Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Looking back on month of June, had a busy month

Well, my lovely friends, we have now gotten to that time of the month again where I sit down and spend some time together with you guys looking back on the month that has passed and at the same time sharing some thoughts on what has been and what's ahead for us or me in this case. I wouldn't really want to change something that has become a tradition here on my blog and I am that type of guy who loves these new beginnings events as you know. Anyway, when I am looking back on June I have to say that it has been a really great one. Not the most productive month for my blog, but at the same time, I have gotten a lot done in other areas!

As a pure blog month, I have to say it has been a bad one since I only published three including this one. These are (Day 95 in quarantine, we are planning our future) and (I do love my new life and expat lifestyle here in Peru). The thing is that I had plans for so many more, but I just couldn't get around to do most of them, for many reasons to be honest. At least I hope they are good enough to make up for those who never became a reality this time around and they got decent traffic, that has to be said. On the other hand, I will do my best to make up for this during this month. That said and when I am looking on my situation on social media I have to say it has happened to me again.

Yes, I am talking about Twitter and their tradition of suspending my accounts for some weird reason. This month wasn't any different, to be honest. In total, this is the fifth time this has happened to me and the third time since I opened my blog, but I am not a guy that is easily defeated. So I have opened a new account (Jack H White) and continued where I left off at my old one, but at the same time overreaching my original goal for Twitter that month even though I lost all my original following! My original goal was 150 followers by the end of the month but I got suspended halfway through. Well from the middle of the month and to the end of it I gained the lost following and ended up at 160 followers.

While I am talking about social media, have to say that I have been a bad boy when it comes to Facebook. I have totally “ignored” Facebook because I have completely forgotten both my Facebook pages (Beyond the Horizon) and (Jack White Sr), even forgetting my own personal account (Jack White). Yes, you can add me on Facebook if you wish to, could be fun to interact more personal with my readers. When it comes to Instagram (Beyond our Horizon) I have done better, but I do seem to have a problem gathering a sizable following there. It's hovering between 190 and 200, has done so for the past year or so. To be honest, I am just posting to update my friends and family, have no idea what I am doing there.

I have also failed greatly when it comes to my YouTube channel (Beyond the Horizon 2.0). Not that I haven't uploaded videos, but most previous attempts on vlogs and such, but I have gained some subscribers. Standing at 24 subscribes as of writing this post. The thing is that my “camera” is kinda failing me and that makes things a bit difficult to record new videos at the moment. When this is said and looking forward, I have to say that for July I have some big plans and especially for my blog. I will be returning to my usual or normal content, but I will have a couple of COVID-19 related blog posts throughout this month. When it comes to my social media?

I have to say that my main focus will be on Twitter and to grow my audience there. This month I want to reach 400 followers, that's an increase of 240 followers throughout July if I will get there is another question, but at the same time I did manage to gain 160 followers in less than two weeks back in June! All I need to do to keep my new account safe is to focus less on politics and more on expat related ones because Twitter can be toxic at times and I think its politics that has gotten my previous accounts suspended in the past. Not going to happen this time around. So I need to become more careful in the future when approaching topics that might stir up reactions.

When it comes to my blog, this month I want to focus on the more typical top 5 content, write about my experience living as an expat in Canada and at the same time show more of my expat hometown kinda thing since things are opening up more these days. I might even return to the topic of Norway and my hometown Kristiansund. I am thinking about writing about my life back home, in a way to start to actually introduce myself to you, my readers! At the same time, I will do a try to return to work on my YouTube channel (Beyond the Horizon 2.0). I need to see if I can be able to record at least some videos for you guys.

At the same time, I am working on and laying the groundwork for a website. Yes, a proper website dedicated to travel and expat topics. It won't be a blog-style type of things, but more help and a guide type of thing. Not gotten around for the domain yet. Not sure if this will be something that will be ready by the end of the month either. In the same breath, I am also working on a fishing blog or website with an online store. Fishing is maybe my oldest passion and I wish to dedicate more time on this. Actually, I did publish a post about this (Something I have been missing while livingin Peru), but this will have a more business aspect of it. I am looking for partners for products and stuff like that.

I do know that I might come off as overly ambitious with my plans for this month, but some of them will stretch over several months, like my expat website and fishing project. There are also plans for a fishing channel on YouTube (Fishing with Jack) where I focus on taking you guys on fishing adventures. For this, I need to get my hands on some semi-good fishing gear and a decent camera, like a GoPro or something. When I look at it from a distance, it does look as I am about to chew over more than I can swallow if all of this comes through. All one really can do is try and see how it goes.

Well, I guess its time for me to wrap this blog post up and get it ready for my blog. As usual, I didn't intend for it gets as long as it did, things just kinda snowballed on me as I went along. The mistake I make every time is that I don't have a clear map of what I am going to write, just the topic and the headline and that's why things kinda get out of hands some times. Like it did this time around, but at least I got to talk about what has been and shared some thoughts on the future. That's not a bad thing, just that I have so many ideas and those keep growing with time in many ways. You can say that I have too many thoughts flying around at the same time. Anyway, I hope you did enjoy my post?

Sunday, 28 June 2020

I do love my new life and lifestyle here in Peru

I am now sitting here by my desk in my office with a lovely cup of coffee while looking back at one (so far) amazing expat adventure here in Peru. I have to say that it's kinda crazy to think about the fact that its now four years since last time I was back home in Norway. Time seems to fly away when you are enjoying yourself, but this is not what the blog post is about. The thing is that I wish to spend some time on a series of questions I get from people and especially on social media when they find out about my chosen lifestyle. Some of them usually draw the conclusion that I am either running or hiding from something. Yes, some people don't understand how this Interpol thing works!

I am not going to dwell much on these muppets since the questions usually come to the surface during a heated debate on Twitter. Just to have it mentioned, if you are applying for anything else but an extended tourist visa you have to go through an entire process with interviews and all at the Interpol. During this process, they will look through your past with everything they got and if they do find anything at all, you will be denied a more permanent visa. The thing about me is that I have a situation with either of them, not a criminal record or an outstanding warrant. You can say I have lived a peaceful and low key life. Do not have as much as a parking ticket, to be honest.

So the reality of my situation is that I have no need to neither hide nor run from anyone or anything since I have been a law-abiding citizen all my life. For me, it has been more about the love and fascination for Peru, the Peruvian culture and its people. The truth is that I am that geek who already on his fist visit kinda made up my mind that at one point in time I would settle down here in Peru with my family. The two biggest magnets for me has been my family and culture, that's for sure. Now almost four years later it feels like I have really adapted well to the low pace type of lifestyle that's being lived here. My lovely fiance constantly tells me that I have become to Latino, for some reason.

The thing is that I am unable to imagine living anywhere else, and why should I? My life here is really good. I wake up in the “morning” take my wake up shower, goes to my office and ease myself into the new day with a cup of coffee and some YouTube videos. The good thing since I am self-employed is that I do things in my own speed and usually it takes me an hour or two to get to the point of starting to work. Its pretty simple, I do live my dream life and wouldn't have it any other way. I know, it's not for everyone, but for me it's perfect and if I need something at the store I just go out jump in a moto-taxi and that's it. No stress and just a slow-paced lifestyle, but it did take me a while to get used to it.

The best thing about everything is that I have never felt so relaxed and at peace with myself as I do right now. That's a big change from my life back home in Norway where it was stress from the moment I woke up until the moment I went to bed and more often than not I struggled to fall asleep. This is a problem that is gone now, most likely thanks to the low pace do as I wish kins of lifestyle that I am living right now. My new life here in Peru do make me feel blessed and having my family around me 24/7 is what makes my life feel as “perfect” is it does. Yes, I am that typical and classical family man, always been. That's another thing that I love about Peru, it's part of the culture and lifestyle.

When I think about it, what isn't it to love about living in Peru? Okay, Peru is known for its crime and poverty, but at the same time, the crime part is something that me personally never have had to experience. Not when I lived in Lima, not in Tumbes, not in Pasamayo or while I have been living here in Huaral. Actually, when I come to think about it I have never felt safer than what I do here in Peru. No matter what I do I never seem to end up in a situation where I am worried about my safety. Not even when I stand in the middle of the downtown area counting money in full view of everyone. That's something I never would feel safe enough to do back home in Norway, not even in my small hometown!

To be completely honest, I couldn't ask for a better life than the one I am living right now. Okay, Huaral is far from an esthetically beautiful city, but it's not because of the architecture that I love living here. It's for the people, the atmosphere and the slow pace. Not to forget how safe I feel here, but I do miss the normal huaralino everyday life with good food, the amazing nightlife and everyday fireworks. This is something that has been lacking during the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown. There are a lot less noise and people outside, hopefully, things will go back to normal sooner than later. At the same time, we do have big plans for the time after the COVID-19 virus, but I guess that's a post for a different time.

Anyway, I guess its time for me to wrap this post up. All I wanted was to kinda set the record straight to those who claim that all expats are either running from or hiding from someone and that's the only reason one chose this kind of lifestyle. The thing is that I don't know anyone who lives the same lifestyle as me who are actually doing it for that reason, but instead its guys and girls that have fallen in love with a specific country and culture, just like it is with me. It's not that, I do get homesick at time, but just spending time with my family usually clears that up. So in the end, I would say that you should check me out on Twitter (Jack H White) since I am extremely active on there!

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Day 95 in quarantine, we are planning our future!

As usual, I am sitting here at my desk listening to music here in the office while thinking about what to do next and it dawns on me, we have now been living under a quarantine and lockdown regime for about 3 months. For me its both amazing and worrying to think about at the same time, especially since it doesn't even feel like 3 months at all. I would love to say that it has felt like years, but that's not the case. Well, I have kinda kept myself busy through the entire period with work and such, not that it always been easy to do. The worst part has been as mentioned before not being able to move around as freely as you wish too. Like doing family stuff other places than in our apartment.

The truth is that with time it has gotten harder or much harder to focus on my more creative projects like this blog. Like now I had to take a two-week break from it because I had a rough time focusing on writing blog posts. The thing that might have kept my head somewhat levelled is focusing on the future, planning our lives after the pandemic and the more typical rewards in the coming weeks and months. For me and my son its a brand new Playstation 4 and a Tv, for my girlfriend its new living room furniture. I feel we deserve it after what we have been going through these past few months. It's not like I can spend much time on the console, just when I am kicking back to relax with some rum.

If I am going to be completely honest with you, I have to say that there have been quite a few positive changes in the lockdown situation the past two or three weeks. The regime isn't as strict as it used to be just a short month ago. As it is right now it doesn't really come into full effect until midnight. The only thing that has really stayed in full effect is that we cant go out as a family and this is something I really miss doing. So you can say that our lives have become less restricted, but do miss being able to act as a family outside our apartment. I have also heard that the government isn't planning to open schools up before January next year. Think about it, a whole year without organized schooling?

I have to say one thing, even though it has been mentioned before because this situation has been far from easy to deal with without going “borderline” crazy with the famous cabin fever. Some days I have even had a hard time being motivated to just lock up the door to my office and even less to sit down to focus on work. Even my blog has given me problems and that's why it has been about two weeks since the last time I published a blog post. It's not like I haven't had ideas for future posts, but the motivation to sit down and work on them has at times been a struggle! I have started to work on my YouTube channel, just to mention it.

If there is one thing besides my family that has really saved my sanity it has to be my ability to focus on the future and what comes after this situation, whatever that will be. Right now we are focusing on things we are going to buy ourself in the next couple of months. You know, kinda rewarding ourself for not going insane over the situation. I see it as a way of promising ourself something to keep our sanity in this. I know that this might sound a bit childish for a guy that is turning 45 in a few weeks, but I have promised myself a new PlayStation 4 and the latest edition of Grand Theft Auto 5. It's not like I am going to be playing the game day in and day out as I did before we moved to Huaral, but more like have something to relax with after work.

As I see it, it's important to have a carrot or a goal to stretch for when times are tough and you need to dig in to work harder. At the same time, I really need to get out on a new trip soon, would love to go to somewhere in the US or back to Europe for a few weeks. Remember I haven't been anywhere for like the past 4 years now. We are also looking into some new business opportunities just to build on what we have now. One thing we are talking about is opening up a restaurant and a gaming cafe. I love gaming and I love to create new dishes, so it's not such far stretch in my world, but I do want a fancy hamburger place. We are also kinda talking about buying a place in Lima, yes move back to the big city.

Anyway, I guess its enough about my rambling about my ongoing COVID-19 situation and how I am dealing with it. Just felt like updating you guys on my situation and at the same time get back on that blogging horse of mine after two rough weeks. At least there is some good news in all of this and hopefully, you enjoyed reading it. if you did, you should check me out on social media! You find me on Facebook (Beyond the Horizon) and (Jack White Sr), on Twitter (Jack White), Instagram (Beyond our Horizon) and you can always support my work through buying me a coffee on Ko-fi (Jack White Sr). Would love to see you guys support me at least on social media! Hope to see you there boys and girls.

Sunday, 31 May 2020

Looking back on month of May, been a weird month

 Well, my friends, we have now gotten to that time of the month where I spend some time together with you guys looking back on the month that has passed and at the same time share some thoughts on what has been and what's ahead of us. It's not going to be any different this time around because I do love these new beginnings type of things. I just am that type of a guy, but at the same time when I now look back on May weird feelings comes to the surface, to be honest. When I say a weird feeling it's not because of something negative, but rather the opposite in fact. The honest truth is that May has been amazing in so many ways, not to forget exciting.

Not that it has been perfect in any way because I have a bone to pick with Twitter since I lost access to my account halfway through the month. That kinda angered me, it's not deleted or anything, but I am unable to access it for some weird reason. The result was that I had to open a new one (Senior Jack White) and this time around I will do my best to stay away from hot political topics I love to get engaged in. Yes, I am that guy too. Anyway, all in all, I have no real reason to complain about anything. At the same time, I did get around to work on my YouTube channel. Not produced any real vlogs or anything yet, but uploaded videos that I have had on other channels before this.

 These videos are from the period 2016 to 2018 and placed on a playlist called oldies but goldies. The good thing is that I am about to finish work on my first proper vlog and the plan is to upload it on Monday, have it ready for 5 pm and have that as a schedule for my channel in the beginning. Uploading a new video every Monday at 5 pm my time that is. That has actually been the time for every single upload so far as well, so if you check my channel now you will find about 7 older videos in the oldies but goldies category! You should really go and check them out (Beyond the Horizon 2.0), you might find something you like or enjoy in the process. Just keep in mind that I am new to this.

Well with that said and done, I have to say that what has really made this month so amazing as it ended up to become was the fact that I have finally had my first few walks in the neighbourhood. Actually to my grocery store and back home (a walk that usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes in total). I have had 3 in total so far and there will be many more in the future. It's hard to find the correct words to describe how amazing it has been, but it hasn't been without that bittersweet feeling, to be honest. The sight of all the closed shops along the way to my grocer is a sad sight and it looks like they have been closed for a good while too. So my thoughts are if these ever will re-open when the lockdown is over.

 At the same time, it does feel like the lockdown is at its end. Not like it will be lifted tomorrow or anything, but very soon and hopefully this will happen early in June. The lockdown has been extended to the 10th of June and the COVID-19 statistics are improving so there is hope that this day will be the last. That's what I am hoping for and looking forward towards being able to move around as I wish and without the curfew that used to come into effect at 6 pm, but now been pushed back until 8. That this has been done is a good sign and there are less police in the streets as well. There are fewer restrictions than it used to be just a couple of weeks ago, but I will get back to this in a later blog post.

If there is one thing that's kinda weird to think about it has to be the fact that I am now at the end of my fifth months as an active blogger. The truth is that I didn't think it would stick with me for this long and I am having a lot of fun writing my blog posts, not that the writing part surprises me in any way because I have always loved to be creative. It's the part that other people read it and judge the work that I am doing that's the worrying part for me. Not that I have gotten any negative feedback so far and I wonder how I will react when that time comes? Hope I will be able to take it in a good way. Anyway, I have to deal with it when I get there, I guess and hope for the best.

So what are my plans for June? Well, I have already revealed the fact that my YouTube channel is up and running, that I, for the time being, will upload one video a week and that this will happen on Mondays at 5 pm. Since I am forced to rebuild my Twitter following my goal is to reach 100 followers by the end of June (I am at 41 as of writing this post). I will be focusing less on COVID-19 related topics and more on actual expat related ones. To be honest, it does feel like I have said whats needed to be said about it or I might publish one or two posts. At the same time, I do need to work more on my focus when it comes to writing and publishing posts, get things into a better system.

When everything is said and done, I have no real reason to complain, to be honest. Just as with last month I have my job, a lovely family and more or less everything I need and then some. There are people out there who have it a lot worse than us. Life is good and it's getting better every single day, just wish I could work less and enjoy life a bit more. I just hope you guys are safe and in a good situation as well. That is something that's on my mind a lot, how people around me are and if I could I would help more people who are less fortunate than me, but my financial situation doesn't allow it. Well, I guess that this is another messy blog post from me, but I do hope you enjoyed reading it?

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Something I have been missing while living in Peru

I would say that it's both amazing and scary at the same time to think about the fact that its today 4 years since I boarded my plane in Oslo heading for Heathrow to spend a day with my best friend and ex-wife (and her new husband). That's a tradition we have that every time I am heading for an adventure I stop for a while in the UK to spend time with them. This time wouldn't be any different before heading to Ilo-Ilo and the Philippines, where I would spend the next 2 months or so before heading out on a new adventure. I would guess that you know what the end destination was (Peru, if you are new to my blog) and here I have stayed ever since.

So with that said and if I had to pick out just one thing that is a typical source for my expat blues (if you ignore the more natural sources like family and friends) it has to be the ability to just go out and enjoy some alone time while fishing at a random spot. Basically, go out, set some crab traps and just sit there throwing my lure while enjoying the peace a and quiet. This was something I usually did from early spring to late fall, depending on the weather of course and always after a stressful day at work. The thing is that I am having a hard time remembering a time or period in my life where this hasn't been an anchor activity in my life. Even as a kid this was a summer break type of activity I used to do with my then vacation friend. It was actually him who got me hooked on this.

Then as now where, when or how were never important, the focus has always been on the experience, the fun and just being outdoors enjoying life. When I was a kid it usually was about a few meters of line, a hook and some bait on a local pier. Okay, this was something that developed into something more sophisticated. As I grew older I started to buy more expensive gear and at one point it also expanded to trapping crabs. The last decade of my life in Norway I dropped the usual ocean type gear and learned to use flyfishing rods instead, just to increase the joy of catching. Not that I always kept what I caught. Sometimes or more often than not I went for the catch and release style of fishing.

The catch and release part of it kinda died out as when I started setting traps for crabs since I needed bait for them. The natural bait for such traps is like fishheads, smaller fish and stuff like that. Usually, I sat the trap at the end of the trip and pulled them up the next day after work or at the beginning of that day's adventure. Actually, I am sitting here having a big silly smile just thinking about it. For me its a collection of some amazing memories and at the same time I wish to include my own son in this, one way or the other. That's why it's so sad that I left my old gear back home and that I haven't been able to replace it so far in my stay here in Peru.

The honest truth is that I haven't been able to find a local store that sells what I am used to and my finances hasn't been strong enough to buy expensive equipment online. This has kinda changed in many ways and at the same time, I am sick and tired of being unable to just escape everything and enjoy some peace and quiet. I want to be able to make that escape and share it with my son, in a way that I teach him the ropes of the game. Fishing isn't a science, not when you are doing it as a hobby. Its basically just throwing that lure as far as you can and make the right movements with the rod so you attract the attention of nearby fish. The “science” lays with not getting the lure stuck.

Of course, I could always have gone out with just a bamboo rod and some line, but the issue with where I live is that it's so far from the shore or the ocean, like 30 to 45 minutes away and a distance like this kinda kills the mood when it comes to fishing. I am like that guy who can go onto a pier just to make a few throws and just sit there the rest of the time enjoying my surroundings or talking with the people that is around me. At the same time, I am not picky about where I go to get my fishing done either. It can be an innercity type of thing or way out in the ocean on a boat. It all depends on what I wish to get out of it. If I look for something to eat I go somewhere clean, but if it's just for fishing it doesn't matter.

So what I need to do is doing some research on some okay type of spots for fishing because the truth is that I am “pregnant” with a new project. It's not a big deal or a thing for that matter. I want to turn my passion for fishing into something that I can entertain people with. So the past few days I have been playing around with the idea about a website and a YouTube channel where the channel is for videos of my fishing and the website as a mix between a blog and a webshop type of thing. I know, how original right? It's not like the internet and YouTube has a million of these from before, but its something I want to try and see where it leads me. I have not done this before so, maybe it will be just a hobby project in the end.

I kinda got derailed here, but the point is that for the last four years or so I have been dreaming about taking my son out for some fishing and now that he is old enough (10 years this September) its time for me to get things into a higher gear. Get my hands on the equipment I need and not just sit around feeling sorry for myself for not being able to go out on these fishing trips. Take breaks from work and spend it outdoors with my family, but the lockdown has to end before this is possible anyway. Anyone else who thinks this is a good idea? Not sure how my son feels about it right now, but as I see it, catching your own food is something everyone should know how to do, that's how I see it.

Not quite sure where I wanted to go with this now, but I guess it's my way of saying that the ONE thing I have really been missing while living out my expat dream here in Peru is the freedom to just go out and enjoy some alone time with my fishing rod and my surroundings day as night! At the same time my thoughts and dreams about getting back “in the ring” with maybe my absolute biggest passion, even bigger than my love for travel. Just by thinking about going out on a fishing trip gets me all pumped up and excited. It doesn't make it any less exciting with the new projects that I am now kinda working on, but the important part here is getting back “in the ring”.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Day 66 in quarantine, been outside for the first time

Right now it's weird to think about the fact that it's 66 days since the Peruvian government implemented their nationwide lockdown and curfew, it's scary how fast these days have passed. What makes it even weirder is the reality that I haven't been outside this entire time, or I have been out on our patio, but not outside of the apartment complex that we live in. Instead, I have been “locked up” in our apartment and office trying my best to stay focused on the tasks at hand, like my work, family, blog and future projects. One thing I can tell you is that it has been far from easy at times and I don't think it comes as a big surprise when I say that my productivity has been dropping drastically lately!

That's why it feels so good to bring the news that I have actually been out walking for the very first time since the curfew came into effect today and what a rush it has been. At first, it felt like I was doing something illegal, but a few hundred meters down the road all kind of amazing emotions came up to the surface. Just the pure joy of being outside and feeling a little bit of that freedom that got taken for granted two or three months ago made me feel like a kid again. By the time I passed the gas station I was more or less singing and dancing, it had to be a weird spectacle for those who passed me on the street. Even the neighbourhood dogs were looking strangely at me and trying to avoid me with my somewhat weird behaviour.

The thing was that I needed to get something at the local grocery store and my girlfriend didn't want to go out, so I used this opportunity to get out and about. Not to forget spending some one on one time with my camera to get new photos for my blog, but the end result is far from my best work I would say. At the same time, the best thing that came out of my walk today has to be my improved morale and mood. It was like my “system” got a boost and loads of ideas came flowing in, even tried to record my first video for Youtube when I got back home. So the thing is that I will do my best to have a video ready for June the 1st because I will try to have these walks more often, but being careful at the same time. You know with my visa situation and all

Anyway, I am now sitting here in my office in a really good mood over today's big event and I will say that this “boost to my system” revitalised my system in so many ways, not sure how great of a feeling this was just by being out of the house for a few moments. At the same time, there are some rumours about the lockdown coming to an end soon. Okay, it just got extended by another two weeks, but by looking at the COVID-19 statistics things are looking promising at my end of things. So you can believe I am keeping my fingers crossed for some good news very soon. It would be so great if the curfew got lifted by the end of the month and we could go back for a weekend at Pasamayo to spend time with our family there.

The thing is my friends, I just felt like sharing some good news and something that has brought me some needed sunshine today. Trust me when I say that it was weird to be walking around saying hello to my neighbours after so many days and with a mask on of course. Not taking any chances with the virus. Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed my happy mood update and if you did, why not check me out on social media. You find me on Facebook (Beyond the Horizon) and (Jack White Sr), on Twitter (Jack White), Instagram (Beyond our Horizon) and you can always support my work through buying me a coffee on Ko-fi (Jack White Sr). Would love to see you guys support me at least on social media!

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Happy birthday to all my fellow Norwegians out there

I would say that this is one very special day for us somewhat weird Norwegians because May the 17th is the day when we celebrate the signing of our constitution that happened back in May the 17th 1817 at Eidsvoll, but we didn't get our independence "officially" before June the 7th 1905. Not that I am about to go into the fine details of this historical event, just wanted to have it mentioned. The thing is that Norway isn't like other nations around the world when it comes to celebrating a day like this. While most countries celebrate with massive military parades and fireworks, we do it by letting our kids and young ones do the talking. With talking, I am aiming at civilian parades throughout the day.

The day usually gets kicked off early by a nationwide children parade after breakfast, then followed up by a graduation parade mid-day and then with an all public kinda thing around dinner time (we usually eat around 4 - 6 pm). This is actually a day that is celebrated by both Norwegians and people with Norwegian ancestry worldwide. Its the day of the year were we as a nation are allowed to show how patriotic we are, but the framework around this day is so much more. Under more normal circumstances we have everything from mobile amusement parks, free cinema for kids, fun and games for everyone, enjoying massive amounts of fast food and just spending time with family and friends.

To be completely honest here, I do love this day and for me its a day that even ranks over days like Christmas and New years eve in many ways. Just because its a day where everyone is gathered and enjoying themself. For me, it's all about the traditions, or family traditions and after moving to Peru the day have usually been celebrated by watching videos from parades and other happenings from my hometown, but not this year! This is just one other thing that the sars-cov2 virus has ruined for us this year and in many ways, it makes a day like this so much more important. Its a day we can get together and celebrate our national strength while we remember those who lost the battle against the virus.

A day like this does get a brand new meaning in all that is happening right now. It's also something that seems to have been implemented in the planning for the celebration program for my hometown. There seems to be an alternative celebration without the big crowd of people in public spaces. In an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus and this way avoiding taking any risks with the public health, because there will come more days like this in the future. The reality is that we have to focus on keeping each other safe and avoid taking risks that might put anyone into any danger because when this virus blows over we do have a real reason to celebrate. A global celebration and at the same time remembering those who didn't make it!

This year didn't turn out as we hoped for and the part that kinda gets me down is that I am unable to spend the day with my family back home since we had plans to go to Norway. I had hoped to be able to spend and celebrate this day together with my loved ones, both those back home in Norway and those who live with me here in Peru. The good thing is that there will come opportunities to do this in the future when the virus has been defeated! Hopefully next year. Anyway, this is a day for joy and hope, just that the ongoing outbreak kinda puts things in a much better perspective for us. I am thinking that if we are lucky we will have a real reason to celebrate this amazing day next year.

Having hopes and dreams is important, especially now. Anyway, all I really wanted to do with this post were to say congrats on this day to all Norwegians all over the world. Remember to stay safe, keep the social distancing and at the same time enjoy this day together with those who are important to you! So happy birthday to you all, hope you are having a great day! At the same time, I hope you enjoyed my post and if you did then remember to check me out on social media. On Twitter (Jack White). On Facebook (Jack White Sr) and (Beyond the Horizon). On Instagram (Beyond our Horizon). You can also support my blog through Ko-fi (Jack White Sr).

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

My top 5 Youtube travel and expat vloggers/bloggers

If I am going to be completely honest here then I have to come clean about the fact that I am a big consumer of YouTube content. This has to do with the fact that I spend very little time watching tv and a lot of time working in my office. So when I want to take a break or relax after work or for that matter prepare for work I usually turn to YouTube. For me, that feels more natural and it usually is about travel, expat, politics, history or fishing related topics. I prefer content that can inspire me, make me think and makes me hungry for more if you understand what I mean? So today I wish to share with you guys some of my favourite travel and expat channels on YouTube, I am sure you will love them as I do.

Bald and Bankrupt: This has to be my all-time favourite travel channel on YouTube. I hope you trust me when I say that it doesn't get any better than this guy. He seems to be genuine, honest and tells you exactly what's on his mind at any given time, with a major crush on the old Soviet Union theme. One thing that is unique with this guy is the fact that he seems completely fearless when it comes to what destinations he pics for his videos. I don't want to spoil too much when it comes to the Bald and Bankrupt channel, but his main focus lay on eastern Europe and India, he doesn't go for the most comfortable choices, that's for sure. So check him out and subscribe to his channel, its worth it!

Serpentza: This YouTube channel is one out of two that kinda inspired me to start up my Beyond the Horizon blog with the type of content that I am currently focusing on. Serpentza is originally a guy from South Africa, but have been living in China as an expat for something like 10+ years and create some amazing content. Both on his own and together with his American friend Laowhy86. Both are YouTubers and have something like 5 channels between them and all of them deserve a spot on this list, but it wouldn't be fair would it? So if you want to learn more about Asia and China especially, you should really check out their channels. Anyway, you should really check out Serpentzas channel, worth the effort by far.

TangerineTravels: This channel is more or less a newcomer on my list that I watch more or less daily. The channel is run by this cute American couple that has settled down in Mexico and does seem like focusing mainly on their expat life there. I found their channel a few months ago and have been a fanboy ever since. They do make some amazing, informative more on the fun side type of lighthearted content. That's how I view them at least but trust me on this one. They are absolutely worth checking out and they have visited Peru in more recent time. So I do hope you will check this cute couple out and give them a good chance to entertain you!

Mike Chen: This is one amazing guy who just loves food the same way I do. We love mostly different type of foods, but I would say we agree on things like pasta, pizza and hamburgers, but not so much on the more typical Asian food. He is that guy that travels the world just to eat food and are good at doing it in a fun and lighthearted way. This guy has something like 5 channels with kinda different topics, so he is extremely productive and has a personality that really shines through the computer screen. Because when you have watched his content for a while you kinda feel like you know him personally. Just to mention it, he seems like an a-okay guy and do me a favour, go and check him out!

Indigo Traveller: Okay this guy I have kinda mixed feelings about. It's not that he makes bad content or anything, but its something about his personality that kinda rubs me the wrong way at times. I really do not like to talk bad or negative about anything or the job they do, but at the same time I want to be completely honest in my “reviews” of you know what I mean? His videos, in general, are extremely good and his choice in destinations are pure gold. He goes where I haven't thought about going as a tourist, like Afghanistan, Iran and really scary places like that. He seems like a guy who doesn't get scared easily. He goes where he wants to go, dam the consequences. You should check him out!

This is my official top 5 travel and expat vlogger list of 2020, this might change in the future and if that happens I will update you guys as quickly as I can do so. Who knows, maybe there will be a part to sometime in the future? The thing is that there are so many high-quality YouTube channels when it comes to expat and travel topics that it's hard to just pick 5 if you know what I mean? Anyway, I hope you guys will check these channels out and if you do, let them know who sent you. At the same time, I hope you enjoyed this post and that you will stick around for future updates. At the same time, if you enjoyed it, why not share my blog with family and friends on social media?

Gweilo60: I had to do a kinda runner up kinda thing. Gweilo60 is another China expat vlogger. I would say that produces the opposite type of content than Serpentza does. While Serpentza has a more critical look at China, Gweilo60 has more the extreme China-friendly type. It's borderline paid and bought for by the Communist Party of China type of thing. You might see this as a criticism of his work, but it's really not. Sometimes he provokes me with his videos, but at the same time he is there as a counterweight to Serpentza and Laowhy86 and he triggers the fuck you in me. Not that, he makes good and engaging content, but as said its borderline propagandist type. Anyway, you should check him out!

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Looking back on month of April, a life in lockdown

Well, my friends, we have now gotten to that point in time where I spend some time together with you guys looking back on the month that has passed and at the same time share some thoughts on what has been and what's ahead for us. It's not going to be any different this time around. I do love my “new” beginnings small and big. I am weird that way, but when I look back on April I can't say anything but the fact that it has been a good month. Things have been good and we as a family are doing good. So if I ignore the fact that we are living under a lockdown regime, we have no real reason to complain about our lives. Things could have been so much worse than it is.

There is no doubt about the fact that we are living in stranger times and it seems to be sticking around for a good while into the future as well. If I am going to be completely honest here, the only real thing I want to complain about is the isolation. I do feel like a prisoner in my own home and I can promise you its not a pleasant feeling. I have never in my life felt the need to go outside as much as I do right now and this does affect my blog in so many ways as well. I do have problems focusing on more “harder” topics and its frustrating for me that I am unable to go outside to go photo hunting. Because of this, I have to reuse the photos I have on my computer, but this is luxury problems as I see it.

I am not going to dwell that much more on the COVID-19 situation we are in, we get enough of that when it comes to the news. Just wanted to get it out of my system in a way, but this is a situation that has had a big impact on my productivity related to my blog. 50 days or so in lockdown seems to have that effect on me. At the same time, I have plans for a walk to the store late next week and when I do my camera will join me on my journey. I need to get out and look around, but not going to risk anything for a few photos. So when I look back on April, I have published 4 posts (5 with this one), been growing quite a bit on social media (for the most part on Twitter). I have been almost completely unbanned the entire month.

Actually, its the first month in the entire history of my Twitter account where I haven't been on and off a complete shadow ban and this has had a positive effect on my statistics. At the same time, my blog seems to be growing day by day. Thanks to my improved situation on Twitter I can reach new readers through my tweets and growing numbers of followers. That's never a bad thing in my book, to be honest. Throughout April I have gained something like 46 new ones. I know, in the grand scheme of things it's not much, but with my number of followers its almost a 50% growth. I know it might seem silly, but for May I have a goal of reaching 250 (standing at 165 right now).

At the same time, I am looking at opening my own online store. Nothing big, just offering for sale things like t-shirts, hoodies and similar products. Not sure how this will kick off, but do hope to have it ready by the end of the month. I do look at it as a potential fun project, at least the part of trying to design my products. Another thing is that I have plans for moving away from typical COVID-19 type of content and back to my normal ones, like top 5 lists, starting to walk down my why I became a expat road and in general expat related articles. I do think this will be a healthy move for my blog. I am also thinking about opening up a pure photo and video blog, not to forget getting my YouTube channel up and running.

I do believe its about time for me to move on and expand my horizon on projects I work on, but my main focus will always stay on my blog. Try my best to improve my content. I am fully aware of the fact that its not a top tier type of blog and neither is my English, but I am having fun while doing it. There is some sad news in all of this, my best friend and princess Gin-gin are still missing. She hasn't come home yet, but I have kinda lost hope she ever will return. The straw that I am clinging to right now is that she has found a new and safe home on her journey, at least we have our new family member with us. He weird part is that he is turning more and more into a male copy of Gin-gin.

Anyway, all in all, I would say that we have had a good month. There have been a few bumps in the road, but we are the lucky ones in many ways. There are so many who has it so much worse than us. Our problems are of the minor type, I still have my job, we have a place to live, food to eat and my office fully up and running. If things go really bad, we have my family-in-law to retreat to, just in case. All I am hoping for is that this will blow over sooner than later. I am tired of being stuck on this roof 24/7. I guess its time for me to wrap things up and get it ready for my blog. Just wanted to do my usual end of the month type of blog post and I do hope you guys enjoyed it. Not the most exciting update, but its at least a blog post!

Monday, 27 April 2020

Day 42 in quarantine, things do feel weird now

I have to say that it did feel kinda weird thinking about the fact that we have been living under a lockdown regime for 42 days now and the scary part is that one is starting to get used to the situation. It's not like the situation has stopped bothering me or anything, but it has become the new norm in some ways. At the same time, I am worried about what will be the new normal after the dust has settled, because I have a feeling that a lot will change, especially for us expats and with love for adventures. This is something I have talked about in a previous post as well (The worrying aspects of the COVID-19 outbreak). Many thoughts are flying around these days, pretty sure that it's like this with most people!

Not even going to try to hide it, because I am worried about the future and how the post-COVID-19 world will be looking like for us. When you are locked up at home for weeks on end, you get a lot of time to get lost in your thoughts and its not always a good thing. I shouldn't be the one to complain since our household is one of the better-off ones. We are in a better position than most, at least here in Peru. I have been able to keep on working, we live kinda isolated from the rest of the population and we have all our primary needs covered. We are the lucky ones since so many have lost their ability to work and earn to cover their needs. For us, isolation is the worst part.

If I focus on myself, my daily routine now are moving between my office, our patio and apartment, but every other day I exit the building to put out our trash. When I take out the trash I do spend more time than are needed to do so, just to enjoy a little bit of freedom. It's weird how much you miss something that you usually take for granted when it is gone. Like with me and being outdoors. This is a freedom I have had for most of my life and it wasn't something I thought was something I would lose, but now it's temporarily lost and it is driving me borderline insane. To such a degree that I am having big issues sleeping and focusing on things that need to be done, like my blog.

Just look at the past week, I have been working on one single blog post or at least trying to, but so far I haven't gotten any further than a single paragraph. That is pretty much the intro part of the post by the way. The thing is that I am having a huge expat anniversary coming up and I wish to kick this off with an introduction post about my lifestyle. You know, what leads me to go down the expat road when I come from such an amazing country as I do. The truth is, Norway might be the ultimate country in so many ways, but for me, that has grown up there finds it kinda bland and boring. You could say not spicey or exciting enough, but I have gotten stuck on this post.

This might be my biggest issue with the current lockdown regime, I am not able to get out and about to get inspiration for any future blog posts. I haven't been able to go photo hunting since this happened and I am fast running out of photos to use on my blog. I know that might sound like an insanely selfish person when this is my biggest problems by being locked up in my apartment, but for me being able to be productive and creative is a big thing. At the same time, I won't look at your weirdly if you judged me based on what I find as my biggest personal problems in all of this. Might even agree with you, in silence. At the same time, it does feel like good news is around the corner.

I don't know what it is, but it feels like things are about to change for the better here in Peru. As if the community is about to open up. It's not like I have some inside scoop or anything, it is just like the entire atmosphere has changed. There are less police in the streets and when they do go on their usual “run” they do it quietly. If you go just a week back in time it felt like every single patrol unit were driving up and down this street at the same time and that with the sirens on, day as night, especially at night. All of this is gone now like today I haven't seen a single bike or police car at all. When Peru finally opens up it's not like everything will go back to old normal instantly.

To be honest, I would be more than happy just with some minor adjustments right now. Adjustments like being allowed to go out as a family or just walk as you wish or going to the supermarket as a family as we used to before the lockdown. Hopefully, this will be a reality in a couple of weeks, we do need it. By this happening supermarkets will be properly resupplied as well, not to forget the markets will be opening again. Have to be honest here, I need to resupply a few things for my office, including rum and printing paper just to mention a few. Would be nice to be able to go out and walk around when I felt the need for it. then again, it's not things we need to survive or get through the day.

One thing is for sure, when Peru opens up again there will be some huge changes coming my way. One of the first things I will be doing is buying a drone, getting a new PlayStation 4 and get my new desk for the office. There will be more travelling and I will start focusing on my YouTube channel. I would also love to take my blog on the road as well. Taking the blog on the road has been part of my plans, but then the COVID-19 happened. I do have a long list of countries I want to visit and to re-visit with my lovely family. This is also a thing that I am doing to keep the spirit up, looking forward and to the future. Planning things when things hopefully go back to normal.

I need to say that life is good, just the fact that I am suffering from cabin fever or as I say the COVID-19 isolation fever. It could have been a lot worse right? Anyway, its time for me to wrap this post up and get the post ready for publishing. All I wanted to do were to update you guys on my life in quarantine and as usual, it got much longer than first expected. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the read and if you did, remember you can follow me on social media. At Twitter (Jack White). On Facebook (Beyond the Horizon) and (Jack White Sr). On Instagram (Beyond our Horizon). You can support my blog through Ko-fi (Jack White Sr). No pressure on the Ko-fi part, but hope to see you on social media!