Thursday, 20 September 2018

Wedding planning, penis problems and surviving the Sydney winter

You know what the worst thing about planning your very own big gay Australian wedding is?

The realisation that you're going to be the star of the grand sparkling occasion. Along with your dearly beloved, of course. Who isn't much more pleased about declaring his love in front of all of our nearest and dearest either.

It's not out of shame, but more out of pure embarrassment.

I've been raised watching weddings on the TV filled with joy, love and Katherine Heigl excitably hoarding 27 Dresses. There's dancing, exaggerated drama and dodgy public displays of affection as your employed paparazzi snaps every single moment.

There's just, like, never much mention about how cringe the whole thing is? All them eyes focused on you while you try and conjure up some crowd pleasing words, which will soon be shared across everyone's social media.

As for the first dance? That can fuck off too. I'm a man that can barely do a drunken shuffle and no amount of apparent protocol will get me Strictly Come Dancing on my big day. Sorry, Will.

And then there's the slight problem that my fiancee and I both have penises.

Traditional church ceremonies may be on the out and unique union's between people of all backgrounds and identities may be on the in, but who's going to be the one walking down the isle and who's going to be the one waiting up front?

'I now pronounce you top and bottom,' the person officiating may as well say. Because no matter how we're looking at it, the one doing that slow awkward stroll is essentially seen as 'the bride.'

I may be joking, but it's also true.

As for the actual planning, things are going spectacularly. The majority of decisions were made in one afternoon and we chose the date on a whim after my mum started pestering to book flights. In my opinion, love should feel natural and require no effort, which is the same logic we're applying to our wedding.

William and I will be saying I Do on January 17, 2020.

It'll be an intimate outdoor affair north of Sydney with Nandos doing the catering. Hopefully, I'm open for sponsored posts on this blog for any brands looking, FYI.

With flights to Australia being pricey as fuck and us hosting our nuptials quite literally on the other side of the world, I have no expectations of people from back home coming over especially.

Unless you're a parent or sibling then you best book that bloody flight. But for any friends planning their vactions for your next couple of years, here's your extended notice so you can swing by Sydney.

Other than the very brief wedding planning, there aren't many more updates to share and this travel blog has once again become void of any travel as I've settled back in Sydney following my European jaunt.

I survived the tail end of the Australian winter upon my return, and you know the worst thing about temperatures dropping Down Under is? They just shouldn't. 

Nobody moves to Australia to spend a couple of months with a slight chill. For British people over here, it's almost like the second you step foot off that plane you're entitled to 365 of soaring sunshine or you want your money back.

10 degrees? No fucking thank you, that wasn't on the tour guide. 

Spring has now kicked in though thankfully, shit is getting hot again and most of my days are spent with William and Winston the dog doing absolutely nothing but living our best lives.

It's quite an odd feeling that after over a decade of touring, parties alongside pop stars and shoving myself into the centre of all things showbiz, the thing that keeps me most content is coming home to a man I love and a dog I'd die for.

Bit of a dramatic end that, weren't it?

Thursday, 5 July 2018

A very British break, an impromptu proposal and getting engaged

As long as I can recall I’ve had an unfortunate ability to accidentally ruin the biggest moments that my life throws at me.

Speaking too soon, passing out before parties peak, premature ejaculation. My foot spends more time in my mouth than it does the floor and awkward is my most apparent characteristic. Which inevitably meant my recent engagement became an occasion that’s easier to refer to as ridiculous than romantic. My fault, of course.

William planned perfection and I destroyed that dream in a swift second of regret.

After finally arriving back to my family in Manchester for the first time in 15 months (via several small European reunions in my last post), it wasn’t long before Will followed to meet his soon-to-be in-laws while allowing me to play tour guide.

So far our relationship has existed solely in Australia. We swim, sail, sunbathe and spend our days surrounded by the people and places he’s known since the day he was born. We’ve built the type of life I never thought someone like me could live and dream of a future and family I never knew I wanted. Until Will walked in wearing his Birkenstocks with sustainable water bottle to hand, that is.

And although he may have had my heart since that first moment, Manchester will always have a hold of it too. Soz. So off to the estate I grew up on we went. Six days filled with family introductions, dinners with friends and days out across the country before I returned home to Sydney and he went to France on an agricultural adventure. As ya do.

“Is it okay if my friend Alisha and her boyfriend join us for our picnic in London on Saturday?” I asked over a lunch we shared with a girl Will had previously met while travelling America that was coincidentally now in Manchester too. Desperately trying to diarise as many people as possible in every second on British soil that we find spare. “No,” Will responded. “I want it to be private.”

I then quizzed, he then protested and we hit a wall as I couldn’t pencil her in while his friend wondered what was happening. Two stubborn gays with one sat on a secret. The conversation going in circles until something gave.

“Oh god, are you planning on proposing or something?” I, rather regrettably, joked as a conclusion couldn’t be found.


A very long, and very telling, silence.

Our American third-party in attendance looked away, Will looked embarrassed and I looked, well, I don’t know. Probably like a dick head that knew he’d just wrecked one of the most memorable moments he’ll ever have.

“Yeah I was,” Will blushed, while producing a ring from his wallet. We both laughed, he put the ring away again and the question wasn’t asked. Pushed aside for a later proposal as we attempted to brush over the blunder with uncomfortable laughter.

Thankfully the actual proposal happened a few hours on as we were falling asleep in my Mum’s spare room. “If I did ask would you have said yes?” Will whispered, as if I would ever have had an answer other than yes. His unnecessary insecurities making him even more adorable in the subtle moonlight that cast a shadow across the scene. “Of course I would.”

And down on one knee my slightly jet-lagged, now improvising, future husband went. 

As for the rest of my three weeks in England, they were spent amongst Loose Women, pals and pop stars while pretending to be a pop star. Carl and I headlined a slot at G.A.Y in central London just hours after watching Taylor Swift headline Wembley Stadium. She arguably pulled in a slightly larger crowd but I’m still waiting for an official head count.

And then I had a slight epiphany... as usual, bare with me on this one.

I left London, and the UK, all that time ago because I felt like I was trapped in a rat race I had no desire to run in. Everywhere I looked I watched people clawing their way up career ladders, fighting for infamy, desperate to be something. And I reached a point where I realised all I wanted was to be happy.

In my goodbye post on this very blog as I left everything behind to find just that, I described the capital as “a place where the people profit from pity and you can not afford to feel; a well-oiled machine that operates on fear while expecting failure.”

And upon my return I seen a genuine change amongst friends, family and faces I just sat and watched in the country I'll always class as home.

People prioritizing real life, relationships growing strong, work being something you leave in the office and life being something to enjoy - not endure. Well, either that, or everyone's just got lazy as fuck while the heatwave soars on with Love Island and the World Cup on everynight.

But for real, the biggest thing I've come to learn since I started this blog, is it's the smallest things in life that have the biggest impact - which seemed to be a mutual mentality during those brief moments back in Britain.

By all means aim, achieve and follow your dreams, but never lose sight of what will really make you happiest in the long run. Because at the end of the day, no one really gives a fuck what you work as, how many followers you have or how much you've got in the bank.

None of that stuff defines you - no matter how much you feel it should do.

PS: The wedding will be in Sydney so everyone get saving up please.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Problems in Poland, nights in Norway and saving some teens

People always say you make friends for life while travelling. 

A statement I have to say is a little questionable. You do, however, meet enough people scattered around this fucking globe that you're guaranteed a ride from the airport, free place to stay and opportunity to be treated like a Queen when you pay them a visit. 

Which is exactly why I made a pit stop in Poland followed by a long weekend in Norway with the boys I met in Bali before making it back to Manchester. 

Poland was exactly what I'd hoped it to be: really fucking cheap. 

We took an Uber everywhere, ate everything and barely broke a tenner in the process. We stayed in Warsaw which is everyone's second choice when they come to this country, but the flights were cheap as so Steffi, Alisha and I gave it a chance anyway.

The old town was cute, the city could have been any other city in the world with its million McDonalds and shopping centres, and the people weren't particularly friendly. I'm not saying all Polish people are rude, but the ones we met ticked that box. Especially the bloke that kicked us out of our accommodation because he'd messed up his bookings. Ya dick head. 

But with pints for £1 good time was still had by all.

Next stop in my quest to float around the world like I actually appreciate other cultures and cuisines was Norway to reunite the lads. And the only thing you need to know about this country is there's a lot of fucking trees.

"They grow faster than we can cut them down," Simen declared with much pride while stating the absolute bloody obvious as we drove over to his home in T√łnsberg with Thomas and Ashley. 

Everywhere was peaceful, the people were pleasant, the daylight never seemed to disappear and I no longer felt like a bit of pedophile as these teenagers I befriended last March in Indonesia were officially now in their twenties.

During my time in Bali I was clinically depressed, hating life and unsure how exactly I'd even ended up there. And then came Simen and Thomas, both 19, who were even worse off than me. Their love of binge drinking with an inability to sense an unsafe situation meant they'd been repeatedly robbed within literal days of landing and had no money, no mobile phones and no bank cards between them. 

Pissed, penniless and several weeks to survive on nothing until they boarded that flight home. The bank of mum and dad couldn't even save them as they had zero access to a single account with no technology to actually contact home. Yet they were still smiling.

"Thank god," I thought as we became acquainted one morning over a shit steak breakfast in the hotel we were all staying. "I'm no longer the most tragic person on this trip." 

I then swooped in with a bank card and offered to help - the charity of a lonely Brit bridging nations and making it rain local currency rupiahs. Half of me realising it's easier to buy friends than make them naturally while the other half fearing I'd never see them and my money again after weeks of withdrawals.

“Treat people with kindness,” my old mate Harry Styles likes to say so I hoped for the best anyway.

Thankfully they proved to be as genuine as I believed, and all this time later I landed in their homeland to a heroes welcome. "Are you the boy that saved them?" a grandparent asked in broken English. "Thank you so much," another family member gushed. 

I felt like Meghan Markle. Not in a Princess way, but more in the sense of being celebrated internationally for my minimal charity work and not much else.

It was a bit weird seeing how one small and kinda insignificant act on my side meant so much to a load of people I'd never even met speaking a language I don't understand - but I suppose it was kinda nice to realise.

Help people where you can, take a risk for the sake of someone else and just don't be a twat - that's the message of this post. People will always fuck you over in life, that's inevitable, but many may surprise you if you extend a hand.

Plus good deeds give you pure bragging points on social media and/or travel blogs like so.