My Christmas Abroad – Christmas Eve

This will be a TWO part series.
Many of you, my few readers dotted around the world – HELLO, FROM THE OTHERSIDE, – will have spent Christmas at home with your family every year since you were born. Some may have had circumstances that disrupted your traditional Christmas celebrations but even fewer would have been in another country over the festive period. Did I mention that I have?

A brief back story: In 2010 myself and a girlfriend of the time embarked on a 3 week Road Trip around South Africa. Starting in Johannesburg and driving to Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, up to Kimberley and returning back to Johannesburg. As you may have guessed this was over the Christmas period.

Sitting and writing this brings some memories back both good and bad and I can tell you this time was one of the hardest times I’ve ever had to experience BUT an experience I would never change.

So Christmas 2010 was in Durban, South Africa. To be quite honest I had no idea we would be in Durban over Christmas so there was no real run up to Christmas feeling.

Christmas Eve 2010

So if any of you know me will have likely heard one of my favourite stories of the whole trip. Something that could have quite easily been an absolute disaster.
Durban has a beautiful beach and this was our 2nd day here so as you would expect a beach visit was over due. We parked the car, walked along the beach front and chose a spot to sit. It was swimming time but the issue was there was only two of us which had to mean our stuff would be left alone. I was sceptical of leaving the bag and towels which had almost all of our important belongings in it: the car keys, phone, her passport, money and so on. As my ex walked down to the water and I hesitatingly followed a short time after only a mere minute or two after I had walked away a small child had run along and grab the bag…

It was all a blur really I saw a child running and towels in the air. Shouting down to the beach front “He’s grabbed our bag!” (or something along those lines) and just losing sight of him in the crowds.
As you could imagine a rush of shock, anger and emotions raged through the pair of us a hunt pursued. She, my ex, walked one way and I stood there helplessly lost in a country where I knew 1 person properly. So I passed looking around to see if I could see the child. 

No LUCK… for about 30 minutes (give or take).

But this is a somewhat happy ending. As I walked off up to the main road in a state of confusion with “WHAT THE HELL DO I DO NOW?” running through my mind over and over. Whilst my ex still no where to be seen in the other direction. A large burly man police man native to South Africa shouted at me. *Its important to stress that up until this point that I have only heard of corruption in South Africa*

I have to say at this point you miss out on my beautiful version of his accent.
He goes:

Police officer: “HEY YOU, IS THIS YOUR BAG”
Me: *absolutely stunned and sheepishly responded* “yes! yes it is!”

However it is to say I was confused as he did not only have the bag but he had someone in hand cuffed next to him but it was NOT the child I saw. The exchange continues:

Police officer: “What is in your bag?”
Me: *Lists off all the items I can think of…*
Police officer: “Is this the man who stole it?”
Me: “No, it was a boy”

THE BAG HAD ALL OUR BELONGING’S

To cut this short as I’m sure you have read enough by this point. I found my ex and the exchange continues.  The police officer was insisting that we pressed charges against the man as he was connected to a gang that use children to steal and then hand off items to them. This was not an option as it could have taken TWO weeks to sort out and we had places to be.

To round out this long winded post. This is a story that I can only say was a crazy highlight of mine as you could not have made it up. Had I not walked up to the road then that police officer may never have found me and this could have quite easily ruined the trip. ALAS it did not.
I do hope you enjoyed this part 1 to “My Christmas Abroad – Christmas Eve” Edition and hope you return for the actual Christmas Day events in part 2.

Thanks for reading,
TheMichaelJoseph.

Road Trip 2016: Where Am I Going?

So you’ve found yourself here on this post maybe because you read my previous post about Where in the world should I go? If you haven’t read the previous post then do but if you already have then thank you for coming back to find out more!

I mentioned a trip that was confirmed for Summer 2016 well, as the title suggests, its a Road Trip! I’m no stranger to road trips and have done my fair share of United Kingdom based trips but I have also done 3 weeks in South Africa back in 2010. (Ill save that for another post.)

Have I kept you hanging long enough yet? Well as you are reading this fine little blog of mine – if I do say so myself – then ill let you into a little secret. I’m going to AMERICA. 

I sat and pondered where I should go for months now whether it was America, Australia, Thailand, Japan and even to spend a month interrailing across Europe but some fantastic individuals from different travel agencies (STA Travel, Trek America and so on) helped me reach the out come.

That’s it I’m off to America in Summer 2016. Keep an eye out for a future post giving more detail on the trip itself including length and destinations.

If you have been on a trip with Trek America OR have done a road trip around/across or anywhere in America then feel free to comment about it or link me to your blog – if you have one. I’d love to hear about it.

Thanks,
TheMichaelJoseph

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Where in the world should I go? 

So it’s gets quite real when you talk to someone about going travelling but I have really kept it quiet. Not sure why in all honesty but was just nice to keep to myself.

After what feels like forever trying to find a travel companion and having no luck – due to people having other life commitments – I have taken the time to realise that what I want won’t happen if I wait around for it to happen. So I’m changing that. I’m making it happen and I’m going big.

I’m travelling the world one bit at a time. I have trips in mind – as every budding traveller does – and one confirmed trip for Summer 2016.

Where do YOU want to go in 2016? What trips have you got planned?

TheMichaelJoseph.

Throwback is coming…

It’s been a long time since my last post partly because I haven’t been able to complete the posts I start and also I’ve just lost the way with blogging.

This year has been a long and winding road with every corner bringing something new. I’ve made choices that – to some – may seem silly or wrong but I’ve also made them on my own accord at what felt right at the time.

Over the next month or so as we come up to 2016 I’ll be – or I should say TRY to be – taking time to write about these choices and what 2015 has thrown at me. So if you do choose to take the time to stick with me and read the tales and adventures then you’re more than welcome to if not then no worries be on your way and enjoy life.

Thanks,
TheMichaelJoseph.

Thoughts on: Destiny on PS4 – I return from a hiatus. 

I previously wrote an post on my thoughts on destiny, found here: Thoughts on: Destiny on PS4 original post, and it was my thoughts on destiny to that date. Id loved it. Clocking numerous amount of hours on it that Id rather not say… It’s a lot.

Well I got three characters, two levels 32s and one with the potential to be 32, and a whole host of exotics and legendary guns to support a small army. I finally managed to beat the dark below – CROTAAAAA – on hard mode and after doing it a few times on each character for a few weeks I felt Id accomplished everything to that point so I took a hiatus. 

Well that was now two months ago now and I have returned. Simply to test to my luck with the loot system and drops from night falls. However after helping a friend on the dark below raid… I found myself wanting to get something new. I was after Flawless Raider. The last trophy I needed to get a platinum. 

After 3 days of being back on and getting the feel for the raid again it was time to get my trophy game on. Grouped up with some friends we took a few attempts and were on a nice run for one of them…. But we didn’t lock out fire team and therefore a random joined and spawned in… Dead. That’s the raid run over. Group called quits at that point we didn’t want to over do it and had things to do.

I took another attempt later and this time with one other person. We dominated the raid even with a few of Crotas glitchy moments he went down and the trophy unlocked. I have new confidence in the ability to take less into the raid now and am certain with a bit of time and practice more of my friends will be able to share in the greatness of a platinum. 

A game worth the platinum with a mix of story related trophies and online related. Destiny was (and is…) worth the money.

  

Thoughts on: Assassins Creed Unity

Taking a turn for the revolution in Paris, France. The next edition to the assassins creed franchise allows you start start young with a, I could be wrong, 3 mission introduction which I thought was very pleasing. I look forward to playing through the games missions.

I’m a fan of Les Mis so walking the streets whilst the riots build allow for a real feel of that time. The naturally beautiful game allowing a scenic view to make the climbs to the highest points worth it.

I, personally, have not come across any bugs so far however a friend on PS4 has had many error codes pop up causing missions to not save and a need to restart the game a common occurrence. Along with this I gave the coop with him and again his luck was down with the inability to kill any enemies therefore leaving him almost useless to the co op mission.

As for the Xbox one well my brother recently got an Xbox one and well to put it simply he has to reinstall the game after EVERY mission and this can take hours… Not a good start for that console it seems.

So overall I’ve only touched the surface and there’s a lot more to delve into but as any other assassins creed the game will no doubt be shared and passed round before taking its place on the shelf. There’s plenty of games to play and I’m in no rush.

Do you enter competitions? #4

The fourth entry to what seems like a series of these posts. Huzzah! We have trend here at themichaeljoseph. What’s the trend you may find yourself asking?

Well to put it simply… I’m a winner.

…again!

Yeah this time I entered a competition via twitter with @scuzztv. It was a simple RT to win scenario and so I did. Next day first thing I see is Scuzz now following me on twitter followed by a DM (Direct Message).

The prize? Well, as seen below, two tickets to see SleepWave at the barfly in London.

So go forth and enter to increase your chances to win!

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Thoughts on: Far Cry 4

The Far Cry series grabbed my attention back when the Xbox 360 first launched in the UK. Reason why? Simply because it was one of the few games I had come across with enough people playing the online modes which – at the time – were fun. (During this time barely anyone had an xbox 360 and it still didn’t till approx 1 and half years later).

Then along came Far Cry 3 in 2012. Now this was a game that took the characteristics to the next level. Creating an enemy that everyone loved – much like Loki in the Avengers everyone loves a bad guy. The story was decent and the free roam aspect across the jungles and beaches and using nothing but Bow and Arrow stealth techniques during missions and side missions just MADE the game great – for me.

So what’s the difference on Far Cry 4? Well after getting the Platinum trophie on the PS4 I can say the game took me around 28 hours (including times I was away from the game). The story was good but not great with the choices between two characters for story missions allowing different style missions aka the guns blazing or stealthy approach. You can guess which one I went for…
Unfortunately I feel the game, as beautiful as it is, just didn’t live up to the hype of Vaas. Indeed a good game and I would recommend it but the re-playability for me just isn’t there in the Far Cry game series. Once the end mission is over well I guess there’s collectables but after awhile that takes its toll.

– So YES go buy this game and play it.
– Share it with your friends let them experience the world of Kyrat.
– Then in all honesty – once that platinum – trophie shows sell it on.

That’s my thoughts. What’s yours?

Thoughts on: Destiny on PS4

A bit of Halo, a bit of Borderlands and I can’t see any Call of Duty. I love it.

Seriously though my thoughts on Destiny are as much as you would expect. Its an huge universe based game that has masked loading screens with the ship floating through space… this isn’t to be focused on though. You have a whole range of weapons and armour with tiers to keep you interested and your character fresh. A repetitive, but fun, raid aspect which you aim to defeat the hive and their bosses to level up, pod racers… well not quite but it feels like you are in star wars! and so much more.

I’m happy with what I purchased and would recommend to others its definitely one that the companies, BUNGIE & Activision, have successful marketed and campaigned. This game to be the biggest game of the year without any competition. Lets hope they update it through the coming year or so rather than putting it on a 1 year life cycle.

Highlight of the game so far?

Finding a large purple ball that you can run around the tower with and watching people chase it! And coincidently finding a football too (but that I found courtesy of the internet)

Oh and not forgetting fighting Phogoth which was one of the best boss battles I’ve played in a game in a long time. The length of time it took to kill that boss was insane but needless to say we danced after killing it. VICTORY DANCE.

Do you enter competitions #3?

A reoccurring theme in my blog it seems. Competitions is defined as: the activity or condition of striving to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others.

Now lets look over the past few months of what has been won in the past 5 months, not all by myself, that I have been fortunate to take part in including
– free tea and cakes,
– free iPad Mini,
– free trek america trip (in the UK) with 5 friends,
– travel to Amsterdam, courtesy of Eurolines, also including two shows to performances at Amsterdam Fringe Festival
– £500 off a On The Go Tour to Turkey for 2015.

So would I have been fortunate enough to participate in these adventures had I not or my S.O (significant other)entering the competitions in the first place… No. Of course not as you have to be in it to win it.

It is as simple as that if you enter a competition you increase your chances of winning by 100% – a phrase I am often heard saying during work. So my question to you… why haven’t you taken that chance!?