Do Something Different

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten” Tony Robbins

I’m the type of person who likes to live life to the fullest and make the most of every day.  If I could, I’d travel the world, see every corner of the earth and do everything out there there is to do, but sometimes, with a mortgage, bills to pay and a full time job that can be a bit difficult.  I was getting fed up of having the same routine – wake up, work, home, eat, sleep, with the occasional night out or trip to the cinema and I wanted to do something more exciting around the normality of a routine life.

So at the beginning of the year I decided that I was going to enjoy myself as much as possible by doing something different at least once a month.  That was it.  Easy.  Didn’t matter what it was, how big or small, how close to home or how far away, as long as it was something that I hadn’t done before.  And the amount of things that suddenly sprung to mind had me reaching for my notepad.  New places I wanted to visit, foods I wanted to try, things I’d wanted to do for ages but hadn’t got around to.  I ended up with a great big list which just keeps getting longer.  And, of course, this is something that the husband and anyone else could easily be dragged into!

So here are the highlights of what has been a great year so far…

January – Harry Potter Studio Tour

Being the huge Potterhead that I am, this was right up at the top of the list.  The tour is in a studio just outside of London where all the movies were filmed and you are taken on a journey through the world of Harry Potter including walking through Diagon Alley, riding on a broomstick, finding out how scenes were created and trying some utterly delicious butterbeer.  We had one of the first tour times of the day but I still had to be practically dragged out of there as I spent so long looking around in wonder and then, obviously, ages picking up goodies in the gift shop!  The tour was simply – and there’s no other word for it – magical.

February – Up at the O2

The O2 is only 15 minutes from where I live so this was something we just couldn’t miss.  Suited up in a jump suit, hiking shoes and harnessed on, we had a steep but easy climb up to the very top and an even steeper climb down.  But once up at the top, the climb is totally worth it.  Living in London I feel like I sometimes take this great city for granted, but with the 360 degree view over London, especially at sunset, it can’t fail to impress you.

March – Auschwitz

Somewhere I think should be a compulsory trip for school kids, Auschwitz was both interesting yet terrifying.  I don’t really know how to put our day here into words.  I can’t say it was a great trip or give it a 5 star review as it wasn’t great.  It was a like a chilling horror story and a real life one at that.  The fact that we also went at a time when it was freezing cold and the ground was covered in snow only made it seem worse thinking about how the innocent were here, just decades before, in these conditions.  Despite the sombre mood that the long day left us in, it is an extremely interesting day.  You learn an awful lot and it will definitely send you away with a new appreciation for life and will hopefully send out the message that nothing like this should ever happen again.

April – hiking in the Polish mountains

At this time of year I wasn’t expecting there to be quite as much snow in Poland, but Zakopane, a little town nestled in the mountains in Southern Poland was completely covered in it.  We took a cable car up to the top of one of the mountains to where the skiers would start off but there was so much snow up there and so many low clouds in the air that all you could see was bright white everywhere.  If someone was more than a few feet away from me they faded into the white, and at one point it felt like I was completely alone miles up in the air.  We did find another mountain that wasn’t quite as high and we managed to do some hiking along this but the small, charming town along with the cloudy mountains made this quite a magical place.

May – My little Effie

I’m very much an animal person and missed not having one around the house.  But only I could go and get myself one of the strangest pets you can have…an African Pygmy hedgehog.  She’s tiny, spiky and her nose constantly sniffs around the place like a dog.  She’s a bit of a grumpy little thing and often huffs at me when I try to wake her up and curls up into a ball but she is the most adorable and funny little thing who loves to curl up and fall asleep on my lap.

June – Big IF Campaign

Since doing volunteer work in Africa, I’ve started taking part in and contributing a lot more in charities and volunteering.  The Big IF campaign was a huge event in Hyde Park to encourage people and world leaders to take action in tackling global hunger, with lots of charities involved.  It was a great day with thousands of people coming together for the cause, planting spinning flowers for every child who goes without food and with speakers such as Bill Gates and Danny Boyle you couldn’t help but be inspired.

July – London Zoo Lates

Being a volunteer at London Zoo, I was able to get myself and some friends discount tickets for the Zoo Lates that are on throughout the summer when the zoo opens its doors in the evening.  There are bars, street food stalls and lots of entertainment and, although I don’t really think alcohol and animals mix too well (plenty of drunk people have been told off for trying to feed the monkeys!), as long as you don’t have too much alcohol you shouldn’t end up getting yourself bitten by anything!  Dancing at a silent disco next to an enclosure full of hippos is quite an experience!

August – Tunisia

A trip to Tunisia took us to El Jem, the third largest amphitheatre in the world.  I’d never been to an amphitheatre before and I have to say I was awe-struck.  The ruins and the ­­­arena that would have seated 35,000 spectators meant you could just imagine scenes like those from Gladiator taking place inside and, sure enough, I even heard a few Maximus quotes as I was walking round!

September – Open-air cinema

This was something I’d wanted to do for a while and finally got the chance earlier this month.  The Nomad Cinema pops up around different locations in London every summer showing a wide range of films.  We opted to see When Harry Met Sally, as a good rom-com sounded like it would make the perfect movie for this kind of thing.  It was shown on the pretty lawn at Fulham Palace and there was a pop up bar, a pizza oven and a popcorn stall, because obviously you can’t watch a movie without popcorn.  The warm night and atmosphere was just perfect with everyone sitting on the grass on picnic blankets, with drinks and snacks, and the light-hearted film made for a perfect night.

There have also been lots of other things I’ve done including joining book clubs and classes, trying new restaurants, food and drinks, getting a new job, boogieing in an 80’s nightclub with my husband and making some new (and fantastic) friends.  Oh and of course – starting this blog!

So, what other adventures have I got planned for the rest of the year?  Well apart from adding a new country and lots of new experiences to the list with our trip to India in December, at the moment I don’t have anything planned for October and November.  So if anyone has any ideas or suggestions please throw them my way!  The crazier, the wackier, the bigger, the better, and I’ll be sure to keep you updated on all my other new experiences.

If you’re bored of your routine life why not give this idea a try.  It doesn’t take much time or money and the amount of things you can do, even in your own town, is limitless.  It certainly makes life a whole lot more fun.

11 thoughts on “Do Something Different

  1. Michael Huxley says:

    What an amazing post, I absolutely agree! Life is about filling it up with as much as you can, and that isnt always about the grand adventures. I love taking gap and snap years, and I do take them a lot. But those times -such as now – where I have to stay stationary for work I still try and fill with new experiences and mini adventures!

    And I loved the Harry Potter studio tour too! It is an amzing experience and completely underated. Oh and I agree about the idiots drinking alcohol in the zoo! They should be banned!

    • Ayla says:

      Same, I much prefer travelling for longer periods but when that’s not possible you just have to try and make the most of it at home. You can come to HP with me and InnocentNomad next year! 😉

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