You are relaxed and more likely to be yourself. If you really want something and it is your sole focus you tend to try hard and that can quite easily come across and needy and desperate. However if you are more casual and non-plussed in your approach you can actually come across more suitable and well rounded person.

Not trying your best is not something that I would advocate however I have had several successes when this is the case.

Everybody wants to be cat

Forgive me for drawing on my own experience however when applying for my placement year I put my absolute all in to somewhere between 50 and 100 job applications of those many became interview that involved early starts, overnight stays, days of prepping presentations and many hours spent on the train across the country.

Toward the end feeling disheartened  and running out of time not having found a job, I continued the hunt but realised that it should not be at the expense of completing that years course work. Application became haphazard and send off without extra proof reading. I almost declined interview and the preparation was not taken seriously. This is all leading up to my interview for my placement with Microsoft. Two days before was the university clubs and societies ball, The day before was a day hungover on the sofa researching Microsoft. The actual day was almost missing the train and then spending the time between assessment activities and interviews reading through my latest coursework draft.

All of these factors added up to me thinking that I should not be there and that I am in no way going to be offered a decent position this late in the game. Because of this during the interview with, who turned out to be my hiring manager, I sat back in my chair and was able to have a very casual, open and honest conversation covering the basic stuff whist enjoying discussing our common interests in technology.

This has happened several times since, rushed and non plussed application have landed me interviews and I have heard similar stories from friends.

I often hear on the news tennis players recounting how they tend to do well when they go out to just have fun and not focus on the winning, wild card players beat or come close to winning against high seeds and world champions.

To sign off I’m going to quote Val Wilder – “Don’t take life to seriously you will never get out alive.”

My sister was typing this as I dictated so any out of place sentences are accredited to her.

 

Relax and the answers will come. I remember reading this once. 

If you have an idea or though that escapes you and you try really hard that it does not come back. Try some arbitrary activity that can completely take your mind off it and you will be surprised how likely it is that it will come back to you.

Try reading, watching tv, a conversation with a friend on an unrelated topic.

If you also can’t remember something, try working your way through the alphabet, this is a technique particularly treated to name, people and places e.t.c.

 

Returning home I have a taste for new things.

Whilst I was away I, whenever I spoke to my mother I was always asked what my first meal would be when I got back. I think she missed looking after me. Anyway I was never sure because the food in China was so good. However after a while I began to miss the simple things, like beans on toast and cereal.

However on returning home I found I was not really interested in those things anymore. But I had acquired a taste for things I didn’t like anymore. White Wine, cider. This may be due to overdosing on rubbish chinese beer. I’m really into drinks with a sharper taste!

I also realised how rubbish english food is in particular fast food or food on the go. No more are the days of a quick healthy bowl of noodles with soup or a rice meal for about £1, but expensive sandwiches, salads with unhealthy dressings or expensive cafe/restaurants for lunch that you know you could do better yourself at home.

After having a diet almost void of wheat and dairy products, I find it hard to consume them in the quantity that I guess I used to. I try to keep fit so it is not completely a health issue but I don’t feel I should be eating them all day every day in one form or another. But looking at our food it it easy to see why it is hard to avoid. My solution cook at home and take food, not always convenient but for the odd time it is not you can make the exception.

 

These are my thoughts after spending a year in China do you have a similar experience to share?

 

 

 

 

 

“What do guys who have mid-life crises do? They buy a red Porsche and date a woman half their age. Well, we can’t afford a Porsche and dating a woman half our age would land us in jail. Solution? Date an older woman and borrow her Porsche (Kenneth Suna).”

This title first popped into my head when some friends of mine that are couple of years older then me arrived at 25/26 and decided to do something completely different with their lives, quitting their longterm job infavor of starting their own business utilising their skills and passions or uprooting for a fresh start in a new location. I coined this a quarter life crisis because I have decided that I and the people around my age are going to live to at least 100 without much extra effort. That said don’t always spread out what you want to do accordingly.

Now, because I forgot about this and did not have the motivation to write about this when I though of it I have come across an article on the same topic written by someone else. However I still feel I have something to add but will give credit where credit is due.http://www.primermagazine.com/2011/live/quarter-life-crisis-2

This is a motivator to get on and do something. As written in the article if you have have a good idea get on and do it. the example in Kenneth Suna’s article is the business idea you have now (when you were 25), instead of Procrastinating get on and do it so you don’t look back disappointed when you are 50.

Walk before you can run, things work out and can take time but make a start today. Sit back take stock, see what you want to achieve what needs to be done now and what can wait until later . If later things are not going to be so easy later on e.g. long term travel (not impossible) do that now and save the house and fucking big television until later.

Something else I keep coming across in motivational articles is trying to be too perfect by doing so there is a chance you will never get started. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take and your worst attempt is better than no attempt at all (Wayne Gretzky I believe and taken from a MARC CHERNOFF POST RESPECTIVELY). I remember a university letcturer repeating the line. Let’s shoot for the stars but if we only get to the moon that is ok.

The point I want to make is that changing is ok and by taking the leap and being out of your comfort zone you may find what you have been looking for, or the courage to get what you really want.

 

 

 

 

This is a mountain near the the Chinese city of Xi’an. An unplanned impromptu trip lead to a great cultural experience, some new friends and very achy legs! Photos are on Flickr

After a thrilling two days exploring 西安, visiting the Muslim quarter, the Terracotta Army and cycling around the city walls, I decided to head for 华山 as recommended by a friend of mine.

Monday afternoon I depart Xi’an train station for the famous, Hua Shan with some new Chinese friends!

 

We entered the mountain gates around 19.30 on Monday evening and began the long walk to the top, up very steep steps with treacherous falls on each side, surrounded by thousands of other people eager to see the sunrise (only in China). Very slowly we shuffled our way to the top, one step at a time.

We arrived at the East Peak summit and 3am, a gruelling 7 hours later. This left us enough time to curl up on the freezing cold ground for a couple of hours much needed rest.

We were able to celebrate China’s National Day by watching the sunrise from the east peak around 6am. I felt really privileged to experience this moment and very important part of Chinese culture.

The following morning, we took a few groups photos and I parted ways with my new friends as they had an earlier train to catch.

This morning, I was greeted with clear skies. Once the crowds had parted I headed off to explore the South and West peaks by myself. I got talking to many other people as I wondered around, many of them amazed to so see a lone foreigner exploring and eager to know how I discovered this place. I caught sight of one other European face during the day and on my decent made friends with a couple of Americans on a day trip.

 

Around 2pm I received a message from my friends saying that it took them 6 hours to get off the mountain. At this point I had been sat still for an hour in a long que. It was another hour before we started moving. All in all it also took me 6 hours to get off the mountain. Everyone that went up had to come down a day later, exhausted and sleep deprived.

 

Although I got to see all sides of the mountain, when I got to the bottom I discovered I had descended to the other side of the North peak I started from, and had to do the 7km walk out of the park because the buses had all broken down.

 

By the time I exited the park it was 8pm, a full 24 hours later. This was an exhausting expedition and my legs took almost a week to recover from all the steps, but it was well worth it, to see the ‘nature documentary’ sunrise with thousands of Chinese people all celebrating National Day, a once in a lifetime experience.

I blogged the start of my adventure to China last year (2012). This, was promptly halted buy lack of access to WordPress inside the great fire wall of China. Back in the UK with some time to catch up I will endeavour to start posting some of the ideas and thoughts from the last year.

 

With only one night here we really had to cram it in! Thanks to Adam Winkler (The Local) for all the tips!

Enter Adam (With a few additions…)

Thursday 5th July 2012:

A canal tour is a must. There are 2 different tour operators, where one is half price. This one is called Nettobådene, compared to the other one (The ‘Canal Tours’ chain). Both are centrally placed (close to the parliament), but if you ask locals, they will tell you. Remember to purchase a 6 pack for the ride and “mind your head”!

Everything in Copenhagen is within walking distance, and it’s a great city just to walk around in. See the castle(s), the parliament, the little mermaid, perhaps buy your way into the Tivoli Gardens Theme Park.

An interesting street just to stroll down, perhaps shop a bit, and just get a good feel, is Nørrebrogade, that runs from pretty much center of town and quite far out. This area has a lot of students living here and is quite multi ethnic. You will also find quite a few bars and cheap restaurant here (especially in some of the small side streets). Another place for fun bars is Istedgade, where porn was liberated back in the 60’s. Fun place as well!

What about restaurants and places to eat? Copenhagen is quite expensive, but it is possible to find some good spots, at fairly low cost. A nice concept place are a number of restaurants under the “chain” Madklubben (the food club). They only have a Danish website, but all 8 restaurants have English menus (otherwise – Google translate): http://www.madklubben.info. We picked the main one and this chain comes highly recommended now!

Heading into Thursday evening we referred to our favourite guide the http://www.worldsbestbars.com/
For a great cocktail and a mini adventure finding the front door check out http://rby.dk/

If you are after more, for clubbing ask for the area of Kødbyen (the meat packing district), which has a number of bars/clubs.

Friday 6th July 2012:

Of course, a tour to the hippie town of Christiania (where selling Mariuanna takes place in the open), is a fun experience. Budding photographers be warned, no photos here, make sure you have a bag to stow your gear.

Outside of Christiania the area of Christianshavn is fantastic, it’s my (Adam) favorite area in Copenhagen. Nice harbor side, and just a nice atmosphere.

On the 6th of July, the Copenhagen Jazz festival began – so we caught some of the free outdoor concerts: http://www.jazz.dk. Here we met Patrick Hansen and Martin Larsen. We hit the capitals obligatory Irish Pub before seeking out a last minute whisky at The Jane. It does cocktails and clubbing and has a good rep. Located on Grå Brødre Torv.

All this before a last minuite pit stop in 7eleven for some beer and beer snacks for the overnight Train to Stockholm. The Journey Continues…

Accommodation: Copenhagen Downtown is a great location between the train station and town.

Getting Around: Everything is in walking distance or you can buy a ticket for the hop on hop off boat tours.