Making money online – my best tip!

I often get asked how I make money to travel, especially considering the fact I’m still a student? Well, aside from the obvious answer  – which is that I don’t, and that most of my travel is funded through press trips that I’ve managed to blag through my blog – there is one additional outlet which provides me a little bit of income each month (or when I can be bothered to get around to doing the work).

I was introduced to content writing by a friend and now I find myself semi-regularly supplying articles for a company named Invacare (who specialise in products for disabled customers) – the money’s fairly good, and the work is steady – so I’d definitely recommend this kind of position for someone like myself who’s blogging and writing as it happens anyway, and whom wants to earn a few extra pennies on the side, to supplement their future travel plans.

Providing content for a website and/or magazine is the perfect gig for a digital nomad, as it fits in with what you’re most likely already doing (i.e. travelling and writing) and tasks can be completed remotely as all you need is your laptop and an internet connection.

There’s a whole host of different companies out there that are regularly looking for content writers, so get searching if you’d like to boost your monthly income.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to plug the site for which I write, which is called Passionate People  and has a wealth of valuable information for disabled individuals, ranging from what types of wheelchairs are out there on the market, to how to book an accessible hotel whilst you’re travelling! I highly recommend checking them out – and not just because yours truly writes for them! 😉

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Hey guys, what’s up?

Hey guys, what’s up?

So I know it’s been a little while since I posted, but I wanted to quickly hop on to my blog and chew the fat with you guys for a sec. Don’t worry – I’m still here, the blog is still active and I’m still as keen as ever to someday become the first wheelchair user to visit every single country in the world! But I guess, for now the emphasis falls heavily on the word “someday”.

Things have been a little slow for me of late, apart from a couple of trips to Madrid here and there to see my best friend. I’ve been relatively under the radar, and with good reason.

Life choices had to be made and I also needed to take a step back from any major travelling momentarily so that I could focus on finishing my degree – something which is still a work in progress.

My approach to travelling for the foreseeable future will simply be this: to take a much more pragmatic approach to my responsibilities as an adult, and to just take trips here and there wherever my budget and time schedule allows.

I want to do more with my life, on an economic and personal well-being level. I also need time to think about what charitable ventures I’d like to pursue in the future – something which is long overdue. I’m thinking more and more each day about the option of starting my own charity/NGO – and I guess I need time to process these options and put some plans into motion.

Finally, I’m using my spare time wisely these days and writing accessible round-up blog posts for 15 of my favourite cities that I’ve visited across the globe. These posts will be from the perspective of a wheelchair user and will tackle all areas of accessible travel relating to that region. From where to stay, to the best places to eat and drink – and of course, what to see and experience whilst you’re there.

These posts may appear on this blog (at the very least, a link will surface here) or I may choose to start a new blog venture and post the guides elsewhere – leaving this platform free to be a lot more informal. Feedback on these thoughts is welcome.

For now though, I’ll bid you adieu. Stay tuned for the first big post coming on the 1st of May: – A wheelchair users guide to Bangkok –

Dandy Access in Dundee!

Dandy Access in Dundee!

Last Friday I hopped on a train from Glasgow to Dundee to spend the day reviewing access at various tourist attractions around the city. I headed up there with some friends of mine from Euan’s Guide, and our ultimate mission was to uncover as many of the accessible gems that Dundee had to offer as was possible.

Once we arrived, we met with other members of the Euan’s Guide Ambassador Network at Dundee’s Discovery Point, which is an awesome museum situated right next-door to RRS Discovery – the legendary research ship that launched in 1901.

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Our tasks for the day were then divided out between everyone there, and many of the potential places to review were listed on a handy map of the surrounding city centre. One of the spots listed to check-out was Dens Park, home of Dundee Football Club and quite far away from our starting point and therefore seemed like the ultimate challenge. I decided that this was the first place I wanted to head towards, given that I’m a fairly big fan of football and I was also relishing the idea of going somewhere a little bit different from the norm.

Once my friend and I made it to Dens Park we were lucky enough to blag a free private tour of the grounds – which was made even more special given that some of the players were their preparing for that weekends game. We were shown around by a guy named Keith Haggart, and his knowledge of the club and his attention detail when giving us our whistle-stop tour (time was of the essence) was really awesome. I’m pleased to say that the grounds were fairly accessible too – but you can check out more on that by taking a look at my Euan’s Guide review!

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Getting too and from Dens Park via bus took up most of the morning, so when we reconvened as a group at the McManus Galleries for a catch up and a bite of lunch. We then thought that the best plan of attack for the remainder of the day was to not stray too far from the rest of the pack – and so we rounded off our visit by calling into a few more pit-stops and tourist attractions around the city – all of which you can see more of over on the Euan’s Guide site!

Despite hardly sleeping the night before our visit, and also despite the day spent in Dundee being an extremely long one – it was still a really rewarding experience to head up there with Euan’s Guide on an accessibility scouting mission and I must say Dundee is definitely a place that I would recommend for others to visit – disabled and non-disabled alike. What’s more, with trains running from Glasgow to Dundee only taking just over an hour and costing around £20 for a return when booking in advance – Dundee is the perfect location for a day trip or as part of a grander Scotland tour!

What’s also pretty nifty is that the ScotRail service to Dundee was accessible for us all, with three wheelchairs painlessly boarded onto the train thanks to booked assistance. I was also grateful to find that the accessible loo was fully functional and the overall journey was extremely comfortable. It really does beat the hassle of driving – and costs about the same too!

Still, perhaps the best part about the whole day was having this awesome picture snapped with the legendary ‘Oor Wullie’ from the Dandy Comics! What a cracker!

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What’s on for the Geordie Traveller?

January was a pretty hectic month, with exams and subsequent travels to the Netherlands in order to sit those said exams. Mixed in with all the madness that surrounds my study life there was also the small matter of my wheelchair basketball team (St. Mirren Warriors) winning the the Scottish Cup Final in front of a packed out crowd in Edinburgh. I’m immensely proud of my teammates for our achievements and I’m so glad to be back playing the sport.

February will prove to be just as jam-packed, with first my friend flying over from Taiwan to stay with me for a week, and then secondly, a trip up to Dundee with Euan’s Guide to do some much needed reviews of the city. After that I’m jetting back off to Madrid to stay with my friend David for a while and compile a comprehensive accessible guide to the city for our new website.

After Madrid, I’m flying to Dublin in order to check Ireland off my list, taking my tally up to 42 countries. Once I arrive in the land of the Irish, I’ll be staying with locals that I’ve met through Couchsurfing. I’ve Couchsurfed many times before, but only once on my own, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Looking further ahead, I’m currently finishing off the last of my Uni work and will hopefully be graduating either this summer, or at the latest, just after Christmas. In the summer my friend Emilija and I are planning on heading to India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – all for at least a month, but hopefully longer.

Then after graduating I have a big decision on my hands. Do I continue with my blog on a full-time basis – or do I put the blog on the back-burner and go and get myself one of those job thingy’s? Thoughts?

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Ayuntamiento de Madrid

 

Fellow Brit’s – here’s your chance to win a Luxury French Hamper!

**Closing Date – Monday, 18th December @ 5pm**

It’s Christmas time and I’m feeling a little festive, so I’ve decided to partner up with the awesome folks over at Evaneos UK to help give away this Luxury French Hamper to one lucky winner!

Now you might be thinking “Geordie, what are you doing? This isn’t like you to promote such marketing competitions?!” – and usually, you’d be right. But this time I felt like this brand; Evaneos, was totally in keeping with my own market, and therefore thought it’d be great to share information on the competition and the company to my dear readers!

So what’s inside the hamper and how can you win? Items within the hamper include a Scratch Map of the World, a luggage scale travel accessory, a bottle of Laurent Perrier Champagne, Alain Ducasse Truffles, and much, much more!

The competition is only open to UK residents and you must be aged 18 or over to enter. 

To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is head over to THIS FACEBOOK POST – give it a like, like the Evaneos UK page and tag three of your UK friends in the comments section. It’s really that simple!

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So why Evaneos?

Well, to put it simply, Evaneos is a fantastic company that helps to connect wander-lusting travellers with professionally credited local travel agencies from around the world. With over 2,000 pre-existing tours and room to edit and fine-tune, it’s easy to pinpoint the ideal tour for you, wherever your heart may desire to go!

So if you’re wondering where you might like to jet off to next, then don’t delay any longer – head on over to Evaneos UK and see where your next adventure might take you!

*DISCLAIMER* – This was not a paid endorsement.

Why I decided to go to a Nudist Swimming Club.

When I arrived at the Arlington Baths Club I was nervous – extremely nervous. I’d been roped into trying naturist swimming thanks to an awesome Couchsurfer named Lindsay, who was staying with me. We found this unique experience as we were perusing the ‘What’s On in Glasgow’ guide and stumbling across a rather unassuming advertisement.

I quipped to Lindsay that we should go – fully expecting a sarcastic retort – but only to be gobsmacked when she instead exclaimed ‘lets do it!’.

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From the moment Lindsay instigated our activity for the evening my heart began to pound. I’ve never been naked in public before and I’m hugely self-conscious about the way I look and the way my body sits. But the mantra ‘you only live once’ was whizzing through my mind and through the midst of nervousness there was a definitive underlying excitement.

Once we’d pulled ourselves together, we headed over the bathhouse – late – and I proceeded to the entrance with caution. I knew that the Arlington Baths Club did not have wheelchair access, and I was mentally prepared for this. However, the looks on certain club members faces as I rather ungracefully got out my wheelchair and shimmied up the stairs, was priceless. The sheer fact that they seemed so confused almost made me ‘throw in the towel’ (no pun intended) – as nervousness switched to embarrassment.

A quick registration process took place before we were ushered around the premises on a whistle-stop tour. I got a bit more than I bargained for when I inadvertently viewied a well-hung gentleman swinging loosely from the hooped ropes above the pool (see image – it’s not of him swinging though).

Interestingly enough, the only ‘weirdness’ I felt on that night came entirely in the clothed variety. Firstly, on the aforementioned tour, the fact that Lindsay and I were still both fully dressed and everyone else was bollocks naked, was a real physical oxymoron to wrap your head around. The second slightly awkward aspect of the evening revolved around the fact that the staff members and life-guards at the bathhouse were also all fully dressed. It felt almost cringe-worthy to be making small talk with them as you passed in the corridor – tackle swinging freely. I soon got over that but I did wonder what they must be thinking about it all?!

I’ll spare the spiel about how it was all super liberating and whatnot. I’m sure you’ve heard all that before, and I admit it is true. The people at the swim were also super kind-hearted and welcoming. Surprisingly enough there was actually several men and women my own age – and not everyone was 50+ as you might come to expect.

As for any awkward boners, I’m happy to report I was far too nervous for any of that shit. But apparently they do have the odd occasional incident where people behave inappropriately. There was one gentleman in the Turkish Sauna who kept spreading his legs widely and wouldn’t stop looking at me. Honestly – fixed stare the whole time I was in there. Lindsay confirmed his creepy demeanor, so it wasn’t just me overthinking things.

It wasn’t long before I was asked why I’d decided to give the nude swimming a try. I swallowed the temptation to say something witty, and instead came up with the most constructive reasoning I could think of. Essentially, as a disabled man I get stared at all the time in the street, at the supermarket, in the pub – you name it, people stop and stare. So I rationalised attending a nude swim session in the following way; if I can deal with people staring at me butt naked, then I can cope with people staring at me when I’m out and about. 

Dunno if I’ll be going back in a hurry though.

Lindsay bloody loved it, the crackerjack.

Accessible Romanian Road Trip, part two – with Sano Touring.

Well hello there dear readers, welcome back. Nice to see you! Have you come to hear more about the wonderful things that can be found in Romania? Well of course you have… why wouldn’t you?! It’s an A.M.A.Z.I.N.G country and well worthy of being on anyone’s top ten in the world!!!

Romania is a fascinating country for many reasons – not only is Romania richly diverse in terms of landscape, culture and socioeconomic backgrounds, but the nation offers an interesting look at Eastern European history as a whole, and how the country known to host Europe’s oldest recorded homo-sapiens, came to thrive under many different leaders and dynasties.

Gone are the days where Hungarian Kings ruled supreme throughout Transylvania. Now you’ll find metropolitan cities, excellent nightlife, gorgeous rolling countryside and of course, an abundance of medieval towns and citadels to keep your intrigue levels high throughout your stay.

Whether it’s supping Palincă as you wait for dinner on hot summer nights, or trying to spot bears (please don’t try and wrestle with any of them) as you drive on some of the coolest roads in the world (thanks Top Gear!) – Romania has something to offer for anyone, especially if you’re a fan of Saxon-infused architecture.

For my particular visit to Romania, all aspects of the trip were expertly taken care of by the good folks at Sano Touring – an accessible travel organisation operating extensively within Romania and offering custom made individual tours for anyone wishing to see all that Romania has to offer but whom have specific accessibility needs. SERIOUSLY, go check those guys out – they’re amazing, knowledgeable and above all… very, very, very helpful. (Yes that extra very was necessary, don’t judge).

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In my last blog post, we finished off by me telling you all about the Open Air Museum in Sibiu – where we’d received an in-depth tour of the museums grounds, with expert explanations of what each of the buildings and pieces of equipment represented.

From Sibiu we then headed deep into the Carpathian mountains, climbing to an elevation of over 1,000ft, driving on roads that reminded me greatly of Switzerland. Our next stop was the adventurous town of Brasov, which is a fantastic tourist spot for all those in search of Mountaineering and/or winter based sports.

The hotel at which we stayed that night was called the Alpin Hotel and was just a few miles outside of Brasov. This required driving even higher into the mountain range to reach our final rest for the night. The Alpin Hotel is widely considered as being the best Spa Hotel in Romania, with amazing facilities for those that love to swim and relax.

Unfortunately for me, accessibility was a little under-par, and despite being booked into a ‘disabled friendly’ room, the ramp leading to my room was unimaginably steep and had to be replaced fairly quickly by another, not so steep (but still too steep) ramp. Also, sadly, all of the great spa facilities that I was so looking forward to – and for which the hotel is famous for – were unreachable by wheelchair, and with many excited children around, I didn’t fancy shuffling down the stairs on my hands and knees. (Disclaimer: I didn’t check the access to the spa area myself, but my friend did scout out the area and reported back saying that it wasn’t accessible for wheelchair users as it was downstairs and there was no elevator).

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The city of Brasov itself is very picturesque, although also seemed to have the feel of being quite a sleepy town – something that I personally appreciate from time to time as it definitely allows you to collect your thoughts for a while. The pace of life within the city seemed chilled to say the least, and the architecture on show when strolling town one of the many cobbled streets was rather stimulating.

I’m a huge fan of any form of cafe culture, so finding that Brasov had plenty to offer in terms of ‘taking-it-easy’, à la coffee in hand, was a very welcome discovery for me. There are several vantage points around the outskirts of the city where you can find incredible views of Brasov below you and the hills that encroach upon it. Brasov is definitely worth a visit on any self-respecting tour of Romania, despite it being a regular tourist haunt.

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Our next destination after Brasov was the intriguing citadel of Rasnov – which is conveniently positioned en route between Transylvania and Wallachia; the latter being where Bucharest is. Rasnov is one of Romania’s many fortified citadel‘s, but the main difference between Rasnov and any of the other churches in Romania, is that Rasnov was often used as a place of refuge for the citizens of the surrounding areas throughout the ages.

Rasnov Fortified Church can be reached by climbing the many stairs, or by riding the funicular that is perfectly wheelchair accessible and leads to jaw-dropping views of the township below and the mountains off to the distance. Side-note: I often wondered if funicular’s are called that simply because they’re fun?!

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From Rasnov, it’s only a short drive to Bran – home of Dracula’s Castle (Although contrary to popular belief he may never have actually stepped foot inside it… blame the Germans!). When we arrived in Bran the tourism levels were insanely high, and we were restricted to a slow crawl in the car, around the castle. Given that it was a Romanian holiday and everyone had flocked to areas such as Brasov and Bran in search of a good time (cos they know what’s what…), it was nigh impossible to get anywhere closer to what everyone had came to see. The sheer volume of traffic and people meant that we never actually got to stop in Bran , but instead had to settle for a drive-by shot (see below) of the awesome and imposing castle. Despite the legend, Vlad the Impaler may have never st…. oh wait, I already told you that bit. 

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It’s worth mentioning once again just what an awe-inspiring country Romania is to drive in. Everywhere you go seems to be a perfect spot to pull over and soak in the scenery and capture that perfect shot. Every twist, every turn, every bend in the road leads to another spectacular view. Driving in Romania is definitely one of the best ways to travel – and I’m happy to report that accessible adapted vehicles can be hired within the country.

Moving on from Bran, we then headed to one of the main draws in Romania – the impressive Peles Castle, nestled in the Carpathian Mountains and situated closest to Sinaia. Peles Castle can also be found by opting for the medieval route linking Transylvania and Wallachia. In fact, Brasov, Bran, Rasnov and Sinaia are all perfect stop-off points when heading from the heart of Transylvania, down towards the capital, Bucharest.

Along with Peles Castle, there is also the Pelisor Castle and Foisor Hunting Lodge are also on the same estate. The properties were built under the reign of King Carol I of Romania who fell in love with the region upon visiting the site in 1866. Peles Castle in particular looks like an infusion of Swiss, Austrian architecture with a Renaissance twist, and really does leave you a little dumbfounded (in a good way!) when taking a look around.

 

I felt really lucky to be allowed to park round the back of Peles Castle (cos I’m gangsta AND VIP af…), on private property, which was really handy as otherwise I’d have had to stroll in my wheelchair for close to a mile to reach the castle. After parking up like a boss-man, I was then escorted to a back of the castle where staff members helped me up a couple of stairs via a ramp, From there I was swiftly taken in the rear entrance (please don’t take that out of context) where I could access a great deal of the ground floor – which was amazing and allowed me to soak up as much of what the castle had to offer as most other visitors.

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Our tour for the day ended at Peles Castle and from there we slowly drove to Bucharest where we were scheduled to spend our final couple of nights seeing what the capital had to offer. In my third and final blog post, I’ll share all that we got up to in Bucharest as well as share more amazing photographs. Don’t forget to check out Sano Touring if you too would like to visit Romania and have accessibility needs.