travel musings

Clazz’s 2017 Challenges: July Update

Aaaaand it’s already August. I feel like this is a running theme for my monthly updates, but it’s true! Considering how little I’ve actually achieved in the past month, I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone. And so, without further ado… my successes and failures bared to all.

Make £50 £100 on side hustles

As usual, I’ve wiped this clean. My market research job alone has earned me around £420. This is set to seriously slow down soon though, as most of my shifts have been interviewing cruise ship passengers. I’m going away for almost two weeks this month (ACTUALLY GOING AWAY! FINALLY! Yay!) and there are very few cruises stopping in September. So while my work life has been manically accelerated, I think it was worth taking advantage of it while I could.

Actually, I’m pretty sure that’s all I’ve earned this month. But considering that’s four times my target, well, I’m not complaining.

TOTAL: £420


Get fitter

Honestly, I’ve been doing my usual walks but nothing else, and no big ones (meanwhile, my colleague walked 20 miles yesterday. Whatever!!). I’m seriously failing on this one which is really disappointing me.

I haven’t even discovered any new places this month, apart from Happy Valley and the Broch Of Borwick (which I had never even heard of). Here’s a photo of me looking ridiculous, crawling through the tiny “doorway”!


My neighbour also took me to Minehowe which I remember being excavated about 15 years ago but I didn’t even know was still open (because I guess it’s not – it’s barely even signposted and isn’t really maintained). It’s a mystery hole in the ground with 29 stone steps leading down into it, which was surprisingly dark and creepy. Plus we had this massive butch bull watching our every move from the next field over, which was also creepy (I’m saying that as a farm girl born and bred).


Read 50 books / write for another publication

Ha. Ha ha. I have actually managed to read a little bit this month, somehow amongst everything else. I’m currently reading a Dean Koontz book and although I like his writing style (I totally understand why people don’t, though), I’m struggling to wrap my head around some of it at the moment because my mind is everywhere. I definitely need to pick up something more lighthearted. I have a couple of books on my list for while we’re away so hopefully I’ll make some headway.

The GOOD news is, I compiled a huge list of things to do in Orkney, and it became wildly popular locally. In fact, within half an hour of posting it, I was asked if I mind it being featured in next year’s tourism magazine. The one that thousands and thousands of visitors read every year, and it’ll be in there for a full year! I asked if there are any other opportunities to contribute articles to the magazine, and I’m excited to come up with a few more feature ideas!


Learn something new

You know what’s really depressing? I’m actually LIVING with a German girl at the moment and I haven’t learned any German from her. I just haven’t had the time to concentrate on Duolingo, and even more annoyingly, I’ve had a couple of opportunities to talk to people in German and I’ve totally gone blank and then made up entire conversations in my head afterwards. I have the knowledge, it’s just frustrating that I can’t seem to put it to use (it’s a confidence thing, of course).

Other things?

So what HAVE I been doing?! Well, actually, I haven’t stopped.

I worked 19 out of 21 days at one point (I haven’t checked the month as a whole), and in the last two weeks I’ve done surveying almost every day. We’ve hosted couchsurfers almost constantly with just five days “off” in July. When I do have a free moment, I’ve tried to see friends or explore. I didn’t open my laptop for almost a week.

One of our couchsurfers has actually rented out her room for a few weeks, which is awesome! We’ve had some really cool surfers this month too. We had some middle-aged French ladies who WALKED from France (well, plus ferries). We had an awesome American girl who we had loads of fun with. We had a bubbly French girl who was a complete hoot – so fresh and funny, and she made us some amaaaazing pesto. And for the last couple of days we’ve had a guy from New Zealand who performs magic tricks! He’s an August one, but he deserves a mention.

My neighbour also hosts people so we’ve done a couple of trips out together showing people around, which has been lots of fun. And he’s shown me a new place, I’ve shown him a new place. But I’m not gonna lie – it’s been exhausting with everything else going on!


Here are my other goals that I added in last month, just to make myself feel either better or worse:

re-edit my best travel photos to print – well, I haven’t done this yet… I really need to break this down into sections and tackle one section at a time
make 2-3 Pinterest images per week – like I said in my last post, I don’t use Canva for these so it’s going to take a while, but I’ve made a couple
sort out my emails – I mean, I thought I was getting on top of this but now it’s back to what it was a month ago. It’s an ongoing battle, don’t judge me, people
sell all my junk – alright, well I haven’t actually sold anything yet but I have taken a lot of photos (which aren’t actually on my laptop yet because remember when I said I didn’t open my laptop for a week?) and condensed a lot of it down so it’s taking up less bloody space
don’t buy any new clothes for the rest of the year – I actually achieved something I said I would! I bought sportswear from Lidl for super cheap, and haven’t worn any of it yet. I got sports leggings and a bra top; maybe I’ll put it to use soon.
make more of an effort to see friends – it’s been really, really hard to find any time whatsoever, but I have seen a handful of friends this month (outside of my close friends).

Can I add a new goal? Actually have some “me time”!! And that includes reading books. In fact, it especially includes reading books.

I’ve also been achieving a few things on my Orkney list that I hadn’t yet. For example:

I tackled the Stenness Monster! And conquered the beast! My name’s even going on the wall. YES!


I visited the Ness Of Brodgar. This is the main archaeological dig going on in Orkney at the moment and could uncover lots about the mystery of the neolithic people and the community that could potentially make Orkney the “ancient capital of Britain” (thanks for that title, BBC!). I went for the open day, caught the very last tour by literally a couple of minutes, and it was really interesting. I know lots of people working on the dig, including our housemate, so I’ve been hearing lots about it!

I finally stopped and said hello to the woolly pigs. I drive past these guys all the time but never actually stop. They are so cute and hairy! They’re Mangalica (or Mangalitza) pigs from Hungary. Just another of Orkney’s curiosities – and they’re definitely curious. They came straight over to say hi, no hesitation!

One of my greatest discoveries this month was, like many things these days, courtesy of Netflix. Despite having a list the length of my arm of TV shows we need to watch some time in our lives, I put on something we’d never even heard of just because it looked silly and lighthearted (most of our list is drama and I am way too tired for that right now). Was I right or WHAT?! Enter: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

It’s about a totally crazy girl who gets overly excited about everything and wears bright clothes and gets into the most ridiculous situations. Basically: it’s a documentary about ME. (If I had ever been kidnapped and locked in a bunker for 15 years and then started a new life for myself in NYC. Luckily neither of those things have happened.)

That’ll do for my ramblings this month. I’ve got to be up at silly o’clock tomorrow for two back-to-back shifts at work, and another couchsurfer has just turned up.


Have you got any travel plans this month? I’d love to hear them!

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