5 things I hate about living in the UK

I experience an odd sensation whenever I go swimming (my exercise of choice). I always have negative thoughts about being in the UK, often while dodging the 200 other people in my lane, who are also probably wondering why on earth the mid afternoon session is so busy when most people should be at work (I work odd hours, but I work).

So with that in mind and a hellish journey home in Bristol’s traffic clogged streets after almost going to war in the supermarket with other trolley pushers, I thought I would channel that negative energy into a post on WN.

Being an experienced online journalist of sorts I am of course going to balance it up with the positive side of living in this wee nation but you will have to wait for that installment.

1. Overcrowded

Don’t panic. I am not going to suggest that all immigrants should be drowned in the English Channel or that people below a certain IQ should be prevented from having children. In fact I am not going to blame anyone.

The reason I cannot blame anyone is that I understand fully why an Iraqi might like to live in Stevenage (kinda!), why the Government wants to attract more young overseas talent and I sort of understand why Chaz and Maz might think it’s clever to have 20 children so they can claim £2m of tax payers money in benefits and therefore not have to work.

Overcrowding is still something that strikes me every time I come home. One of the most annoying things is lack of facilities for the numbers of people. I am not going to suggest making the M25 motorway 50 lanes across to accommodate everyone’s 2.5 cars because I am not Jeremy Clarkson, but try getting a seat in a cafe anytime of the day in Bristol, or some space to swim in a pool or somewhere to park within 10 miles of your house!

I feel I must offer a solution to this. Yes I know that someone from Hong Kong would laugh in my face if I suggested that Britain was overcrowded but here goes; lets do something that we were rather good at a century or so ago. Let’s colonise and let’s do it in a big country with a similar population. Brittany will become New Britton and the M25 could be expanded over the channel. Allez!

2. Benefit’s Culture

I am not going to rant too much about this but had to mention it after I heard the following conversation at the pool today…

Chaz – You gonna get a job then?

Daz – Don’t need to mate

Chaz – How come?

Daz – wife’s expecting the 6th child.


3. Class & Snobbery

I know what you are thinking; you have already clearly poked fun at the, how can I put it, the people looking up the social ladder, rather than down it, but the class system in the UK is alive and well and I blame people at both extremes of the ladder for continuing this historic trait.

Snobs, chavs, poshies, whatever! No country in the world has such a class divide as Britain and from what I can see it’s only going to get worse, helped along by certain sections of the media.

4. UK Media

I hate the UK media but always tune into it, listen to it, watch it and read it, in fact I am a media junkie. I crave for something I hate!

Why do I hate it? Because it’s only purpose is to report bad news, put everyone in a negative mood and to make us feel generally like shit.

Having said that I don’t think this is unique to Britain.

5. The Weather

This was going to be a positive after yesterday’s glorious weather but the last two summers are still fresh in my memory. Still it’s not too bad if you don’t like extremes.

Well I feel better already and will keep my promise of balancing this wave of negativity up. Ranting is my therapy.

P.S. You don’t have to take my posts seriously.

Five great locations for technomads

The world is a big place and your office can be pretty much anywhere you want it to be. Here are five locations that I have been to that I can heartedly recommend based on my own experience.

1. Bali, Indonesia

Beautiful Bali…somewhere very close to my heart. For the technomad who enjoys wild nights, great surfing thats all on a budget then few places can match the Island of Bali. Friendly locals, usually friendly package tourists and the full diverse range of travellers make this place an ideal base.

Staying in resort can work out very cheap, as can renting a villa if you are planning on staying long term. Eating out is cheap and good quality as is the nightlife which suits all tastes.

Internet access; well if Bali has a minus point then this could be it. The 3G infrastructure is creaking at times and occasional power and broadband outages can hinder productivity.

+ cheap, great climate for most of the year, outdoor activities, lots of other solo travelers, friendly locals, anything goes appeal

– indonesian visas, corruption, terrorism target, unreliable internet, long way from Europe/North America

2. Phuket, Thailand

Phuket is the queen of Thai tourism and the destination for many overseas package holiday sun seekers. This is not all bad as with package tourism comes modern development and infrastructure.

Phuket is blessed with great beaches, wild nightlife, anything goes attitiude and modern facilities such as hospitals, good roads and familiar things from home.

Internet access is good and while Phuket might not be the cheapest destination in the land of smiles, it is still affordable, particularly since the Tsunami and other issues Thailand has had to face recently.

+ good infrastructure, many expats, good food and nightlife, decent broadband

– still very much a package destination so the solo technomad might find it hard to meet like minded folk, short visas

3. Goa, India

The jewel of the Indian crown or an ex-hippy, increasingly upmarket tourist trap? Whatever your opinion of Goa, it still rates as a great location to hang out with your laptop.

Internet access is pretty good and improving in India, and Goa is no exception. Accommodation is plentiful and longer term apartments are pretty straight forward to rent. Food is excellent and beer is cheap.

There is an interesting mix of other travellers, from hippies who are still living in the 20th century to the modern backpacker armed with an ipod and crisp Lonely Planet.

+ Still cheap, although not compared to the rest of India, easy access from Asia and Europe, lots of places to stay, many expats, fairly modern facilities, good internet

– Becoming expensive, not entirely safe these days, long wet season

4. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The capital of Malaysia might not strike you as a somewhere to hang out with your ibook but there is plenty to keep you otherwise occupied and most importantly you have access to the whole of Asia being at the hub of Air Asia.

Free wifi is everywhere, well everywhere you can buy coffee anyway and is fast for the region. Malaysians are friendly and this nation is pretty progressive and young which can make for a stimulating environment to work in.

It is not that cheap for hotels, hostels etc but if you plan to stay a while then apartments are good value and there are generous visa lengths help too.

+ lots of free wifi, friendly locals, lots of expats, nice climate, still cheap by western standards, excellent base to get around and see the rest of the region

– very expensive for beer and short term accommodation, can be humid, not near to a decent beach, terrible traffic and pollution

5. San Diego, CA

Yes this might seem a bit random after the other four Asian destination but I believe the Southern most city of California has big potential as a nomad destination. It’s almost as much about the location as the city itself, being right next to Mexico gives you great opportunities to escape once in a while.

San Diego is blessed with a great climate and had lots of outdoor activities to get you away from the keyboard. Wifi is available everywhere and is always fast and often free.

Accommodation is affordable by US standard and there are one or two great hostels in the city which are good for meeting other folks.

+ visa length available, access to Mexico, affordable by US standards, bohemian coolness in many beachside suburbs

– expensive by world standards, not much of an adventure for US citizens

Look out for my next technomad location list, where I will be featuring such places as Buenos Airies, Auckland, Sydney, Manilla. If you have any ideas for the next list then please leave your ideas.

Working nomad blog is back

Hey everyone I am back blogging again after a lengthy layoff!

So you probably would like to know what’s been going on with old Webby, or maybe you’re not that bothered, in which case you have to ask yourself why am I reading something that I’m not interested in, which is probably not much better than reading about someone that you are partially interested in.

Anyway, I am semi settled in the UK, well Bristol to be precise, a city of idiot drivers and funny accents, and still working away on the web and generally living a happy and free existence.

I got back from my last trip in January, to a cold winter from a scorching Perth in Western Australia where I spent a number of weeks travelling around in a rental car not really knowing what I was doing or where I was going.

The weather is now improving and I am looking forward to getting stuck into the outdoor pursuits that provide me with an escape.

As for this blog, well I can’t promise tales from far off lands, or nightmare long bus trips or even coconut throwing monkeys but I do want to continue to inspire others to get off their fat hairy butts, do something different with their lives and to try and strive for a taste of life where they have more control over their time.

So I hope you follow me again. If you have any interest in breaking free from the rat race then you’d be foolish not to.

…..and don’t forget our forum where you’ll find many other like minded souls who are battling away and unselfishly giving their time to help others.