Green Spaces | Shanghai

Green Spaces | Shanghai

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This is a post about the ‘green spaces’ in Shanghai. As someone who is usually surrounded by nature when I travel, living and working in a city is something new to me; so of course I had to search out the little pockets in the city. There are some stunning places to visit and I will continue to update this post with new places I visit in the coming weeks. But I wanted to start with a few spots I have found so far…

Yu Yuan Garden

In the first few weeks of arriving in Shanghai I had to be a full on tourist, so hit all the hot spots in Shanghai! Yu Yuan Garden was one of the first things I visited and I was relieved to find a peaceful spot in amongst the beautiful chaos of the bustling city surroundings.

/ Yu / in Chinese means pleasing and satisfying

“Yu Yuan Garden is a famous classical garden located in Anren Jie, Shanghai. It was finished in 1577 by a government officer of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) named Pan Yunduan. Yu in Chinese means pleasing and satisfying, and this garden was specially built for Pan’s parents as a place for them to enjoy a tranquil and happy time in their old age.”

Entry cost is 30RMB so about £3! Super cheap for a great morning or afternoon visit and worthwhile trip.

I thought the gardens were fascinating to walk around and admire the old Chinese architecture. A bit surreal when you look up and notice skyscrapers towering around this tranquil ancient garden. The pond in the centre is filled with golden fish and terrapins for you to relax with. A nice chance to have a little space from the cramped city outside – as long as it is not too busy with tourists or locals! Plan an early visit to get the chance for a little more tranquility.

I’ve always thought Chinese #dragons were pretty awesome 🐉🇨🇳

A post shared by Jack ✈️🌎👌 (@gunns_travels) on

Finding the little peaceful spots 🙏 #positivevibes

A post shared by Jack ✈️🌎👌 (@gunns_travels) on

I’d definitely recommend a visit to this beautiful garden situated in the city. Once you’re done with the garden there are hundreds of shops, old Chinese style buildings and food stalls for you to grab some delicious Chinese cuisine and souvenirs.

Century Park

Along Line 2 on the Shanghai Metro is the stop for Century Park, a huge green space that has been designated for forest areas and a big lake with a backdrop of the skyscrapers surrounding the park. It costs 10RMB to get into the park for the day. You can grab food at some of the restaurants and cafes found scattered around the park, go on a small boat around the lake, listen to music at an open amphitheater, visit the small amusement park for kids or a spot of fishing.

Make sure you stay up to date by following my social channels – I upload regularly to Instagram and right now there are some pretty cool shots from my Shanghai so far. Check them out and connect!

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Akwaaba Life

Akwaaba Life

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Ghana is known for its welcoming and hospitable people, which I am glad to say is incredibly true. From the moment you land, to the minute you leave, you will always be greeted with ‘Akwaaba’ welcoming you into the heart of the country. I wanted to briefly touch upon more of my experiences so far and start to paint a picture with the colourful palette that makes up this fascinating country.

FOOD

When I thought about what I would be eating when I came to Ghana; I’ll be honest my first thought was ‘great I’ll finally be able to shift the mid-way chub and have a serious detox’. Secondly, I imagined eating boring, repetitive and flavourless foods. This was of course based on no research or experience with the realities that I would actually face.

The Ghanaian dishes could not be further away from my initial thoughts at all. The meals here are packed with spices, flavours and colours that have had me eating double the portions I would normally. For the majority, I have loved all the new foods I have been introduced to whilst I have been here; apart from my relationship with fufu (a pounded cassava and maize flubber playdough like creation) I have enjoyed Baanku, waache, jollof and the almighty Red-Red plantain tastiness.

I have had the absolute bonus of having a caterer for my host mum throughout my stay here. She surprises me with new dishes and has given me the opportunity to sample a lot of the Ghanaian cookbook which I am very grateful for. From eto-eto to kele wele her culinary delights always deliver a satisfied stomach. I am also in awe of how she manages to get fried chicken to taste so damn good.

So far my food journey in Ghana has been a massive success.

MUSIC

It goes without saying that, as a whole, the African continent know how to make great sounds and put on a killer party. The music here is a colourful blend of hip-life and reggae beats. The music is always blasting from dusk till dawn. I’m now a passionate Shatta Wale fan throwing out ‘chop kisses’ everywhere I go and serenading people to ‘let me be there soldier’. It seems the chart here takes a little longer to change, so most of the songs you’ll hear, all year round, from every shop, taxi and phone; which you’d think gets repetitive but I see it as people really appreciate a great song.

There’s no slow songs for those moody, brooding days. Instead it’s upbeat and instant smile makers. Maybe that’s why I haven’t seen a sad face during my stay. The music is deep rooted into this culture and as well as a social outlet it is also an expressive art used to define regions, stories and the people.

DANCE

Being able to express emotions through dance is another integral part of the Ghanaian culture. Rhythm is everywhere you look here, from the pounding of the fufu to the intense tribal jama displayed through the beating of drums, clicking of fingers and unity of voices. Every part of the country has different regional dancing to express different stories, beliefs and celebrations.

Even the greeting handshake has its own rhythm and click that seems so strange to a rigid westerner’s hand.

LANGUAGE

What does language mean to you? For some its communication. For others it’s a sense of identity. My time here has led me to pick up a lot of the local language: Twi. I’ve learnt to slow my speech down to an almost grinding halt as well as incorporating a lot of the local clicks and sounds. I’ve always found the best way to learn a language is to be thrown straight into the deep end. In my case, 8 months in a rural community, living with a host family should do it. I don’t like to do things by halves.

I’ve ended up picking up a fair bit of the vocab and now things like ‘Ghanafuo pe kasa papaa’ just rolls off the tongue. More than anything, I found that even when I could hardly say anything at all the joy trying would bring to the locals faces was incredible. I guess it’s my way of saying I don’t want to forget your culture, your identity. Which is incredibly important today, when everyone is being pushed so hard to learn English; it is becoming harder and harder for people to hold onto their local dialects, heritages and identities.

LANDSCAPE

Bright sunburnt dusty roads contrasted by lush green jungles and mountain backdrops are some of the things I’m surrounded by when I wake up and drink my cup of coffee in the mornings.

Ghana is an incredibly diverse country in terms of landscape. You can go from the dry northern farming regions to the tropical south and infamous Gold Coast towns. There are the national parks packed full of wild gentle giants; as well as the lakes and waterfalls of the central regions.

An incredibly dynamic geographical landscape.

Reds, yellows and greens define this landscape.

This is Ghana.

 

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A Very Merry Ghanaian Christmas #BloggerBoxAppeal

A Very Merry Ghanaian Christmas #BloggerBoxAppeal

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BloggerBoxAppeal

I’ve teamed up with my good friend Lauren, otherwise known as Blonde Vision in the blogging world, to spread some festive cheer this Christmas. I am currently based as a Team Leader in Ghana – more specifically the community of Afranse. Our plan is to give out gift boxes to the children of the local school filled with gifts like toiletries, stationary and books in the form of the BloggerBoxAppeal !

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Photo Credit: Thomas Dodd Cycle 3 Asamankese VSO volunteer

Lauren is a lifestyle and events blogger with a passion for charity work; I have dedicated a lot of my time to volunteering projects and inspiring wanderlust via my own travel blog. Together we have pulled our resources together to create the #BloggerBoxAppeal that aims to provide Christmas present boxes to the kids, which will contain gifts that bloggers from all over the UK donate. We have created a crowdfunding page to try and help fund the postage costs involved in sending the boxes over; whilst any left-over funds will go towards buying more stocking fillers to give to the kids this Christmas!

Lauren’s expertise in events has led to the creation of a #BloggerBoxAppeal event where bloggers can come along to donate and package the presents up ready to send. She is an avid vlogger and will be filming the whole thing, once the boxes reach me in Ghana I’ll be filming the reactions this end.

There’s no better way to help spread a little festive spirit this year than helping those who are less privileged than ourselves. There’s numerous ways you can get involved from attending the event, donating, sharing or supporting the #BloggerBoxAppeal

If you’d like to donate then head over here

If you’d like to keep up to date with the #BloggerBoxAppeal event Go follow LDNMeetup

If you want to read more about my time in Ghana so far then check out my latest post about the past cycle, my experience as a Team Leader and Ghanaian life-style.

Thank you once again for all the incredible support and generous donations we have received so far! I know the kids will love it!

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Photo Credit: @jaycornejo Jaidee Cornejo Cycle 3 Asamankese volunteer

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Nepal Highlights | GoPro Hero 3+

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Nepal GoPro

My return to one of my favourite countries with some of my favourite people; the beautiful, Nepal!

I’d never used a GoPro before so I appreciate I need to work on some of my shooting skills but I’m pretty pleased with my first try! I edited it in the Gopro Studio and iMovie. Overall I was really impressed with how the GoPro  captures the footage and the quality.

I used a Gopro pole and housing case which were great but came with some downsides. The housing compromised the sound quality which is Ok if you just want to capture footage. If you’re looking to use it to capture sounds I’d recommend buying an external sound recorder. The pole was great in capturing different perspectives. i would of liked to make the camera more steady though so if you have any recommendations of what to use then drop me a comment below!

I’m currently posting more images from my trip, follow the adventure on my social links!

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My Travel Goals 2016

My Travel Goals 2016

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My New Years Resolutions of 2015…

We are at the end of 2015 already! I can’t believe how quick this year has gone by, I swear every year it seems to go by quicker and quicker.

At the beginning of this year my main priority was to try and find something that would make me happy in my working life. I’ve struggled this year to really find something that satisfies that box but I have realised that my passion is travelling – so if I can try and make some kind of career that involves this in my life then I’m half way there. I’ve spent this past year building on myself personally through research, preparation and knowledge. I have thought about lots of different careers or paths that will incorporate travel in them and so have taken the necessary steps to create the foundations needed to pursue them.

Every year one of my resolutions is to be healthier (I mean everyone says that right?) and every year it never really happens. I think the problem is that I keep ending back in a place that I’m not 100% happy with and so fall into the same routines and habits. My hope, is that once I start making moves to change my entire lifestyle; that diet, exercise and general wellbeing will shift with it. I want to make every effort next year to tackle it.

I also wanted to get my site up and running and start blogging – which I am happy to say I have succeeded! There’s a lot more to be done and a lot of work ahead but I can at least say I have my online platform up and running for when I go away which I’m proud of! I also managed to get some freelance projects up and running this year which is exciting and adds to my expanding portfolio of work.

What’s happened in 2015?

Well, 2015 for me was a lot of changes and confusion. I was a recent graduate in January and a recently arrived traveller. I started the year going from job to job and ended it still switching jobs! I just couldn’t settle in any of the work I was doing, something was missing. I realised for me I find it hard staying in one place and extremely difficult working in an office environment. I felt like it was restricting my freedom, creativity and passion. So, October I made the decision to head back to a small shop job and concentrate on making travel my priority; whilst working part-time and trying to start up my website/blog. I continued to do some freelance design on the side along with my part-time hours and trying to create a reliable blogging schedule with a new post at least once a week.

I also made the decision to start studying for a TEFL qualification so I’d have an option to make money on my travels and also get some amazing experience teaching abroad.

So aside from working a part-time (full-time in retail for anyone who knows what working in a shop is like…overtime), creating a blogging platform, writing, freelance designing and studying for a TEFL. I thought i’d apply for a volunteering team leader role that would start next summer in one of 5 locations. Turns out that I got accepted onto that so now I’m going to be leaving for that as well next year!

The whole process was daunting at first and I had (still have times) where I think what am I doing!? Is this the right idea? Did I blow a good opportunity for another career path? But in the end I know that one thing makes me happy: travel. And not just going on a jolly somewhere, I mean real travel. Exploring, learning and meeting like-minded people like myself. I have always liked getting involved with projects and volunteering so this decision is th right one for me at this point in time.

What can you expect from this blog in the next year?

Well my travel goals 2016, are hopefully a lot of travelling! Tales of adventures and insights into different projects I’m working on whilst i’m on the road. I’ll be writing, reviewing, sharing, photographing and uploading anything that I come across on my travels throughout the year!

My rough plan for the next (few) years is firstly to head back to my village in Sipadol, Nepal next March for a few weeks to go and see the children and villagers. I’m so excited to head back there and see everyone over a year later. And with everything that happened with the earthquakes this year it’ll be great to see everyone is doing ok and help out with anything that they need. Re-building work has just started on the children’s home and the estimation is up to 6 months to get everything done so I should be able to lend a hand where possible!

I’ll pop back home after that for a week or so and then head for the volunteering team leader role; which if I get to choose will be heading to Dharmsala, India for 8 months! I’ll be a team leader that co-ordinates with other volunteers and community projects whilst I’m there. It should be a highly valuable experience and a tough challenge but I cannot wait!

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02574/india_2574432k.jpg

After 8 months as a team leader I’ll head over to China to do some teaching with my TEFL qualification! A chance for me to test the teaching waters and get the opportunity to live as a local. I’ve wanted to explore this part of the world for some time now so I can’t wait to take it all in and of course take a lot of photos! Another big challenge but a great experience and lots of cultural adventures and places to explore!

http://www.thewingsofhope.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Emal-China-Trek-Photo-645591.jpg

My plan after that is to use the money that I earn as a teacher to do some more travelling around that part of the world, not much of a plan as of yet but I want to keep it fairly flexible and open to anything that  may come up – so a lot more of Asia to discover!

If I have anything left over I’d love to head over to Australia again but that is quite a few years away so anything could happen!

How can I follow the adventures?

I’m on lots of social media

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest

I really hope I can continue to upload content here and share all these experiences with you. So if you want to keep up with my travel goals 2016, then make sure you follow my social links and look out for posts every Tuesday (usually)!

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Travel Goals 2016

 

 

My 30 Travel Bucket List Goals

My 30 Travel Bucket List Goals

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Bucket List –  a powerful tool to help you process your individual goals and motivate you to complete them. Lately I have been making preparations and thinking about my future a lot. Future. An ambiguous word and concept. Its scary and exciting to think about, what I could be doing in a few months or years time. I have always had a bunch of ideas crammed into my head about what I’d like to have a go at or achieve in my life and I wanted to get these out and into a post. Firstly to provide a visual bucket list for myself but also to hopefully inspire and share some with others. Wether your a seasoned traveller or budding adventurer theres always something else you can add to your lists! I’d love to have a go at completing as many as I can before I’m 30, I’m 23, so I have a good 7 years of travelling to give it a go! Join my adventure and start your own stories!

I think for now I’ll have a go at listing 30 but things will obviously be added as I go along my travels…I’ll probably think of 30 more when i finish writing this post!

Travel Bucket List

  1. Go on safari and see wild elephants COMPLETE

Elephant & the Bird by Jack Gunns on 500px.com Bucket List

2. Swim with Great White Sharks

http://www.booksouthafrica.travel/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Cape-Town-Great-White-Shark-Cage-Diving-Private-Tours.jpg

3. Volunteer in a foreign country COMPLETE

4. See the 7 wonders

http://www.airpano.ru/files/seven_wonders_02_eng_big.jpg

5. Go dune buggy racing in the Sahara Desert http://www.arabiahorizons.com/cms/imagebank/image/48f9b22c42a69.jpg 6. Learn to cook a Chinese dish https://i.ytimg.com/vi/UEkbRb2vCNQ/maxresdefault.jpg 7. Visit a Buddhist monk monastery http://blogs.r.ftdata.co.uk/photo-diary/files/2013/07/budhist.jpg 8. Dive in The Great Barrier Reef COMPLETE

9. Skydive over a beach COMPLETE

jumping 15,000ft over Cairns and landing on the beach #skydive #awesome #extreme #australia A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

10. Learn a martial art in Asia http://martialfunk.com/gallery2.jpg 11. Bathe with Elephants COMPLETE

the best way to shower in nepal! #elephant #powershower #nepal #travels A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

12. Dog sledding in Svalbard

http://travelchannel.sndimg.com/content/dam/images/travel/fullset/2013/02/06/49/Dog-Sledding-Tours.rend.tccom.966.544.jpeg

13. Drink rum in Jamaica

http://www.livemaguk.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/pirates-of-the-caribbean-curse-of-the-black-pearl-depp-knightley-rum-beach-600x372.jpg

14. Teach in a foreign country COMPLETE

Creative Culture - Bucket List

15. Live abroad for a year

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16. See orang-utans in the Borneo Jungle http://i2.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article1168940.ece/ALTERNATES/s615/Borneo%20Orangutan 17. Whale watching in Canada http://directory.tourdust.com/photos/3415/Whale_watching_in_Canada_-_main_cropped_large.jpg 18. Tribal Dance 19. Dance at a Rio De Janeiro Carnival http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02841/rio-carnival--danc_2841261k.jpg 20. Inter-rail through Europe https://www.gapyear.com/images/content/Images/11_11_08-mjs_interrailing_32933248.jpg 21. Visit the Acropolis in Athens http://wfiles.brothersoft.com/a/acropolis-of-athens_96147-1920x1200.jpg 22. Adopt an Elephant COMPLETE

23. Experience New Year’s Eve in a different city

http://media1.s-nbcnews.com/i/streams/2013/December/131230/2D10976631-today-131230-times-square-new-years.jpg

24. Go somewhere hot for Christmas

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25. See a lantern festival of lights

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/c4eb0aDPwBY/maxresdefault.jpg

26. Cuddle a Koala COMPLETE

got a very warm and fluffy cuddle – meet Tam #koala #hug #austrailia #instadaily A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

27. Fly First Class

https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/flightfox/images/blog/first-class-challenge-air-canada.jpg

28. Meditate on a mountain

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d3/Phra_Ajan_Jerapunyo-Abbot_of_Watkungtaphao..jpg

29. Learn a Language

http://www.pitara.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2001/04/word-hello-in-different-languages.jpg

30. Work & Travel

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I’ve already thought of a bunch more to add! Whats on your list? Are there any that you didn’t think of that you are going to add to yours now? I love planning and looking forward to the future, hopefully I’ll be bale to add a few more ticks to my never-ending list!