I started 2015 with a bang!
No champagne in a crowded Sheffield pub, followed by an awkward stumble into the New Year as revellers sing Auld Lang Syne, and wonder whether it’s appropriate to start kissing and hugging random people.
FACT: I resent being charged a cover for the same pub I visit all year round, for the same entertainment I receive all year round, only to feel something of an anti-climax as the bells of Big Ben chime out.
New Year’s Eve in the UK is, in my grumpy opinion, vastly over rated and over priced. The only thing to indicate that it’s a celebration are the over inflated prices!
For this reason, I have a habit of escaping the madness at NY, using it as an excuse to visit new destinations far and wide (as if I needed one…).
However NYE 2014 was epic! It rivalled my best NYE ever, and helped to lay to rest the memories of some not so pleasant NYEs.
I have been to some pretty incredible destinations to celebrate New Year. Think Sydney, skiing in the French Alps, St Petersburg in Russia, Roatan, Kenya, Egypt, Germany, Florida, Cayman Islands and more.
I must confess I haven’t done all the big NYE destinations – for instance, I haven’t visited NY but who wants to stand outside in the freezing cold for hours waiting for a ball to drop?
I haven’t even done London (gasp!) because you actually have to pay to line the banks of the Thames to see fireworks! Seriously? Any other day of the year and I can walk there for free but NYE and I have to pay?! No thanks!
But back to 2014, this NYE was fun because it was like an adult version of fox and hounds. Midnight celebrations here consist of water and talcum powder in copious amounts. Teenagers stagger around the streets, high on life, laughing hysterically as they hunt for unsuspecting victims to douse in talcum powder. Think sugar-coated jelly baby and you get a picture of their intentions!
No fireworks here, just in case they set fire to the old wooden buildings lining the imaginatively titled ‘Pub Street.’
No police men watching over you for safety….oh no, they are too busy getting sozzled, and dancing with drunken tourists, gyrating wildly in the gridlocked streets.
$1 super gins? No problem…you might even get an inkling of the premium stuff in there if you ask the very polite Indian barman to serve you! You might also get alcoholic poisoning, so be careful what you drink and from where, but It’s New Years Eve right?
Yes 2014 NYE, ladies and gentlemen, was spent in Siem Reap, that sleepy little village next to Angkor Wat! Well it may have been sleepy once, according to one of my pals who visited around ten years ago, but now it is rapidly becoming Cambodia’s answer to Queenstown or Airlie beach. It’s packed with backpackers, budget accommodation and enough cheap liquor to turn nuns and Buddhist monks into hedonistic party animals!
This wasn’t just an epic night for its unadulterated fun factor though. It was the beginning of a six-week, whirlwind trip around South East Asia. Having persuaded my company to allow me to take extended leave, we were taking in the main sights of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar with a little R&R in Thailand to close the deal.
It turned out to be an incredible trip, packed full of temples, massages, yoga and fun! It was less boozy backpacking, and more middle-aged meandering – a time to wander, read and reflect. It was over far too soon, and is now consigned to my treasure trove of memories, and a truckload of pictures to turn to when I’m in need of a dose of escapism.
His maps tell a story using personal notes, photos and a full colour map to recreate a special trip. Based on a Travelpod diary I compiled while travelling, he quickly created this incredible pictorial representation of our trip. I love it!
What a great memento to add to the collection of maps adorning my office walls!
I tried desperately to find a tool to map our journey before we left, but found them all a little too cookie cutter, with limited options for personalisation. Scott’s service overcomes this, as he can add photos of your choice, which really bring to life your cherished memories.
So where did he find the inspiration for this idea?
Scott’s story started when he wanted to create a memento of his own special trip. He spent his final college semester in London, and from there travelled extensively through Scotland, Wales, and Europe.
He turned that trip into a map, which became the envy of his friends, who then wanted one for themselves.
His service is very customer centric. He asks potential customers to provide background information so he can create a draft map, which can then be tweaked until it reflects their vision. Only once they are happy with the end result, will Scott send them a link for payment, meaning that if you aren’t 100% satisfied, you simply don’t pay.
He assures me that that doesn’t happen, and I can believe him, because he works so collaboratively with his customers that they get exactly what they want.
I didn’t really know what to expect when I started chatting with Scott, but was delighted with his interpretation of my trip. I love the way I can see all my destinations in one place with commentary, which can be changed to suit my preferences. ‘
So if you are planning a round the world trip, a fabulous honeymoon or an extended voyage and would like to immortalise it in pictures, get in touch with Scott on Twitter or Facebook, and be sure to share his creations with us afterwards. Who knows, it might be inspiration for someone else’s next big trip!
You can save 10% by entering TravelTheGlobe as a code at checkout too!
If you know any other travel or map junkies, please feel free to share this with them too. Meanwhile I’ll go back to planning my next NY Eve escape…any ideas anyone?