Monday, 6 August 2018



Djemaa el Fna Square
Marrakech lantern shops
Morocco road trip
Ouzoud Falls monkeys
Atlas Mountains
Moroccan Boy
Sarah Maxwell at Ouzoud Falls
Ouzoud Falls
Francis Baumont De Oliveira at Ouzoud Falls
Head scarves
Berber in Sahara Desert Camel
Camel riding in Morocco
Camel riding in Morocco
Chilling on sand dunes
Aït Ben Haddou
Francis Baumont De Oliveira at Ben Youssef Madrasa
Ben Youssef Madrasa
Kittens In Marrakech


Happy Summer everyone. It’s been a long while since I’ve posted on here... Time has absolutely flown by - I feel like there's so much to catch up on.

From finishing my Aerospace Engineering degree (huzzah!), to taking on the marathon of a PhD (I'll get to that soon). The past 12 months have been a strange realisation of "adulthood" - responsibilities, managing finances, and all that jazz!  So I've just finished my first year, and I haven’t been travelling half as much as I would have liked. Irresponsible spending caught up with me... my attitude of "Fuck it! - Future Francis has it covered" wasn't entirely sustainable it seems!

It was a bit of a wake-up call not having been on a proper holiday in so long... thankfully things are getting back on track and I've got one lined up next weekend which I'll be excited to share photos of! In the mean time, I'd like to share some captured moments from my trip in Morocco last year. Went with a large group of friends staying in a unreal riad in the heart of Marrakech. Revisiting the photos reminded me how beautiful this country is, with its incredibly detailed architecture, amazing natural scenery and cosy vibes in riads - the nettle tea and shisha is... oh so good! The charm of the Moroccans is indisputable and makes the country a wonderful destination.

 I hope you guys enjoy these photos.

Keep it real,

Francis

WHAT TO DO

Ben Youssef Madrasa

Ouzoud Falls

Atlas Mountains

La Mamounia

Aït Ben Haddou

Jemaa el-Fnaa

Le Jardin Secret

Sahara Desert Tour


TIPS

English, and French is widely spoken in major cities. You’ll probably need a translator in the rural parts of the country

Learn to haggle - selling is like a sport, and haggling is an integral part of their culture.

 Stay clear of  strangers offering free tours of directions. When asking for directions, people will readily guide you but may lead you the wrong way and press you for money.

To stay on the safe side, drink bottled water.

Beware of pickpockets - most Moroccans are honest and friendly, but as with any crowded market or city be careful with your possessions.

Careful when taking photos of people and shops. Unless you are purchasing something, they may demand money for the photos.

MOROCCO VISUAL DIARY
August 06, 2018

MOROCCO VISUAL DIARY

Thursday, 8 October 2015

croatia caves silhouette

Being Mindful involves waking up your consciousness so that you're fully aware of every present moment, aware of how you're feeling and what exactly is happening around you. If you're not awake to those moments in your life, whole days or even a whole life can go by unnoticed. Part of this awakening process is to let go of any judgement you may have towards others, as a judgemental mind hinders your success.

Judging people reaps no reward, and only perpetuates negativity within your mind. Gossiping about people, deciding what they are doing to be right or wrong will only affect the friends you make and the life you lead. People are scared to act themselves in fear of a society where they will probably be gossiped about or judged. Thinking about who's right or wrong, and comparing yourself to others can harm your journey of self-improvement. The truth is every person is walking their own path, fighting their own demons, exploring the unknown. Being non-judging you can appreciate the life they lead, and the ventures they take, no matter how insignificant they may seem.

Someone who lives through compassion as opposed to judgement radiate the choice they've made, and people sense it. Compassionate souls are contagious, and people want to talk to you, approach you and make friends with you. People aren't scared to say what they believe and it nurtures their confidence and helps them to suceed, what better way to make you feel good about yourself.  Unfortunately getting rid of your judgemental thoughts isn't always easy, and can be rather difficult to prevent.

Here's something that I've learnt through my reading on meditation and mindfulness, to help prevent me judging others, that I'd like to share:

Look at those around you, and ask yourself whether you are actually seeing them, or just your thoughts about them. Our thoughts can act as dream glasses,  distorting what we actually see. We might see dream children, dream husband/wife, dream job, dream friends, or the complete opposite. Without realising everything you've seen you coloured and put your own spin on it, and you haven't seen what is actually there. While things through the dream glasses may change, giving the illusion of being vivid and real, it's still just a distortion. If you can try take off the glasses, and therefore be non-judgemental, you might actually see a little more accurately what is there.

When I first read this lesson and was trying to practice it, sat on a bench at my local park, something beautiful unfolded. Two Polish men came up to me, and asked if they could sit down next to me without wishing to disrupt my reading. Being open and non-judgemental I put my book down and started chatting away to them for the next two hours about life in London, cultural differences and personal stories. We had a really nice discussion, they offered me a few beers just relaxing, watching the sunset on the skyline of London. In that moment where I had freed myself from judgemental thoughts, almost instantly people approached with warmth, which is a rather rare encounter in London town. Goes to show how much of a difference can be made, just by the aura you radiate.

Thanks for reading ;)

Keepin' it real,
Francis
Wake Up, See with Nonjudgemental eyes
October 08, 2015

Wake Up, See with Nonjudgemental eyes

Sunday, 13 September 2015




What To Do



1. Scuba Diving - Ko Tao: Learning to scuba dive and getting my open water 18m certifcation was probably my favourite part of my month-long trip to Thailand. Ko Tao is one of the cheapest places to learn in the world, with a 4-day course costing only 9000 baht (£180), which will then allow you to dive anywhere across the globe. Worth every penny if you ask me, it's like visiting an alien world when you reach the ocean floor, with hundreds of colourful fish casually swimming by. It's 1000x better than visiting an aquarium, you get to see the fish in the natural habitat and you can respectfully be a part of that without destroying their environment. We learnt with Big Blue Diving who were fantastic and provided us with accomodation included with course costs.


2. Mu Ko Ang Thong National Marine Park: This park is just west of Koh Phangnan, Ko Tao and Koh Samui. Unfortunately I didn't get to visit this national park, but I would have absolutely loved to. People were raving about it all the time. I was looking forward to it the whole trip but we had planned to go when we were staying in Ko Tao, alas there's no boats or tours that will take you from that island. Make sure to go only from Koh Phangnan or Koh Samui!




3.  Maya Bay - Phi Phi Islands: My girlfriend and I went here as she had always dreamed of going after she had seen The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio. I skeptically went but was blown away when we got there. It was INCREDIBLE. Don't make the same mistake us as and go with a tour, because by the time you get there it'll be jam packed and bustling. I've seen a few photos people have taken where it's calm and empty, make sure you go for the sunrise if you want to really enjoy Maya Bay to it's full potential :).




4. Sirocco Sky Bar - Bangkok: The view up here is INSANE, can't emphasize it enough. Drinks and food are expensive, but just buy a drink each and treat it as the price to go up. If I had more money I'd go back without hesitation and have dinner there. Couldn't think of a better way to end our time in Bangkok.


5. Khao Sok National Park: Easily the most beautiful place we visited in Thailand. You can do packages to stay in a treehouse in the rain forest or a bungalow on the lake. If the choice presents itself, choose the bungalow. We had an amazing time in the rainforest, but when collecting other customers from the lake we realised what we were missing out on, and wished we had upgraded. You can do canoeing, bamboo rafting and elephant riding, and get served delicious meals. Book a few nights here and soak in the view of natural wonders and their vibes.


6. Grand Palace - Bangkok: The architecture here is majestic, and there's so many temples within the area. You can't go to Bangkok and not see the most culturally significant area in the city. It can get really busy but the buildings are high enough that it doesn't even matter. You'll see a lot of temples in Thailand but these are la crème de la crème.


7. Full Moon Party - Haad Rin: The biggest beach party in the world. Not everyones cup of tea, but if you love to party and electronic/house/dance music, then you must go. I had an awesome time, even if I was a bit overly intoxicated. Loads of fluorenscent face paint, clothes and fire breathers makes the Full Moon Party one hell of party that people round the world come to experience.


8. Cicada Market - Hua Hin: There are lot of night markets in Thailand, but we didn't come across any that came even close to the Cicada Market. We realised most markets in Thailand sell all the same stuff but the people who run this market only give stalls to people creating their own individual crafted goods and food. Every stall was completely unique and had something worth buying, I fell in love with this place. All the stalls are white and it almost looks like a little village, with outdoor seats  for a nice place to have a few drinks, enjoy the food and listen to live music.


9. Muay Thai  -  Ratchadamnoen Stadium (Bangkok): Muay Thai is such a big deal in Thailand that it'd be a shame to miss it out in our adventures. Watching the people fight was so impressive, they are so nimble, flexible and strong. The whole thing feels very traditional, with an entrance ritual and banging drums throughout. You can spend a whole evening with cheap food and snacks and watch around 8 fights for £30. A bit pricey but still very entertaining.


10. Ladyboy Cabaret Show - Chiang Mai: I was never super keene to go see a Ladyboy show but I got dragged along and it's part of the culture right? I was completely surprised to have a cracking night with tonnes of laughs and a new revelation. Are some of the women you pass by genuinely women? Some of these ladyboys are so convincing that I could actually call them pretty. Thankfully there were just as many shockingly bad ones to restore your faith in the difficulty to pretend to be a woman.



Thailand Visual Diary
September 13, 2015

Thailand Visual Diary

Friday, 4 September 2015





I just discovered this gallery the other day and thought I should share. I've never been to a gallery like it before as it displays 'experiential art', basically meaning you experience the art rather just look at it. The title of the exhibition explains itself, you essientially can make decisions throughout your visit, beginning with which entrance to choose. I'm not sure whether both entrances were both similar but the one we picked involved feeling your way through a pitch black metallic corridor, pretty scary if I'm honest! You can see the photo above (with a flash obviously). Other decisions involved whether to eat a pill which fell from the cieling every 5 seconds, to take the slide to exit or take the conviential route, or fly around on a machine for a bit (make sure the forecast is good because they won't let you on if it's raining! :( happened to us..). One of those headset things as you can see above, was probably the weirdest thing ever. Your vision would deflect upside down at an angle and made it impossible to stand straight or walk forward. If you looked down, it would look like you were looking ahead at your own body! Can't really put it into words! Definitely an amazing exhbition to visit even if you're not into art that much, the fact that it's all interactive just makes it a fun day out.

Don't want to spoil the rest as there was quite a bit more, but If you're in London this weekend and fancy checking out this awesome interactive gallery, then hurry and book your tickets now (here) as it closes on 6th September! It's on southbank, near embankment tube station.

Keepin' it positive,
Francis


Hayward Gallery: Decisions - Carsten Höller
September 04, 2015

Hayward Gallery: Decisions - Carsten Höller

Friday, 28 August 2015


Stephen Wiltshire


Stephen Wiltshire Gallery










I thought I'd make you all aware of this small but amazing gallery near Piccadily Circus in London.  The artist Stephen Wiltshire has an extrodinary talent of being able to memorise, using his photographic memory, very complex panoramic views and then draw them out. All he has to do it see the view once, and then he can reproduce it with remarkable accuracy.  

It was incredibly impressive seeing all his works of art and his sketchbooks, as well as his drawings from a young age. It's almost like a mini museum, with a board or two explaining his life story, struggles and triumphs and growing up with autism. I can't believe his raw talent, you can see his early drawings and how he could pick up infinitesimal details from a landscape view. He progressed upon his works and learnt to focus on his strengths, and now produces works of art that captivates a worldwide audience. Goes to show autistic minds can sometimes be the most beautiful, it's not something that needs a cure.

If you fancy giving it a look, the Gallery is located in an elegant Victorian-era arcade, just down the road from the National Portrait Gallery. They have a great selection of post-cards, and small bits and bobs. Definitely worth a visit, even if you're not into art Stephen Wiltshire's story is inspiring.

Keepin' it real,
Francis
Stephen Wiltshire Gallery
August 28, 2015

Stephen Wiltshire Gallery