1,000 Shades of Grey

I’m a neurotic mess.

This is not going to be coming as massive news to anyone who’s held a conversation with me which lasted more than 5 minutes. Therefore, my mind is always awash with various ideas and thoughts (usually self-deprecating).

However, this week my mind has been more clouded than usual.

This is not just due to my growing disappointment in humanity as more and more political decisions are showing a growing tendency towards an “Us vs Them” insular way of thinking. It is also down to my own personal situations and where I see my life going in the near future.

I’m currently living my life in what is described as the “grey area”. For those perhaps unaware, the “grey area” means something that is not clearly defined; or “that which is uncertain.”

 

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes grey areas are fantastic …exciting, even.

 

Let’s take relationships is an example…

 

At the start of a new relationship, the “grey areas” are the adrenaline rush which makes this period so bloody exciting! You don’t know your new partner that well; they are new, their decisions are unpredictable.

Perhaps you don’t even know where you stand with your new partner?! Are you “together” … or just “seeing how it goes” …or maybe even, “casual” (we all know what that means).

Can you imagine a world where we started every new relationship without these grey areas? A world where you presented a relationship CV perhaps…

 

BLAIR STEVENSON

 

PROS

  • Successful track record of monogamous relationships
  • Experienced conversationalist
  • Reasonably self-aware

 

CONS

  • Neurotic
  • Not comfortable displaying/discussing emotions
  • Will probably write about you…

 

How backwards would this be for everyone to deal with?

Maybe you would even have to sign a contract;

 

“Do you accept the full terms and conditions of dealing with *ENTER NAME*:________”

 

This sounds horrific, especially when you consider how people change and develop over time. We would all be in breach of contract very quickly!

 

The issues with “grey areas” and relationships come with the length of time it has existed. As the “grey” grows old, it tends be become one-sided. One person dictates the pace of the relationship while the other gets dragged along behind the horse; unsure of quite what’s happening, but hoping for the best.

This is how people ended up getting hurt.

 

(Quick Tip; If you are unsure of your current relationship situation, ask your partner to go to a show that is a few months away … the response you receive should tell you everything you need to know!)

 

However, these “grey areas” can permeate other aspects of your life too.

  • Your social circle (“is this guy my friend or just a work-acquaintance?”)
  • Your family (“I think my sister might actually be my mum…”)
  • Your job (“I’m not sure whether to take this contract with Silence Ltd.”)

…the list is endless.

However, a strong ability to deal with these “grey areas” can be a fantastic positive for your career trajectory. It has been proven time and time again that the ability to work under the pressure of uncertainty; the ability to take risks, is a fast-track towards a promotion!

How do you deal with “grey areas”? Are you dealing with any just now?

I currently believe that I am living with TOO many.

 

Note to self – be more decisive, state your intentions more clearly, learn from your mistakes.

A Million Tiny Sacrifices

“I am just going outside and may be some time.”

 

Have you heard this saying before?

Are you aware of the incredible context with which these simple words were initially delivered?

The infamous words were said by Captain Lawrence Oates during the Terra Nova Expedition.

 

The Terra Nova Expedition was an expedition to the Antarctica which took place between 1910-1913. The expedition was the brain child of explorer Robert Falcon Scott, who aimed to lead the first group to reach the geographic South Pole. Captain Lawrence Oates, a former English cavalry officer, was selected to be a part of Scott’s team for this expedition.

 

Over the course of the expedition it became evident that both Oates and Scott strongly disliked each other. Oates wrote in his diary;

“Myself, I dislike Scott intensely and would chuck the whole thing if it were not that we are a British expedition. He is not straight, it is himself first, the rest nowhere…”.

Scott, somewhat more even-tempered wrote in return;

“The Soldier [Oates] takes a gloomy view of everything, but I’ve come to see that this is a characteristic of him”.

 

Despite the in-fighting and mismanagement of the journey, the team attained their goal in January 1912 when they reached the South Pole.

 

…from that point, things went south [pun intended] – and no one from the Terra Nova made it home alive.

 

 

Now, at this point of this article you’re probably starting to think “why are you sharing this harrowing tale with me, and where does the quote at the top fit in?!”

That’s understandable, I’ve rambled a little bit.

…but bear with me.

 

 

During the return leg of the journey, Captain Oastes’ feet become severely frostbitten and old war wounds had (reportedly) re-opened, leaving him very weak and unable to walk the distances needed each day. Oates’ increasingly slow progress coupled with the unwillingness of the rest of the team to leave him behind had caused the team to fall dangerously behind.

 

On the morning of 16th of March, Oates said the simple words quoted to his companions;

“I am just going outside and may be some time.”

Oates then walked from the tent, into a blizzard and −40 °C temperatures, knowingly to his death.

His death is viewed as an act of self-sacrifice; aware that his ill health was compromising his three companions’ chances of survival, he chose certain death.

While questions can be (and regularly are) raised about the capability and organisation of the team on the Terra Nova expedition, what can never be questioned is the bravery and self-sacrifice of Captain Oates.

 

The story of the Terra Nova came to my attention for the first time in many years last night and it stuck with me as I lay in bed and tried to sleep. I tried my best to put myself in Oates’ position and replayed it in my mind repeatedly, trying to judge what my own reactions would be in a similar position. The truth is, I can’t. You will never know how you will act in such terrible and extreme circumstances. The only thing I could do was try to learn from it, use Oates’ self-sacrifice as an inspiration to improve my everyday life.

I began to think of the little self-sacrifices that I do/could make every day. How these can positively impact both my own mood and the mood of those around me. Simple examples such as;

  • When your technophobic family members ask you to show them how to check their emails for the 40th time
  • When you can’t have that beer because your friend/family needs you to drive them somewhere
  • Slowing your stride on a narrow pavement because the person in front of you is on crutches
  • …visiting anyone in hospital!

 

I’m going to strive to be more patient in life.

I’m going to take more deep breaths and enjoy the tony moments of “self-sacrifice” in everyday life.

Things could always be worse…

 

 

 

 

p.s, The Terra Nova wasn’t successful in being the first expedition to reach the South Pole.

A Norwegian team led by Roald Amundsen had preceded them by 34 days.

Travel Blog: Dubai (Part 2)

One of the more fortunate things to happen when traveling is knowing someone who already knows their way around the city. We were lucky enough to have this in Dubai; and our hosts kindly offered to drive us around the city. This was an excellent bonus to our trip – showing us areas of Dubai we would not have the opportunity to see otherwise.

We were kindly driven around several of the otherwise out of reach residential area and through the regularly tourist-ignored backstreets of the Downtown area before heading down to the Palm and Jumeirah Beach.

I highly recommend you spend some time down on Jumeirah beach if you make it across to Dubai. A few of the fellow visitors I have spoken to have remained in the downtown area only.

Water Parks are always one of my favourite attractions to attend in any city, and I had been told both the water park at Atlantis the Palm AND Wild Wadi were viewed as being one of the best in the world. This left me with a difficult choice to make …which one to attend?!

We eventually made the decision to show Wild Wadi some love due to its closer location and the presence of the infamous Jumeriah Sceirah slide. You may have seen the Jumeriah Sceirah on the internet. If not, you can check it out HERE.

 

In my opinion, the best thing we did over the whole trip though was taking part in the Arabian Nights Tour though. It truly was a special experience.

We got to experience the fantastic Dubai Sand Dunes, ride camels and taste some fantastic local food as part of a help-yourself meal.

What else could you ask for really?

 

Gallus Lad - Travel - Dubai1Gallus Lad - Travel - Dubai2.0Gallus Lad - Travel - Dubai2.1Gallus Lad - Travel - Dubai2Gallus Lad - Travel - Dubai3Gallus Lad - Travel - Dubai4Gallus Lad - Travel - Dubai5Gallus Lad - Travel - Dubai6Gallus Lad - Travel - Dubai7.0Gallus Lad - Travel - Dubai7Gallus Lad - Travel - Dubai8Gallus Lad - Travel - Dubai9Gallus Lad - Travel - Dubai10

Travel Blog: Dubai (Part 1)

“If you are going to spend the money to visit somewhere really special – Dubai is not the place to go.”

These are not my words.

This is the strong opinion of Dubai that I received from an acquaintance after announcing that I had finally booked my trip to visit Dubai.
It is the tiny kick to the stomach that everyone wants after parting way with a significant chunk of their own cash is it not?

However … now that I have returned from the city… I can honestly say that I completely disagree with the opinion stated above. I loved Dubai. I would go back as soon as possible …and fully intend to do so!

 

——

 

After initially arriving to the city in the middle of the night, my girlfriend and I decided to take our first day in Dubai city reasonably easy – relaxing by the swimming pool of our carefully chosen hotel, the Mövenpick Hotel and Apartments of the Bur Dubai area. Our chosen hotel was incredible, a beautiful 5-star rated hotel; and with the incredible service we received, it deserved every single star.

We wandered the local area and saw some of the “out of the city centre” gems that I love so much when visiting a new city. Having never experienced any part of the UAE previously, this was a very big culture shock for me. However, as you will no doubt be aware, some of Dubai can be extremely Americanised … especially our chosen dinner venue … CHUCK E CHEESE!

Following this initial full day of R&R, we make the most of the bustling downtown area of city by making our way to the vast Dubai Mall.

The only words I can find to describe Dubai Mall are awe inspiring. Regularly declared as the largest shopping mall in the world and containing over 1,200 stores, this place was vast. A few locals even explained to us that to cover every store in the building would take approximately 3 full days of shopping… without stopping.

This was not a challenge I was particularly eager to undertake.

It is important to note however that there is definitely more to see in Dubai Mall than just restaurants and shops. For instance we took the time out to visit the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo which is actually located inside the centre itself. The main attraction for the Aquarium/Zoo is definitely the “King Croc” … a monster of a Crocodile measuring in over 5m in length. He truly was a terrifying beast of nature.

The highlight of this day which we had cram packed with tourist activities however was definitely climbing the Burj Khalifa to floor 125 and seeing Dubai from the great height. The Burj is the tallest building in the world and in any other city, getting this spectacular view would take a helicopter.

If you are visiting the Burj Khalifa, my advice to you would be book online and in advance of your trip. This method proved to be significantly cheaper and allows you to skip a pretty significant queue. Also, find out what time sunset is expected to occur during your stay; then book your visit time for approximately an hour before. This allows you to see these fascinating views in daylight, watch the stunning Dubai sunset, and then witness the city light up as darkness descends. It truly is an experience like no other.

Gallus Lad - Dubai 1Gallus Lad - Dubai 2Gallus Lad - Dubai 3Gallus Lad - Dubai 4Gallus Lad - Dubai 5Gallus Lad - Dubai 7Gallus Lad - Dubai 9Gallus Lad - Dubai 10Gallus Lad - Dubai 11Gallus Lad - Dubai 12Gallus Lad - Dubai 13Gallus Lad - Dubai 16Gallus Lad - Dubai 17Gallus Lad - Dubai 18Gallus Lad - Dubai 19Gallus Lad - Dubai 20Gallus Lad - Dubai 21Gallus Lad - Dubai 22Gallus Lad - Dubai 24Gallus Lad - Dubai 25Gallus Lad - Dubai 26Gallus Lad - Dubai 27Gallus Lad - Dubai 28Gallus Lad - Dubai 29Gallus Lad - Dubai 30

 

Up Close With: Jack Edwards

I have returned ladies and gentlemen!

Feeling refreshed and ready to roll after my trip to Dubai (more information to come!).

So back to what you want to see…
I am always very passionate about sharing good resources with you and I am not shy about promoting other bloggers!

I have been lucky enough to make some good friends through this blogging malarkey … and it just so happened that one of the first people to check in with me (pun intended) following my Dubai trip was the good lad Jack Edwards from The Jack Experience.

I decided to grill him on your behalf…

 

Hi Jack, great to speak to you again.

Hello!

So – I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now…but how long have you actually been blogging? What inspired you to start in the first place?

I launched my blog The Jack Experience in September 2014 after months of tireless work on the website’s design. I tried out different servers such as WordPress but nothing I was creating felt quite right. Instead, I designed my own website entirely from scratch; a blank canvas which allowed my creative reservoir to flow freely without being confined to the boundaries of strict layouts. Although it did take a lot more time to produce, I’m really proud of the outcome.

The effort was definitely worth it … the website looks great and is responsive across all of my devices. In terms of the content though, you’ve managed to create a space where you can quite literally blog about ANYTHING you want. That can be quite difficult to achieve without readers feeling that a blog is “off topic” … is that something which was quite important to you from the offset? 

That’s exactly what I wanted!
My blog derived from a passion for writing and sharing my perceptions of the world… it’s a hobby. Writing in the real world involves lots of strict guidelines and rules – “we want you to write this number of words on this number of topics with a deadline of this number of days” – but on a blog you can write about anything your heart desires! I can write just about anything I like, and the broad ‘lifestyle blogger’ title umbrellas so many different topics. I love setting myself challenges and stepping out of my comfort zone, but I also love creative freedom. I’m like a little pug let loose from its cage which just jumps around excitedly because there are so many different places to explore and bums to sniff – or maybe not the last bit.

We don’t judge. You can do with your spare time what you like haha.
Having just left school – you are younger than most of the other male bloggers I have come across. This is a breath of fresh air in a sector which can become quite repetitive. However, I know as well as anyone that when you write …you open yourself up to serious criticism. I can’t imagine dealing with that kind of thing while at school. How did you find that?

Most comments I get about my blog or my writing ALWAYS somehow gravitate back to my age. In the blogging world, it’s important to never judge based on number of years but simply by the quality of the content; yes, I may be younger than many of my peers but that’s not to say that I cannot produce a kick-ass article for you just as well as anyone else can.

Opening yourself up to the world is absolutely terrifying – it’s daunting to completely expose yourself like that. However I can’t say I’ve received much criticism at all. In my experience, I’ve found people in the blogging world to be very accepting and friendly, so this hasn’t really been a problem for me. Of course I’ve had the odd ‘mean tweet’ but sometimes you just have to laugh – the haters gonna hate hate hate….

I think that’s exactly my point. You write as well as anyone …better than most if we are honest about it. I highlight your age as it gives a frame of reference for the level of talents you have. I’m glad you haven’t received many haters. I agree that the blogging community (from my experience) is full of really lovely people!

I always find myself laughing on your website, you write with a comedic breadth I haven’t seen on many other blogs – is comedy important to you?

I think that comedy is the most important thing; the ability to make someone laugh or smile should never be under-estimated. It’s one of the greatest feelings when someone tells me something I’ve written cheered them up or helped put a smile back on their face – what more could anyone in the entertainment industry ask for? The blogging world is so rewarding because you get to see this impact directly.

You have a very popular blog – with expectedly similarly popular social media accounts. I love your Instagram account. The photos are incredible…but I’ve noticed you DON’T have much video content across your blog or social media – is there a reason for that at all?

I’ve just launched my first ever YouTube video and I’m really excited for what the future holds with that. Stay tuned!

Very mysterious …looking forward to seeing what you come out with.
Moving on, you recently teamed up with ASOS – working with a brand as well known as ASOS is pretty much what most male bloggers strive for. Can you tell us a little about how that came about?

They just asked and I obviously jumped at the chance! I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great brands such as boohoo, ASUS, ASOS, Harrods and Goldsmiths but this doesn’t just happen overnight. You have to work hard to build up a brand identity and a positive reputation in the industry before brands start to get interested, although it may seem unrewarding at first. I focus on every meticulous detail on my blog, pouring my heart and soul into everything I upload. You shouldn’t be in this industry for the money or for the freebies, you should be here for the passion and then watch those things happen as a side-effect. If you write with passion, it will radiate from your blog like rays of light, I promise!

Great advice for all those hoping to make their mark.
You’re obviously a man with style; what shopping tips do you have for the Gallous Lad readers?

Firstly; wear what you want. Fashion is about you and your style, because no two people are the same. I’ve always tried to hear my blog away from telling people what they should or shouldn’t wear and what or what isn’t ‘cool’. As long as you’re happy and feel confident, dress however you want! My one tip would be that the best fashion inspiration comes from the streets; see what people are wearing around you and decide what you like. I love going to big cities and checking out the street-style for inspiration!

Brilliant, great speaking to you again Jack, thanks for taking the time out!

 

You can check out the debut Youtube video Jack mentioned above here:

 

 

 

Travel Blog: Kilpatrick Hills, Scotland

One of the greatest parts about living in Scotland is the incredible scenery that is within driving distance.
It’s often something we Scot’s very often take for granted.

This week my partner and I decided to tackle the stunningly beautiful walk on the Kilpatrick Hills up to the very “Scottishly” named Loch Humphrey. We even managed to convince my old Border Terrier Harry to tag along for the walk too.

Neither my partner nor I had partaken in this walk previously and so I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting into when agreeing to this plan.

As we arrived at our destination and a VERY steep climb came into sight; I began to fill with a significant dose of trepidation.
I was not prepared for this … both mentally … and in terms of my clothing choices.

Situated 9miles from the heart of Glasgow, the Kilpatrick Hills are a remote, green-coated moorland.
However, the terrain was never too difficult to walk on; despite its steep climb.

The one bonus that came with the climb was that the added height gave access to some spectacular views over the River Clyde, Loch Lomond and the infamous, luxurious, Mar Hall Resort in Bishopton.

…when we finally made it up the hill to Loch Humphrey, it was worth it.
The water was beautiful and we instantly agreed, “let’s do this again.”

IMG_20150927_133536

IMG_20150927_133859

IMG_20150927_134408

IMG_20150927_134428

IMG-20150927-WA0069

IMG-20150927-WA0071

IMG_20150927_134805

IMG_20150927_135737

IMG_20150927_141433

IMG_20150927_141437

IMG_20150927_141441

IMG_20150927_143351