Category Archives: Travel

Can You Make It?

I loved going travelling a couple of years back. Setting off to South East Asia with my uni pals made me feel independent, cultured and experienced- I have still not stopped talking about it. The only thing we had pre-booked was our flight to Bangkok and from then we were free to go as we pleased, crashing wherever we could and doing whatever we wanted.

However, in classic Gap Yah fashion, my seven weeks of travelling were cushioned by the knowledge that I had a bank card in my back pocket with wealthy parents that could transfer money at a moment’s notice. And with a smartphone in the other pocket I was in constant touch with my, rather overprotective, mummy and daddy. In seven weeks I didn’t go longer than two days without being in touch with one of them via text or email.

Red Bull, the caffeinated hyper drink that can give you wings, is offering people the chance for an adrenaline funded travelling experience, asking teams to see how far they can get across Europe using only the cans of sugary goodness as currency. Not only a clever marketing strategy, this ‘Can You Make It?’ competition offers people a true character-building holiday.

Red Bull don’t just limit it to no money, however. The code of honour forbids personal mobile phones and pre-arranged travel, forcing participants in the competition to use their powers of persuasion to get from place to place.

In a world where we rely on mobile phones and bank cards to live, it seems that this task is near impossible. Who would accept a can of red bull in exchange for a train ticket?

These kind of stunts scare the shit outta me. I get freaked out trying to fly down to London on my own. My seven weeks in Asia were hard enough even when I was armed with my Blackberry and bank card. However, there is something so tempting in this offer from Red Bull because it seems so difficult. The teams that are able to complete such a difficult journey would come out of the end mature, strengthened and with tons of cool stories to tell.

So each participating team travels across Europe using only cans of Red Bull for currency. Teams visit checkpoints, share photos and videos, via a prescribed team phone, and rally support from followers at home. The finish line is in Berlin- the teams that complete the adventure on time will be greeted with the party of a lifetime. The deadline for applications is Wednesday the 12th of March so what are you waiting for? If you think you can make it, then get involved. All the details can be found here: http://www.redbullcanyoumakeit.com/.

-Claire Flynn

-Image courtesy of Sterling Ely (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sterlingely/)

The Journey

‘Asia? Couldn’t you have just gone to Zante like your sister?’

That’s what my mum said when I announced I was travelling in Asia last summer. It was my first trip abroad without a parent to stop me getting lost or to tip a bottle of sun cream over me, so it terrified her.

But I went. And I survived. There was only one time I truly feared for my life… my journey from Thailand to Laos.

Now, generally travellers take the slow boat into Laos, which is a two-day venture down the Mekong River. However, you can do the same journey in just six hours if you go for the speedboat. It seemed like an obvious choice.

Bear in mind that us four spoilt British teenagers were picturing a James Bond-esque speedboat, which would carry us smoothly down the Mekong, perhaps with a drink along the way.

However, it turned out to be a rickety wooden canoe with a motor balancing on the back of it.

It’s okay though because they gave us all lifejackets and helmets.

Oh but they only had five helmets and, unfortunately, I was the last in the boat. When I asked for another one I was simply grunted at, which I took as a sign to just sit down. And when I say sit down I mean to say I folded myself into the tiniest ball possible. Let’s just say there wasn’t much legroom.

The journey itself: absolutely horrifying. I would love to be able to describe the limestone cliffs and the green forests but I had my head wedged into my knees for most of the time; this was to hide my tears from my friends as we narrowly swung past rocks. I was certain the boat was about to crash and I was going to die.

But to be honest, with the pain of being crouched in that tiny boat and from the sunburn spreading across my body, death was becoming a preferable option to life.

When we finally arrived at our destination, six very long hours later, soaking, in agony and blistering from the sun I was still crying but with relief that it was over.

So if you do opt for Asia over Zante and you go to Laos- take the slow boat. Sometimes slow and steady does win the race- or is at least less likely to get you killed.

-Claire Flynn

-Image courtesy of International Rivers (https://www.flickr.com/photos/internationalrivers/)

GUSSC Take on L2A

“Do you even know how to ski?”

That was the first question my mother asked me when I happened to mention to her that I had paid my deposit for the Glasgow University ski trip. This year saw the GUSSC take 300 of GU’s finest students to the resort Les Deux for the first week of January. A week of skiing, snowboarding, boozing and, let’s not forget, dancing.

The actual ability to ski seemed like such a minor issue at the time but truth be told I had very little experience of skiing or snowboarding and absolutely none on real snow. Still, a mixture of peer pressure and Hive inspired drunken enthusiasm persuaded me to pay off the rest of the trip and prepare myself for a week in which my entire family was convinced I would break a bone.

Now, I wasn’t the only one who got carried away and booked the trip having barely put my foot into a ski boot before. So I didn’t feel as bad falling my way down a green slope on the first day, as I got to watch the other beginners struggle just as much.

I mean, at least I didn’t get taken on a blue slope on the first day by my friends, falling so hard I twisted my knee and was airlifted to hospital, losing both skis in the process. Or roll down a black slope, only rescuing myself from falling off piste by the hook of my thumb. I’m not going to name any names but I’m sure the footage will be on the internet in no time at all.

Don’t worry, everyone survived in the end, including the beginners. I got the hang of green slopes in a couple of days and was then led down a few blues by some very patient and understanding people. I thank you all. Meanwhile the more experienced skiers and snowboarders were speeding down reds and blacks and flying over jumps. Some even went off piste although if you ever do that try not to bury yourself in snow, like one GUSSC member managed to do on the last day.

But let’s face it, it isn’t all about the snow. The bars and nightclubs were completely ruined by the Glasgow students who turned out in force every single night. I have never seen so many people in onesies raving under a massive disco ball than in nightclub Avalanche on the second night. And the French didn’t know what had hit them when we blinded them in our neon clothes on the last night.

So for all those of you that debated over whether to go to Les Deux Alpes this year and decided that you didn’t have the money or that it just wasn’t worth it to put it bluntly you made a mistake. Whether you’re a complete beginner or a pro, there is something for everyone. There are lessons for all levels and several kind people to pick you up out of the snow and keep you going.

Next year don’t even hesitate. Get it booked because you know you are going to hate life for the next month with all this cliquey L2A chat.

And for all those who were there, now that we are all back in Glasgow after an amazing week together we can truly say F*** SNOW LET’S DANCE!