A massive volume of projects, essays, architectural theology, and the plain bizarre from the minds of OMA, assembled by Rem Koolhaas and Bruce Mau. S,M,L,XL is an architectural adventure of a read and I feel privileged to have it sitting open on my desk.

Zaha on BBC1

The other day I caught Alan Yentob‘s profile on Iraqi-born Zaha Hadid and the work of here practice and her development from a young student at London’s Architecture Association. I thoroughly advise anyone who’s interested in the more artistic and sculptural interpretations of architecture to visit the BBC iPlayer and watch this show: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b037yx1l/imagine…_Summer_2013_Zaha_Hadid_Who_Dares_Wins/

Zaha Hadid and Alan Yentob in his profile of one of the world's most famous female architects.

Zaha Hadid and Alan Yentob in his profile of one of the world’s most famous female architects.


Crossing off the List

Today I got my vaccinations for going to Peru.

Who would have known there were so many horrible beasties out there trying to kill us peely-wally Scots? Had to get Hep A and Typhoid, Hep B (the first of a three course treatment ending in january), and MMR. The nurse was very patient in explaining just how close you are to all the ‘hot zones’ when you travel the Inca Trail, i.e you’re extremely close to all the red lines on the map showing where all the high risk disease areas are. Luckily the altitude of the trek protects you from most things. But God help those who travel East of the Andes and into the Amazon! A microbial death trap awaits those who don’t fork out for injections months in advance!

The jabs only cost me £90 which came as a pleasant surprise (having expected it would cost a lot more), though now my arms feel like lead weights with all this vaccine in me.

I also went shopping for some of the things on my kit list. Spent over £200 but only came home with socks and some odds and ends that weren’t even on the list! Got my rucksack ordered up to try on and get fitted next week (I thoroughly recommend adventurers visit Cotswold for their gear, staff were helpful and told me which stuff wasn’t worth looking at).


Preparation Ongoing

Well there’s only 20 days until I jet-set off to South America! It feels like the last 9 or 10 months, since I first joined the trek, have just flown by. I can’t wait to touch down in Cusco and get started! 😀

Today I booked myself in to get my injections for Peru (can’t wait for that to be over with) and got my kit list ready to go shopping on Wednesday. My bank account wont thank me but it’ll make it all the more exciting to see everything packed up and ready to rock!

However, I must admit, I’ve done very little training for what I’m repeatedly told will be an arduous journey! Atleast my boots are broken in…

I Can Finally See The Horizon


On Friday 19th of July I graduated from University. This ceremony marked the culmination of 5 years of study and hard work. It also marks the conclusion of one part of my life and the beginning of another.

Rather than do the sensible thing and go job hunting, or do another degree, or find a flat, or get or this or that and so on… I’ve decided to do, what many would view as a cop out, and go travelling. And for the first time in my life I can truly say that it feels right. It’s not just a dream or a fancy, it’s the right choice. God knows where it’ll take me or how long I’ll be away or whether I’ll ever come home or settle down or whatever!

Right now it simply feels like the whole world is right there before me – just a step out on to the horizon. It’s one of the purist feelings of excitement or joy you can get. Not because of what I want to do, but because I have complete conviction in my choice.

And it’s shit scary man.

What if Money Didn’t Matter?

I think this video pretty much sums up what a lot of people think but never do. It’s one of the reasons I’m packing up and going travelling. Not because I can’t be bothered with the 9-5 but because travelling is something which I dream about and something which I feel is right for me.

Aiding Charity via Adventure

This August, I will be joining a team of 18 people on a trek to the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu in Peru in order to raise money for a charity called T.E.A.C.H (time to educate Africa’s children). The prospect of embarking on an adventure to see one of the Wonders of the World is invigorating! The fact that we will be doing it in aid of an amazing charity which devotes it’s time to empowering children via education is extremely rewarding. I am filled with excitement and anticipation. Here’s how I came to be a part of this journey:


I think back about five months ago, when I was sitting in the fluorescent-lit studio that I would be calling home for the rest of the semester. Just another day, typical Scottish weather, usual uni banter, just getting the work done. I certainly didn’t bother to raise my head from my laptop when a classmate walked in and sat down behind me and started to chat to another guy.

However, my they caught my attention when he mentioned a charity trek to Peru. My curiosity was instantly piqued (my new year’s resolution had been to do more for others, and a trek for charity certainly counts!). After a few minutes grilling the poor guy about the trek; who was organising it, what charity was it in aid of, what’s the info? etc. I decided to sign up!

That was five months ago. Since then, I’ve received a number of very generous donations from friends and family, and held a ‘night at the races’. To date, I’ve raised £2235 for T.E.A.C.H, and I still have more fundraising plans. I’m extremely grateful for the support and generosity of my friends and family and I am pleased to say that I have smashed through the fundraising target set by the charity! Together, with my team of 18 people going on the trek, we will  raise a small fortune for T.E.A.C.H!

However, now that the fundraising has been successful, my next concern is getting all the gear I need for the trek. After all, it’s a 14 day excursion to Peru that will take us from Cusco to the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu. We will be hiking over rough terrain, through rural, jungle, and mountainous landscapes. We will pass the Humantay Glacier as we ascend to heights over 4200m before descending through the Santa Teresa and Aobamba Valleys. Shortly after, we will arrive at Aguas Calientes and sign into the national park before climbing to the Sun Gate, marking the entrance to the cloud city before the sun rises over the tree-capped mountains to illuminate the Inca citadel.

This trek will be the toughest test I’ve ever had in my very sheltered life. However, it will be an experience of a lifetime and will actually do some good for some children who need a hand up, not a hand out.

I can’t wait to start filling my journal with tales of my travels.

Thank you again to everyone who has supported us on our trek. If any of you reading this would like to support T.E.A.C.H, please donate via my JustGiving page at: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=ScottStephen1