Getting a dog instead of having a child – A Comparison.

Dog versus Child. Could child substitutes be the answer to human overpopulation?

I have written this article as an exploration of the idea that people could choose to have a dog rather than have children. It seems almost certain that unless we solve  the looming human overpopulation crisis the future of people born at the present time will be very grim.  There are too many humans for the planet to support. We could limit ourselves voluntarily now or let the people alive in the near future  suffer the decline of the human race which seems inevitable. The question is not “if” but “when” will the shit hit the fan?    The dystopian future is just around the corner.  Maybe you should rush out , buy extra dried beans and learn how to make a hobo stove.

I have never wanted children and have always continued to be very happy with my decision especially when spending time with friends who did have children.  About 4 years ago I got a dog and I have undergone a lot of the emotional bonding processes that I assume happens when people have children. I have a gooey emotional “aaaaah” reflex when watching my dog run around, I fantasize about   attacking anyone who would dare to hurt my dog. I imagine that my dog is the best and most attractive dog in the world. These must be the instinctual  feelings and responses that are designed  to make humans look after a child.  This has led me to believe that for some people a dog could act as a child substitute. If enough people chose child substitutes it may alleviate the overpopulation crisis. With the advent of AI we could also develop robotic Tamagotchi like creatures similar to K9 on Doctor Who which would satisfy the need to have children in a much more ecological and convenient way.   In the 80’s there was an expression “fuck dancing, let’s fuck” Nowadays it could be “fuck children, let’s get a dog”.

The following is a comparison of the realities of having a dog and having a child.  I am sure that the text below will be offensive to some people but it is just reality in the way that I see it. I respect the right of people to have children and I believe that if it very unlikely  that the human race is a viable concern at the present population  level even if we do all get dogs it is already too late.

Cost: Although most dogs do not live to be 18 years old to make a comparison we will make calculations based on 18 years. Many years ago most children would get a job and start paying for themselves at 18 but in many countries children will continue to be a drain on resources until they leave home and get married which could be up to 30 years old or even never.

Cost of getting a dog to 18 years.

$1000 first year $700 afterwards
So $1000 + $11900 = $12 900.

Cost of getting a child to 18 years.
Calculating the cost of bringing up a child is incredibly complicated. I just went to 5 or 6 big websites and made an average of their figures.

Child – $300,000

Cost Conclusion:
Having a dog is much cheaper than having a child. If you get a dog rather than having a child you could spend a lot of money on yourself, buy a bigger house, get a better car etc.

Toilet training:

Dog: If you get a new puppy it will have been brought up by the mother dog for the first weeks of its life. After a very brief period it will be house trained and as long as you allow it to go out at certain times of the day it is unlikely that the dog will shit or piss inside your house.

Child: A child has effectively have no control over its bladder or bowel movements. According to some websites I looked at the average time until a baby is potty trained is between 2 and 3 years, some say it is even more. Nowadays most people use disposable nappys/diapers which is incredibly un-ecological not the mention the extremely unpleasant smell and experience of changing a baby. The average baby goes through 5,000 diapers before being potty-trained,  95 percent of these diaper end up in landfills.

Obtaining a dog or a child in the first place.

Dog: You don’t have to spend any money on buying a dog if you don’t want to, just go to the local dog pound and there will be lots of dogs for you to choose from. If you do want an exclusive designer pedigree dog to impress your friends with it could be very expensive but a cheaper pedigree like a labradoodle should not be much more than $250

Child: Maybe the child could win on this one because the easiest way to conceive is to have sex which for most people is an enjoyable activity. However 15 minutes of pleasure is followed by weeks of morning sickness and 9 months of pregnancy which by all accounts is not a walk in the park. If you are lucky childbirth will be no longer than several hours of agony and only mild disfigurement of the genitalia.

Disposability.

Dog: It is unlikely that anyone would choose to have a dog that has a health problem. However at some point a dog may develop an illness which means that it is not fun to have anymore, or the dog is suffering. In this case it is a fairly simple process to have the dog painlessly dispatched by a vet with the minimum of fuss. No depressing suffering, costly medical procedures and heartache.

Child: Having a child has an element of risk. If you are unlucky a child could turn out to have a physical or mental illness. Many people when faced with this reality behave exceptionally well. The nurturing bond is so strong that many parents will put their entire life on hold to look after an ill child. This can be very heroic, nevertheless nobody would choose to have a defective child and there is no easy solution. Euthanasia is illegal and there is no easy way out except to grin and bear it.

Long Term Benefits

Dog: Dogs don’t live that long and most dogs after 10 years old will be getting senile.  A dog will not look after you in your old age when you yourself have become senile and unable to look after yourself.

Child: If they are lucky people with children will be looked after by their offspring in their old age.  Those of us  who chose dogs will take a trip to the bottom of the garden to visit Fido’s grave but have nobody to cut the lawn on the way back.  Maybe this IS an advantage of having kids.

Health Benefits.

Dog:  If you are a lazy person the fact that a dog has to be taken out for a walk at least twice a day may seem a disadvantage however for most people the obligation to take the dog for a walk  will result in regular exercise which will result in weight control, lower cholesterol, better heart health etc.

Child: The negative effects of childbirth are too numerous to mention here but they are significant. Other problems with having children are sleepless nights,  constant worry,  increased stress,  depression, domestic isolation, relationship breakdown etc.

This article is not finished, there are several more comparisons to be made.

Emigrating to the UK from the Philippines in 1971

I have recently being exploring the idea of living without money. This has led me to volunteer in 3 different places in Spain. I have used the workaway system to find the places. At the moment I am in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain not far from Guadix. Today it is raining so we can’t work outside and I have been asked to write down some impressions of my first days in England after coming from the Philippines to work as a nurse in 1971.

Getting on a plane in Manilla

I first traveled out of the Philippines on a one way ticket 47 years ago. Like other economic migrant workers/travelers, a working visa is a surefire way of securing a kind of travel experience completely different from a normal short term holiday. I first got the idea of emigrating to England from the landlady of my bedsit in Manilla.  The  fees  necessary for the organization of the emigration to the UK was substantial so I had to obtain funds based on the ownership of a 2 hectare paddy field belonging to my family.   I paid an agency 4000 pesos to organise my flight, work visas and job in England. The flight from Manilla to Heathrow took over 24 hours and included a stop over in Hong Kong. I set off from Manilla on a hot and sweaty afternoon and arrived in England on a freezing cold Spring day on the 28th April 1971. I was with 2 other Filipino girls all in possession of work visas as nursing auxiliaries in a geriatric hospital in Maldon, Essex.

Most graduates or student nurses from my country looked to the outside world for jobs that offered higher pay than what they would normally get in the Philippines. Although the country is rich in mineral resources it is kept in poverty due to its colonial status in relation to the United States of America. The government in power at the time was headed by Ferdinand Marcos Sr and he was only looking after the interest of foreign investors who saw the country as a source of very cheap labour. Hence Filipino workers started emigrating as construction workers, domestic workers, nurses, hospital workers and other sorts of hospitality workers. As a neo-colonial country under United States of America most of our educated Filipinos went to the USA looking for greener pastures. From the late 1960s to 1970s the hospitals in England were recruiting nurses from countries like Jamaica, Philippines, China and Malaysia. Hence for the first time in my life I came across the country called England, my new country to be.

We were met at the main door of the hospital by a kind Nurse Barrett, the night nurse on duty, at 11:00 at night after getting off the last bus from Chelmsford. I felt the cold was going through my bones on that night we were walking from the bus stop to the entrance to the hospital. Nurse Barrett took us to the Villa, the nurses’ residence. There was excitement and nonstop talking till 1 in the morning meeting the other Filipino nurses (Linda, Gillian & Aida) who were already working in the hospital.

Looking after the elderly

The following day we met Miss Judd the matron of St Peters Hospital in Maldon. I found the matron very genial and helpful. She welcomed us and went through with us important things we needed to do like registering with the police station in town, our work schedule. One nurse was tasked to show us around, where to get our clean uniform and where to take dirty uniforms back, the canteen and other important aspects of the hospital. After a day of rest from traveling we started work the following day. I was assigned to work in ward P3, women’s ward where most of the patients were elderly, some suffering from dementia, some arthritic and some with general elderly ailments. I found the patients very sweet and friendly. Compared to the library work I left in Manila, my work as a nurse which included personal care of the patients, i.e putting them in the bath, bathing them, or giving them a wash in bed, getting them out of bed and putting them to bed at night time, was much harder physically though emotionally and socially rewarding. The salary was three times more than what I was getting as a Teacher Librarian in one of the big public secondary schools in Manila.

It was exciting and really nice that my co workers in the ward were so friendly and helpful, from the Sister (the nurse in-charge of the ward), the staff nurse and other nurses to the ward orderlies and cleaners. In the canteen the English food wasn’t too bad, the roast meats were tasty but a lot of the vegetable were overcooked. As a bonus a cleaner called May, and other orderlies, always saved us some food from the trolley, although we were not supposed to eat in the ward. They said that it was a crime to throw it away. The Friday fish and chips was always a treat although I found the fish a bit flat in taste compared to the fish we had in the Philippines. To begin with the food was so different from the food back home. In the ward I worked with another Filipino nurse, a Chinese nurse (Dunmok), a Jamaican nurse (Duncan), an English nurse (Kathy), Sister Cornelius, Staff Nurse Downes and Nurse Barrett.
When we were out in town we were greeted enthusiastically by our new friends/workmates if we happened to meet them in the streets. We were invited to our new friends’ houses for tea and taken to the strawberry field to pick our own strawberries. Generally I found people friendly and helpful but occasionally I came across people who reacted strangely to our presence in town.

Being used to living in Manila where there were always people about when I went out of my house, I found life in Maldon very quiet especially at night. When the shops closed there were very few people walking in town. The opening times of shops also had to be borne in mind when planning activities. The shops in the Philippines were always open late at night. I found life a bit lonely in my new country compared to life in the Philippines. I thought of my friends back in the island of Catanduanes, my original home. The warmth and joy I felt when I was in the island, surrounded by family and friends. Just being happy, nothing to worry about.

A typical street in Catanduanes

People in the Philippines are normally spontaneous but I found my new life in England becoming structured and rigid as we had to fit into our own new schedules and that of our workmates and new found friends. I missed my family and friends back home. After 6 months I suffered from headaches. My doctor prescribed me some anti depressant pills but after a while I stopped taking then because they made me feel worse. I never went back to the Doctor and instead resolved to look after myself properly.

I found the system in my new country much more efficient than that of my home country, and found the people seemed more disciplined than the people I left back home. On the surface, there seemed to be less corruption and bribery compared to the situation in the public offices in the Philippines. I don’t blame the Filipino people for being what they are as that’s what happens when people have been dominated by another country. Colonialism really messes up the natural evolution of the people’s way of life and how they organise themselves in their own country.

The landing of the Spanish expedition to Sulu by Antonio Brugada.

In 1521 Spanish ships led by Magellan came to the Philippines looking for gold (which they found loads of!) and spices. They brought with them the bible (their version of God!) though we already had our own belief systems in nature. Thus followed 450 years of Spanish domination and mistreatment of the peace loving Filipino people, facilitated by the introduction of Christianity to the islanders. In the north of the Philippines, the mountainous areas, where the Spaniards were not able to penetrate, the Filipino people were able to retain strong traditions and authentic characters.

Previous to the arrival of the Spanish ships Filipino people were already trading with the Chinese, Arabs and Indian people. With a strong resistance from the native people Spain was finally overthrown by the Filipino people only to be dominated by another country, United States of America. The 1898 treaty of Paris, Spain ceded Philippines to the United States of America for $20 millions.

I stayed living in England and made it my home I eventually got married had 3 children did many jobs such as taxi driver, librarian etc. It has been an interesting journey. I have returned to the Philippines on several visits over the years.

Luckily I obtained a British passport in 1997 and hopefully my documentation is in order. Thankfully I am not in the same boat as the people from the Caribbean who are now being threatened with repatriation back to Jamaica after 45 years of paying taxes in the UK.

I feel sad that the need to escape from economic hardship has meant that people had to leave their family behind, young children being forced to grow up being apart from their parent or parents in pursuit of money to survive. I found that people just want a happy and fun life, free from problems.

I thought there must be a better system than the money system that rules our world now and that is what I would like to explore now.

The rain has stopped. Now we can go back outside to weed the strawberry beds.

Interesting facts about David Bowie.

Some of the faces of David Bowie

David Bowie was born David Jones on 8th January 1947 in Brixton and died on 10th January 2016 at the age of 69 from liver cancer. The stage name “Bowie” came about for various reasons: Davy Jones, lead singer of the Monkees was up and coming at the time and he decided on “Bowie” because it was “the ultimate American knife”. Bowie declined two major British honorary titles: Commander and a Knighthood from the Queen.

Bowie had a very interesting and unusual look. Thin and androgynous, with crazy hairdos, flamboyant makeup, clothes and shoes. He is not only an icon of the music world but an enigma. He is quickly recognised with two distinctly different eyes, one pupil much bigger than the other which was caused a small fight when he was 15 over a girl when his eyeball was scratched after being punched leading to his pupil being constantly dilated. He apparently thanked his friend as his eyes shaped his identity and became intrinsic to his character.

David Bowie was not only a singer, but an actor and a painter and collector. He starred in 28 films including Labyrinth as the Goblin King, in Basquiat playing his friend Andy Warhol and The Man who Fell to Earth as an alien. Some of his favorite artists were Picasso and Micheal Ray Charles.

Bowie has had six number one singles in the UK – Space Oddity, Ashes to Ashes, Under Pressure (alongside Queen), Lets Dance, Heroes and Dancing in the Street (alongside Mick Jagger). Throughout his long career he had many different faces. Major Tom was a hedonistic astronaut featured in three songs, whilst Thin White Duke was an aristocrat that had fascist views was sleek, extremely thin and stylish. Ziggy Stardust was possibly his most famous alter-egos, featured in his album “Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust” was a red headed, egotistic demi-god, a promiscuous “messiah” with a desire to be a rock star with his Spiders from Mars. His clothes and makeup were influenced by A Clockwork Orange and Wild Boys, he was also interested in mime. Bowie later told newspapers that his Stardust alter ego “wouldn’t leave me alone for years. That was when it all started to go sour … My whole personality was affected. It became very dangerous. I really did have doubts about my sanity.” Aladdin Sane was another famous alter ego, he was a more fantastic version of Ziggy, Aladdin Sane was Stardust at the height of his stardom.

Bowie wrote over 750 songs and is believed to have sold 140 million albums whilst alive. He performed around 5,000 times live. He was named by The Rolling Stone as 23rd in a list of best singers of all time (2004). He had many different styles throughout his career include glam-rock, folk-rock, electronic, soul  – a unique take on RnB through Bowie´s eyes. He played guitar, saxophone, guitar, keyboard and mouth-harp among others. The last ever single Bing Crosby recorded was with Bowie who he didn’t know at the time and they sang a duet of “The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth.” Bowie´s album “The Next Day” was recorded without anyone knowing about so it could be a surprise. He had a fear of tea due to an incident when he was younger and hated flying. He also had a long and hard struggle with cocaine abuse which caused high paranoia and a substantial weight loss, he stated it was not for “hedonistic” purposes as he didn’t go out much but for working for days on end.

His first marriage was to Mary Barnett and they had one child, Duncan Zowie Jones, who now is a director. His second wife was Iman, and he had another child with her, Alexandria Zahra Jones, in 2000. He also has a stepdaughter, Zulekha, from Iman´s frist marriage.

Bowie is regarded by many as one of the best and most influential singers of his time and although he passed away his name and music will be remembered and cherished.

 

Travelling solo in Europe – A year abroad.

Hannah in Sevilla at the Plaza de España.

I’m an 18-year-old Australian, just finishing a year abroad in Europe between high school and university. I have backpacked alone and these are some of my tips and tricks for a first-time backpacker, geared towards travelling in Europe.

1. If you want to go travelling you should.

I found this year was the perfect year for travelling as I’d saved up, had money to go wherever I wanted and see things I’d only studied. I had just finished all my years of school and didn’t want to go straight into university. My year abroad has made me grow up and learn to live independently, use money well and helped me gain more understanding into what I want to do in my further studies; I even completely changed the course I wanted to study and realised that I wanted to learn another language!

2. Travelling can be daunting

particularly when you are young and travelling alone, but there are many ways to begin your trip so you don’t get overwhelmed. The first month of my trip was an organised program, so I was with the same group of people and staying in the same place which really eased me into my trip. Other ideas are beginning your trip with friends to get your bearings or if you have family overseas, start by seeing them and then going off on your own.

3. There are ups and downs of travelling alone.

I found that travelling on my own worked for me because I had complete control over what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. I met so many people, travellers and locals that I wouldn’t have met if I was with a group of friends and it took me out of my comfort zone, I learnt to cook and I learnt to manage independently. There were no arguments or different viewpoints so I felt very free. The biggest downside was probably loneliness. I had times where I felt that even though I was always meeting people, I never really got to know anyone or have more than that “first” conversation. Thankfully many solo travellers were very understanding as they felt the same way sometimes.

4. It’s a good idea to look into doing a variety of different things

especially when going on a long trip. Everyone is different: I met someone who had just been backpacking for a year and she was loving it but I was completely burnt out after two months. That’s one reason I incorporated Workaway into my trip. Workaway is a website for volunteers that has so many amazing aspects. You can do a variety of different things such as working at hostels, on farms, with animals, nannying, etc. in a country that interests you. It is an incredible cultural exchange and you will learn about a different way of life, work skills or perhaps something you want to pursue in the future. You stay grounded for a few weeks up to a few months, and the people you work with become your friends (combatting one of the downsides I mentioned earlier) and teach you new skills. I have done two this year: one month in Croatia in the summer on a self-sustainable farm and an olive harvest in Spain. Without Workaway I don’t think I would have been able to travel for the length I did.

5. Dont rush.

This is something I wish I had read before I left. I was so excited in my first few months of Europe that I went from place to place every two or three days. It was completely exhausting and expensive. I would leave the hostel at 7am and not return until 10pm, trying to pack so much into my day that I ended up too tired to be amazed and astounded at what I was seeing. Rather than two or three nights in each place consider four or more nights, especially in bigger cities. This means that not only do you have more time to see anything at a slower pace, you also have time to relax, sometimes have a late night and be able to sleep all morning and connect with people properly.

6. Try not to overplan.

It is difficult to believe before you leave that it’s actually really easy to travel as you go and not book far in advance (depending on the season – in the middle of summer you need to book a little further in advance whereas off-peak seasons you can book a day or two in advance). I remember going through “Europe on a shoestring,” a fantastic Lonely Planet travel guide, freaking out because everything looked so beautiful and I didn’t know where I wanted to go or how to get from place to place or what to book. My parents told me to calm down and I would quickly figure it out while travelling, and I didn’t believe it at the time but it became very easy very quickly. I knew I wanted to do an anticlockwise loop around Europe (Western and Central) and that I was flying into Madrid and that was pretty much all. When I arrived in Madrid, I did some Internet searching, talked to other travellers about what they liked close by, found a 7-hour bus to Lisbon and that became my next stop and it went from there.

6. Hostelworld and GoEuro are your best friends.

Hostelworld is a really fantastic and easy to use app that you can use to book your hostels. You can read other people’s reviews, compare prices and see how close the hostels are to the center of town. Definitely read reviews and pay attention to the reviewers’ ages. In Europe I didn’t have much trouble but in Ireland I accidentally booked “homeless” hostels because I just booked the cheapest place rather than backpacker-friendly places. It is ALWAYS better to spend more money to be somewhere you feel safe and comfortable as if you don’t feel safe at your hostel, it really affects how you feel about the city or town you’re in. It’s also good to pay attention to different things the hostel offers: it could be a free breakfast, kitchen, a bar, right in the center or even a pool. Also treat yourself occasionally: go for a private room in a hostel or Airbnb (in Bosnia a private room and ensuite in a hostel was 18 euros) as sometimes you need some alone time and a good sleep after sharing a hostel room with 6 or more people for a month to get your spark back. GoEuro is a fantastic site to compare bus/train/flights to your next place. I generally used buses to get from place to place as it’s far cheaper, more comfortable and safer (I’ve heard some stories of things getting stolen on trains), also lots of buses have Internet, including Flixbus which was my favourite way to travel and has many connections and very, very cheap fares. SkyScanner is great for cheap flights (Ryanair is fantastic for budget flights, it cost me 20 euros to get from England to Ireland!).

7. Busabout and Interrailing

I looked into both of these before I went and decided they weren’t right for me. Interrail seems good for groups and smaller trips but it’s very expensive and both restrict your trip to certain destinations and I found it was just as easy to book buses as I went and I didn’t miss smaller towns that other travellers told me about along the way that I might not have been able to see otherwise. Busabout has many perks: they take you to lots of destinations and right to the front of hostels, good for solo and first-time travellers because you meet lots of people on the bus (mostly Australians apparently!) but it seems cheaper and in many ways easier to just travel as you go. I can’t say much more than that because I didn’t use either but I think it definitely depends on the individual person and it’s good to look into it.

8. Budgeting

I think I must have searched through so many sites about this and again it’s very much up to the individual. I can tell you that my budget was 50 euros a day and that was plenty. I mostly spent less unless I had a big night or a flight but it mostly evened out in the end to 50 euros. My budget meant I could stay in good hostels, go out for a meal once every couple of days, see all of the tourist attractions that cost money that I wanted to see and treat myself to delicious gelatos in Italy or a pint (or five) in a pub. At the start of my trip I was very tight with money but relaxed as I went. It’s always a good idea to find the places you want to go to in advance as most museums and galleries have certain times when they are free or reduced (IE the Prado in Madrid is generally free between 6-8pm) and many tourist attractions are reduced if you are a student and have a student ID or something showing you are a student (I had an email saying I had been accepted by my university). Time versus money is also something to bear in mind. I walked everywhere at the beginning of my trip which is a great way to see more of a city but also means you might run out of time to see all the things you really want to see! Public transport is generally very easy and super cheap, and if you search on Google maps from your current location to where you want to go, it will tell you the best route to use.

9. Food. Go out as much as your budget allows!

The food from each country is as much a part of your travelling as the attractions or people. Talk to other travellers and ask hostel staff to recommend their favourite restaurants. Do a quick Google search to see what the food specialities are in the city, country or region where you are. Go out of your comfort zone: try spiders in Cambodia and snails in Portugal – you might be surprised! It’s very easy to spend a minimal amount on food when you’re not eating out so you can treat yourself, and if you avoid tourist hotspots you can find cheap restaurants with delicious, authentic meals. When eating in, I found going on a big supermarket shop when I arrived in a new place the best way to go. Make sure you buy a variety of foods to keep you healthy and energised. I generally bought a cheap tub of yogurt and muesli for breakfast (if the hostel didn’t provide one), a baguette with some ham or cheese and veg for a packed lunch before I went out and then had simple meals to cook in the evening such as baked beans and potatoes, easy Mexican wraps, ingredients for pasta sauce, lentils. As long as you get some proteins, carbs, fruit and veg you’ll be alright (if you just live off pasta and rice, you’ll very quickly become tired and grumpy) and making something to go with them is really easy. Definitely try and find hostels with kitchens. Also I always forgot about sugar! It sounds weird but a gelato (delicious and only 1-2 euros) or something similar can really boost your body when you’re feeling a bit tired and sore.

10. Finally, packing.

The smaller the better. My backpack was approximately 10kg. I could take it on the plane with me and I haven’t even worn all the things in it. I also had a smaller day bag for a book, journal, water bottle (really important! go for a light, metal bottle that is at least 500ml so you stay hydrated especially in the heat – there are lots of places to fill up water and you sometimes have to pay for water in restaurants in Europe), wallet, phone, charger and a packed lunch. I’ve seen people with all sorts of unnecessary things, huge amounts of makeup, hairdryers and straighteners, big wheely bags which seemed to make travelling a lot more difficult (they’re fine for small trips but after a few months you will wish you hadn’t packed everything, especially as they might break or get stolen). A backpack/rucksack is the most efficient thing to have as it’s easy to carry around (remember those cobbled streets!) and easy to access and put in lockers in hostels. I also found dry bags or storing cubes are lifesavers so you can easily find different items of clothing without taking all your clothes out. A lock is really important as most hostels provide a locker but only some have locks and if you don’t want to carry your passport and valuables around with you then you can keep them safe at the hostel. Pack multiple bank cards and store them in different places (and some emergency money) so if one gets stolen you have access to money. Always know where your things are and keep your eyes on them (even when you go to the toilet!) because people do steal other people’s things and many people I’ve talked to have had things stolen from them. There are You can pack certain things which will Various things can You can pack certain things to help you save space: LUSH sells shampoo/conditioner bars which wash your hair well and are very compact and small and not liquid, a travel towel is very compact, plastic or dry bags for dirty clothes. Try not to pack special clothes/items because it’s very easy to leave them behind but pack lots of knickers and socks. A good way to save money on washing clothes is to wash knickers and socks in the sink with soap when they get dirty and just do a big wash when all of your clothes need it (check prices as some hostels are a ripoff for clothes washing compared to a laundromat).

I’m sure I could keep going on about different things to help you travel but you will find most of them out along the way and that’s one of the best things about travelling! You learn so much and do so many things from seeing Picasso’s Guernica in Spain to hiking the High Tatras Mountains in Slovakia. You will meet amazing and like-minded people and experience different cultures and traditions. Things will definitely go wrong: I had all my valuables stolen in Cambodia, missed buses, had the weirdest of people in my hostel rooms, gotten bedbugs, been lost in a city with no phone and nowhere to sleep, you name it but you will learn from them and try not to freak out because you will be able to figure it out and from it you will learn how to deal with similar situations in the future. My parents call it “character building”. I promise you’ll laugh about it when it’s all over. My year of travelling has been the most incredible experience of my life and I definitely now have the travel bug. Seeing the world is one of the best things you can do and I would recommend it to anyone of any age.

This article was written by Hannah Robinson from Melbourne Australia when a snowstorm stopped the olive harvest in the south of Spain on the 11th December just before the end of the trip which will end with a family reunion in Australia.

Facts about Bob Marley

Facts about Bob Marley

Bob Marley
Bob Marley

1. Bob Marley was born Robert Nesta Marley on February 6, 1945 in Jamaica. His father was a 50 year old white naval captain, his mother a 19 year old village girl. His mixed background earned him the nickname `white boy´and the ridicule of his peers. His bullying contributed to his spiritual growth, bringing him to declare `I am not on the white man’s side or the black man’s side, I am on God’s side´.

2. As a child, Marley read palms and told fortunes with spooky accuracy. Once he became a singer, he quit palm reading cold turkey.

3. His first band, the Wailing Wailers, was so named because they were ghetto sufferers in Kingston´s Trench Town slum.

4. Bob Marley and his entourage were attacked by an unknown gunman in 1976 during a time of political turmoil. He and his wife were grazed by bullets but defiantly appeared on stage for a `Smile Jamaica´concert two days later, delighting the crowds.

5. Although Marley stayed married to his wife Rita from the age of 21 until his death, he also had at least

8 other children with eight other women. The unconfirmed believed number is closer to 20.

6. When he was in school, Bob Marley’s best subject was mathematics. He left school to become an apprentice welder, and he left that because a piece of metal flew into his eye. After this he became a singer.

7. Marley once went to jail for a month after being arrested for the possession of marijuana. The friends he met there inspired much of his political advocacy.

8. In 1973, Bob toured opening for Bruce Springsteen as well as Sly and the Family Stone. He was fired by Sylvester Stone after the fourth show for being too good and hogging the attention and love of the crowd.

9. Bob Marley was buried with a guitar, a soccer ball, and a bud of herb. His last words to his son Ziggy were `money can’t buy life´.

10. The royalties from `No Woman No Cry´are sent directly to a soup kitchen in Jamaica. Bob Marley grew up very poor but once he earned money he bought homes for his friends and family and supported many poor people in Jamaica.

Questions

1. What was Bob Marley’s given first name? (Robert)

2. Why was his nickname `White Boy´? (he had a white dad)

3. What was Marley’s spooky talent? (palm reading)

4. What was the name of his first band? (the Wailing Wailers)

5. Why were they called this? (they were ghetto sufferers)

6. When was Bob Marley shot? (1976)

7. What was the name of the concert he played two days later? (Smile Jamaica)

8. What was Marley’s wife named? (Rita)

9. How many children is he suspected to have fathered out of wedlock? (20)

10. What was his best subject in school? (mathematics)

11. What kind of apprenticeship did he do? (welding)

12. Why did Bob Marley go to jail? (possession of marijuana)

13. How long was he there? (one month)

14. When did Bob open for Bruce Springsteen? (1973)

15. Who else did he tour with? (Sly and the Family Stone)

16. What was Bob Marley buried with? (guitar, bud of herb, soccer ball)

17. What is the name of one of Marley’s sons? (Ziggy)

18. What happens to the royalties from `No Woman No Cry´? (soup kitchen)

Sources

http://www.biography.com/news/bob-marley-biography-facts

http://www.clashmusic.com/feature/ten-things-you-never-knew-about-bob-marley

http://www.buzzfeed.com/justincarissimo/18-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-bob-marley-that-have#.oho535elEN

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2008/04/21-things-about-bob-marley/

Interesting facts about Romantic Love

Facts about Romantic Love

Love
Love

1. Timing is everything. An individual is more likely to fall in love when they are in an adventurous mindset, restless, lonely, or financially prepared. Similarly, people who meet in a dangerous situation are more likely to fall in love than had they met in a boring situation.

2. The time taken to judge your feelings on a person is estimated to be four minutes. The feelings formed in a first impression are believed to be more related to tone, body language, and the speed of speaking than to what is being said. Happiness is contagious, studies have found. This makes is hard not to fall in love with someone who is happy.

3. Women are generally drawn to men with a strong sense of humour because humor is associated with honesty and intelligence.In long term relationships, people usually favour an attractive face over and attractive body. The reverse is true for short term relationships. There is a thing called `frustration attraction´ which means that a person will become even more attracted to someone who rejects them, or only want what they can’t have.

4. Falling in love can increase nerve growth in the body for about a year, because of the calming effect it has on the body and mind. Cocaine use and falling in love have the same neurological effects on the body, causing a sense of euphoria and stimulating 12 areas of the brain.Holding hands with a loved one has been found to alleviate both stress and fear, and physical pain.

5. The most likely time to break up is 3-5 months in to a relationship.

6. During cuddling, the brain releases oxytocin. Oxytocin is a natural pain killer which can reduce headaches and stress for 4 hours.

7. In the early stages of love, a person’s physiological symptoms are comparable to those of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). In both, the brain shows decreased levels of serotonin-associated with peace- and increased levels of cortisol-associated with stress.

8. When you fall for someone, your body produces adrenaline-the fight or flight hormone. This is what is responsible for the feeling of butterflies in your stomach.

9. Feelings of lust activate the hypothalamus (hunger and thirst) and amygdala (arousal) areas of the brain, while feelings of love activate areas of the brain with high concentrations of dopamine receptors (associated with euphoria, addiction, and craving). Chemicals associated with attachment love, oxytocin and vasopressin, are suppressed by testosterone. Testosterone levels decrease when a man holds a baby.

10. Men tend to feel loved when they work, talk, or play side by side with their partner. Alternately, women tend to feel more close when talking face to face. When two people in love look into each other’s eyes, their heart rates will actually fall into synchronization. This takes about three minutes.

Questions

1. Is it true that the situation in which two people meet affects their likelihood of falling love? (yes)

2. Name a factor that affects someone’s likelihood of finding love. (feelings of adventurousness, restlessness, loneliness, financial capability)

3. How long does it take to make a first impression? (4 minutes)

4. What quality makes someone almost irresistible? (happiness)

5. Humour is associated with what qualities? (honesty and intelligence)

6. What is it called when you want what you can’t have? (frustration attraction)

7. New love is similar to what drug? (cocaine)

8. Stress and pain alleviation can be helped by what? (holding hands)

9. When is the most likely time to break up? (3-5 months in)

10. Oxytocin is released when? (cuddling)

11. What does oxytocin do? (pain relief)

12. How is new love similar to OCD? (increased cortisol, decreased serotonin)

13. What is cortisol linked to? (stress)

14. Butterflies in your stomach are caused by what chemical? (adrenaline)

15. Testosterone suppresses what chemicals? (oxytocin, vasopressin)

16. What decreases testosterone? (holding a baby)

17. Men feel more feelings of love and closeness when? (side by side)

18. The time taken for lovers heart beats to synchronize through eye contact is what? (3 minutes)

Sources

https://blog.udemy.com/psychological-facts-about-love/

http://facts.randomhistory.com/2009/08/04_love.html

 

Interesting facts about the human body –

The human body

The human body
The human body

1. The human body is comprised entirely of cells, the adult body has approximately 37.2 trillion cells. The major systems of the body include: integumentary system (skin, hair, nails, etc.), skeletal system (bones), nervous system (brain and nerves), cardiovascular system (heart, blood, and blood vessels), endocrine system (hormones), muscular system (muscles), respiratory system (lungs), digestive system (mouth, esophagus, stomach, etc.), reproductive system (sex organs).

2. The integumentary system involves the hair, skin, nails, and sweat glands. Hair grows approximately 1 cm a month, and the average number of hairs on the head is 120 000. Each month the body replaces the skin with entirely new cells, in a lifetime about 40 pounds of old skin cells will be shed. Your nails grow about 0.5 mm each week.

3. The skeletal system consists of 206 bones and 32 teeth. As you age, certain bones fuse together, so babies have more bones than adults, for example in the skull. Most people have 12 pairs of ribs, but some people have one rib extra, giving them 25 ribs. Your bones aren’t actually the hardest thing in your body, your tooth enamel is.

4. If you lined up all the nerve cells in the body they would stretch 965 km long. In a baby’s first year, their brain will grow three times in size. There are more neurons in the brain than stars in the Milky Way galaxy.

5. The cardiovascular system is responsible for transporting blood, nutrients, and gasses to and from the cells of the body. Sadness or emotional stress really can `break your heart´, because they cause a condition called cardiomyopathy where the heart muscle suddenly weakens and causes symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and arm aches.

6. The endocrine system is responsible for hormone secretion. Adrenaline is a powerful hormone that prepares your body for the fight or flight response, raising your heart rate and energy levels and decreasing your ability to feel pain.

7. Muscles are responsible for moving your body by contracting. One step uses 200 muscles. The strongest muscle in your body is the tongue. It takes half as long to lose muscle as it does to gain it.

8. The lungs are used for gas exchange during breathing. The average person can hold their breath for 30 to 60 seconds, but a free diver may hold their breath for 20 minutes.

9. The first step of digestion is chewing. A person produces 1-3 pints of saliva each day. An adult stomach can hold approximately 1.5 litres of material. Food stays in the stomach for 2-3 hours before moving to the small intestine. THe small intestine is about 22 feet long. To sustain a weight of 150 pounds, a person would eat 50 tonnes of food in their lifetime.

10. The male and female reproductive systems are very different. A female will ovulate 300-400 eggs in her lifetime while men produce about 500 billion sperm cells in their lives. Ancient Greeks used the same terminology for male and female reproductive parts, for example the vagina was simply an inverted, and ovaries were testes.

Questions

1. How many cells are there in the body? (37.2 trillion)

2. The endocrine system refers to which functional parts? (hormones)

3. How many hairs on the head? (120 000)

4. How long does it take to replace the body’s skin cells? (one month)

5. What is the normal number of ribs? (24 or 12 pairs)

6. Who has more bones: babies or adults? (babies)

7. The distance 965 km refers to what? (the length of all the neurons of the body lined up)

8. At what rate does the brain grow during the first year of life? (3x)

9. What three parts compose the cardiovascular system? (heart, blood, blood vessels)

10. What is cardiomyopathy? (`broken heart´ or chest pain, shortness of breath, arm aches)

11. Which system is responsible for hormone secretion? (endocrine)

12. Which hormone can reduce your ability to feel pain? (adrenaline)

13. What is the strongest muscle? (tongue)

14. How many muscles does it take to make one step? (200)

15. What is the name of the breathing system? (respiratory)

16. What is the average time a person is able to hold their breath? (30-60 seconds)

17. What is the capacity of the adult stomach? (1.5 litres)

18. How long does food stay in the stomach? (2-3 hours)

19. What is one difference between the male and female reproductive systems? (300 or 400 vs 500 billion gametes)

20. Who referred to male and female reproductive systems as the same? (Ancient Greeks)

Sources

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_body

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_systems_of_the_human_body

https://sites.google.com/site/integumentarysystem305/10-interesting-facts

http://www.livescience.com/44137-skeletal-system-surprising-facts.html

http://allaboutthenervoussystem.weebly.com/fun-facts.html

http://www.livescience.com/39925-circulatory-system-facts-surprising.html

http://1000awesomethings.com/2008/09/22/93-adrenaline/

http://degreed.com/blog/top-10-facts-muscular-system/

http://www.livescience.com/44105-respiratory-system-surprising-facts.html

https://sites.google.com/site/digestivesystem3051/fun-facts-2

http://www.livescience.com/44076-reproductive-system-surprising-facts.html