Addicted to small doses of dopamine

Superficial happiness

As I lay in the dark staring at the ceiling tonight listening to music, a what has now become common feeling of light depression started to develop. I started thinking of ways to occupy my mind. Perhaps a cup of coffee, play a game, scroll through pointless social media apps for the 50th time. But, after a string of 4 weeks with nothing to do I’m waiting once again for university to start, I realised each one of these “outlets” have become my distractions to an ultimately blue tint over my self-esteem and melancholy attitude.

I’m also realising that once I decide to avoid these distractions I’m left feeling rather empty and stuck with options to occupy myself. Though, maybe there is some merit in that as I am doing different things now to avoid feeling bored (writing this). I have attempted a few times to not rely on these doses of happiness and so far go back to them after a few hours or so. However, the more I try the more I am noticing an urge to be creative blossoming and have found myself writing, reading and drawing more. I’m hoping overtime things such as this will replace the routinely static trap I keep finding myself in and will help me make better use of my time. I have assumed some of this might be mental health related by I’m not delving into that arena just yet. At the moment, I think a change in routine is a good start and I’m curious to see where it goes. I thought writing about this might be therapeutic and even if not, it has given me something to do for 10 minutes.

I guess this is a relatively short and abstract post and I know I’m not really saying much of anything significant. Although, this is far better than drowning out in-between emotions which I’ve been doing lately. Anyways, sorry for the time waster but I am looking to post more photos and written pieces soon. Til’ then,

See ya later.

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Last month’s photos

Here is a collection of photos I have managed to collect over the last month. Seeing as I seem to take my camera with me most places these days, I may try to do this every month.

Some university work (writing on this blog) with a coffee.

With Christmas over, the second semester of university has taken no time in flying by. Almost at Easter Break, many mornings have been spent with a warm sunrise and a coffee like this over the past month.

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Sunsets on my walk home.

Another luxury of winter coming to an end is the lighter nights and the views that come with them. Luckily enough I had brought my camera out with me on days I was fortunate enough to snap a few.

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Waiting for trains in the spring.

Whilst winter is on the way out, the UK weather has spared no surprises in its typical fashion. Thankfully, whilst the periods of intense snow days have been troublesome (train delays), at least they switch up the scenery.

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A surreal car journey home in the snow.

The next few shots might be my favourite from this month as I remember being extremely tired on this journey home. As I dosed in and out of sleep I somehow managed to take a few Images that look exactly how the journey felt. With the radio playing and the heating on full, the sense of nostalgic long drives with my dad over the years was not lost on me.

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A trip to the local art gallery.

Having some free time at home, I thought it would be nice to visit the photography exhibition at the local art gallery. Though, I wonder how meta it is to take photos of photos and photos of photos of photos. I bought a nice birthday card too.

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Snowy walks in London.

Heading back down to the Southern end of the country, the snow seemed to be taking its lesiruly time in leaving.

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A browse of the local book store.

Not much to say about this one, so yeah.

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A cosy night inside.

Lastly, sometimes there is nothing better than a cup of tea and a warm place to be lazy.

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That is all. Feel free to check out my Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/sombersands

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Permanent Golden Hour in Brugge

Here are some shots from my last weekend in Brugge. Though the weather was somewhat cold, the low sun of the current Belgian climate made for a lengthy golden hour hue that lasted for a long while. Fortunately, this made for some consistent themes for the photos I managed to take.

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America Trip: Part 2 – Yosemite

Part 2 of our trip began with a car hire and a lengthy drive across the state. Whilst hot, long and tiresome hours of driving may have left us deshvilled, we were rewarded with some satisfying views once we arrived.

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In typical USA road-trip fashion, we had booked a stay in a secluded motel that frankly was in the middle of nowhere. With a 40 minute drive to reach any civilisation and an array of mountains minimising phone signal, staying there felt secluded to say the least. Whilst this might seem claustrophobic to some, I found a multitude of wildlife sounds and a flowing river to be peaceful. At least until the nighttime.

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The next morning, myself and the one I call girlfriend took a trip to a small river bank we had found the day prior. Having slept a solid 12 hours after our drive, we were lucky enough to awake in time for the sunrise. We also took a quick dip.

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After washing the sand off our feet we returned back to our room and got ready for a day of hiking to the top of Yosemite Valley. Making our way up to the park entrance, we made sure to stop and take in some of the views. As magnificent as they were, we had no idea how they would compared to what we saw once reaching the top of our hike later on.

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After a brief stop at the most hidden convenience store in the world and a short bus ride on which we also made some friends, we arrived at the base of our hike. We chose a route that would give us some views of the park on our way up and a halfway stop at waterfall.

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I don’t think we anticipated how steep the mountain would be nor how hot the temperature would reach that day. Whilst its safe to say we were sweating a fair amount, friendly company and a scenery to soak in made the time pass quickly.

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After a few hours of hiking, we finally made it to the halfway point at which we saw the waterfall on our map. Near one of the more rocky areas of the route the danger was well worth the risk for the cool down spray it provided.

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We also got an up close view of the mountain wildlife. They seemed used to tourists.

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At this point I’d like to say we carried on and made it to our destination, but that’s not how we do it in the UK. After a brief consultation with the #team, we decided a trip back down to our base and a drive up to the top later on was much more rewarding than the thrill of accomplishment. Thus, we did just that. After a quick nap and some food replenishment, we drove to Yosemite Valley to watch a pink hue sunset the locals had recommended. Once we reached the top of the mountain, a swift buy of a souvenir hoodie and an ice cream seemed appropriate as the hikers gathered together. As the sunset grew closer, I took some shots of the valley and whilst I am happy with them, they don’t do justice to how vast the scenery was.

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As the day drew to a close, we were treated to a couple of stories from a local ranger about his experience of living on Yosemite and why it had been so special to him over the years. As more joined the crowd, we eventually began to see the pink skyline of mountains everybody had been talking about and all that seemed missing was a campfire. Although brief, our stop at Yosemite was the highlight of the trip for me and definitely a place I will remember.

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America Trip: Part 1 – San Francisco

In the past few years I have been fortunate to travel to a number of beautiful places and see sights I otherwise would not have been able to without leaving the country. However, in doing this I have accumulated a surplus of photos in my catalogue. Photos of which I have no real use for other than to look at. So, the thought of starting blog (allowing me to post multiple shots in a more condensed fashion) was birthed. As well as any other content I may want to post too. One trip I was lucky enough attend was that across the west coast of America, starting in San Francisco and ending in LA. Whilst I don’t have access to all the photos I took along the trip I do have some of my favourites and thought a three part post would be appropriate to share them. Here is part 1.

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The trip began with a 6am flight from Heathrow airport straight to San Francisco. I’d like to say the flight was as quick as the pictures make it look, however 14 hours left us lightly exhausted to say the least. As tiring as this was, once we did land a warm musky scent in the air reassured us we had made it to our destination and that an exciting trip was ahead.

After a quick walk around our hotel area, we took no hesitation in getting into bed as we had booked to go whale watching at 7am the next morning. Whilst getting up was at least a 7/10 on the painful scale, a foggy overcast on the city made for some dramatic and moody shots.

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Seeing the bridge look like it had come straight out of a horror film was quite the sight and only further intrigued us to see it in the day. Though our trip was a bit scarce in terms of “whale” (though I swear I saw one) and sea sickness was rife, the chance to see the city in its morning element definitely made it worth it.

Later on that day, we got to see some of San Fran’s daytime delights including its 80s cop show streets and some very American looking vehicles.

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Driving through the city really sunk in the alternative look to San Francisco’s architecture and our tour guide sprinkled in some very profound facts…which I have now forgotten (sorry).

After our tour, we took a trip to the pier in which a healthy snack and some drinks perked us up.

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We took some time to view the Sea Lion museum. As interesting as it was, it was made very clear that a bit further down the pier we would be met with an “incredible” smell for lack of a better word. As much as I do like my fresh air, Lauren’s unstoppable love for animals caused us to be there in an instant! I have to admit, whilst the beautiful odour may have sizzled off a few eyelashes, I was rewarded with some amazing Sea Lion entertainment rivalling even that of Sea World (as seen below).

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I’m joking obviously. Once the smell of food woke them up they were actually hilarious.

The next day we took a trip to see the infamous bridge up close and explore San Francisco’s wind full on! In the midst of trying to take some cool and edgy shots we got a chance to see just how openly talkative Americans are. It’s rather nice to be able to make a friend in microseconds seconds which was quite shocking in comparison to our socially awkward UK.

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After Lauren purchased a red souvenir cap (which she now doesn’t wear as it too much resembles a “Vote Trump” hat), we took a bus across the bridge to a quaint town on the far side of the city. Here we managed to indulge in the various antique repertoire of the town and somehow managed to buy the most naff items available.

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After a cup of coffee and the realisation of a drastic facial sunburn, we headed back to our hotel and after some food and drinks made sure we had a decent nights sleep for our next day.

The following morning we found ourselves back at the pier awaiting our short boat ride to…ALCATRAZ…which given its reputation was surprisingly welcoming and family friendly. Also, I managed to see some of the bluest water on earth that apparently would kill you if you stayed in it too long?

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Don’t be fooled by the haunting image, it was actually a beautifully sunny day. Once inside however, an earphone tour did more than enough to describe the eerie atmosphere of the facility in its active days. I also think this may have been a bit much for a sleep deprived Lauren.

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Once the tour had finished, we were treated to one last sunny view of the city’s skyline before we packed and prepared for our road-trip to Yosemite. Looking back, San Francisco had a wonderful charm to both the city and the people within it, for anyone looking for a city break there is definitely an abundance of culture to explore. The next post of our trip is focused on Yosemite and how it might have fulfilled the American summer camp dream I never knew I had, look out for Part 2 later this week.

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