“Stepped off a train all alone at dawn, back into the hole where I was born” – Oasis.
Let’s get to the facts – I didn’t expect to be living in Poland right now, most people know that. I lived around the world in days gone relentlessly by, I travelled far and wide, sailed the world and the seven seas. I bunged more countries than I’d ever heard of into my backpack, invented my own terms such as “whackpacking” and generally it felt like a happy go lucky lifestyle (before it went wrong). I was used, abused, lied to, let down and stalked.
“Everybody’s looking for something, some of them want to use you” – Eurythmics.
But my move to Poland has much clearer and obvious motives, now that I reflect. It was all destiny. And right now, when I pray to God each day, I know why I am now living in Poland. It was fate. I was meant to live here. It’s home now and if it’s not obvious enough through this website, come and see why I love it! My move to Poland may have been inspired by a sad time of depression and putting too much trust in my travel friends, but the fact remains I now live in Poland and I love it. My 2005 adventure to Warszawa from Berlin is forever inspiring me and pushing me higher.
“If you want more, shout it out louder” – Usher.
I am finally settled somewhere, and for the first time in 8 years, I live near to my Mum and Dad again. I’m only about 5 hours door to door from my flat in Poland to their place in Northern Ireland. The flights on Ryanair and Wizzair are around 2 hours 20 minutes. This is why I don’t need to live in Australia, or Uruguay, or Hong Kong, or Bishkek. Anymore. Been there, done that, got the coins and banknotes for my collection. Contemporarily, Poland is perfect for me, I love it and here are five of the craziest moments from my first year of living here. Before that, a few links of my features on Polish media in the last year, of which I am immensely proud:
- Full interview on Careers in Poland
- Full interview on ExPat Focus Poland
- Full radio interview on International Poznan
- Full newspaper feature in Starogard Gdanski
- Full news report in Biskupiec
- Full news report in Tczew
“Pride, in the name of love” – Universal Toothbrush.
1.Nudist Beach Experience at Międzyzdroje
I guess this is probably the craziest experience from my first year in Poland. Despite having travelled the world for 14 years and doing nude yoga, nude hiking, nude parks and even nude swimming in Antarctica, the experience at Międzyzdroje was my first naked sunny beach experience. What was more mind blowing though was just how cool a tourist resort Międzyzdroje really is, it was a huge surprise and I shared my story here – getting naked at Lubiewo, Międzyzdroje.
2.Being on Live Radio in Poznan
It was a huge surprise and honour to be invited back to the city of Poznan in January 2017 to be interviewed on live radio. It was my first proper return to the city since backpacking it and drinking Grzaniec in 2015. Top DJ and interviewer Maciej from International Radio Poznan and Radio Mercury interviewed me in a cool studio. It helped lift me briefly out of my depression and also increased my readership on this blog.
“Video killed the radio star” – The Buggles.
3.Touring the Murals of Zaspa, Gdańsk
Most tourists flock to Gdańsk to admire the Old Town, visit churches, check out Westerplatte and the ill fated post office, have a night on the rip in Gdańsk’s bars and maybe visit the idyllic Kubicki restaurant. However, my real highlight from 5 months in Gdańsk was my mural tour at Zaspa! Just a few SKM (local train) stops north of Gdańsk Głowny. Every tourist needs to check this place out – a huge estate, once lived in by Lech Wałęsa with over 60 wall murals! I backpacked it with the famous jogger, Millwall Neil, a long time friend of mine.
4.Speed Dating in Warszawa
Since my 2015 break up with my long term girlfriend Panny Yu, life had been a struggle. I had dates I didn’t like, dates who let me down, those girls I just wasn’t into, I met some girls online in the past via Torquay dating, Woking dating and even dated a Starogard Gdanski girl. I was done with love, down with loving. I couldn’t settle, so I turned up to a Speed Dating event in Warszawa. I had 14 dates on one night, I later dated one of those girls but really, nothing materialised and it was just good fun. I’m still single and definitely looking again, it’s the right time for me in life, I don’t want to have to wait for over 50s dating, so indeed some adult dating sites could be next up. But it was a crazy memory and something I am glad I did.
5.Watching A Live Polish Cup Preliminary Round Match at Marymont, Warszawa
Life has been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to blog about all this yet but I attended a Polish Cup Preliminary Round match recently, to be featured on my popular football series Śmieszne Historie o Piłce Nożnej w Polsce, where I also covered Kazik Deyna’s 70th birthday spectacular in Starogard Gdanski. On a Polish bank holiday, I headed to Marymont Stadium in Warszawa for the match between Kartofliska and Bar Ulubiona ETV. This was a low level first round Polish Cup match and one of my favourite football experiences of all time (and bear in mind I have seen Northern Ireland beat England, attended the World Cup final and watched Bournemouth beat Birmingham City 8-0 before).
“Nie ma footballu bez alkoholu” – famous Polish groundhopping blogger Radosław Rzeźnikiewicz
(There is no football, without alcohol)
We took beers into the stadium, a crowd of 600+ turned up in this textbook football ground where two teams pitted their wits out for a place in the Polish Cup second round. Renowned for being the team created by famous Polish football blogger Radoslaw Rzeznikiewicz, Kartofliska played out a pulsating 1-1 draw with Bar Ulubiona, before losing on penalties. It was a match of high drama, typical Polish grit and sense of humour and post match flares.
Those are of course just 5 crazy moments, it’s been an amazing year (health and depression aside) and I look forward to sharing more. It’s amazing living in Poland and not having to spend my days checking out County Tyrone dating websites in my native Northern Ireland. I’m delighted by my Polish friends and their undisputed welcome to this marvellous land.