Posts Tagged ‘travel’

It goes without saying that people are anxious to leave the less-than-sunny shores (in more ways than just the weather) of Great Britain lately. This blog has often pointed out the record stats of those flocking Down Under or departing for Dubai.

Close To Europe?!

Close To Europe?!

Now though, it seems some countries might be feeling left out of the population jumps and are advertising the pros of becoming a resident within them. A Brazilian tourist representative, keen to attract those moving abroad, has said of the Rio Grande Du Norte Francisco Cipriano de Paulo Segundo area (try getting that on your envelope) as having “a lot of good wonderful beaches, 410 km of beach with warm  water and we are very close to Europe. The Natal district is closer to Europe than all of Brazil.”

Given that the heart of Brazil is some 6,000 plus miles from the middle of Europe, even going edge-to-edge is still only going to carve a fraction off that. I don’t really think it’s fair to say that it’s close to Europe. It’s like saying the BNP are close to being the next government. Both a long way off.

Still, they’re pretty up there in the beach catergory though.

Meanwhile, there’s been an interesting claim recently that the Eurostar – a wonderful service, don’t get me wrong – has made international removals easier. The Times, infact, has noted that now it’s so easy to travel to areas of France, Germany and the Low Countries – thanks to connections with the TGV – has encouraged property buyers to look further afield.

In fact, Assetz Martin, an international property firm, even said that “Eurostar’s connection to the TGV has opened up areas of the south-west of France, which previously had been hard to get to.”

Of course it has, for holidaying. In fact, if you’re looking to visit Paris there really is no better, easier or cheaper way. However, connecting to the TGV and then trawling across France isn’t so cost-friendly as, say, a flight from Heathrow.

However, for international removals, unless you’re looking to move your entire life in the confines of a couple of suitcase, I really fail to see how the Eurostar is going to help. I recently assisted in an international move, from Paris to the UK. In a van, along the highways and across in a ferry. There’s no way the Eurostar could really have helped with that let alone if it were to Germany or the South.

And, trust me, having endured a hell-like weekend in doing so, I would thoroughly recommend getting the professionals in instead.


It’s strange how fast some places can develop, almost scary. Take Dubai: I’d never heard of it as a kid, even into the nineties I don’t recall it being mentioned that much, certainly not in terms of  “wow, have you seen what they’re building out there?”dubai

Now though, the emirate’s constantly changing skyline and rapid development is famous and barely a week goes by without one of those emails showing some stupidly ambitious development or building arriving. Accordingly, it’s attracting a lot of foreigners and not just on holiday terms.

Not so long ago I took a TEFL course and there were some pretty impressive salaries available over in Dubai but I’m not one for high temperatures. But that’s just me. Of all the people moving overseas, 25,000 of them move to Dubai every month. Staggering, but the tax advantages, heat and way of life mean the population there is expected to go from 1.6 million now to 4 million by 2020.

25,000 a month… that equates to 800 a day. Or 33 every hour! No wonder it’s changing so fast – is it a case of meeting demand for property or people going because there’s so much available property. While it’s not quite a chicken / egg case it’s a quandry. I would say “won’t they run out of room?” but that doesn’t seem to be a concern as fast as they’re building outwards they’re building upwards too.

It’s one of those places that’s so remarkable I’d really like to visit it, though I’m still pretty sure I wouldn’t want to live there.

I’m constantly toying with the idea of moving to France again so I’m always following the news and keeping an eye on the possibilities opening up for moving overseas.

So today I found a news story about how, despite the global recession, Australia is still looking to grow and trying to attract overseas candidates to fill key positions. These are areas where skill sets are lacking locally and are outside of the key metropolitan areas like Melbourne and Perth etc. Though not exactly in Belongtamick.

The report stated that despite higer levels of unemployment in Australia, there is still a key skill shortage in many areas. Accordingly, they’re hoping that more people will consider moving to Australia to fill said vacancies.

If this is the case, and Australia are sincere about wanting more people to head Down Under, then perhaps they should consider their immigration requirements. As it stands, it’s one of the toughest countries to get into! You have to provide a wealth of information, have a fair bit of wealth yourself, demonstrate your clean records and levels of character and pass various stringent requirements. I’d quite easily pass said requirements but the sheer amount of red tape, for an ex-prison colony, is enough to put me off even thinking about it.

I genuinely wonder how many people with the skills they’re looking for have been deterred from contemplating the move simply because of the hassle involved in getting approved to move.

International removals are never easy, but the level of requirement makes Australia look like the trickiest there is, even excluding distance. While it’s surely a wonderful lifestyle available there, perhaps they should ease up on the restrictions before moaning they don’t have enough skilled workers.

The E.U is a funny thing. I don’t mean that in an “oh isn’t it funny that Romania and Bulgaria still aren’t full members.” I mean that in a “ha ha, that looks like a ….” way.

Norway remain as non-EU members, sitting happily above Sweden and Finland who are full members. Accordingly, it’s not featured on the map of the EU Europe that graces the Euro coins. Not a problem for them, they have their own currency. But for Sweden and Finland, it makes them the butt of a joke. Well, not the butt exactly…

2 euros

As a regular user of the Euros I was surprised I hadn’t noticed this before. I even had to dig one out of my pocket to check but, sure enough. I have to wonder if this is the real reason Norway haven’t become EU members yet, as it means that Sweden looks like a different kind of member…

I’ve seen a lot of really nice castles, chateaus and historic buildings lately, both here and in France. One thing thats occured to me is that, free of the restrictions of film running out, people will now take photographs of anything as long as it’s old. 

Two prime examples. The first: Leeds Castle, England. This is a castle that dates back to 1199 has taken a pivotal part in many historical events, been lived in by Kings and Queens numerous and has extensive gardens and grounds. Picturesque, in the right weather, it really is. Why then do so many tourists take so many pictures in the Dog Collar museum? 

In the past it would’ve been one of those places that people walk through on their way to the rest of the attractions, maybe a single photo so as not to waste film needed for the falconry show? Not now, people are going home with their digital cameras holding photos of dog collars through the last 600 years.

Example two: Vaux-le-Vicomte, France. A wonderful and expansive château about an hour and a half’s drive from my place on the outskirts of Paris. Lovely place, built by Nicolas Fouquet and a pivotal place for the history of the French system and Lois XIV. Breathtaking gardens from the famous Andre le Notre – think Versailles.carriage house

Loads of stunning views, sights, paintings and history within its walls. There’s also the carriage house, (see image right) stuffed with model horses and coaches from the last few hundred years. Nice enough, a pleasant stroll-through thing I admit. But then there’s the rooms of horse harnesses and stables.

Really? A carriage house with maybe a dozen coaches in it, historic gardens and houses awaiting and people are taking digital cameras out for photos and videos of the display cases of reigns? They haven’t changed that much over the last couple of centurys have they?

Are people actually going home and poring over their computer screens and digital cameras and really looking back at dog collars and styrups from the reign of Lois XIV?! NO! They’re deleting them before leaving the house next because they realise only then that such things clog the memory.

Does the sheer availability of digital cameras mean that people will take pictures of anything simply because they can? What happened to taking a picture of something worthwhile? Not only that but by taking pictures of every single old thing on display, you’re getting in the way of everyone else who realises that, nice as they are, they don’t really need a photo of saddles from the 1890s.

How many jobs carry a required task list of “swim, explore and relax on Hamilton Island in the Great Barrier Reef” and offer a salary of £73,400 for a six-month contract?

Is this your office?

Is this your office?

The answer, surprisingly is now none but only last week it was one. adn that job has now been filled. As part of a £800,000 tourism campaign to publicise the charms of north-eastern Queensland (really? I thought everyone was aware of how gorgeous it was, surely “look at Google images” would be sufficient) the job was advertised and attracted over 35,000 applicants.

So how exaclty is this going to be work for the lucky winner – British charity worker Ben Southall. Well, from July 1st he begins what is easily the best Social Marketing job in existence – as if the Great Barrier Reef needs optimising for that. All that swimming, exploring, living in a luxury villa looking over the Coral Sea and enjoying those white sandy beaches will be relayed to the world in a blog.

Scuba diving, sun bathing, exploring and living the life of luxury. In a blog. For six months. £73,400.

As much as I wish congratulations and good luck, I think I (and everyone else for that matter) would be lying if they said they weren’t extremely jealous.