Monthly Archives: February 2014

Thoughts on Building a Different Kind of Home

Many people dream of having a home in the country.  Some people envision a simple, even primitive place to stay while on hunting or fishing expeditions, or as a base from which to engage in such pastimes as hiking, biking or off-roading.  Other people have in mind something more elaborate, perhaps including all the amenities of home.

One thing that is common to both types of visionaries is that many of them would like to emphasize the country ambiance of their place by having it made of log construction.  Nothing says “country” quite like a log cabin!  

If you are having thoughts of such a place for your own, and don’t really intend for it to be your primary residence, or if you want to downsize to a smaller place, you will want to explore small log cabin floor plans.  Whether you are thinking really rustic, with just a few hundred square feet of floor space, or something rather larger, maybe up to about a thousand square feet, it’s essential to make the most of every single square foot.

There are books available of small log cabin floor plans, and they are the perfect place to start your research and planning.  As you peruse these plans, it’s important to keep in mind the particular characteristics of the site on which you intend to build your getaway.  As an example, you’ll want to take into account the north-south alignment on the site, so that you can take maximum advantage of natural heating and cooling.  The availability of power can be an issue in keeping your place comfortable, and you won’t want to have to devote unnecessary time or money to doing so.

The smaller the log cabin, the more you will have to account in your floor plan for shared functions in the available space.  That is, space that is used for waking activities will likely also have to be used for sleeping.  If you have children who go to bed early, try to find a small log cabin floor plan that allows them some room to be separated from adult activities at bed time.  

Another important thing to keep in mind when doing your planning is the need to allow for the free flow of air if you will be heating from a fireplace or stove.  Some log cabin plans assume some kind of forced air or electrical space heating.  If you don’t have that, you may find parts of your country domain unlivable in cold weather.  

My Idea of Travelling

I wouldn’t call myself a hardened traveller, but I have done quite a few long trips in my time. Six months before college was the longest, but I have also had quite a few 6 week mini adventures without much of an itinerary.   It’s an experience I can well recommend and the earlier you get into the mindset of the traveller, the more you’ll enjoy it.


The danger is of course, especially as you start work, that those all inclusive trips which ferry you to and from the airport to the luxury hotel.  Then you get whizzed around by the tour company on a series of ‘excursions’ which almost always cost a fortune.  The temptation is of course there, but if you’re not quite into this stage I urge you to try to be more adventurous when on holiday.

It does pay dividends, I can assure you.  You meet more people, real people from the country you’re visiting and not just other tourists and hotel staff. You also will see and feel much more of the place you visit.  As let’s be honest the inside of a 5 star hotel will not vary that much from Portugal to Australia.

It’s best to travel with a friend or two if possible, but travelling alone can be just as fun as long as you’re careful.  It’s worth remembering though that you’re much more likely to get lonely or home sick travelling alone especially if you have any problems on your travels.  My advice is to take with you a tablet or laptop so you can keep in touch with home – heck if you get a subscription to a service like this it’s just like being at home.  You can watch all your favorite Tv shows and catch the local news in the evening when relaxing – it certainly makes the world seem much smaller.

It also means that you can plan your trip, read reviews and get advice during your holiday. Heck you can even rearrange your trip whilst on it, of course that is usually subject to finance. The reality is that it’s easier than ever to do yoru own thing when your travelling now, try it and discover the joy which will stay with you for the rest of your life!

Holiday Check List

I’m going on what hopefully will be my best holiday ever next year, travelling all over India with a friend.  It’s by far my most adventurous vacation as I usually settle for the boring two weeks by a hotel pool.  It was my last holiday along the Red Sea in Sharm El Sheikh that I started thinking I was wasting my precious holidays.  The problems was that all my holidays were merging into one.  When you think about it a hotel pool is pretty much the same wherever you are, my two weeks in Egypt could have just as well been down the road from my house apart from the weather!

Anyway a daunting trip like this has started me thinking well in advance about what I need to take and do before I go.  Because I’m a completely obsessive blogger I’m obviously not going to put a list up on the fridge at home, yep I’m going to put a post instead!

Travel Insurance – got to be important on this one.  I’ve occasionally made short trips without insurance but not this trip.

Passports and Visas – I’ve a mind to check on visas for nearby countries too just in case I can nip over the border.

Innoculations and Medical – eternally paranoid about picking up some exotic illness, I want a jab against everything possible.

Money and Backups – I nearly always take a little cash now and rely on my cards for backup.  There’s normally ATM machines everywhere now.

My Notebook – so small and if I get my UK IP address program like this, I can watch the news on the BBC Iplayer every night! 

Well that’s a good start, I still have more  than twelve months to go but this trip is costing me a packet so I don’t want to mess it up.   I might actually make a slight addition to my trip as I’ve had the offer of visiting Tokyo too, wasn’t really interested before but checked on my Japan proxy program and I’m now very keen!


Getting Cross with Technology

As I get older I find my temper is getting shorter, and without doubt the thing that makes me most angry is generally technology.  However many gadgets I buy, how ever many software packages or apps I purchase – they never seem to make life either simpler or more enjoyable.  For example I had a few weeks away in Europe with my job last month,  Nothing very exciting, some meetings, a couple of training sessions and the rest sitting around in conferences.  So I envisaged a lot of slack, boring time in between.  Now at first I thought it would be a great opportunity for some sight seeing but alas that was not the case.  My intinary took me to some of the most boring parts of Europe, mostly based in industrial towns without as much as a fairy tale castle or museum for miles.  

Anyway so expecting a few dull nights sitting in hotels where I didn’t understand the TV channels I thought I’d invest in an Ipad to take with me.  I didn’t have much luggage space available but this seemed ideal, I could watch the baseball, check my stocks and watch Hulu in bed all night when I was bored.  I was actually kind of looking forward to some quiet time with this luxury to help me.  But of course it didn’t work out like that – I first tried sorting out my stock portfolio one evening.  However I tried to logon and it wouldn’t let me because it had decided I was in a foreign country!!!  Annoyed I tried the helpdesk and gave up at the thought of twenty minutes on an internation rate listening to muzac.

Then I tried ABC to watch some sports, again I was blocked because I wasn’t in the US – aren’t Americans allowed to travel abroad !!! The same story with Hulu which also irritatingly informed me I was not in the US and so I couldn’t watch any shows (apart from a couple of old promotions).  So that was it, I was an American abroad an I seemed to have been reclassified as an Italian – I mean how stupid don’t they expect people to travel !!  I even couldn’t get on to my banking site as an Anti Fraud prevention system detected I wasn’t in the US.

So I spent my evenings researching, and eventually found a solution on this web site – it showed me that the solution was to change my IP address and pretend I was in the USA.  

There were suggestions that it was possible for free but nothing like that seemed to work and eventually ended up with yet another subscription to some USA VPN thing. In the end I was made to feel like some uber hacker breaking my way into my own bank account and illegally downloading shows from my Hulu account.There’s a video here too, ;I’m not quite sure if I was or not !!!