yeah... the only picture I took in Malta that wasn't of my girlfriend...
I've been trying for the last week to write something nice about our 5 day trip to Malta. As soon as we got to Stansted Airport and the boarding queue consisted of 90 % of people over 60, and 8 % of ye olde Essex chavs, I knew we'd have a tough time.

I'd been warned before that if you travel with anything less than snail speed, you'll run out of things do do and see that are not lying on the beach of diving with 3 days. Luckily, we managed to spend a lot of time in Malta waiting for buses (which exist, but pretty much all only depart hourly, and if you have to change, be prepared to wait for almost an hour for the next bus), so we somehow did manage to fill those days (we also slept about 12 hrs each day).

There are some expressive archeological sights, and I can't deny that the architecture of Maltese cities is amazing. People were amazingly friendly and helpful, and although it is a touristy little island, there was no moment that I felt that we were being ripped off or that it was overrun by tourists.

The Maltese seem to love love love their cars - you barely see anyone in the streets, no matter what time of day, but the roads are always crammed with inconsiderate drivers. This made one of favourite activites, walking, extremely difficult - it seems like a lot of the time nobody even considered the fact that someone might want to walk along a road instead of drive the mini distance that is takes to get anywhere in Malta.

Sadly, that was about it. Both shops and sights seemed permanently closed, and museums were just so-so (but still managed to charge big city, big museum prices for it). The food ranged from decent but overpriced Italian to plain weird. At least the wine was cheap, plentyful and nice.

I guess the appeal of travel in the Mediterranean is the slow life, nature and beaches - in short, all the things that drive me up the walls very quickly. I've never been so happy to land back in London (which, ironically, had much better weather than Malta the entire time we were there), and have vowed to not travel to the European side of the Mediterranean any more, if I can avoid it.

It's made me think a lot about myself, though. For your average Western European girl, I think I am fairly anti-consumerist and un-superficial, and by no means am I a "shopping girl". However, the lack of anything to do in Malta that does not include sitting around, the little choice even of grocery stores and form of entertainment that is not drinking lots of wine, eating lots of food and clubbing made me antsy.

Is there a region that just gives you a "meh" feeling, no matter how many times and different approaches you attempt to enjoy it?

"Hey, why don't you book a Ryanair flight and come one over here? You can crash at our apartment, it'll be all yours during the day if you want to get some work done."

For the last week or so, I've been repeatedly scanning the net for flights to Stockholm, where a friend of mine works for one week a month, staying in a company apartment. It's a pricy destination, and because I work and travel, couchsurfing is a bit difficult. So even though I'm very interested in Scandinavia, I've never made it there (we, halfway... many argue that Finland is not Scandinavia...).

Flights are cheap, as in less than £50 return. So overall, without having to pay for accommodation and using the kitchen, I could probably stay 4 - 5 days in Stockholm for less than it will cost me to stay home. I'm not scared of the weather, either. I could go now or in April or May, when it's warmer.

But instead, I don't book and end up looking up potential flights for a 2 - 3 month stay in Japan and China, or look into options of travel within countries in Western Europe that I already know well, because I simply want to see more of them.

It's now been over a year that I've come back to London, although I spent 1/4 of that travelling. For a number of reasons, it looks like I will be able to travel less this year. First, I was sad about it, but now, with each day, I feel incredibly relieved that I don't have to keep packing, keep running.

It's not that I am bored by, burnt out or out of energy to explore new things. There are dozens of things I want to learn, experience, try and feel at the moment - and I do - but somehow, none of them relate to travel. I'm not settling. Settling has this negative connotation of standing still. This is the opposite of what is happening in my life. I've spent almost ten years of my life constantly on the run, never stayed in one city, one country, for longer than two months at a time without leaving, whether for a weekend, a week, a month or longer. I'm not exhausted, but it has started to feel like a chore.

It might be that my travel bug has died down, but it might just as well that it's hybernating. Or maybe it's changing into more of a nomadic bug - I want to live in different places throughout my life, but I'm not to keen to just be a traveller. Fleeting encounters, rushed tours, just a few days in one place don't satisfy me anymore.

I'm not settling, but for now, I'm staying. 

This post is not so much about travel in Japan as about something new Japanese that I've discovered in the past couple of weeks - well, not really "discovered" as in I didn't know it existed, but as in something I really got into myself.

It's January and currently, there's not a lot of travel in my life for a couple of reasons. By "not a lot" I mean that I'll probably spend three months in a row in the UK for the first time... ever ;) This years plan in order to pass the January blues, of which I'm usually a massive sufferer, was to LEARN TO MAKE ALL THE THINGS.

I'm not into DIY unless I can make something I can use (such as food or handmade coconut balm), and even though I'm a very impatient needle crafter, I'm slowly getting somewhere.

So "all the things" are mainly every kind of textile... I re-taught myself how to crochet, went to a knitting workshop (world's worst left handed knitter!) and then went deep down into the underbelly of a world almost unbeknown for me: Pinterest.

Ironically, what I loved most on there is Japanese craft stuff - Japanese crochet patterns for cut animals (amigurumi), knit patterns for the most darling wraps and cardigans I can't begin to wrap my head around, and lots and lots of almost disgustingly cute tiny Japanese embroidery patterns. So I guess I don't manage to pick up any hobby without somehow connecting it to Japan...

Are you into any kind of craft?

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