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I recently returned to Japan from a three-week trip to the U.K. with my 13 year-old daughter. In today’s blog post I’ll tell you a bit about what we were up to, and then a bit about how my online business funded our time in the U.K.
The main purpose of the trip was for my daughter to spend a week on a drama course, rehearsing for a production of Aladdin with TheatreTrain in Ipswich. She is very keen on musicals ( as I have mentioned before ) and ballet, so the TheatreTrain course offered a great way for her to do some intensive training in an environment where she also had to speak English (her first language is Japanese).
2016 British Chess Championships, Bournemouth
While my daughter was busy with TheatreTrain, I went down to Bournemouth to take part in an afternoon open competition at the 2016 British Chess Championships, just as I had done the last time we were in the U.K. in 2013.
My performance in the chess competition was not so great (just one victory out of five games), but I had a lot of fun hanging out with some of the U.K.’s leading chess players, drinkers and sports fanatics.
The highlight of the week was our Wednesday evening game of football in the park. Old chess players versus young chess players. I’m pleased to report that the old geezers won the game, although I probably spent more of my time fishing the ball out of the stream that runs through the park than actually playing football.
TheatreTrain Put On Aladdin at Ipswich
At the end of the week, my wife arrived in London and we went to Ipswich to see our daughter perform in Aladdin.
Everybody had done a great job to put the show together in such a short time. It must have been an intense week and there were tears when it was time for everybody to go their separate ways, which I was actually happy to see as it meant my daughter had had a great time.
Indeed, it looks as if I’m committed to taking my daughter back to Ipswich next summer too… Of course, I am happy to do that – it is my way of helping my daughter always to follow HER dreams.
Sussex and London
The next day the three of us went to Hailsham, Sussex, to visit my aunt for a few days, and then we went back to London to see The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre.
The Edinburgh Festival
My wife flew back to Japan, and my daughter and I headed north to visit my sister in Wakefield, and then on to the Edinburgh Festival.
We were there for three nights and saw four shows, two musicals (Narnia and an acrobatic performance of Alice in Wonderland) and two modern ballets, including the supreme ballet duo, Natalia Osipova and Sergei Polunin (along with Jason Kittelberger and James O’Hara) performing a series of contemporary dances at the Festival Theatre.
A Brief Visit To My Old Hometown, York
We then headed south, to the city where I spent so many happy years during the 1980s and 1990s, York.
We were only there for one night, but managed to fit a lot in:
- We walked along the walls from our hotel, Middletons Hotel in Skeldergate to York Minster.
- Drinks in the garden of the oldest inhabited building in the U.K. – Grays Court where I used to teach English, now a luxury hotel.
- A reunion party with a university friend who I had not seen for 31 years. 🙂
- We dined at one of the finest restaurants in York, Melton’s Restaurant – if you ever visit York, be sure to check it out.
We then went back to London and flew back to Japan, via Hong Kong.
Note to self: Next time, fly a more direct route and avoid eight-hour stopovers! Yes, you were able to book a very cheap flight, but in the end, the extra time it took to get to and from the U.K. really undercut the value of saving cash on the flight itself. Old mental habits die hard if they are not consciously eradicated!
How My Online Business Funded Our Time In The U.K.
While still in Japan, I used my credit cards and Paypal account to book our hotels, TheatreTrain, chess competition entry, and most of our theatre tickets.
In England, I discovered that you can book train tickets online and pay for them with Paypal too. My Paypal account is funded entirely by online business income. It covered most of our travel expenses and some hotel and theatre expenses. 🙂
Before leaving Japan, I started moving cash from my MAP ( MyAdvertisingPays ) account to my U.K. bank account via the online payment processor, VXGateway. A total of 770 euros (see screenshot, below) or about £650 was transferred, after expenses.
In addition, a few hundred dollars of monthly SFI income had accumulated in my Payoneer account. I usually withdraw that cash each month, but in July and August I left the cash in the account so that my Payoneer card would serve as an “emergency” source of cash while we were in the U.K.
It turned out that I didn’t need to use my Payoneer card in the U.K. as it was so easy to pay for everything with my U.K. credit card and then use my MAP and SFI income to pay off the credit card bill after returning to Japan.
Meanwhile, in Japan I live off my teaching income. In this way, I can build up my online business and then use the income to fund things like our trip to the U.K. and help myself and my daughter to reach out for our dreams.
And I hope through blog posts such as this, to inspire you to do the same.
Good luck, and remember to Always Follow Your Dreams.