The 3 Main Stress Factors & Ways To Manage Them

There are countless studies, scientific tests and medical theories on stress and you only need to search Google to find them. Often we can find ourselves reading into these and stressing out over the root causes and how to fix them.

This article should not at all be taken as medical advice or scientifically proven evidence, but if you’ve ever wanted to identify the main stress factors and consider ways to manage those levels then this may be something to try out.

This of course is my own theory on stress levels and it is something that I try and live by. So let’s get to it:

1. Normal Stress

Normal Stress is exactly what it says on the label. It’s normal and it’s something everyone experiences almost on a daily basis. It’s a fact of life we cannot avoid but I find it comforting when I tell myself this as it helps me stop from overthinking it or looking too deep into it. Normal Stress is something we experience when we’re running behind on our schedule, we need to be in two places at once or perhaps we have more paper work on our desk then we would desire on a Monday.

The fact of this is it is unavoidable and we need to take this as it comes at us. Often it is caused when we are caught off guard or we are dealing with something unfamiliar. Our brains don’t like it because it disrupts the status quo. This stress will probably be much more difficult for people with learning difficulties and conditions like autism, as they often like to maintain a particular routine. But it is okay and we need to remember that.

Normal Stress can be caused by many events and especially in the adult world when it comes to falling out with friends or even ensuring we have enough in our accounts to pay for a bill. It can be challenging to maintain ourselves but it is important to combat this stress and some of my favourite methods include:

  • Prioritising what is causing me the most stress and dealing with it as soon as possible. The quicker it’s done the better the relief.
  • Financially – try and resist the urge to invest in something that may temporarily be great but will make your month or even year harder. I still make this mistake today and that’s because we’re human and we like to occupy ourselves but if you are about to spend £60.00 on a night out, when you could save it for something more important then why worsen your situation when you could make it better? Spend your money when it’s worthwhile (I am still practicing this and its even harder when living abroad on a rep wage).
  • Admit mistakes and ask for help – if you’ve cocked up at work and it’s out of your hands then this situation will only escalate. If you have too much to do in one day and your manager is asking you if you can finish it by 5pm then be realistic with your limitations. You won’t be fired for saying no and you will likely benefit from learning where you went wrong.
  • The most important one – remind yourself that this is normal and accept it as it is. A mind can focus when it’s thinking more clearly and realistically.

2. Positive Stress

This one is my favourite and for good reason. No one would ever have expected ‘positive’ and ‘stress’ to be in the same sentence.

Positive Stress is something I think we experience when we are working towards something positive. When we are being productive. The end goal is going to benefit YOU. Whether this is emotionally, physically, financially or in terms of career.

Perhaps you are setting up your own business, building that six pack, setting your eyes on that promotion or even saving towards a new home. Whatever it is, what we desire or want to achieve will often leave us in situations that require us to work hard, under pressure, to deadlines or to the max of our limits. At the end of the day, you will be left with a productive and rewarding feeling that motivates us more and more.

However, Positive Stress is like drinking. Sure, one or two pints of the finest ale or lager can be quite refreshing but sometimes we want more and then boom – next thing you know, you’re face first on the floor and you’re left with a banging hangover that wipes you out for days. You get the picture folks.

So how do we ensure our Positive Stress isn’t overwhelming us? Here are my own personal tips:

  • Again, be realistic and manage your expectations and limitations. Do as much as you can with what you can but don’t fill up the glass to the brim as you might just spill it.
  • Take breaks to refresh yourself. This is a good opportunity to reflect on what you’ve achieved so far and you’ll find distance makes the heart grow fonder. Treat it like the person you want to date. If you’re overly keen then it will go tits up. Your motivation will soon force you back into it.
  • Take your time and do everything in your own pace. If you want to stay out till 4.00am then starting jagermeisters at 4.00pm is not going to be a good idea and you will soon trip up (okay, enough with the drink references). To avoid mistakes or a clash in your progress, take your time and aim to get it right.
  • Make sure your wants don’t prioritise your needs. Hard work is needed but ensuring you’re sleeping, eating and keeping in line with other commitments will help you avoid unnecessary stress. This will also develop you and benefit you in your pursuits of ambition too.

3. Negative Stress

The ultimate weapon of self destruction and the stress factor you want to avoid like the plague. Negative Stress is caused when any of the above factors, whether combined or alone, overwhelm you to a point in which you stop focusing on the objective and start focusing on yourself.. and not in a good way. It’s the factor that causes you to doubt, overly-criticise and sometimes hate yourself because you feel like a failure. This is the kind of factor that leads down darker routes of depression, anxiety and even suicide. It quickly turns from stress to distress.

You may be focusing so hard on a business start up that you’ve plunged yourself into uncontrollable debt. You may be telling yourself that three days at the gym in a week isn’t good enough and start despising yourself. I’m not saying don’t work hard because hard work is everything but so is balance and that is more important sometimes.

And if someone is able to manage more than you at one time then don’t allow that to defeat you. It doesn’t matter how fast you run a marathon as long as you can finish the race.

You ideally wish to avoid Negative Stress but that’s not always possible. My only tip for this is what I’ve tried and done – you need to take a step back, look at your circumstances and realise what is making you unhappy. This requires true honesty and time.

Once you have identified the problem. Ask yourself; “Can I fix it?”

99% of the time, the answer is yes. I quit an £18,000 job for a very low paying one. That’s not possible for everyone but I firmly believe there is always something you can change in your life to help your situation.

If your answer is no, then you need to accept that it is not within your control and move forward to bring in additional changes that will make life that little bit more simple.

Whatever factor above you experience – never allow it to consume you and accept that we will all encounter stress, even the happiest or wealthiest of people.

If you have any tips or your own personal stories then please submit them to me or comment on this post. Alternatively, I hope this post helps and I would love to hear from you.

– Tommy Dunn


Be the change you want to see.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve tried to write this post. How often I’ve tried to put it into words or how to describe it. This is the kind of story I’ve always thought of writing about, perhaps on the day I have truly made it or become successful. However, in this life there is no certainty and with all the problems we have today, as human beings, I feel it’s a subject important to touch on – that subject being mental health.

These days I am fortunate to be surrounded by so many caring and cool people. I’m lucky to have a personality that seems to rub off positively and make people laugh. But those closest to me know this wasn’t always the case and I’m not sure what I’m trying to achieve with this but it’s something I’m passionate about.

I can’t exactly remember when I first thought of the concept of suicide or why I did exactly that. I think I was around 14 years old and at the time, I wasn’t really happy in school due to bullying. I’ve always been different in the terms of acting a bit strange, having unusual interests and displaying what some may say was an idiotic personality. During this time I even considered myself to be a rapper and tried to replicate Eminem’s music. I look back on that now and laugh but at the time it caused me a lot of torment and humiliation, which ultimately led me to hate myself. Another factor in my life was my strained relationship with my dad, which has never improved and now we don’t speak at all. That wasn’t my choice and at the age of 15 years old, my dad told me he wanted nothing to do with me. That hurt. But what hurt even more was the fact other kids in my school used that against me and it was nothing but cruel. Although I’ve tried to let that go and I’ve moved on from my dad, I’ve never truly forgiven him or those who used it as a weapon. All of these problems combined always gave me the urge of wanting to end my own life because I didn’t feel like I belonged. I was different but I couldn’t see that in a positive way and I would often fantasize about ending my own life. No person should ever be thinking like that.

Over my teenage years, there has been a lot of growing up and things have changed since school. When I was 16 years old I got into community radio and by the time I was 18 years old, I won an award for my efforts and met some very big celebrities, from Professor Green to Nicole Sherzinger. However, equally I had some knock backs too, from break ups to being fired from an apprenticeship. When I was 17 years old, I was jumped in a park during broad daylight and had the hell kicked out of me and needed to go to hospital. So there has been some amazing and also some traumatizing experiences. You win some and lose some, right?

Fast forward to being 21 years old and I had been promoted to a department in an international company I was working for. I was on decent money for my age and everything was going fantastically well. My life had been on the up for some time.. until it hit me.

One day I woke up with a lethargic and fatigue feeling. I had put on weight and I hadn’t shaved. The back of my head felt heavy, like a brick was hanging from it. My clothes felt tight and every step I would take felt uncomfortable. The worst bit was the cold feeling I constantly had and it felt like my joints were squeezing together. I fed fuel to the fire with binge eating and drinking unnecessary amounts of alcohol, even when I was alone.

I went to the doctors and spoke to my GP about how I was feeling. He diagnosed me with anxiety and prescribed me setraline. On the side there was information and one possible side effect would be the need to commit suicide and having suicidal thoughts. I may also feel docile and confused at times. Due to the fact I had just been promoted into a job role that I had worked so hard towards, I felt it would be wise to inform my employer and so I went and spoke to my manager and informed her of how I was feeling.

My manager was quite supportive and encouraged me to go along with the prescribed treatment. She then altered my shifts to suit me whilst I was adjusting to the drugs. However, the drugs soon began to have the negative effects on me and instead of feeling like I was on the right path, I was hallucinating, panicking frequently about the possibility of losing my job and even waking up in the night with horrific nightmares.

Christmas came and went, and at all the family gatherings I just wasn’t myself. My confidence and personality felt like it had been sucked from my soul. When I was in an awkward conversation or any signs of confrontation, I felt like I couldn’t even speak and I was holding my breath underwater almost. The worst part was the constant reminder that this wasn’t a condition that could be cured but instead a part of me I would be living with for the rest of my existence. Involved in my job role was dealing with benefits and the amount of stories I heard and some of the situations I often found people in was just too much for my emotions. I couldn’t live like this any longer.

One night in January 2016, I went out in the town with my friends and got incredibly drunk. We booked out a private table in a night club and I was going for gold with the amount of alcohol I had consumed. Suddenly I noticed a group of lads who had bullied me in school. For once in a long time, I felt that same sick to the stomach feeling that I had felt everyday at school. I was done.

I went home and took a bottle of whiskey from the cupboard and sat on my sofa, opening my mum’s laptop to type a note. Now when I was 19 years old, there had been a few occasions where I had taken a load of pills but then phoned a friend to tell them. I had never been truly able to do it and that was partially because I was weak, but mostly because I didn’t want to do it. However, those episodes were I had attempted had not only affected those around me but more importantly my mum. A single mother who has always done her best to give me everything I could ever need or want.

But this time I was serious. I didn’t want any help and I didn’t see there being any come back from the position I was in. How I saw it was I was never going to change and my life was going to be an up and down rollercoaster for it’s remainder and I just couldn’t cope with that. I wasn’t strong enough.

I took all my medication and consumed the whiskey. I tried to describe the best I could about how I was feeling and finished the note. I left the laptop open and went to sleep. I thought my mum was going to find me dead in the morning.

At 10.00am, my mum woke me up and told me to go to bed. She had assumed I had falling asleep drunk and sent me to bed. But as soon as I got into bed, I heard her shout up; “Son, what have you done?” I just cried.

My mum stood there crying, confused with emotion and not able to understand why I truly wanted to die. And it’s hard to make anyone understand that. My uncle came to pick me up and took me to hospital and I was put on a drip. The nurses were concerned about how the medication had affected my heart (as I already had a dodgy tinker) and kept me in overnight.

The following days were difficult for my mother and she found it difficult to trust me. I immediately went into work and had a complete melt down. I was signed off and referred to occupational health for counselling. I spent the rest of the year trying to get over how I was feeling. I was having two phone appointments a week with a counsellor and I was trying to focus on work. It was awful because everyone was prompting me to get back to my old self but I just couldn’t. It just felt fake. What do you do in that situation?

The energy in work had changed and I felt such an emotional wreck that I just felt like an inconvenience to everyone around me. I felt like my manager and all of my colleagues saw me as a pain in the backside and I went from being involved in multiple projects to feeling like I couldn’t even be trusted just in case I had another break down.

I was 17 stone.

And a year ago, February 2017, I did just that and I could no longer hold that mask up in front of my face. I went into a small room and cried my eyes out. One of my colleagues came in and I just let it all out. I cried my eyes out because I couldn’t do it anymore and I was in an environment that I just wasn’t happy in.

Surprise, surprise, I was signed off work for two weeks and I decided to seek psychology. It was something I hadn’t done before but it was something I was willing to try. I didn’t want to feel like I did anymore so I was willing to try anything to fix that. I was more fortunate than some to have insurance and because of this I was able to select my own psychologist.

I enrolled myself into the gym and I began to cut back on my alcohol. I wanted to change but in order to do that I had to be the change I wanted to see.

I had several sessions with my psychologist and at first it was intimidating. They dig into everything and you even find them looking for information that may not be necessarily relevant but is important so they can get the widest image possible of you.

One major thing I had discovered was the fact I wasn’t happy in what I was doing. My job, my environment and my lifestyle wasn’t helping my state of mind. My job role felt morally conflicting, I felt there were no opportunities for me and I was 17 stone. I was doing everything so that people would see me in a positive light but I wasn’t looking out for myself.

I decided what I needed was an opportunity to put myself in a situation that I would be forced to deal with the stress, rather than run from it. My psychologist agreed and now all I needed to do was put my plan into action.

So one day at work, I began googling jobs abroad. Travelling was always something I wanted to do but I was too anxious to try it. However, I managed to find a job role with a highly popular travel company and I decided I wanted to apply for it. The money was poor compared to what I was on and I would be walking away from a role that I was determined in obtaining.

The other problem was the fact I tended to talk a lot but I could never do the walk. So I forced myself to apply because I didn’t see the harm in doing so.

First it was the application, then it was the video interview and suddenly I was being invited to the assessment day. Could this really be happening? Quite possibly.

I booked the day off work and went along to the assessment. I told those around me and myself that I’d only consider it if I got offered the job. The assessment day was tough and you had to be very vibrant and outgoing. I had to push those anxious thoughts aside and pull out my true personality. Those who were performing poorly were being sent home before the day was out. I was not going to let that happen to me.

The next day I received a phone call with an offer for the job. I swallowed my breath for a moment and I considered telling them that I would need time to think about it. Then suddenly a thought came to the back of my mind, telling me that the more I thought about it, the less likely I was going to do it. So I just said yes.

A few days later I handed in my notice at work and suddenly felt this sign of relief. Like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt like I was a 23 year old who had been living in a 43 year old’s body.

My family threw a big leaving party for me and all my friends and old work colleagues came to say goodbye.

I did my first season in Tenerife and at first it was tough, and there were moments I was ready to quit but the end result was summer 2017 was the best time of my life. Even better was the fact I lost three and a half stone and I was my old self again.

Now a year on from my break down, I’m living in Lanzarote and I am becoming stronger every day. People are embracing my personality and I’m learning something new every day.

So why did I want to share this? Well I became the change I wanted to see and this doesn’t mean that I still don’t get down days but I’m now in a position to accept and deal with it when I do. I also try to uphold myself to certain standards that I would like to see in everybody else – be kind, caring and compassionate. Treat people how you want to be treated and most importantly, be yourself. You only get one chance to do so.

And if you’re going through something similar to what I went through then my advice would be to take a look at your circumstances and change what is making you unhappy. It may be hard, time consuming and come with a cost but if it means you will be happy then it won’t hurt to try.

My final piece of advice is the only aim you should pursue in life is to be happy and make others happy. That’s why I am the idiot I am today. I’m proud to say I’ve inspired myself and I hope this inspires you too.

Much love!

– Tommy Dunn

A trip to El Teide… but what if it went off?

For most people, a trip to the heighest point in Spain, which conveniently happens to be a feckin’ volcano, is a fantastic experience. But when you are someone who once got his tie stuck in a paper cutting machine and was nearly shredded to death, or who managed to get hospitalised by a Jack Russell called Titch, you do not simply go on these trips without injury.

To top it off, when you are there at night, you know there is definitely a possibility of certain death. So I planned my will, had my last meal and drank a bottle of red wine the night before, to ensure I was prepared for my last trip.

We set off on the afternoon and a Belgian bloke was our tour guide. Without a doubt he had banter and during the trip he told us about the 411 registered volcanos on the island of Tenerife, including 40 within the National Park. So yes now at this point I realised that I didn’t have to worry about one volcano… but 411. Great.

The first part of our journey took us through the National Park, where we stopped at a small cafe to enjoy my favourite, a Barracido. Additionally, I had a lovely cheese and ham sarnie alongside some fresh orange juice. We were told at this point that the National Park is at risk of catching fire due to the dry woodland in the hot weather. Those who smoked, including myself, obviously had to be very careful. If you were to dump a lit or even a fully burned out cigarette bud, you would be heavily fined. Alternatively, if you caused a fire then you would be facing prison. If you ever go to the National Park, make sure to dispose of your cigarette buds appropriately.

The National Park is pretty amazing and I learned some interesting facts about the island. First of all, I have heard people say the water isn’t fresh here. It is actually salt water that is turned into fresh but it contains a lot of minerals and sometimes chlorine. It isn’t dangerous but it just tastes like shit so you are better off getting bottled water as it tastes better. You are able to wash fruit, salads and even shower in it too. Disclaimer: I will not be liable for any deformity to your genitals. Wash them at your own risk. I also learned that the pine trees within have adapted to the land and although there is a risk, due to the violent volcanic environment they live in, the trees have somewhat adapted to fight against any fire or lava.

What really captured me the most is that the National Park is cherished here and you are not even allowed to remove a tiny pebble. Everything within the park must be maintained and kept in the park. In Tenerife itself, it is forbidden to mine, cut trees or do anything else to the natural resources of the land. Everything is imported from the mainland Spain. However, Tenerife does make use of things like the dead pines, which they use as hay as they do not grow any there. They have even used some of the lava rocks to help build and maintain road works.

I mean all the above seems expensive and probably does cost quite a bit. Nevertheless, you have to admire the Spanish for respecting the island and maintaining it in glory. Were as we Brits are still chucking empty McDonald bags out of the car window.

We eventually came into what I would call the Canary Canyon. Why? It is pretty much like the Grand Canyon. Desert, rocks, view points and all that jazz. It becomes a bit more breezy but still just as hot. There is also an opportunity to see the native bees, which are black with white stripes! The bees welcomed me and seemed alright.

Wasn’t too long until a wasp attacked me in a picture taking moment. At this second I feared for my life and did what felt natural.. run around like a pussy screaming.

As we continued our journey, we passed a group of guys driving a giant robot into a van. Apparently, this was a prototype robot being tested in preparation to go to Mars. Due to the harsh, desert like terrain it is suitable to test them apparently. Eventually, we reached a point just beneath the observatory. Inside of the observatory, I heard there is a lot of interesting space-related investigations going down. It was also protected by the military and if you drove past a certain point, you would be shot at. Yep. I had discovered Area 52.

At this point, we had Carva poured into a champagne glass. I noticed couples coming together to huddle under a blanket. As a single guy, I huddled under my own blanket and latched on to a lovely couple to take refuge. Whilst no thought of a threesome crossed my mind, I looked down to my right and saw a blanket of clouds just like you would see outside of a plane. Just to be clear, we weren’t sat on top of El Teide but a view point to witness the sun slowly creep down. If you want to be on top of El Teide then you need a government permit.

Watching the sun go down below El Teide is truly a wonderful thing. You cannot help but take a breath of fresh air for a moment and sit back and think, the world is so much bigger than we know. I stopped taking photographs because I knew I had to embrace the moment.

At the end of the event, it became pitch black and the stars appeared, clear as day. We witnessed shooting stars and we also saw the consulations as well as planets like Jupiter. The tour guide described this moment as something special. In fact he went on to say that the greatest gift you can give to your child is to tell them about the consulations. Sadly, if I ever have a child, I won’t have this pleasure as I was too busy looking out for the little green men.

During this trip, we were told if El Teide were to erupt – it would be like a 90 year old man on viagra. Uncontrollably, it would go everywhere and it would send the island below sea water and a tsunami would be caused, devouring the East Coast of the United States of America.

Luckily, there is nothing to suggest it will go off any time soon and if it did, I assuming we would be sent into the dark ages. Nevertheless, until it does, this is not an experience to be missed.

Middlesbrough and everyone else, I have a lesson for you to learn. An amazing one at that.

It is the little things you realise you appreciate when you are living away.

Credits to the Telegraph (don’t sue me)

For the first time ever since I arrived, I am experiencing a tad touch of home sick. Oh don’t get me wrong, I love Tenerife and the people here are great. I am in no rush to get back to Britain, or Middlesbrough. I will pick crystal blue waters over Costa Del Redcar at this time.

Today I spent time with my cousin and his girlfriend, who are here on holiday. Last night we got drunk, raided a takeaway and I ate a plant on stand in the hallway of their hotel. In true British style, I got smashed and cured my incurable (apparently) hangover with a trip to Siam Park, the best water park around. So now I am on a come down, my shoulders are more red than the General Election results and I am dying (I think). So now I have a hint of sadness and appreciation for the little things. Is this inspiration or the hangover still hanging on?

As you can imagine in Tenerife, it is quite hot and my pits are more sweaty during the day than Theresa May waiting on a telephone call from the DUP. I would usually hate rain but I would dance in it if it was pouring down right now.

Credits to Josephine Fowler (whoever you are)

You see this picture above? Its quite familiar and its something you often see in Middlesbrough and other places in Britain. You hate it because its so “grim” and “grey”. “Its too wet” (didn’t realise you could get dry rain?). Yes, we moan about this all the time. However, when you are living in a hot country, this view is something you miss now and then.

A cold wet night with a good down pour as you’re walking down Waterloo Road, looking like a drowned rat, holding two carrier bags when the sudden thought of fish and chips or a parmo strike your mind. Come on, is it just me who loves those moments?

You see these are the things we don’t think about or embrace. We spend more time examining the cons of what we see or have than the pros, so at some point later on we suddenly realise how those miserable grim and grey nights in Middlesbrough, or anywhere else, were an excuse to get cosy on the couch with a bag of chips, marinated in salt and vinegar then toppled with scraps, to watch Eastenders or even an episode of Corrie.

We never think about the fortune we all share to be able to order a parmo to our home or make a trip to our favourite place for one. Whether you like plain, hotshot, pork or chicken. For the non-Teessiders, a parmo is a Teesside only speciality that is basically a heart attack on a plate but also a lovely way to die. Anyway, back on subject – we order, we eat, we regret, we plan a diet, then we fart and sleep. We don’t think about how this plate of cholesterol chaos is only made in our lovely little area and that you are not likely to find it anywhere else in the world.

Think about that for a second. Think about me munching on squid. Do you understand my point?

In Teesside, people moan a lot about the local area. In fact everyone pretty much moans about their town, city, estate, street or whatever else is in their sight. In Middlesbrough we moan about the town centre and the strange exotic smells we occasionally come across or intoxicated idiots on street corners at 9.00am. What we don’t talk about is how easily accessible the town centre is or how small it is so we know where everything is. We don’t talk about the view of the fountains or the bottle of notes in Centre Square.

We moan about some of the council estates and how terribly neglected they are, or the occasional chav we will come across being an idiot. But we don’t talk about the unity of the people and how everyone knows each other and is practically one big family. We don’t talk about the passion and beauty of that community spirit.

We moan about Boro Taxis, Blueline and the other firms with their non-conversational taxi drivers, waiting times or occasional uselessness of identifying a door number. But we never highlight how easy it is to order, how cheap the rates are or how drivers don’t expect mandatory tips.

Finally, we moan about the grim boring views of the industrial area, the smog lifting into the clouds and the big grey blocks in the horizon. What we don’t talk about is the legacy of that industrial area and the spectacular picture of it in the evening when we drive into our town.

These are all things that I miss. That and my mum, family, friends and Flares. I never appreciated my home enough, until I was no longer there. And even if you are pro-Boro, you probably still moan about the things listed above. Wherever you live, you will moan about.

Vice versa, I will miss the above view and many more when I finally return home. What did I learn? To embrace, love and appreciate this experience and these moments whilst I have them, as well as be grateful for the things I do have at home. I hope this post has taught you a very important lesson. Moan all you want but home is where the heart is. Home is beautiful no matter what it may appear to look like.

I feel happy again now after expressing this. I hope it brought a smile. Have a parmo on me. See you in winter!

Masca and the secret to wine.

So apparently, there is a skill to drinking wine. Yes, its a skill. So its not as easy as it looks. One does not simply pick up the glass and sip it (or down it). One must master the art of drinking wine.

Yeah, you see this is why its easier to stick to the beer and whiskey. The only credential I need for that is the date of birth on my passport.

Nevertheless, to now have a qualification in drinking wine is possibly the best achievement since my E grade (E for Effort) in Maths! 😉

Visiting Masca and wine tasting was an excellent experience. It is a great opportunity to gain insight into Tenerife and how the island has became what it is today. Masca itself is known as the Hidden Village and well, the fact we found it means its not very well hidden, clearly.

In all seriousness, the village is beautiful and its located in the Macizo de Teno mountains which is a Northwestern point of the island.

It is known as the Hidden Village due to how far down it is within the valley. It is very difficult to see it until you get close.

Masca was once a paradise for pirates who would wander in from the coast. It is now home to a population of 90 people.

The tour guide at the time couldn’t really tell me just how old the village was as no one really knew. It was extremely small and the people appeared very quiet and reserved. However, they depend a lot on tourism so they do appreciate your presence, even if they may not appear to.

Its not that I couldn’t take any photos during my visit. But sometimes pictures capture what everyone else sees and not what you see. I could not help but embrace the peace, quiet and calming atmosphere that the village offered. The above was a quick snap before I entered.

I walked into a cafe with the tour guide and he suggested a local favourite, Barracido, which is a coffee with a touch of liquor. Sneaky buggers.

Its a lovely little drink which just comes in a small glass, literally a shot glass, with condensed sweet milk. Stir it a bit and wollah! But don’t put sugar in it because it really is sweet enough. If you’re too much of a bore and don’t drink, you can try a Cortado, which is almost the same thing. The best thing is the fact these little delights are a sheer €2.00. I sat outside looking over a steep view, trying to find out if there were any nearby wasps. By the time that was concluded, it was time to move on.

Following Masca, we ventured off to a town called Garachico. This is a beautiful town off the West coast but tragically, in 1706 a volcanic eruption caused a landslide which covered and destroyed a lot of it. Upon entering the area you will notice rocks that have formed from where the lava poured down and covered. We pulled up and got a bite to eat in the restaurant.

Decided to eat fish and muscles. I like fish but sometimes the smell reminds me a bit too much of the Bongo dance floor. Great times. I also tried octopuss and trust me, its really not that bad. Just think of turkey twizzlers and you’re good.

Following this, we walked through the town of Garachico, where I took some lovely snaps;

The last picture is the remains of the lava, now formed into rock. Pretty amazing. Well, probably not at the time.. but now, yeah.

Moving on, we finally headed to meet a bloke called Fernando, who was an award winning wine producer. I mean this guy literally competed in a world competition and won Bronze. A feckin’ wine world championship?! Amazing.

Well as we stepped off the bus to meet Fernando, who lived in a nice little Spanish house, I looked over to see the famous El Teide in the distance. Such an outstanding view, I had to take a picture;

Imagine seeing that every morning? Not only does this man have a beautiful house but he will definitely know if Teide erupts. Anyway, his humble home wasn’t some commercialised factory – it was just a house and a lovely one too. Covered with banana trees, grapes and other natural delights, Fernando was living out a family legacy.

Is this like heaven for middle aged divorcees? Well anyhow, we entered with Fernando and he sat us down on a table. He was very welcoming, funny and interesting. He didn’t look at wine like we often do – a stress relief, our Friday night favourite or simply.. a drink. No, he looked at it like a gift of the natural fruits of the Earth. Something that couldn’t be abused or misused but a treat to appreciate and enjoy.

I won’t totally reveal what Fernando taught us in the time we had with him. However, what we tasted was fresh and well produced wine. Probably the best wine that I ever tasted and the best you will ever taste. We had white, red… OH IT IS IN FACT CALLED “VINO TINTO”! 😉

We also had rose and honey. Yes honey. Trust me, I looked around for any bees before I took a sip.

At the end of the afternoon, I purchased a bottle for self abuse. I also bought a bottle for some relatives. The thing is, these kind of gifts are authentic. It is freshly produced local wine and the finest at that. However, you don’t simply drink wine. One must learn to properly embrace the taste of vino, to fully enjoy the fulfilling flavours it carries. Can you do that with Tesco’s own? Probably not. However, I will leave what I learned as a mystery. What I will say, is that now I enjoy wine more often and drink it more often. (Actually, is that good?)

If you ever find yourself in Tenerife and want to truly master the skill of wine tasting, explore the island and visit Masca – then check with your travel agents or rep and get yourself booked on. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Stefan, Fernando and myself above.

What did I learn? That there is so much more to be appreciated about wine…

…and that its probably acceptable to be an alcoholic in Spain.

Why am I doing this? Welcome to the quarter life crisis.

Two months ago I was sat in my room, youtubing Mexican pronounciations for my draft excursion presentation that I was expected to present at my assessment for a holiday rep job. The only thing which went through my frustrated mind was that if I didn’t get this job, least I would have a job. A job which was rather dull, mentally exhausting and made me feel like I had reached the end of my prime.

Prior to my decision to up sticks and leave, I worked as a Client Relations Case Officer in a nine till five office job. I had joined the company at 20 years old in their call centre and eventually ended up dealing with formal complaints. The money was okay and the perks were great. However, I just couldn’t agree with the moral conflict of my role and the fact that every situation was as depressing as the other.

Anxiety can be one of the most draining, mind numbing and emotionally bending conditions around, but at this point I won’t go into that any further. What I will say is for the last year I feel my job had exacerbated it to the point that I became sick and you know if you need to take time off work for something like that, then there is definitely something up with the job.

So I know when times get tough you can’t exactly just quit your job and move abroad. But I did anyway. Officially I walked out of that office on the 19th May 2017! Just less than a month ago.

Yes! Just like that. But do you know why I did it? Because I am 23 years old and not 43 years old. Up until this quarter life crisis started, I felt like I was in a midlife crisis (good song) and this was it. For so many years I have wanted to do something like this, just go and work away or explore the world, but anxiety and a lack of self-confidence held me back.

How did I overcome this barrier? A bottle of whiskey, a twenty deck and the truth of British weather.

It may have also taken the fact that if I really want to do something like this then the time is now. Unlike most of my friends, I don’t have any kids (fuck that), a wife (fuck that x2) or a mortgage (is that even a possibility now anyway?)

I have nothing to hold me back. The worst that can happen is I end up being sacked, sent back with a nice tan to live with my mum, go on the dole, don’t end up going out anymore due to lack of funds, get laughed at for failing, prove that I am an idiot and eventually die of starvation. So, when you put it into context, it really isn’t that risky is it?

On the 26th May 2017, I found out I was going to Tenerife. A volcanic island. But don’t worry because it hasn’t gone off for over a hundred years. (Touch wood)

You don’t think it will do you?

Now, I work as a rep and I live on the front of Santiago Beach, with a Portugese fella who had never ate a jaffa cake. Here are some of the highlights already:

This is the sunset from my balcony view. Interesting fact for you – Tenerife is in the same timezone as Britain. However, at 6.00am it seems to be pitch black here and it gets dark around 9.30pm. Anyway, the above picture is what I get to see most nights. That and drunken Brits.

This is Santiago beach. Well the rocks on the side anyway. A lot of beaches have black sand and lava rocks that have formed following the eruptions. It gets more hot on the sand than your unusual golden grains so wear flip flops!

This is me, chilling on the West coast, admiring the views and coming to terms of no parmos for 6 months.

This is me, enjoying some red wine, trying to look like a hipster.

This is me after I missed a patch on my back when spreading the sun lotion. I refused to allow anyone to do it for me, as I am an independent male. I call them the wings of fire.

This is me after watching Showtime. A fantastic show full of classics, characters and comedy.

This is some random lizard that was enjoying a can of Monster. I am not sure if this was healthy but who was I to judge?

Anyway, just to give you an insight into some of my fears;

  • Wasps.
  • Wasps.
  • More wasps.

So, yeah, bit of a problem on my hands. Literally. But fortunately I haven’t seen many at this point.

Over the last two weeks I have been on quite a few excursions. So I will write about them as I go along. And any other things that come in the mean time.

I tend to get into unlucky and unusual situations. For example, I was attacked by a goose on the way to work once and I also slipped on a nappy outside Sainsburys before.

Mhm, a recipe for disaster.

But the point of this journey, is to gain some real life experience, see the world, meet new people and knock down some barriers. Living alone, away from home, without parmos and being responsible. Do you think I can do it? I bloody hope so because I had a leaving party before I came out here so it would be pretty embarrassing if I was home in a month.

Either way, I am not sure where this blog will go but we will see anyway!

Wish me luck. ☺