Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Even the vegetables don't like him

Why didn't I pay attention to Ebeneezer Scrooge? I have the stinginess down pat, but then I go and spoil it all by doing something stupid like helping someone out, rather than looking out for my own interests and letting them take care of theirs. I don't think Dickens intended for his festive fable to be interpreted in reverse, but that's what my bad decisions have taught me.

I used to think it was incredibly selfish of people to refuse to lend money to people in need when they clearly had some in the bank, gathering dust and trifling interest, and always offered to help people out with the odd hundred, even when the odds of getting it back were usually around 50%. It was worth the frustration and feeling of being let down by one person when I could have my trust justified in another, as money arrived back in my bank account two years later with a note apologising for the delay. Maybe it was a form of gambling, but one where the maximum possible jackpot is getting to keep the money you started with plus the feeling of having done some good. That's nice, but it won't buy a house.

Then I started travelling and earning more money than previously, and I failed to upgrade my policy to distinguish between large and small 'loans,' worthwhile or trivial causes and trustworthy or unsavoury characters. It's my own fault for getting into this mess - so I'll save you the effort of going straight to the comments to share that harsh reality with me, thanks - but I trusted these people to live up to their end of the unambiguous agreement too. When the agreed repayment dates arrived though, I received nothing but excuses. Usually not even that, as getting a response to my pestering emails was a long and arduous task due to a lack of internet access on their end that conveniently ended on the day I finally reached my limit and threatened legal action.

It was no idle threat, as I have a Korean lawyer on standby ready to embark on a £2,500 lawsuit, but then my threat elicited a request to stall for time before the debt would definitely be repaid this time for certain, and I relented because that unlikely story being true would be the most positive outcome. I guess I hadn't reached my limit after all. Nor had I on the other occasions every few months since then when the new deadline has expired, legal action has been threatened again and she's asked for a few more months before our absolute, final, real, last deal this time.

Now it's the end of April, and our most recently agreed 'last deal' from the last extension in January, and I'm ready to fire off the traditional email reminding of my international bank details and enquiring when I can expect to receive my first £1,000 repayment as agreed. I wonder what will happen this time? Will she finally repay my foolish kindness or will I finally have to put even more money where my mouth is?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Oliver is... Paphosterous

Oliver is a bit busy and lazy to bother writing his own travel blogs these days, so since I'm lacking inspiration in my own boring life and seeking any escape from boring work writing, I wanted to help him out. He provided the requested photos without even commenting on what a strange request it was. That was nice of him.

I don't know what he got up to in Paphos, what he thought about it or what these photos are of, since I haven't been there myself. But I've tried my best to get inside his mind and emulate his style so it wouldn't be too obvious. I'm not going to do anything boring like research though.

Oliver, feel free to copy and paste this into Wordpress as is.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Absolutely pointless nostalgia: The history of my email addresses

Do you remember the internet? What was all that about?

I don't mean the useful communication service integrally entangled with myriad aspects of our professional and private lives, that indispensable utility you take for granted until you live in a country that enforces a mandatory blackout hour daily because the monopoly electricity provider is typically inept.

I mean the internet, that fun commodity that you persuaded your parents to hook up to your clucking Windows 95 desktop after being awed by its clueless promotion in such Hollywood blockbusters as The Net and Children's BBC's The Web (I remember something about Zoe Ball running from a big spider, probably some kind of metaphor for sex predators).

The internet you were so impatient to use as your mum's boyfriend slowly connected the modem and explained in tedious detail how to use Internet Explorer 1 or whatever, but when you finally got your freedom to surf the information superhighway with the world's knowledge at your fingertips you didn't really know what to do, so just downloaded some blurry League of Gentlemen wallpapers and joined the first small forum or Yahoo! Group you came across dedicated to your favourite TV show or band which you doggedly stuck with for a year. You know, that internet.

Like other impulsive decisions you made and attitudes you embraced in your teenage years, those early email addresses could go on to spoil your whole life.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Third world first world problems

I'm really trying to stay positive about this hellish country in which I've condemned myself to exile, but they aren't half trying their best to up the infernal ante.

Necessary isolation generally helps me hold on to most of my sanity while losing other aspects of my humanity, but even that solace has been denied to me now with the bursting of my colonial bubble by the encroachment (and cockroachment) of the Third World outside. Close the window, it's hot out there and it stinks.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Unhelpful freelance writing tips

I can't recommend freelance writing enough as a career choice that offers extraordinary flexibility for your finances and lifestyle. That's why I still persevere in recommending that people check out freelance opportunities when they ask me how I can afford to travel indefinitely, or when they voice an interest in making money on the move.

I persevere even as every one of them loses interest immediately when I explain some of the details and they realise it does actually involve doing some work - imagine that! - and is 'a bit like school.' If you don't enjoy writing, why did you think you'd be interested in the first place? Others try it for a while, but are eventually disillusioned by having to learn a new trade themselves without fellow employees to discuss or bitch about issues with, then crawl back to more relaxing unemployment or the comfortably low ceiling of an annual salary and desk manacles.

Unfortunately, for anyone who is genuinely interested in taking control of their lives and earning a ludicrous amount of money for writing a few pages a day on subjects you previously knew nothing about but are now more familiar with than the back of your hand (I never noticed before how far those hairs go up at the side), I don't have the patience any more to help people get started. You're on your own, good luck. But having made a living exclusively from online writing for the past few years and not having died, I am in a position to share the wisdom of experience about what works for me when it comes to self-motivation, avoiding distractions and other aspects of this job for people who are already earning their fortune from home/hotel/aeroplane. You won't necessarily agree with it all. It'd be weird if you did.

This was all written in a fairly stream-of-consciousness way. I tried to organise it under relevant headings but didn't always succeed. It doesn't really matter, no one's paying me for this.