Summer Recap, Brexit Blues and Going Back to University

Talking about my life on here and assuming that some of you might vaguely be interested is a rather self-indulgent activity and that’s exactly why I prefer to focus on writing about destinations. However, I’m steering my life in new directions which might influence some of the content on here so it seems like a good excuse to spill the beans on things I’ve been doing over the summer.

Sadly, these spilt beans aren’t of a salacious variety, they’re pretty wholesome (at least in the sense of what I’m prepared to share with you).

Summer Recap

My summer has involved very little travelling which would usually be considered no less than a catastrophe in my world. However, this hasn’t been the case at all; for the first time in my life I haven’t been obsessed with the idea of going to as many places as possible. If someone had told me last year that I would be saying this, I would have said they were off their rocker.

Maybe this signals the birth of my overdue maturity? Who knows?

I think volunteering in Calais at the beginning of May impacted my priorities. It made me realise how inconsequential things I believe matter can really be. I’m very conscious how I use my words at present because the last thing I want to sound like is some self-serving Westerner, heaven knows we have enough of them. However, it’s difficult not to speak about the positive feeling you get from being part of a movement that aims to restore humanity.

Refugee Crisis in Calais camp

Though I found many aspects about volunteering in Calais heart-breaking and it made me more critical about aspects of society, these thoughts were counteracted by the incredible people I met who showcased great acts of generosity and strength of character in the face of unimaginable adversity.

The upward emotion I received from my experience caused me to fall flat when I returned home, like a balloon slowly released of air. A light at the back of my mind had been switched on and as the days passed I felt it wane and this bothered me. It bothered me a lot. I needed to do something about it… I’ll get back to this later, so hold onto this thought.

Toward the end of May my brother’s girlfriend, Sarah, returned back from nearly six months living on a ranch in Mexico and Arizona. Before she returned I had the idea of moving out of my brother’s flat as I thought the dynamics would change with us all living under one roof. I wanted to give them some time together too, after months apart they had some catching up to do…

Enjoying Greenwich Park

However, as soon as she came back I realised how much I enjoyed living with her so I no longer had the desire to look for somewhere else. Hopefully Sarah would say the feeling is mutual if you asked her. Though maybe don’t, ignorance is bliss. It’s quite rare meeting someone you get on so well with and it helps that we have loads in common too, naturally travel is one of them. She also has a wonderful travel blog which I encourage you to check out.

We also share a love for dogs so Sarah had the rather spectacular idea of signing up to websites and which enable her to look after dogs whilst their owners are away. Here are the ones we’ve had staying with us so far:

Springer Spaniel from Borrow My Doggy

Fonzi the Springer Spanial

Bearded Collie from Dog Buddie

Cato the Bearded Collie

Alaskan Malamute on Dog Buddy

Luna the Alaskan Malamute


Brexit Blues

Well, what can I say about the state of British politics which hasn’t already been said? 23rd of June was a sad day among many, many expletives.

I don’t really want to go into too much detail as here’s not really the place to be talking about it, and I also want to respect other people’s voting choices. However, like many other people, I attended the March for Europe at the beginning of July in London. For myself personally, I didn’t attend the march to Parliament to fight against Brexit, I know it will happen but how much will really change nobody knows. I marched together in solidarity to say we will not tolerate a government who will lie and cheat or incite racial and social divides. It was a peaceful but passionate protest that lifted the morale of all those who seek to live in a more tolerant, outward thinking world. A democracy is not built on lies.

March for EU, Brexit Blues

March for EU, London


Going back to University

As I mentioned previously I didn’t get out of London this summer very much, after Calais and Brexit I spent a good few weeks ponding over my life. I didn’t blog for six weeks nor did I really care about travel, I found myself asking all those existential questions which focus on the future and where my true sense of happiness lies. (Quick Shing, say something funny to break up the awkwardness of sounding morose. Instead here’s a Louis CK sketch, I’ll let him do the job for me).

It was during this time that I decided once and for all that I should apply for a Masters, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a few years but I was never settled enough, if I’m honest, I never made the time, I would use excuses like ‘I’m too busy’. Now I shake my head because being too busy is my most hated excuse for the things we don’t do. Whether talking about a change of jobs, study, friends, family or relationships, we can always make time for the things we desire the most. If we truly want something we will make the time, and that’s how I knew I was ready for going back to university: The time was now.

Talking again about my experience in Calais and reflecting on things that add meaning to my life, I realised being involved in positive social change was top of the list. I wanted to do something meaningful with my life that doesn’t only benefit me but others and that’s when I decided a MA in Human Rights seemed like the ideal apparatus in achieving this.

I laboured over the application form, not really believing I would get on the course because my degree was completely unrelated, but to compensate I wrote an impassioned personal statement and hoped for the best.

After I applied I felt more comfortable with myself that I was at least trying to develop my personal growth. During this time, I booked some time off work and took a last-minute train journey between Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna. It was exactly what I needed and it felt fantastic being by myself and exploring three beautiful but very different cities I’d never visited before.

Budapest Parliament Building - Getting the train from Budapest - Bratislava - Vienna

Since I’d applied very late on in the year I didn’t have to wait long to find out I’d been offered a place at Goldsmiths University in South London, you could’ve soaked up my tears with a mop I was so happy. I’ll now be studying part-time over two years which will enable me to continue working for the Scandinavian tour operator which I’ve been doing for a while now and still really enjoy.

So this is where I am at present, hopefully things don’t get too quiet around here when I start uni in a few weeks, it’s already more quiet than I’d like it to be… Going to aim for one post a week. We’ll see how it goes.

Peace out x

A travel & culture blog specialising in Scandinavia and the Arctic, peppered with the rest of the world in between.

'Summer Recap, Brexit Blues and Going Back to University' have 13 comments

  1. September 9, 2016 @ 7:15 am Virginia

    Congratulations on your Masters! I had a similar slump around a year ago which prompted me to apply for a Masters too and here I am beginning my lectures this week. Well done you doing it part-time and fitting it around work, it will be busy I’m sure but I hope it goes really well for you. What was your Bachelors in? I think in the UK we’re lucky that universities are so flexible about having different subjects before a Masters. Good luck with it all!


    • September 29, 2016 @ 7:13 am Shing Yoong

      Hi Virginia! Yey to our new adventures, eh?! I just nipped over to your blog – looks like you’re embarking on an exciting year in the Netherlands which I hope is filled with new experiences and friendships. I did my Bachelors in Creative Writing, so it’s quite the switch but I’m looking forward to the challenge, in fact my course starts today! I hope your studies have started well!


  2. September 9, 2016 @ 7:29 am Sarah

    Awww I like living with you too Shing <3 we share our love of travel, our laziness with blogging and doggies! Very excited for your new chapter and the masters!


    • October 11, 2016 @ 8:10 pm Shing Yoong

      Thanks Sarah – where will the next few months take us…? Maybe a new place to call home even…!


  3. September 9, 2016 @ 7:48 am Brad

    Enjoyed your post Shing ! Very happy for you – I’ve felt something like a Masters in Human Rights was something that fits you. Wishing you much success in pursuing your goals – and remember, the journey is often more important than the destination – but then, you knew that 🙂 Glad you can work your other loves into the equation of going for your Masters !


    • October 11, 2016 @ 9:48 pm Shing Yoong

      Thanks for your support Brad! The course has been really stimulating so far, and I’ve met some really interesting people. Hopefully I’ll be able to put what I learn into practise in the future. Hope everything is going well your side of the pond 🙂


  4. September 9, 2016 @ 11:22 am Silvia

    So exciting! I was actually signed up for a master’s program in human right’s at the university of oslo way back when, but then I deferred it for a year and ended up scrapping the idea altogether. So you’ll sort of be living the life that could have been for me! Hope you hate it. Ha kidding, good luck!


    • October 14, 2016 @ 5:03 pm Shing Yoong

      Whaaat? You were going to do a MA in Human Rights too?! Well whilst you’re globe trotting I’ll be knee-high in books so I can’t say I blame you for scrapping the idea haha. So far I’m loving it, although jealous of all your travelling, but hopefully the satisfaction I get from this manages to override my itchy feet…. Here’s to hoping anyway!


  5. September 12, 2016 @ 1:18 pm Dan Fryd

    Huge congrats on landing your MA – I’m in no doubt it will be hugely enriching and open up a world of future prospects for you.

    More importantly, can we expect any more photos of Luna the Alaskan Malamute?


    • October 14, 2016 @ 5:08 pm Shing Yoong

      Thaaaaanks, I really hope it does open a world of future prospects for me – that’s a lovely way of putting it!

      Oh Luna… to be honest, she was all beauty but no personality. Stop falling for looks. Honestly, you’re so shallow Dan 🙂


  6. September 12, 2016 @ 9:12 pm Victoria @The British Berliner

    Congratulations on choosing a really great MA. I’m sure you’ll have a blast!
    I so relate though, as I also decided to do a Masters. And it was the second one too! And I really enjoyed it although it was hard work as Germany (where I live), doesn’t do part-time in Master Degrees, so I was teaching full-time and then commuting from Berlin to Chester, every 6 weeks!

    It was totally worth it though as it opened another door career-wise, and I now I want to do a PhD in the future too!


  7. September 16, 2016 @ 7:56 am Megan

    BORROWMYDOGGY.COM IS THE BEST THING EVER!!! So good I had to write that in caps!

    Best of luck with all of your new endeavors and getting another step closer to changing the world. It is so great that you can study part-time so you can keep your job 🙂


  8. October 9, 2016 @ 7:46 pm Richard

    Hope your studies are going well, and you’re not too busy/poor to travel occasionally. We’ve found a nice little Jack Russell, Riley, on borrowmydoggy which keeps us busy!


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