One month on the road

Why travelling alone is the hardest thing I’ve ever done

I’ve had this post or the bones of it in my mind for a while but writing it has proved harder than any other I’ve written. In the last year as one half of Creative by Trade I started blogging, writing everything and anything about things that either troubled or intrigued me. It’s been an eye opening process I’ve learnt that if the subject is something I’m passionate about the words come easily. Often the subject is informed by something I have experienced but is not always directly related. This post is different. This is a combination of the post I wanted to write about my pre-travel nerves, and the experiences and emotions I have encountered in the last month whilst exploring South America.

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Chasing Waterfalls on both sides of border

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Iguazu Falls sit right on the border of Brazil and Argentina, the river Iguazu literally carves the border between the two countries in this area. This in turn means you can visit the falls from either side, the Brazilian side makes up 20% of the waterfall whilst the rest sit on the Argentinian side. I started on Brazil side, fresh off the bus from Florianopolis before crossed the border into Argentina and visiting the opposite side the following day. Many people opt to only see one side but having done both I'm glad I did as each side offers an entirely different experience to this wonder of nature. In total, Iguazu Falls is formed of 275 Waterfalls and the amazing thing is that each of these unique in its appearance and scale. By no means did I see the full 275 and it also would have been impossible to count but even still what I did see was breathtaking.

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Put time in your calendar for life this January


January Resolutions

Whether you believe in setting new years resolutions, lifetime goals or 24 hour challenges; the one thing we should all dedicate ourselves in doing is putting more time in our calendars for life. 

We all deserve the encouragement of pursuing our goals and striving to success, but maintaining a calm and content mindset is something many of us find quite difficult to achieve with such a busy and distracting timetable.

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Hikes, Hurricanes and Hiding out in Florianopolis

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Florianopolis or Floripa as the locals like to call it is a town on the island of Santa Catarina about 12 hours from São Paolo, arriving off a night bus to Florianopolis town I caught the two local buses needed to get to my hostel in Barra de Lagoa on the islands east coast. Famed for its beaches and water sports I was looking forward to a few days on the beach whilst surfing, SUP'ing and hiking the local area. My hostel The Search House, was perfectly located to help with all these plans with a back door that opened straight onto Mocambique beach one of the local surf spots.

With the surf looking messy and clouds overhead I opted to spend my first day hiking Lagoinha do Leste in the south of the island with some people I met at the hostel. Hoping the clouds overheard wouldn't change to rain we set off for the bus station to catch the three buses needed to get us to the south of the island and the start of the trail.

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Stopover in São Paolo

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I hadn’t planned to stop in São Paolo and have to say following numerous recommendations from fellow travellers to skip it I didn’t have high hopes. However, in order to get to Florianopolis I would have to change buses in ‘Sampa’ as the locals call it and figured it would be wise to break up what looked to be an 18 hour coach journey. Arriving from Paraty at 6am the first thing I did was book my onwards bus to Florianopolis for the following night before getting the metro across town to my hostel in Vila Madalena. The metro I had been advised was easy to get around and I found it simple to understand and also safe, an added bonus. Arriving at the hostel I crashed out for a few hours before dragging my sleepy head downtown to join a free walking tour of the city.

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When Life Gives You Lemons

… do you make lemonade?

“proverbial phrase used to encourage optimism and positive ‘can-do’ attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune, whilst the lemons suggest sourness or difficult in life, the lemonade is a sweet drink.”

When we look at our own personal lives in perspective we don’t actually own our cars, houses, mobile phones or even our university degrees yet, but is this a bad thing? Even though these so called ‘important’ necessities in life aren’t actually belonging to us how important are they to us? We know one thing, we would rather own our creativity than the materialistic luxuries in life.

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“Oh by golly have a holly jolly Christmas this year”

Christmas has become more than simply celebrating the remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ; it is a time of year for everyone in all corners of the world to come together and enjoy the little things we take for granted in our everyday. Stop, smile and enjoy. Whether you decide to celebrate Christmas by visiting church, bringing an evergreen coniferous tree into your home, substituting mulled wine for water throughout December or buying your loved one that pricey gift because you know they deserve it, all of these reasons revolve around the same belief of caring and sharing.

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Paradise in Paraty

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Paraty is a small town about 5 hours south of Rio de Janeiro, famous for its cobbled streets I was looking forward to being in a smaller town and exploring its famous colonial architecture and islands. The town became famous during Brazil's gold rush when it became one of the main export ports of gold travelling to Rio de Janeiro and further. This soon got out of hand as pirates staying on nearby islands intercepted the gold laden boats; thus, a safer inland road was built to Rio. Today the main town is a pedestrianised heritage site popular with travellers and holiday makers alike. The islands and beaches that surround the bay here are beautiful as I found in the coming days.

After an initial wander through its cobbled streets I was in love with Paraty and signed myself up for a boat tour of its islands the following day. Before this though I had to find food, exploring the streets more with one of my fellow roommates we stumbled across a restaurant called Seu Joaquim, and were won over by its patrons charm and musicians mellow music. I decided to be adventurous and order a local fish dish. When it arrived I was surprised to find a plate of rice, grilled fish and what looked to be mashed banana. Not something I'd ever have dreamed of serving warm with fish but to my surprise the soft sweetness really went well with the melt in the mouth fish. I think the banana had been mixed with some potato and spring onion to mellow the flavours a little. After our meal we were treated to a Cachaça, a locally brewed spirit the town is famed for, very tasty and I'm sure the first of many.

I was up bright and early the following morning and excited to see the islands and do some swimming. We stopped at five different bays throughout the day and each was completely different, the first a small beach beneath the holiday residence of a doctor from Sao Paolo, we swam and enjoyed the scenery before heading to a small cove with a beach no more than 2 metres in size. The next stop was one of my favourites, as the skipper pulled snorkel masks from the cupboard we knew we'd be in for a treat but little did we know it wouldn't just be underwater wildlife we'd see. From shoals of fish beneath the surface to lizards, birds and tiny monkeys on the rocks I was enthralled at how all the species coexisted, sharing the bananas and breads being thrown from the boat rather than fighting over them. The monkeys with tiny faces and giant ginger manes were definitely a highlight of this stop. Hopefully I'll see some more throughout my travels.

The next stop was a lunch stop and my new favourite kind of restaurant, a kilo restaurant, it's basically a buffet where they weigh your plate and charge per kilo, pretty great as it means you can eat as little / much as you like and pay based on this, every travellers dream. It can be a bit risky, as with the one I had in Rio, you aren't sure what you're eating but I guess that's all part of the adventure! Our final stop of the day was an amazing looking bay, surrounded by rainforest little did we know in its waters were turtles. After watching them dart about popping up for air every now and again a few of us put back on our snorkel masks and went for a closer look. Hoping even to get the ever amazing turtle selfie! Alas, it wasn't my day, with our friends on the boat shouting 'its behind you' the scene became similar to a pantomime but the little or in some cases not so little guys surprised us with their speed, one kick and they're gone... I did manage to get a picture of one and as we headed back to a Paraty another popped his head up alongside the boat to say farewell; a great end to a day beach hopping!

That night the hostel was doing steak and caipirinha's for dinner so we got involved before setting off to a Samba party we had heard was happening in town. The energy at the party was amazing, varying instruments and voices kept up a fast beat. With drinks flowing and feet moving even faster we tried and failed to keep up with the locals, an amazing night to be part of and apparently it happens every Monday, so if you're ever in Paraty be sure to make it a Monday! The madness much to our dismay was done by 11 when the band and dancers dispersed and started serving soup to everyone in the building. A very strange ritual but the soup was tasty and having made friends with some of the locals they "took the gringos to the bar" and we carried on a bit longer before calling it a night.

I had decided to stop over in São Paolo to break my journey to Florianopolis so spent the following day relaxing at the nearby Praia do Forte and exploring some more of the town before an overnight bus to the metropolis that is Sao Paolo. With this final wander of the town I realised something had changed and some of the streets seemed to be waterlogged yet I wasn't aware of any rainfall. Following the water I found the source to be the Paraty main harbour. It seemed when the tide was in it flowed through inlets in the town walls making the streets nearest the water more like the canals of Venice, and bringing small one clawed crabs who live in the sand between the cobbles out to play!

Also published on Medium

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Novembers glow of the autumnal lengthened nights


As designers colour does play an important role within our specialism as a form of communication by its universal messaging, getting the colour palette spot on before handing over the presentation folder to the client is like playing Russian Roulette. Colour plays an important role in the world we live in. It can sway thinking, change actions, and cause reactions. It can irritate or soothe your eyes, raise your blood pressure or suppress your appetite. When used in the right ways, colour can even make sudden and life changes choices on the world. All in all colour is most truly irreplaceable, and with our pantone swatches forever growing our colour palette is going to continue to spoil us.

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