York City isn’t too bad from Burlington. We left a little after the rush hour, catching just the tail end of it, but after about three and a half hours we were parked in Queens, where we left the car and got an Uber into the city proper.
NYC was kind of a mythical place, for someone like me who had never been. I was a huge fan of Friends, not to mention having seen the place on countless films over the years. Driving towards the famous skyline was a real thrill, and I think I was like a little kid when we were in the Uber driving amongst the towering behemoths of high rises and sky scrapers.
Despite having visited the United States often enough for the trip to now be ‘normal’, going into NYC was like hitting the Reset button – everything was new and incredible again.
Continue reading “First time in New York”
1 Friend Request, 1 Message, and 14 Notifications.
That’s what greeted me when I just opened a tab to Facebook before I started writing this. I haven’t opened Facebook in, probably, two weeks. Most of the notifications were to tell me that someone else had ‘posted for the first time in a while’.
I officially swore off Facebook back in January. That was when I deleted it from my phone, removed it from the front page of ‘Recently Accessed Sites’ in Google Chrome, and resolved not to look at it. Avoiding it on my phone was easy – the Facebook mobile site is not great – but I still found myself checking occasionally on the laptop.
It took another month or so to truly stop caring, but I was supremely glad when I did.
Continue reading “You are now leaving Facebook”
I’m standing on Platform 2 of the Heathrow Express / Connect station, 35 minutes after being stood onboard Virgin Atlantic flight VS004.
Heathrow gets a lot of flak. One of the worse airports in the world, and so on. However I feel that’s only the case if you’re not a U.K. or EU citizen.
10 minutes after the jet bridge arrived, I was whisking myself through Passport Control (courtesy of the Electronic Passports that obviate the requirement for a person to check it). The longest wait came at baggage claim – 15 minutes from claiming my spot by the front of the carousel to grabbing my bag and making for the exit.
After that it was a short power walk to Heathrow Express.
It sounds easy, and this is consistent with my experiences at Terminal 3 when flying with Virgin over the last few years.
(Ah perfect, minute 42 and we’re now departing on the Heathrow Express.)
Having said all of this, there are tricks you must employ to get through Heathrow fast, and I can’t speak for non-EU passport holders.
Continue reading “The Heathrow Hustle”
I had been working in IT for a software company for a little over two years and was, on the whole, loving life. I had spent a year living in London, occasionally enjoying all of the things it has to offer, with two lovely flatmates, and I loved what I did and who I did it for. I had travelled the world – well, some of it – with stints in Paris, Munich, East Germany, and the United States.
Colleagues had become friends who had become travel buddies, and along with the decent salary we had explored the snowy mountains of New Hampshire, the concrete canyons of New York City, the sun-kissed beaches of Miami and Key West, and were due a trip to Tuscany, Italy in the first part of the year and an even bigger trip back to the US in October.
On an even more personal note, I was readying myself to take that next step into adulthood – buying my own property. I had just bought (well, leased) myself my first properly new car – a BMW M135i – after a few years of vehicular strife (that’s another long story) and during that process had stumbled upon a property being sold by a friend’s uncle.
I packed up my things, left London for a short stay with my parents back in (much more rural) Wales and prepared myself for the Next Big Adventure.
Then, everything changed.
Continue reading “The Beginning: A Prologue”