You are now leaving Facebook

Thank you for driving carefully.

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”

The Heathrow Hustle

After five U.S. visits in eight months, Ed lays down some common-sense tips and tricks

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”

The Beginning: A Prologue

In The Beginning, there was a job. And, for a time, it was good.

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.

OBeginning-BMWn 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”